On Jewish Identity

15 Jan


As someone who is both Jewish and supportive of the Palestinian struggle for a just and sustainable peace, I am often asked about my identity. The harshest critics of my understanding of the Israel/Palestine conflict contend that I am a self-hating Jew, which implies that sharp criticism of Israel and Zionism are somehow incompatible with affirming a Jewish identity. Of course, I deny this. For me to be Jewish is, above all, to be preoccupied with overcoming injustice and thirsting for justice in the world, and that means being respectful toward other peoples regardless of their nationality or religion, and empathetic in the face of human suffering whoever and wherever victimization is encountered. With this orientation, I could, but will not, return the insult, and say that those who endorse the cruelties of Israel occupation policies are the real self-hating Jews as they have turned away from the moral clarity of Old Testament prophets, which is the shining light of the Old Testament overcoming the often bloody exploits of the ancient Israelites. So interpreted, the biblical mandate for just behavior extends to all of humanity.  As the great Rabbi Hillel teaches, “[T]hat which is hateful to you do not do to another..the rest (of the Torah) is all commentary, now go study.” Not hateful only to another Jew, but clearly meant to encompass every human being.

But in a more fundamental respect my own evolution has always been suspicious of those who give priority to tribalist or sectarian identities. In other words, it is fine to affirm being Jewish, but it should not take precedence over being human or being open and receptive to the insight and wisdom of other traditions. We have reached a point in the political and cultural evolution that our future flourishing as a species vitally depends upon the spread of a more ecumenical ethos. We have expressed this embrace of otherness in relation to food, with the rise of ‘fusion’ cuisines, and with regard to popular culture, particularly music, where all kinds of borrowing and synthesis are perceived as exciting, authentic, valuable.

For me this rejection of tribalism takes two forms, one negative, the other positive. I do not feel exclusively Jewish. Also, even if I did, I would never claim the superiority of the Jewish religion over other religions. I have felt uncomfortable since childhood with biblical claims, often repeated in contemporary social settings, that Jews are ‘the chosen people’ of God even if this is understood benevolently and temporally as a special destiny associated with doing justice rather than as a matter of societal achievement via wealth and professional success. As soon as exclusivity or superiority is claimed for any ethnic or religious fraction of the human whole, there is implicitly posited a belief in the inferiority of ‘the other,’ which unconsciously and indirectly gives rise to the murderous mentality of warfare and gives a moral and religious edge to many forms of persecution, culminating in a variety of inquisitions.

And, of course, the historical climax of inverted exclusivity was the Holocaust, a process in which Jews (along with the Roma and others) were chosen for extermination. Claims of exclusivity often usually pretend to possess privileged access to truth that helps disguise monstrous intentions and behavior. To have such access, whether from a divine or secular source, treats all those outside the select circle as tainted by falsehood, the logic of which generates a societal license to kill, even to exterminate. Extreme tribalism is genocidal at its core given material scarcities and inequalities that exist in the world, which would otherwise be indefensible.

Besides, the disturbing historical record of exclusivist approaches to living together there is increasing confirmation of the artificiality of the ethnic foundations of the claims of distinct national identities, often at the expense of those exclusions. Benedict Anderson has seminally linked nationalist aspirations with distinct political projects in his Imagined Communities. More recently the Israeli historian, Shlomo Sand in The Invention of the Jewish People has shown the absence of a Jewish ethnos that might justify the claim of being a distinct people, and the degree to which in the Zionist embodiment of their conception of Jewishness in Israel, the Palestinian minority has been subjugated, a cruel ideological side effect of this type of ethnic nationalism. One of the achievements of European secularism and the move to modernity was to denationalize the state while asserting its sovereign control over people living within its bounded territory, which in effect disconnected juridical nationalism from ethnic and religious nationalism, and thus created the basis in law and morality for treating all people subject to the state as equal before the law. Of course, societal beliefs and traditions, along with class conflict and racism and religious prejudices persisted, but not with the blessings of the state. Toward the end of his book Sand poses the question that exposes the raw nerve of the Zionist insistence on Israel as a Jewish state, an insistence given great salience by the current leadership: “It is hard to know how much longer the Israeli Arabs, who represent 20% of the country’s inhabitants, will continue to tolerate being viewed as foreigners in their own homeland.” (p. 325) It should be borne in mind that even the initial purely colonialist encouragement of the Zionist project  in the form of the Balfour Declaration in 1917 looked with favor only to a Jewish homeland, and only then if it did not encroach on the rights and prospect of the indigenous population then resident in historic Palestine.

Turning to the positive effects of rejecting tribalist and sectarian approaches to truth and spirituality, I would emphasize the fabulous opportunities at this stage of history to learn from and participate in diverse religious traditions, especially in a globalizing world. In my own case, I have drawn spiritual sustenance from the other great religions ever since my student days. Although celebrating the distinctive traditions of one’s own birth or chosen religion can be personally enriching, and is for most people, I have found that the quality of the sacred and divine can be experienced from many different points of entry with interactive and comparable benefits. In my case I have at various times been inspired and enlightened by the practices and wisdom of Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu, Taoist, and indigenous peoples. And in a more mundane sense, I think that the future of humanity will be greatly enhanced if these various religious and wisdom traditions are ecumenically and inclusively embraced by more and more people throughout the world, providing a thickening societal and civilizational fiber for human solidarity. I have always been skeptical of the rational case for global humanism that is quite prevalent in the West, an aspect of the Enlightenment legacy, which is also partly responsible for secular excesses relating to technology culminating in the development and normalization of nuclear weaponry. This exclusion of the spiritual is also responsible for those forms of materialism that underpin predatory capitalism that prevails in many parts of the world today. Beyond this, such homogenizing types of universalism, associated with both consumerism and its military twin, imperialism, tend to erode cultural differences, and do not touch the experience of most of the people living on the planet.

In my experience what is most appropriate in our historical circumstances is an ecumenical and inclusive spiritual identity, and associated ethical and political commitments.  In effect, what would awaken the collective sensibilities of the peoples of the earth to the challenges confronting humanity is a movement of spiritual and ethical globalization that approaches the universal through an immersion in a variety of particularities. In this sense, I want to say, yes I am Jewish, and proud of it, but I am equally indigenous, Sufi, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, and Christian to the extent that I allow myself to participate in their rituals, partake of their sacred texts, and seek and avail myself of the opportunity to sit at the feet of their masters.  Many persons living deprived lives do not have or desire such ecumenical opportunities, and can best approach this universal ideal, by seeking out the inclusive potentialities of their own religious and cultural reality.

I want to give the last word to an early nineteenth century American spiritual seer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, although with some hesitation, given his patriarchal use of language. I was slightly tempted to substitute ‘humans are’ for ‘man is’ but then I decided to respect the integrity of Emerson’s speech within the historical setting of its original utterance (unlike the recent purging of ‘nigger’ from the American classic, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, and the substitution of the historically misleading, yet culturally less offensive word ‘slave’). Here are Emerson’s words as written: “The civility of no race can be perfect whilst another race is degraded. It is a doctrine of the oldest and of the newest philosophy, that man is one, and that you cannot injure any member, without a sympathetic injury to all members.”

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172 Responses to “On Jewish Identity”

  1. clementina van der walt January 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Thank you for a most insightful posting.

  2. Dena Bugel-Shunra January 16, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    Thank you for this.

    In my constant struggle with the exclusivist religion I was born into and a deep consciousness of the basic equality of all humans, it is a great comfort to read your words. (And I think Phil Weiss for putting the link on his blog, too!)

    • Richard Falk January 16, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

      I appreciate these words that express a strong affinity with what I tried to convey. Thanks for writing this comment.

  3. Edithann January 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Being ‘chosen’ has always been a ‘Declaration of War’ on all non Jews. There are no excuses or particular insights needed..it’s there!

    • Richard Falk January 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

      The historical context has changed since the emergence of Israel. Not so long ago
      Jews believed they were ‘chosen’ by God, but still were victimized in many parts of the world. They were in no position to declare ‘war.’

      • Edithann January 17, 2011 at 6:34 am #

        Richard Falk
        January 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm #
        The historical context has changed since the emergence of Israel. Not so long ago
        Jews believed they were ‘chosen’ by God, but still were victimized in many parts of the world. They were in no position to declare ‘war.’

        A leopard doesn’t change it’s spots in only 60+ years. War is overt and covert as we’ve seen in the continual overt theft of Palestine and the covert attack on world finances and destabilization of governments. That’s war!

        War on the ‘non-Jew’ did not arise out of Jewish victimization, it arose out of the Torah/Talmud first and foremost. The excuse for Jews has always been their victimization, just as it is against the Palestinians now. Until that is repudiated by all Jews world wide, nothing will change.

        Here are Emerson’s words as written: “The civility of no race can be perfect whilst another race is degraded. It is a doctrine of the oldest and of the newest philosophy, that man is one, and that you cannot injure any member, without a sympathetic injury to all members.”

        You’re coming late to the table, but your effort laudable.

        TATA

      • Richard Falk January 17, 2011 at 7:10 am #

        You are right about what has been happening in recent decades, but even then historical causation is not so simple. Leadership of the Zionist movement responsible for the early period of Palestinian dispossession was generally anti-religious and not directly influenced by the Torah..

  4. Renfro January 16, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    Refreshing, accurate.

  5. Mark E. Smith January 17, 2011 at 5:04 am #

    I’m just posting so that I can be notified of site updates. This is a wonderful addition to the blogosphere.

  6. edwin January 17, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    Saw you in mondoweiss. Bookmarking your site. Thank you.

  7. Norm Depalma January 17, 2011 at 6:49 am #

    Actually, Richard, Jewish self hatred is usually a simple case of transference. A Jewish person who hates himself and is unable to process those sentiments will transfer those feelings to hating his ethnic/religious group instead.
    I realize this is probably a harsh pill for you, an 80 year old man on the cusp of mortality, to swallow. To realize that an entire career of anti-Judaism (or as you wish Anti-Zionism) is a misplaced case of self-loathing would cripple a lesser man than you. But I do not fret; I am sure your careerist impulses will overcome any introspection. Remember, there is no quicker road to ‘academic’ acceptance than the path of ‘Jewish yet honest critic of the Jewish people/state.’

    • Richard Falk January 17, 2011 at 7:14 am #

      Perhaps, Norm, my experience is unusual, but ever since I expressed my views on the Israel/Palestine conflict I have paid a rather heavy career price. In my early career, say well beyond my 50th year, I was almost entirely focused on other foreign policy issues, especially Vietnam War.

      • Carmen January 17, 2011 at 9:14 am #

        Inspirational and courageous; my profound thanks for this post. In its essentials, your outlook reaffirms my core life-guiding teachings absorbed from Catholic girlhood schooling of the 1950s. (The less enduring orthodoxies lost their legitimacy across the decades.)

        How helpful in these later years to see reaffirmed the belief that love, truth, and justice are the birthright of all human beings. How strange that it should count as “courageous” to affirm that limited, instrumental groupings such as “Jew” or “Christian,” or “Muslim,” can never take precedence over “human being.”

        Thank you, too, for mentioning the work of Shlomo Sand (whom I place with Hajo Meyer and Ilan Pappe for Olympic courage.) I’ll guide my friends to your blog.

      • Richard Falk January 17, 2011 at 10:02 am #

        Thanks so much, Carmen, for these confirming and gracious words despite our different backgrounds. These convergences are for me the essence of what I would like to call ‘spiritual globalization.’ Let’s keep in contact.

      • Norm Depalma January 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

        Richard, you replied to my post without publishing it. As an ‘academic’, do you not have a responsibility to publish not suppress opinions?

      • Richard Falk January 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

        Sorry, it was a mistake. I did not mean to delete it. If you send the comment again it will be posted. i agree with you.

      • Richard Falk January 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

        I was able to restore the comment after all; it is posted below.

      • Richard Falk January 17, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

        It is now published. The failure to do so earlier was a digital mistake of mine that I am sorry about..

      • davit adom baeker January 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

        Considering that jews have had to justify their existence as a nation for more than 60yrs I can see why they might get a little touchy when someone (a scholar) identifying themselves a ‘jewish’ attacks the fundamental foundation of the State of Israel as ‘illegitimate’ and based on the subjugation of others without much criticism of the opposing side which seems overtly dedicated to Israel’s permanent destruction and to promoting an image of world jewry not dissimilar to Nazi propaganda of the 30s

    • G. Ben-Nathan July 8, 2011 at 2:33 am #

      Dear Norm Depalma,

      Your insight is a 100% spot-on.
      The question is WHAT does the self-hating Jew specifically hate about him or herself?
      One answer maybe the fact that he or she has failed to father / mother a ‘next’ Jewish generation.
      I have no idea whether this applies, or not, to Richard Falk

    • pamela July 8, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

      What more clever, though irrational, semantic-propaganda attack exists than to accuse another man of self-hatred?

