In its astonishingly sympathetic July 29 article on Richard Falk, “U.N. Official Answers Questions About Fierce Criticism of Israel,” the Forward cites a recent blog post in which he portrays himself as being in the tradition of biblical prophecy. Regrettably, there is no reference to other parts of the post, which are far more revealing of Falk’s feelings about his Jewish identity.
Entitled “On Jewish Identity,” Falk seeks to answer accusations that he is a self-hating Jew. Ironically, he achieves precisely the opposite, disdaining faith communities, defaming them as “tribes,” whose doctrine “unconsciously and indirectly gives rise to the murderous mentality of warfare and gives a moral and religious edge to many forms of persecution, culminating in a variety of inquisitions.”
Falk also denies that he accused the Bush administration of complicity in 9/11. According to the Forward’s article, he has written “a few essays delicately questioning the U.S. government’s explanation of 9/11.” In fact, Falk wrote the forward to David Ray Jenkins’ book, “The New Pearl Harbor,” the bible of 9/11 conspiratorial theorists, calling it “an extraordinary book.”
And where the Forward’s article reports that his views have earned him mountains of criticism from Jewish groups, it fails to note that they are joined by Susan Rice, United States ambassador to the United Nations, who condemned his views as being “despicable and deeply offensive,” and called on the United Nations to terminate him as rapporteur of its Human Rights Council.
It is impossible to know whether Richard Falk is really out-of-touch with the meaning of what he says and writes, or is playing to his base while toying with good folks who give him the benefit of the doubt. Either way, his words must be closely scrutinized.
Rabbi Ira Youdovin
Jewish Community Relations Council of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, Calif.