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Saturday, July 26, 2014

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Canada calls on UN to remove Falk for genocide remark

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Hillel Neuer

Canada has condemned remarks by UN envoy Richard Falk accusing Israel of genocide, and called on the UN Human Rights’ Council (HRC) to remove him as its special rapporteur for the Palestinian territories.

At the same time, UN Watch, a non-governmental organization based in Geneva, urged the United States to use its clout to remove Falk “and his unjust mandate” from the Human Rights Council.

“Canada completely rejects and condemns the appalling remarks made by Richard Falk… in which he accused Israel of ‘genocidal’ intentions,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a news release last week.

“Canada has previously called for Falk to be fired for his numerous outrageous and anti-Semitic statements, and these comments underscore once more the complete and total absurdity of his service as a UN special rapporteur,” he said.

“Not only do these comments undermine the fundamental values of the United Nations, they also belittle the terrible genocides that have tragically taken place throughout history and around the world,” Baird added.

David Sharma, Australia’s ambassador to Israel tweeted: “Appalled by reported Richard Falk comments on Israel: disgraceful and not befitting a UN special rapporteur.”

Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, sparked the latest round of condemnations when he told Russia Today that Israel is, “in effect, nurturing a kind of criminal intention that is genocidal.”

Falk has made other statements that landed him in hot water. Following the Boston Marathon terrorist attack, he was criticized for calling it blowback for U.S. policies and added: “As 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.”

He has repeatedly compared Israel to Nazi Germany, leading to accusations he could not fairly carry out the duties as special rapporteur. And he has suggested that the United States was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Responding to Falk’s latest excess, Hillel Neuer, executive-director of UN Watch, wrote to U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, calling on her to condemn “Falk’s odious warrant for terrorism” and  to demand that the HRC remove him.

“The United States is the leader of the democratic faction, and if they don’t take action on this, nothing will happen,” he told The CJN. “Falk is answerable to the council.”

Neuer said “there have been Jews throughout history who are anti-Semitic,” responding to a tweet from the PLO’s negotiating affairs division that questioned whether Falk, a Jew, could be anti-Semitic. “Falk uses his Judaism as a shield,” Neuer said.

Neuer noted that a U.S. diplomatic cable revealed through Wikileaks cited  Palestinian diplomat Imad Zuhairi as calling on Falk to resign over his continued references to Hamas in his reports and his use of the Holocaust to criticize Israel.

Neuer said Falk’s comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany can be used to justify terrorist attacks. “I think the implications are clear. It is a modern warrant for terrorism,” he said.

Neuer also criticized mainstream organizations for continuing to invite Falk to address audiences, despite his controversial public statements. “He spoke this week in Ulster, Northern Ireland, at the Transitional Justice Institute. It’s despicable that they would invite him,” he said.

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