GENEVA, Switzerland — On April 20-24, 2009, the United Nations hosted a second World Conference Against Racism, following up the conference in 2001 where peoples around the world declared that slavery and colonialism were crimes against humanity for which reparations were due. That conference also declared the illegitimate settler-state of Israel to be a racist state.
The 2001 conference was boycotted by the U.S. and Israel who both refused to acknowledge their crimes against humanity. In this follow-up conference the U.S. and Israel were joined by virtually all of the other imperialist countries who either refused to participate from the start or walked out at the point that the issues began to be raised.
In an interview on UhuruRadio.com on Sunday, April 26, African Socialist International (ASI) Chairman Omali Yeshitela explains the real basis for these imperialist counties refusal to participate in the conference:
“I want to say it’s criminal behavior, but that’s not appropriate because when you’re talking about crime, you’re talking about the law and the imperialists make most of the laws. So most of what they do is legal including slavery and including the kinds of things that the white nationalist, foul, settler-colonial state of Israel has done to the Palestinians. They take the people’s land, and then they punish them. They kick them off the land, they brutalize them and they murder them.
“You know they had a president from Milwaukee, a white woman from Milwaukee — Golda Meir. They’ve got these white people that they bring from all over the world and they call them Israelis. They change the country’s name from Palestine to Israel. It’s just a whole thuggish process that’s been going on for a while.
“But the United Nations Conference Against Racism that happened in 2001 in Durban, South Africa was a really significant, really critical conference, that took place in late August and went on to the early part of September and it resulted in a statement that upheld reparations for slavery and colonialism, defined slavery as a crime against humanity, and in addition to that, the people also identified the state of Israel as a racist state in terms of its treatment of the Palestinian people.
“And what was really interesting about that was you had a situation where thousands of people who otherwise had not been able to talk about reparations or believe in reparations or anything like that — at the juncture the United Nations gave it an air of legitimacy, you had people coming from everywhere around the world to participate in this conference and this discussion. To have the whole non-white world denounce colonialism, denounce slavery, uphold the demand for reparations and denounce the illegitimate white nationalist, settler-state of Israel — which indeed is a rotting corpse — to have the whole world stand up and do that was a remarkable political occurance that had all kinds of significance.
“And then, of course, that conference ended on September 7, and then on September 11 was the thing that happened with the world trade center, and so it took it off the radar screen and nobody was talking about that historical achievement. Our movement was there in Durban.
“I should mention that in 2001, the United States also did not participate. In fact, it demanded that the Negro secretary of state Colin Powell not show his face at this critically significant thing.
“But they came out of there with some pretty decent resolutions and commitments from these imperialist, colonialist states about struggling against what they characterize as racism and actually having a responsibility to overturn it, and Durban II in part was to give people an opportunity to see what kind of progress has been made since Durban I.
“Now before they even get there, the Obama administration — here we have the negro president again, who is quite convenient because he first of all demanded that they take out the issue of reparations, that they take out the issue of the illegitimate state of Israel, etc. and so they didn’t even participate in the thing.
“And again this is under Obama. This is the hero for much of the Negro reparations movement. They saw Obama as the one who was going to do something for them and of course, he’s now covering for every anti-reparations, anti-African, anti-freedom act against oppressed peoples around the world.
“So from the very beginning you had a boycott. Look at who’s boycotting: Australia, New Zealand, United States, Italy, Germany, Holland. Can you believe that? These are the countries that are boycotting. They don’t even show up at all. So you’re talking about Australia who had the gross history of first of all these white people who leave England as thugs and criminals and locked up in prison, Australia being a prison colony for England. They murder thousands and thousands of black people there called Aborigines as sport. Those who they didn’t murder, many of those who they didn’t murder, they kidnap their children and put them into torture farms to make white people out of them. But they boycott the issue.
“New Zealand has a similar story. There’s Canada, who has right now got reservations for indigenous people who are catching hell there, but they boycott allegedly because somebody is going to say something not nice about some white people who just stole some land in the Middle East. That’s the excuse they give.
“You’ve got the United States. I don’t even have to say what the United States is. The very fact that I’m even sitting here having this discussion is a mark against the United States. And the very fact that there’s a Negro president here is a mark against what the United States is about.
“Then you’ve got Italy, Germany, Holland — Holland who brought the first African captives to the United States. The first African captives to the United States came here on a Dutch ship.
“And then all these other white countries walk out and somehow they say that this thing was condemned by the whole world, but that’s a lie because the vast majority of the people there supported the statements by Ahmadinejad. And the vast majority of the people there still want reparations, still denounce slavery and colonialism. It’s just the white countries that walked out of this thing and perhaps some of their lackeys and allies. The vast majority of the people stayed.
“But the thing is this: as important as these conferences are, and they are important — and I’m sorry that we weren’t able to attend this conference. We were busy on the ground building a revolutionary movement and putting some things down in Kenya because in the final analysis, our freedom is not going to come at a United Nations hearing or conference, even though I think they are extraordinarily important political events.
“They are also something that gives us an indication of the amount of unity of peoples around the world around these questions opposed to colonialism and imperialism. So we weren’t there, but we were in the process of helping to dig the grave of imperialism.
“I think that it’s a critical development and we should not allow the United States and these imperialist powers to define what happened in the fashion that they are trying to define it.”
Chairman Omali continued around the Israel question: “Israel is a criminal enterprise in a thousand different ways. And the whole thing that happened to Jews was done by white people. I don’t know how many Jews were killed in Germany, but however many were killed, they killed them. They were not killed by Iranians. They were killed by white people in Europe.
“And you talk about freedom of speech and all that, but you cannot be in a European country and say six million Jews didn’t die. You’ll go to jail there. But we do know how many people that the Belgians killed in one fell swoop. The Belgians killed more than 12 million African people. You’re going to tell me that because somebody says something that you don’t like about an illegitimate, hostile, white nationalist state that itself was a colonial enterprise that is used against the people there, that the crimes committed by Belgians, the crimes committed by the Dutch, the crimes committed by the United States and all these other countries go unmentioned and undealt with? Because we hurt the feelings of some white people who stole some land in occupied Palestine? It’s absolutely unacceptable.
“I truly believe that Jewish people have a responsibility to denounce the illegitimate state of Israel, to express solidarity with the just struggles of the Palestinians and other oppressed peoples just as I can sit here right now and denounce these neocolonial African states wherever they exist. Jews are no better than anybody else, and what killed them was capitalism and other white people in Germany and other places. Not only were they killed in Germany, they were chased all over Europe, and even in this country, Jews had to change their names and what have you so it wasn’t clear that they were Jews in order to be successful.
“So don’t put this thing about Jews on Palestinians and Iranians and black people and what have you because this is a mess about white people. But they’re using this mess about white people that happened to the Jews. They want to hold this up as the greatest crime against humanity because it’s something that happened to white people and the Jews who are united with this whole Zionist thing participate in this thing and it’s an anti-revolutionary stance that they take.
“They use it to hide the crimes that imperialism has committed against the rest of the world. They say nothing has happened as bad as what happened to those white people, and that’s why it’s got to be six million. If they could make it 40 million, they’d make it 40 million that died there because they need those dead Jews to hold up in the face of any Africans and other oppressed people around the world who say look at what you did to me. They need the dead Jews to say nothing has ever happened as bad as what happened to these white people.”
Chairman Omali Yeshitela can be heard live on Africa Live on UhuruRadio.com on Sundays at 11:00am-1:00pm EST