The Demonization of Richard Falk

Richard Falk
Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967

The Zionist organization UN Watch has cited a commentary by Professor Richard Falk on the Boston bombings in a letter to U.N.  Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon demanding that that Prof. Falk be reprimanded for it. Mr. Falk, who serves as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, originally posted the commentary on his blog and I republished it, as I often do his writings, with his kind permission, in Foreign Policy Journal, which version UN Watch cites in its letter. As one should expect, the letter from UN Watch is characterized by its dishonesty and vain attacks on Prof. Falk’s character that deflect attention away from and fail to address the substance of what he wrote.

The UN Watch letter begins with the lie that Prof. Falk in his article “justifies the Boston terrorist attacks”. The UN Watch letter also falsely claims that Prof. Falk blamed the Boston terrorist attacks on Israel and characterized the attacks as “due ‘retribution’ for American sins”. Where Mr. Falk discusses Israel in the article, it is in the larger context of blowback for U.S. foreign policies, including the 9/11 attacks, which, as the 9/11 Commission noted in its report, were motivated in no small part by U.S. support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. Nowhere in his commentary did Mr. Falk blame Israel for or otherwise connect Israel to the bombings in Boston.

Mr. Falk has since written a follow-up post on his blog clarifying, “I had no intention whatsoever to connect any dots as to whether there was a causal linkage between what the U.S. or Israel have done in the world and what happened in Boston. My only effort was to suggest that in addition to grieving and bringing the perpetrators to justice, this could also become an occasion for collective self-scrutiny as a nation and as a people.”

As for the word “retribution”, where it appears in Mr. Falk’s article, it is in the context of a quote from someone else. What Falk actually wrote was:

Listening to a PBS program hours after the Boston event, I was struck by the critical attitudes of several callers to the radio station: …. Another caller asked “is this not a kind of retribution for torture inflicted by American security forces acting under the authority of the government, and verified for the world by pictures of the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib?”

Nowhere did Falk say the attack was “due” or “justified”. The letter goes on this way with its fabricated charges against Falk’s character.

At the UN Watch blog, the letter is prefaced with the remark that Falk “was recently expelled by the Human Rights Watch [HRW] organization”. The link directs readers to a video embedded in another UN Watch blog post claiming that Falk was “Removed For Anti-Semitism”, the source for that claim being none other than Hillel Neuer, the Executive Director of UN Watch and author of the letter to the Secretary-General. In fact, the reason Mr. Falk left HRW’s local support committee in Santa Barbara, California, was because of HRW’s “longstanding policy, applied many times, that no official from any government or UN agency can serve on any Human Rights Watch committee or its Board. It was an oversight on our part that we did not apply that policy in Richard Falk’s case several years ago when he assumed his UN position.” But the truth just doesn’t serve Neuer’s or his organization’s agenda, so he prefers to make up lies to demonize an honorable man.

The UN Watch’s lies have been parroted elsewhere by unscrupulous so-called “journalists” who don’t let little things like honesty or integrity get in the way of an opportunity to manufacture a sensational headline.

Anne Beyefsky, for example, at Breitbart, unashamedly lies that “Richard Falk has published a statement saying Bostonians got what they deserved in last week’s terror attack” before accusing him of “antisemitism” for his criticisms of Israeli policies in his role as Special Rapporteur for the U.N. The fact that Mr. Falk is himself Jewish shouldn’t cause anyone to be surprised that he would face such a charge; indeed, this kind of intellectually and morally bankrupt accusation is standard fare for apologists of Israel’s constant violations of international law. It certainly comes as no surprise that Beyefsky is unable to produce any quotes from Mr. Falk to back up any of her disgraceful lies about him.

Bayefsky also wrote another piece for Fox News titled “Antisemitism, anti-Americanism are UN Human Rights Council official’s job description”, where she repeats the lie that Falk “announced that Boston had it coming” and denounces his true sin of describing the bombing as “blowback”.

Fox News elsewhere repeated the falsehood that “Falk also blamed Israel for the unrest he believes prompted” the Boston attacks.

