US pressure: UN official forced to resign over declaring Israel “apartheid state”

A U.N. official resigned Friday after her commission came under fire from U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley for releasing a report, authored by an anti-Israel scholar, which called Israel an “apartheid state” – a report Haley demanded withdrawn and that has since been removed from the commission’s website.

Rima Khalaf, who was Executive Director of the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, said in a press conference she had resigned after U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres demanded she retract the controversial report.

“It was expected, naturally, that Israel and its allies would exercise immense pressure on the U.N. secretary general to distance himself from the report and to ask for it to be withdrawn,” she said, referring to fierce objections from Israeli and U.S. officials.

By Friday afternoon, the report had nevertheless been removed from the commission’s website. The report said Israel’s policies in regards to Palestine today meet the definition of “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination” by one racial group over another.

“Aware of the seriousness of this allegation, the authors of the report conclude that available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law,” the report said.

Particularly egregious for U.S. and Israeli officials was the decision to get controversial scholar Richard Falk to author the report.