+61 3 9272 5644

Advocacy Update: Richard Falk, the UN, Israel and the Boston Marathon Bombings

Advocacy Update: Richard Falk, the UN, Israel and the Boston Marathon Bombings

24 April 2013

We have become accustomed to conspiracy theories linking Israel to various tragedies around the world. It therefore was no surprise to me that someone would pen an article in which last week’s terrorist attacks in Boston were blamed partly on U.S. foreign policy and partly on Israel. What may surprise some is that this comes directly from an employee of the United Nations.

However, those who follow the UN Human Rights Council would not be surprised if I told you that the culprit is Richard Falk, UN HRC special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories or that this latest antic comes from this delusional character.

In a piece that appeared in the Foreign Policy Journal entitled ‘A Commentary on the Marathon Murders’, Falk declares “as long as Tel Aviv has the compliant ear of the American political establishment, those who wish for peace and justice in the world should not rest easy”. In a criticism of President Obama foreign policy in regards to the Middle East, Falk refers to the “strong pushback by Israel and its belligerent leader, Bibi Netanyahu” and that Obama “has given up altogether, succumbing to the Beltway ethos of Israel”. He continues, “Obama’s March trip to Israel was highlighted by his March 21st speech in Jerusalem, which was delivered as a love letter to the Israeli public rather than qualifying as a good faith effort to demonstrate his belief in a just peace”.

But it was not just Israel that was in Falk’s sight when it came to commenting on the bombings. Quoting the line, “those to whom evil is done/do evil in return”, he declares that the “American global domination project is bound to generate all kids of resistance in the post-colonial world”.

All of this from a man who is on the payroll of the UN Human Rights Council.

The Geneva based organisation UN Watch immediately sent a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice demanding that Falk be condemned. Expressing their outrage that he had exploited “a moment of tragedy and mourning to advance a disturbing political agenda” UN Watch stated that Falk’s “odious and preposterous remarks insult last week’s victims and discredit the cause of human rights and the founding principles of the United Nations”.

In any other job, such vitriolic words would most certainly elicit some sort of rebuke from a higher authority, but silence from the UN and its refusal to condemn Falk is not surprising. Furthermore, UN Spokesman Farhan Haq said, “Richard Falk is an independent expert… The Secretary-General did not appoint him and is not responsible for his views”. Perhaps the United Nations is not responsible for the individual views of their employees, but certainly some responsibility needs to be taken in order to protect the integrity of the organisation?

The United States did respond though, with a Statement by Erin Pelton, United States Mission to the UN Spokesperson, who declared “the United States completely rejects the provocative and offensive commentary by Mr. Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, regarding the recent terrorist attacks in Boston, Massachusetts. The United States has previously called for Mr. Falk’s resignation for his numerous outrageous statements, and these comments underscore once more the absurdity of her service as a UN Special Rapporteur”.

Falk of course has form when it comes to bias against Israel. In 2008, he was expelled from Israel because “beyond the imbalance in his mandate, the bias is further exacerbated by the highly politicized views of the rapporteur himself, in legitimizing Hamas terrorism and drawing shameful comparisons to the Holocaust”. In 2009 he accused the IDF of war crimes against the Palestinians and the majority of the media published his claims without looking into Falk’s long history of bias against Israel. The Australian did expose Falk, quoting US Department spokesman Robert Wood who said, “we’ve expressed our concern many times about the special rapporteur’s views on dealing with that question… we’ve found the rapporteur’s views to be anything but fair. We find them to be biased. We’ve made that very clear”. And finally in 2011, he posted an extremely anti-Semitic and highly offensive cartoon on his blog in which Jews and Americans were depicted as bloodthirsty dogs. When he was exposed, he initially lied saying, “I know nothing about such a cartoon, and would never publish such a thing, ever”. Later, when he realised the internet has a way of coming back to bite you he weakly explained “Maybe I do not understand the cartoon, and if it offends in this way I have removed it from the blog. It may be in bad taste to an extent I had not earlier appreciated, but I certainly didn’t realise that it could be viewed as anti-Semitic, and still do not realise”.

For a full list of Falk’s rap sheet, click here.

In the meantime, the cynic in me, and most likely the realist too, feels that Falk’s position remains secure.

Emily Gian
Media and Advocacy Director
Zionist Federation of Australia