UN Watch urges event to be canceled after Falk was condemned worldwide
GENEVA, April 28, 2013 – A famous San Francisco tech finance pioneer is being called upon to cancel his sponsorship of a lecture tomorrow night that will honor a UN official who was denounced by world leaders last week for suggesting that the Boston bombings were somehow the fault of the U.S. and Israel.
In a letter sent today to Bill Hambrecht, the 77-year-old investment banker who took Apple Computer public, the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights monitoring organization, urged him not to honor Richard Falk, the UN Human Rights Council’s expert on Palestine, as a “Distinguished Peacemaker” at the American University of Beirut, only days after he was condemned by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, and by the US, UK and Canadian governments, for blaming the Boston terrorist attack on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”
The letter was also sent to Professor Peter Dorman, President of the American University of Beirut, and to the U.S. ambassador in Lebanon.
Following is the UN Watch letter sent today.
WR Hambrecht + Co
Pier 1, Bay 3
San Francisco, CA 94111
April 28, 2013
Dear Mr. Hambrecht,
We are shocked to see that you are sponsoring an event tomorrow night that will award a “Distinguished Peacemaker” platform upon Richard Falk— a lifelong apologist for terrorism, and a major 9/11 conspiracy theorist—only days after he was condemned by the United Nations, by world leaders, and by the representatives of the American people, in both the White House and the U.S. Congress, for his vile comments blaming the Boston terrorist attack, which left 4 dead and 300 wounded, on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”
We urge you to cancel the event at the American University of Beirut (AUB)—on whose Board of Trustees you serve—honoring Richard Falk as the keynote speaker for the “Bill and Sally Hambrecht Distinguished Peacemaker” lecture. To recognize Mr. Falk in this way sends absolutely the wrong message, and at the worst possible time.
Upon inaugurating this program, you expressed the hope that it would spread the fruits of “justice,” “stability,” and “peace.” Yet Mr. Falk is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, using the language of peace and human rights time and again to absolve terrorists of culpability. He is the only UN expert in history ever to have been condemned for racism by a member state of the European Union.
Please consider last week’s unequivocal reactions to Mr. Falk’s latest outrage:
The Spokesman for UN chief Ban Ki-moon said: “The Secretary-General rejects Mr. Falk’s comments [which] “undermine the credibility and the work of the United Nations.”
“Someone who spews such vitriol has no place at the UN,” said U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice. The U.S. Mission to the United Nations condemned Falk’s “provocative and offensive” remarks, and the “absurdity” of his service as a UN human rights expert.
The British Mission blasted Falk’s “antisemitic” remarks, highlighting it was the third time they had to do so.
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird slammed Falk’s “mean-spirited, anti-Semitic rhetoric” and called for him to be kicked out of the UN. “The United Nations should be ashamed to even be associated with such an individual,” he added.
The U.S. Congress is now circulating a letter, authored by Rep. Mike Kelly (R–PA), calling for Falk to be removed. Condemnatory letters have also been sent to the UN by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ).
The American people have show their generosity to the AUB by providing some $20 million in financial support in recent years. Certainly the AUB can show generosity of spirit to the American people at this time.
We find it astonishing that the AUB would honor and legitimize Falk with a distinguished podium. In addition to what just happened last week, surely the AUB must know the following:
• That Human Rights Watch expelled Falk in December following a complaint that set forth the following facts;
• That Falk is so extreme in his support for the Hamas terrorist organization that even the Palestinian Authority—as revealed in a Wikleaks cable, and which Falk himself admits—has sought to remove him, on grounds that he is a “partisan of Hamas“;
• That Falk recently published an article attempting to downplay, reinterpret and justify the latest call by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to destroy Israel;
• That Falk last year published on his website an antisemitic cartoon showing a dog wearing a Jewish head covering, and with “USA” written on its body, urinating on a depiction of justice and devouring a bloody skeleton;
• That Falk was condemned for this antisemitic act by British Prime Minister Cameron;
• That UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also condemned Falk’s cartoon as “antisemitic”;
• That Falk currently provides the cover endorsement of a virulently antisemitic book, “The Wandering Who,” whose author, as documented by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz inThe New Republic, boasts about drawing “insights from a man who… was an anti-Semite as well as a radical misogynist,” a hater of “almost everything that fails to be Aryan masculinity,” declares himself a “proud, self-hating Jew,” writes with “contempt” of “the Jew in me,” and describes himself as “a strong opponent” of “Jewish-ness”;
• That six months ago Falk was condemned for endorsing this antisemitic book by the British Foreign Office, which protested to the U.N. and expressed its “serious concerns”;
• That Falk accused Israel of planning a “Palestinian Holocaust,“prompting a bloc of dictatorships, including Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, to sucessfully nominate him as the UN Human Rights Council’s expert on Palestine;
• That his UNHRC mission is so biased that Falk tries to obscure it, calling himself the Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories,” implying a regional jurisdiction that objectively treats all actions and parties, whereas in fact his mandate is to investigate only “Israel’s violations”;
• That Falk is one of the world’s most high-profile supporters of the leading 9/11 conspiracy theorists, lending his name to those who accuse the U.S. government of orchestrating the destruction of the Twin Towers as a pretext to launch wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;
• That Falk actively promotes the writings of David Ray Griffin, a disciple and close friend of Falk who has produced 12 books describing the World Trade Center attack as “an inside job”;
• That Falk not only contributed the Foreword to Griffin’s 2004 “The New Pearl Harbor”—praising the author’s “patience,” “fortitude,” “courage,” and “intelligence”—but Griffin credits Falk for getting the book published, and also specially thanks Falk’s wife, Hilal Elver, someone who is also a member of Human Rights Watch’s Santa Barbara Committee;
• That Falk has repeatedly appeared on the “TruthJihad.com” show of Kevin Barrett, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and Holocaust skeptic who rails against the “ethnic Jews” who he says run Washington and the media, a show on which Falk has endorsed Barrett’s “good work” while also praising Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad;
• That in 2011 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took the floor of the Human Rights Council to issue an unprecedented condemnation of Falk’s 9/11 remarks, saying they were “preposterous” and “an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in that tragic terrorist attack”;
• That U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice in 2011 denounced Falk’s comments as “despicable and deeply offensive,” and condemned Falk’s “one-sided and politicized approach,” saying his words were “so noxious that it should finally be plain to all that he should no longer continue in his position,” and that “the cause of human rights will be better advanced without Mr. Falk and the distasteful sideshow he has chosen to create.”
Please act swiftly to deny Mr. Falk this undeserved honor. The cause of human rights requires no less.
Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.
Hillel C. Neuer
cc: Peter Dorman, President, American University of Beirut
U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly, Lebanon
Rami G. Khouri, Director, Issam Fares Institute, AUB
Samar Ghanem, Program Coordinator, UN in the Arab World, AUB