Give the Barack Obama administration credit for learning a lesson. Originally, they insisted that the US had to engage the world at the UN conference on racism known as Durban II despite the highly anti-Semitic tone of the first conference. Now, after experiencing it first-hand, they’ve reached the same conclusion as Canada and the Bush administration:
White House aides told Jewish leaders on a conference call today that the United States will boycott the United Nations’ World Conference on Racism over hostility to Israel in draft documents prepared for the April conference.
The aides, including U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and longtime Obama advisor Samantha Power, said the administration will not participate in further negotiations on the current text or participate in a conference based on the text, sources on the call said. …
Obama is expected to issue a statement on the subject later this afternoon, and the participants were asked not to discuss the call until a formal statement is released.
Well, well, well. I’m not sure whether I’m more surprised to see Obama change his mind or Samantha Power take the side of Israel. Okay, I know I’m more surprised about Power going quietly from Durban II.
We have to see what Obama says formally about the withdrawal, but perhaps we can expect Stephen Harper to issue a four-word statement on behalf of Canada: I told you so. In fact, the man who benefits most from this might be Harper, who took a lot of heat in Canada for his decision to stay out of Durban after the prep work revealed Durban II to be a sequel in every context. Obama had to learn that the hard way.