For What?

20 Jul

 

             Being disinclined to look in mirrors, not only to avoid evidences of aging, but also because of an autobiographical deficit, I have recently started to question the vectors of my motivation. Not to raise doubts but to seek some understanding of ‘for what?’ I am especially wondering the reasons behind my solidarity with the struggles of distant strangers, why such solidarity is not more widely shared with likeminded friends, and why the inevitable priorities as to what is emphasized and what is ignored have the shape they do. Most pointedly, why am I giving the Palestinians so much more attention and psychic energy than the Kurds, Tibetans, or Kashmiris, and a host of other worthy causes? And how do I explain to myself a preoccupation with the unlawful, immoral, and imprudent foreign policy of the U.S. Government, the sovereign state of my residence upon whose governmental resources I depend upon for security and a range of rights?

 

            There are rational answers that tell part of the story, but only a part, and probably the least illuminating part. I was drawn to the Palestinian struggle as a result of friendship with prominent Palestinian exiles while still a student. I formed a well-evidence belief that the U.S. Government and the organized Jewish community were responsible for the massive and enduring confiscation of Palestinian land and rights. And with this awareness came some added sense of responsibility. ‘Just don’t sit and stare, do something.’

And with this modest kind of engagement came pressures to do more by way of public identification and witnessing, which led to a somewhat deeper awareness, greater familiarity, and of course, a dumpster full of harsh criticism. After many years of speaking and writing, the opportunity and challenge to do more in relation to Palestine/Israel conflict came my way unexpectedly in the form of an unsolicited invitation in 2008 to become the next Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine on behalf of the UN Human Rights Council.

 

            I never sought such a position, and realized that it would expose me to an escalating onslaught of vicious personal attacks and threats, an expectation that has been amply fulfilled. It is always uncomfortable to be the target of toxic language, and it is even more scary and disturbing to expose my closest partner in life and love to such calumny. Besides the hotly contested terrain that exists whenever Israeli policies are subject to objective scrutiny and criticism, a position within the UN hierarchy is both burdensome and often frustrating. True, being a Special Rapporteur is essentially a voluntary post, without salary or civil service affiliations, although ‘compensated’ to some degree by institutional independence within the UN, which I have discovered in my four years, can be a considerable blessing. There is little doubt in my mind that if I had been a paid employee I would long ago have been handed a pink slip. As it is I have merely endured a barrage of slanderous insults, including from the Secretary General and Susan Rice, the American ambassador to the UN in New York.

           

            Lest I protest and complain too much, I hasten to add that there are also deep and moving satisfactions. I find particularly satisfying the extent to which my two reports each year on the Israeli occupation of Palestine provides a truthful witnessing to the unspeakable ordeal of this prolonged and harsh occupation. Actually, it is less and less an occupation and more and more an apartheid style form of annexation, aggravated by continuous land grabs, various instruments of ethnic cleansing, and a range of gratuitous cruelties most recently dramatized by a series of heroic hunger strikes by Palestinians protesting those aspects of their plight resulting from violent arrest procedures, administrative detention, and deplorable prison conditions falling far below accepted international standards. Bearing witness, giving the Palestinians an authentic voice with which to formulate their grievances, and having the means to issue press releases calling attention to particular incidents of abuse, makes me feel as though my time is well spent even if the bodies keep piling up on the Palestinian side of the border. Part of the challenge in such a role is to realize the discouraging constraints on what can be achieved. Governments mainly don’t listen, and even when they do, their actions and policies are rarely informed by moral imperatives, and so nothing changes however much the evidence is present.

            The devastating impact of the Gaza blockade has been known and lamented for years by political leaders, and yet the costs of doing anything about it have seemed so great that even those who complain most loudly in the chambers of the UN are silent or worse when it comes to doing something. Someone at my level is shouting to be heard amid the clamor that prevails in the diplomatic discotheques of New York and Geneva, and even when heard, must learn to expect nothing to be done or else despair, even madness, will soon follow.

 

            Beyond this rational balance sheet of gains and losses, is a deeper less accessible convergence of feelings and impulses, which cannot be explained, but only acknowledged. I am not sure why direct exposure to victimization has such a powerful animating effect on my behavior, but it does. I do feel that a sense of responsibility emerges with such knowledge, especially that derived from direct contact with the suffering of victims caught in some historical trap not of their own making. Also, whether visiting North Vietnam as a peace activist during the Vietnam War or seeking to understand the Iranian Revolution by talking with its leaders as the extraordinary process was unfolding in Tehran, I felt a meta-professional obligation to share this privileged exposure by talking and writing about it, however inadequately, particularly, as seemed generally to be the case, that the mainstream media distorted and manipulated their presentations of such historic happenings as misleadingly seen through their Western optic of (mis)perception.

 

            Somewhere in this agonizingly slow formation of my character there was being constructed a self that took the shape of ‘engaged scholar’ and ‘citizen pilgrim.’ In retrospect, I think I was reacting somewhat dialectically to my academic colleagues who mostly felt it inappropriate to speak out on controversial issues although they viewed it as entirely professional to consult with the government and quite all right to avoid the public sphere altogether by packaging themselves as experts who should not be expected to take public stands on partisan issues that divided the polity. I felt, increasingly with age, the opposite. I came to believe that it was an organic part of my integrity as teacher/scholar to create a seamless interface between classroom and sites of political struggle. In truth, not entirely seamless as the classroom must always be treated as a sacred space by a faculty member. It should be maintained as a sanctuary for the uninhibited exchange of views however diverse and antagonistic in an atmosphere of disciplined civility. I have always felt that it is a primary duty of a teacher is to establish sufficient trust with students, that is, permission and encouragement of openness of expression with a clear understanding that performance will be objectively assessed, and not affected by agreement or disagreement with what the teacher happens to believe. This is a delicate balance yet far more conducive to learning than a sterile and journeyman insistence that what people beyond the campus are dying for can be usefully addressed with sanitary dispassion.

 

            In the end, this vital domain of conscious pedagogy and unconscious morality, is spiritually validated by an unmediated and uninterrogated sense that this or that is ‘the right thing to do.’ It certainly helps to remain as free as possible of vested interests and career ambitions that tend to crush an implicit pledge of truthfulness that authentic witnessing depends upon. And beyond witnessing there exists an iron wall of moral obligation: caring about the future, doing what I can to make the world a better place for human habitation and co-evolution with nature, which I have understood as a species obligation that has been made historically urgent ever since an atomic bomb was exploded over the Japanese city of Hiroshima and is now also deeply connected with protecting the planet from the multiple hazards of global warming hopelessly embedded in our carbon-dependent life styles as promiscuously promoted in disastrous directions by the greed of superrich fossil fuel billionaires and their far too powerful corporate allies.

 

            I have not rested these life commitments on the teachings of any particular religious tradition or institution, although I have long found the great world religions, East and West, despite their menacing contradictions and multiple readings, as providing me with the most profound sources of wisdom and guidance. It is the basis of my ecumenical longing for human solidarity, along with my feelings of awe produced by contact with cosmic and natural wonders, and deeply informs my sense of the spiritual ground of the human adventure. These sentiments are reinforced in my case by a commitment to an emergent form of cosmopolitan citizenship that owes allegiance to the ethics and praxis of human sustainability, the individual and collective dignity of all human beings, and a respectful kinship with and love of our non-human co-inhabitants of the planet. Such perspectives, I believe, respond to our historically precarious situation as a species, and here in America, this concern is accentuated. For this is a country with a surfeit of moral and political pretensions. It exhibits hubris to an alarming degree, and in extravagant ways, and is endangering itself along with the rest of the world by a refusal to heed what the geopolitical mirror of reflection warns about. 

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93 Responses to “For What?”

  1. zatarandspinach July 20, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    Reblogged this on Zatar and Spinach and commented:
    Amazing introspection. Something we can all learn from.

