Richard Falk spent 40 years teaching international law at Princeton, where he wrote and co-authored more than 20 books. But at eighty-five, he has become a controversial figure during his recently completed sixyear tenure as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” While controversy may be an occupational hazard of the post, Falk has made waves for his harsh criticism of Israeli foreign policy. On his personal blog in 2012, he wrote, “I formed a well-evidenced belief that the U.S. government and the organized Jewish community were responsible for the massive and enduring confiscation of Palestinian land anR d ichraig rd hFtasl.k”
From an American Jewish family himself, Falk has weathered accusations of anti-Semitism and inflammatory rhetoric regarding 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During his time in office, both the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, were among the high-ranking global leaders who called on Falk to resign.
He will speak in Santa Fe on Wednesday evening, Dec. 2, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center (211 W. San Francisco St.), where he will discuss Palestinian self-determination, followed by a conversation with Palestinian-American journalist Ali Abunimah. The lecture is part of the Lannan Foundation’s ongoing In Pursuit of Cultural Freedom series, which focuses on economics, politics, environmental concerns, and human rights issues.
Over the past two months, letter writers to The Santa Fe New Mexican have opined that the Lannan Foundation routinely brings anti-Israel speakers without any balancing counterpoint. Lannan Foundation director Patrick Lannan counters that several of the speakers who voice pro-Palestinian views are Jewish themselves, and that the foundation’s choice in programming reflects the group’s mission to air perspectives that go underrepresented in the U.S. media climate. He noted that most major newspaper editorial boards, alongside every current Democratic and Republican presidential candidate, have proclaimed their support for Israel. “We bring speakers who are critical of the U.S. justice system, the prison system, the war on drugs,” Lannan told Pasatiempo. “People are happy with our series and the talks are very well-attended.”
For more information and tickets ($6, $3 for students and seniors), head to www.ticketssantafe.org or call 505-988-1234. — Casey Sanchez
I FORMED A WELLEVIDENCED BELIEF THAT THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AND THE ORGANIZED JEWISH COMMUNITY WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR
THE MASSIVE AND ENDURING CONFISCATION OF PALESTINIAN LAND