antisemitism,  Labour Party

Jeremy Corbyn honouring Richard Falk

What to do with Richard Falk, a man with an awful record of 9/11 conspiracism, whitewashing terrorists, boosting Hamas, and rank antisemitism?

If you’re a Hamasnik of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), honour him, that’s what. Jeremy Corbyn will join you.

Here they are in October 2013. Corbyn is on the right, seated next to the Palestinian envoy Manuel Hassassian. Falk is in the middle. To Falk’s right one sees Majdi Aqil, a PRC trustee and a Hamas veteran who also works for Interpal, a British charity that serves Hamas.

Mr Falk is “tremendous”, you see:

The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) hosted an event in honor of Professor Richard Falk, the current UN rapporteur on Palestine. Professor Falk was met by a packed audience and a host of speakers who all paid tribute to him for the tremendous service and commitment over the years for the just cause of the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Ambassador, Manuel Hassassian, Former Labor Minister, Claire Short, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Mr. Majdi Aqeel, PRC board of Trustees, Vice chairman of PRC Board of Trustees and Ziad al alool, Chairman of the Palestinian Forum of Britain, applauded the Professor in their brief statements.

Let’s take a look at the record of Mr Falk up to October 2013, when the PRC event was held. There is no “honour”. There is plenty, though, which was sure to draw Mr Corbyn in.

9/11 Conspiracies
Mr Falk is fond of 9/11 conspiracies. In 2011, he was censured for this by none other than the UN Secretary General:

“Recently, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967 suggested there was an ‘apparent cover-up’ in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States,” said Ban. “I want to tell you, clearly and directly, I condemn this sort of inflammatory rhetoric. It is preposterous, an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in that tragic terrorist attack.”

“Don’t be fooled!”

There’s plenty more where that came from.

The Boston Marathon Bombings

Where conspiracy talk doesn’t seem quite right, whitewashing of terrorists will do. In the aftermath of the vicious Boston Marathon bombings of April 2013, Falk decided to mutter about “blowback” and “Tel Aviv”. This prompted another rebuke from the UN:

We were asked yesterday about Professor Richard Falk’s latest commentary.

I can tell you the Secretary-General has seen the commentary and he has been briefed on it. The Secretary-General rejects Mr. Falk’s comments. The Secretary-General immediately condemned the Boston Marathon bombing and he strongly believes that nothing can justify such an attack.

Professor Falk is appointed by the Member States of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, not by the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General is hopeful that Special Rapporteurs such as Mr. Falk understand that — while they have independent status — their public comments can undermine the credibility and the work of the United Nations.

In UN diplomatic language, that statement should count as withering.

The UK was more forthright. Its mission to the UN made this statement:

“The UK objects strongly to recent remarks made by UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, linking the Boston bombings to “American global domination” and “Tel Aviv”. This is the third time we have had cause to express our concerns about Mr Falk’s antisemitic remarks. It is important to the UK that Special Rapporteurs uphold the highest standards in their work and we have twice previously made clear that remarks by Mr Falk were unacceptable.‟

A Freedom of Information request to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about the UK statement yielded further background:

Nothing can justify this attack. We therefore strongly objected to the comments by the UN Special Rapporteur in this context that the “United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks.” The relevant paragraph from Richard Falk’s article for the Foreign Policy Journal reads:

“The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world. In some respects, the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks, and these may yet happen, especially if there is no disposition to rethink US relations to others in the world, starting with the Middle East”.

In the same article Mr Falk said that “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.” We believe this article is resonant of the longstanding antisemitic practice of blaming Jews (through the State of Israel by proxy) for all that is wrong in the world. This is unacceptable.

The United States under President Obama was blunt:

“The United States has previously called for Mr. Falk’s resignation for his numerous outrageous statements, and these comments underscore once more the absurdity of his service as a U.N. special rapporteur,” Erin Pelton, spokeswoman for U.S. mission to the United Nations, said in a statement.

