Despite the departure of United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories Richard Falk following the end of his six-year term, B’nai B’rith International remains deeply concerned with the position itself and by the choice of Falk’s successor, former Indonesian U.N. Ambassador Makarim Wibisono.
Throughout Falk’s tumultuous time in Geneva, he was not only unwavering in his repeated, vile attacks on Israel, but also trafficked in 9/11 conspiracy theories, posted an anti-Semitic cartoon to his blog and blamed the Boston Marathon bombings on the United States’ “compliant ear” in regard to Israel.
B’nai B’rith is pleased he is finally leaving, although the council should have removed Falk from his position long ago. Unfortunately, Falk’s absence from the UNHRC will not be complete as his wife and collaborator, professor Hilal Elver, was appointed to be the special rapporteur on the right to food. Jean Ziegler, a previous rapporteur in that position, used the right to food mandate in the past to attack Israel and the United States. B’nai B’rith is concerned that Elver will also attempt to politicize the right to food mandate.
“During Falk’s six years at the Human Rights Council, it seemed that his only job was to fuel the flames of the council’s one-sided and willfully ignorant actions against Israel,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “The position he occupied is inherently discriminatory, and with the appointment of Wibisono, based on his previous comments, it doesn’t look like the situation will improve significantly.”
The president of the UNHRC selected Wibisono—after receiving intense pressure from Arab and Muslim states—over Georgetown University Law Center lecturer Christina Cerna, who received unanimous approval from the council’s own vetting-panel.
Apart from Wibisono’s home country’s refusal to recognize the State of Israel or allow Israelis to visit, the former chairman of the now defunct-U.N. Human Rights Commission is known to have made biased remarks against Israel. Wibisono has accused Israel of “callous attacks against terrorized and defenseless civilians” and of having a “policy of retribution against the entire Palestinian nation.”
“Wibisono’s appointment only further undermines what little credibility the Human Rights Council has left following Falk’s destructive tenure,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “The selection process for this rapporteur makes it clear that certain member states of the council were looking only for candidates with experience attacking Israel and advancing the Palestinian narrative at the U.N., which aligns perfectly with the mandate of this biased post.”
B’nai B’rith will continue to fight against the council’s seemingly never-ending obsession with Israel.