A Washington D.C. CBS affiliate ran the sensational headline, “Falk: Boston Marathon Victims ‘Have To Die’ Because of American-Israeli Relations”. The quoted words, “have to die” do appear in Mr. Falk’s article, where he asks how many more innocent civilians have to die as a result of terrorist attacks motivated by the U.S. government’s criminal foreign policies (e.g., the illegal war on Iraq, etc.). The CBS hit piece then leads with the lie that Falk “said that Bostonians who were injured or killed in the Boston Marathon bombing were deserving of their collective fate.”

Curiously, CBS links to Mr. Falk’s actual article at Foreign Policy Journal, but cites Global Dispatch as the source for this false claim, indicating that the anonymous author(s) of the CBS piece never bothered to check for themselves what Falk actually wrote, while repeating the lie headlined by Global Dispatch that Falk “Says Boston Got What It Deserves” as a fact. So it isn’t clear whether those responsible at CBS are incompetently lazy or just willfully dishonesty like the rest of them.

Sohrab Ahmari in the Wall Street Journal likewise jumps on the bandwagon and repeats the lie that Falk blamed Israel for the Boston bombings while denouncing him for “political lunacy”.

In an online Journal video titled “U.N.’s Resident Anti Semite”, Ahmari talks with editorial board member Mary Kissel about the latest “embarrassment” for the U.N. from Falk, who “has been active for years saying all sorts of crazy things, your typical anti-American demagogue of the academic sort.” Kissel quotes Falk as saying, “(A)s long as Tel Aviv has the compliant ear of the American political establishment, those who wish for peace and justice in the world should not rest easy”, which the video displays under the words “Falk on the Boston Bombings”. However, this quote was not in reference to the Boston attacks. The sentence from which it was pulled in fact began, “The war drums are beating at this moment in relation to both North Korea and Iran, and as long as Tel Aviv….” This context was willfully omitted by the dishonest Ms. Kissel and Mr. Ahmari, who proceed with their show of manufactured controversy. Kissel, after reading the quote out of its context, feigns shock: “So let me get this straight. So, he’s linking Israel to the terror attacks in Boston?” To which Ahmari replies, “That’s right.” No, that’s not right. It a deliberate lie, as can easily be seen simply by placing the quote back into its actual context. The duo proceeds from there to blast Falk for his heresy of describing the Boston bombing as blowback for U.S. foreign policies and accusing him of “anti-Americanism” and “anti-Semitism”.

(When I confronted the pair on Twitter about their lies, asking “Don’t you have any real journalism to be doing?” the best Ahmari could do in reply was, “Don’t you have crackpot theories about Jews and the NWO to be formulating?” Kissel’s response was, “I think exposing crackpot theories about Israel is a very worthy use of time”. Ahmari then added, “The trouble is that Mr. @jeremyrhammond is an originator of such theories”, to which I replied, “I sense a strawman argument coming on. Come on, then, let’s have it.” He proceeded to block me on Twitter, and Kissel did not respond to my further reply, “Do you think making up lies to demonize #RichardFalk is a very worthy use of your time?”)

Michael Goodwin in the New York Post calls Mr. Falk’s commentary “a rancid piece of trash” and repeats the lie that he “basically calls the Boston terror attack just deserts”. As for his real sin, Mr. Falk committed the heinous apostasy of urging “politicians to ‘connect the dots’ between US foreign policy and terrorism at home”. (Mr. Falk’s “new assault appears in Foreign Policy Journal”, Goodwin adds, “where nearly every other article attacks Israel.” Perhaps he had some of my own articles, such as “Rogue State: Israeli Violations of U.N. Security Council Resolutions” or “The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel”, in mind?)

The New York Daily News repeats the lie that “Falk blames Boston Marathon attack on Israel” while calling him a “Jew-basher”, “United Nations anti-Semite-in-chief”, and “a loon”.

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Jeremy R. Hammond

Jeremy R. Hammond is an award-winning political analyst, editor and publisher of Foreign Policy Journal, and author. His new book is Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Read the first chapter FREE at! 

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  • Fred Skolnik

    To say that the bad things America does provokes terrorist acts is to justify them without using the word. In law, since you are a great legalist, the word means “to show a satisfactory reason or cause for something done.”

