Canada called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to dismiss its special investigator Richard Falk after he accused Israel of "genocidal" intentions against the Palestinians in a brief English language interview on Russian television.
"Canada has previously called for Falk to be fired for his numerous outrageous and anti-Semitic statements and these comments underscore once more the complete and total absurdity of his service as a UN Special Rapporteur," Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird said in a statement he issued on Monday.
"Not only do these comments undermine the fundamental values of the UN, they also belittle the terrible genocides that have tragically taken place throughout history and around the world," Baird said."I call on the United Nations Human Rights Council – once again – to remove Falk from this position immediately," Baird said. He added that his country rejects Falk's comments.
He spoke in the aftermath of Falk's brief appearance on December 15 on Russia's English television news program RT. Falk was interviewed for only a few seconds as part of a larger program on Israel that included an argument that it was Israel, not Iran, which had a dangerous nuclear program.
Falk was asked about a past article he had written in which he said that Israel was "slouching toward nothing less than a Palestinian holocaust."
Falk told RT, "When you target a group, an ethnic group and inflict this kind of punishment upon them, you are in effect nurturing a kind of criminal intention that is genocidal."
Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor also attacked Falk's statements.
"This man has already branded himself as the radical version of extremism," Palmor said.
"This man has been known for years for his strident racism, verbal violence and obsessional disparaging of Israel and others and for that he was the target of unprecedented criticism by many in the UN including the secretary-general. The fact that such a conspiracist, hate monger remains on the UN payroll is a moral stain on his employer," said Palmor.
Falk, who is a professor Emeritus of international law at Princeton University, was appointed in 2008 to a six-year position as the UN's special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories.
But even before he was appointed he had warned against a pending Palestinian holocaust. He has also written about possible American complicity in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
In the aftermath of his comments, UN Watch, a non-governmental Geneva based group that monitors UN activity, has called for Falk's removal in letters that it wrote both UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon and US ambassador to the UN in New York Samantha Powers. But Falk can only be removed by a vote of the UNHRC in Geneva.
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer said that Falk's comments were "outrageous" and a "warrant for terrorism" against Israel.
Accusing Israel of genocidal intentions legitimizes violence against Israel, Neuer said.
"If Israel has genocidal intentions than what isn't permissible to do against Israel."
The US, which is a member of the UNHRC , must take the lead in pushing for Falk's removal, said Neuer.
"The US has forcibly promoted the narrative that the council has been made credible, effective and authoritative, it bears a special responsibility to initiate the removal of Falk," Neuer said.