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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Falk’

Falk’s Departure a Victory for Human Rights (VIDEO)

Monday, March 24th, 2014

One year after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Richard Falk’s comments blaming the Boston Marathon bombings on “the American global domination project,” and three years after the UN chief addressed the council plenary and condemned Falk’s “preposterous” support for 9/11 conspiracy theories, the controversial UN official will address the UN Human Rights Council today for the last time, as his six-year mandate comes to an end.

“This is a victory foremost for the Arab Palestinian people,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, “whose UN representatives famously urged Falk to leave because his extremism severely harmed the Palestinian cause.”

The PA also froze one of Falk’s reports for many months.

Falk is the only UN official in history to have been denounced by top UN figures and world leaders.

In reaction to Falk’s April 19, 2013 justification of the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks, UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman said: “The Secretary-General rejects Mr. Falk’s comments” which “undermine the credibility and the work of the United Nations.” Click here for sources.

The British Mission to the United Nations also condemned Mr. Falk’s April 19, 2013 remarks on the Boston bombing as racist, highlighting it was the third time the British Government had to do so.

CONDEMNED FOR SUPPORTING 9/11 CONPIRACY THEORISTS

Falk is one of the world’s most high-profile supporters of the leading 9/11 conspiracy theorists, lending his name to those who accuse the U.S. government of orchestrating the destruction of the Twin Towers as a pretext to launch wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Falk has actively promoted the writings of David Ray Griffin, a disciple and close friend of Falk who has produced 12 books describing the World Trade Center attack as “an inside job.”

Falk not only contributed the Foreword to Griffin’s 2004 “The New Pearl Harbor”—praising the author’s “patience,” “fortitude,” “courage,” and “intelligence”—but Griffin credits Falk for getting the book published, and also specially thanks Falk’s wife, Hilal Elver, top nominee this week to be named a UN human rights council expert on hunger. Elver quotes Griffin in her scholarly essays.

In 2011 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon  took the floor of the Human Rights Council to issue an unprecedented condemnation of Falk’s 9/11 remarks, saying they were “preposterous” and “an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in that tragic terrorist attack.”

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice in 2011 denounced Falk’s comments as “despicable and deeply offensive,” and condemned Falk’s “one-sided and politicized approach,” saying his words were “so noxious that it should finally be plain to all that he should no longer continue in his position,” and that “the cause of human rights will be better advanced without Mr. Falk and the distasteful sideshow he has chosen to create.”

Watch a UN Watch uploaded video of Richard Falk explaining why Israel is “genocidal.”

Lesser of Two Evils May Replace Falk on Anti-Israel UN Council

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will be deciding at its annual spring session in Geneva this month on a replacement for Richard Falk, the body’s special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights who has a history of anti-Israel bias.

U.N. watchdog groups, the United States, and Israel are closely monitoring the selection process.

The applicant list has recently been reduced by the vetting committee from 10 to three, with the candidates perceived as being the most biased against Israel now out of the running, according to UN Watch. The council president, currently Baudelaire Ndong Ella of the Gabonese Republic, will select one of the candidates to be put for a vote in front of the entire council later this month.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch, told JNS.org that usually, the president follows the vetting committee’s recommendation and picks the leading candidate, although he has no obligation to do so. The president may even choose a candidate already eliminated in the vetting process.

Appointed by the council to a six-year non-renewable term in 2008, Falk, a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University who endorsed boycotts against the Jewish state, has been a perennial thorn in the side of Israel supporters, current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Before becoming the special rapporteur, Falk was a member of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Inquiry Commission for the Palestinian territories.

The three remaining candidates for the job include Christina Cerna, adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School; John Cerone, professor at Boston’s New England Law School; and Christine Chinkin, professor of international law at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Of the three, both UN Watch and the Israel-based NGO Monitor regard Chinkin’s record as the most biased against Israel.

“Chinkin was in our ‘rogues’ gallery,” said Neuer, referring to a list his organization compiled to expose anti-Israel sentiments among the original group of candidates. “She co-wrote the Goldstone Report, so she has a record of being enormously biased, someone who’s so biased that she doesn’t even know when she has disqualified herself for a fact finding mission.”

