The U.N.-sponsored World ConferencernAgainst Racism, Racial Discrimination,rnXenophobia, and Related hitolcrance inrnDurban, South Africa, turned out to bernever)’ bit as odious as its name promised.rnIt frirnished an occasion for the talkingrnheads, otherwise-unemployable NGOrnapparatchiks, and sanctimonious windbagsrnaround the globe to do their tiling,rnand —in parhciilar—to agonize over therndeparture of the American delegation becausernof a declaration accusing Israel ofrnracism. Not a single mainstream Americanrncommentator dared state the obvious:rnthat the United States should neverrnhave attended this circus in the firstrnplace. Simon Jenkins, however, calledrnthis spade a .spade in liis September 5 columnrnin the Times of London:rnSo Fidel Castro is the “world’srngreatest democrat”, China is an authorit}’rnon press freedom and Americansrnare guilt}’ of the genocide ofrn800,000 people “for not interx-eningrnin Rwanda”. Welcome to thernUnited Nations . . . The only questionrnwas which lobbyist couldrnshout loudest, to bid for more cashrnback home bv winning a paragraphrnin a meaningless resolution.rnDurban symbolizes the global institutionsrnthat have lost all accountabilitv’ andrnsense of proportion, writes Jenkins, andrnits fixation on “racism” was the nadir ofrnthe genre. It was planned as the first bigrnouting for the most outrageous legal conrnin modern history, the demand thatrn”white” states pa “black” people “reparations”rnfor the slave trade:rnThis claim is being led by Americanrnlawyers whose mouths arc sornsalivating at the “biggest class actionrnin histor)” . . . This would bernabsurd were it not now raw politics.rnThe American Democratic Party isrncommitted to reparations at leastrnfor black Americans. . . . In Britain,rnthere is growing pressure for organisationsrnto confess to “institutionalrnracism”. By forcing such Maoistrnapologies, lawyers hope to prisernopen huge claims for compensation,rntiiough no one seems clearrnabout who would benefit. It is hardrn»ign0 of the UTiMSrn”All the News Unfit to Print”rnto imagine more fertile soil forrnracial disharmonv. . . . This is nonsense.rnYet there is no argument sornindefensible as some fool cannotrnbe found to defend it.rnThe pretense that tlic ills of black peoplerneverwhere are rooted in some “recalledrnethnic memorv sndrome” of thernslave trade, Jenkins concludes, is a perversionrnof historv geograph}’, antiirojiolog)’,rnand economics, and the most patronizingrngesture of Western moral superiorit’.rnBut instead of staying a thousand milesrnawav from Durban on all tiiese grounds,rnthe U.S. delegation left the proceedingsrnbecause of vet another declaration in thern”Zionism equals racism” series. ThernUnited States thus got the worst of bothrnworlds. Being represented — een bv arnlo\-leel delegation — conferred Americanrnlegitimacv on an event as idiotic as itrnwas sinister. But being tiie only eountiyrnto leave carlv in disgust oer a slight directedrnat Israel confirmed tiie suspicionsrnof those commentators who maintainrnthat U.S. Middle East policy is fatallyrnflawed because of America’s passionaternattachment. Writing in Al-Ahmm Weeklyrn(August 30), Frdward Said explored therneffects of media newspeak:rnIn Israel’s case, uhich has alvasrnhad the intention to silence orrnmake Palestinians invisible as itrnrobbed tiiem of Hieir land, this hasrnbeen in effect a suppression of therntruth, or a large part of it, as well asrna massixe falsification of histor) . . .rnAnd what has made this campaignrnso effective is a long-standing sensernof Western guilt for anti-Semitism.rnWhat could be more efficient thanrnto dis]5lace tiiat guilt onto anotiierrnpeople, the Arabs, and diereb feelrnnot onh’ justified but positiveh’ assuagedrnthat something good hasrnbeen done for a much-malignedrnand banned people? To defend Israelrnat all costs —even thougli it isrnin militar}’ occupation of Palestinianrnland, has a powerfiil militar,rnand has been killing and woundingrnPalestinians in a ratio of four or fivernto one —is tiie goal of propaganda.rnThat, plus going on with what itrndoes, but seeming to be a victimrnjust die same.rnTelling the Pale.stinian side of tiic stonrnin the United States remains an uphillrnfight even when die autiiors are Westerners,rnsas George S. Hishmeh in the Jordanrnrimes (September 5). Kathleen Christison,rna former analvst with the CL’, spentrnyears seeking a commercial publisher forrnher recent book, 7 he Wound of Dispossession:rn’ielling the Palestinian Stor\ It wasrnrepcatedlv turned down because, as onernpublisher said, the Palestinian perspectivernwas not “the pafii to eommercial success”:rn|0]ne major American universih’rnpress on the Fast Coast, whosernname she asked nic to withhold,rn”came close to publishing it but allowedrnit to be suppressed b’ thosernwho object to airing the Palestinianrnstorv.” The details of this mindboggling,rnnine-month reviewrnprocess . . . must come as a shock tornfree-thinking Americans: “Thisrnepisode was instructive. After ti.vornpeer reviewers and, on the basis ofrndieir advice, die editor-in-chief recommendedrnpublication, a faculh’rnboard tiiat oxersees tiie press cautionedrnthat the review ers might bernperceived as ‘too pro-Palestinian’rnand instructed that tiie book be reviewedrnb two pro-Israeli readers.rnThese two readers bofii strongK’rneondemned tiie book and urgedrnthat it not be published.”rnThe irrepr&ssible Benjamin Netanvahurnis talking again —and causing trouble, accordingrnto a Tel Avi pa]3er. Arabs havernincreased reasons for anxieh’ now tliat formerrnprime minister Netanyahu is sayingrnpnblicK’ that Israel should upgrade its nuclear-rnwea]Dons eapabilitv (which has ncerrnbeen aduutted) to include a “secondrnstrike” if Iran launches a first strike. Translafion:rnIsrael alread’ has nuclear weaiDonsrnand should let her Muslim neighborsrnknow. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wasrnoutraged by this candor and is fiireateningrnthe fonncr prime minister with jail.rnPalestinian rights are not a top priorit)rnfor the establishment, but those of illegalrnaliens are. “As many rights as possible,rnfor as many immigrants as possible, asrnsoon as possible” was the battle cry ofrn40/CHRONICLESrnrnrn