World leaders are scheduled this week to discuss reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent during the United Nations General Assembly at an event that has been boycotted by the U.S. and slammed by MAGA Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “laced with anti-Semitism.”
One of the U.N. General events, planned in Durban, South Africa, is known as Durban IV and has the theme of “Reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent.”
The U.N. event is a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA) during a U.N. conference in Durban. DDPA is described by the U.N. as “a comprehensive, action-oriented document that proposes concrete measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.”
Critics say the original purpose of Durban IV “has been hijacked by an anti-Israel agenda that turned it into an anti-Semitic hate fest leading the U.S. and Israel to walk out of the conference,” Fox News reported. Critics are demanding that “Durban” be scrapped and that the U.N. start a new anti-racist conference.
MAGA supporter Pompeo and others including Israel’s U.N. ambassador and a South African politician, spoke out against Durban IV on Sept. 19 at a counter-conference organized by private Jewish university Touro College in New York City, called “Fight Racism, Not Jews: The UN and the Durban Deceit.”
Pompeo questioned the stated goal of the Durban document and the conference. He said it was supposed to be about fighting racism and injustice but the “Durban declaration is laced with anti-Semitism and the goal of those who celebrate it is not racial equality but the undermining and eventual destruction of the state of Israel.”
According to Pompeo, the original Durban declaration listed only Israel as a perpetrator of racism while ignoring China, Cuba, and other authoritarian regimes, Fox News reported.
“The Durban conference in 2001 revived the ‘Zionism is racism slur,’ outrageously claimed that Israel was an apartheid state, distorted the Holocaust and made numerous Nazi analogies,” Pompeo said.
He added, “Israel is not an apartheid state and any conference seeking to promote such a baseless assertion must be recognized for the sham that it is.”
Pompeo called on the U.S. to never support “Durban.” “The United States must never support baseless slander against Israel, and we must never allow our credibility to elevate the virulent anti-Semitism which permeates the Durban declaration.”
He also noted that the Trump administration voted against funding the reparations event.
Over the years, many have petitioned the U.N. to address racism. In 1994, activist Silis Muhammad, who played a major role in the Nation of Islam, pushed the U.N. to encourage the U.S. to give reparations to Black American descendants of slavery. He submitted a formal appeal to the intergovernmental organization.
Muhammad’s outreach for reparations was supported and formally backed by a group founded by a white woman and comprised of white people urging the U.S. government to agree to a reparations program. Ida Hakim formed Caucasians United For Reparations and Emancipation (CURE) to promote the idea of reparations to fellow white Americans as a form of redemption. Hakim officially supported Muhammad’s petition by filing a submission on behalf of CURE in 1998.
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While the U.S. has stepped away from “Durban,” the U.N. said it backs reparations for people of African descent.
In a U.N. report on racism released in June, Michelle Bachelet, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated that reparations were needed for people facing racism, NPR reported. “I am calling on all states to stop denying — and start dismantling — racism; to end impunity and build trust; to listen to the voices of people of African descent; and to confront past legacies and deliver redress,” Bachelet said in a video statement.
“Reparations should not only be equated with financial compensation,” she wrote. It should include restitution, rehabilitation, acknowledgment of injustices, apologies, memorialization, educational reforms, and “guarantees” that such injustices won’t happen again.
The U.N.-backed Human Rights Council commissioned the report during a special session in 2020 following the police murder of George Floyd, a Black American who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020. His death, captured on video, triggered global protests. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.