Canada too weighed in, frankly:

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird condemned Falk’s comments and called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to “immediately” remove Falk from his position.

“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,” Baird said in a statement.

“Let’s talk about Tel Aviv!”

Nazi Slurs
Reprehensible Israelis-are-Nazis slurs are common in Mr Corbyn’s world. Take it away, Mr Falk:

In an article that included repeated condemnations of Israel, Mr Falk asked his audience to “imagine the situation being reversed as it was during the Nazi occupation of France or the Netherlands during World War two”.

“Resistance fighters were uniformly perceived in the liberal West as unconditional heroes, and no critical attention was given as to whether the tactics used unduly imperiled innocent civilian lives,” he said.

Falk has form here too. The slur above is from 2013. Here he is in 2008, telling off Jews and indeed anyone with any sense of decency for being “sensitive” to boot:

Professor Falk said he drew the comparison between the treatment of Palestinians with the Nazi record of collective atrocity, because of what he described as the massive Israeli punishment directed at the entire population of Gaza.

He said he understood that it was a provocative thing to say, but at the time, last summer, he had wanted to shake the American public from its torpor.

“If this kind of situation had existed for instance in the manner in which China was dealing with Tibet or the Sudanese government was dealing with Darfur, I think there would be no reluctance to make that comparison,” he said.

That reluctance was, he argued, based on the particular historical sensitivity of the Jewish people, and Israel’s ability to avoid having their policies held up to international law and morality.

Or try a 2007 piece titled “Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust”:

Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not.

This set of policies, carried on for more than four decades, has imposed a sub-human existence on a people that have been repeatedly and systematically made the target of a variety of severe forms of collective punishment.

To persist with such an approach under present circumstances is indeed genocidal, and risks destroying an entire Palestinian community that is an integral part of an ethnic whole. It is this prospect that makes appropriate the warning of a Palestinian holocaust in the making, and should remind the world of the famous post-Nazi pledge of ‘never again.’

Antisemitic Cartoons
Haters like antisemitic cartoons. Mr Falk is no exception, as he showed in 2011:

David Cameron has instructed the UK’s Permanent Representative in Geneva to raise concerns with the UN Human Rights council over an antisemitic cartoon posted on a human rights advisor’s blog.

In a letter this week to MPs David Burrowes and Theresa Villiers, the Prime Minister said he “strongly condemned” the cartoon, showing a dog wearing a kippah and urinating, posted on the personal blog of US academic Richard Falk, a UN Special Rapporteur.

The two MPs had previously written to Mr Cameron, raising their concerns about Mr Falk when the issue first arose in July.

Mr Cameron said he would “continue to closely watch any further actions of comments Mr Falk may make.”

Once again there was no way out of the grotesque facts for the UN, though it did nothing:

Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated in a letter to UN Watch, the organization that first brought the issue to public attention, that the cartoon was indeed anti- Semitic and added, “I utterly deplore and condemn anti- Semitism, as I do any form of incitement to hatred and racial discrimination.”

She acknowledged “the anti-Semitic and objectionable nature of the cartoon,” but also noted “Mr. Falk’s series of public apologies,” but did not call on Falk to resign, saying only that she welcomed the fact that he had swiftly removed the image from his website.

A “Partisan for Hamas”
Even the Palestinian Authority has taken Falk to task, calling him a “partisan for Hamas”.

Gilad Atzmon
There is perhaps no better marker for contemporary antisemitism than Gilad Atzmon. In 2011, Falk rushed to praise Atzmon when he published The Wandering Who, a horrid screed. Falk called the book:

… an “absorbing and moving” book that everyone who “care[s] about real peace” should “not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.”

At the time, the CST noted that The Wandering Who is “quite probably the most antisemitic book published in this country in recent years.”

Well, Mr Corbyn?
There is more to say about Mr Falk, but this is enough for readers to have a sense of the man and his plainly unacceptable record.

Perhaps Mr Corbyn could explain just how “honouring” Mr Falk fits in with his claim to be a “militant opponent of antisemitism”?