Yesterday at the U.N., a panel discussion on “Islamophobia” turned heated when its focus shifted to anti-Zionist conspiracy theories. This side event to the Durban Review Conference was organized by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, a key agitator of the 2001 Durban NGO forum, known for its anti-Semitism that was denounced by High Commissioner Navi Pillay as a betrayal of the anti-racism cause.
The beginning of the discussion had a positive tone, centering on the need for education and intercultural dialogue to combat hateful sentiments against Muslims and Islam. U.N. Special Rapporteur on racism, Mr. Doudou Dienne said that Islamophobia was part of a broader attempt to construct an artificial “clash of civilizations.”
Unfortunately, the panel turned ugly when political activist Michael Warschawski began asserting conspiracy theories about a group of white Europeans seeking world domination.
He portrayed Durban I as “the last chapter of a long anti-colonialist fight.” This struggle to combat “the values put forward by the neoconservative strategists and warlords” is being pulled back in the present review conference, he said. Anti-Semitism is primarily a problem in white Europe and is being falsely instrumentalized by “them” in order to promote the “global preemptive war,” the heart of which is Palestine. Mr. Warschawski then asserted that the purpose of Israel’s security barrier is actually to “re-colonize Palestine and the Arab World.” He went on to say, “We are still in our defensive phase,” but sees hope in that “they” are having “economic trouble” at the moment.
When asked about his views on the hateful remarks of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Mr. Warschawski cautioned against picking on certain statements of “our” leaders, saying he could also quote Israeli officials saying they would use a nuclear bomb against Iran and the Gaza Strip (though he did not actually provide any quotes). Later, he called the Israeli Prime Minister a “fascist.”
During the ensuing discussion, various anti-Israel agitators in the audience took the floor. The anti-Zionist Rabbi Weiss cried out, “Islamophobia was caused by Zionism!” Another individual exclaimed, “We have documents that Zionists say Muslims are animals and have to be extinguished” (again, without displaying any actual documents). Another audience member asserted that “most of the hatred in the Middle East is nurtured in the [Israeli] kibbutzes.”
Three Jews in the audience walked out due to the offensive nature of the discussion.