Richard Falk, 'Noxious' Critic of Israel, Leaving U.N. Post — U.S. Cheers Move

Samantha Power Lauds End of 6-Year Term

Wayne Schoenfeld

By Reuters

Published March 26, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The United States welcomed the imminent departure of Richard Falk, a UN human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories whom Washington accused of being biased against Israel and spreading conspiracy theories about the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Falk, the outgoing United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, told a news conference as recently as last week that Israeli policies bore “unacceptable characteristics of colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

In a statement to Reuters, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power condemned what she described as “Falk’s relentless anti-Israeli bias, his noxious and outrageous perpetuation of 9/11 conspiracy theories.”

“His publication of bizarre and insulting material has tarnished the UN’s reputation and undermined the effectiveness of the Human Rights Council,” she said. “The United States welcomes Mr. Falk’s departure, which is long overdue.”

Falk has long been a controversial figure. In 2011, he wrote on his blog that there had been an “apparent cover-up” by U.S. authorities over the September 11 attacks. Last year he suggested the Boston Marathon bombings were a response to U.S. foreign policy.

Falk, an American law professor who is Jewish, has come to the end of a six-year term in the independent post and the Human Rights Council in Geneva is expected to name a successor soon.

A UN official in Geneva, Kiyohiko Hasegawa, said Falk’s successor, who has not been named, would be expected to take over the post on May 1.

During his tenure, Falk was criticized by Power’s predecessor Susan Rice, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Watch, an activist group that Falk has branded a “pro-Israel lobbying organization.”

Falk could not be reached for comment on a UN email address that UN officials said he should be receiving messages on.

Despite the intense criticism of Falk, he repeatedly refused to step down. “I don’t intend to resign and there doesn’t seem to be any formal initiative that is seeking my dismissal,” he told reporters last year.

“My role of trying to speak honestly about the situation that Palestinians are facing under this condition of prolonged occupation generates this sort of reaction that tries to paint anti-Israeli criticism as a form of anti-Semitism,” he said.

Power broadened her criticism of Falk to include the 47-nation Human Rights Council as a whole, which she said unfairly singled out Israel - a criticism the U.S. government has made repeatedly.

“It is beyond absurd that the only country that has a standing place on the Human Rights Council’s agenda is not Syria, not North Korea, and not Iran, but Israel,” she said.

The administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush boycotted the Human Rights Council, but his successor Barack Obama decided it would be better to join the council in an attempt to reform it from within. The United States has been elected twice to the council since Obama took office in 2009.

A U.S. official said Washington’s presence on the rights council has been beneficial. “U.S. engagement has helped the council become more credible, but we have a long way to go,” a U.S. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The official cited U.S. work in helping to create UN commissions of inquiry on Syria and North Korea and its work to keep a focus on “particularly egregious human rights situations in Syria, Sri Lanka, Belarus, Iran, and Burma (Myanmar).”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • The Cossacks were a feature in every European Jewish kid's worst nightmare. Tuvia Tenenbom went looking for the real-life variety in Ukraine — but you won't believe what he found. http://forward.com/articles/202181/my-hunt-for-the-cossacks-in-ukraine/?
  • French Jews were stunned when an anti-Israel mob besieged a synagogue outside Paris. What happened next could be a historic turning point.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.