Apology for Unintentionally Posting Anti-Semitic Cartoon in Qaddafi Arrest Warrant Blog

6 Jul

With apologies, I realize that the cartoon that originally appeared on my blog devoted to the arrest warrants for Qaddafi and two others issued by the ICC had strongly anti-semitic symbolism that I had not detected before it was pointed out to me. I posted the cartoon to express my view that double standards pertained to the American and ICC approach to international criminal accountability. As soon as I was made aware of the anti-semitic content of the cartoon I removed it from my blog, although initially I denied such a posting because I did not realize that it was anti-semitic and was mistaken as to what was being referred to. My intention has never been to demean in any way Jews as a people despite my strong criticisms of Israeli policies, and some versions of Zionist support. My interest and commitment has always been directed at finding a just and sustainable peace for both peoples, although I believe that this must be based on a belated recognition of Palestinian rights, and not on power relationships.

To be clear, I oppose any denigration of a people based on ethnicity, race, religion, stage of development, and believe in the human dignity of all people in their individual and collective identity. Beyond this, if we are to have a sustainable human future we must also make peace with nature, and treat animals with as much respect as possible. This is both a sacred imperative of my idea of a spiritual life, but also an integral aspect of species survival on an increasingly crowded, overheated, and endangered planet.

Returning to the cartoon, I regret my carelessness, and apologize for any unintended hurt and outrage caused thereby. At the same time, I am quite aware that many of the messages were motivated to discredit me due to my views of Israeli policies and behavior.


44 Responses to “Apology for Unintentionally Posting Anti-Semitic Cartoon in Qaddafi Arrest Warrant Blog”

  1. norm depalma July 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    I fail to understand why you feel the need to apologize. When the Danish newspapers published cartoons defaming the Prophet, where were the apologies then?
    What kind of ‘freedom of speech’ can you possess when you are coerced into a disavowal of a simple opinion? What does this mean for the rest of our society— when a scholar and humanitarian can be forced to relinquish his rights, what can a simple man expect will befall him next?
    And should your followers now expect your thoughts and opinions to be ‘chilled’ accordingly?!!
    I do not get this.

    • Racheli Gai July 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

      I disagree. Just because Danish newspapers published (and maybe still do) racist cartoons doesn’t mean that everyone should follow suit. I think that when one makes a mistake and realizes it – the best thing to do is to apologize. This doesn’t diminish one’s standing, but rather enhances it. It’s not about relinquishing of rights, but about modeling responsible behavior.

  2. Fed_Up July 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    I see now why your apology is so half-hearted & disingenuous: your fan base is as deluded as you are. Your are allowed to insult & lie at will because “other people were offended by other things.” I ashamed to be in the Liberal camp, with you & your followers who hold that opinions are as good as facts if said opinions back up pre-conceived falsehoods. But I will not let you destroy the label for everyone else!

  3. John Edward Kendrick July 6, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    Offense is much more often taken than it is intended.

    Is this propitiative behavior a variant of Stockholm syndrome?

  4. Fred Bartels July 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    @norm depalma – There was an apology in the danish cartoon case. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/26/danish-cartoons-muhammad-politiken-apology

  5. Ken July 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    Moderator: If you are willing to publish my comment at all, please publish this one. The first attempt was riddled with typos. I think your critics are being very hard on you. You were merely “careless.” You did not notice that the cartoon portraying a dog wearing a kippah devouring bones with blood dripping from its murderous lips was antisemitic. You undoubtedly also didn’t notice it was viciously antiamerican, portraying America as the modern incarnation of the blood dripping Jewish dog. No doubt you merely thought, in your “carelessness” that you were posting a benign feel-good image of Lady Justice taking her puppy for a walk in springtime.

    Sarcasm aside, if anyone who worked for me brought embarrassment to my organization the way you’ve brought it to the UN they’d be looking for work before sundown.