      The entire premise of identity ‘self-hatred’ is yet another anti-human pedantic of ‘identity politics’ which globally continues to reek death, not life. Stay human,!!! We are all family, human family.

  8. tom white January 17, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    Dear Richard Falk:
    Just found yr blog thanks to Phillip Weiss (marvelous man btw). I am 87 and just lately have begun to blog in some earnest at tomasblanco.blogspot.com. Have nothing like your power to write at some length. Keep ‘em flying. Tom White

    • Richard Falk January 17, 2011 at 10:07 am #

      Dear Tom: I admire your fortitude, and will check out your blog later today. Thanks for the needed encouragement..

  9. Eugene Hon January 17, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    I was brought up in a very religious family in South Africa during apartheid. I was made to believe in Heaven and hell. That Born again Christians and coverted Jews were the only believers that will go to heaven (little Christ’s – the chosen few). The rest will spent eternal life in hell – Blacks were considered atheists and communists. These entrenched religious views and associated morals and values has found much favour amongst present day conservatives worldwide, irrespective of their religion – polarizing societies further. Fundamentalists and extremists are therefore fighting a renewed holy war as if their lives depended on it. They do so at a time when their conservative morals and values is being challenged/threatened in an ever changing democratic society. Almost twelve years on, here in SA, and our liberal constitution (work of the constitutional Court), continuos to provide a safe haven for all members of the community – no matter their religion and or political aspiration (race and or creed). How things have changed. I probably live in the safest place on the earth right now – from a humanitarian point of view. There is of course the crime rate.

    • Richard Falk January 17, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

      Thanks, Eugene, for sharing this very relevant and inspiring account of South Africa’s transformation to
      multiracial constitutionalism.

  10. Eugene Hon January 17, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    I was brought up in a very religious family in South Africa during apartheid. I was made to believe in Heaven and hell. That Born again Christians and coverted Jews were the only believers that will go to heaven (little Christ’s – the chosen few). The rest will spent eternal life in hell – Blacks were considered atheists and communists. These entrenched religious views and associated morals and values has found much favour amongst present day conservatives worldwide, irrespective of their religion – polarizing societies further. Fundamentalists and extremists are therefore fighting a renewed holy war as if their lives depended on it. They do so at a time when their conservative morals and values is being challenged/threatened in an ever changing democratic society. Almost twelve years on, here in SA, and our liberal constitution (work of the constitutional Court), continuos to provide a safe haven for all members of the community – no matter their religion, political aspiration and sexual orientation (sex, race and or creed). How things have changed. I probably live in the safest place on the earth right now – from a humanitarian point of view. There is of course the crime rate.

    • Richard Falk January 17, 2011 at 10:04 am #

      Thanks, Eugene, for this thoughtful comment. Your interpretation of the transition from apartheid in South Africa is one of the most instructive and inspiring narratives of our time.

  11. Edithann January 17, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    It’s very hard to throw off old beliefs that have proven themselves anti humanity so late in life and I certainly understand your plight. It must have been very difficult, and although I understand your plight and you have my sympathies, it is no excuse and never will be.

    You are blaming Zionism. Zionism just found an overt and shameless outlet for the inbred hatred of the non-Jew. It all tapped into the original ‘chosen’. It was very easy and of course it worked and is still operational…

    Don’t be so defensive of the ‘dogma’…It’s what created the mess in the first place..

    Have you read Gilad Atzmon? He’s one Jew who makes no excuses..

    TATA

  12. Richard Falk January 17, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    Thanks for the reassuring comment. I think there is a greater willingness of Jews to confront
    the tensions between their support for Israel and a commitment to law and justice.

    • Silke January 18, 2011 at 11:53 am #

      what is this? a comment section where the author of the post comments on invisibles?

      that’s all I needed another blog favoured by Mondoweiss-style swooners

      and pray why that? Sounds like a pretty damning judgment on us non-belongers.

      ” I think there is a greater willingness of Jews to confront
      the tensions between their support for Israel and a commitment to law and justice.”

      • Edithann January 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

        I never met any people so obsessed with their own ‘identity’ as Jews..is it so fragile that it can be taken away from you without you being aware?
        Are you all so needy and vulnerable to all that peer pressure? What has Judaism done to you that you can’t be full self actualizing people in your own right with the capacity to know ‘right from wrong’ as your conscience dictates?

        Can’t you even visualize survival without your so called Jewish identity?
        Ever think that breaking away from that identity might be your salvation into adulthood and finally emancipation to an identity all your own?
        Is the ‘outside’ world still so threatening? If so, then you must answer ‘why’? And then you must start doing some serious soul searching…If you can’t come up with anything better then whining about your ‘identity’ and how other Jews label you ‘self hating’, then what’s it all about and what’s your purpose on the planet?
        All dogmatic religions such as Judaism, Catholicism, Islam etc., etc., are political systems run for the preservation of the political elite. They are all to keep their followers obedient.
        It’s not easy bucking the system..but it’s very ‘freeing’!

        Come on now guys..Grow up!

        TATA

      • Edithann January 20, 2011 at 4:58 am #

        Going around in circles doesn’t accomplish anything but wastes time and effort always finding yourself in the same starting place with the same complaints and certainly whines..
        I have no patience with it as you’ve probably noticed.
        I’m all American, never was a Jew and have no sympathies with their plight since ’48!

        Silke: “I think there is a greater willingness of Jews to confront
        the tensions between their support for Israel and a commitment to law and justice.”

        If you really think that, you are naive!

        TATA

      • Edithann January 20, 2011 at 9:34 am #

        Don’t be so quick to throw darts dear boy…I don’t read all the nonsense and whines. Most are redundant and boring..
        However, you seem determined to ‘get’ Richard Falk why?
        He seems conflicted as so many of the Jews who’ve answered. But that’s their problem and either they work if out for themselves in their own way and risk it all, or sit and continue to complain about the same old things!

        It’s difficult to throw off tribal identities that have defined your very existence and assume something foreign, it take guts, more guts than you realize and especially after a certain age.

        However, that brings me to another avenue for you to sink your teeth into. From what I see, you’re an expert on the Old and New Testaments and all that nonsense.
        I suggest you put that ‘stuff’ down and read some Karen Armstrong, broaden your horizons to the wonders of ‘compassion’!
        I could say more, but I wont!

        TATA

      • YM January 26, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

        Edithann, when Jewish people start quoting the prophets and expressing their support for the Palestinians by saying “I could, but will not, return the insult, and say that those who endorse the cruelties of Israel occupation policies are the real self-hating Jews as they have turned away from the moral clarity of Old Testament prophets, which is the shining light of the Old Testament…” it bothers me. If Mr. Falk wants to support the Palestinians, fine, but he doesn’t have to then start dragging in that he is doing this as a Jew, and misquoting the Torah in support of these opinions.

        And frankly, insulting my religious beliefs and tribal affiliations doesn’t help the cause of peace, and shows you to be living in a dream world where we can “imagine no religion”, but (G-d) help us if we come to different conclusions than you do. If you want peace, you are going to have to deal with people like me, who support a two-state solution based on security council resolution 242 and believe that it is the Palestinians and Arabs who have prevented a solution based on 242 from being reached.

      • Edithann January 26, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

        Well YM, with all the recent happenings I would have to say you’ve been supporting the wrong side after all. So how does it feel?
        There are duplicitous and traitorous Palestinians, as there are disingenuous, cruel, lying and dishonest Israeli Jews.

        And why shouldn’t Falk admit to being a Jew with a different opinion? There are many like you, in fact too many, who think they are doing something for the Palestinians, when as we’ve seen the real agenda was to steal more and lying about it all!
        You just don’t want the duplicity of your position out there for the world to see…Falk has it all over you dear boy.

        I don’t know about self-hating Jews, that’s your weapon. Seems Jews have to have labels or they wouldn’t know who anyone was or how loyal they were to the cause. I guess Jews all have to be on the same page. It’s either you’re with us or self hating. What a ‘crock’! Don’t you think that’s kind of juvenile? Why not just accept him as he is? He’s a Jew and considers himself a Jew..who are you to tell him what kind of Jew he is?.

        I made myself quite clear when I said there was no moral aspects to Judaism once Jews accepted they were all CHOSEN! What was left for ‘us’ after that? Hahahah..you’re too funny..and that’s the funniest part of it all..
        All your ‘prophets and moral clarity of Old Testament prophets’ is irrelevant and meaningless as that ‘Chosen’ nonsense has seen to it.
        And the proof is 3000 years of the same whine..So how come only Jews could see that so called ‘moral clarity of the Old Testament’ when no one else could?
        If you call that insulting, then you don’t know what insulting really is.

        It is not the Arabs or the Palestinians who are to blame, as the recent ‘leaks’ have shown. The Palestinians were going to give you Jews ‘everything’! But as usual, it wasn’t enough, How could it be.
        So you lied and kept on lying there were ‘no partners for peace’? That lying mantra lated years until the ‘leaks’!

        Israel has no moral ground now or when they decided on the ‘GRAND THEFT OF PALESTINE’. Just as the US has no moral ground having supported Israels insane and endless lies about Palestine and Palestinians.
        Israel was always a ‘land grab scheme’ cooked up by a bunch of rich Jews with influencial US support. It was never for a two state of anything.

        I would like to see 242 also, along with reparations for all stolen and confiscated land. The ‘right of return’, and all settlements on Palestinian land paying property taxes to the Palestinian government, once they finally get their act together and they will.
        So be ready for some hefty reparations bills coming your way.

        TATA

  13. Norm Depalma January 18, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Actually, Richard, Jewish self hatred is usually a simple case of transference. A Jewish person who hates himself and is unable to process those sentiments will transfer those feelings to hating his ethnic/religious group instead.
    I realize this is probably a harsh pill for you, an 80 year old man on the cusp of mortality, to swallow. To realize that an entire career of anti-Judaism (or as you wish Anti-Zionism) is a misplaced case of self-loathing would cripple a lesser man than you. But I do not fret; I am sure your careerist impulses will overcome any introspection. Remember, there is no quicker road to ‘academic’ acceptance than the path of ‘Jewish yet honest critic of the Jewish people/state.’

    • Richard Falk January 18, 2011 at 10:33 am #

      I have been trying to publish it..and don’t understand why it does not appear on the site

    • Richard Falk January 18, 2011 at 10:53 am #

      I am sorry to have been slightly incoherent. I wanted to say ‘if you meant publish’ as a blog then I do not that for any comments.

    • Doug Tarnopol January 20, 2011 at 9:55 am #

      And here we see, in Norm, the mirror image of Edith Ann.

      And this is why the Israel-Palestine issue is so difficult. Whether more so than any other political issue, I wouldn’t know, but I/P is a gigantic screen for all kinds of projections.

      Falk has been fighting for human rights and international law for decades. He’s courageous enough to be questioning, at age 80. Period: just questioning. If some of the others here showed the same courage, both in questioning the powers that be and oneself, we’d all be a lot further along, rather than hanging by our collective fingernails.

      Not that Falk needs *my* defense, of course. I am just sick and tired of all the needless, self-indulgent, instantly self-refuting lunacy. It’s literally killing the species — literally.

  14. Richard Falk January 18, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    If you ‘publish’ as a post, I do not do that for any comment, but the comments are available for
    anyone to read, and I have received many messages outside the blog.

  15. Elder of Lobby January 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    Well, as a Jew despising Israel, you certainly have a novel, creative and “anti-Zionist” interpretation for another one of Hillel the Elder’s cardinal sayings:
    If I’m not for myself, who am I;
    And if I’m but for myself what am I;
    And if not now, when?

    BTW, can you remind us when and where this Hillel lived? And how his teachings, as well as his colleagues’, teachers’, disciples’ made it to your venerable knowledge?

    I look forward to more ridiculous distortions.

  16. Eldad January 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    So if I am understanding you correctly, you are proud to be Jewish, but you can’t stand Judaism outside of your own bizarre interpretations that has nothing at all to do with the religion.

    And you are proud to be Jewish but you really hate any Jews who do anything to perpetuate their existence as a people.

    Wow…some pride!

  17. iro January 18, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Mr. Falk, your support for every kind of person to have an identity is granted to all except Jews. Muslims, transgendered people, the indigenous peoples have definitions which exclude everyone but themselves. Does that make them bigots? Certainly not! But you think it makes bigots of the Jews. You have a different standard for only one kind of person: Jews. YOU showed bigotry in this essay.

    • Richard Falk January 18, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

      I think you misunderstand my intention. The whole point of my blog is to affirm Jewish identity, but not in the form of an exclusivist state that
      discriminates against the non-included minority or dispossesses them. My whole point is to find ways to live together well on a planet with limited
      land and resources

      • Elder of Lobby January 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

        What exactly do you mean by “Jewish identity”?
        A religious one? A national one? Both?
        What are, in your opinion, the Jewish people’s rights?