  2. Claudia Damon July 20, 2012 at 4:17 am #

    A wonderful revelatory piece. Thank you for giving us all this gift. And I would add to the thoughts expressed in last sentence that this country is also endangering itself along with the rest of the world by a refusal to heed what the ENVIRONMENTAL mirror of reflection warns about. But that is another topic.

    • Claudia Damon July 20, 2012 at 4:19 am #

      And I know you did mentiono this in your piece!

      • Richard Falk July 20, 2012 at 8:44 am #

        Thanks, Claudia, for being so generous and gracious in your responses!
        It is very sustaining for me. Hope you an enjoying not unbearably hot summer.
        We are in Istanbul until the end of August. Warmly, Richard

  3. Ray Joseph Cormier July 20, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    Richard, I 1st learned of your being when I read about the UN Secretary-General suggesting you be fired from your volunteer position as Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine on behalf of the UN Human Rights Council. Without knowing anything about you, reading between the lines of that report, I innately knew you must be doing something right to evoke such a reaction. You are indeed a Light shining in the Darkness.

    Being in solidarity with you in your efforts to bring about Truth and Justice in this world, I also struggle with the question of what I can do as an individual.

    Mentioning Global warming and the fact governments usually don’t listen, you may be interested in the following sent to the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and the Opposition leaders in CanaDa last Friday:

    From: Ray Cormier
    Sent: July-13-12 6:46:23 PM
    To: info@gg.ca; pm@pm.gc.ca; thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca; raeb@parl.gc.ca
    Your Excellency, Honourable Members,

    As the Chief Stewards of CanaDa, it falls within your responsibilities and influence to be aware of the Prophetic information in my latest article:

    REVELATION: GLOBAL WARMING – FACT OR FICTION? TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES?

    http://ray032.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/revelation-global-warming-fact-or-fiction-truth-or-consequences/

    The Revelation is being revealed Day by Day. With the Global economy teetering on the verge of toppling over like the inverse pyramid in the Star of David, and the possibility of WWIII/Armageddon starting in the Middle East being revealed Day by Day, Christ will come as a thief in the night just when the people least expect it as indicated in Revelation 16.

    While the devil and his earthly agents want to see Armageddon come, Revelation 16 clearly indicates it is not God leading the world to that catastrophic event, but the Pride of Power.

    • Richard Falk July 20, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      Thanks, Ray, for your important reflection on the Book of Revelations, and how it should be read and understood. As you know, I find such interpretations of our deepening crisis as a species to be very illuminating and spiritually relevant. With warm greetings, Richard

  4. jesualdo correia July 20, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    Intellectual integrity and straight-to-the-matter focus are just a few of many qualities you have, Richard. Thanks for this moment of inner reflection.

    • Rabbi Ira Youdovin July 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

      Prof. Falk,

      In your reply to my recent post, you say that I “misunderstand” your positions, and graciously accept “…some responsibility for sometimes not having “greater clarity” in your expression. (btw, I remember reading in a friendly profile of you in the Jewish Forward that your wife says you write too quickly. Our mutual friends here in Santa Barbara tell me that she’s a sharp woman. Sounds like she’s giving you good advice.)

      Your current post on what motivates you increases my understanding of what you do, write and say. Since young adulthood, you have devoted a significant portion of your life and career to calling attention to what you see as injustices inflicted on the Palestinians by Israel, with what you claim is the world’s active or passive complicity.

      To an extent that likely would surprise you, my assessment of situation coincides with yours. What is objectionable is not what you say, but how you say it.

      An example. When I questioned your role at the United Nations, which is to report Israeli human rights violations while ignoring Palestinian ones, you responded, “ 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.”

      “Balance” is your word, not mine. Your thesis is that Israel is so well represented in the press and media that fairness requires a one-sided presentation of the Palestinian narrative. You call this “constructive imbalance.” Leaving aside the obvious caveat that the Occupation and Israel’s treatment of its own Palestinian population are often criticized by leading publications such as the New York Times, it must be noted that telling the truth means telling the whole truth which, in this instance, entails reporting the Palestinians’ role in a very complex conflict. Attempts to cleanse the tactic by giving it a fancy name like “constructive imbalance” doesn’t make it anything more than deliberate distortion.

      More importantly, placing total blame on Israel strengthens the hand of already-powerful Palestinian factions that reject compromise and resist negotiating a settlement ending the conflict. As Palestinian prime minister Salaam Fayyad puts it, the choice facing Palestinians today is between getting back at Israel, or building a Palestinian state.

      Reliable polls show that a large majority of Israelis support creating an independent Palestinian state in the context of ”two states for two peoples.” But an even larger majority believe that the Palestinians will never agree to peaceful coexistence with Israel as a Jewish state, even one that guarantees equal legal rights and offers opportunities for economic and social advancement to its minorities.

      The Palestinians do not bear full responsibility for the breakdown of peace negotiations. Both Netanyahu and Abbas are playing games by demanding unrealistic pre-conditions in order to forestall engagement. But the Palestinians have far more to lose from endless delays; and resistance, violent or non-violent, is unlikely to break the stalemate. To the contrary, the fact that Abbas refuses to formally recognize Israel as a Jewish state because the Hamas charter calls for its destruction fuels justifiable Israeli fears that withdrawal from the West Bank could create space for Palestinian missile and rocket launchers. That happened when Israel withdrew from Gaza. But now, the weapons would be aimed not at small rural towns like Sederot, but at Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ben Gurion International Airport. Without firm evidence that Palestinians are prepared to live in peaceful co-existence with Israel, and that their government is both willing and able to overcome the inevitable cadre of zealots, Israel cannot reasonably be expected to risk national suicide.

      I must also add that sometimes what you write is reckless and in fact slanderous, and you then further undermine your credibility by denying that you said it. For example, when I noted that you have equated Israelis with Nazis, you denied that you had, adding that you “find the accusation odious.” But 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.” And some months later, you declined an opportunity afforded by BBC reporter Tim Franks to withdraw or modify your accusation. That essay still available on line for anyone who wants to check the quote.

      Another example, in your current post you imply that the “barrage of slanderous insults” you received from the Secretary General of the United Nations and the American ambassador to the U.N. responded to the work on Palestinian you do for the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission. In fact, their condemnation responds to your remarks on 9/11, where you give credence to a conspiracy theory. And to make matters worse, you allege that the Secretary General’s condemnation had been instigated by a Jewish NGO. To allege that Jews control Susan Rice is wrong. But suggest that Jews control Ban ki-moon is over the top.

      To put it harshly, whatever good your approach may have done for the Palestinians over the years, it is now deleterious to their interests. It may enhance your self-image as an “engaged scholar” and “citizen pilgrim.” But it’s not helpful to either Palestinians or Israelis who must now move from assigning blame to finding points of commonality. This doesn’t mean ignoring human rights violations (on both sides!). But it does suggest that the time has come for changing the context from a zero sum game to a mutual quest for a better future for all who live between the Mediterranean and the Jordan.

      Which leads to one final question as a critical window into what motivates you: what is your vision of an arrangement that ends the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Do you support the concept of “two states for two peoples”? I have asked you this several times, and you have ignored me. It would be helpful to know the answer.

      Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Ray Joseph Cormier July 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

        Shalom Rabbi,

        The Jerusalem Post is my home page as I start my PC every day between 6-7am in CanaDa. As I read the comments on any article concerning Iran, Arabs in General and Palestinians in particular, it is not from any Palestinian publication, but from the majority of Jews in Israel, I get the impression they view all Palestinians with the same hatred as inferior human beings as the Nazis viewed the Jews in another place and Time.

        What is shocking is the prevailing sentiment they should be wiped off the face of the map. Even more shocking is the call by the majority of comments not only to launch a 1st strike against Iran, but it should be a nuclear 1st strike.

      • Richard Falk July 22, 2012 at 2:19 am #

        Dear Rabbi Youdovin:

        Let me respond to some extent to your series of comments. Let me also say that in the course of this now rather extended correspondence I have gained
        respect for the genuineness of your desire to communicate with someone such as myself, despite your generally highly critical opinion of what I think
        and do. For this reason, although our gaps in understanding are in my view unbridgeable, I find our dialogue to be of value.

