My reply to the professional detractors of Richard Falk

The video above shows the statement I delivered at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 10 June 2013, in response to the group of mudslingers unleashed against Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, who had just presented his report on the Human Rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

I say group because, while there has been much talk about the cringe-worthy performance by UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer – partly due to his adorable, hysterical demeanour, and partly because he unwittingly promoted a book that is close to our hearts: Gilad Atzmon’s The Wandering Who? – we should not forget that other so-called Human Rights NGOs took turns at doing their best to detract the attention from what the message of the report was really about (i.e. the Human Rights violations against the Palestinians) and turn it into an ad hominem attack against the messenger.

Of course, I do take pride in being the first to break out the news of Mr. Neuer’s obscene performance (I can be seen standing a couple of rows behind him as he produced a brand new – and possibly never flipped through – copy of TWW: call me, if you like, UN Watch Watch!); however, in the General Debate I took part in, I counted at least three such NGOs, putting their weight behind UN Watch (this is the link to the session): the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (chapter 44), the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations (Chapter 46) and a hitherto unheard of Touro Institute of Human Rights and the Holocaust (Chapter 47).

So you see, Israel’s delegates and representatives were not really withdrawn from the Human Rights Council after all: they’re still there, just wearing a different badge.

By delivering that statement, I just wanted to set the record straight, for what it’s worth: accusing Item Agenda 7 (HR situation in the OPT) of being “anti-Israel” only goes to show how Israeli-centric the mindset of your regular sayan really is: busy concocting stories of perennial persecution, his mind never even considers for a moment that these proceedings might – just might – not be about him, but rather about the native, dispossessed Palestinians (oh yeah, that’s right: those guys!).

Needless to say, the best part of it all was when I received an email from Professor Falk himself, who praised my statement as “an excellent contribution to the debate under Agenda Item 7”.

I plan to go back there in September.

Text of the statement:

Thank you Mr. President,

The Palestinian people have been living under a brutal occupation for 46 years, a cruel regime which affects every area of their daily lives.

Liberation is deeply concerned about the latest developments in the area, which include:

- Hundreds of Palestinians still held captive in administrative detention (without charge or trial), which is a gross violation of Civil and Political Rights.

- The resumption of sniper units to disperse Palestinian demonstrations, a violation of the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly.

- The planned construction of further settlements in the Negev area, threatening to displace tens of thousands of Bedouins.

- The expansion of existing settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. These settlements, whose very existence rests on a discriminatory policy, aside from being a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, are a deliberate obstacle to the Palestinian right to Self-Determination and have a profound, negative impact on the Palestinians’ economic rights.

Mr. President, Israel withdrew its delegates from this august Council last year, stating that it was being treated unfairly: to this, we can only respond by reminding it that the views of this Council reflect those of the International Community and take this opportunity to stress that these proceedings under Agenda Item 7 are not “anti-Israel”, as it has sometimes been claimed, just as denouncing Human Rights violations by Palestinian state and non-state actors, when and if they occur, is not to be considered “anti-Palestinian”.

With promotion and protection of Human Rights everywhere at the heart of our concerns, we welcome Israel’s possible return to – and constructive engagement with – the Human Rights Council

I thank you, Mr. President