UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk has once again elicited criticism over his claim that Israel is harbouring “genocidal” intent. During an interview broadcast on Russia Today, Falk asserted: “When you target a group, an ethnic group, and inflict this kind of punishment upon them, you are in effect nurturing a kind of criminal intention that is genocidal.”
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird repudiated Falk’s remarks and called upon the UN Human Rights Council to dismiss Falk from his position due to alleged “numerous outrageous and anti-Semitic statements”. Baird added, “Not only do these comments undermine the fundamental values of the United Nations, but they also belittle the terrible genocides that have tragically taken place throughout history and around the world.”
Ostensibly a continuation of the criticism which Falk has evoked through his accurate descriptions regarding the colonisation of Palestine, Baird’s comments are reminiscent of a deeper imperialist framework. This involves the complicity of the United Nations, Israel and its Western allies, as well as certain academic structures aiding the selective interpretation of history which is endorsed consequently as absolute.
Primarily, the enforcement of alienation has ensured an expression of revulsion over a blunt portrayal of the truth, revealing the global manipulation of historical memory. Descriptions of Israel’s colonisation process marked by a sequence of massacres justified by Zionism reflect an accurate reality of the foundations upon which the illegally-sanctioned state has been built. Falk’s comments reiterate the authenticity of Palestinian narratives, which are disregarded regularly to further the rhetoric of security concerns to which Israel and its allies are partial.
Baird’s statement articulates the imperialist framework which delegitimises Palestinian resistance in favour of promoting the alleged “fundamental values” of the United Nations in accordance with its leniency towards the colonisation of Palestine. While the Canadian foreign minister may seek to isolate Falk from the international organisation, it is the UN itself which has acquiesced willingly to the imperialist narrative. While Falk’s comments derive legitimacy from the frameworks of history and international law, the UN has embraced the imperialist interpretation of international law which sanctions violations against the oppressed.
“Genocide” has also been misused within the imperialist agenda to justify foreign intervention and collateral damage. However, any application of the term to Israel’s extermination of Palestinians is deemed abhorrent by the same nations and organisations which have justified various massacres in the name of protection and peace. The same trend is evident in academia, wherein the Holocaust is deemed the epitome of genocide, while ignoring other atrocities inflicted upon indigenous populations to consolidate colonial conquests. The genocide committed by Israel against the Palestinians, notably in 1948, does not feature in Western academic discourse, enhancing complicity and impunity while glorifying abstracts such as fundamental values, a phrase featuring in Baird’s alleged concern about Falk’s alleged misrepresentation of Israel.
Following decades of imperialist-sanctioned colonisation, it is time that Falk’s reports about Israel stand as testimony to the flagrant human rights violations against Palestinians, as well as a constructive challenge to the undeserved illusion of integrity associated with the UN.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.