In This Review

Palestine: The Legitimacy of Hope
Palestine: The Legitimacy of Hope
By Richard A. Falk
Just World Books, 2014, 238 pp

For decades, Falk was a professor of international relations and international law at Princeton University. Between 2008 and 2014, he was the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. This book collects blog posts that Falk wrote during that time, and it is an unapologetic indictment of Israel—a country that, according to Falk, evinces racist and even genocidal instincts. He accuses Israel of practicing collective punishment, especially against the people of Gaza. U.S. policymakers are in thrall to Israel and underwrite its practices; the rest of the world, Falk urges, need not and should not do so. He sees the Palestinians as waging a war for legitimacy, in which they must deploy the weapons of international law that Israel and the United States have denied them; the law, he contends, will be the great equalizer. Unfortunately, Falk does not consider the other “equalizers” deployed by Hamas and Hezbollah: unconventional war and terrorism. The book will be dismissed by some as an anti-Semitic screed. That would be unfair. Stripped of its provocative rhetoric, Falk’s book describes a basic reality.