    Since you don’t really grasp the meaning of what Falk wrote, I will repeat my previous comment:

    The moral bankruptcy of the arguments that Prof. Falk is advancing lies in his creation of a system of equivalencies where any atrocity committed by a client of his can be justified. America’s actions thus create the conditions that provoke terrorist attacks, Israel’s actions thus cause Arab terrorists to bombard its civilian population (because they have no other recourse, so can you blame them?), and of course if Iran did build a bomb and dropped it on Israel, this too would be justifiable or at least understandable in his eyes, because the Iranians would be driven to it by Israel’s threats, and that is precisely the blog he would produce in such an eventuality, and his readers would of course cluck their tongues and thank him for his moral insight. The victims are therefore always responsible for being murdered, if they are his adversaries, just as women are responsible for being raped (because they dress provocatively) and the Jews are responsible for the Holocaust (see one of his worshipful admirers, Walker Percy, on his blog).

    • “To say that the bad things America does provokes terrorist acts is to justify them without using the word.”

      No, it isn’t.

      • Shriber

        Yes, it is.

        What elevated discussion Mr. Hammond.

        now, let me get this straight, you are an award winning Journalist yet you blame Falk sticking his foot in his mouth yet again on someone who reported what Falk said?

        • You aren’t making the slightest effort to “get this straight”, but a rather concerted one to deliberately get it wrong. I refer you to the article and suggest you actually read it.

    • Taylor Brown

      To say that the bad things America does provokes terrorist acts is to justify them without using the word.

      No it’s not. Justification involves some sort of moral or ethical approval. A strict explanation does not involve any such judgements, it’s just an explication of a sequence of causes and effects. I think Falk does a good job of explaining without justifying. Well, as good as an explanation that can fit in one small article anyways.

    • Shriber

      Great rejoinder, Mr. Skolnick, however, Mr. Hammond is anything but naive. I hope for his sake that he doesn’t believe what he says about radical Islam. These days you don’t have to go far to see what Islamists are about. A short trip to Turkey will do.

      Does Hammond and Falk think that Turkey is justified in jailing reporters.

      To me, though, the saddest thing about these debate is not Falk sticking his foot in his mouth, he was probably born that way, no the saddest thing is that the West needs to rely on people like them for defending it liberal values.

      • You hope I don’t believe that U.S. foreign policy causes blowback? You hope I merely say but don’t actually believe that, that I pretend to be aware but really just have my head buried deeply up my ass? What an odd thing to hope for.

        • Jacob Arnon

          Again, I hope you don’t believe that the turn towards Islam by turkey has anything to do with the US.

  • Fred Skolnik

    Or let me put it another way, since I have the feeling that you still won’t get it:

    When A. murders B. and says he did it because B. stole something from him, he is, in plain English, justifying himself. When you repeat this argument, in fact write a thousand-word essay that focuses on the theft and not on the murder, you are also justifying him, even if you condemn the act. You are having your cake and eating it too, which is what Falk was trying to get away with.

    • Yes, if you repeat that A was justified in killing B because B stole something from A, you are repeating A’s justification. But if you merely observe the fact that A said he was justified in killing B because B stole something from him, that is not justifying the killing, but merely observing a fact.

      I have a feeling you still won’t get that, though…

      • Dan

        By justifying the mad ramblings of the antisemitic asshole Falk, you make yourself also an antisemite. But yousee, when my late father was in Auschwitz, Jews were quiet. Not anymore. I hope you and Falk get fired as soon as possible and have to live in, say, Gaza City.

        • Translation: “By pointing out that the claims being made about Mr. Falk, who is critical of Israel’s criminal policies, are lies, you make yourself also a target of the charge of ‘antisemite’, because that the only thing dishonest people like me can do in the fact of the facts is to try to demonize truth tellers like you.”

          Spare me your moral and intellectual cowardice.

      • Shriber

        I don’t get the impression that Mr. Skolnik is stupid, Mr. Hammond.

