Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10118-3299
United States of America
December 17, 2012
Dear Mr. Roth,
We are shocked to discover that Richard Falk—the U.N. official whose antisemitic remarks and 9/11 conspiracy theories have been condemned by British Prime Minister David Cameron, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay—is a board member of your organization.
By legitimizing this racist and enemy of human rights, your organization undermines its own founding principles. We urge you to remove him immediately.
We find it astonishing that Mr. Falk would be rewarded by such an eminent position with Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s largest human rights organizations.
As a keen follower of the U.N. and its Human Rights Council, you surely know the following:
• 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 last week 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 cartoonshowing 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 now provides the cover endorsement of a virulently antisemitic book, “The Wandering Who,” whose author, as documented by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz in The 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, only two 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”;
Human Rights Watch committee member Richard Falk has been condemned for antisemitism, supporting Hamas, and spreading the 9/11 conspiracy theory.
• 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 successfully 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 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 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 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.”
I am sure that all of this is already known to you, but we include this evidentiary record for the benefit of your board members, whom we trust will act swiftly to remove Mr. Falk from your organization. The cause of human rights, including the struggle against all forms of racism and antisemitism, requires no less.
Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.
Hillel C. Neuer