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NEW YORK – The United States joined a chorus of Jewish groups and lawmakers on
Friday calling for a United Nations official who posted an offensive cartoon
depicting a dog wearing a skullcap to resign.
US envoy to the UN Joseph
M. Torsella said the posting of the cartoon on the blog of UN Special Rapporteur
to the Palestinians Territories Richard Falk earlier this month was highly
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“I am deeply disturbed that once again UN Special
Rapporteur Richard Falk has used his personal blog to publish abhorrent
material,” he said. “His shameful and outrageous behavior is an embarrassment to
the United Nations. Someone who publishes such vicious images has no place in
the UN system. Mr. Falk has yet again created a distasteful sideshow that
distracts from the cause of human rights. We reiterate our call for him to step
UN Watch was the first to report on the posting of the
cartoon, which shows a dog wearing a skullcap bearing the Star of David and
standing with a bloodied mouth over a pile of bones while urinating on Lady
Falk initially responded to complaints of the cartoon by saying
he did not think it was offensive. Later, he removed the post and issued an
apology to anyone whose feelings were hurt.
“With apologies, I realize
that the cartoon that originally appeared on my blog devoted to the arrest
warrants for [Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi and two others issued by the ICC
had strongly anti-Semitic symbolism that I had not detected before it was
pointed out to me,” he wrote.
“I posted the cartoon to express my view
that double standards pertained to the American and ICC approach to
international criminal accountability. As soon as I was made aware of the anti-
Semitic content of the cartoon I removed it from my blog... My intention has
never been to demean in any way Jews as a people, despite my strong criticisms
of Israeli policies, and some versions of Zionist support.”
controversy began last week organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and
lawmakers such as Republican Representative from Florida Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
have insisted that Falk step down.
“This latest action compounds the long
existing problem of Mr. Falk’s blatant biases and repugnant behavior,”
said Conference of Presidents Chairman Richard Stone and Executive Vice Chairman
Malcolm Hoenlein in a joint press release on Friday.
“His history of
hateful provocations, including the spread of 9/11 conspiracy theories blaming
the United States for self-inflicted terrorism, and comparison of Israelis to
Nazis are evidence that he cannot fulfill his responsibilities consistent with
the UN’s mission and standards.”
Meanwhile, UN Watch said Falk has
adamantly refused to step down from his position despite repeated calls. UN
Watch head Hillel Neuer said only UN rights chief Navi Pillay can remove Falk
“The Geneva-centered UN human rights system reveres the high
commissioner as the Catholic Church does the pope,” Neuer said. “If she
reprimands Falk, the word will ripple throughout the system. He would be shamed
within the diplomatic and human rights communities, and would eventually have to
resign. I therefore trust that the US will register its protest not with the UN
in abstract, but with Ms. Pillay’s office in particular.”
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