In a scathing and unprecedented attack on a UN-accredited NGO, top UN Human Rights Council official Richard Falk publicly called on the 47-nation body to investigate and potentially expel the watchdog organization UN Watch, after it mobilized world leaders—including his own boss, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon—to condemn his comments blaming the Boston Marathon bombings on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”
In his just-released annual report, Falk—the controversial human rights monitor tasked by the Council with investigating “Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law” in the Palestinian territories—accuses UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group that fights antisemitism and anti-Israel bias, with “demeaning” and “defaming” his character, damaging the “credibility,” “effectiveness,” and “substantive intention” of his mandate, all of which “diverts attention from the message” and “shifts public interest away.”
UN Watch was established in 1993 “to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter,” according to the group’s website.
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant, wrote Justice Brandeis, and that’s why Falk wants to shut us down—so his despicable abuses can proliferate in the dark,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.
In Falk’s report, as well as in intense lobbying efforts that he conducted this week as reported by UN insiders, the Council official demands that UN Watch “be investigated” to determine whether it qualifies as a genuine NGO.
“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,” said Neuer.
“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,” Neuer. added
Falk’s comments come less than a month after UN Watch’s draft resolution to remove him from his position in the wake of his comments blaming the Boston Marathon bombings on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv” was published by the United Nations as an official document.
In his annual report, Falk slams what he calls Israel’s continued occupation of the Palestinians:
“Israel continues to annex Palestinian territory; Israel persists in demolishing Palestinians’ homes and populating Palestine with Israeli citizens; Israel maintains a policy of collectively punishing 1.75 million Palestinians through its imposition of a blockade on the Gaza Strip; and Israel prosecutes its occupation with impunity, refusing to accept the world’s calls to respect international law,” he wrote.
Falk also repeats his prior call for a boycott of companies conducting business with Israel or Israelis in Judea and Samaria.
The U.S. representative to the Human Rights Council, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, on Friday condemned Falk’s report and called on other member states of the council to “denounce Falk and his outrageous abuse of the position he holds.”
Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said his organization agrees with Donahoe’s conclusion that Falk “is unfit to serve in his role as a UN special rapporteur.”
“If he does not leave voluntarily, the Human Rights Council should remove him, Foxman said, adding: “Mr. Falk’s attempt to paint himself as the victim of an Israeli government-sponsored defamation campaign, carried out by UN Watch, has echoes of classical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”
“We are in good company, however, given that Falk’s report also accuses Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of being ‘complicit’ with UN Watch for having condemned his ‘preposterous’ comments, in 2011 and again last month.” Neuer said.
Falk wrote that “it seems important to encourage a greater willingness on the part of senior United Nations officials to defend special rapporteurs subject to such diversionary attacks.”
Falk’s report claims that UN Watch’s “smear campaign” is carried out in “numerous settings, including at the Human Rights Council, as well as university venues where the Special Rapporteur gives lectures.”
The “smears” have been “sent to diplomats and United Nations officials, including the Secretary-General, who has apparently accepted the allegations at face value, issuing public criticism of the Special Rapporteur… with no effort to seek the views of the Special Rapporteur.”
In his report, Falk’s ninth and final recommendation is for the Human Rights Council to “establish a mechanism to support Special Rapporteurs who are subject to defamatory attacks, especially those that divert attention from the substantive human rights concerns relevant to their respective mandates.”
UN Watch and JTA content was used in this report.
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