  6. just me 95 July 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    Sir, if you feel the need to apologize, how much moreso should the UN apologize for its anti-semetic stance? It is clear that, come September, or whenever they decide to vote, the UN will lock arms with Muslim Nations and set about on the destruction of Israel. The UN seats Iran on the UN Women’s Rights Commission – a country that stones its women, allows its prison guards to rape female dissidents before executing them, lest their victims go to heaven as virgins, allows Iranian men to avail themselves of temporary marriages, de facto legalizing the institutionalized slavery and rape of prepubescent girls, and whose women are consigned to the backs of buses, have to shroud their bodies from head to toe, and can’t wear anything bright or shiny – and immediately afterwards that commission condemns Israel. Or was the seating of Iran ‘just a mistake’, too?
    And what about in April 2004, when the UN envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, called Israel’s policies “the great poison in the region.”
    Or in August 2005, just as Israel was prepared to implement its disengagement from the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority produced materials to celebrate the Israeli withdrawal with banners that read, “Gaza Today. The West Bank and Jerusalem Tomorrow.” News agencies reported that the banners were produced with funds from the UN Development Program and were printed with the UNDP’s logo. The List goes on.
    There is a saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” They look like vultures to me.

  7. Frank Tamimi Kahn July 6, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    No worries Richard! The apology is a gentleman’s gesture and appreciated. Only those who reject your powerful advocacy of the Palestinian cause are going to try and exploit your mistake. And hey! Age is catching up with all us! Be well!

  8. Jay July 6, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    Kill yourself already.

  9. Jane Fitzherbert July 7, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    If any of my children were studying with you I would make sure they left the
    school by sundown. Shame on you.

  10. Maor July 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    Dear Mr. Falk,
    While I disagree with pretty much every opinion you ever expressed, I do agree that you did not have any antisemitic intentions in publishing that cartoon in your blog, and I believe you that you didn’t notice the “star of David” on the dog at first. I believe you since I myself had difficulties noticing the antisemitic mark on that cartoon after I read on UN Watch that you did such a thing. I also think that UN Watch were unfair to you on this issue – you should not be attacked on mistakes you make, especially when so many things you do on purpose deserve a strong condemnation 🙂

  11. Josh July 7, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Rather than reflecting any sort of intellectual process, your apology reeks of populist pandering and manipulation.

    Or perhaps you really are that stupid to have missed the venomous message of the cartoon.

    But hey don’t sweat it, Richard. Am Yisrael Chai.

  12. A disillusioned Israeli July 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Professor, you don’t have to apologize!

    Everyone in his right senses knows that the US is not a moral state and the Yarmulke just symbolizes the Israeli Lobby whose existence is not a secret. I would say the cartoon only depicts what everyone already knows and can offend only those who really want to or make a living out of being offended.

  13. Mark Bernadiner July 7, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    Richard Folk is islamofacsist whore and must be exterminated

  14. Mohamed Diam July 8, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    You are just mistaken about the aim of zionism and Israel which globaly the more ancient people of the middle east. dis your hear about a kingdom of Palestine these last 2000 years? Jerusalem had been the capital of which kingdom these last 2000 years?.
    A lucid view about middle east would push you to our group which aim to promote the creation of a new country which should be named JORDASTINE ( a Palestine into JOrdan borders), for which all the nations would invest hundred of billions of $ in order to make justice for arabs of middle east which lost their lands in 1948. Israel have the undeniable right to live there BUT making a little shitty country between jordan and Israel is not a stable future, that’s not make sense Richard. Even a confereration multicutural is not a future for jewsa nd for arabs there. Look the last 100 years, all multicultural confederations finished in a bloodshed: Lebanon, yugoslavia, Irak,… More peacefully but separated: Czekoslovakia, USRR, ….. Join our group

  15. David Rochinsky July 8, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Falk, you are a nudnick (you probably were a nudnick as a kid as well). How do you see yourself as working for the UN on racism issues when you obviously have deeply seated racist feelings yourself? The UN is an embarrasment and so are you my friend. DaveR

  16. Kafka July 8, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    I accept your apology. Personifying the state of Israel as a dog is offensive (just like making Muhammad a camel) because in many jewish homes a dog may be seen as unclean or mangy (especially the way this dog was drawn), but Israel “pissing” on justice is an apt and acceptable political cartoon especially with Israel’s current actions.

    Thank you for standing up for what is unfair and unjust. Quite a few of Israel’s actions, in the past and recently, are contrary to a spirit of justice and fairness.