        If you are judging a sentence independently of the utterer than you may have a point, however, Mr. Falk has a history of making such comments and we are judging the man and not just the comment.

        Do you believe that when Falk said that the US was responsible for 9/11 he was merely repeating what Osama bin Laden said? If you do then you haven’t read what Osama said about his intentions and why he attacked the US (that den of iniquity).

        Please tell me Mr. Hammond that you are not a liberal. I would hate to think that liberals are capable of such crude reasoning.

        • Nor did I suggest that Mr. Skolnik is stupid. I merely observed that the premise of his whole comment is a fallacy. Now, then, I suggest you actually read my above article so you don’t go on saying silly things like “you haven’t read what Osama said about his intentions and why he attacked the US”.

          • Jacob Arnon

            Well, I did read your apologia for Mr. Falk. You quote him as saying:

            “Mr. Falk has since written a follow-up post on his blog clarifying, “I had no intention whatsoever to connect any dots as to whether there was a causal linkage between what the U.S. or Israel have done in the world and what happened in Boston. My only effort was to suggest that in addition to grieving and bringing the perpetrators to justice, this could also become an occasion for collective self-scrutiny as a nation and as a people.””

            Why would any sensible human being want to use an occasion of mourning to “scrutinize itself unless he felt that that nation was in some sense responsible for what happened I would suggest that we scrutinize Mr. Falk’s comment since it has become a habit with him to say whatever comes into his head (I think that his off the cuff remarks are what he thinks) and when people react with anger at his pronouncements he decides to clarify which is to say make his comment less virulent. His wife has said that she very often asks him not to make a certain comment but to reflect on it first.

            This is what happened here.

            I would suggest that Mr. Falk doesn’t give a damn what Jews think about his comments which is why he lets himself go. Flak isn’t the first nor will he be the last ‘Jew” who makes antisemitic comments.

            Mr. Falk doesn’t have either the temperament nor the unbiased views to be able to function as a UN council. This is probably why he was asked to work as a “human rights” lawyer. The antisemitic agency knew exactly what they were getting when they chose him.

            The UN has become one of the most virulent purveyor of antisemitism in the world today (after the demise of the antisemitic Soviet Union) and Mr. Falk fits right in.

    • sarah kramer

      I have a feeling you still won’t ‘get it’, but explaining the causes is different than justifying the actions. When something clearly evil is done, as in the murder of innocent civilians in Boston, it is necessary to both punish the evil doer and to ask yourself what caused him to do it. just punishing the evil doer does nothing to address the causes.
      If someone murders an innocent person, we would all agree that he deserves serious punishment. But that is not going far enough; we also may need to look into the causes. We cannot prevent such evil in the future unless we address the causes. if it comes to light that the murderer was himself abused as a child, we would do well to examine if enough attention is focused on preventing child abuse. if it comes to light that this person had previously exhibited mental problems, we would do well to examine if enough is being done to treat the mentally ill. looking at causes is not justifying the crime in any way, and ignoring the causes only insures that the same crime is repeated.
      when asked why they did it, the bomber stated that it was motivated by the US wars in iraq and a’stan. There is no reason to doubt that as a lot of other people are also inflamed by the US wars in the ME and by what many people see as the US use of military power and economic coercion to advance the US’s interests and goals. It would do well to examine how US policies and actions affect other people. it is insufficient to just punish the offender without examining the causes.
      all of the terrorist attacks on america have a cause. Those causes can objectively be seen in the MILLIONS of deaths, maiming, destruction, coercion, etc that the US has done globally for many decades. examining what role the US plays in inciting terrorism is long overdue. the US has attempted to ignore it and simply deflect the causes onto such absurdities as jealousy or by vilifying an entire people based on their religion [much like the nazis].

      EXAMINING CAUSES IS NOT JUSTIFYING THE CONSEQUENCES. it is an important part of prevention of future attack just as it is important to prevent disease rather than just treating it after it happens.

