(JTA) — The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights noted the anti-Semitism in a cartoon posted on the website of the U.N.’s rapporteur on Palestinians, a rare implicit rebuke, according to a U.N. watchdog.
There have been increasing calls for the U.N. Human Rights Council to dismiss Richard Falk after he posted on his personal blog a cartoon depicting a dog wearing a shirt labeled "USA" and a yarmulke marked with a Star of David devouring a bloody human carcass, while urinating on Lady Justice’s foot.
"Notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Falk is neither a representative nor an employee of my Office, thank you for drawing my attention to the anti-Semitic image that was posted on his personal website," Navanatehem Pillay, the human rights high commissioner, wrote in a July 11 letter to U.N. Watch, an American Jewish Committee-affiliated watchdog. "I utterly deplore and condemn anti-Semitism, as I do any form of incitement to hatred and racial discrimination.
"I also note Mr. Falk’s series of public apologies, in which he explained his inadvertent mistake and clearly acknowledged the anti-Semitic and objectionable nature of the cartoon. I welcome the fact that he swiftly removed the image from his website, and expressed his regrets at his own ‘carelessness’ in not examining it more carefully before posting it in the first place."
U.N. Watch praised Pillay for what it said was a rare instance of rebuking on official of Falk’s rank.
"UN Watch appreciates that as a matter of practice your office does not comment on the council’s independent experts," it said in a July 14 letter to Pillay. "That you chose to break with precedent for this incident — by issuing a public statement on Mr. Falk’s blog post, and doing so personally — underscores your commitment to the fight against all forms of discrimination, and to the principle that UN appointees cannot misuse their positions with impunity."
Falk apologized for the cartoon and removed it from his personal blog, but also lashed out at his critics as having suspect motives.
Calls for his removal have come from the Obama administration, an array of Jewish groups and from a number of top politicians in Western countries.