U.S. Walkout of World Conference Against Racism Criticized by Many Nations and Civil Rights Activists
Interview by Between The Lines' Scott Harris.
Much of the world and many Americans protested the Bush administration's decision not to send Secretary of State Colin Powell to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. The White House defended its decision to send only a mid-level delegation by citing their opposition to proposed conference declarations equating Zionism with racism and a call for reparations to victims of the slave trade.
As the conference got underway, behind the scenes negotiations conducted by Norwegian diplomats failed to reach any compromise moderating proposed language in conference documents that condemned "the racist practices of Zionism," and described Israeli's treatment of Palestinians as a "new kind of apartheid." On Monday, Sept. 3 the U.S and Israeli delegates walked out of the conference. Although the U.S. had boycotted previous U.N. sponsored forums on racism in 1978 and 1983, the Bush administration's handling of this meeting and its recent non-participation in a long list of other major international conferences and treaties has made the U.S. a lightning rod for criticism for what many view as an arrogant and isolationist posture.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Ron Daniels, executive director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who examines the U.S. walkout of the World Conference Against Racism and the opportunities that may have been lost to promote tolerance and advance human rights(A RealAudio Version of this interview may be found At http://www.btlonline.org).
Contact the Center for Constitutional Rights by calling them at (212) 614-6464.
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