      • Fred Skolnik

        There are two issues here: whether Prof. Falk is justifying acts of terrorism and whether America’s sins are really the cause of Islamic terrorism.
        When I say that his blog can be construed as a justification, I mean that he is making excuses for it in the sense that we normally use these words, as when you say, “It may be wrong, but can you blame them?” – which is precisely what Prof. Falk wrote in one of his blogs about Hamas and its
        barbaric acts of terrorism. Insofar as our disagreement is over the dictionary meaning of the word “justify,” this is really a fruitless discussion. I think the people who were outraged by what he wrote were responding to the sanctimoniousness and callousness of it and the entire history of his anti-American and anti-Israel stance, which goes beyond objective criticism.

        As for the motives of radical Islam, you are being naive if you take the terrorists at their word. Criminals do not necessarily tell you the truth about why they commit their crimes, for reasons that are not hard to understand. I seriously suggest that you read the Koran and familiarize yourself with what is being said in the mosques and maybe then you’ll have a better understanding of their acts.

        • The suggestion that Mr. Falk is “justifying” the Boston bombings is completely dishonest, as is your claim that he has ever justified terrorist acts from Hamas. Mr. Falk has routinely condemned such war crimes as indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into populated civilian areas in Israel.

          • Fred Skolnik

            “To repeat, this does not make Hamas rockets lawful, but does it make such reliance wrong, given the overall context of violence that includes absolute impunity for Israeli violations of international criminal law? What are we to do with international law when it is invoked only to control the behavior of the weaker party?” (from his 12 Dec. blog)

            This is known as a rhetorical question. Even you can figure out the answer. I won’t go into his or your understanding of the Arab-Israel conflict or the specific pathology behind Israel hatred. Norman Mailer once wrote that two black men in the ring don’t cut it for fight fans but a white man and a black man really get the juices flowing, otherwise you might have a few trenchant remarks to make about the African genocides, or the massacres in Syria or the suicide bombings in Iraq. What you have in the end is a blog and your hatred. Israel has a flourishing state. The Palestinians could have one too. You would be doing them a favor if you encouraged them to negotiate one with Israel.

          • So you are trying to use a quote in which Falk says Hamas rocket attacks violate international law as evidence that he supports Hamas terrorism? Let’s please not be silly.

            “There is no doubt that Hamas’s reliance on rockets fired in the direction of Israeli civilian population centers are violations of international humanitarian law, and should be condemned as such…”

            That’s from the same piece. Actually, that’s the very first sentence in the article. So you can’t have missed it.


      • walker percy

        Sorry to say, but you are wasting your “breath” trying to use reason to explain why Falk is correct. Fred Skolnik and his cheering squad have pre-decided the outcome of any argument about Israel. They are not susceptible to logic or facts, they know that they must stand behind Israel no matter what. Just like with the commentators on Fox News, if you determine in advance what is “true”, it becomes harder and harder to make it all sound plausible, and you end up looking deranged. Of course, we should not be surprised at all by this behavior, it has been going on in Israel since its founding, and leads to a lot of big problems.

        But what is very puzzling is why zionists like Fred Skolnik spend so much time policing the Internet for comments like Falk’s; it they had said nothing, only a few die hard fans like me would read it, but by calling attention to his post, they ensure that lots of other people who may otherwise never think about this issue are exposed to the blatant, self-serving lies of the Israel First/Fox News crowd. Kind of pathological, if you ask me, and those of us who like to think about the future implications of current events can’t help but wonder if Zionists are saying to the rest of us, “stop us before we kill again”. Our job is to listen to the subtext of their commentary and stop Israel before it is too late for all of us.

      • Fred Skolnik

        Dear Sarah

        Just so you’ll know who your new friend Mr. Percy is (from a comment of his on Falk’s blog):

        “Jews are always ultimately the victim, having set up circumstances to ensure their persecution by the larger community in response to their unethical business dealings, cultural insensitivity to other groups, nepotism, flaunting of wealth, and self-organization into exclusive ethnic enclaves…. If you go back to the 1930′s, you find the same complaints about German Jews.”

        Percy’s logic here is that since antisemites today are saying exactly what the Nazis said about Jews in the 1930s, then it must be true.

        Enjoy the company.

