Commentary Magazine


Why Replace Richard Falk?

Many here at COMMENTARY and elsewhere have written regarding the sorry legacy of Richard Falk, the United Nations special rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” Falk has, for example, blamed Israel for the Boston Marathon bombing; he has described the murderous Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as a paradigm of human rights, used his platform to promote anti-Semitism, and engaged in 9/11 conspiracy theories. In short, Falk has been an embarrassment to the United Nations and confirmed the worst accusations of the UN’s critics.

Fortunately, Falk’s term is coming to an end. Hillel Neuer, who does yeoman’s work at UN Watch, recently published a “rogues’ gallery” of those seeking to replace him. The list is not pretty: Hard-core Stalinists, unabashed anti-Semites, and political activists who oppose the peace process on the ground that Israel should cease to exist.

If the United Nations cannot operate with a modicum of professionalism and if Ban Ki-moon sees his job to subsidize opponents of peace and those with an ideological axe to grind, perhaps it is time for the United States and other liberal democracies to ask just why such a position should continue to exist on the back of their contributions to the UN. If the UN Secretary General and UN cheerleaders like U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power are serious about reforming the UN, ending its worst excesses, and restoring its credibility, perhaps they should ask why Falk’s position should be filled, and why such mendacious positions, which do more to harm reconciliation than promote it and which undercut serious human-rights advocacy, should exist in the first place.

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