As a Princeton alumna, I was pleased to hear that Princeton’s Richard Falk (Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice) has been appointed by the UN as a special investigator on Israeli actions in the Palestinian Territories. But it also ties in with some of the discussions on language that we’ve seen on the blog recently, since Falk is an American Jew who characterized Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories as “Slouching Towards a Palestinian Holocaust,” and in this appointment he replaces South African professor John Dugard, who characterized Israel’s occupation as apartheid. Falk has also written on the legality of the Vietnam war and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, characterizing the latter as a war of aggression that should be tried by a war crimes tribunal.
Here’s what the Jerusalem Post has to say about the UN’s appointment of Falk:
UNHRC appointment infuriates Israel
TOVAH LAZAROFF | JPost | Mar 27, 2008
The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday appointed American Jewish law professor Richard A. Falk – who has compared Israel to the Nazis – as special investigator on Israeli actions in the territories for a six-year term.
Falk, who formerly taught international law at Princeton University, replaces South African professor John Dugard, who was an expert on apartheid. Dugard leaves his post in June after seven years. He made waves when he compared Israeli actions in the territories with apartheid and colonialism. Falk, in his academic writing, has already stated that a Palestinian holocaust was in the making.
Yitzhak Levanon, ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, spoke against Falk’s appointment in an address to the council on Wednesday. “In a recent article, [Falk] stated that he did not think it to be “an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with the criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity,” Levanon said. “He has taken part in a UN fact-finding mission which determined that suicide bombings were a valid method of ‘struggle,'” Levanon said. “He has disturbingly charged Israel with ‘genocidal tendencies,’ and accused it of trying to achieve security through ‘state terrorism,'” Levanon said. “Someone who has publicly and repeatedly stated such views cannot possibly be considered independent, impartial or objective,” Levanon said.
…but why not read what Falk himself has to say about the analogy? There is a full list of Falk’s online publications for the Swedish Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research at http://www.transnational.org/SAJT/tff/people/r_falk.html.