      • Richard Falk January 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

        These are difficult questions. For me, Jewish identity is cultural and spiritual, but for others it is also national, and I have no problem with that as long as it does not take the form of exclusivist nationalism carried out that the expense of another people, especially a people indigenous to the land. As Shlomo Sand demonstrates in his book almost all identities are constructed in some ways out of the vast reservoir of collective memories of social groups.

      • Elder of Lobby January 18, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

        The question is not about your difficulties.
        Any identity, personal or national, must be exclusivist: if it’s not, it does not identify anyone or anything. As for the constructed part of identity, Sand has not many news to tell, his thesis has been debunked by historians (and some genetic studies). If there’s something totally fabricated it’s the “Palestinian” identity and nation, as well as the myth of indigenousness. Most of them arrived (from e.g. Circassia, Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Yemen) and settled in the Ottoman province during the 19th century.

        What about the Jewish people’s rights?

      • Silke January 19, 2011 at 12:11 am #

        Elder of Lobby

        is a book not a bit more than a mere “collective memory”?

      • Elder of Lobby January 19, 2011 at 12:24 am #

        Silke

        It depends what book.

      • Silke January 19, 2011 at 12:46 am #

        a book that has been kept alive, worked over, inspired/seeded other books and other arts, a book that is probably as alive today as it was when its first sentence was written, references to which are found all through how I express myself i.e. what in my areas is called the Old Testament.

        for a comparison try to imagine how today’s Greeks would be seen, if Homer wouldn’t exist.

      • Richard Falk January 19, 2011 at 10:00 am #

        Agreed..

      • RM April 24, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

        Well then how can you support the racist, supremist, homophobic, misogynistic, oppressive regimes of the Palestinians and all Arab countries. Holding Israel to a different standard than the Arabs is unjust. This is what you are doing and this is why you are called a self hating Jew. You complain about no countries other than Israel and the US. How do you explain that?

    • Richard Falk January 18, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

      You misunderstood my intention. Of course, Jews are entitled to establish communities that affirm Jewish identity. My objection is to an exclusivist state
      that discriminates or dispossesses those who are not Jews. I feel the same about Islamic states that are exclusivist, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and certainly no
      one would claim that to escape persecution, transgendered people should have a state of their own.

      • davit adom baeker January 18, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

        this is commendable of you. the problem as I see it is the jewish people have tried to do this for millenia. they were not very successful and whethr you believe they were responsible for the hatred reigned down upon them or not it turns out that the jews who returned to THEIR INDIGENOUS LAND(as proven by DNA and historical records)do a pretty good job at running a state where these ‘others’ you speak of have the rights of citizenship despite the fact that its well known that these Israeli citizens are often hostile to the government as a whole or in principle

  18. Doug Tarnopol January 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Prof. Falk:

    Well done! The piece speaks for itself. The negative comments on this page do as well. If “Jewish” — or any other of the categories Vonnegut would have called “granfalloons,” like having gone, say, to Cornell, or being a Red Sox fan, or being American, a Democrat, and so on, including, of course “Arab” and “Palestinian” — are held as irreplaceable struts for one’s self-definition, then conflict is inevitable. Given the state of the world and the spread of the technologies of death, we’ll either leave this excessive narcissism behind or lose what civilization we have, or perhaps even finally prove ourselves nonviable in the short run.

    These differences should be variety — the spice of life — and a store of cultural richness, in cuisine, art, literature, music. Not ready excuses for hatred and, indeed, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

    We’ll either get beyond it very soon or perish; it’s up to us.

    • Richard Falk January 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

      I am sorry, I mixed my response to you with one to another comment. I agree completely with the drift of your comment,
      and the final lines of my blog were trying to make the same essential point

      • Doug Tarnopol January 18, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

        Yes, I thought that part especially was well done.

        No worries about the vagaries of WordPress and blogs! Keep up the great work.

        – A fellow “self-hater” :)

    • davit adom baeker January 18, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

      sadly-i also agree with your drift even though I find the State of Israel to be as legitimate as any progressive western, eastern, or other free democracy is.I truly belive the problem is Islam will not now nor ever abide by a Jewish State in their midst that has political power. How and why they came to be this intolerant I can only speculate as I know the quran is laden, just as the bible is, with contradictions, truths and lies as well.

      I suppose we have no choice but to live in the political world we are in even though your point is well taken that it will lead us down the road to endless conflict while we slowly and excruciatingly try and enlighten ourselves.

  19. ketutar January 19, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    I agree with you in most parts, but I would like to say a couple of things.
    1) When the “Chosen People” was coined, Judaism was Henotheist, meaning that there were other Gods who chose other people, and the God of the Jews chose the Jewish people. In the passing of time the people got the idea of there being only one God, and therefore also the idea of a people being the Chosen Ones by the One God some sort of superiority idea.
    2) I think it’s time to forget 1917 and 1958 and 1967 and start living the 21st century, and start not-labeling the people in Israel. There is a country called Israel in Palestine, what about stopping the dividing people into Jews and non-Jews, Palestinians, Arabs and what-nots, and expecting this from everyone, and looking at what is actually happening, done to and by each individual. Let’s not demonize Israelis nor Palestinians.

    It’s really easy to be “tribal” when you are being targeted because of your “tribe” – as the Jews in Israel are today. Let’s not forget that either.

    • Richard Falk January 19, 2011 at 9:59 am #

      Thanks for your comment. I think providing a historical context for ‘chosen people’ is definitely helpful. I was trying to express how the idea has been internalized by Jews and Israelis in our contemporary world.

      I am less in accord on your other comments about Israelis and Palestinians. It seems to suppose a condition of symmetry or equality. Palestinians have been living in intolerable conditions in refugee camps and under occupation for decades. In contrast, Israelis live under conditions of relative prosperity, freedom of movement, the rule of law, while Israeli settlements daily encroach upon the 22% of historic Palestine set aside after the 1967 War for an eventual Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

      • Eldad January 19, 2011 at 10:18 am #

        Have you ever publicly called for Arab countries and the PA to dismantle these camps and move their residents into normal housing? You do realize that it is not Israel that keeps anyone in camps, but their Arab hosts, do you not?

        Would you say that Palestinian Arabs should have the right, if they choose, to become full citizens of their host Arab countries (Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc.) as any other Arabs can? If you do, have you ever publicly called for the Arab nations to rescind their laws, on the books today, that specifically discriminate against Palestinian Arabs in areas such as naturalization?

      • Richard Falk January 19, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

        I have not, and do not know too much about the Arab discriminatory laws against Palestinian refugees that you mention. I have had a good deal of contact with the refugees themselves, and I can honestly say that I have yet to meet a Palestinian refugee that wants to resolve the issue via the Arab governments. At the same time I have in the past and will continue to criticize Arab governments for abuses toward refugees living within their territories.

      • Shira January 20, 2011 at 3:00 am #

        Prof. Falk,

        I don’t know how it’s possible for someone with your position not to know much about Arab discriminatory (apartheid) laws against Palestinian refugees (like in Lebanon), who are deliberately denied basic rights other Arabs have. Take the Balata refugee camp within the West Bank for example…

        The PA does not allow children of Balata to go to local schools. It does not permit the refugees of Balata to build outside their one square kilometer. They are prevented from voting in local elections, and the PA provides none of the funds for the necessary infrastructure of the camp — including sewers and roads.

        This is enforced misery, sir.

        What are you going to do about it?

        The PA, Lebanon, and other Arab regimes need to at least offer citizenship to those refugees who desire it. It’s not as though once they become citizens elsewhere that they lose their “refugee” status.

        I await your response.

        Thank you.

      • Richard Falk January 20, 2011 at 11:33 am #

        I am trying to get more information about the contentions made in your comment. My experience
        and knowledge to the extent that exists has led me to believe that these kind of issues are exclusively
        brought up by apologists of Israeli occupation policies, including settlement construction, but I am willing
        to be convinced otherwise.

      • Richard Falk January 22, 2011 at 7:52 am #

        My UN role does not pertain to refugees, but in my role as an international law expert I
        have been concerned with the plight of refugees, not just those who are Palestinian. I
        am the co-chair of the Refugee Interest Group of the American Society of International Law,
        and in that capacity will try to get a better grasp of the role of the Arab governments in
        accentuating the plight of Palestinian refugees in their midst. Thanks for calling this issue
        to my attention.

      • Zyx April 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

        You dare calling this a “historical context”? And you are supposedly a scholar? What a farce.

  20. Liza Dresner January 19, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    This was a great read and as someone who has also been called a self-hating jew many times I feel in excellent company. It is more important than ever for people as eloquent as you to be heard and to argue on behalf of those of us who find it less easy to find the right words or who have less knowledge to be able to have so many excellent sources at our fingertips. Often the immense shame I feel on behalf of the State that claims to exist in my name gets in the way of rational argument and I just get angry or, even worse, cry. Thank you for speaking out.

    • Richard Falk January 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

      Thanks, Liza, for this comment, and gracious words. I think we have to learn from one another while seeking balance on this tightrope that is weighted with identity concerns on one side and justice concerns on the other. It is important that we remain in solidarity..

    • Doug Tarnopol January 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

      Hello, Rita:

      Not sure if this is kosher (shall we say) of me to do, but I thought I’d interject a comment.

      I completely understand where you’re coming from, but would only make one small not-such-a-quibble. You are not responsible for what the Israeli state does. They may claim to be “your” homeland, or the homeland for people “like” you, but you don’t have to accept that. No need for shame, that is.

      Reject the granfalloon and you’ll reject the shame. A little bit of responsibility insofar as silence by American Jews (assuming you’re American here) doesn’t help the Palestinians, but beyond that basic responsibility to do what we can in areas we can affect, your being Jewish doesn’t really add to your responsibility for Israel beyond that minor advantage you may have in critiquing it. But all Americans should critique it, and far more than that! As they should for all injustices over which they can have an effect — especially here at home, and on US foreign policy in general.

      Best, Doug

    • steve bronfman February 16, 2011 at 4:06 am #

      “I am trying to get more information about the contentions made in your comment. My experience
      and knowledge to the extent that exists has led me to believe that these kind of issues are exclusively
      brought up by apologists of Israeli occupation policies, including settlement construction, but I am willing
      to be convinced otherwise.”

      In other words, you are only interested in discrimination of Palestinians if it’s by Israelis. If it’s by anyone else you don’t care. This attitude proves that you are insincere and have an anti-Israel agenda rather than a genuine commitment to Palestinians or anyone else.

      • Richard Falk February 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

        To clarify, that is not an accurate description of my views. I am concerned with victimization of the Palestinians,
        and have criticized the Arab governments for their role on many occasions, but UN
        role and the primary relationship is that associated with the Israeli occupation.

      • steve bronfman February 16, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

        If Israeli lands were occupied by Arab countries would you care?

        Do you care about Kurdistan, Western Sahara and Northern Cyprus occupied by various Muslim States?

        Why is the Palestinian refugee issue the only one allowed to fester for 60 years by the UN when every other population exchange eg Pakistan and India has been resolved?

  21. Nan Withington January 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Were all members of the human family to reach the spiritual and ethical stature of Dr. Falk-no matter what their religion (or none), or ethnic or national affiliation-we would never fear annihilation by our own hands. We would see ourselves as part of Chief Seattle’s “Web of Life”, and preserve our miraculous earth home and be helpmates to each other.

    • Richard Falk January 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

      Thanks, Nan, for such a movingly generous response. It is so easy to be misunderstood on this terrain, and so it is especially satisfying to have my intended meaning reflected in your comment.

  22. Adrian January 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    This might seem dumb, but I’m having trouble to see why your ideas regarding Jewish identity might clash with Zionism. Yes they certainly clash with more extreme branches (e.g. Kahanism), but does your vision clash with the idea of the right of self-determination for the Jewish people (the most basic idea of Zionism)?

    I’m also having trouble with your criticism regarding the status of Arabs in Israel. First, do you mean Israel proper? Or you might be including the West Bank as well? Because I think we can agree that Arabs with Israeli citizenship are treated much better than the Palestinians.

    In fact, despite some racism prevalent in Israeli society and also some institutional racism prevalent in the Israeli government (which in my opinion is qualitatively similar to American or British institutional racism), I don’t really think they could be considered second class citizens, while the Palestinians are not even Israeli citizens to begin with (and the treatment they recieve could and should be compared with how occupiers have historically treated those who live under occupation, and who have actively resisted it).

  23. Adrian January 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    This might seem dumb, but I’m having trouble to see why your ideas regarding Jewish identity might clash with Zionism. Yes they certainly clash with more extreme branches (e.g. Kahanism), but does your vision clash with the idea of Jewish self-determination (te most basic idea of Zionism)?

    I’m also having trouble with your criticism regarding the status of Arabs in Israel. First, do you mean Israel proper? Or you might be including the West Bank as well? Because I think we can agree that Arabs with Israeli citizenship are treated much better than the Palestinians.

