Mon, 03 Sep 2001

U.S. blackmail?

The U.S. is keeping the rest of the world guessing on whether it will show up for a conference against racism. American detractors have made no bones about what irks them. They are accusing the conference organizers of seeking to undermine the gathering for daring to discuss Israel's racist practices and decades of slavery. The Arab countries are set to present a motion equalizing Zionism with racism. Once news of the proposal reached American ears, all hell broke loose in the U.S., the self-styled advocate of world liberty and democracy.

The great paradox is that while the U.S. is taking swipes at the Durban meeting, Israel is engaged in one of the most abhorrent acts of bigotry and racism against the Palestinians.

By keeping the organizers of the Durban conference in the dark about its attendance, the U.S. is clearly imparting the message that its presence will not be without a price -- "concessions" may be the correct word. Washington is laboring under the illusion that staying away from the forum will seal its fate.

But to make sense of the gathering, the organizers should under no circumstances succumb to American blackmail and ignore Israel's appalling racism.

-- The Egyptian Gazette, Cairo