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”.