I write this letter to call Carolina's attention to the actions taken by the United Nations Non-Governmental Organizations forum over the long weekend. The NGO forum is running alongside the U.N. World Conference of Racism that meets this week in Durban, South Africa. The human rights discussion ended Sunday with the adoption of a declaration that brands Israel a "racist apartheid state" guilty of "war crimes, acts of genocide, and ethnic cleansing." If the majority of the participating NGO members have their way, the declaration will become a part of the main conference's final statement.
To assert that Zionism is essentially racist misses the point. It is my opinion that the creation of a Palestinian state is an ethical necessity -- for the same reasons that I believe that the defense and continued preservation of Israel is fundamentally right. Every human being is entitled to a feeling of belonging; to help a person feel ownership of his home may be the best gift one human being can give to another. In condemning Israel and the Zionists who built and continue to protect her, the NGO contradicts its own purpose and undermines even its immediate goals.
In its 53-year history of fighting for survival, the government of the state of Israel has surely made its share of mistakes. I have been to the West Bank and to Gaza, and there can be little historical justification for allowing those appalling circumstances to continue.
But hate begets hate. The conflict that NGO seeks to address will never be resolved by pointing fingers or by accusations of ethnic extremism from any side. If the U.N. conference allows such hatred and ignorance to enter into its final decision on racism it, too, will fail in its attempt to bring an end to a conflict that has cost too much and continued for far too long.
Carolina Students for Israel