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Defaming Richard Falk

07 Jun

richard falks

The Zionist organization UN Watch, which is affiliated with the American Jewish Committee and a vehement lobbyist of US and Israeli interests, continues to attack and defame acclaimed academic and UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights Richard Falk.

For the past two years UN Watch, with the support of Western politicians, have conducted an open campaign to discredit, defame and remove Falk from his position as UN Special Rapporteur. Despite Mr Falk himself being Jewish, he has continuously been accused of being anti-Semitic through his open criticism of both US and Israeli foreign policy. Recently responding to UN Watch’s campaign to defame him, which has escalated over the past two years, Falk has requested that the UN investigate and reprimand UN Watch for the continues attacks.

Starting back in June 2011 Falk posted on his blog an entry regarding the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Muammar Gaddafi for crimes against humanity, featuring a cartoon image of a dog with a Jewish head-covering and a sweater with the letters “USA,” urinating on Lady Justice, while devouring bloody human bones. Despite being in poor taste, the cartoon was purely satirical pointing at the Western pursuit to overthrow the Gaddafi regime. Following the blog posting, UN Watch contacted the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and called for action to be taken against Falk for the cartoon. Acknowledging that the cartoon was anti-Semitic and could be perceived as offensive, Falk apologized for the cartoon adding that “we must also make peace with nature, and treat animals with as much respect as possible.” Taking into account three months following the cartoons posting, Gaddafi was brutally executed in front of a crowd of baying onlookers and the subsequent accusations of NATO genocide in Sirte, Mr Falks words ring true.

One year later in July 2012 Falk again came under attack by UN Watch, in response to a post he wrote on his blog called “For What?,” in which he described why he has become drawn to the “Palestinian Struggle.” Falk wrote “I formed a well-evidence belief that the U.S. Government and the organized Jewish community were responsible for the massive and enduring confiscation of Palestinian land and rights.” UN Watch responded by again accusing Falk of anti-Semitism commenting that Falk had “published racist remarks against Jews and Judaism” and was “attempting to blame Jewish communities everywhere for alleged crimes against Palestinians” and in doing so “effectively provides an international warrant for terrorism.” In a response Falk wrote “I have often opposed policies including those of the US and Israel but to conflate such stands with racism is [part of] a wide-ranging and frequently repeated denunciation of my views and activities.” Falk’s opinion is something which has been corroborated by many well respected and highly qualified academics and NGO’s through years of meticulous investigation into the human right situation in Palestine.

For What? Can be read here. The UN Watch response can be read here.

In December 2012, UN Watch posted an open letter to Human Rights Watch, further critiquing Falk and asking for his removal from the Santa Barbara Committee, a HRW awareness group. UN Watch wrote “by legitimizing this racist and enemy of human rights, your organization undermines its own founding principles. We urge you to remove him immediately” shortly afterword’s Falk was expelled from the committee.  Full of scorn and inaccuracies, the letter vehemently attacked the reputation of Falk and ironically even pointed to a WikiLeaks cable, in which the Palestinians had asked for his removal due to his impartial approach on the Palestine- Israel issue. Despite UN Watch’s proclamation of “victory” and claiming their efforts had resulted in the expulsion of Falk, he had instead been expelled due to HRW’s long standing policy that “no official from any government or UN agency can serve on any Human Rights Watch committee or its Board” and was a result of an “oversight” that this policy was not applied to Falk. Kenneth Roth the executive director of HRW, admitting that the UN Watch letter was filled with “inaccuracies and falsehoods,” following a response letter signed by 40 human rights representatives urging the group to “clarify” their decision. Despite this Falk never received a public apology.

The Letter and Human Rights Watch’s response can be read here. The Letter to Kenneth Roth can be read here. Phyllis Bennis article on Kenneth Roth’s response can be read here.

In a commentary posted on Richard Folk’s personal blog back in April called “A Commentary on the Marathon Murders,” Falk condemned the act of terror, calling it “horrific.”  However, he also analytically critiqued US disastrous post 9/11 foreign policy, and recent curtail of human rights and rule of law, arguing:

“The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world. In some respects the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks, and these may yet happen, especially if there is no disposition to rethink US relations to others in the world, starting with the Middle East.”

Contrasting the critical opinions in response to the bombings from callers to a PBS program, with that of US politicians and main stream media, Falk called self-scrutiny “taboo” and asked:

“Can we not expect one among our politicians, other than the Tea Party darling Rand Paul, to have the courage to connect some of these dots? Should we not all be meditating on W.H. Auden’s haunting line: “Those to whom evil is done/do evil in return”?”

He continued to warn of other worrying foreign policy moves, being conducted by both the Obama and Peres administrations, arguing:

“The war drums are beating at this moment in relation to both North Korea and Iran, and 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.”

UN Watch responded to Falk’s remarks again in a letter addressed to both UN chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice. UN Watch wrote:

“We urge you to condemn Mr. Falk, the UNHRC’s permanent investigator of Israel’s violations of the bases and principles of international law, for his affront to the memory of those who were killed last week, to the injured, and to the people of Boston. His remarks are a violation of your own policy that UN experts live up to the highest standards, which you set forth two years ago when you admirably rebuked Mr. Falk for spreading 9/11 conspiracy theories on his blog.”