    In fact, despite some racism prevalent in Israeli society and also some institutional racism prevalent in the Israeli government (which in my opinion is qualitatively similar to American or British institutional racism), I don’t really think they could be considered second class citizens, while the Palestinians are not even citizens to begin with (and the treatment they recieve could and should be compared with how occupiers have historically treated those who live under occupation).

    • Richard Falk January 20, 2011 at 11:35 am #

      Our understanding of these issues is just different. I do mean Arabs with Israeli citizenship, and
      do agree that they are far better off than Palestinians in the occupied territories, but are nevertheless
      victims of discrimination and abuses of human rights.

      • Adrian January 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

        Would you share further details on the issue with me? Which human rights abuses are Israeli Arabs victims of? Are we talking about torture or extrajudicial executions? Legally enforced segregation like in Apartheid South Africa? Or perhaps the fact that the Israeli Government spends less on education, health and other public services on Arabs than Jews on a per capita basis, or that they have bigger trouble to get building permits than Jews do, or that Arab workers earn less than Jews for doing the same job, all of this being not so different from, for example, the well-established fact that Hispanic and African Americans have a bigger chance to be imprisoned than White Americans do or the banning of Burqa in some European countries?

    • Richard Falk January 22, 2011 at 11:55 am #

      Yes, there are complexities surrounding what are the rights of self-determination with respect to the Jewish people,
      and what are limits imposed on those rights when they clash with the rights of another people.

      I cannot respond adequately on the status of Palestinians within Israel proper, and does resemble the situation confronting
      other minorities, but it still in my judgment challenges the viability of maintaining Israel as a Jewish state as distinct from a
      state that offers Jews a homeland.

      • Zyx April 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

        There is no contradiction in “maintaining” Israel as a Jewish state as stated in UN resolution 181 passed in 1947. There are numerous examples of democratic states that define themselves through the identity of a majority and where minorities are treated as equals; Romania, Finland, Belgium (with its German minority) and so on. And you pretend you are a law Professor.
        You are a joke!

  24. Edithann January 20, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    OH Doug..you are too, too funny. Especially the threat of being anti semitic. Do you really think that works anymore? Call me anything that makes you feel better, I’m sure I can survive it..hahahaha

    My beginning response to R.Falk was: Torah/Talmud has been ‘A Declaration of War’ on all non-Jews from it’s inception and I stand by that with no excuses or exceptions! Being ‘CHOSEN’ has been fed and taught to all Jews from their fist days at school and with continual reinforcements over the years way into adulthood. You can’t deny it…There is nothing ‘COMPLEX’ about ‘right or wrong’ and knowing the difference.

    What you’re saying is ‘yes, we’re bad’ but look at the Arabs, they’re worse! This argument isn’t about the Arabs..it’s about you Jews and don’t forget that point. Don’t use the Arabs as justification and an excuse, it just doesn’t work any more, at least with me it doesn’t…

    Being ‘CHOSEN’ is what Narcissism is all about. The world has revolved around Israel now for over 60+ years costing millions of innocent lives and for what? Land that didn’t belong to them.
    But has the Jewish whine ever abated as a result of that gift? Even with all the money and influence the unsuspecting American tax payer has shelled out for it’s survival, the proverbial whine can still be heard, and ‘what about the Arabs’!

    Why is it any time something critical is said about Israel,the retort is always, ‘what about the Arabs’?
    Well what about the Arabs and their Quran?
    What about an international televised critique on every aspect of the Quran, Talmud, Muslim and Jew with the most learned Imams and Rabbis and finally get to the bottom of it all? Let it all ‘hang out’ once and for all!

    Comparing yourselves to Arabs or any others as justification for you not behaving as you know you should, only shows the depth of your ‘childish narcissism’ and your inability and ‘refusal’ to ever get beyond the problem. That’s the temper tantrum ravings of ’9′ year olds who can’t get their way.

    Again, read Karn Armstrong’s new book on Compassion..She’s also done an in-depth critical study of Islam and the Quran. She goes rather lightly I think, on Jews, probably for publishing purposes.
    I’m sure you know what I mean… hahaha..
    She’s not Jewish but don’t discount what she says as she’s not that ‘complex’, anyway, give it a try!

    TATA
    .

    • Doug Tarnopol January 21, 2011 at 4:29 am #

      There is no doubt that “anti-Semitism” has been polluted by the Foxman/Dershowitz types. Finkelstein and many others are right about that, of course. Just as “democracy” has been polluted by the Bush/Cheney (and others) types. Both words still have meaning, and both words still apply when applicable.

      I didn’t mention a thing about Arabs or Muslims beyond Islamophobia and the common human propensity to overvalue cultural identities, but that won’t matter.

      Once again: more evidence of how discussions about I/P are often, for some people at least, more about themselves, whether they know it or not, than about actual, real-world Israel and actual, real-world Palestine.

      • Edithann January 21, 2011 at 6:12 am #

        Doug:”Once again: more evidence of how discussions about I/P are often, for some people at least, more about themselves, whether they know it or not, than about actual, real-world Israel and actual, real-world Palestine”.

        Hahaha is that all you have? Not very enlighening, but very typical.
        Damn Foxman and Dershowitz, they screwed it all up for you.

        TATA

        Whatever Doug, when there is no way out, always go for the personal. ou can’t have an honest debate on a serious topic requiring accountablity, , go for the persoanl. But I think it’s good for you to hold onto it as it’s been so successful in making people change their minds. You just prove the point
        As I said Doug, listening to the perpetual whines is always redundant and boring. Get a new shtick!

        TATA

    • Eldad January 21, 2011 at 6:07 am #

      EdithAnn, I can say without any fear of contradiction that you have proven yourself to be a bigot.

      It would be nice if you didn’t get your ideas about the Talmud from lying Jew-haters who mistranslate and misquote Talmudic passages to justify their hate.

      Or are you conversant in Mishnaic Hebrew and Aramaic?

      But somehow I get the impression that your hate pre-dates your introduction to false Talmud quotes.

      (And, yes, I do study the Talmud, and have for many decades now. Believe it or not, Falk quoted it in the article above, even though he hasn’t the foggiest notion of where it is.)

      I also find it telling that Falk treats your outright bigotry with kid gloves while he likes to compare Israel to Nazis.

      • Edithann January 21, 2011 at 7:05 am #

        Dear Eldad:

        I can say without any contradiction on my part, your assumption of my bigotry is more then amusing. Calling one a bigot seems to have taken the place of calling me anti Semitic. Wow, it must have hurt when you had to give A-S up, bigotry doesn’t have the same ominous ring!

        I like it that your so sure I’ve misinterpreted the Torah/Talmud. Being ‘sure and Chosen’, confirms you must be right! Right?
        I only wish I was that certain about such nonsense, but then I wasn’t born ‘Chosen’!

        However, did you ever think the Quran might be misinterpreted too? Both documents have been edited over the centuries by people not any more intellectually superior then yourself and most likely far less.
        That’s not my argument anyway. But when you are the only ‘Chosen’ what’s left for us poor unfortunates?

        Eldad:”It would be nice if you didn’t get your ideas about the Talmud from lying Jew-haters who mistranslated and misquote Talmudic passages to justify their hate.”

        That quote is an excuse, and I don’t accept excuses. It’s your dogma, own it and be responsible for it. If your not proud of it, then disown it, but you’ll have a problem with ‘identity’ again. hahahhah

        Eldad: “I also find it telling that Falk treats your outright bigotry with kid gloves while he likes to compare Israel to Nazis.”

        I don’t think Falk thinks of me at all..However I do agree Israel does compare to Nazis’. Nazis thought they were Chosen too, and it led to all sorts of world problems, or don’t you understand that?

        I’m sympathetic to your plight, being ‘Chosen’ can be a cross..hahaha
        Get it?

        TATA

  25. YM January 21, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    When the UN representative himself rejects the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine, there is a basic problem that cannot be overcome, as you stand opposed, in princple, to the basis of resolution 242.

    Also, I wonder, how many years did you study in yeshiva? You speak as though you know at least “enough” about Judaism to speak authoritatively, but it takes years of study to really understand what the Creator requires of us as Jews. Sunday school or afternoon talmud torah attendance as a child does not make you qualified to speak authoritatively. I personally believe your understanding of the prophets is out of context; certainly, I know of no prominent Orthodox Jewish leader or sage who holds the view that you do.

    • Richard Falk January 22, 2011 at 7:47 am #

      My attitudes toward the nature of the state of Israel are irrelevant to my role as UN representative. I happen to believe in the implementation of SC Resolution 242, and believed for many years that this was the vehicle for achieving peace, but Israel’s settlement policies, wall, defiance of international law, annexation of Jerusalem made this impossible in my view.

      As for Judaism, I only meant to convey my own experience of being Jewish, and did
      not intend to offer any interpretation based on study or immersion. I have had none.

      • Ed January 27, 2011 at 8:48 am #

        Prof, You are a great man with good heart. Just hope that few men in positions of authority in the UN & world would have the guts to speak the truth like you. GOD is with you brother. I am also a jew and believe in what you are saying.

      • Richard Falk January 27, 2011 at 11:33 am #

        Thanks so much, appreciate your words of support, especially while under high profile attack.

      • Edithann January 27, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

        Good luck Prof.Falk.

        http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/gilad-atzmon-the-palestine-papers-and-us.html

        TATA

      • Zyx April 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

        “My attitudes toward the nature of the state of Israel are irrelevant to my role as UN representative”
        Liar!

  26. Arlyn Lichthardt January 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Professor Falk:

    Your post is a remarkable testimonial to the triumph of introspection over intransigence, of compassion over cupidity and humanitarianism over homicide. Moreover, I genuinely admire your incredible patience when responding to the ignorant and intolerant. You will always be a teacher.

    • Edithann January 26, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

      Good girl Arlyn!

      TATA

  27. pamela January 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Sir, I just wish to say thank you for your willingness to speak out on numerous important issues. I see you are 80 or so. Congratulations! Please live long, many need your wisdom and perspective. Please keep blogging daily. Now I have ‘found your mind’, I am intrigued to learn more from you. Blessings.

  28. Silke January 26, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    UN Sec. General condemns Richard Falk for “truther” statements

    http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2011/01/un-sec-general-condemns-richard-falk.html

    You specifically refer to Mr. Falk’s allegations of an “apparent cover-up” related to the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The Secretary-General condemns these remarks. He has repeatedly stated his view that any such suggestion is preposterous — and an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in the attack.

    on the basis of this I’d say that further eulogizing of Mr. Falk is proof of Anti-American behaviour

    • Edithann January 26, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

      Hey Silke…that’s all BS and you know it. Moon also said the settlements were illegal as well as the Gaza massacre..and he also came down on the Turkish Flotilla..along with Goldstone. But you ‘must’ believe the lies that make Israel the perpetual victim.

      Oh yes, and then there’s the leaks of Israel giving their ‘all’ for peace with those terrible Palestinians whose lands you keep stealing… hahahahahaha

      No one believes all your nonsense. That’s your problem, too many know the truth, we don’t need Moon to tell us what’s going on we see it everyday…

      As I said, you are too, too funny…and you have no credibility what so ever Silke..You’re just another thieving Zionist, Israel is full of them.
      It’s too bad there are Jews like you, who can’t understand the world of the Falk’s and Atzmon’s out there trying to educate you ignoramus’s.

      TATA

    • Edithann January 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

      Here Silke..try this…

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27346.htm

      TATA

  29. Silke January 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Edithann
    stay on topic Ban Ki Moon chided Falk for being a 9/11 truther
    that is the one nuttery that has nothing to do with Israel whatsoever except in the minds of truffers of course

    LOL
    I love it

    • Edithann January 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

      I am on topic only you don’t have the flexabilty of mind to see there’s much more to all of it.
      I don’t believe the lie about 9/11 being Arab inspired. Everyone on the planet knows it was all Israeli inspired…just another Mossad caper…just as the death of Harari was all Israel too and the UN has that one also..hahahahah..

      Get off it…if there are deaths and destructions anywhere on the planet, always look to Israel first..like Mmubi in India..
      How come there are no bombs ever hitting Israel? Only those silly bottle rockets from Gaza that just drives you mentally ill Israeli’s into killing rampages on caged Palestinians?
      Ask Moon about that too while you’re at it!

      TATA

  30. Silke January 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    congratulations Professor Falk with Edithann you sure got yourself an admirer to be proud of

    LOL LOL LOL

    next he is going to tell me about attack squirrels, programmed hawks, Mossad-device carrying vultures etc. etc.

    I hear they have a breed of cockroaches in Israel that indulge in feeding on electric cords, maybe those are the real Stuxnetters …

    bwahahahaha

  31. Ray Joseph Cormier January 26, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    Now that the UN Secretary General has publicly singled you out, raising your profile, you are bound to have more supporters and detractors. I am a new supporter, and while I have read only a few of your writings Today, I’m thinking there should be a sequel to the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’ on your outlook. This is an excellent read.

