Durban Winners and Losers

05/23/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I'm listening right now to Sweden's speech on behalf of the European Union here at the Durban II Conference in Geneva. The President of Iran, we are told, was "offensive and hate-filled" and "violated the dignity of the United Nations." They got that right -- and now the UK representative is piling on. No matter. The United Nations' self-inflicted moral stain won't easily wash away. For despite the stream of (belated) harsh criticism by member states, Durban II shamefully handed the serial Holocaust denier, genocide threatener a PR gift that solidifies the Iranian President's voting base at home and his already impressive dossier with American haters in the Arab and Muslim world. He's the big winner and the United Nations itself the biggest loser.

President Barack Obama's hopes for a speedy breakthrough for the Middle East is another loser at Durban II. For the morning after the mass walkout against Ahmadinejad's hatred, no one uttered a word of protest when the Palestinian "Foreign Minister" Dr. Riyad Al-Maliki, speaking from the same podium, rejected on behalf of Palestine, that Israel could be a Jewish state. Those who believe such a notion, he indicated, were themselves guilty of "racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia". President Obama has said that all sides, including Israel, will have to make gestures to kick-start the peace process. But embattled Israelis, Left, Right, and Center and World Jewry have noted that no diplomat rose to condemn the re-classification of Zionism as racism and Zionists as bigots.

It appears that the morning after it's business-as-usual here. That will make the Obama-Clinton team's admirable goal of fixing what is wrong with human rights at the UN even more difficult to achieve...