Neuer was referring to Chinkin’s participation in the U.N. Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict in 2009, also known as the Goldstone Report for its chairman, South African jurist Richard Goldstone. She also signed a January 2009 letter in the British Sunday Times newspaper that condemned Israel for war crimes and declared it to be the aggressor in its conflict with the Palestinians.

“It was ridiculous that she continued to serve on the Goldstone commission [without recusing herself],” argued Neuer in referencing the letter.

“Goldstone had the courage and the moral backbone to renounce his own report and Chinkin was one of the main people who denounced Goldstone for that process,” added Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of NGO Monitor and a political science professor at Tel Aviv’s Bar Ilan University. “Goldstone acknowledged that they didn’t have the information, the evidence they presented was not convincing regarding Israel and Chinkin denounced him for that.”

The top two candidates currently do not rank on UN Watch’s “rogues list” nor do they have dossiers at NGO Monitor. But David Michaels, B’nai B’rith International’s director of intercommunal affairs, argued that on a certain level, it didn’t matter who occupies Falk’s position.

“The post itself, by its nature, is explicitly discriminatory against Israel. It’s meant to focus only on alleged violations of Palestinian rights with no consideration at all of violation of Israeli rights or of Palestinian misdeeds,” explained Michaels. “Whereas all other 192 member states of the U.N., including Iran, North Korea, Syria, China [and] Russia are all addressed under one item… Israel has its own permanent agenda item.”

Michaels said that there are NGOs and Human Rights Council members worried about the credibility that is lost within the organization when it appears as systemically against Israel as it currently does.

“It’s an offense against the only democracy in the Middle East, the only Jewish state, but also it just shows in a very stark way that the [U.N.] bodies neglect the most severe and heinous areas of human rights violations in the world,” he said.

At his position, Falk has made public statements against Israel and the United States, positions that Steinberg feels borders on anti-Semitism.

“I’ve been in meetings with him and he uses the ‘I’m Jewish, therefore I can’t be accused of being anti-Israel or anti-Semitic’” defense, said Steinberg, adding, “He uses that defense a lot and my challenge to him was, ‘In what other way are you Jewish other than in this hostility towards Israel and your Jewish connections?’”

Without taking a position on who should succeed Falk, the U.S. State Department seemed to welcome the end of the special rapporteur’s tenure.

“As we have stated before, we oppose his deeply flawed and one-sided mandate, as well as Agenda Item 7 under which it was created, the only HRC agenda item to focus on one specific country,” a State Department official told JNS.org. “Falk has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments, including his most recent outrageous comments [accusing Israel of genocide] in an interview with Russia Today. His reports and rhetoric have done nothing to advance a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The UNHRC regular session in Geneva is expected to handle most of the Israel-related issues on its agenda on March 21. Despite advocacy from organizations like B’nai B’rith, UN Watch, and NGO Monitor, among others, few expect the UNHRC and its anti-Israel majority to take the Palestinian issue off its permanent agenda anytime soon.

Dmitriy Shapiro wrote this article for JNS.org.

Exclusive: Jews Well-Represented at Academy Awards

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

After some fairly lean Oscar years, full or partial Members of the Tribe scored well at the 86th Academy Awards, though mainly in the less glamorous, behind-the-scenes categories.

Israeli-American producer Arnon Milchan, who is an acknowledged intelligence operative for Israel’s nuclear weapon program, shared in the celebration for best picture winner “12 Years a Slave” as one of the seven listed producers who won a golden statuette on Sunday night.

Woody Allen, a regular non-attending entry at the Oscars, failed to win the original screenplay trophy for his “Blue Jasmine.” However, the honor went to “Her” writer Spike Jonze, born Adam Spiegel and the son of a Jewish father.

Perhaps the most satisfying win of the evening, from a Jewish perspective, went to “The Lady in No. 6: Music Saved My Life.” The short documentary tells the story of 110-year old concert pianist and Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer, who died exactly one week before the award ceremony.

In his acceptance speech, director Malcolm Clarke lauded Herz-Sommer’s “extraordinary capacity for joy and for forgiveness…She taught everyone on my crew to be a little more optimistic and a little bit more happy.”

Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, born Emmanuel Lubezki Morgenstern, was the anticipated winner in the best cinematography category for his extraordinary work on the space cliffhanger “Gravity.”

Among the five finalists for best foreign-language film honors was the Palestinian entry “Omar,” while Israel’s choice, “Bethlehem,” was eliminated early on.

