Only a few days remain before the opening of the United Nations anti-racism conference in Geneva, and maneuvering surrounding the controversial event is reaching a fever pitch.
The stated goal of next week's Durban Review Conference, as it is officially named, is to "evaluate progress" in the global fight against racism since the U.N.'s 2001 anti-discrimination conclave held in Durban, South Africa. That original Durban meeting turned into an embarrassing fiasco for the U.N., prompting Western nations to brace for a difficult and possibly unsuccessful effort to keep the "Durban II" gathering in Geneva from becoming another propaganda tirade in the mold of its predecessor.
The Durban I precedent also created a new foreign policy dilemma for the young Obama administration: Should it boycott what is sure to be another anti-U.S., anti-Israel event? Or should it attend the potentially perilous international conference to use its diplomatic muscle in an effort to create a more palatable outcome?