Pillay says Falk's cartoon was anti-Semitic, objectionable

UN human rights chief comments on controversy surrounding UN special rapporteur Falk who is facing calls for his resignation.

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July 14, 2011 19:19
2 minute read.
UN investigator Richard Falk.

UN Richard Falk 311 . (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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UN human rights chief Navi Pillay commented Thursday on the furor that has erupted around an anti-Semitic cartoon posted by UN special rapporteur Richard Falk on his blog on June 29.

Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated in a letter to UN Watch, the organization that first brought the issue to public attention, that the cartoon was indeed anti- Semitic and added, “I utterly deplore and condemn anti- Semitism, as I do any form of incitement to hatred and racial discrimination.”

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She acknowledged “the anti-Semitic and objectionable nature of the cartoon,” but also noted “Mr. Falk’s series of public apologies,” but did not call on Falk to resign, saying only that she welcomed the fact that he had swiftly removed the image from his website.

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer welcomed Pillay’s comments but called on her to urge Falk to resign in light of “Mr. Falk’s other insulting statements, including his recent blog post calling Mr. Ban Ki-moon a ‘shameless secretary-general,’ and his repeated utterances about US complicity in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”

This is the first time Pillay has commented on Falk who has made a series of controversial remarks in the past.

Until now, Pillay’s office has insisted that UN special rapporteurs do not fall under the mandate of her office, and she has therefore refused to discuss the issues surrounding the controversial posting and its current representative.



Falk, who is the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, posted a cartoon of a dog with a kippah urinating on a statue of Lady Justice, and alleged that arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court against Muammar Gaddafi were politically motivated.

Since then, calls for Falk step down have grown. US envoy to the UN, Joseph M.

Torsella, called on Falk to resign earlier this week as did Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the US House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee. The Anti- Defamation League and B’nai B’rith also weighed in, calling on Falk to step down.

Falk said on Monday that posting the cartoon “was a mistake and I regret it,” but said that he would not resign.

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