Indy article about (nixed) UN apartheid report fails to reveal the extremism of its author.

Once again, the Indy fails to include information that would undercut their desired narrative about the UK debate over Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, mischaracterising sincere efforts to no-platform extremism as a cynical effort to stifle criticism of the Jewish state.

The Independent continues to publish article after article showing Israel in the worst possible light while ignoring relevant context.  The latest example involves a piece written by Chloe Farand on the cancellation, by two British universities, of talks that were to be given by Richard Falk (UK Universities cancel talk by co-author of report accusing Israeli of apartheid regime, over security concerns, March 25th).

First – a major omission concerning the UN report accusing Israel of apartheid.

Farand writes the following:

A pair of British universities have cancelled talks by the co-author of UN report which concluded that Israel is “an apartheid state, because of security concerns.

He recently co-authored a United Nations report which has found that “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people”.

Israel and its allies condemned the analysis which found that Palestinians are subjected to a “strategic fragmentation” that allows Israel to impose “racial domination” with different sets of laws for different peoples.

Remarkably, Farand neglects to inform Indy readers that the UN report was not merely criticised by “Israel and its allies”.  As widely reported (including at the Independent) on March 20th, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres distanced himself from the report’s findings, and the UN official who heads the agency that originally published it was forced to resign.  The report was subsequently removed from the UN website.  

Second – an omission regarding the background of Richard Falk.

Farand writes the following:

International law professor Richard Falk had been due to speak at Middlesex University London and the University of East London. 

But Middlesex cancelled this week’s event because of “safety concerns” while East London said procedures, including security paperwork, “had not been adequately followed”. 

Professor Falk,a former United Nations (UN) special investigator on human rights in the Palestinian territories, is known to be critical of Israel and the US.

However, Falk is not merely “critical” of Israel and the US.  As even the Indy acknowledged in a previous report on the row, he’s a 9/11 conspiracy theorist.  He’s also an anti-Israel extremist who’s compared Israel to Nazi Germany and has engaged in or legitimised antisemitism.  Falk, for instance, provided an endorsement for the cover of a book by extremist Gilad Atzmon – a book characterised by the CST as one of the most antisemitic books published in the UK in years. 

Farand finishes her article with several paragraphs contextualising the cancellation of the talks by Falk as part of a wider trend limiting academic freedom pertaining to criticism of Israel.  But, this is exactly why the latter omission regarding Falk’s extremist views is so egregious. Indy readers are left with the false impression that opposition to Falk’s presence on campus is based merely on the fact that he’s been “critical” of Israel, rather than on his well-documented history of expressing or endorsing views which are antisemitic per the British government’s definition of the term

Once again, the Indy fails to include information that would undercut their desired narrative about the UK debate over Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, mischaracterising efforts to no-platform extremism as a cynical effort to stifle criticism of the Jewish state.

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