    “For me to be Jewish is, above all, to be preoccupied with overcoming injustice and thirsting for justice in the world, and that means being respectful toward other peoples regardless of their nationality or religion, and empathetic in the face of human suffering whoever and wherever victimization is encountered.”

    With that statement, you follow in the footsteps and teaching of the most famous Jew the world has ever known, Jesus of Nazareth.

    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
    And if you be Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:28-29 & Colossians 3:11

    Even 2000 years later, people do not understand what the Common Era means.

  32. william barth January 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Dr. Falk,

    You have crafted an elequent essay, and you have articulated how many Jewry (including myself) throughout the world think about this situation.

    But it strikes me as sad that you have to go to such lengths – and make such a defense. Somehow, these arguments should be the reverse. That is, the forces that oppose you should be defending their inhumanity as you have nothing to apologize for, nor justify since yours is the moral and just position to take.

    I can’t help but think that the Rev Martin Luther King Jr.’s prescription would be useful to Jewry and Palestinians everywhere. That is, that our two peoples destiny are now inextricably bound up together, much in the manner that King believed that the fate of blacks and whites were bound. Neither of our two peoples, Jewry or Palestinians, will likely survive if we do not learn to live together as brothers and sisters, and in an atmostphere of mutual concern and respect.

    The governmental format this idea takes does not much matter really. Bi national state or two state or multicultural civic state etc. The point is that form needs to follow function, namely, that the cultural identity of both groups need care, recognition, concern, and respect, particularly by each to the other.

    You are doing great works.

    Keep the faith.

    • Richard Falk January 28, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

      William Barth: thanks for your encouraging words, which are much appreciated.

      • william barth January 29, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

        …many thanks for your kind response, and please let me know if I can ever be of help as I recently completed my thesis on the minority question:

        Barth, William. On Cultural Rights: The Equality of Nations and the Minority Legal Tradition (Leiden,Martinus Nijhoff, 2008).

  33. Edithann January 29, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Why would anyone want to be a Jew?

    http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/dr-david-halpin-silence-is-complicity-the-methodical-shootin.html

    TATA

  34. pamela January 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Reading some of the discourse herein points out the obvious: How little mankind has progressed in 3,000 years in the ‘Western world’, though the themes of rhetoric and its dissemination have expanded vastly.

    It seems every faction has ‘fractions’ needing to exert individual and collective angst as a defense or offense, or both.

    Our children are still indoctrinated and taught to kill for both ancient and now more recently conceived ideologies; leaders and followers (both)claiming ‘theirs’ is the rightful “God” or “Universal Truth” to assuage being slaughtered or slaughtering someone else in conflicts.

    Unfortunately, it seems too often the largest scale wars are aggressions only to maintaining “modern economies” through ideological-illusions taught to the masses involved.

    I can’t help ponder: are many of us so ‘individually lacking’ that as we cling tightly to our need for ‘unique-identities’ (racial, ethnic, political,religious,national,economic) some of us shall accomplish nothing but to contribute to collectively annihilating humanity so as to ensure our “identity”?

    Only Women give birth and (mostly) Men kill the living. Altruism toward someone “different” than ourselves is now popularly described as ‘self-loathing’; which leaves no room for peace.

    Our ‘inheritances’ of diverse identities may well be our downfall unless we consider ourselves mere mortals before all else.

    • Richard Falk January 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      Thanks, Pamela, for these perceptive words that carry the issues further, and in important, yet disturbing directions.

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  38. Simon Kulberg February 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    The question of globalization is at the heart of human civilization as far as I can see. Whether it is to be done through enlightenment or imposition, through secularism or religious unification, the same thread runs through human history as far back as you`d care to trace it.

    While I agree completely with your sceptical views on tribalism, there is also another side to nationalsim and religious affinity I think; it can act as self-defense against imperialism, which is why I personally believe there is a resurgence of nationalism and religion all over the world.

    If you look at the first manifestation of the modern state it occurred in Milano in the 12th century, more or less explicitly as a defense against the French and German imperialist designs and against the Papal claim of Universality. The result was a splendidly prosperous society, which was able to defend itself until Napoleon conquered it in 1797. My point is that the word `tribalism`? has negative connotations that do not always apply to expressions of exceptionalism, especially if it regards a claim of jurisdiction and rights to self defense against imperial plunder, not entirely inappropriate today I would say.

    There are great benefits to globalization, I agree, but the danger still remains that any such centralized power brings almost unimaginable temptation for abuse, and if it ever fell into the hands of totalitarians nationalism and relgion might quickly become the only viable means to defens ourselves, once again.

    Keep up the good work though Richard, I appreciate reading your tects very much:)

    • Richard Falk February 14, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

      Thanks, Simon, for interesting comment..

  39. Rabbi Ira Youdovin February 10, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    Despite his annoying habit of calling Israelis Nazis, I have never accused Prof. Falk of being a self-hating Jew. While his animus toward Israel is apparent, I have no way of determining if it stems from an animus toward Judaism and the Jewish tradition, which is the defining characteristic of a “self-hating Jew,” of from something else. But now that he has revealed his thoughts about Jewish identity, I may have to revise my assessment.

    Prof. Falk’s problem is not only with Judaism. He disdains faith communities per se, defaming them as “tribes,” whose doctrine “unconsciously and indirectly gives rise to the murderous mentality of warfare and gives a moral and religious edge to many forms of persecution, culminating in a variety of inquisitions.” Had he been born an Episcopalian, he might be beating up on the Archbishop of Canterbury. But as his essay is entitled On Jewish Identity, we must explore the evidence he brings in applying these sweeping generalizations to Judaism.

    Astonishingly for a scholar of Prof. Falk’s stature and reputation, he cites precious little evidence. He mentions the “often bloody exploits of the ancient Israelites.” But those atrocities occurred in the ancient middle east, where
    “bloody exploits” was standard operating procedure for almost everyone. This doesn’t excuse the atrocities reported in Scripture, but it does make them unexceptionable. Some balance is achieved through praise for the “moral clarity of Old Testament prophets,” and Rabbi Hillel’s version of the Golden Rule—a forerunner of Jesus’ more famous version. The historical screen then goes dark until we are propelled into Prof. Falk’s familiar riff on the evils of contemporary Israel.

    In the process, he ignores a formative period of two millennia during which Judaism evolved from a temple-based sacrificial cult to a prayer and study-centered religion. If one wants to learn about Jewish identity, that’s where one has to look. But Prof. Falk doesn’t. Although I’m not an academician, I think that a student submitting a paper entitled “On Jewish Identity” with so little supporting material would, or should, receive a failing mark, even in this era of grade inflation.

    My hunch is the omission of Jewish references stems from the inconvenient truth that Prof. Falk knows very little about his subject. Perhaps he doesn’t want to know. Even a cursory study of Jewish history discredits many of the sweeping generalizations he employs to dismiss and defame Jewish identity.

    Exhibit A: Prof. Falk maintains that being committed to one faith precludes “being open and receptive to the insight and wisdom of other traditions.” In fact, Jewish history demonstrates precisely the opposite. Early biblical books, including Genesis, reflect the theology and symbolism of the Akkadians and other peoples of the ancient middle east. Later books, such as Ecclesiastes, are clearly influenced by Greek philosophy. The Mishna, which was completed around 225 CE, organizes biblical legislation into categories, a format learned from the Romans. Recent scholarship has discovered an on-going dialogue between the rabbis and church fathers covering several centuries. Both sides shared ideas which each adopted and built into its separate theology. Maimonides, perhaps the greatest of all rabbis, was an Aristotelian who sought to reconcile traditional Jewish teaching with wisdom he learned from Muslim scholars during the era of Convivencia in Medieval Spain. Reform Judaism is a product of the Enlightenment. Zionism was nurtured in the intellectual soil of Romanticism. Walk into many synagogues today and you’ll find classes and spiritual exercises in yoga, meditation and other practices taken from eastern religions. The list of things borrowed and things lent is endless.

    Exhibit B: Prof. Falk dismisses as “benevolent and temporary” the Jewish self-understanding that being a Chosen People bestows no privileged status, but is a mandate to pursue social justice. The historical record refutes the “benevolent and temporary” caveat. Jews have always pursued social justice, following a commandment articulated in the Book of Deuteronomy. Here inAmerica, where Jews at long last have the opportunity to participate in the larger society as full citizens, we have been leaders and workers in the pursuit of equal rights and freedom for all. And Israel, despite its flaws, remains the one democracy in the Middle East, albeit an imperfect one.

    To be sure, there are Jews in Israel, the United States and everywhere who are guilty as charged. They are especially visible in certain West Bank settlements where a desire to subjugate the Palestinians prevails. But they constitute a small minority. To extrapolate a community-wide character from their aberrant (and abhorrent) behavior is polemic, not scholarship.

    A word must be said about Prof. Falk’s self-aggrandizement as one who has succeeded in putting his being human ahead of his being Jewish, so that unfettered by xenophobia, he is able to savor the rites, practices and wisdom of all religions. That’s gratifying, but during my forty years as a rabbi, which should make me a Super Xenophobe, I bet I’ve attended, witnessed and participated in more Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, et al worship services than Prof. Falk, along with a slew of interfaith worship experiences. I have marched, rallied and demonstrated alongside interfaith colleagues for a long list of causes. Several years ago, my partner and I joined with a group drawn from our synagogue and a local Methodist church to rebuild an African American church in rural Alabama that had been destroyed by arson. Contrary to what Prof. Falk believes possible, being a Jew enables me and many others to be better human beings. I can say the same thing about friends who are strongly committed members of other faith communities, but frequently enjoy one another’s rituals, practices and teachings.

    Most disturbing is the flagrant disconnect between Prof. Falk’s claim to an “ecumenical and inclusive spiritual identity, and associated ethical and political commitments,” and his work for the United Nations. “Ecumenical” and “inclusive” strongly suggest a deep commitment to even-handedness in addressing ethical and political issues. But the mandate he accepted when becoming Special Rapporteur of the of outrageously misnamed United Nations Human Rights Council is to report only on perceived Israeli violations on the West Bank, while turning a blind eye on Palestinian suicide bombers and the like. That’s akin to refereeing a football game while calling penalties on one side only, especially when there’s no counterpart Rapporteur to monitor the Palestinians.

    You read that correctly. In a conflict fraught with extraordinary complexities, where right and wrong exists on both sides, Prof. Falk choose to play an utterly one-sided, prejudicial and destructive role. On the one hand, he tars Judaism with the accusation that its doctrine “unconsciously and indirectly gives rise to the murderous mentality of warfare.” And on the other, he is indifferent to radical Islam as it drives Hamas and HIzbollah. I can’t believe that he’s unaware of this cruel absurdity. Somehow, he manages to live with it, and also with the knowledge that the UN’s interest in him is enhanced by his being Jewish.

    As one who has argued frequently and fervently that criticism of Israel is not necessarily anti-Semitism, I am appalled by the damage Prof. Falk’s essay does to my case by alleging that perceived Israeli injustices are a natural, even inevitable consequence of what he condemns as an age-old Jewish religious tradition and identity. It’s a straw man on both sides of the equation, but red meat for those who delight in believing the worst about Jews. It’s no accident that the piece has been reprinted by the Intifada-Voice of Palestine website, as well by an e-screed called Foreign Policy Journal whose publisher, Jeremy R. Hammond, recently wrote a piece entitled “The Myth of the United Nations’ Creation of Israel. “

    One final thought. Did anyone blanch at Prof. Falk’s proclamation that he is a proud Jew? Huh? Proud of what? Proud of belonging to a “tribe whose religious doctrine gives rise to the murderous mentality of warfare and gives a moral and religious edge to many forms of persecution, culminating in a variety of inquisitions?”

    My question as a rabbi is not whether anybody else believes him, but whether he, himself, does. A little soul searching might help him appreciate the toxicity of the things he says about Jewish identity. These insights, in turn, might help him to recognize and understand the prejudice that fuels the toxicity of what he says about Israel.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin
    Santa Barbara, CA

    • Richard Falk February 15, 2011 at 11:11 am #

      Dear Rabbi Ira Youdovin:

      As you are probably aware, we have common friends here in Santa Barbara, making me particularly sad that you chose to insult me so intensely and unfairly. To begin with I have never equated Israelis with Nazis, and find the accusation odious. Further, I never purported to be doing more than express my sense of my own identity as a Jew in response to allegations that I was self-hating. Further still, I received several communications from rabbis that were much kinder than yours, and even supportive of what I was trying to express. And finally, on the substance of the Israel/Palestine conflict my effort and UN mandate is not to be ‘balanced’ but to be truthful; given the structure of the occupation this is what I have tried to do. Even Richard Goldstone, with lifetime Zionist credentials, fared no better than I have when he entered the no man’s land of responsible criticism of the Israeli occupation policies.

      Again, I am disappointed that you did not see fit to attempt even a civil discourse on these matters of obviously deep personal concern to you.

      • hmm February 16, 2011 at 3:23 am #

        You say “to begin with I have never equated Israelis with Nazis, and find the accusation odious.”

