Rice Calls for Removal of U.N.’s Palestine Rapporteur


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations called for the removal of its special rapporteur on the Palestinians.

Susan Rice issued the call after the rapporteur, Richard Falk, wrote on his personal blog that an independent investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks is in order.

"What seems most disturbing about the 9/11 controversy is the widespread aversion by government and media to the evidence that suggests, at the very least, the need for an independent investigation that proceeds with no holds barred," Falk wrote, addressing debate over whether politics played a role in the Tucson shooting earlier this month.

"Mr. Falk’s comments are despicable and deeply offensive, and I condemn them in the strongest terms," Rice said in a statement Tuesday. "I have registered a strong protest with the U.N. on behalf of the United States. The United States has in the past been critical of Mr. Falk’s one-sided and politicized approach to his work for the U.N., including his failure to condemn deliberate human rights abuses by Hamas, but these blog comments are in another category altogether. In my view, Mr. Falk’s latest commentary is so noxious that it should finally be plain to all that he should no longer continue in his position on behalf of the U.N."

It’s not clear what could bring about Falk’s dismissal. Falk answers to the U.N. Human Rights Council, a body that has in the past ignored complaints from top U.N. officials about its pronounced anti-Israel bias.