The United Nations is at it again, and it's still two months before the potential showdown over Palestinian statehood. The latest affront comes from the Human Rights Council's special rapporteur on Palestinian rights who posted an anti-Semitic cartoon on his personal blog.
The post by Richard Falk featured a cartoon depicting a dog wearing a shirt labeled "USA" and a kipah 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 an apology posted July 6 , Falk said the cartoon "had strongly anti-Semitic symbolism that I had not detected before it was pointed out to me."
"To be clear, I oppose any denigration of a people based on ethnicity, race, religion, stage of development, and believe in the human dignity of all people in their individual and collective identity," Falk wrote.
The Geneva-based U.N. Watch, which is affiliated with the American Jewish Committee, had sent a letter to Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, urging her to condemn Falk's action, the JTA reported. U.N. Watch's executive director, Hillel Neuer, wrote that the cartoon "is manifestly anti-Semitic and, before a worldwide Internet audience, incites hatred against Jews as well as against Americans."
Calls for his dismissal came also from the Obama administration and a host of other Jewish groups.
But even as he apologized "for any unintended hurt and outrage caused," Falk accused his critics of being "motivated to discredit me due to my views of Israeli policies and behavior."
This is not the first time that Falk has been rebuked. Last year, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon faulted him for a blog post in which he questioned the idea that U.S. government officials had no previous knowledge of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The American ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, responded to that incident by calling for Falk to be removed from his U.N. post.
The fact that he is still employed by the institution says volumes about the climate and culture that pervade the United Nations. Its credibility is already strained on many levels, certainly when it comes to Israel.
The incident comes as the Palestinians continue to insist that they will forge ahead with their quest for U .N. backing for their unilateral declaration of statehood in September.
Beyond the potentially critical fallout for Israel in the wake of such a move, the United Nations itself will once again show its true colors. Let's hope that the mounting political and international pressure on the Palestinians will thwart their efforts. We know we can't count on the United Nations. The Falk incident only gives us further proof that when it comes to Israel, the world body has lost all credibility.