Then there is United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice. She echoed Peretz by describing Falk as being "highly biased." Well, what sort of attitude is one supposed to have toward overwhelming evidence persisting over many years? Isn't one supposed to be "biased" in favor of such evidence? To ignore it doesn't make you balanced or fair. It makes you either corrupt or in a deep state of denial.
Ms Rice goes on to say that "Mr. Falk's recommendations do nothing to further a peaceful settlement...and indeed poison the environment for peace." These are pretty strong words, but if considered critically they make little sense. First of all, Falk's mandate requires him to reveal the facts about human rights violations in the Palestinian territories. It makes no reference to "furthering a peaceful settlement." That is what the U.S. government claims to be doing. And its record in this regard is pitiful. Second, just why should conclusively documenting practices that may well be standing in the way of a settlement, be equated with "poisoning the environment for peace"? That doesn't add up at all.
There are many other spokespeople who have reacted negatively to Falk's latest report ranging from the Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister to representatives of the companies caught on the wrong side of the law. And, remarkably, they all sing the same song: Falk is bias, ad nauseum. They can do no better because they cannot refute the professor's evidence. Thus, all of these well-positioned, well-paid representatives of nations and multinational businesses are reduced to sounding like lawyers defending the mafia.
Part III - Conclusion
Professor Falk's experience should serve as a warning to both those who would, on the one hand, make a career out of being a spokesperson for governments or companies, and on the other, those who would dedicate themselves to "speaking truth to power." Taking on the role of the former is the equivalent of selling your soul to leadership whose sense of right and wrong goes no further than their own local interests. Taking on the role of the latter is to face seemingly endless frustration for, as Noam Chomsky once noted, power already knows the truth and doesn't care one jot for it.
Yet, for those who would travel down this latter road, Richard Falk is as good a role model as can be found. Having dedicated himself to the role of truth teller, he is to be commended for his devotion to justice and sheer durability. He is a hero who, hopefully, will have his praises sung long after Ms Peretz and Ms Rice are deservedly forgotten.
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