        On your suggestion that some of my problems come from writing too fast, invoking my beloved wife’s comment to the Forward writer in support, I can only
        respond by saying I wish that it were true. In fact, I struggle with writing, re-writing a number of times, and thus tend to defend what I say even if it
        not said as well as I would like. In the case you refer to the problem was one of eyesight not oversight. I literally did not see the offending content of the cartoon, which in its Google version requires a magnifying glass to detect, and even when it was alleged, I could not find it with the naked eye. To sustain
        an attack on me the NGO Monitor enlarged the cartoon to make its anti-semitic dimension unmistakeable, and have continue to disseminate it widely.

        As for the comments on Ban Ki-Moon being ‘over the top’ I can only respond by saying you are wrong. I know the inside story of what happened from his Chef de Cabinet, who acknowledged that the SG was pressing for reappointment at the time and seized on this issue raised again by an inflammatory letter written to him by NGO Monitor without ever reading my blog (what the UN official admitted as ‘a lack of due diligence’) to show Washington that he sided with israel. As for Susan Rice I am in the dark, although her comments were again made in response to the same letter. The main allegation in the letter, given some credibility in your comment, is to associate me with the ‘conspiracy theory’ interpretation of the 9/11 attacks. This is demonstrably false. My comments on the issue were merely to
        say that there were important unanswered questions, as principally exposed by David Griffin’s first book, that he was a scrupulous scholar of world renown (and also a close friend for many years), and that the 9/11 Commission and other defenders of the official version had never bothered to answer. To ask for answers to such
        questions has little to do with my competence in relation to reporting on Israeli violations of human rights, and seems hardly a basis for such attacks on my
        character and motivations.

        Again I am aware of the provocative effect of the Nazi comparison, and in some ways I regret having made it. I did it before I was appointed to the UN, and with feeling of frustration that the world was ignoring the cruelty of collective punishment imposed on the entire population of Gaza. It was my feeble attempt to shatter the wall of silence, but to the extent it had any impact at all, it shifted attention from the situation in Gaza to the appropriateness or not of the comparison. Of course, such an allegation has made me an easier target for those seeking to discredit me, but I hope that over time my efforts at truthful accounting of the realities of occupation will have some redemptive effect.

        I realize that your main point relates to my defense of ‘constructive imbalance.’ I acknowledge that this is controversial position, and I can appreciate your rejection of it. I can only say that on the basis of my contact with the reality of the occupation of Palestinian territories and the imbalances in the media treatment of the conflict, especially in this country, I feel that it is more truthful not to strain to create impression of balance by magnifying Palestinian wrongs and conveying a somewhat symmetrical picture of wrongdoing on both sides. I believe that such a balance is false and misleading. In my view the Goldstone Report strained hard to convey this impression, and it was still viciously attacked because it included serious indictments of Israeli tactics during the Gaza War of 2008-09. In my view the comparative statistics of deaths, injuries, detentions, standard of living, mobility, legal rights, and so on makes it clear who is benefitting and who is suffering from the status quo and occupation, and this structure is distorted if presented as a matter of equivalents. I realize that for mainstream American audiences my attempt at a truthful account will be largely discounted as biased reportage, but my responsibility is to communicate the realities as best I can to the wider international community.

        You ask me at the end of your comment to clarify my views on what is a just and sustainable peace. The honest answer as of 2012 is ‘I am not sure.’ In 1967 when SC Res. 242 was adopted a two state solution seemed like the best accommodation that was acceptable to the overwhelming majority on both sides, but things have changed in the course of decades: the continuously expanding settlements, the wall 85% of which is constructed on Palestinian territory, the annexation of East Jerusalem, and most recently the various moves to legalize under Israeli law the hundred or so Israeli ‘outposts’ spread across the whole of the West Bank, the appropriation of WB water resources for use by settlements and Israel, the road and light rail infrastructure connecting settlement blocs with pre-1967 Israel, and the internal language of Netanyahu and others who refer to the WB by their Greater Israel names of Judea and Samaria. In light of these developments I am skeptical as to whether an independent viable Palestinian state is any longer a feasible option. Further, I now see no way to reconcile the Zionist project with the realization of the Palestinian right of self-determination.

        Again, there is no balance in obstructionism in relation to ‘the peace process.’ Abbas, with deeply compromised credential to represent the Palestinian people and a security force collaborating with Israel and trained and equipped by the U.S. Government, has made every reasonable concession consistent with his own political survival, while Netanyahu has acted as either captive of or collaborator with the settlement movement in refusing to suspend the expansion of unlawful settlements even while negotiations proceed.

        I am sure I have overlooked some of your criticisms and slighted others, but it is the best I can do at present. In any event, thanks for taking my views as serious enough to devote your considerable analytic talents to contesting. With best wishes,

        Richard Falk

    • Birgitte Berthelsen July 24, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

      Wow … don’t think I have ever seen such one-sided narrow-minded post, except from muslims. You did choose sides as a young man, never questioned anything from your muslim friends and have spend (wasted) your entire life on confirming your wrong believes.

      According to you, Israel should not exist – and you have no eye for the many wrongdoings done against jews by muslims throughout the world.

  5. PAULO TIMM July 20, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    As you say: ‘the right thing to do.’ Just that…Congratulations! You have also to know about saharian people, also. The former SPANISH SAHARA, MILITARY ocuppied by Marrocos under closed-eyes of the whole world, since the 70ths. paulotimm – Brazil

  6. Jane Adas July 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Thank you.

  7. Robert H Stiver July 21, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    Dr. Falk, my longtime admiration for you remains and indeed is increased here by your outpouring of humanistic reflections.

    To the Rabbi Youdovin: Based on my 48 years of observation of an ideology that turned almost immediately along the wrong fork in the road (“The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.”) and has become one of astonishingly criminal psychosis [Lebanon, 2006; Gaza, 2008-9], you come across as just another Zionist shill. And, sir, you write too quickly: Check out your ‘Attempts to cleanse the tactic by giving it a fancy name like “constructive imbalance” doesn’t make it anything more than deliberate distortion.’

    • Ira Youdovin July 21, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      To: Mr. Ray Joseph Cormier,

      The Jerusalem Post is a right-wing English language daily that has little influence on Israelis, who read the Hebrew press. It reflects one viewpoint in the Israeli spectrum, which is by no means the dominant one.

      However, I note that you draw your conclusions from commentaries blogged in by readers. Typical of feedback to print media, many of these express opinions that go far beyond what appears in the newspaper, itself. If a majority of Israelis think the Palestinians should be wiped off the face of the earth, how do you explain that fact that the Palestinian population of Israel and the occupied territories has increased dramatically since 1948? And I assure you that dropping a nuclear device on Iran is not being considered by Israel’s decision makers.

      I must add that the on-line edition of the Jerusalem Post is read around the world, as you read it in “CanaDa”. As commentators are not identified by their nationality, there is no way of knowing how many are Israelis. Besides, there are approximately six million Jewish Israelis. How many comments have you read to substantiate your claim that they represent “the majority of Jews in Israel.”?

      Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Ray Joseph Cormier July 21, 2012 at 9:02 am #

        Rabbi,

        Thank you for drawing me in. I somewhat agree with the 1st paragraph in your reply.

        Concerning the 2nd paragraph, I agree people who comment in news publications are the minority, but when the majority of the minority make up a consensus, I have to factor that in any calculation of possibilities.

        If you read my message to CanaDa’s political leaders in my initial comment to Richard’s post, Israel’s political leaders may have no intention of dropping a nuclear device on Iran Today, but a war is already under way in the Middle East and the Witch’s Brew developing in Syria will spread. All things are possible with God in the Future.

        As to your 3rd paragraph, my precise words account for that: What is shocking is the prevailing sentiment they should be wiped off the face of the map. Even more shocking is the call by the majority of comments not only to launch a 1st strike against Iran, but it should be a nuclear 1st strike.