        Can you please explain your words here http://www.transnational.org/Area_MiddleEast/2007/Falk_PalestineGenocide.html where you say “Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity”?

        While you may not being saying outright “Israelis are Nazis” you are certainly saying “Israelis are acting like Nazis”. The equation is there so it’s not quite clear what you find so odious.

      • Dave123 February 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

        Richard Falk 2007
        “Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not.”
        http://www.transnational.org/Area_MiddleEast/2007/Falk_PalestineGenocide.html

        2008 Faulk defends his statement to the BBC
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7335875.stm

      • Danny February 17, 2011 at 7:16 am #

        So far the only thing in this thread that has been insulted is your reader’s intelligence. As other below have documented, you are on record making the exact comparison. Given you regularly seem to have difficulty recollecting – and defending – making such “odious” comparisons, one is led to suspect that you are either going senile or, more likely, simply a pathological liar. The rabbi gave you a detailed commment on your piece and you resorted to lying about your past, including your mandate which you insisted should not only report solely on the Israel side but you actively insisted that Palestinian violations of human rights NOT be investigated which is weird given you claim to have such a concern for the Palestinians – as opposed to simply hating Israel.

        Link for above:

        http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EGUA-7FNPCL?OpenDocument
        “He[Falk] respectfully asked the Council to consider expanding the mandate to also encompass inquiry into Palestinian violations of international humanitarian law, but ***not of alleged violations of human rights within the Palestinian territories***”.

        Again I would think all Israelis would consider it a privilege that anti-Israelis like you feel Israel is so utterly blameless that you are compelled to resort to fabrication to attack her.

      • Zyx April 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

        Supporting you point about Jewish identity with Shlomo Sand’s pathetic book shows what a clown you are. Shlomo Sand is no more qualified to give his opinion about ancient Middle Eastern history than you are to share your odd views about Jewish identity. The only pseudo-scientific evidence Sans uses to support his claim that the Jewish people does not exist is Koestler’s famous book :”the 13th tribe”. A book written by a journalist in the 30′s and that has been proven 100% wrong since then. You really are a joke. Truth is people like you have lost the ideological battle of the 20th century. Communism is dead and you take on Israel as a revenge.

    • John February 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

      Ira Youdovin states ‘Zionism was nurtured in the intellectual soil of Romanticism.’
      This is far too sweeping as a generalisation. Zionism dates from only 1891.
      The first International Zionist Congress was held in 1987. These ideological extremists shared similar ideas with German nationalists (bearing in mind that modern Germany only dates from 1871).
      The German and Zionist ideologues shared similar ideas with regard to blood and soil. They both came to share Nazi ideology with regard to lebensraum for their manufactured ethnic races.
      During World War One, Zionists pursued their selfish interests by getting the war prolonged, to secure the Balfour Declaration by the British Government and to see Christian-Zionist General Allenby occupy former Ottoman Palestine.
      The British Palestine Mandate provided the extremist Zionists with an opportunity to deposit and expand their settlements through the displacement of the pre-existing population of Palestinians, for whom their racist ideology cared nothing.
      During World War Two, Zionists offered to fight alongside the Nazis against the British and their subsequent Russian and American allies.
      In this, they shared similar sentiments with white supremacist Afrikaner nationalists in South Africa.
      Where the Afrikaner apartheid regime in South Africa failed, the Zionist apartheid regime in Palestine has succeeded.
      They have both pursued a Bantustan policy by dividing up into unfeasible areas those areas populated by native populations.
      Ira Youdovin claims ‘Israel, despite its flaws, remains the one democracy in the Middle East, albeit an imperfect one.’
      That depends upon how you choose to define ‘democracy’.
      By creating Palestinian Bantustans across Palestine, this has made it impossible for all people in the Palestinian area to have a common vote.
      By ensuring the Palestinian Diaspora remains disenfranchised, the Zionists have rigged pseudo-elections held in Palestine to suit themselves.
      Ira Youdovin’s term ‘imperfect’ does not begin to describe the sham-democracy found today in Palestine.
      I have always thought that the native South Africans were surprisingly forgiving towards the Afrikaners and other whites in South Africa, post-apartheid.
      If only all the peoples in Palestine could show the same belief and confidence in one another, then I am sure it would work out there too.
      They must all reject their extremist leaderships.
      The essential problem on all sides is the poisonous nature of religion.
      A new Palestine, based upon a secular constitution, is absolutely essential. This would guarantee people can hold any beliefs and pursue any rituals, if they so wish.
      The clear understanding that Ira Youdovin and all other religionists need to grasp is that there is no God, Yahweh or Allah.
      Put this religio-ideological nonsense aside and you might just be able to get all peoples in Palestine to live peacefully together.
      You might then see the sort of intellectual flowering that people like Maimonides achieved under the tutelage of Saladin (Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub).
      You might also see a true growth in all the peoples in that sorely afflicted part of the world.

      • John February 18, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

        Sorry – the first Zionist Cobgress was held in 1897, not 1987.

      • Richard Falk February 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

        Thanks, John, for this illuminating and persuasive commentary..

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin February 19, 2011 at 11:29 am #

        Prof. Falk: I had written the following before reading your response to John: “Thanks, John, for this illuminating and persuasive commentary..”

        Illuminating and persuasive??? John’s post is a diatribe of anti-Semitic international Jewish conspiracy venom, including this nugget: “During World War Two, Zionists offered to fight alongside the Nazis against the British and their subsequent Russian and American allies.”

        Please tell me and your other bloggers that you were only being nice, or inadvertently hit the auto response button while you were distracted.

        Now, on to my prepared response:

        Dear Prof. Falk During World War Two, Zionists offered to fight alongside the Nazis against the British and their subsequent Russian and American allies.

        Thank you for your response to my post. However, there are some items which demand additional attention:

        1. You claim “I have never equated Israelis with Nazis, and find the accusation odious.” But sir, in a 2007 essay, “Slouching Toward a Palestinian Holocaust”, you write, “it is especially painful for me, as an American Jew, to portray the ongoing and intensifying abuse of the Palestinian people by Israel through a reliance on such an inflammatory metaphor as ‘holocaust.” And later in the piece, “Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not.”

        Some months later, you declined an opportunity afforded by BBC reporter Tim Franks to withdraw or modify your accusation:

        “Professor Falk said he drew the comparison between the treatment of Palestinians with the Nazi record of collective atrocity, because of what he described as the massive Israeli punishment directed at the entire population of Gaza.

        “He said he understood that it was a provocative thing to say, but at the time, last summer, he had wanted to shake the American public from its torpor.”

        That last comment is especially troubling. If you don’t really believe that Israelis are behaving like Nazis, and are using the comparison only to draw attention, is this not like shouting “fire” in a crowded theater?

        If the perception that you equate Israelis with Nazis is wrong, may I suggest that you publish an unambiguous clarification.

        2. You respond to my judgment that you know very little about Judaism by writing : “I never purported to be doing more than express my sense of my own identity as a Jew in response to allegations that I was self-hating, and never pretended to be expert, or even knowledgeable about Jewish religious thought or doctrinal history.”

        I’m sorry, Professor, that’s not what your post purports to be. Its title is not “My Jewish Identity,” which would label it as a personal statement, but “On Jewish Identity,” which suggests a scholarly, or at least informed piece. Moreover, the sweeping generalizations I noted in my critique are hardly the stuff of personal reflection.

        3. Regarding your work for the U.N., you write. “ my effort and UN mandate is not to be balanced but to be truthful; given the structure of the occupation this is what I have tried to do.” I frankly don’t understand what you mean. But as I don’t want to further burden you by requesting that you write a more detailed clarification, I would welcome directions as to where I can something you have written previously.

        And yes, I would welcome an opportunity to discuss this with you personally.

        On that matter, I think it unfair of you to chastise me for electing to air my critique on your blog, instead of raising it in personal conversation. Blogging exists for the purpose of enabling people to exchange views in a public forum, inviting others to participate. Talking to you personally does not afford an opportunity to impact on others who read your blog, much less the many others who read e-magazines and websites which picked it up.

        Shalom,

        Ira Youdovin

        Dear Prof. Falk

        Thank you for your response to my post. However, there are some items which demand additional attention:

        1. You claim “I have never equated Israelis with Nazis, and find the accusation odious.” But sir, in a 2007 essay, “Slouching Toward a Palestinian Holocaust”, you write, “it is especially painful for me, as an American Jew, to portray the ongoing and intensifying abuse of the Palestinian people by Israel through a reliance on such an inflammatory metaphor as ‘holocaust.” And later in the piece, “Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not.”

        Some months later, you declined an opportunity afforded by BBC reporter Tim Franks to withdraw or modify your accusation:

        “Professor Falk said he drew the comparison between the treatment of Palestinians with the Nazi record of collective atrocity, because of what he described as the massive Israeli punishment directed at the entire population of Gaza.

        “He said he understood that it was a provocative thing to say, but at the time, last summer, he had wanted to shake the American public from its torpor.”

        That last comment is especially troubling. If you don’t really believe that Israelis are behaving like Nazis, and are using the comparison only to draw attention, is this not like shouting “fire” in a crowded theater?

        If the perception that you equate Israelis with Nazis is wrong, may I suggest that you publish an unambiguous clarification.

        2. You respond to my judgment that you know very little about Judaism by writing : “I never purported to be doing more than express my sense of my own identity as a Jew in response to allegations that I was self-hating, and never pretended to be expert, or even knowledgeable about Jewish religious thought or doctrinal history.”

        I’m sorry, Professor, that’s not what your post purports to be. Its title is not “My Jewish Identity,” which would label it as a personal statement, but “On Jewish Identity,” which suggests a scholarly, or at least informed piece. Moreover, the sweeping generalizations I noted in my critique are hardly the stuff of personal reflection.

        3. Regarding your work for the U.N., you write. “ my effort and UN mandate is not to be balanced but to be truthful; given the structure of the occupation this is what I have tried to do.” I frankly don’t understand what you mean. But as I don’t want to further burden you by requesting that you write a more detailed clarification, I would welcome directions as to where I can something you have written previously.

        And yes, I would welcome an opportunity to discuss this with you personally.

        On that matter, I think it unfair of you to chastise me for electing to air my critique on your blog, instead of raising it in personal conversation. Blogging exists for the purpose of enabling people to exchange views in a public forum, inviting others to participate. Talking to you personally does not afford an opportunity to impact on others who read your blog, much less the many others who read e-magazines and websites which picked it up.

        Shalom,

        Ira Youdovin

      • pamela February 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

        To Rabbi Ira: In my very-American opinion no amount of the passing of years will ever make the quaint notion of founding a country based on ethno-religious centrism rightful. It is even more wrong, when others who are not of the same ethno-religious identity, are displaced to do so. I am an American senior citizen. Zionism, or any other ethno-religious centrist ideology being promoted or supported, by Americans to create a nation around such ideology, is antithetical to American secular anti-racist principles, always was and always will be. Every American President and Congressperson that supported Zionism in the past since the late 1800′s up to the present, or may in the future support and promote anything similar to an ethno-religious centrist nation being created again in the future (like Israel was) is no different than the President, Congress and Americans that supported the ideology of Manifest Destiny. I for one am tired of hearing the dishonest, trite argument where antisemitism is continually equated to being “anti-Israel” or “anti-Zionist”. It is intellectually dishonest rhetoric and if you are an American you need to hear this: Zionism is un-American!
        Israel exists and Native-American Reservations exist. I think what was done to Native Americans is as appalling as what was done to remove people from the geography now known as Israel.

        If tomorrow someone came and told me I had to move out of the state of Louisiana in the U.S. because Black Americans who are slave descendants (currently scattered throughout the U.S.) were going to be given the state (by a United Nations vote) because their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents were slaves in Louisiana in 1675, and were slaughtered by their slave master along with another 2,000 slaves that day in 1675; and because those Black Americans still practice their original-tribal religion from Africa and so desire to have their own country, I would be darn angry because it is wrong for me to pay the price for something done by someone else years ago, or even yesterday, be it was a Black holocaust done by French emigrant slave masters in 1675 or not.

        My 14 grandchildren are of nearly every ethnic “identity”, White, Asian, Black African and Native American. I understand that certain Jewish people wish to not inter-marry, that’s their right, but I will never agree, that in the modern era of Enlightenment, American politicians who supported Zionism and the creating of Israel were acting as Americans. They were acting as Zionists.

        The British used their imperialist power over the area now known as “Palestine/Israel” to promise what they did to an ethno-religious group of scattered people, who were no more nor less important then or now the scattered diaspora of African slave descendants who suffered centuries of abuses and death at the hands of white men. The Balfour letter to Rothschild was quid pro quo; and Americans in Congress who voted the Zionist Resolution in 1922 to endorse the Zionist ideology (with the signature of the US President) were all political hypocrites participating in an antithetical act as Americans.
        Americans made their bed with Zionists, and we have to lay in it. I want a divorce American style, and with no more American tax-dollar alimony being paid to Israel.

