Last month Charles Jacobs (co-founder of the American Anti-Slavery Group) wrote a colum in the Boston Jewish Advocate urging NGOs to keep HATE of the agenda of the Durban II conference on human rights, presently being organized by countries such as Libya and Iran, under the guise of the United Nations. It was a brilliant essay which ended with
Now is the time for Jewish activists to lead a campaign pressing Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch so that the radical Palestinian agenda does not dominate the 2009 conference. Jewish donors must send a clear message to these organizations that they, and the larger human rights agenda, will suffer if Israel is targeted. Jews and others who believe in human rights must be relentless in exposing this hijacking of the human rights agenda. Read the entire commetary here Keeping hate off the agenda
Jacobs got his answer–and it was a big fat whine…”but there is nothing that we can do” As reported by the NGO Monitor Blog Joshua Rubenstein, the Northeast Regional Director of Amnesty International USA has responded to Mr Jacobs:
Rubenstein rejected the emphasis Jacobs placed on the role of NGOs in the 2001 Durban process, claiming on the contrary that, Amnesty International had “joined Jewish and Israeli leaders in warning that a forthcoming UN conference against racism could degenerate into an assault on Israel, Zionism, and the significance of the Holocaust.” Rubenstein states that “regrettably, we were not able to head off the ugly incidents that in fact did take place [at Durban in 2001].”…take our poll - story continues below
,,,,Why did this NGO not take use its considerable influence to lead a campaign against the racism that hijacked human rights at Durban? More importantly, why are they now attacking Jacobs – who is also a human rights activist, for expressing concern, rather than learning from the past and taking steps to avoid a repeat?
Also regrettable is that AM-NASTY did nothing at the time to even try.
Rubinstein goes on to say that it is Naive to think that the NGOs could do anything the agenda for the conference–but he isn’t being honest– at Durban I it was the NGO Forum that led the way in the anti-Jewish hatred:
.. As Rubenstein knows, it was the NGO forum at Durban that the massive media coverage emphasized. It was the NGO Forum that put together plans based on racism that lead to discrimination like the academic boycotts of Israel in the UK. It is not the governmental forum alone that will have an impact, and for the NGO forum, it is clear that powerful human rights organizations like Amnesty have both the ability to shape the gathering, and also the moral obligation to prevent discrimination.
f the Durban follow-up conference looks to be a repeat, it will not be enough to simply throw our hands up and say there is nothing that can be done. It must be a call to action for all those who oppose racism to withdraw their support and focus their efforts on condemning the plague of antisemitism in the midst of the human rights movement. Will Amnesty take a lead in promoting moral clarity, or will they again simply join other groups in expressing some regret in the aftermath? Will they do all they can to prevent a repeat, or will they attempt to whitewash the racism at Durban in 2001, and even attack those who justifiably express concern? Amnesty in 2009 must not find itself again expressing regret – to be in this position once is a tragedy. To be in this position twice would be an outright failure of the human rights movement – and as a key player, a failure of Amnesty itself. The time for Joshua Rubenstein and his colleagues to act is now. Source Durban 2009: For human rights organisations, the time to act is now
Looking at Am-nasty’s track record, I doubt they will get involved in protecting any Jooze.