  17. Stanislas Pugnitzki July 8, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    I am continually astonished by this self-hating Jewish son of a Jewish family. Anti-Semite does not begin to show the true colours of this racist. Make no mistake about it… Falk is a racist, anti-semitic moron! One need only read Falk’s writings for confirmation of this sad fact.

  18. Sean Johnson July 8, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    Richard, your Human Rights record is a failure and you are as useless as the Unted Nations – Just another stab in the back of ‘all’ Jewish people worldwide. Thank you for the apology, I had a good laugh this morning. Time to retire or just fade away!

  19. David Simantob July 8, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Let me understand this, on July 6, UN Watch, submitted a complaint about the cartoon to Navi Pillay, the high commissioner for Human Rights and your boss. The same morning, you then wrote on your blog: “It is a complete lie. I know nothing about such a cartoon, and would never publish such a thing, ever.” Only after a reader sent you a link showing the cartoon on your own website, you wrote: “Maybe I do not understand the cartoon, and if it offends in this way I have removed it from the blog. It may be in bad taste to an extent I had not earlier appreciated, but I certainly didn’t realize that it could be viewed as anti-semitic [sic], and still do not realize.” Not a heart-stirring apology yet. Later you wrote that “since it offends people I have removed it without understanding why.” Still no appology. Since with your apparent education, you cannot remember what you posted or realize it is anti-Jewish after it is posted, are you really qualified to act in any way with regard to the Jewish State? Your time to resign was when you espoused the nonsense about 9/11 but it is now long passed as evidenced by your continued anti-semitic hatred.

  20. Ana July 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    You don’t need to apologize. I didn’t notice the cartoon but I know some Brazilians Jews that and don’t take humor, especially a caricature, as an offense.
    Funny because you used the verb “denigrate”. In Portuguese we have “denegrir” with the same meaning and it means “turn black”.
    Some people say we shouldn’t use the verb because it is as offense to the black people.
    This is too much.
    We also have a verb “judiar” that means “mistreat people”. Some people also claim we cannot use it because of we are offending the Jews.
    If people mobilized this way whenever actions that are massacring and hurting people I’m sure this would be a better world. Let’s fear words and drawings and make a fuss about it.

  21. Ana July 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    I just read Kafka’s comment and I agree with him.
    What the Israel government, I said “government” did ans is doing… This is what they should care! But whenever we say: what about… Sabra and Shatila? for instance we are silenced.
    We are not allowed to say anything about Israel wrongdoings.
    Who did this law and why are Israel government’s actions beyond good or evil?

  22. The Table Talk Blog July 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    I too disagree with the majority of your opinions, but nonetheless want to thank you for going out of your way to rectify what was clearly an honest mistake. As both a Jew and a Zionist, I am ashamed of the personal demonetization being lobbied against you by your detractors. I hope it does not unduly turn you away from the others who share my opinions, but do not seek to attack your character. It’s not easy to admit to such a public mistake, and I applaud your efforts to do so.

  23. Mark Bernadiner July 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Falk just reflects UN position which is: UN is a gang of useless idiots, pathological liars, genetic thieves and murferers, and islamofascist whores. UN must be eliminated from the earth and all UN administration must be exterminated totally, unconditionally and immediately.

  24. Ethan Daniel Schur July 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    Richard Falk,

    The nature of your blog is clearly anti-Israel. I would like to debate you on the legal status of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria under international law.

    When I saw that picture, with that dog, urinating and devouring flesh, it reminded me of the “Jewish Sow” that was a popular caricature of Jews in middle ages Germany.

    How is it that a man appointed to monitor Israel is so biased, so hurtful, and now, clearly, antisemitic.

    You aren’t even allowed to set foot in the State of Israel because of your actions!

    Step down! You have deeply offended me and my family. You make a mockery of the UN.

    Ethan Daniel Schur

  25. Robby D. July 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    Once again, it’s raining hatred of Israel and Jews up here.
    Not Syria, mind you, or Iran or Libya or Hezbollah or Hamas — but Israel.
    Now if only you people had jobs, girlfriends, a litle bit of money in the bank, some plan for your lives — you wouldn’t be up here all the time accomplishing nothing except spreading hate. This is what envy of people you imagine have all of these things (and don’t deserve to have them) has lead you to.

