President Bush and his Secretary of State are certainly deserving of all the praise that will be heaped on them in the Anglo-Jewish media over the United States' withdrawal from the Durban Conference. The proposed anti-Israel resolution was an outrage and it was entirely correct for our government to say that this sort of thing would not be dignified by being the subject of debate or negotiations by us. It was also an important message to the Arab world that the United States has no intention of being part of any gang-up on Israel no matter how popular it is, and that we plan to act on principle.
But we think that there is another important dimension that will soon emerge. To be sure, this was a signal example of the United States standing with Israel. But it was also an example of the United States standing up for its own interests. Make no mistake about it, the Durban Conference was as much a challenge to America and the West as it was to Israel. Israel is viewed by the Third World as a remnant of European colonialism, and the United States as the principal impediment to the ascendancy of the Third World. The effort to delegitimatize the State of Israel, which, after all, was in some respects the political creation of the West and the United States, is also an anti-Western and anti-United States phenomenon. Jesse Jackson hinted at some of this thinking when he said that the U.S. withdrawal had as much to do with America seeking to avoid discussing reparations for slavery as it did for any concern for Israel.
In the last analysis, those comic opera pretenders to statesmanship at Durban will not amount to very much. What does count is that it should now be very apparent that America and Israel share vital interests. And that is a very important development.