Richard Falk Will Not Be Another Richard Goldstone
On Monday, June 10, professor Richard Falk, UN human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories, accused Israel of imposing collective punishment on 1.75 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in his report to the UN Human Rights Council. He also criticized UN Watch — a pro-Israel organ affiliated with the American Jewish Committee — for its numerous defamatory remarks against his character. He ultimately called on the UN to investigate the organization to determine whether it qualifies as an independent organization per the UN’s standards. In response to Falk’s report, the US ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, described Falk as “unfit to serve in his role as a UN special rapporteur.” According to Falk, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “joined in the attacks.”
While these accusations by the US ambassador and the behavior of UN Watch are expected and routine, perhaps more serious and not expected is that Falk suggests that the UN secretary-general has joined in the attacks. If this is true, which I hope it isn’t, then that is a very serious breach of the UN secretary-general’s role unless he has taken the accusations of UN Watch and the US ambassador’s assessment to be absolutely true.
The immunity that the United States and the pro-Israel lobby have given Israel from any criticism through the exercise of the US veto on numerous occasions allows Israel to behave as if it is unaccountable to the international community. It is incumbent that if the accusations against Falk are true, whether by the US ambassador or the UN secretary-general, then a thorough investigation should be immediately undertaken as this incident now constitutes a serious challenge to Falk’s role. As Falk said, he will not resign under this kind of pressure, and I hope he will not allow the precedent of Justice Richard Goldstone to be repeated.
I sincerely hope that the UN secretary-general did not join in the attack as he should know better and is informed about the serious violations Israel undertakes. Falk is one of the most respected experts on international law and should not be challenged unless the evidence that he provides is unmistakably proven as flawed, and let the US ambassador or UN Watch — an organ of the American Jewish Congress — prove that.