  26. me@johnsmith.com July 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    By backing down and apologizing you basically just dropped your pants and took a massive streaming dump on freedom of speech.

    If you’ve ever wondered who rules you, simply ask the question “who can I not criticize?”.

  27. lagatta à montréal July 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    Mark Bernadiner is one scary dude, with his calls to “exterminate” people he doesn’t like. Would it be Godwinesque to tell him whom he reminds me of?

    Richard Falk, thanks for the apology.

  28. Anon July 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    I understand your need to post the apology but as far as I understand the cartoon offended some people. So did you remove the blogpost?

    If you still have it online please redirect me to it.


    • Richard Falk July 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

      I don’t have it, but the cartoon can be found on the Google image page for the International Criminal Court.

      The blog was devoted to the ICC arrest warrants issued for Qaddafi and two others, and the cartoon was mistakenly
      thought by me to represent double standards with respect to international criminal accountability.

      • Sid Bacharach July 10, 2011 at 9:19 am #

        Professor Falk, Your latest explanation is that you didn’t “see the helmet with the Jewish star” on it when you posted your criticism of the US and Israel. Your defense is now that while you are not deliberately posting cartonns insult Jews in the most vile way, you are simply a sloppy and careless academician. You write that you posted without doing your homework and without making even a cursory inspection of what you were publishing. So the next time one of your students submits a term paper with incorrect citations, with misquotes and with factual errors, you, Professor Falk, will simply say to the student: “It’s OK to be sloppy and careless. I do it all the times. Princeton allows for sloppiness and carelessness and indifference from its students and will not affect your grade”
        My dear Professor Falk, I realize now that I should send my daughters to Princeton and advise them to take your classes. That way they can sleep until noon, submit term papers chock full of errors and you will still give them a high grade and say “Tut tut, I am careless and sloppy too. Not a big deal”.

  29. Billy Woodpecker July 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Let’s not forget the freedom of speech! It holds true for all sides, but some extreme violent views expressed here are disturbing.

  30. Michael July 10, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    You clearly exhibit too much bias to be a competent investigator. It’s humorous that you posted a cartoon to criticize US double standards when the UN is far more guilty of moral double standards. Four million people can be killed in the Congo, political prisoner camps can overflow in North Korea, Saudis can bring in immigrant workers to be sex slaves, and Iranians can persecute religious and political dissenters, but all COMBINED receive less focus from UN human rights bodies than Israel’s attempts at self defense. Could this have something to do with how many votes Arab and Moslem countries have in the UN? Could this have something to do with their oil supplies and their combined buying power as consumers? How much joy do you get fighting on behalf of the rich and powerful while pretending to yourself that you are on the side of the underdog? Are you planning to attack the UN for it’s moral double standards? I didn’t think so.

  31. Antony July 17, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

    keep the fire burning and stand for justice, why apologize over the cartoon?

  32. Rafael Santos July 19, 2011 at 4:43 am #

    Hello, I have followed with great joy your work because you are one of the many people who motivate others to strive for a fairer world, to pursue peace. You will certainly be the target of dirty propaganda of Israel, which will not change your story. Because the truth is not alongside Israel, they stick to anything to change the focus of debate, that is ethnic cleansing, theft, genocide, use of prohibited weapons, nuclear weapons, economic blockade … Why not talk about the fourth Geneva Convention, or on resolutions 181, 242 of the UN? Continue your good work, if everyone does their part, peace and justice are possible.

    • Richard Falk July 19, 2011 at 7:05 am #

      Thanks, Rafael, for your kind and supportive words. I agree that the struggle for justice must continue whatever the obstacles, and that in the end I believe that righteousness will prevail.

      • Romeu Monteiro July 19, 2011 at 7:41 am #

        Richard Falk, are you condoning accusations of ethnic cleansing and genocide regarding Israel’s actions? Are you classifying that as “kind and supportive words”?

        Do you have any proof to support those accusations? If not, why do you let that propaganda pass on your blog without saying anything about it?

      • Richard Falk July 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

        I try to explain my views of the conditions of the occupation in my UN reports that are on file, and although I have not alleged ‘genocide’ I have endorsed the view that the policies pursued in East Jerusalem amount to a form of ‘ethnic cleansing’ (manipulating residence permits, expulsions, house demolitions, settlement expansions)


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