Stupidity Runs Rampant

Mahmoud Ahmedinejad fulfilled all the promise he brought with him to Geneva for the Durban II conference.

He rambled about Israeli racism (whilst one wonders what a Baha’i observer might have been thinking) and said that the “pretext of Jewish suffering” was used to cover Israeli crimes. He firmly re-established his bona fides as an

Ahmedinejad apparently waving goodby to dozens of delegates

Ahmedinejad apparently waving goodby to dozens of delegates

anti-Semite and a demagogue, and in so doing seriously undermined the good efforts at Durban II.

The conference organizers really wanted to get past the 2001 conference. But their own short-sightedness doomed them. There was every reason to believe that Ahmedinejad’s speech was going to be just what it turned out to be-a full rehash of all the 2001 problems. Yet they welcomed him to the podium anyway. Now they have an even more formidable task of trying to overcome both 2001 and Ahmedinejad’s appearance.

In an interesting coincidence, the European Commission had just chastised some of its own member states for boycotting the conference in anticipation of Ahmedinejad’s appearance. And then most of the rest of the EU states walked out on the speech. Ahmedinejad, as this response demonstrates, dealt a serious blow to those who are advocating engagement with Iran and bolstered the case of those who contend, incorrectly, that the Iranian regime cannot be dealt with rationally. Continue reading

Debating Durban II

The much-anticipated Durban Review Conference gets underway next week. While a lot of people seem to have very powerful and set opinions on this event, it strikes me as one that is difficult to choose sides about.

The cases made both for and against the conference often seem weak and lacking in consideration of contradictory factors. A great case in point appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution just today. Two op-eds, one in favor of the USA attending Durban II and one against, appeared. Both were flawed and failed badly to make their case. Continue reading

The Change is Becoming Visible in the Obama Era

My latest piece at Zeek magazine. You can see it by clicking here. In it, I describe the first visible steps the Obama administration is taking toward breaking with past policies.

The change is visible on many levels, and perhaps most importantly in Congress, where a major pro-Israel figure is stepping up and sharply criticizing settlements and other Israeli practices.

My view counterpoints the cycnicism of much of the hardcore left, which seems determined to believe that Obama will change nothing of substance in his dealings with Israel.