WASHINGTON (JTA) – The Obama administration, joined by U.S. Jewish groups, called for the United Nations to dismiss Richard Falk, its rapporteur on Palestinian rights, after he posted an anti-Semitic cartoon on his blog.
"I am deeply disturbed that once again U.N. Special Rapporteur Richard Falk has used his personal blog to publish abhorrent material," Joseph Torsella, the U.S. representative for management and reform to the United Nations, said in a statement on Friday. "His shameful and outrageous behavior is an embarrassment to the United Nations. Someone who publishes such vicious images has no place in the U.N. system."
The cartoon, posted by Falk, depicts a dog wearing a shirt labeled "USA" and a yarmulke marked with a Star of David devouring a bloody human carcass. Lady Justice stands by blindfolded, holding the dog’s leash as it urinates on her foot.
In the apology posted July 6 on his blog, Falk said the cartoon “had strongly anti-semitic symbolism that I had not detected before it was pointed out to me.” Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, the American Jewish Committee-affiliated U.N. Watch, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, called on senior officials to remove Falk or at least to condemn his actions.
"This latest action compounds the long existing problem of Mr. Falk’s blatant biases and repugnant behavior,” the Presidents’ Conference said in a statement. “His history of hateful provocations, including the spread of 9/11 conspiracy theories blaming the United States for self-inflicted terrorism, and comparison of Israelis to Nazis are evidence that he cannot fulfill his responsibilities consistent with the U.N.’s mission and standards."
Joining in the calls was Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.
"The U.N. cannot function as a credible and effective institution when it employs faux experts who ignore real human rights abuses and demonize democracies," she said in a statement.