        Shalom

        RayJC

  8. monalisa July 21, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Dear Richard,
    thank you for your so wonderful thoughts containing some reflections on life philosophy as well as personally gained wisdom.
    I still admire you very much for your withstanding ‘waves’ coming and going and mostly driven by political interests.

    Take care of yourself,
    monalisa

    • Richard Falk July 22, 2012 at 1:33 am #

      Thanks, dear Monalisa, for your wisdom and energy, as well as gracious support.

      I hope your summer satisfies, with warm greetings,

      Richard

  9. monalisa July 21, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    To: Rabbi Ira Youdovin,

    I am not going into details of what you are writing. This because you are defending a lost cause.

    I point out where the true intentions of Israel’s government is clearly and without any doubt shown:
    The Wall !!!!
    This built Wall – built by Israelis – is a great center of awareness and of global solidarity with the Palestinians.
    And without any doubt Israel’s ill-advised thinking, or better to say “arrogance towards other cultures” showed it to the wolrd. There was no involvement by the Palestinians in building this wall.

    monalisa

    • Ray Joseph Cormier July 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

      The real tragedy of the walls and separations to keep Arabs separate from Jews is while walls keep Arabs out, they become prisons for the Jews on the inside.

      The dispute is like any family fighting over an inheritance. The Jews believe it for them exclusively and Arabs have no part in it.

      • edwin July 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

        I think it is somewhat closer to those Christians who escaped religious persecution in Europe and came to the new world and proceeded to steel the land, enslave and murder the local inhabitants – treating them in ways like they themselves had been treated.

      • monalisa July 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

        Dear Mr. Cormier,
        to separate other ethnic/religious groups is usually ill-fated. This, because it shows the weakness of a state and as such it can lead to the fall of a state.

        Concerning “inheritance”: this is in the case of the claims of Israel a very very dubious case. King Salomon reigned for about 35 years (if at all) and this maybe was during the 9th century B.C.
        Also concerning history facts are usually drawn by consulting other sources from other countries/kingdoms in order to get a somehow reality-based picture.
        A very good source is the Pharaonic Egypt.

        There are many people holding Mosaic belief (Jews) living outside Israel and are looking at Israel’s ill-fated actions with no applause at all – quite the contrary.

        If everey state/group/religious/ethnic group nowadays is starting to claim places for certain reasons by going back in history threethousand years – I think we would have a global desaster.

        monalisa

  10. Laurie Knightly July 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    The Zionist crimes against the Palestinians have been sponsored by the US for over 60 years. Why wouldn’t geopolitical acts of this nation consume intelligent persons who adhere to codes of justice and basic morality? Would that there were more of you.
    Laurie Knightly

    • Richard Falk July 22, 2012 at 2:21 am #

      Thanks, Laurie. True, cloning might ease the pressure, and improve the quality of coverage! Best wishes, Richard

  11. Fred Skolnik July 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    I confess that I look in on your blog from time to time to see how far from the truth you permit yourself to stray and how blind you are to the real causes of the Arab-Israel conflict, though nothing you write will surprise me anymore. What does surprise me is your blindness about the kind of people who respond to your blog, your inability to recognize the hatred of Jews and Israel that motivates them, your failure to recognize in the vocabulary they use who and what they are, or even their ignorance. If this is your audience, God help you.

    • Robert H Stiver July 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

      Mr. Skolnik, by accident of birth and circumstances I am a Christian. Jesus teaches His children to hate the sin but love (and forgive) the sinner. I try very hard to apply the second element of that dictum to those Jewish, Christian and other assorted people who have succumbed to the perverted narrative of militant/political Zionism. It’s the most difficult task of my life, as I suffer vicariously every day with the brave and steadfast Palestinians, who had the misfortune to simply be there when the Zionist onslaught hit them with a cruel focus and intensity that has been unrelenting for these many decades. Dr. Falk honorably and courageously toils to make a difference in that realm of vast inequality and injustice, and I honor him fulsomely for it.

      • Richard Falk July 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

        Dear Robert:

        I have been for years moved by your the genuineness of your commitment to the Palestinian struggle, which at its core, is a HUMAN struggle that should enlist are identification and support regardless of our more partial identities of race, religion, gender, nationality. With warm best wishes, in solidarity, Richard

    • Ray Joseph Cormier July 23, 2012 at 5:02 am #

      Mr. Skolnik, the only Truth I see in your comment is your irrational hatred for a man of integrity. Since Professor Falk is Jewish, by your own standards and definitions, your personal attack on Richard amounts to hatred for a Jew and antisemitism.

      What do you think of this “Truth?”

      Israel orders demolition of 8 Palestinian villages, claims need for IDF training land
      Residents of targeted villages will be moved to the West Bank town of Yatta and its environs; state claims that most of those evacuated have permanent homes in the area.

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-orders-demolition-of-8-palestinian-villages-claims-need-for-idf-training-land-1.453015

      Unilateral Zionist actions such as this do not enhance the prospects for Peace.

      • monalisa July 23, 2012 at 6:22 am #

        Dear Mr. Cormier,

        thank you for putting this new development of ill-fated doings by the Israeli government into the open space of the Internet.

        People should know how the stealing of Palestinian possesssions is taking place with the encouragement and support by the Israel government and (unfortunately) under the umbrella of some Western countries.

        monalisa

      • Ray Joseph Cormier July 23, 2012 at 6:24 am #

        As an after thought, temporal Israeli-Zionist policy toward Palestinians is like the Borg: Resistance is futile but you will not be assimilated.

  12. fasttimesinpalestine July 22, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Thanks for being who you are, and doing what you do. You wrote, “It certainly helps to remain as free as possible of vested interests and career ambitions that tend to crush an implicit pledge of truthfulness that authentic witnessing depends upon.”

    I instinctively felt this after graduating from college, and so instead of pursuing a PhD or political career, I ended up bartending, traveling, and writing. It took me to Palestine, which became the focus of my life for the past ten years. I don’t regret a thing (other than almost never having health insurance).

    After two years in Palestine, I tried to work in a think tank in Washington, but I only lasted about a year — I just couldn’t deal with the intellectual and moral cowardice, the censorship and self-censorship, the “experts” who hadn’t the foggiest clue what they were talking about. I quit and wrote a book called Fast Times in Palestine (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00513NHNI) to try to bring what I had learned directly to the American people.

    I’m amazed and impressed that you’ve lasted as long as you have both within and outside the establishment. I can’t imagine how painful it must be for you to deal with the cowardice I’m speaking about. But we all thank you for being there, for speaking your truth, for giving us tools to stand up to that same establishment when it goes badly off track. You can be very proud of your life’s work.

    Happiest of summers to you,

    Pamela Olson

    http://www.pamolson.org

    • Richard Falk July 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

      Thanks, Pamela, for such a moving comment, and for your support. I shall
      try to get a copy of your book when I return to the U.S. from Turkey in September. Wishing you well, Richard

      • Ira Youdovin July 23, 2012 at 10:36 am #

        To: Robert H. Striver, Joseph Ray Cormier, Mona Lisa and others:

        I abhor the Occupation and the harsh measures it imposes on the Palestinians. Some are dictated by legitimate security concerns. Others are not. And as I’ve written several times on this blog, both Israel and the Palestinians bear responsibility for its perpetuation.

        However, the West Bank and Gaza are not Auschwitz, which is the way you portray them in your posts. The West Bank economy is booming, with the GDP showing an 8% growth (higher than Israel’s!) during a recent year despite global financial crisis. Gaza is also doing well. The expectant age in the territories (73.5 years) is higher than in most Arab countries save for the oil-rich Emirates. 91% of the children attend school.

        Contrary to allegations that Israel is guilty of ethnic cleansing, the Palestinian population in both Israel and the occupied territories continues to grow exponentially. During a recent visit to Ramallah, I was awed by the proliferation of building cranes that dot the local landscape. These are not building Israeli settlements. They are building Palestine.

