Canada Demands Firing of UN Official Who Called Israel 'Genocidal'

Friday, 20 Dec 2013 05:58 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Canada has urged the U.N. Human Rights Council to dismiss Richard Falk, its point man on Palestinian human-rights issues, after he accused Israel of showing “genocidal” intentions towards the Palestinians, the Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird condemned Falk’s comment, which came during a Dec. 15 interview with Russia’s English-language news program RTin, where Falk was asked about a past article he wrote which claimed that Israel was “slouching toward nothing less than a Palestinian holocaust.”
 
When “you target a group, an ethnic group and inflict this kind of punishment upon them, you are in effect nurturing a kind of criminal intention that is genocidal,” Falk replied.
Baird called on the Human Rights Council, which oversees Falk (officially the council’s “special rapporteur” on “the situation of human rights on the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967”) to remove him from that position “immediately.”

He added that Falk’s comments “also belittle the terrible genocides that have tragically taken place throughout history and around the world.”

Even before Falk was appointed in 2008 to a six-year term as special rapporteur, he drew fire for comments about a possible Palestinian holocaust and his suggestion of possible U.S. complicity in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Post reported.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that “the fact that such a conspiracist, hate monger remains on the U.N. payroll is a moral stain on his employer.”

In the aftermath of Falk’s comments, UN Watch, a nongovernmental Geneva-based group that monitors UN activity, has called for Falk’s removal. But he cannot be ousted unless the Human Rights Council in Geneva votes to do so.

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer said Falk’s genocide claims serve to legitimate violence against Israel.

“If Israel has genocidal intentions, then what isn’t permissible to do against Israel?” he asked.

Alluding to the Obama Administration’s efforts to rehabilitate the council’s image in recent years, Neuer said it was time for Washington to take a leadership role in fighting for Falk’s removal.

Because the United States has forcefully “promoted the narrative that the council has been made credible, effective and authoritative, it bears a special responsibility to initiate the removal of Falk,” Neuer said.
 
One year ago, Human Rights Watch expelled Falk from one of its committees after UN Watch brought some of his earlier statements to light, the Jewish Press reported.

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