The United Nations Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on Palestinian rights, Richard Falk, has published an “apology” for the publication of an anti-Semitic cartoon showing a kippah (skullcap)-wearing dog on his Internet blog.
The apology, however, is just as offensive, as it is directed equally toward both Jews and animals, as if each was insulted by being compared to the other.
The cartoon appeared on Falk’s blog as an illustration to an entry he made regarding the supposed anti-Arab and pro-Israel hypocrisy of the United States and the International Criminal Court. It shows Lady Liberty taking her dog for a walk. The dog wears a shirt labeled “USA” and dons a Jewish kippah on its head. It is shown gobbling a pile of bloody human bones while wetting Lady Liberty’s foot.
After initially denying that he had even published the cartoon, Falk removed it from his blog. He issued this “apology”:
"With apologies, I realize that the cartoon... had strongly anti-Semitic symbolism that I had not detected before it was pointed out to me...
"My intention has never been to demean in any way Jews as a people despite my strong criticisms of Israeli policies, and some versions of Zionist support...
"Beyond this, if we are to have a sustainable human future we must also make peace with nature, and treat animals with as much respect as possible...
"At the same time, I am quite aware that many of the messages were motivated to discredit me due to my views of Israeli policies and behavior."
The cartoon was noticed last Wednesday by UN Watch, which demanded that UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, issue a statement on the matter.
Falk responded on that same day by saying: "It is a complete lie. I know nothing about such a cartoon, and would never publish such a thing, ever." Later that day he deleted the cartoon. He explained: "Maybe I do not understand the cartoon, and if it offends in this way I have removed it from the blog. It may be in bad taste to an extent I had not earlier appreciated, but I certainly didn’t realize that it could be viewed as anti-semitic, and still do not realize."
In another post Wednesday he commented: "I did not perceive any racist connotations, and certainly no anti-semitic implications, and since it offends people I have removed it without understanding why." He also blamed his imperfect eyesight, at age 80, for causing him to think that the dog's Star of David-adorned kippah was a helmet.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, denounced Falk’s cartoon on the floor of the US Congress.
Falk is Jewish himself. He taught international law and international relations at Princeton University for forty years.