        My intention in citing these examples is not to praise Israel for its benevolence. There’s plenty wrong with the Occupation. But creating a false impression of facts on the ground serves only to stiffen hard-line resolve among both Israelis and Palestinians, which precludes a shared willingness to negotiate a resolution to the conflict, which is the only way to insure a better future for all parties concerned.

        The question remains: is your goal to bash Israel? Or is it to help the Palestinians? The two are not co-extensive.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Robert H Stiver July 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

        I might write more on Rabbi Youdovin’s comment later, if time and energy permit me. But for now, this thought screamed at me as I read: Rabbi, your use of the phrase “facts on the ground” is supremely ironic, given the overall context of this endless, vastly asymmetric, control-and-domination, illegal military occupation of one people’s land [diminished as that land is from the prior centuries-long integrity and timeless, peaceable, agrarian-oriented nature of it] by another people.
        Robert H. Stiver (not Striver)

  13. monalisa July 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    To Rabbi Ira Youdovin:
    Sir,
    Whenever I read your remarks in this blog of Prof. Falk I got the impression, that your denial of facts is apparent.

    I was thinking why.
    Could it be that you as a Rabbi, a religious representative, feel so uncomfortable with the voice of justice in your inner soul that you express your denial of clear facts every time you are confronted with it in order to silence your inner voice of justice in your soul ?

    Or is it merely you cannot bear knowing that right from the beginning at the formation of Israel as a state things went very wrong and crimes towards its former inhabitants took place and didn’t stop until today ? Is that so that you were maybe hoping – I don’t know your age – that the state of Israel will show the world how good they would manage their state and that crimes towards other religious believers and minorities would never take place because for centuries Jews experienced very bad things in Europe ?

    Ask these questions to yourself.

    I personally have neither direct connections to Israelis nor to Palestinians.
    But I follow up the tragedy of the Palestinians for about thirty years.
    My goal in this case is to bring to the people in my surroundings facts about Israel and Palestine. Not more not less.

    But my belief, behaviour in life is according to the philosophy of Kant.
    And this is in short:
    “Don’t do unto others what you would like not have done unto you.”

    PS:
    Maybe I am wrong: It could very likely be that you have no voice of justice in your inner soul.

    monalisa

    • Ira Youdovin July 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

      Monalisa,

      Wouldn’t it be nice if you could express disagreement without resort to pseudo-psychoanalysis, character assassination and plain ole trash talk?!

      Although I hesitate to further irritate you, I must point out that the teaching, “Don’t do unto others what you would like not have done unto you” did not originate with Kant. Its generally attributed to Rabbi Hillel, a Jew of the First Century B.C.E. who lived and died in what is now East Jerusalem. Sometime later it was paraphrased by Jesus, another Palestinian Jew, into what is now known as the Golden Rule. Jesus had family roots on what is now the West Bank, traveled and preached in what was then known as Judah and Samaria, and was crucified in what is now East Jerusalem. I’m fairly secure in this knowledge because Prof. Falk, in an earlier post, cited the quotation, with attribution to Rabbi Hillel.

      If you think the Jews stole the quote from Kant, you’ll have to take it up with Prof. Falk.

      Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Sanjay Dixit August 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

        To: Hon Rabbi Ira Youdovin,
        CC:Mr Richard Falk
        CC:Ms Monalisa
        CC: Mr Ray Joseph Cormier
        As written to Mr Richard Falk + additions..
        Thanks for writing to me and agreeing to my point of view. I also respect your point of view. You do expect Israel to respect rights of all people under international law and that is important for me. Every person or group of persons expects the law to act in the interest of their lives and self-interest, if they
        happen to seek solutions to their life problems with the help of the law, because if any person or a groups of persons agree to abide by laws that do not serve the interests of their lives and their self-interest, then it could prove to be really very harmful to them, if they comply. Israel cannot see the international law,
        however noble and well meaning they may be, serving the interests of their lives and self-interests, and so they do not comply with your expectations. The cost of sacrifices needed by complying is much too high for them to bear with, they feel. I think no rational human beings will ever agree to comply with a law if he/she see that it may not work in the interest of their lives and self-interest or may even work against it, if they comply – it’s a question of survival and existence. Your point of view is legal, for Israel it’s a matter of survival and existence and their fundamental problem is that by respecting human rights under the law, their human rights, they feel, get automatically violated in the process. They do not want to see their human rights getting violated as a reward for respecting other people’s rights (Anti-Semitics and Islamist’s who also dislike Jews as non-believers). Everybody wants at least a reasonable or minimum acceptable win situation in any dispute/conflict/problem.

        Why should Israel take responsibility for respecting the rights of those people who are against them and even kill them (The way Islamic Terrorists do)? Respect for Human Rights is a two way process and must be worked accordingly.

        During the 26/11/2008 terror attacks by Pakistan trained terrorists attacked the Jewish community in Mumbai for taking revenge against the Jewish community in the Chabad House. The building was home to a Chabad house, a Jewish outreach center run by Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, and they have owned the Building since around 2006. The center had an educational center, a synagogue, offered drug prevention services, and a hostel. The building was attacked and six of its occupants, including Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, who was five months pregnant, were killed during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks by Pakistani Islamic terrorists. Their two-year-old son Moshe survived the attack after being rescued by his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel. They murdered these people ruthlessly in cold-blood for taking revenge for what was happening in Palestine, whose human rights you protect, and which was in line with the Islamic Revenge Strategy, whose manifestations are for you to see.
        The Jewish community over here is peace loving, humane, caring, live quietly, and do not quarrel with others, are religious, sincere and honest people. Merciless revenge was taken against them. Imagine AK-47 bullets going through the body of a pregnant woman and her child in her womb. No remorse for doing that. Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi was one of the main handlers of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai who
        remains remorseless about it. You want Israel to respect human rights under International law. With anti-Semitism on one hand and the Arab and Islamic world on the other, they are an insecure community for the right reasons. Why should they respect the rights of people who are against them and who kill them in such a horrible manner? The law should secure Human Rights of both sides of conflict. Israelis should also feel that their rights have been guaranteed and protected in as much as you wish the same for the Palestinians. Then only the problems will see the much required ray of hope for resolution. Kindly do whatever you can to resolve the conflict in the Middle East. Islamists thrive in the bright light of Anit-Semitism.
        I have suggested Religious Moderation as one of the solutions. This keeps us well within the fundamental premises of every religion. No religion teaches to Hate, injure and kill. The seed of fundamentalism, extremism, and hard line attitudes have grown to become a huge tree and we are simply plucking the leaves and not focused on uprooting it from the roots, globally.
        In the History of Man, the following, therefore, can never be forgiven –
        The African Tribes that fight and indulge in mass killings
        Israelis and Palestinians kill each other
        India and Pakistan border dispute that has lead the murder of scores of innocents
        Germans killing 6 million Jews
        America’s nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan
        Sunni and Shia killings of each other in the Muslim world
        America’s 9/11
        Sri Lanka’s LTTE conflict that has claimed countless lives
        Among others, have been occurred due to fundamentalist, extremist, and hard line tendencies in man that must be done away with.
        My humble request to Israelis and Palestinians is to find the optimal solution to
        their problems and solve their conflict and live in peace and contribute to the
        progress of the region and the world.
        Hope you will appreciate my point of view.

        If what I have been writing to you proves genuinely useful to you, and to the
        people involved in resolving the conflict, then I will be very much delighted. Do
        make use of it, if required and useful.

        Stop persecution and begin construction.
        From: Mr Sanjay Dixit, Mumbai India.

  14. Fred Skolnik July 24, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    There has been so much talk about “facts” in this blog, and so little knowledge of what they actually are, that I cannot resist repeating what I’ve written before so that Professor’s Falk’s audience will at least have something real to think about.

    1) There is no historic Palestine that has anything to do with the Arabs, nor is there an “indigenous” Muslim population there. “Palestine” was the name given by the Romans to the province of Judea after they conquered it and was revived by the British during the Mandate period. The Arabs came out of the Arabian Desert and conquered the Land of Israel along with the rest of the Middle East in the 7th century, forcing its inhabitants to convert to Islam and making life miserable for anyone who didn’t. The Land of Israel was in turn conquered from them by the Crusaders, Turks and British. The Arabs have as much historical, political and moral right to sovereignty in the Land of Israel as they do in Spain, which they also conquered. Nonetheless, Israel accepts the principle of a two-state solution to the conflict.

