Richard Falk’s final report to the UN Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories was leaked this week just as he was giving a speech at Princeton University.
The gangly Falk, gave his traditional pro-Palestinian rant to the assembled.
He talked about South Africa and the importance of always being affiliated to “a cause and political movement.” In short, he proved once again why his mandate was never accepted, and made an asinine circus out of his mission; probably harming the Palestinians far more than critiquing Israel’s actions.
When he was appointed in 2008 Falk was the latest incarnation of the UN Human Rights Council’s “special” investigator only of Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza. The very nature of the mission, most felt, was biased. He was the fifth person to hold this position; his predecessor John Dugard had compared Israel’s actions to apartheid.
From the very beginning Falk, a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton, made a mockery of his mission. It was almost as if he set out to be so offensive as to make any supporter of the Palestinians seem like a quack and thus delegitimize the Palestinians.
In 2011 he was accused of being a 9/11 “truther” when it emerged he had claimed there was an “apparent cover up” and that there were “well evidenced doubts about the official version.” In 2012, according to UN Watch, he posted a cartoon on his blog showing “lady justice” holding the leash of a dog labeled USA wearing a Jewish yarmulke with a star of David.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, condemned the cartoon as anti-Semitic. When attacked for his outlandish blog posts, he claimed that it was part of “freedom of expression” and that “as an academic” he was merely raising questions and that it was unfair to “deliberately connect it to my UN mandate.”
Falk plowed on. In early 2013, after the Boston bombings, he claimed in the Foreign Policy Journal that “the American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance... 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.” Thus he argued that the Boston bombings were a kind of “resistance.” US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice responded that “someone who spews such vitriole has no place at the UN.”
The hate speech of Falk never prevented him from securing fancy speeching engagements. In September 2013 he was at the University of Sydney and in November he was hosted at Oxford’s International Relations Department. In December of 2013 he was on a roll, on Russian TV explaining comments about how Israel was “slouching toward nothing less than a Palestinian Holocaust” and accusing Israel of an “intention that is genocidal.” For these tidbits, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird called for him to be removed for the “complete and total absurdity of his service as UN Special Rapporteur.”
Falk’s worldview is a cobbled together parade of horribles. Things he dislikes are invariably accused of “genocide.” So when the army deposed Mohammed Morsi in Egypt he claimed on Al-Jazeera that the country was on the verge of genocide last August, and that the government might have a “genocidal mentality.”
One of Falk’s greatest heroes is the Islamic devolutionary leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini. In a recent article in February on Al-Jazeera he described meeting this “true revolutionary.” He recalls his 1979 sojourn: “We were seated cross-legged on the ground within his tent [and were struck by] the strength of his arresting presence, especially his shining eyes that seemed almost black. What struck us immediately was his active mind and sharp intelligence... exhibited great strength of mind and will combined with a demeanor of austere severity.”
Falk’s essay on the greatness of Khomeini is revealing. He discusses the fate of minorities in Iran, including Jews and Bahai. Khomeini was blunt, saying, “the Baha’i’s are not a genuine religion, and have no place in Iran.” Falk notes that the discrimination against Bahais reached a “genocidal threshold.” However both minorities, Falk claims, “if they possessed the resources, mainly emigrated to friendlier national habitats.”
Friendlier habitats? Was Falk, since 1979, a devotee of Khomeinism? AS FALK wraps up his wasted mandate, he leaves behind a wreckage and mockery of six years’ “work.” One of his parting words at Princeton, as tweeted by journalist Henry Rome, was “I don’t think that [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas at this point can speak authoritatively for the Palestinian people on issues of fundamental rights.”
Basically, Falk was a colonizer, in that he felt he knew what is best for the Palestinians.
Ironically, his whole presence in recent years has been an unmitigated disaster for them. The leaked report illustrates the lack of accomplishment and the fact that no western power will take it seriously reveals his self-destructive role. Palestinians often do not see this. There is a perception that the Falks and other foreign “pro-Palestinian” radicals such as George Galloway, Baronness Jenny Tonge and Gretta Duisenberg benefit the Palestinian cause. But these radicals – Galloway was a supporter of Bashar Assad, and Duisenberg claimed that “the Jews... always seek to dominate the information flow” – don’t do them any service.
Falk is a twisted circus clown who should never be hosted by respectable institutions and should be put in his place for the disservice he did Israelis and Palestinians (rather than applauded for “helping” them); hopefully the international community will learn from this six-year waste of time and resources.