The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories of the United Nations Human Rights Council, who said regarding Israel’s conduct towards the Palestinian Arabs in a Russia Today interview that “when you target an ethnic group and inflict this kind of punishment, you are in effect nurturing a kind of criminal intention that is genocidal.” Falk made this statement when answering a question over a 2007 statement he had made that Israel and its allies were “slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust.” The ZOA has called for the U.S. to call upon the U.N. to fire Falk from his post.
Falk’s vicious statement impelled the Canadian Foreign Minister, John Baird, to say that Canada “completely rejects and condemns” Falk’s “appalling” remarks and to call for Falk’s immediate removal from his UN post. Canada has previously called for Falk to be fired “for his numerous outrageous and anti-Semitic statements,” Baird said, “and these [latest] comments underscore once more the complete and total absurdity of his service as a UN Special Rapporteur” (‘Canada wants UN official ousted over ‘Palestinian holocaust’ comment,’ Times of Israel, December 20, 2013).
Following the Canadian condemnation, the U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We condemn and completely reject Richard Falk’s latest outrageous statements made during an interview with Russia Today. The Administration has repeatedly condemned in the strongest terms his despicable and deeply offensive comments, particularly his anti-Semitic blog postings, his endorsement of 9/11 conspiracy theories, and more recently, his deplorable statements with regard to the terrorist attacks in Boston. His most recent remarks, however, represent a new low. We do not support his mandate or his work, which has been one-sided and biased, nor do we believe he should continue to serve as independent UN rapporteur, and we reiterate our calls for him to step down from this role” (Jen Psaki, Spokesperson, State Department, Daily Press Briefing, Washington, DC, December 20, 2013). The U.S. did not, however, did not repeat or endorse Canada’s call for Falk to be fired.
Falk’s disturbing record includes:
- In an April 2013 blog post, Falk blamed the Boston marathon terrorist bombings on American imperialism (“the American global project”) and the Obama Administration’s alleged “disappointing” failure to be tough on Israel.
- In October 2012, Falk called for boycotting private Israeli companies, a call criticized by U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, as “irresponsible and unacceptable.”
- In March 2011, Falk claimed before the U.N. Human Rights Council that Israeli Jews moving into homes in eastern Jerusalem and Palestinians being allegedly expelled from their homes by courts after challenges to their property ownership was a situation that “can only be described in its cumulative impact as a form of ethnic cleansing.”
- In January 2011, Falk wrote a blog in which he reiterated previous claims he had made regarding the 9/11 attacks having been an inside job by the U.S. government.
- In August 2010, Falk, in a UN report, accused Israel of a policy of apartheid.
- In January 2008, Falk issued a statement in his UN capacity, stating of Israel’s legal blockade of Gaza to prevent the importation of weapons and military materiel into the Hamas-run territory that “Israel maintains its Gaza siege in its full fury, allowing only barely enough food and fuel to enter to stave off mass famine and disease.” Falk then called for implementing the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine that mandates military intervention on behalf of a civilian population facing collective punishment and war crimes and for a determination of “whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law.”
- In April 2004 op-ed in The Nation, Falk described Israel’s 2002 intervention in the PA controlled territories following an exponential rise in lethal Palestinian suicide terrorism within Israel as “state-sponsored terrorism.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Richard Falk is a veteran Israel-basher and conspiracy theorist who believes, among other things, that 9/11 was an inside job by the Americans. He has excused terrorist acts within the U.S. if they were committed on behalf of causes he approved, like supporting communist North Vietnam. He has participated in a previous UN fact-finding mission which claimed that suicide bombing is a valid form of warfare that can be used against Israel. Such a man is beyond the pale and while that may explain why the UN has made repeated use of him, it indicates why his testimony must be condemned
“Nothing better exemplifies the perversion of legal norms in favor of indicting Israel than Falk’s claim that Israeli Jews merely moving into houses in close proximity to Arabs, or Jews claiming property found in law courts to be their property, represents ethnic cleansing.
“This obsessive Israel-basher and supporter of the Palestinian cause of Israel’s elimination has now chosen to accuse Israel of genocide –– an obscene cheapening of an important term used to describe the deliberate destruction of a people.
“We are pleased that the Obama Administration appropriately condemned Falk’s latest utterance, but we are disappointed that it did not reiterate and support Canada’a call for the UN Human Rights Council to fire Falk. It should do so without delay. Such a statement would have far more force and exert far more due pressure on the UN than merely saying that Falk should step down.”