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  42. Bryan February 16, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    The UN loves self-hating Jews, and Mr. Falk does not fail to oblige.

    Thanks for clarifying, Mr. Falk: before I could only assume you had an irrational hatred of Israel, but now I know for sure that hatred is just a manifestation of your equally irrational self-hatred.

    Maybe you should take a “Judaism 101″ class. You probably wouldn’t hate Judaism so much if you actually knew anything about it.

    • Edithann February 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

      Why does it have to be ‘hatred’ Bryan?…Why can’t it be a different viewpoint? Falk doesn’t ‘hate’ anyone. I don’t see any rage in any of his writings. So what’s hatred got to do with anything here? Hatred is a ‘killing emotion’…It is rage-filled, white hot and killing. Are Falks views making you ‘white hot’ with rage and ready to kill him?

      Seems your tirade is ‘over the top’, and immature old man. However, I enjoyed your solution that Falk as you said; “go back to ‘maybe take a “Judaism 101″ class. You probably wouldn’t hate Judaism so much if you actually knew anything about it”.

      Would Judaism #101 change my view of Jews and Judaism? I’ve watched Israeli behavior and excuses justifying their existence on Palestinian lands for the last 60+ years. Would Judaism 101 make me love and understand Israel any better?
      You’re not angry about Falk’s views, you’re angry that he’s made them public. You’re angry that he forgot what he was taught as a mindless youth and needs a refresher course on secrecy and appreciation for the ‘chosen’ aspect that gives Jews certain ‘rights’ reserved only to Jews..
      Where do I sign up for the course Bryan?

      I love it..Falk is the Jew that ‘got away and blabbed the truth
      ‘. You are too funny Bryan..really too, too funny and so transparent..

      TATA

    • Edithann February 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

      Rabbi Ira Youdovin and the boys, please give us your critique on the following. Is it truthful, balanced or what?

      http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/02/19/truth-in-stuttgart/

      TATA

    • pamela February 19, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

      Bryan: Israel’s existence is irrefutably based on ethno-religious centrism. Zionism is a racist, exclusionary, geo-political religious ideology manifested as a national government and no amount of pro-Israel propaganda can change that fact. The world is stuck with Israel, thanks to the British, Russians and Americans. As I said, as an American I want a divorce, and no more alimony to Israel.

      Also, the continual name calling by Zionists (such as calling others “self-hating Jews”) is so infantile it is ridiculous. Zionism is what is irrational. Pour yourself some more Zionist kool-aid, Bryan. No matter what flavor being offered, more and more Americans are deciding not to drink it. It tastes racist and bitter.

      • Bryan February 20, 2011 at 6:52 am #

        Zionism is a national movement based on self-determination for Jews, no more or less “racist” or “exclusionary” than French or Armenian or Palestinian nationalism.

      • pamela February 20, 2011 at 9:05 am #

        Bryan, The final form of Zionism (manifested by the State of Israel behaviours which lean more and more toward ‘facism by actions’ as decades go by) is antithetically un-American.

        My country (the United States) should have never supported such an ethno-religious centrist and exclusionary, elitist “identity” concept from being forced upon the World as a nation.

        As Judah Magnes pointed out in 1929 to Mr. Chaim Weizmann:

        “I think that the time has come when the Jewish policy as to Palestine must be very clear, and that now only one of two policies is possible.

        Either the logical policy outlined by Jabotinsky in a letter in the Times which came today, basing our Jewish life in Palestine on militarism and imperialism; or a pacific policy that treats as entirely secondary such things as a “Jewish State” or a Jewish majority, or even “The Jewish National Home,” and as primary the development of a Jewish spiritual, educational, moral and religious center in Palestine.

        The first policy has to deal primarily with politics, governments, declarations, propaganda and bayonets, and only secondarily with the Jews, and last of all with the Arabs; whereas the pacific policy has to deal first of all with the Jews, and then with the Arabs, and only incidentally with governments and all the rest.

        The imperialist, military and political policy is based upon mass immigration of Jews and the creation (forcible if necessary) of a Jewish majority, no matter how much this oppresses the Arabs meanwhile, or deprives them of their rights. In this kind of policy the end always justifies the means.

        The policy, on the other hand, of developing a Jewish spiritual Center does not depend upon mass immigration, a Jewish majority, a Jewish State, or upon depriving the Arabs (or the Jews) of their political rights for a generation or a day; but on the contrary, is desirous of having Palestine become a country of two nations and three religions, all of them having equal rights and none of them having special privileges; a country where nationalism is but the basis of internationalism, where the population is pacifistic and disarmed—in short, the Holy Land.

        The one policy may be termed that of militarist, imperialist, political Zionism; the other that of pacific, international, spiritual Zionism; and if some authorities will not choose to call the latter idea Zionism, then let it be called the Love of Zion, or the Return to Zion, or any other name that you will.

        We have been toying with the words “Jewish State,” “majority,” “Jewish Palestine,” “politics,” “Balfour Declaration,” etc., long enough. It is time that we came down to realities. “

      • pamela February 20, 2011 at 9:17 am #

        Typo (sorry)I wrote above: “My country (the United States) should have never supported such an ethno-religious centrist and exclusionary, elitist “identity” concept FORM (meant to type not “from”] being forced upon the World as a nation.”

      • Eldad February 20, 2011 at 9:26 am #

        Practically every Arab country mentions, in their constitutions, that Islam is the state religion. All of them say that they are meant to be Arab states (to the exclusion of non-Arabs.) Most of them explicitly state that their legal system is based on Sharia law. This includes Egypt and even the Palestinian constitution.

        Now, when are the people who complain about Israel’s system going to say the same things about every Arab country?

        I’m not holding my breath, based on the rank hypocrisy that I see in message threads like these.

      • pamela February 20, 2011 at 9:39 am #

        I need to spell check better. I obviously meant “Fascism” not “facism”. Fascists have been oft defined as: “believing that a nation is an organic community that requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong.” Israel is giving new meaning to the term “fascism” in the modern era (post-World War II).

      • pamela February 20, 2011 at 10:23 am #

        Eldad: What has Palestine or Arab countries “sharia” societies got to do with Israel’s Zionist origins and Israeli Zionist ideology? NOTHING!!!!!!

        The point is that a post-World War II nation (Israel) was created on the premise of a “ethno-religious” centrist ideology, and that its creation immediately harmed other people by running them from homes where they had lived for a long time.

        The United States government went along with this imperialist, and in my eyes immoral Zionist program. Zionism(Israeli-style)is as un-American as Communism was(Russian-style). Zionism took hold in the U.S. to the tune of billions of dollars a year in foreign aid, Communism did not because it was EXPOSED and rooted out.

        U.S. COMPLICITY was tantamount to the establishment of “Israel” for a “singualar ethno-religious based” nation. The complicity was antithetical to American principles of a purportedly secular, anti-racist, melting-pot government/society like the United States.

        The rank hypocrisy of U.S. involvement in the creation and maintaining of Israel is the point of my desire for my government (the United States) to divorce Israel and pay it no more US-taxpayer alimony.

        Additionally, the sorry situation of “Palestinians” since 1947-48 was just as much created by the rank hypocrisy of the United States elected (Zionists in Congress & Zionist Presidents) as it was and is by Jewish Zionists.

        What every American should be wondering is THE WHY & THE HOW of how did our government get wrapped up in such a ridiculous international scheme as Zionism and yet continues to drink the ethno-racist, non-secular kool-aid of Zionism as proven by the Un Security Council vote the other day. Zionist kool-aid has poisoned my Democracy.

  43. John February 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    In his latest posting, Ira Youdovin states ‘John’s post is a diatribe of anti-Semitic international Jewish conspiracy venom, including this nugget: “During World War Two, Zionists offered to fight alongside the Nazis against the British and their subsequent Russian and American allies.”

    This ‘nugget’ is contained in a document entitled The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict, which is published by Jews for Justice in the Middle East, P.O. Box 14561, Berkeley, CA, 94712.

    See the section headed ‘Shamir proposes an alliance with the Nazis’, which reads:

    “As late as 1941, the Zionist group LEHI, one of whose leaders, Yitzhak Shamir, was later to become a prime minister of Israel, approached the Nazis, using the name of its parent organization, the Irgun (NMO)..[The proposal stated:] ‘The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis and bound by a treaty with the German Reich would be in the interests of strengthening the future German position of power in the Near East….The NMO in Palestine offers to take an active part in the war on Germany’s side’…The Nazis rejected this proposal for an alliance because, it is reported, they considered LEHI’s military power ‘negligible.’ “Allan Brownfield in “The Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs”, July/August 1998.

    They go on to quote the following:-

    “In 1938 a thirty-one nation conference was held in Evian, France, on resettlement of the victims of Nazism. The World Zionist Organization refused to participate, fearing that resettlement of Jews in other states would reduce the number available for Palestine.” John Quigley, “Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice”

    “It was summed up in the meeting [of the Jewish Agency's Executive on June 26, 1938] that the Zionist thing to do ‘is belittle the [Evian] Conference as far as possible and to cause it to decide nothing…We are particularly worried that it would move Jewish organizations to collect large sums of money for aid to Jewish refugees, and these collections could interfere with our collection efforts’…Ben-Gurion’s statement at the same meeting: ‘No rationalization can turn the conference from a harmful to a useful one. What can and should be done is to limit the damage as far as possible.’” Israeli author Boas Evron, “Jewish State or Israeli Nation?”

    “[Ben-Gurion stated] ‘If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second – because we face not only the reckoning of those children, but the historical reckoning of the Jewish people.’ In the wake of the Kristallnacht pogroms, Ben-Gurion commented that ‘the human conscience’ might bring various countries to open their doors to Jewish refugees from Germany. He saw this as a threat and warned: ‘Zionism is in danger.’” Israeli historian, Tom Segev, “The Seventh Million.”

    “Even David Ben-Gurion’s sympathetic biographer acknowledges that Ben-Gurion did nothing practical for rescue, devoting his energies to post-war prospects. He delegated rescue work to Yitzak Gruenbaum, who [stated]…’They will say that I am anti-Semitic, that I don’t want to save the Exile, that I don’t have a varm Yiddish hartz…Let them say what they want. I will not demand that the Jewish Agency allocate a sum of 300,000 or 100,000 pounds sterling to help European Jewry. And I think that whoever demands such things is performing an anti-Zionist act.’ “Zionists in America…took the same position.

    “The Zionist movement…interfered with and hindered other organizations, Jewish and non- Jewish, whenever it imagined that their activity, political or humanitarian, was at variance with Zionist aims or in competition with them, even when these might be helpful to Jews, even when it was a question of life and death…Beit Zvi documents the Zionist leadership’s indifference to saving Jews from the Nazi menace except in cases in which the Jews could be brought to Palestine…[e.g.] the readiness of the dictator of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Trujillo, to absorb one hundred thousand refugees and the sabotaging of this idea – as well as others, like proposals to settle the Jews in Alaska and the Philippines – by the Zionist movement…

    “The obtuseness of the Zionist movement toward the fate of European Jewry did not prevent it, of course, from later hurling accusations against the whole world for its indifference toward the Jewish catastrophe or from pressing material, political, and moral demands on the world because of that indifference.” Israeli author Boas Evron, “Jewish State or Israeli Nation?”

    What these quotations clearly tell us is that extremist Zionists cared only about those who were prepared freely to emigrate to Palestine in order to settle there under the control of Zionist organisations. ‘European’ or ‘assimilated’ Jews were of no interest to them.

    The Zionists were clearly prepared to sacrifice the lives of millions of their fellow Jews, only subsequently seeing any value on their lives by way of creating a victimhood status, which they have exploited ruthlessly ever since.

    As the USA vote at the United Nations demonstrates, the Zionists are still pulling the wool over the eyes of Christian-Zionists and the American administration even today, despite the fact that the Zionists colluded in the deaths and destruction of fellow Jews during World War Two. They have no shame whatsoever.

    It may be possible that Ira Youdovin is a decent human being. If he is, he should cease trying to defend the indefensible. Racism – whether Zionist or any other type – is something that all decent people should condemn outright. He should join us.

  44. william February 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    Just a brief further note.

    It is silly to permit the radical, whacky right-wing in Israel (or the Tea Party here in the USA) to steal the flag of patriotism, or the Star of David for that matter. All of this is being done in the name of oppressive, and apartheid-like policies that do not comply with human rights norms.

    Surely most Jewry reject such thinking, and we (most Jews) are firmly on the side of Dr Falk’s humanism. His having to answer the charge of being “self-hating” is ridiculous.

    It is the policies of the radical-right, both here in the USA, as well as in Israel, that pose a real threat to the long-term interests of the Jewish peoples, as well as all oppressed peoples such as the Palestinians.