    2) The displacement of Arabs in the Land of Israel during Israel’s War of Independence, as often as not encouraged by the surrounding Arab countries, who assured them that they would be able to return after they finished slaughtering the Jews, was paralleled by the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Jews living in Arab lands at the time whose lives became unbearable under vindictive Arab rule. However, unlike the Arab refugees, who were herded into camps and treated like animals by their Arab brethren, the Jews fleeing the Arab lands were received with open arms by their Jewish brethren, and that should tell you something about the moral character of the two people.

    3) The Nakba or Disaster is something the Arabs brought on themselves by attacking Israel in 1948. Those who remained in Israel, with all the problematics inherent in constituting a national minority whose primary identity is with an Arab world that is hostile to Israel (and to all non-Muslims in fact), live better lives is Israel, politically and economically, than Arabs do in their own lands and would be very reluctant indeed to change places with these other Arabs and endure the nightmarish conditions under which they live.

    4) Israel occupied Judea and Samaria (the West Bank of the Jordan River), the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights in 1967 after defeating four Arab armies who attacked it. In the case of the West Bank, it was Jordan who indiscriminately and without provocation began shelling Jewish Jerusalem, hitting over 500 buildings and killing 15 civilians on the night of June 5 and the following morning, reinforced by Iraqi troops, advancing on Israel’s border. You start a war, you lose a war, you get your territory occupied. This is the oldest story in history.

    However, whereas in the normal course of events, defeated nations sue for peace, the Arabs, with the support of a great many people and countries around the world who refused to condemn their aggression, then proceeded to issue the Khartoum Declaration with its three famous noes: no to peace, no to negotiations, no to recognition of Israel. Since that time, Arab terrorists have been launching attacks against Israel’s civilian population. Those who are apprehended are sent to prison, where they enjoy conditions denied to Gilad Shalit, including visits from the Red Cross, contact with their families, cable TV, canteen privileges and even the opportunity to continue their studies. As for the occupation, it is as humane as an occupation can be, given the fact that the Palestinian population harbors a considerable number of bloodthirsty terrorists. As for the closure of the Gaza Strip, this came in the wake of the continued shelling of Israeli settlements from Gaza by Hamas and other terrorist organizations.

    5) The suffering of the Palestinians has been caused by their own leaders, who could have had a state almost at any time in the last 45 years but refused to relinquish the Big Dream of destroying the State of Israel and engaging in another of their massacres on the shores of the Mediterranean.

    6) The Arab inhabitants of Judea and Samaria are inhabitants of occupied territory and therefore no different in status from the Germans in Occupied Germany after World War II. The security fence, roadblocks and curfews in the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza are there to prevent terrorist acts. When the terrorism stops and the terrorist organizations are dismantled, they will disappear and the Palestinians will get their state. At that time the fate of each Jewish settlement will be determined. It has been understood for years by all practical people on both sides that with regard to borders, settlements and the expansion of Jewish Jerusalem, there will be an exchange of land that allows the big Jewish settlement blocs to remain part of Israel and compensates the Palestinians territorially. All this involves around 5% of West Bank land.

    Screaming about “JewZionists” does not alter these facts, nor does it bring the creation of a Palestinian state any nearer. Whoever really cares about the Palestinian people will urge their leaders to dismantle the terrorist organizations, cease their vicious propaganda and the spread of hatred among their children, and negotiate a settlement with Israel.

    • edwin July 24, 2012 at 5:10 am #

      For What?

      The rich and powerful prey on the poor and weak and then blame the poor for the fact that they prey upon them, and this is wrong.

      This is for what.

      People like Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Ronnie Kasrils, and Richard Falk challenging those that seek to place one group as more important than another:

      ‘Most of those people arriving here are Muslims who think the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man’.

      And so Fred has produced a series of factoids that are unattributed that would take hundreds of hours of research and hundreds of pages of writing to demolish – Books – and those books have been written. In the end though it is easiest to see what he stands for: a country for the white man, the white Jew and bantustands for those who are not white.

      And so it is with Rabbi Rabbi Ira Youdovin and his factoids – the wonderful economic miracle, that is the west bank recently claimed to be part of Israel (Judea and Samaria), undoubtedly without the people who live there, or the economic miracle of Gaza where the unemployment rate is among the highest in the world.

      In South Africa there were a million excuses for the subjugation of those people of colour. It is the same in Israel. There are a million excuses for the subjugation of those people who are not white Jews.

      The reasons for the elimination of that subjugation are a lot fewer. We believe in Justice and Freedom and Equality.

      It is here that people as Jews, and as leaders in the fight against Apartheid in South Africa (and both) can provide both moral legitimacy and personal experience to counter the Freds and Iras that stand for Hafrada and the strong in their subjugation of the weak.

      Thank you Richard Falk.

      • Fred Skolnik July 24, 2012 at 5:53 am #

        Dear Edwin

        If you require hundreds of hours of research to verify the most basic facts of Middle East history, then you really shouldn’t be expressing such categorical opinions about it.

  15. conchovor July 24, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

    I should have also asked whether his diverging from what seems to me to be a pro-Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish, nationalist line would lose him his job, salaried or not i.e. is he really independent, intellectually or politically?Falk decries what he calls academic political indifference. But surely part of being an academic or any intellectual is being your own man or woman, not having to compromise one’s principles by towing a party or nationalist line, divergence from which would lose one one’s job (salaried or not)?

    • Richard Falk July 25, 2012 at 12:50 am #

      I can promise you of one thing: my UN job would be more secure and far less difficult if my reports
      followed more closely the views of the U.S. Government and the state of Israel. True, the inter-governmental
      body, the Human Rights Council, is critical of Israeli policies, but the UN bureaucracy and civil service
      is much more guided by Washington’s priorities, and my position is within the Office of the High Commissioner
      for Human Rights, that is, part of UN civil service.

      • conchovor July 25, 2012 at 1:43 am #

        ‘I can promise you of one thing: my UN job would be more secure and far less difficult if my reports
        followed more closely the views of the U.S. Government and the state of Israel.’

        I don’t believe you. I think that is a self-serving fiction you tell yourself. I don’t think you would have gotten, never mind retained, said job, had you not adopted what is, essentially, a pro-Palestinian Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish, nationalist line.

        Nothing you have said, for instance, suggests you think there is any legitimacy to the Jewish nationalism that Res. 181 or partition was intended to allow fulfilled. Quite the contrary, in fact: in this thread you have said that Zionism and Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian national self-determination are incompatible.

        Hardly the view of one who believes in 2 states for 2 peoples, with 2 rights of return, division of Jerusalem, old and new, borders on the 67 lines or with territorial swap, for instance.

      • conchovor July 25, 2012 at 1:46 am #

        ‘I can promise you of one thing: my UN job would be more secure and far less difficult if my reports’

        Also, that is a highly evasive response: it hardly denies that, to some degree, your job does consist in being a pro-Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish, nationalist advocate/polemicist.

  16. conchovor July 24, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    I initially posted this comment, but it seems to have gotten lost in moderation or transit:

    Mr Falk,

    you say you have no vested interests. But surely you do: the existence of the Palestinian refugee problem until its utopian resolution in the end of (what you call) ‘the Zionist project’.

    You say a 2 state solution seemed best in 1967. But the Palestinian nationalist movement only accepted the principle of partition and international law in 1988, over 20 year later, and over 40 years after Res. 181.

    You can’t fight international law for 40 years and expect the clock to go back to the last, best opportunity you missed. By 1988, the clock couldn’t go back to 1947 or 1967: all developments subsequent had to be negotiated.

