Sec. Hagel Meets with Israeli Counterpart; Provides V-22 Test Drive

— by Sara Fried

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon during his first official visit to Washington on Friday. In April, Hagel announced that the Obama Administration would provide Israel with the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft “as part of an unprecedented package of advanced military capabilities that will increase Israel’s qualitative military edge.”

According to the Department of Defense, Yaalon flew to the Pentagon in the V-22, and “Yaalon and his delegation experienced some of the Osprey’s unique capabilities as Israel plans to incorporate the aircraft into future military planning.”

More after the jump.
During his visit to Washington, Yaalon also spoke before the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He praised Secretary Hagel’s remarks to the Institute six weeks earlier:

What was expressed in Secretary Hagel’s briefing here is the bond between the United States and the State of Israel, based on common interests and common values, and I can tell you that…we have established intimate, earnest dialogue between us… for the benefit of our two countries. And today, my visit is part of these ongoing discussions which has to be done frequently according to the changes in our neighborhood, the Middle East.

Yaalon further emphasized the commonalities between the United States and Israel, and the role of the United States in working with Israel.

Department of Defense photo by Eric A. Kirk-Cuomo.

U.S. Calls for Richard Falk’s Resignation From the UN

Eileen Donahoe

— by Sara Fried

The United States called for the resignation of Richard Falk, U.N. special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, following his statements against the pro-Israel group UN Watch. Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council, said:

The United States completely rejects and condemns the irresponsible call by Mr. Richard Falk, U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, to investigate a legitimate and U.N.-accredited NGO, UN Watch. His statement and recommendation, if given credibility, would threaten the independent voice of civil society at the United Nations.

Continued after the jump.

Mr. Falk’s most recent statement, which he dramatically and recklessly included in an official U.N. document, is characteristic of previous reprehensible comments and actions he has made during his tenure as a special rapporteur. It once again starkly demonstrates that he is unfit to serve in his role as a U.N. special rapporteur.

His views and behavior, both official and unofficial, are offensive and provocative and do nothing to advance peace in the Middle East or to further the protection and promotion of human rights. We again call for his resignation.

According to JTA, Falk accused UN Watch of “‘demeaning’ and ‘defaming’ his character, damaging the ‘credibility,’ ‘effectiveness’ and ‘substantive intention’ of his mandate.” His criticisms of UN Watch followed the organization’s resolution to remove him from his position, after he blamed the Boston Marathon bombings on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”

Abraham Foxman

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) praised Ambassador Donahoe for her statement against Falk. ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said:

We fully agree with Ambassador Donahoe’s conclusion that Mr. Falk is ‘unfit to serve in his role as a U.N. special rapporteur.’ His continued affiliation with the U.N. makes a mockery out of the Human Rights Council’s founding purpose, and undermines the important work of the U.N. If he does not leave voluntarily, the Human Rights Council should remove him.