(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.
His 18-page report
focused on the overall situation of Palestinians in the territories and
comments on Gaza and the boycott initiatives against Israel.
society’s global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, aimed
bringing non-violent economic and social pressure to bear to end the
occupation, is the outgrowth of these sentiments [against the Gaza
it has been expanding at a rapid rate during the last few years,” Falk
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
of the Palestinians,” wrote Falk.
In his list of recommendations, Falk
wrote that “consideration should be given to to the boycott, divestment
sanctions campaign as a means of implementing human rights, including
of self-determination, and guidelines should be provided for such a
In his report, Falk also attacked Israel’s three-year policy
of closing the land passages into Gaza to all but humanitarian
“The blockade is unlawful,” he wrote, adding that it was a
“continuing and massive form of collective punishment. As such, it
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
“Falk also fails to address the real and serious abuses and
violations of international law by Hamas in Gaza as it seeks to promote
radical agenda and entrench itself in power, including everything from
killings to harassing NGOs, limiting their ability to provide
assistance. The special rapporteur also deliberately misconstrues
elements of US
efforts to advance a comprehensive Middle East peace. His call for
boycotts and divestments from Israel is highly inappropriate and, if
implemented, would only serve to heighten tensions in the region and
parties further from peace,” said Cassayre.
UN Watch executive director
Hillel Neuer, meanwhile, told The
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
“He is one of the leading promoters in the US of the
conspiracy theory that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against
were an inside job, perpetrated by the US government,” said Neuer.