UN Watch even went to the lengths in attempting to discredit other websites that had re-published Falks article, or critiqued UN Watch’s actions in discrediting Falk. Writing in Foreign Policy Magazine political commentator Richard Hammond, criticised UN Watch and the main stream media for lying about Falk, resulting in him also being attacked in a barrage of abuse. UN Watch wrote on their blog:

“Falk’s defenders, outraged at UN Watch, have now begun to rally, lashing out against us in lengthy manifestos. “UN Watch crafts the smoking gun,” screams a headline on Mondoweiss, a leading anti-Israel website. “UN Watch Better Watch Itself,” warns the headline of an essay by Jeremy Hammond, the publisher of Falk’s article.

Why are they so angry?

Because thanks to UN Watch pressure, their hero, the world body’s most vicious hater of America, Israel, and Western democratic society, was exposed, denounced, and shamed by world leaders—including by the head of the United Nations himself. And rightfully so.”

In my opinion Falks comment was not only accurate, but in some ways not incriminating enough. Over the past twelve years the US, with the cooperation of Israel and other western nations, have blatantly violated human rights and international law and despite continued violations, they continue to flaunt these abuses with impunity. Whether it’s the illegal invasion of Iraq, the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo, the violation of Pakistani airspace, or the countless murder of women and children in Yemen and Pakistan through drone warfare, the US has not only breached international law, but should be punished accordingly. The reckless, illegal and counterproductive foreign policy carried out by the US only helps to increase radicalisation, creating new extremists rather that illuminate terrorism. If the US continues to enforce the rule of law, they must also abide by the rule of law and international organizations, NGO’s, journalists and academics, must be able to continue critiquing and denounce them, whenever they breach the fundamentals of international law, in order to maintain the core UN values of freedom and peace.

Jeremy Hammond’s article can be read here. UN Watch letter can be read here. Richard Falks full article can be read here.

Responding to UN Wach’s continued attack’s to defame Falk’s character, Falk has submitted a request to the UN Human Rights Council to investigate UN Watch, due to be addressed on Monday. In Falk’s annual Report on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 Falk writes:

“Since the Special Rapporteur assumed this position, “UN Watch”–a “pro-Israel” lobbying organization accredited as an NGO to ECOSOC, has issued a series of defamatory attacks demeaning his character, repeatedly distorting his views on potentially inflammatory issues. This smear campaign has been carried out in numerous settings, including at the Human Rights Council, as well as university venues where the Special Rapporteur gives lectures in his personal capacity on subjects unrelated to the mandate. The lobby groups‟ smears have been sent to diplomats and United Nations officials, in cluding the Secretary-General, who has apparently accepted the allegations at face value, issuing public criticism of the Special Rapporteur. It is disappointing that such irresponsible and dishonest attacks have been taken seriously, with no effort to seek the views of the Special Rapporteur or verify the accuracy of the allegations.”

He continues by requesting the investigation into the organization’s funding, objectives and purpose:

“To set the record straight, the Special Rapporteur proposes that UN Watch be investigated to determine whether it qualifies as an independent organization that operates in accord with its name and stated objectives, and is not indirectly sponsored by the Government of Israel and/ or other “pro-Israel” lobbying groups affiliated with the Government, as well as whether its programme of work is of direct relevance to the aims and purposes of the United Nations.”

UN Watch which has been circulating a draft resolution “to fire Richard Falk” since the end of May responded by commenting:

“We do not take this lightly; the UN has a record of suspending or removing NGOs that criticize the worst regimes.”

“We call on UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon to denounce Richard Falk’s McCarthy-style attempt to have rogue regimes conduct a retaliatory ‘investigation’ of UN Watch, as a punishment for successfully exposing his gross misconduct.”

“Falk is dangerously trying to intimidate and silence the UN’s only watchdog group, to grant himself impunity while he continues to exculpate terrorist groups and make other inflammatory remarks that contradict the UN’s founding principles.”

Falk’s annual report can be read here. The UN Watch resolution to fire Falk can be read here. The UN Watch official statement can be read here.

The continued attack of Falk by UN Watch needs to be stopped. Not only is it destroying his distinguished character as an expert on both human rights and International law, but it’s also stifling his ability to affectively operate as UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. Additionally if UN Watch is successful at expelling Falk, from his appointment as UN Special Rapporteur, this will set a precedent for UN Watch to openly censor anyone critical of both US and Israeli foreign policy, or human rights and even directly control the future UN Special Rapporteur.

One doesn’t have to look far to see that UN Watch is a pressure group working on behalf, or in the interest of both the US and Israeli governments, targeting states which are critical of their policies and fall into their sphere of geopolitical interests. An organization operating in this manner can only act as a negative for both the UN and its members, to fairly and affectively operate as an international actor in maintaining, securing and preserving human rights norms and upholding international law. With the release of two propaganda video’s on UN Watch’s official Youtube channel, in order to further defame Falk, it looks like UN Watch will continue its attacks until either Falk, or UN Watch is expelled from the UN.

Hopefully the UN will abide by its charter by “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion” by insuring its staff can affectively carry out their duties as employees of the UN, upholding the human rights of the Palestinian people and insure no nation state is able to violate the sanctity of international law. We must monitor UN Watch, counteract them politically and expose their blatant lies, by pressuring the international community to reprimand them on their vile, damaging and disastrous behaviour in promoting US and Israeli interests under the false pretext of protecting human rights.

UN Watch anti Falk propaganda video 1

UN Watch anti Falk propaganda video 2

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