UN investigator: 'Boycott legitimate anti-occupation tool'

Richard Falk supports the anti-Israel boycott.

June 15, 2010 11:10
2 minute read.
UN investigator: 'Boycott legitimate anti-occupation tool'

falk 63. (photo credit: )

Civil society boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) are legitimate and welcome tools to fight Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, United Nations special rapporteur Richard Falk said in a report debated Monday by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“The spectacle of a people under siege, as has been the case now for over 30 months in the Gaza Strip, has deepened this sense that there exists some responsibility for people everywhere to take appropriate, non-violent action,” said Falk.

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His 18-page report focused on the overall situation of Palestinians in the territories and included comments on Gaza and the boycott initiatives against Israel.

“Civil society’s global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, aimed at bringing non-violent economic and social pressure to bear to end the Israeli occupation, is the outgrowth of these sentiments [against the Gaza siege], and it has been expanding at a rapid rate during the last few years,” Falk said.

This movement resembles the antiapartheid movement which transformed South Africa in the 1980s, he added.

Civil society boycotts are “a central battleground in the legitimacy war being waged by and on behalf of the Palestinians,” wrote Falk.

In his list of recommendations, Falk wrote that “consideration should be given to to the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign as a means of implementing human rights, including the right of self-determination, and guidelines should be provided for such a campaign.”

In his report, Falk also attacked Israel’s three-year policy of closing the land passages into Gaza to all but humanitarian goods.

“The blockade is unlawful,” he wrote, adding that it was a “continuing and massive form of collective punishment. As such, it represents a fundamental violation of Israel’s responsibility to protect the civilian population of the occupied Gaza Strip.”

During the council debate, however, US representative Mark Cassayre said Falk’s report was flawed.

“Falk also fails to address the real and serious abuses and violations of international law by Hamas in Gaza as it seeks to promote its radical agenda and entrench itself in power, including everything from unlawful killings to harassing NGOs, limiting their ability to provide humanitarian assistance. The special rapporteur also deliberately misconstrues elements of US efforts to advance a comprehensive Middle East peace. His call for further boycotts and divestments from Israel is highly inappropriate and, if implemented, would only serve to heighten tensions in the region and move the parties further from peace,” said Cassayre.

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, meanwhile, told The Jerusalem Post that Falk was so pro-Hamas that even the Palestinian Authority had asked him to quit.

Outside of his comments against Israel, he has advocated a number of outlandish theories about world events.

“He is one of the leading promoters in the US of the conspiracy theory that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the US were an inside job, perpetrated by the US government,” said Neuer.

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