When Bashar al-Assad’s Syria praises you for your “bravery“ that is a good indication that you have wound up on the wrong side of a lot of things: History? Morality? Reason? Take your pick.
But if your name is Richard Falk, the praise is being heaped upon you at the United Nations, the setting is a meeting of the Human Rights Council and the topic for discussion is Israel, one can at least be forgiven for being completely unsurprised.
As the slaughter continues in Syria, as the weekly beheadings are carried out in Saudi Arabia, as the torture and murder rolls on in Iran, the UN’s urgent priority for the first working day of this month was, of course, Israel.
The session was occasioned by Mr Falk’s latest “report” in his capacity as “Special Rapporteur” for the Palestinian territories. Proceedings were documented by the indefatigable Hillel Neuer and his team at UN Watch, a prolific NGO that consistently details and challenges the Human Rights Council’s transgressions.
As the group noted, Mr Falk is well known for his pro-Hamas sympathies and his bizarre conspiracy theories surrounding the terror attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.
With items like that staring out of your curriculum vitae, there is little in terms of shock value you can do for an encore, and Mr Falk was reduced to trotting out the standard anti-Israeli line and a call for the even more standard anti-Israeli resolution, coupled with yet another “study” designed to do down the Jewish state.
In itself, it is a terrifying indictment of our global institutions that such a man has such a position in such a body. But as UN spokespeople are wont to respond, the UN and its constituent institutions merely reflect the nature of the member states.
At Monday’s meeting we were thus treated to Iran shaking its fist at “flagrant violations“ of human rights; Cuba condemning Israeli “genocide”; Saudi Arabia talking of a “continued and systematic violation“ of Palestinian rights. Bahrain and Venezuala chipped in too.
Standing back for a moment, It is tempting to dismiss this sort of thing. But we should not. The UN Human Rights Council acts as a key forum for the legitimisation of the global hate campaign against the State of Israel.
Britain, as a member, should be urgently pushing for its radical reform.
Robin Shepherd is Director, International Affairs, at the Henry Jackson Society