Richard Falk is again in the headlines. ...the Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council on Occupied Palestinian Territories, has called for a boycott of companies that do business with Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
This is against the background of a 2010 report Falk authored, that carried such headings as
- Continuing expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories
- The de facto annexation of East Jerusalem
- Expulsions from East Jerusalem as a means to annexation
- West Bank roads and international complicity in perpetuating the occupation
- Continuation of the Gaza blockade
- Abuse of children by Israeli authorities in the occupied territories
There is nothing in the 2010 report, or Falk's most recent recommendations, about
- Palestinian intransigence or
- internal conflicts that stand in the way of settling the conflict, or
- the tens of thousands of rockets and
- other kinds of violence that Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank continue to direct against Israeli civilians.
Falk thereby establishes himself in the long line of Jews who have taken extreme and one-sided positions against Israeli or Jewish interests.
Richard Goldstone and Noam Chomsky are in the same cluster, along with some lesser known Israeli academics who urge boycotts against their own country and universities. Currently among our squabbles is one concerned with political scientists at Ben Gurion University who have so turned their Department of Politics and Government into an anti-Zionist bastion as to bring the Council of Higher Education--with a reputation that is respectful of academic freedom--to order its closure.
Falk et al belong in the same encyclopedia article with medieval Jews who sought favor with Christian churchmen and princes by telling them of "anti-Christian" material in the Talmud. Thanks to them, Jews altered their sacred texts, and while some editions still note opinions about the proper relationship of Jews with "goyim," other editions fudge the issue by referring to "Egyptians," "Romans," or "pagans."
Falk's reports are so extreme as to attract condemnation not only from Israel's representative to the United Nations, but also from those of the United States and other western governments. According to an official American statement (issued 18 months in advance of the 2012 election)
From YouTube, 26 Oct 2012:"The report’s conclusions and recommendations are seriously flawed. The Special Rapporteur fails to adequately address the responsibility of Hamas in the lead up to the Gaza conflict, and indeed, seeks to minimize that responsibility. Falk also fails to address the real and serious abuses and violations of international law by Hamas in Gaza as it seeks to promote its radical agenda and entrench itself in power, including everything from unlawful killings to harassing NGOs, limiting their ability to provide humanitarian assistance. The Special Rapporteur also deliberately misconstrues elements of U.S. efforts to advance a comprehensive Middle East peace. His call for further boycotts and divestments from Israel is highly inappropriate, and, if implemented, would only serve to heighten tensions in the region and move the parties further from peace...
Canada joined the United States and Israel late Thursday night in calling for the resignation of a United Nations official charged with monitoring and reporting on human rights in the Palestinian territories.
That official, Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, called for a worldwide boycott earlier Thursday of companies tied to Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
That recommendation was immediately condemned by the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, who called Falk's call to action "irresponsible and unacceptable," and said it would "poison the environment for peace."
A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Rick Roth, said Falk's intervention was "offensive and unhelpful but not overly surprising."
In the past, Falk, a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, once compared the state of Israel to Nazi Germany, the Associated Press reported.
He also once wrote on his blog that there was "an apparent coverup" by the U.S. over the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He also once posted an anti-Semitic cartoon on his blog, though he later removed it.
"Richard Falk has a long history of making outrageous statements, and frankly, has only tarnished the reputation and integrity of the United Nations," Roth said.
Falk listed 13 companies that ought to be boycotted -- including Volvo, Caterpillar Hewlett Packard and Motorola -- in his report to the UN General Assembly
"Mr. Falk has not only done a disservice to the United Nations, but also to the Palestinian people," Roth said. "Canada calls on Mr. Falk to either withdraw this biased and disgraceful report - or resign from his position at the United Nations."
Caterpillar said in a statement that Falk's report was inaccurate and misleading, and "reflects his personal and negative opinions toward Israel." The company said it sells products to the U.S. government, which are then sent to Israel.
Hewlett Packard said Falk was "far from an independent and unbiased expert in this matter," and that the company has a strong human rights policy and complies with the highest standards in every market in which they operate.