Richard Falk, the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on the situation of Palestinian human rights in the West Bank and Gaza, was denied entry to Israel. Falk, who is Jewish, has been very critical of Israeli policies and he was barred entry at Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday with his entourage.
Simona Halperin, the director of the Foreign Ministry’s International Organization and Human Rights department, said that Falk was turned back since as rapporteur he was “illegitimate” because he is “completely unobjective.”
Missing in this logic, however, is the idea that people should not be barred for their views. Falk is not a threat to security. He may be an annoyance to the government and his appointment infuriated officials. I know little about Falk and I am certainly no fan of UN officials who can sometimes have authoritarian views of their own such as nited Nations General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann. However, Falk’s views are shared by many inside and outside of the country. To deny entry to a UN official because of the content of his view is a self-defeating act for Israel and an abuse in my view.
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