The US representative to the Human Rights Council, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, called for the resignation of Richard Falk, the United Nations special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.
Donahoe’s statement Friday came in the wake of Falk’s annual report on Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights due to be presented to the HRC on Monday, in which he seeks an investigation of UN Watch that he hopes will lead to its closure.
Falk accuses the Geneva-based NGO of “demeaning” and “defaming” his character, damaging the “credibility,” “effectiveness” and “substantive intention” of his mandate. He says this “diverts attention from the message” and “shifts public interest away.”
UN Watch was established in 1993 “to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter,” according to the group’s website.
Falk’s comments come less than a month after UN Watch’s draft resolution to remove him from his position — in the wake of his comments blaming the Boston Marathon bombings on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv” — was published by the United Nations as an official document.
In a 2008 op-ed in the UK-based The Journal, entitled “9/11: More than meets the eye,” Falk speculated on American complicity in the attacks, writing that it “is not paranoid under such circumstances to assume that the established elites of the American governmental structure have something to hide, and much to explain.”
In the annual report, Falk slams what he calls Israel’s continued occupation of the Palestinians.
“Israel continues to annex Palestinian territory; Israel persists in demolishing Palestinians’ homes and populating Palestine with Israeli citizens; Israel maintains a policy of collectively punishing 1.75 million Palestinians through its imposition of a blockade on the Gaza Strip; and Israel prosecutes its occupation with impunity, refusing to accept the world’s calls to respect international law,” he wrote.
Falk also repeats his prior call for a boycott of companies conducting business with Israel or Israelis in the West Bank.
Donahoe strongly denounced Falk’s report, saying it “would threaten the independent voice of civil society at the United Nations” if given legitimacy.
“His views and behavior,” Donahoe continued, “both official and unofficial, are offensive and provocative and do nothing to advance peace in the Middle East or to further the protection and promotion of human rights. We again call for his resignation.”
Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said his organization agrees with Donahoe’s conclusion that Falk “is unfit to serve in his role as a UN special rapporteur.”
“If he does not leave voluntarily, the Human Rights Council should remove him, Foxman said.
“Mr. Falk’s attempt to paint himself as the victim of an Israeli government-sponsored defamation campaign, carried out by UN Watch, has echoes of classical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”