Professor Richard Falk is a distinguished academic expert on international law with some 40 books under his belt and a lifetime of learning and teaching that has taken him on a journey through some of the best universities in the United States. Naturally, he was not on the radar of what Jewish feminist Letty Cottin Pogrebin calls the “Pro-Israel Mafia” until he was appointed to several high level UN Palestine-related posts including the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories.
In these positions as a human rights watchdog he has proven himself perfectly willing to strongly criticize Israeli human rights policies. In 2007, he famously compared the Israeli treatment of Palestinians in Gaza with Nazi treatment of Jews- warning of a possible impending “collective tragedy” in an article than will only be judged in retrospect as either provocatively alarmist or prophetic, but certainly was morally sincere and rationally-driven.
Naturally, however, this is not allowed.
Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton, may be able to make Aliyah in Israel should he choose to exercise his right to return as a Jew, but he can’t actually enter the country in his role as the UN’s special human rights rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories. BBC says this about the deportation of one of the world’s most respected experts in his field:
Mr Falk was stopped at Tel Aviv airport on Sunday and sent back to the United States on Monday morning.
An official accused him of following a distorted, anti-Israeli mandate.
“[He] does not try to advance human rights, but instead comes with his conclusions ready and those conclusions are of course extreme, methodic criticism of Israel and only of Israel,” said foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.
A spokeswoman for the interior ministry spokeswoman said the former Princeton University international law professor had been told he would be turned back if he flew to Israel.
Falk’s essay Slouching Toward a Palestinian Holocaust, has raised the ire of many who accuse him of comparing the Israelis to Nazis. Falk explained in an interview in The Nation earlier this summer:
The references to the Holocaust and to the Nazi policies were not meant to be literal comparisons but were intended to show that the policies being pursued, in Gaza in particular, had holocaustal implications if they were not changed. And the mind-set of holding an entire people responsible for opposition and resistance embodies a kind of collective punishment psychology that was very characteristic of the way the Nazis justified what they did to the Jewish people. But my intention was based on the feeling that you have to shout to be heard, and perhaps that was not the best way to make the argument. I would be quite prepared to abandon that terminology but not prepared to alter my concern about the character of the policies being pursued.