GENEVA, March 17, 2017 – UN Watch welcomed today’s resignation by Palestinian Rima Khalaf from her post as head of a Beirut-based UN agency, comprised of 18 Arab states, after what she described as pressure from secretary-general Antonió Guterres to withdraw a report accusing Israel of “apartheid.” The report appears to have been deleted today from the U.N. ESCWA agency’s website.
As revealed by UN Watch, the author of the report was disgraced ex-UN official Richard Falk, who had been denounced on repeated occasions by former UN chief Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders for espousing 9/11 conspiracy theories, blaming the U.S. and Israel for the Boston Marathon bombing, and spreading antisemitism.
Earlier this week, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley welcomed remarks by Guterres’ spokesman distancing himself from the report, but she demanded that the UN “withdraw the report altogether.”
“When someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the UN,” said Haley today in reaction, “it is appropriate that the person resign. UN agencies must do a better job of eliminating false and biased work, and I applaud the Secretary-General’s decision to distance his good office from it.”
“Guterres deserves credit for doing the right thing,” said Hillel Neuer, who sparred with Falk repeatedly during the latter’s fraught 6-year term as the UN Human Rights Council’s investigator of alleged Israeli violations.
“But there is no question that the initial moral voice here was that of U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley, and that it was U.S. leverage which prompted the UN to act.”