UN official resigns over secretary-general’s request to withdraw anti-Israel report



Resigned United Nations official Rima Khalaf. Credit: Chatham House via Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) Rima Khalaf, the executive secretary of a United Nations agency that released a controversial report accusing Israel of implementing “an apartheid regime,” resigned from her post Friday after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asked her to withdraw the report.

Earlier, Guterres had said through a spokesperson that the report, released by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), “does not reflect the views of the secretary-general” and was published without consulting the U.N. leader. The report has been withdrawn.

The report from the U.N. body led by Khalaf, a Jordanian national, stated that “available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid.” Further, the report’s author was Richard Falk, a discredited former U.N. special rapporteur for human rights who has an extensive record of virulently anti-Israel rhetoric. Falk has previously praised the Palestinian terror organization Hamas, likening the terror group to the French resistance of World War II.

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon praised Guterres’s approach on the issue.

“The secretary-general’s decision is an important step in ending the bias against Israel at the U.N.,” Danon said Friday. “Anti-Israel activists do not belong in the U.N. It is time to put an end to practice in which U.N. officials use their position to advance their anti-Israel agenda. Over the years, Khalaf has worked to harm Israel and advocate for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. Her removal from the U.N. is long overdue.”

The Beirut-based ESCWA is comprised of 18 Arab nations, including Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and “Palestine.”

Before Khalaf’s resignation, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley had expressed “outrage” over the anti-Israel report and called on Guterres to force its withdrawal.

Posted on March 17, 2017 .