I wish it were surprising but it is not. The cartoon published by Richard Falk, United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, is not only anti-Semitic, as charged by ADL head Abe Foxman, it is also obviously anti-American. But the worst thing about the cartoon is that it is not surprising.
No nation, including those I love most – The United States and Israel, should be above reproach. But there is something truly twisted about people, such as Mr. Falk, being obsessed with the same short list of countries which at their worst are not guilty of the horrors that other governments regularly practice on those under their control. Simply as a matter of basic human rights, does anyone doubt that freedom of expression, access to courts, etc. are better in Israel, even for Palestinians than they are in the Palestinian controlled territories, especially Gaza? Where are Falk’s cartons lampooning that fact?
The UN has a real and vital role to play in the world, and I do not count myself among those who immediately presume that whatever the UN does, it is likely to be anti-Semitic or anti-American. But when the very people charged with monitoring human rights make a mockery of that mandate by consistently ignoring those places which regularly trample on human rights, choosing instead to focus only on a few pet causes, like Israel, for their own political purposes, the cause of human rights as whole is undermined, including the cause against abuses which may actually be committed by Israel.
The real and ongoing challenge of a Palestinian people without a state of its own cannot be ignored – not for the good of the Palestinians, or for Israel which must assure its future as a Jewish and democratic state. But knowing that should provide no cover to those, like Mr. Falk, who are beacons of rage and hatred. Will the UN act or will it make excuses?
Ironically, it is those who care most about Palestinians who should hope most that the UN acts and does so strongly. As long as The United Nations continues to uphold the legitimacy of employees such as Richard Falk, it remains that much easier to dismiss the moral authority of the organization itself and the causes which occupy it.