The Blog

A 'Supposed' Serious Person

2:16 PM, Jan 2, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Richard Falk is Professor of International Law and Practice, Emeritus, at Princeton University. He is also the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories. Princeton hasn't booted him yet, but the Israelis did, refusing him entry to the country and putting him on the first flight back to Geneva when he arrived a few weeks ago. The reason? As the New York Times characterized the Israeli position, Falk maintains a "hostile position towards Israel." He does not maintain a hostile position to 9/11 truthers, having declared that "only willful ignorance can maintain that the 9/11 narrative should be treated as a closed book."

Falk once asked and answered this question in an essay 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.

Today Falk takes to the online pages of (where else) the Huffington Post to defend Hamas and its 'harmless' and 'periodic' rocket fire against Israeli civilians. One word that gets frequent use is 'supposed.'

As always in relation to the underlying conflict, some facts bearing on this latest crisis are murky and contested, although the American public in particular gets 99% of its information filtered through an exceedingly pro-Israeli media lens. Hamas is blamed for the breakdown of the truce by its supposed unwillingness to renew it, and by the alleged increased incidence of rocket attacks....

Such Israeli shows of force have been a feature of past Israeli election campaigns, and on this occasion especially, the current government was being successfully challenged by Israel's notoriously militarist politician, Benjamin Netanyahu, for its supposed failures to uphold security....

...the inflammatory threats voiced by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad together with Iran's supposed push to acquire nuclear weapons, the fading memory of the Holocaust combined with growing sympathy in the West with the Palestinian plight, and the radicalization of political movements on Israel's borders in the form of Hezbollah and Hamas.

Is it an irresponsible overstatement to say that Richard Falk is an embarrassment to the United Nations, Princeton University, and even the Huffington Post? I think not.