The long tenure of Richard Falk at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNHRC) – where for years he served as the body’s special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights – did not exactly cover that already controversial organization with glory.
In just a few months last year, he embroiled the UNHRC in controversy by blaming the Boston Marathon bombing on “American global domination” and “Tel Aviv,” trying to ban a pro-Israel human rights watchdog group from attending UNHRC sessions, and publishing anti-Semitic cartoons and articles on his blog.
Under the headline “Trusting Khomeini,” Falk once praised [PDF] the Iranian dictator as “a desperately-needed model of humane governance.” He is a quite open 9/11 conspiracy theorist. He has accused Israel of “slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust.” In 2011 he defended the government of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi as the “lawful diplomatic representative of a sovereign state.”
Now comes news from the Wall Street Journal that Princeton is preparing to honor Falk:
Consider Richard Falk, a retired international-law professor whose tenure as the United Nations Human Rights Council’s rapporteur on the Palestinian territories has proved an embarrassment, even judging by the U.N.’s rather peculiar moral standards. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has twice censured Mr. Falk for his anti-American and anti-Semitic rhetoric, and Western powers have repeatedly called for his removal. Yet Princeton University, where Mr. Falk taught before entering the U.N. rapporteur corps, has invited him to deliver an annual lecture named for the late Palestinian scholar and activist Edward Said on Feb. 18.
The invitation seems likely to be read alongside concerns that portions of the American academe have embraced a particularly noxious kind of anti-Israel animus, where open anti-Semitism is excused as long as it is paired with fashionable diatribes against the Jewish state.