Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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The Need to Fire Falk

by Elliott Abrams
December 18, 2013


The Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories of the United Nations Human Rights Council is an extremist named Richard Falk. Falk is an embarrassment to the Council and the UN whose only activity is to use violent and extreme language in denouncing Israel–most recently for “a criminal intention that is genocidal.”

Canada has denounced Falk for these remarks and Foreign Minister Baird said this:

Canada completely rejects and condemns the appalling remarks made by Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, in which he accused Israel of ‘genocidal’ intentions.

Canada has previously called for Falk to be fired for his numerous outrageous and anti-Semitic statements, and these comments underscore once more the complete and total absurdity of his service as a UN Special Rapporteur.

I call on the United Nations Human Rights Council—once again—to remove Falk from his position immediately.

Not only do these comments 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.

These comments are another reminder of the very strong and principled support for Israel coming from Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Minister Baird.

A year ago, then U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice said this about other Falk statements:

Throughout his tenure as Special Rapporteur, Mr. Falk has been highly biased and made offensive statements, including outrageous comments on the 9/11 attacks. Falk’s recommendations do nothing to further a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and indeed poison the environment for peace. His continued service in the role of a UN Special Rapporteur is deeply regrettable and only damages the credibility of the UN.

Good statement–but nothing happened. And as the NGO “UN Watch” notes, when the Obama administration joined the Council (which the Bush administration had refused to join) it did so arguing that the United States would use its voice and vote to prevent precisely these kinds of abuses. So the United States, not Canada, should be leading the effort not only to remove Falk, but to eliminate the position he holds– one of the many examples of permanent and built-in UN bias against Israel.

Falk is grotesque and sooner or later he will go, but the United States should work to make it sooner, and work to be sure that he is not replaced.


Post a Comment 5 Comments

  • Posted by Richard Brown

    of course, anyone critical of Israeli policies is antisemitic, though it is hard to reconcile that with the fact that Falk is himself Jewish.

  • Posted by Werner T. Meyer

    This article, which the World Jewish Council disseminates today as part of an ongoing campaign against Richard Falk is PURE CHARACTER ASSASSINATION. It contains no valid argument of a juridical or factual kind but only value judgements, 4 letter words and the name/function of other participants in this despicable campaign.

    Dont you have editors who can protect their authors from making fools of themselves?


    Werner T. Meyer, longtime reader of FOREIGN AFFAIRS (via Amazon)

  • Posted by diana

    Mr. Brown : Address the issue. Falk is attacking Israel, but not attacking S. Arabia, North Sudan, or Syria, where genocide is practiced openly at the behest of Assad or S.Arabia’s minions…………………..

  • Posted by diana

    Mr. Abrams: Why hasn’t the present administration put pressure on the UN to FIRE Falk?

  • Posted by Elliott Abrams

    From Elliott Abrams to Diana:
    Good question. They would be happy to see him go, but have not taken his extreme behavior seriously. That’s a mistake, I think. If we rejoined the human right council to have influence, let’s use it.

    The council will only benefit by establishment of some limits on the positions UN officials can take. By the way, Falk’s extremism isn’t limited to Israel; he’s a 9/11 conspiracy nut too, who has argued that the US government was likely complicit in the terrorist attacks that day.

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