United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived this week in Durban, South Africa to direct a conference on international racism wherein many participants have labeled Israel a racist state. Arab-backed proposals for the international forum actually accuse Israel of racist practices toward Palestinians.

Thankfully, Secretary of State Colin Powell is not attending this conference. As I write this column, it has not been determined if a U.S. delegation will attend. The Bush administration is rightly concerned that Arab nations will openly use the summit to equate Zionism – the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the renewal of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel – with racism and apartheid. The Palestinians – who have the eradication of Israel as a central theme of their charter – will not hesitate to denounce Israel and blame the nation for the bloody unrest that continues to haunt the Middle East.

The fact is that Jews of all persuasions – left wing and right wing, religious and secular – joined to form the Zionist movement. These are people who simply want to ensure their homeland is preserved. To call all Zionists “racist” shows the recklessness of the Palestinians in conducting their bitter war of words against Israel.

“I hope the U.S. will participate and that they will come and sit with other governments to move the process forward,” Mr. Annan said. But the process of the conference is fatefully flawed if Israelis are – from the outset – defined as racists.

“Those who try to hide their anti-Semitism pretend it is not ‘the Jews’ whom they despise, but only a political agenda called ‘Zionism,'” said Michael Schwartz of Concerned Women for America. “At a minimum, this is like suggesting that the Third Partition of Poland, which wiped Poland out of political existence for more than a century, and divided its territory among its neighbors, was not anti-Polish. The ‘anti-Zionism’ ploy is even more dishonest because the agenda of the ‘anti-Zionists’ is not merely political. They really do want to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth, and they make no bones about saying so in propaganda to their own citizens.”

Why then would the United States take seriously a conference in which one of our greatest allies is maligned? Racism is a serious issue worldwide, but the U.S. should not participate in a conference that attempts to redefine what racism is.

Nothing new under the sun

Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics understand this “racism” ploy.

While we continue to uphold the Judeo-Christian values defined in the Bible, we have been depicted as loathsome hate-mongers simply because we confirm biblical teachings that define all sexual activity outside the traditional bonds of marriage is wrong. We have subsequently been defined as “haters.”

Similarly, the Boy Scouts of America have been brutally assailed as malicious monsters because they believe that only adults who adhere to a moral code should lead young boys. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Scouts, as a private organization, may legally define their standards, homosexual-rights groups and their defenders have maintained a year-long onslaught on this organization that has a sterling reputation of training our nation’s future leaders.

In fact, these new “racism” and “hate” accusations are not really about racism and hatred at all. These accusations are about the fierce maligning and slandering of one’s opponent in hopes of gaining moral high ground. Sadly, in this politically-correct age, this type of brutal manipulation tends to work with the mindless masses.

The truth is this – the people of Israel are to be admired for defending their homeland and the United States should continue to honor and safeguard this great friend of America at all costs.

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