    Now, I think, the best set of negotiated principles remain the Geneva Accord, which says in detail which settlements will remain and which will be ceded. You can’t really expect Israel to withdraw to the exact 1967 borders, can you?

    If you want that, surely you are going to have to offer a little more? E.g. perhaps recognising the fundamental legitimacy of Zionist aspirations in the land, that Jews had a right to live in the land in above the tiny numbers traditional imperial Christianity and Islam decreed as Jews’ proper lot for their rejection of Jesus and the prophets, in some kind of freedom and independence from traditional imperial Christian or Islamic apartheid, and that Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian national resistance to Jews’ living in above those tiny numbers, free from such apartheid, may have been in the least bit wrong or immoral?

    I.e. you will have to go somewhat to convince Israeli Jews that they or their ancestors became Palestinian or Israeli as of right rather than grudging sufferance?

    Especially if you insist that they become a minority in their own or a single Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian majority state, either by ending ‘the Zionist project’ through abrogating a Jewish right of return and/or implementing a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian one.

    But, to be honest, do you expect Israeli Jews to agree to any of that? Or that they will ever cede the Western Wall or Jewish Quarter?

    You say that in 1967 a 2 state solution seemed best. Why? Because in 1967 Jews were able to visit an Old City or Hebron hitherto barred to to them under Arab rule? Because the Arabs rejected any kind of recognition of Israel ever, even in return for territory conquered?

    You say you have no vested interests. But, it seems to me, you do. Your job, it seems to me, is to be, essentially, a pro-Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish, nationalist advocate/polemicist.

    If your goal is the end of ‘the Zionist project’ i.e. the end of Zionism, it seems to me your ultimate goal is to end the principle of partition of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state, the Jewish state with a Jewish right of return, granted Jews as a people regarded historically as a people exiled or dispossessed, if not reverse it i.e. the continued attempt to thwart international law which the Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian national movement began by rejecting it in 1947, seeking the subjection (at best) or expulsion of most Palestinian Jews, or worse.

    The way you tell it, one would never know of the exclusivism, hostility or expulsionism towards most Palestinian or Israeli Jews that characterised modern Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish, nationalism, pretty much from its inception.

    Plenty of modern Israeli Jewish historians have recognised these strains in the history of modern Jewish nationalism. Isn’t it time genuine, serious pro-Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian intellectuals (allegedly independent, as you call yourself, and not towing a party line) did the same, for their side?

    That is what negotiations entail: give and take. You do believe in negotiations, don’t you?

    Or will only utopia do?

    Truth and reconciliation requires acknowledging the unpleasant aspects, past and present, of your own side, as well as your opponent.

    • Richard Falk July 25, 2012 at 12:56 am #

      I do not disagree that the Geneva Accords were a constructive and somewhat hopeful approach as were
      the Arab Proposals of 2002, but in my judgment the leadership of Israel was not interested in pursuing
      such roadmaps, but preferred the option of accumulating facts on the ground. The latest of these facts
      are moves to legalize the 100 or so settler ‘outposts’ previously unlawful under Israeli law.

      It is not up to me to decide how best for these two people to live in peace, but I do think it is proper
      to point out the relevance of rights under international law to resolving the conflict. I personally do not
      endorse the idea of ethnic or religious states, which seem to inconsistent with the rights of minorities and
      hence with the treatment of all human being with an equal entitlement to dignity.

      • conchovor July 25, 2012 at 1:37 am #

        I am glad you approve of the Geneva Accord: Olmert offered it Abbas at Annapolis in 2008, without response. Netanyahu froze settlement building in 2010, for 10 months, to restart negotiations, without reciprocation from Abbas.

        Had Abbas done so, the settlement issue could have been resolved by now. It begs the question whether he wants it to be, or not: I suspect he’d rather ride the international BDS wave which may or may not deliver what he wants without conceding anything. We shall see whether it works, or not.

        It is odd to seek to dissolve the one Jewish state in the world for qualities allegedly apartheid (which is pretty much what you mean by ‘discriminatory laws’) which pretty much every Arab, Islamic state or society in existence, including the Palestinian, has or has had with regard to Jews, and often other groups, for most of the last 100 years or more.

        It is hardly an ethically consistent position to take for an allegedly independently minded intellectual or academic, I think. To assiduously seek or mark the crimes, sins or misdemeanours of the one Jewish state in the world, while assiduously ignoring them in her enemies is hardly a principle of universal justice: it is the mark of one partisan to one particular side in this conflict, and pointedly against the other.

        It would also be helpful to define precisely what you mean by ‘the Zionist project’, or indeed Zionism per se, and to state whether there is any aspect of Zionism you find acceptable, and whether there was any element of Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalist resistance to it you consider to have been unjust.

        I am curious as to just how free you are to depart from a pro-Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish nationalist i.e. Zionist line, while still retaining your job, salaried or not, in which you say you have no vested interest.

        With all due respect, your saying it is not your business to suggest the form a final settlement should or might take seems a departure from your principle of intellectual/academic engagement: surely it is precisely the role of an engaged intellectual-academic to make such suggestions? Regardless of the personal cost to him or his vested interests? Surely such an individual should not lack the courage of his or her convictions?

        Saying the Geneva Accord was ‘positive’ needn’t mean very much: all it need mean is that it went somewhere towards one’s final goal of the exact 1967 lines, a full Palestinian right of return and/or the end of a Jewish state.

        Or is it, in fact, that you cannot say anything which departs from a pro-Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish, nationalist line while still retaining your job? Is not your job, then, essentially that of a nationalist advocate?

        As to your unwillingness to endorse ethnic states, it looks rather more like, perhaps, a quest to dissolve the one Jewish state into a sea/desert of Arab, Islamic states and societies in general, the Palestinian in particular.

        Again, hardly consonant with a principle of universal justice.

      • Marcus Dysch July 25, 2012 at 4:07 am #

        Mr Falk – how do you respond to the claims of Hillel Neuer of the UN Watch group, who claims that your remarks above regarding the “organised Jewish community” amount to “racist remarks”?

        Marcus Dysch
        Jewish Chronicle
        London

      • Richard Falk July 25, 2012 at 4:54 am #

        Mr. Dysch:

        I can only say in response that I have opposed and fought against racism for my entire adult life. It is true I have often opposed the policies pursued by states, including those of the United States and Israel, and I have sided with those who seem to have been denied their fundamental rights, but to conflate such stands with racism, as Mr. Neuer has done, is but one element in a wide ranging and frequently repeated denunciation of my views and activities. He even accuses me of being a 9/11 conspiracy theorist when I have constantly explained that my views (and knowledge) are limited to asking for some credible answers to questions arising from gaps in the official version.

  17. Marcus Dysch July 25, 2012 at 4:59 am #

    Many thanks

  18. Sanjay Dixit July 25, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    Clearly Mr Richard Falk has failed to keep matters related
    to Human Rights and matter’s related to Religion in two separate
    mutually exclusive blocks.

    His religious view have influenced his reporting on Human
    Rights matters in Palestine. Objectivism in reporting
    has been compromised.

    Also he has not shown respect for the feelings and
    sentiments, and emotions of the Jewish people.

    This itself is an Human Rights violations in his reporting
    on Human Rights issues in Palestine.

    • Ray Joseph Cormier July 25, 2012 at 6:23 am #

      Mr. Dixit,

      Your comment is absurd!

      • Sanjay Dixit July 26, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

        My fundamental contention is that by killing innocent school going boys and girls of the Jewish community in Bulgaria for taking remorseless revenge will not help the cause of resolving any kind of conflicts. This is true also at the generic level.
        Islamic countries are nation states based on religious beliefs – state and religion are not kept separate. Wearing the Burkha, wearing the head scarf and men keeping long beards and no moustaches is for the purpose of proudly differentiating themselves from the rest of the people. And even if they don’t, when interacting with the rest of the world, it is not the case that they consider themselves any less different from rest of others, aside of a few exceptions. This is also some kind of racism. So why point fingers at Jews only for it.
        Islam does will not permit killing of innocent humans for settling scores. Nevertheless, the most ardent followers of Islam have not firmly adhered to the fundamental principles enshrined in their religion. Flagrant violations religious principles that are consistent with Human Rights principles are done by its most devout followers.
        So, where is the absurdity with respect to what happened in Bulgaria – All the bullet holes were made into the body of reason and justice, is it not?

