Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Gay McDougall is Biden’s nominee for the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and is expected to be confirmed on June 24. Before Biden, Both Clinton and Obama had nominated her the position -- but unlike Biden, neither Bush nor Trump renewed her term.


In 2002, then-Democrat congressman Tom Lantos, responded to the Durban Conference with an article, The Durban Debacle: An Insider's View of the UN World Conference Against Racism in The Fletcher Forum of Foreign Affairs.
After a hopeful start, it disintegrated into an anti-Ameican, anti-Israeli circus. A number of Islamic states conducted a well-orchestrated effort to hijack the event, and they succeeded...Durban will go down in history as a missed opportunity to advance a noble agenda and as a serious breakdown in United Naitons diplomacy
According to Lantos, the starting point for the corruption of the conference was one of the preliminary conferences -- the one held in Iran.

Gay McDougall responded to Lantos in the following issue of Fletcher with her article, The World Conference against Racism: Through a Wider Lens

On the one hand, McDougall begins with a promising start:
This is not to say that there were no flaws in the Durban process. There were many. I join with Congressman Lantos and other critics who rightly condemn the anti-Semitism that some groups brought to events and activities surrounding the Non-Governmental Forum (NGO Forum). In some places, there was an atmosphere of intimidation and hate against Jewish people. There were cartoons and posters that were hurtful and inappropriate. Additionally, the final NGO document contained language relating to Israel that was inflammatory. In fact, portions of the document proposed by the Jewish caucus were defeated in a process that was intimidating and undemocratic. [emphasis added]
After paying lip service to the "flaws" of intimidation and hate, of inflammatory language and of a process that was intimidating and undemocratic -- once McDougall gets all that out of the way, she sets about justifying the singling out of Israel: "They charge that Israel was the only country singled out for criticism in the Declaration and Programme of Action."

McDougall responds to Lantos's point criticism that Iran refused entry to a number of Israel-friendly entities to the Asian Prepatory Meeting for the WCAR (UN World Conference Against Racism) held in Tehran:
Israeli passport holders were barred from attending
o  Jewish NGOs were unable to attend
o  Kurdish and Bahai NGO's were barred (despite Robinson protest)
o  Australia and New Zealand were excluded
Lantos sums up Iran's interference:
Apparently, Iranian authorities were willing to go to great lengths to block participation by any state that would actively seek to frustrate their efforts to isolate Israel. 
But McDougall actually ignores these details, admitting that the document produced in Tehran "contained harsh criticism of Israeli policies in occupied territories and the treatment of Palestinians and drew an analogy between Israeli policies and apartheid" -- but then, oblivious to how Iran deliberately rigged the proceedings, McDougall claims:
governments, during regional PrepComs, are free to place on the table for discussion issues they determine relevant to the region. These issues are to be for discussion and negotiation only in a lengthy process that would ultimately reflect a global consensus. (emphasis added)
True enough -- providing that those governments have not been blocked from attending those meetings to begin with.

As for the accusation by Arab countries of the OIC at the biased Tehran conference, that Israel is apartheid, McDougall excuses this on the basis that
It is hard to sustain, however, the view that these were issues that had no relevance to the anti-discrimination agenda of the conference or that to debate them was intrinsically anti-Semitic. 
In other words, any attack against an opponent can be defended, as long as it can be dressed up as an attack against racism. We see this tactic refined and repeated today all the time, as people are silenced by opponents who accuse them of being racist, white-supremacist, or privileged. The charge of Apartheid is cancel culture writ large.

Lantos's criticism focuses on the singling out of Israel
Indeed, the documents not only singled [Israel] out above all others -- despite the well-known problems with racism, xenophobia and discrimination that exist all over the world -- but also equated its policies in the West Bank with some of the most horrible racist policies of the previous century. Israel, the text stated, engages in "ethnic cleansing of the Arab population of historic Palestine," and is implementing a "new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity." It also purported to witness an "increase of racist practices of Zionism" and condemned racism "in various parts of the world, as well as the emergence of racist and violent movements based on racist and discriminatory ideas, in particular, the Zionist movement, which is based on race superiority."
But McDougall's response ignores the fact that Israel was singled out, as if the general problem of racism was actually being addressed in Tehran:
Racism certainly exists in Israel just as it exists in practically every other country in the world. There are no grounds for exempting Israel from the same examination of its policies and practices to which all other states are subject.
McDougall of course is right, all states should be subject to having their policies examined -- just not at that Tehran conference, nor later at Durban.

Nor anywhere else apparently.

Ms. Gay McDougall, the U.N.’s chief monitor of discrimination against minority groups, and a leading defender of the 2001 Durban conference, just wrapped up a 10-day investigation of Canada by accusing it of failures and “significant and persistent problems.” She has never investigated any of the countries listed by Freedom House as the world’s worst abusers: not China, Cuba, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Burma, Chinese-ruled Tibet, South Ossetia in Georgia, Chechnya in Russia, or Zimbabwe. [emphasis added]

UN Watch makes clear
While it’s perfectly legitimate to hold free societies accountable, the reality is that immigrants of every color and creed rightly seek out Canada as a haven of tolerance, equality and opportunity. UN Watch launched a protest against this U.N. official’s skewed set of priorities: picking on the most tolerant countries like Canada — possibly as U.N. payback for Ottawa being the first of 10 Western governments to pull out of the world body’s ill-fated Durban II conference — while she consistently turns a blind eye to the world’s worst abusers.
The UN Watch piece includes an editorial from The National Post:
Gay McDougall is like a cop obsessed with ticketing jaywalkers, while all around her murders, rapes and muggings are being committed on the street she patrols.

The United Nations’ Independent Expert on minority issues has been on the job for four years. Much of that time she has spent investigating the way humane, pluralistic, industrialized democracies handle their racial and cultural minorities, while foregoing similar inspections of truly abusive regimes
The National Post, like UN Watch, admits that all governments should be open to examination -- and helpfully gives an example of Gay McDougall doing her job:
Undoubtedly, scattered examples of minority maltreatment can be found in any country, if one looks hard enough and uses a loose enough definition of discrimination. In 2007, for instance, the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination told Ottawa to stop using the term “visible minorities” on census forms and other government documents. The phrase, according to the committee, had the potential to be “racially insensitive,” and might lead to “direct or indirect” forms of discrimination based on skin colour.

Oh, the humanity.
The editorial attempts an explanation for the apparent lack of interest, or courage, in examining actual, repressive regimes:
But what is truly missing from Ms. McDougall’s travel schedule is a trip to any of the world’s vilest regimes such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, China, North Korea, Burma or Chad. Together, millions of people have been murdered by the 21 governments that Freedom House judges are the most repressive in the world, many simply for their minority status alone. Millions more have been imprisoned and tortured. Yet not one of these countries has been the subject of one of her inspections, nor are any scheduled to be.

We cannot avoid the impression that Ms. McDougall and the UN human right apparatus as a whole are simply afraid to put truly repressive states under the microscope. Instead they justify their salaries and expense accounts by poring over the workings of liberal democracies for the teensiest infractions.

...But we urge her next time to pick a country truly in need of a rights rebuke. If she dares.

And this is the person Biden has nominated to return to her position on the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Those repressive regimes who should be the primary focus of the head of CRED are no doubt relieved.

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