  • Taylor Brown

    New York Post’s Goodwin’s “rancid piece of trash” is by far the funniest. Add to that list the asshat Foreign Affairs Minister from Canada, John Baird:

    “Once again, United Nations official Richard Falk has spewed more mean-spirited, anti-Semitic rhetoric, this time blaming the attacks in Boston on President Obama and the State of Israel”

    “The United Nations should be ashamed to even be associated with such an individual.”

    As a Canadian, I’m almost so angry with Baird that I could go outside and vote.

  • Chris Guiver

    Interestingly enough, I’m a little upbeat about this incident.

    The rabid misinformation by the same crowd that justified Israel’s brutal occupation shows the level of panic that has gripped them in the face of the US public’s increasing awareness and questions regarding whether Israel deserves the uninformed and unconditional support that it has received until now. As evidenced by the BDS movement in university campuses, accountability may come sooner rather than later.

  • Fred Skolnik

    You’re not reading the question he asks about international law. If you don’t understand the meaning of his question, then either you don’t understand English or don’t want to. You’re spending a little too much time playing at oneupmanship and too little time being honest with yourself. “Does it make reliance on rockets wrong under the circumstances?” is the rhetorical question he is asking. Do you understand now?

    • I understand that you are having a very difficult time trying to put words in Mr. Falk’s mouth, yes.

  • Jeremy, After spending some time reading (and re-reading Mr. Falk’s piece in your FPJ (and a more abbreviated version posted earlier on AJE) and the blizzard of condemnatory pronouncements by all & sundry, I appreciate your concise destruction of their specious arguments and your defense of a messenger with an extremely unpleasant message for the narcissistic NeoCons & ‘Israel Firsters’ who currently dominate our political scene. Truly, none are as blind as those who will not see.

  • My only criticism is that Falk should have described the “global
    domination project” more accurately as the “DGE (Disguised
    Global Empire) Project”.

    Falk deserves great credit for standing up to the arrested
    thinking that the PR and propaganda term “Terrorism” has been
    used by the DGE (Disguised Global Empire) to short circuit any
    rational thought about the “why” of these ‘blowback’
    actions of powerless people from the violent and vicious boarders
    and territories in which the DGE murders ‘subjects’ with
    impunity (as shown by Wikileaks and Manning’s brave “outing”
    of the EMPIRE in the “Collateral Murder” video).

    Falk is another truth-teller and whistle-blower being hectored
    and attacked by the disguised Empire that he, like Assange,
    Manning, Oliver Stone, Chris Hedges, Glen Greenwald, and others
    are EXPOSING as an EMPIRE. And they are all being attacked because
    the greatest danger to a highly disguised Global Empire is to be “called-out”, recognized, and exposed as the Empire that it really is!

    It is this disguised corporate, financial, militarist,
    media, legal, and political Global EMPIRE, only posing as the US,
    U.K., Germany, Israel, NATO, et al., that is the proximate
    cancerous CAUSE of all these crimes against the Empire’s
    ‘subjects’ in the exploited oil territories, and increasingly
    against those who think of themselves as ‘citizens’, but are
    treated as ‘subjects’ within the metropole of the EMPIRE in
    their own ‘Homelands” — and those supposed citizens
    ‘captured’ inside an Empire need to be as concerned as the
    French under the Vichy government disguising the Nazi Empire
    because of the great Jewish humanitarian, Hannah Arendt’s, prescient warning:

    “Empire abroad entails tyranny at home”.

    Best to all in confronting and surviving this disguised Global Empire,

    Alan MacDonald
    Sanford, Maine

  • Usul

    My humble applause to Mr. Hammond for patiently fending off the aggressive, trite, labyrinthic ZioFirst fanboys and their contrieved logic.

  • NZSnapper

    Great article Jeremy, the facts are undeniable and widely available. This one article collates the right information together to make the case clear. It’s impossible for someone in Falk’s position to make a statement that is basic or clear enough for all to understand. Analysis of his statements leaves no question about his integrity in my opinion, he is clearly a well meaning and good person.

    • Thanks for your comment, NZSnapper.

    • Rhan Tegoth

      You’ve “studied” autism for 5 years? I’ve LIVED with Autism for 36 years!