    The interests of our two groups, both Jews and Palestinians, are inextricably bound together. We can only end the violence by restoring an equilibrium between our two peoples that is based upon simple justice. That is, self-determination for both our peoples within a political context of mutual concern and respect for one another.

    Don’t let them turn you around Dr. Falk.

    Keep the Faith.

    • Richard Falk February 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

      Thanks for the encouragement, and sense of solidarity..

    • Zyx April 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

      I think you are firmly on the side of delusion. Exactly like “Prof.” Falk. Same thing. Communism is dead the only way to overcome your anger is to take on Israel.

  45. igloo February 20, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    There is a need to differentiate between Judaism – a religion and Zionism – a political movement

    • Richard Falk February 20, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      Yes, this is important, and I try to make it clear in everything I write. It is also
      to distinguish Israel as a state from Zionism as a movement, body of ideas, and
      an evolving political project.

  46. Paul Freedman February 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    John, adopting Unitarian universalism and approving culturally specific norms governing Islamic or other indigenous ritual and law while condemning Jews for their own distinct cultures is arguably not “self-hating” only in the sense that your Jewish identity is non-existent, apart from an overgeneralized and meaningless pro-forma analogical bridge from your actual anti-Jewish agendas to a supposed proto-typical Jewish source.

    You have become simply another garden variety anti-Semite, peddling fantastic tales of Jewish conspiracy and depredation, and condemning Jews for sources of culturally distinct pride (labelled false sense of superiority) that you would applaud in other cultures and peoples in the name of multi-cultural ethnicity.

    For all the vaporous sermonizing and content-free Emersonian pop-corn masquerading as thought you have yet to explain your specific enabling of very particularist and history-bound demonized stereotypes of Jews, murderous violence against actual jews (organized in a sectarian, tribalist theocracy in Gaza supported by you anomalously as a Jeffersonian democratic culture) and enabling and promotion of obsessive conspiracies about the imaginary construct of Jews colonizing their psychologically bereft personalities–such as the 9/11 “truther” conspiracies or the ludicrous nonsense that Jews conspired to prolong and benefit from the First World War or the Nazi regime, ahistorical revision shared between you and your admirers here.

    So no, you are not a “self-hating Jew”, you are a deracinated pseudo-intellectual whose ancestors were at one time Jewish, now shuffling anti-Jewish tropes without any concrete knowledge of what actual jewish history is or what it represents apart from the factoid nuggets and fabricated quote overflow from the shared semi-literate septic tank of anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic bigots.

    So don’t worry, you can’t be “self-hating” if the self has long since disappeared into au curant self-congratulatory escapism.

    • Edithann February 21, 2011 at 9:05 am #

      Well Paul Freedman, it seems you prove Falks points, that ‘hate’ springs eternal in the hearts of Jews who cling to the old lies.
      There is truth in all of Falks writings, from the Balfour conspiracies, to Zionist’s WW2 involvements, to all other Zionist ‘false flags’, 9/11, Iraq war etc., etc. All documented facts from many intellectual sources.

      If you have counter arguments to those ‘facts’ please reveal them. Being personally insulting to Falk just makes you look childish and petulant. Facts, man, just the facts. Your personal facts aren’t relevant here at all..

      From your obvious intellectual diatribe at Falk, you don’t sound too ‘smart’, just angry and ‘hate filled’.
      I would imagine it’s because Israel is now sliding into oblivion.

      I suggest you read the following carefully, it’s more contemporary and deals with relevant facts today..not old redundant garbage from the past.
      Blame doesn’t solve problems or Israel and the Jews would have solved their centuries old problems with the rest of the world, centuries ago.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2011/02/why-the-u-s-cannot-do-something-about-palestine.html#respond

      TATA

  47. Paul Freedman February 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    excuse me, that would be:

    “enabling and promotion of obsessive conspiracies about the imaginary construct of Jews constructively colonizing conspiracy fabulators’ psychologically bereft personalities–such as the 9/11…”

  48. Paul Freedman February 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    By the way, on one specific illustrative example as you lack any historical appreciation for Zionist history, relying on over generalized jargon clotted content-free academic abstractions and maliciously distorted or invented factoids from anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic colleagues (again–you are not the “wicked son” of the Haggada because your “jewish” identity is a revenant wisp of false-consciousness so to speak):

    “During World War Two, Zionists offered to fight alongside the Nazis against the British and their subsequent Russian and American allies.”

    This is not persuasive, it is anti-Semitic drivel, purporting to assert that Jews are so evil that they helped the Holocaust generally. Zionists fought the Nazis where they could–in the Warsaw Ghetto, the Russian Resistance, or in a British-sponsored Jewish Brigade approved by Winston Churchill after initial objections. Stern gang fighters had proposed to join the Nazis in an alliance against the British Empire but this was a fringe reaction, although Zionist interaction with the Nazis for the purpose of rescuing Jews from the Holocaust (as in the much maligned Kastner Train and the substantively successful Transfer Agreement) were approved by the Jewish yishuv in the Mandate.

    Meanwhile the Palestinian Mufti of Jerusalem al-Husseini actively collaborated with the Nazis after finding refuge in Nazi Germany, organizing Waffen SS Muslim soldiers to kill Jews and Christians in the Bosnian theater (a picture is available online at http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/recruited.htm) and worked with the upper echelon of the SS to transfer gas chamber bureaucracies and equipment via Rommel’s army to a conquered British Mandate to exterminate all the Mandate’s Jewish citizens.

    Rommel was defeated so Hitler’s promise to the Mufti to commit literal (not metaphorical) genocide on the Jewish inhabitants of the Mandate failed.

    Again, as you are no longer Jewish in any concretely specifiable or meaningful way your sponsorship of ignorant and incredible anti-Jewish calumnies is not a failure of “self-hating” but the all too fashionable intellectual failures of conscience, mind, soul, and wit within the backwash of pseudo-intellectual dilettantism and poseur-ism home to our generation’s share of posterity’s anti-Jewish mediocrities.

    Tiny fish in a stagnant pond.

    • John February 21, 2011 at 11:24 am #

      Has Paul become inebriated by his own verbosity?

      I agree about the Grand Mufti and the SS Muslim soldiers.

      I am always happy to ackowledge facts.

    • pamela February 21, 2011 at 11:50 am #

      Zionist ideology continues manifesting itself in the United States, poisoning our basic American principles of freedom. In one recent instance, the ideology again expressed itself against uncensored freedom of speech and the expression of political dissent in America. This was successful via instilling the the fear of Zionist violence against a public transportation system; a system which had already agreed to carry negative advertisements regarding Israeli government acts.
      http://www.salem-news.com/articles/february212011/seattle-bus-ads.php

  49. John February 20, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    In principle, there is nothing wrong with self-determination. It is a process in which we are all engaged, from the time of our birth to the moment of our death. During our waking lives and when we are asleep, this process continues.

    Self-determination applies to all of us at an individual level and is combined with similar outlooks of others from a local level up to and including a global level. We can all be united by what we perceive as a common humanity at a planetary level.

    Possibly, in time to come, we will share our ideas of self-determination with other planetary inhabitants, which will eventually come to embrace a truly Universal or cosmological appreciation of self-determination.

    We all also engage in the political process of engaging in reconciliation and exchange to be able to live alongside others with different ideas of self-determination.

    Where Zionism – like Nazism – is different is that it rejects the process of politics in attempting to achieve a situation where people with differences can live together. The fascistic outlook of Zionism means that only their self-determination is accorded any value.

    The self-determination needs of others are sacrificed to the single-minded drive of Zionism to impose just their ideas and values on themselves and everyone else.

    That is why there is conflict in Palestine. The only way it will be resolved is if the self-determination needs and aspirations of all peoples there are met – and this includes allowing an open border so that all wishing to go there and live there is allowed.

  50. Rama Ananth April 3, 2011 at 4:34 am #

    I dream of a time when, when people will rise against attrocities, and injustice like they did in Egypt, in a totally non violent way and threw their corrupt government with the corrupt and shameless leader, where even the army supported the people’s cause and never harmed them. It should be done by both the Palestinians and the Jews together, so that they can throw such ruthless people who run the government with the full support of the Americans. Chosen one my foot, to think they still keep uttering such nonsense, and doing everything horrible to the country which they have forcefully occupied, grabbing more and more and yet not satisfied, committing the same crimes committed by the Nazis.
    If there is God I wonder, how can such things be allowed in this world by the creator.
    People have lost all sense of goodness and decency.
    I am somewhere in India, but such things bother me very much, what kind of God can allow the destruction of Afganistan, Iraq many such countries. I see the hand of US everywhere,not all the perfumes of Arabia can take the stink out of their hands When will they ever learn from their mistakes?
    People are turning into terrorists, who is to blame?

    • Richard Falk April 3, 2011 at 8:19 am #

      Thanks for your messages, and appreciative words. Yes, we must, wherever we are retain the hope and vision of a different, better, juster world than now seems possible, an attitude of mind that i describe as ‘necessary utopianism.’

    • Edithann April 3, 2011 at 8:31 am #

      Yes, I agree wholeheartedly with your views..
      The following is some insight as to what is really happening and why it’s so difficult for things to change..

      http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/gilad-atzmon-inside-what-job-a-film-review.html

  51. Richard Falk January 17, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Thanks for this encouraging comment. It is greatly appreciated.

  52. Richard Falk January 17, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    Thanks for these affirming and encouraging words. I hope that I can retain your confidence in the future.

  53. Zyx April 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Sure!

  54. Zalman November 18, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    Hi, As much as I disagree with much of what you do and say, I want you to know that I consider you a full Jew. I am what people call “Orthodox” and follow the Lubavitch Rebbe Philosophy of life. From him I learned never to judge a fellow person and to respect the uniqueness that we all have to offer to the world. I wish you only the best.

  55. Richard Falk November 19, 2013 at 5:39 am #

    Thanks for these sentiments, which I reciprocate, although not personally familiar
    with the thought of Lubavitch Rebbe. I have taken seriously the analogous sentiment
    of the poet W.H. Auden: “We must love one another or die.”

    With respect,

    Richard

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Falk: Tribalism is genocidal; while a diverse religious identity thickens the fibers of global civilization « 63 Years Occupation is Enough | فلسطين - January 17, 2011

    [...] should do, and started a blog. This entry, which he has allowed me to repost in full, is called “On Jewish Identity.” This is really everything I’ve asked for since the Iraq war: for American Jews to have a [...]

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    [...] On Jewish Identity « http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/on-jewish-identity/ [...]

  3. World Spinner - January 25, 2011

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    [...] international jurist and UN Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestinian Territories also wrote on his Jewish identity in January [...]

  10. Prof Richard Falk: On Jewish Identity | Uprootedpalestinians's Blog - July 7, 2013

    […] In this sense, I want to say, yes I am Jewish, and proud of it, but I am equally indigenous, Sufi, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, and Christian to the extent that I allow myself to participate in their rituals, partake of their sacred texts, and seek and avail myself of the opportunity to sit at the feet of their masters.  Many persons living deprived lives do not have or desire such ecumenical opportunities, and can best approach this universal ideal, by seeking out the inclusive potentialities of their own religious and cultural reality.I want to give the last word to an early nineteenth century American spiritual seer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, although with some hesitation, given his patriarchal use of language. I was slightly tempted to substitute ‘humans are’ for ‘man is’ but then I decided to respect the integrity of Emerson’s speech within the historical setting of its original utterance (unlike the recent purging of ‘nigger’ from the American classic, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, and the substitution of the historically misleading, yet culturally less offensive word ‘slave’). Here are Emerson’s words as written: “The civility of no race can be perfect whilst another race is degraded. It is a doctrine of the oldest and of the newest philosophy, that man is one, and that you cannot injure any member, without a sympathetic injury to all members.”http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/on-jewish-identity/ […]

  11. On Jewish Identity | Council for the National Interest - March 28, 2014

    […] Richard Falk blog – As someone who is both Jewish and supportive of the Palestinian struggle for a just and sustainable peace, I am often asked about my identity. The harshest critics of my understanding of the Israel/Palestine conflict contend that I am a self-hating Jew, which implies that sharp criticism of Israel and Zionism are somehow incompatible with affirming a Jewish identity. Of course, I deny this. For me to be Jewish is, above all, to be preoccupied with overcoming injustice and thirsting for justice in the world, and that means being respectful toward other peoples regardless of their nationality or religion, and empathetic in the face of human suffering whoever and wherever victimization is encountered. With this orientation, I could, but will not, return the insult, and say that those who endorse the cruelties of Israel occupation policies are the real self-hating Jews as they have turned away from the moral clarity of Old Testament prophets, which is the shining light of the Old Testament overcoming the often bloody exploits of the ancient Israelites. So interpreted, the biblical mandate for just behavior extends to all of humanity.  As the great Rabbi Hillel teaches, “[T]hat which is hateful to you do not do to another..the rest (of the Torah) is all commentary, now go study.” Not hateful only to another Jew, but clearly meant to encompass every human being. […]

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