Falk Should Have Been Discredited Decades Ago
The outrageous report released this week by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia — which concludes “beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid” – should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with its co-author, Richard Falk.
This is not the first time that the former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories has given bias a bad name. Indeed, throughout his career, the American legal “scholar” has shown a deep loathing for Western democracies, including his own, while not even attempting to disguise his deep attraction to and affinity for evil Islamists.
Though infamous since 2001 for blaming the US for the 9/11 attacks, linking the Boston Marathon bombings to America’s Mideast policies and warning that Israel was committing genocide, Falk was busy apologizing for bloodthirsty radicals and their regimes long before that.
In January 1979, when he was still a professor of international law at Princeton, Falk accompanied former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Don Luce, a prominent member of “Clergy and Laity Concerned” (established in 1965 by the National Council of Churches to “struggle against American imperialism and exploitation in just about every corner of the world”) on a private, eight-day fact-finding mission to Iran. At the end of the trip, the trio stopped over in France to meet Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had been living in exile for 14 years.
Right around this time, the ousted, cancer-ridden Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled the country. Two weeks later, on February 1, Khomeini returned to his native land to take the helm of the new Islamic Republic of Iran.
On February 16, Falk published an op-ed in The New York Times called “Trusting Khomeini.” In it, he waxed poetic about the Muslim cleric, who would turn Iran into the nuclear weapons-hungry theocracy that it is today. “The depiction of him as fanatical, reactionary, and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false,” Falk wrote.
He then went on to praise Shiite Islam. “What is distinctive, perhaps, about this religious orientation is its concern with resisting oppression and promoting social justice,” he said, concluding: “Having created a new model of popular revolution based, for the most part, on non-violent tactics, Iran may provide us with a desperately needed model of humane governance for a third world country.”
This “humane governance” began with the backing of students who took over the US Embassy in Tehran and held dozens of its staff hostage for 444 days, while then-US President Jimmy Carter tried to negotiate their release by “understanding the grievances” of Tehran’s mullahs.
The denunciations of Falk’s latest report – and assertion by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that it does not reflect his views – were quick in coming.
Major American-Jewish organizations were among those to condemn the report, with World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer calling it “a sad attempt to reinstate the infamous 1975 UN resolution that considered Zionism as a form of racism and racial discrimination.”
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon stated, “The attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie.”
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said, “That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising. That it was drafted by Richard Falk, a man who has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments about Israel and espoused ridiculous conspiracy theories, including about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is equally unsurprising.”
Haley is right on all counts, which is why Falk should have been discredited academically and politically decades ago. Alas, people of his ilk, who purport to care about the issue of human rights while siding with and apologizing for its greatest abusers, are not only immune to consequences, but are rewarded with illustrious titles and lucrative positions.
Rather than beating our breasts every time the Falks of this world spew their mendacious vitriol, let us instead disgrace – and withhold financial support from — the institutions that employ and promote them.
Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.