Diplomacy

Anti-Semitism Scandal Engulfs U.N. Human Rights Body, U.N. Chief Criticized for Inaction

Western diplomats are blasting a high-level U.N. official who blamed the Boston terror attacks on “American global domination” and “Tel Aviv.”

The United States called for the body to relieve the U.N.’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC) special rapporteur for the Palestinians Richard Falk of his position. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice was unequivocal. Canadian officials did the same, blasting Falk for “mean-spirited, anti-Semitic rhetoric.” Britain’s mission to the U.N. published a statement declaring that enough is enough:

The UK objects strongly to recent remarks made by UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, linking the Boston bombings to “American global domination” and “Tel Aviv”. This is the third time we have had cause to express our concerns about Mr Falk’s antisemitic remarks. It is important to the UK that Special Rapporteurs uphold the highest standards in their work and we have twice previously made clear that remarks by Mr Falk were unacceptable.

The U.N.’s official response, in contrast, has been significantly more tepid. The U.N.’s secretary-general had a statement read out condemning Falk’s comments but has declined to press for him to be removed from his position:

The comments drew a sharp rebuke from Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Ambassador Susan Rice, the Geneva-based monitoring organization’s chief expressed outrage. “First, its thesis is that America is to blame for last week’s atrocity,” the letter reads. “Falk approvingly cites comments justifying the Boston Marathon bombings as ‘retribution’ for actions of the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.”…

Calls seeking comment from UN officials were not immediately returned. UN spokesman Farhan Haq told UN Watch that Falk is an independent expert. “The secretary-general did not appoint him and is not responsible for his views,” Haq told UN Watch. “Mr. Falk reports to the Human Rights Council, which is comprised of different member states.”

Falk is tasked by the oft-criticized UNHRC with investigating purported Israeli rights violations. Falk is the only UNHRC official dedicated to monitoring a single country. This incident is not the first time he has been criticized for indulging in anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic invective.

The Wall Street Journal blogged Tuesday that Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon needs to take firm action:

Mr. Falk has also been a continuing source of embarrassment to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. The trouble is that Mr. Ban is unable or unwilling to do anything about his Falk problem. Urged by U.N. Watch and others to condemn Mr. Falk’s vicious, anti-Semitic take on the Boston terror attacks, Mr. Ban shirked: “Richard Falk is an independent expert,” U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement today. “The Secretary-General did not appoint him and is not responsible for his views, which he has criticized in the past. Mr. Falk reports to the Human Rights Council, which is comprised of different member states.”

Are there no adults left at Turtle Bay?

[Photo: Todd Boyle / YouTube]