Monday, June 10, 2013

Anne Bayefsky: Will UN Ambassador Samantha Power Legitimize Anti-US/Israel Richard Falk?

For Immediate Release:
June 10, 2013
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Will UN Ambassador Samantha Power Legitimize Anti-US/Israel Richard Falk?

This article by Anne Bayefsky originally appeared on 

What do Samantha Power, Obama’s nominee for UN Ambassador, and Richard Falk, UN Human Rights Council “expert” and Boston terror-apologist, have in common? They both champion the United Nations’ human rights credentials and denigrate those of the United States.

On Monday in Geneva at the Human Rights Council, Falk will provide a demonstration.

Courtesy of the UN’s top human rights body – a body which the Obama administration joined and strongly supports – Falk will be welcomed to the podium to condemn Israel and throw potshots at the United States.

The event will be an “interactive dialogue” with states and non-governmental organizations on Falk’s recently released report and activities over the past year. Interventions are strictly time-limited, but public. Falk will be given the last word.

On the table will be Falk’s report “on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories…,” opening statement and a litany of obscenities from a man who has a long and undistinguished history of anti-Americanism and antisemitism. Of course, that is precisely why the Council chose Falk for the job of UN special rapporteur on Israel. His formal job description is “to investigate” what was already decided to be “Israel’s violations…” And only Israel’s. There is no UN human rights investigator of Palestinian violations.

On June 6, Falk issued a UN press release presaging his remarks. Together with his new report, the themes are clear.

Falk is against Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. He “is skeptical of the value of direct negotiations” and calls the idea a “mockery.” Instead, he feels the terrorist’s pain and prefers to expound on Palestinian “resistance.”

That is the same twisted analysis Falk applied to the Boston bombings, when in a written article he explained the attack as “resistance” to America’s “fantasy of global domination.” Falk maintained that Boston’s dead and injured were “canaries” who happened to be the ones the resisters decided “have to die.” He advised Americans to start “meditating” on poet W.H. Auden’s allegedly apt line “Those to whom evil is done/do evil in return.”

Falk will also continue to shill for Hamas. In his report he says Israel should not have targeted Hamas military leader Ahmed Jahari. Jahari was the man who brutally held Gilad Shalit incommunicado for more than five years, with no visits from the Red Cross – contrary to the most elementary standard of humanitarian law. But according to Falk, Jahari “kept him in good health.”

And never far from the surface will be Falk’s pathological antisemitism. As recently as June 7, this UN expert penned another piece in which he claimed Israel “control[s] the world media.”

Samantha Power should be worried about Richard Falk. On one level, a 2002 interview that she has since disavowed, disturbingly resembles his thought processes. Power too suggested the presence of American Jewish control over our society, or in her words: “a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import,” which might be worth “alienating.” Similarly, both Falk and Power invert aggressor and victim. Falk says that “believable” humanitarian intervention in Syria would have to be matched by intervention to protect Gazans. In her 2002 interview, Power floated the idea of “a mammoth protection force” for Palestinians.

But perhaps most troubling is what Power doesn’t understand about Richard Falk. She argues, as UN officials are wont to do whenever they are caught red-handed taking kickbacks for food dollars or raping refugees or spreading disease among earthquake victims, that the UN is merely the sum of its parts. Power said in 2008 and repeated in similar terms over the years: “The performance of international institutions will be symptomatic of the domestic political priorities of influential member states. International institutions don’t really have a life and a mind of their own.”

Unfortunately, international UN “experts” appointed and let loose like Richard Falk do have a mind of their own – as his myriad excesses amply demonstrate. The same is true of UN Secretariat officials like UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who called into question the legality of killing of Osama bin Laden. Only two weeks ago Pillay looked around the world for human rights violations and came up with the following list of countries having “crises” worthy of specific criticism: Syria, Myanmar, Iraq, the Central African Republic, Israel and the United States.

Furthermore, Power will not be nearly as powerful as she imagines, even if she attempts to enhance her status by continuing to defame her country and apologizing for everything that went before Obama’s anointing. Of President Bush, she once said: “I don’t think this administration…could have ever been seen as a credible promoter of democracy.”

The performance of today’s UN is symptomatic of groups of countries that, taken individually, are not influential and do not contribute financially much of anything to the UN. These are groups like the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Iran heads the 130-member NAM, which constitute the majority at the General Assembly. The OIC holds the balance of power at the Human Rights Council. The United States is frequently outvoted and outmaneuvered by countries which themselves are not democracies, but pretend that geographic distribution is “international democracy” at play.

If Power wants America to lead, and to distinguish herself from Falk, she should tell Congress that America’s UN engagement ought not to include membership on the Human Rights Council, and that, if confirmed, she will insist that the Obama administration stop legitimizing a UN body that legitimizes a Richard Falk.

Anne Bayefsky is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. Follow her @AnneBayefsky.

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