Both movies pit the Israel security services against Palestinian militants, with “Omar” predictably drawing a highly unflattering portrait of the Israeli agents.

However “Omar,” like Israel’s past 10 nominations, did not garner the top prize, which went to Italy’s “The Great Beauty.”

Editor’s note: What a loss that was! To give you an idea, here’s a segment from a review of Omar by Richard Falk, of all people:

“The wall reinforced by the Israeli security forces, portrayed as cunning and unscrupulous, with an occupiers’ fear and loathing for those who cower under the rigors of occupation, provides an unforgettable visual metaphor that captures the daily ordeal of the Palestinian people. In a subtle touch, the rope used by Omar throughout the film to avoid the checkpoints and overcome the separation of his home from that of Tarek and Nadia also conveys an understanding that the wall is much more about humiliation and land than it is about security.”

Breathtaking.

For the first time in recent memory, the host for the evening, Ellen DeGeneres, did not indulge in any Jewish jokes during the evening. On the other hand, the Academy reversed its long neglect of African-American talent by featuring numerous black entertainers, presenters, award winners and the Academy’s new president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

Two widely publicized movies based on the financial shenanigans of real-life Jewish con men, “American Hustle” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” left empty-handed.

In an interesting footnote, Isaacs announced that five billion movie tickets were sold worldwide in 2013.

Richard Falk Blames Israel for Sins of Egypt and Palestinian Authority

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Richard Falk, whose official title is “U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories,” is furious that Gaza fisherman are being shot at, angry about the “blockade” on Gaza, and is upset beyond imagination at those who violate Palestinian Authority Arabs freedom of expression and assembly and who use “excessive use of force.”

Last week, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency reported, “An Egyptian naval ship opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat off the coast of the southern Gaza Strip early Saturday, a Palestinian union official said.”

The following day, the Chinese Xinhua news agency wrote, “Islamic Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip organized Sunday a sit-in at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, urging the Egyptian government to reopen the terminal which was closed after the ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohammed Morsi last year….

“Since toppling Morsi, the new army-backed Egyptian government has been partly opening the Rafah crossing, allowing the entry of only patients, students in foreign countries and holders of foreign visas and passports.”

Today, the Egyptian Ahram reported, “The Egyptian army has destroyed eight more tunnels used for smuggling along the border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip, an army spokesman said on Sunday.”

Earlier this month, the French AFP news agency told readers around the world, “Palestinian authorities on Thursday imposed a blanket ban on all rallies in support of Egypt and Tunisia after the security forces were accused of harsh conduct towards demonstrators.

“The move came just hours after Human Rights Watch issued a statement condemning the Palestinian security forces and police for forcibly breaking up a pro-Egypt gathering in the West Bank city of Ramallah a day earlier….

“Police punched, kicked and detained participants in the demonstration, as well as at least two journalists and a HRW research assistant,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement, adding that the police “began beating demonstrators without warning.”

“The PA’s suppression is but a continuation of its crackdown on activists and anyone expressing dissent,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It is a clear violation of our basic rights.”

Palestinian Authority Security chief Adnan al-Damiri said in a statement, “The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority forbid any interference in the internal affairs of another country, be it Arab or other, and respect the will of the people to decide their destiny.”

Now, take all of those points, connect the dots and come up with this conclusion: Israeli policies in Judea, Gaza and Samaria amount to apartheid.

That is what Falk concluded Monday in order to show everyone that he failed Logic 101, otherwise known as his final report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Falk lies in answers to “who shoots at Gaza fishermen and who prevents Palestinian Authority Arabs from protesting?”

“The humanitarian situation in the Hamas-ruled enclave is dire amid fuel shortages,” he added, according to Reuters. Falk insists that Gaza still is “occupied” by Israel because it allegedly controls border, air space and coastal waters. That is two-thirds correct. Israel does control the air space and the coastal waters, in what the United Nations has said is a legal blockade. Falk ignores that any sane nation controls waters and air space used by terrorists trying to destroy it.

The borders on land controlled by Israel and Egypt. Israel allows hundreds of tons of goods, including building materials that can be used to build rocket weapons factories and missiles, to flow into Gaza. Egypt does not.

