Israeli and American Jews of the non-leftist, non-Al-Jazeera, non-lunatic-fringe variety, UN-watchers, even the squeamish, dilatory, relativist U.S. government, have responded with disgust to the most recent offense—a repugnant Der Stürmerish cartoon depicting a dog sporting a U.S.A. sweater and a yarmulke with the Star of David on it urinating on a statue of Justice and devouring bloody human remains (likely a dead Gazan) posted last week on his blog, Citizen Pilgrimage, as accompaniment to some truly vile anti-American dialectic—in a decades-long string of them committed by Richard Falk, emeritus professor of international law (extremely excellent work, Princeton, as ever!), UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur to the Palestinian Territories, anti-Semite, anti-Zionist, and Truther.
So deep and so wide has been the public revulsion over Professor Truther Falk’s latest that his head is in danger of rolling—maybe not much, because we’re talking about a Council whose membership includes Cameroon, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Cuba—but some; in any case, he’s removed the cartoon from the blog, and issued a little screed, disguised, barely, as an apology, which is worth reading in all its amazing, self-justifying, Tom-Friedmanesque-planet-animising, Israel-bashing entirety:
With apologies, I realize that the cartoon that originally appeared on my blog devoted to the arrest warrants for Qaddafi and two others issued by the ICC had strongly anti-semitic symbolism that I had not detected before it was pointed out to me. I posted the cartoon to express my view that double standards pertained to the American and ICC approach to international criminal accountability. As soon as I was made aware of the anti-semitic content of the cartoon I removed it from my blog, although initially I denied such a posting because I did not realize that it was anti-semitic and was mistaken as to what was being referred to. 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. My interest and commitment has always been directed at finding a just and sustainable peace for both peoples, although I believe that this must be based on a belated recognition of Palestinian rights, and not on power relationships.
To be clear, I oppose any denigration of a people based on ethnicity, race, religion, stage of development, and believe in the human dignity of all people in their individual and collective identity. 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. This is both a sacred imperative of my idea of a spiritual life, but also an integral aspect of species survival on an increasingly crowded, overheated, and endangered planet.
Returning to the cartoon, I regret my carelessness, and apologize for any unintended hurt and outrage caused thereby. 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.
One of those “messages” is a statement issued the other day by the U.S. Mission to the UN alleging that Professor Truther Falk’s “shameful and outrageous behavior is an embarrassment to the United Nations,” and that “Someone who publishes such vicious images has no place in the UN system.”
On the contrary. The reputation of the man and the honor of the world-wide body he has served so faithfully are inextricable. The UN is unembarrassable, and this Pilgrim—who removed the cartoon from the post but not the photo-shopped image of George W. Bush behind bars or the accusation of U.S. criminality that were ubiquitous at anti-war demonstrations and websites during “the American led aggressive war waged against Iraq in 2003”—is its emblematic Citizen.