Princeton University Professor Richard Falk, who once slammed former U.S. President Jimmy Carter for calling Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini a “religious fanatic,” and who said that the role of neoconservatives in the 9/11 attacks needed to be investigated, said on Monday that Israel was guilty of “ethnic cleansing” in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
In a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Falk said that the "continued pattern of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem combined with the forcible eviction of long-residing Palestinians are creating an intolerable situation" in areas of Jerusalem liberated from Jordanian occupation in 1967. The situation “can only be described in its cumulative impact as a form of ethnic cleansing," he said in the speech.
It is notable that the Palestinian Authority has said that it would not allow any Jews to live in a Palestinian State.
Israel's new ambassador to the UN, Leshno Ya'ar, spoke at the meeting as well, calling on the PA to condemn the murders of the five members of the Fogel family in Itamar several weeks ago. Almost as shocking as the killings, "in the days following the massacre many Palestinians took to the streets celebrating the deaths of this family," he said.
Falk did not comment on the Fogel murders in his speech.
Falk has had a rich background of anti-Israel activities. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on "the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967." He attempted to enter Israel in order to carry out an “investigation,” but was refused entry. He tried to enter the country anyway, in December 2008, but was sent back a day after landing. He accused Israel in an interview at Ben Gurion Airport of carrying out “war crimes” and distorting his views, part of an "insidious pattern of trying to shift the attention from their objections to the person."
Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva at the time, Yitzhak Levanon, said that Israel was justified in barring Falk. "He has taken part in a UN fact-finding mission which determined that suicide bombings were a valid method of 'struggle'. He has disturbingly charged Israel with 'genocidal tendencies', and accused it of trying to achieve security through 'state terrorism'. Someone who has publicly and repeatedly stated such views cannot possibly be considered independent, impartial or objective,” Levanon said.
Falk, who grew up in what he has termed an "assimilationist Jewish (family) with a virtual denial of even the ethnic side of Jewishness,” has long been considered radical, even in world of liberal academia. In 1973, he compared the activities of violent protesters against the Vietnam War with those of people in occupied Nazi countries who were to be commended, not punished, for their opposition to the government, and their willingness to “actively oppose the war by any means,” the New York Times quoted him as saying.
In 1979, after the return of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to Iran, Falk wrote an op-ed for the New York Times “Trusting Khomeini,” in which he criticized then-President Jimmy Carter for saying that Khomeini was a “religious fanatic” and a “theocratic fascist. Having created a new model of popular revolution based, for the most part, on nonviolent tactics, Iran may yet provide us with a desperately-needed model of humane governance for a third-world country,” Falk wrote. He has also expressed “grave doubts” that it was really Arab terrorists who planned and executed the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.
In 2008, Falk wrote in a Scottish publication that “It is not paranoid under such circumstances to assume that the established elites of the American governmental structure have something to hide and much to explain... The persisting inability to resolve this fundamental controversy about 9/11 subtly taints the legitimacy of the American government. It can only be removed by a willingness, however belated, to reconstruct the truth of that day, and to reveal the story behind its prolonged suppression.” In 2004, he called for a new investigation into the attacks, specifically in order to determine what role neoconservatives in the U.S. played in them.