As for excessive force, Falk gave no examples, but the above quote from the Palestinian Authority’s own unofficial media says it all. Hundreds of reports have shown week in and week out that the Palestinian Authority regime is not less repressive than that of Egypt.

Canada Wants Richard Falk Ousted for ‘Palestinian Holocaust’ Comment

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Canada has called for the removal of a top U.N. official who accused Israel of having “genocidal intentions” against Palestinians.

Ottawa “completely rejects and condemns” the “appalling” remarks made by Richard Falk, U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said in a statement.

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.”

Baird again called on the U.N. Human Rights Council “to remove Falk from his position immediately.”

In a Dec. 15 interview on Russia’s English television news channel RT, Falk was asked about a past article he had written in which he said that Israel was “slouching toward nothing less than a Palestinian holocaust.”

Falk told RT, “When you target a group, an ethnic group and inflict this kind of punishment upon them, you are in effect nurturing a kind of criminal intention that is genocidal.”

Baird said the comments not only “undermine the fundamental values of the United Nations, they also belittle the terrible genocides that have tragically taken place throughout history and around the world.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor also attacked Falk’s statements, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“This man has already branded himself as the radical version of extremism,” Palmor said.

Richard Falk Calls for ‘Legitimacy War’ against Israel

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

In a new interview, Richard Falk, the UN Human Rights Council’s permanent investigator on “Israel’s violations of international law,” explained the strategy of his “legitimacy war” against Israel—but complained that UN Watch “complicated my task.”

According to Falk, “extremely defamatory attacks by UN Watch”—which he described as “an ultra-Zionist, ultra-Israeli organization”—succeeded in getting him “attacked” by the American ambassadors in New York and Geneva, “and by the UN Secretary-General, actually, on a couple of occasions.”

Falk is upset that UN Watch exposed and got him condemned for supporting 9/11 conspiracy theories that deny terrorist responsibility, publishing an anti-Semitic cartoon, endorsing a pro-Hitler book, and blaming the Boston Marathon bombings on the U.S. and “Tel Aviv.”

“What is more disturbing than the (UN Watch) attacks themselves,” said Falk in an October interview, “is their resonance among those holding responsible positions in government and international institutions, as well as widely respected liberal organizations.”

“In my case, the UN Secretary General, the U.S. ambassadors at the UN in New York and Geneva, the British Prime Minister, and the Canadian Foreign Minister. Not one of these individuals bothered to check with me as to my response to the defamatory allegations or apparently took the trouble to check on whether there was a credible basis for such damaging personal attacks.”

“Even the liberal mainstream human rights powerhouse, Human Rights Watch, buckled under when pressured by UN Watch, invoking a long neglected technical rule to obtain my immediate removal from a committee, and then lacked the decency to explain that my removal was not ‘a dismissal’ when UN Watch claimed ‘victory,’ and proceeded to tell the UN and other bodies that if Human Rights Watch had expelled me, surely I should be expelled elsewhere.”

“I learned, somewhat bitterly, that HRW has feet of clay when it came to standing on principle in relation to someone like myself who has been the victim of repeated calumnies because of an effort to report honestly and accurately on Israeli violations of Palestinian rights.”

Source: UN Watch

US Says Falk ‘Unfit to Serve,’ Chucks his Bid to Expel UN Watch

Monday, June 10th, 2013

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.”

Ban Ki-Moon Caves In, ‘Rejects’ Falk’s Boston Terror-Israel Link

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

It took five days, but United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon finally said he “rejects” United Nations Human Rights Council official Richard Falk’s comments that cited “the American global domination project: and US-Israeli relations as provocations for the bombings.

Falk, a Jewish American who has long history of accusing Israel of “war crimes” and “apartheid, wrote 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.”

Israeli officials as well as the UN Watch organization protested his remarks, but Ban’s spokesman simply stated that Falk “speaks independently” and does not necessarily represent the United Nations.

Further condemnations of Falk appeared in the media, including The Wall Street Journal, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations tweeted, “Someone who spews such vitriol has no place at the UN.”

Ban‘s spokesman finally announced five days Falk’s article, “The Secretary-General rejects Mr. Falk’s comments [which] undermine the credibility and the work of the United Nations.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ban-ki-moon-caves-in-rejects-falks-boston-terror-israel-link/2013/04/28/

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