      • Sanjay Dixit July 27, 2012 at 12:25 am #

        To: Mr Ray Joseph Cormier

    • monalisa July 25, 2012 at 7:23 am #

      To: Sanjay Dixit:

      Israelis of Mosaic belief don’t separate state and religion.
      Their state – please see for this the relevant informations available everywhere – has been in fact based on the assumption that there had been a state at about 1100 – 900 B.C. with the foundation of their temple.
      This is not very much verified in history and real historians who are well educated about these places in the Middle East (Pharaonic Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Hethits etc. – there have been a lot of different cultures over the times) don’t agree fully, only partly and this is also not very much verified. Also if there had been a real big state in these historic times it would have been recorded at the same time within its neighborhoods. But only city-states are more recorded.

      At one side Israelis want to stress the implemention of their state on religious beliefs on the other side they want very much belong to the European continent.
      At one side Israelis say they are of “semitic” race on the other side they permanently stress to the point that they are different to the real semitic people living in the Middle East.
      Logically to conclude that a caucasian race cannot be semitic.
      Insofar Israel with these contradictions brings itsef into a dilemma.

      And also please note: I differentiate between people of Mosaic belief living in Israel and people of the same belief outside Israel.
      To found a state on religious belief is – taking our knowledge of today in history – somehow not very good. And at the same time discrediting another state which is also more based on religious beliefs sound to me somehow very hollow.

      monalisa

      • Ray Joseph Cormier July 25, 2012 at 7:37 am #

        monalisa,

        I have read of a Day to come in the Bible when no one would have to talk about God anymore because everyone would know God.

        Imagine! No more Judaism, Christianity, Islam or Atheism if that word of God in the Torah becomes a reality on earth.

        God will help us to make it so, but if we the people, co-creators with God are not interested, it will never happen.

        The people aren’t interested even as the secular news media report on the drum beat of war that will inflame the whole world sounds louder Day by Day.

        Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called the Children of God the Christ of God declares.

        This Spirit transcends Judaism, Christianity, Islam & Atheism.

      • Sanjay Dixit July 27, 2012 at 2:13 am #

        To:Monalisa,

        Thanks for your information. It was very interesting to read. Now,
        in the list of countries of the world that’s available, the religion
        of every country is given – and one only. Every country has its main
        religion. No country explicitly states that it is a multi-religious country.
        The Jews have only Israel as the country of their religion –
        Judaism, a very small country – where else in the world do they go
        as their homeland – the land of their origin. So what if the Jews say that they are religion based. That does not do any harm to any one. Most of the Islamic contries are Islam religion based – really big countires. And they dont think there is anything wrong in that, so why should the Jews be made to feel guilty about it.
        Those who executed 9/11 in America went straight to heaven, in the
        heart of their God. A new place of worship was also made in the
        vicinity of 9/11 in NY and Islamic power was demonstrated in the
        heart of the world power America. What was required for doing that –
        Zero reason and zero justice to do the job at ground zero in NY.
        The Jews have not resorted to any kind of brutal extreme violence to
        establish themselves as a nation state of the Jewish people. They
        resort to violence in retaliation because the the Germans under Nazi
        Hitler killed 6 million of them and they may be feeling out numbered.
        Understandable to some extent – how can they bear the weight of further killing of their community members, and why should they.
        People of different religions from different countries live
        as an integral part of the European continent. The Jews should
        be allowed to live as innocent people, as integral part of
        European society, without any further persecution – every human
        being wants to be treated in a humane and kind way and that’s what makes all the difference.

        Also kindly read my reply to Mr Ray Joseph Cormier above.

        Regards,
        Sanjay Dixit,Mumbai,India.

  19. monalisa July 25, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Dear Mr. Cormier,

    we can hope.

    But for the time being I have no great hope.
    The lies of mainstream media are far too big (even concerning Syria it’s like Libya!!) and most working people don’t have time enough to search for the truth.

    The war drums are permanently in action mostly by Western country led by USA.
    Not to forget: Most Western countries playing the war drums are indebted very very much.
    Instead of treating their economic-political failures within their territory no, they play wars.
    Maybe they want to mimic Nazi Germany: When Hitler saw that people had no jobs, no real good income … the rest is well known.
    Considering that DU (depleted uranium) had been used since the Gulf war (by USA) and further in the former Yougoslavia ….

    whatever comes: I hope the worst szenario will not occure.

    monalisa

    • Ray Joseph Cormier July 25, 2012 at 8:16 am #

      I share that hope, but hope is not enough. It takes actions, not complacency.

      And NOW abides Faith, Hope, Love, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.
      1 Corinthians 13

      My hope rests in the Spiritual message of the letter in Matthew 12: Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from you.
      But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
      For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
      The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

      In another part of the Bible it says 1000 years is the same as a Day to God. Within that framework, we have arrived at the 3rd Day.

      The story of Jonah has a good ending.
      It implies all the worst of the end times written in the Books can be avoided if the people smarten up. It is not too late, but I don’t see the change in direction yet.

      http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/k/kjv/kjv-idx?type=DIV1&byte=3435013

  20. Nate July 25, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    “deplorable prison conditions falling far below accepted international standards”. are you serious? Palestinian prisoners have better conditions in Israeli jails than most people in the world have in their own homes (including the poor citizens living in Israel). based on what are you making such a statement?

    • Fred Skolnik July 25, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      Naturally none of these people has ever seen Palestinian prisoners enjoying a hafleh or have a clue how they actually live under detention. What they get is daily halal food, free use of a mosque, cable TV with 50 stations, canteen privileges, a free university education as external students and full medical services. This was only cut back in respose to the appalling conditions under which Gilad Shalit was forced to live and hence their hunger strike.

  21. roberthstiver July 25, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    Well, this comment forum has typically been taken over by the domination-and-control hasbara experts espousing the political/militant Zionist line — and that in only 4 or 5 days! We now have the always-near-10,000 Palestinian prisoners luxuriating in spa-like accommodations — “accommodations” that, likely as not, are provided in Israeli-territory places of incarceration in direct contravention of international law. Torture, denial of proper access to needed health care, denial of family visits, snatching of children away from their homes at 2 AM on any morning of the occupier’s choosing, the entire perverted fabric of administrative detention…all these and more are the antithesis of “acceptable international standards,” but what does the Zionist state, or “Nate,” or Fred Skolnick (or, I wager, the pseudo-named “conchovor” et al), care for such annoying models of minimal behavior by any civilized nation? After all, Zionist Israel operates outside the bounds of international law and is clever enough to do it with accustomed impunity via intimidation and manipulation of spineless world “leaders.”

    Imagine (thanks, Mr. Cormier! Amazing coincidence: just yesterday/24th, my public-access TV producer and I structured an in-studio program, which we logically titled “Imagine,” after Lennon’s classic; my friend sang it and accompanied himself on the guitar, and then we delved into individual stanzas and how the world doesn’t even come close to the ideals “imagined” by the great cultural icon. Because Israel is and has been the biggest offender in the “living life in peace” and “brotherhood of man” categories, we specifically commiserated with the plight of the hapless Palestinians.): Imagine that for me, the trip to this blog by Dr. Falk was triggered by a July 20th E-mail from a principal personal mentor, John Whitbeck — brilliant international lawyer, long-time active supporter of the legitimate rights and aspirations of the victimized Palestinians — who, very simply, prefaced his linkage to Dr. Falk’s “For What?” with “Transmitted below is another profound reflection from Richard Falk, a truly great soul.”

    The Zionists among us have now, as is their wont, used slanderous words, distractionary diversions, tedious and unsupportable accounts of events, etc. — all for the objective of vilifying (“assassinating” comes to mind…) this superlative humanist, this “great soul” Dr. Richard A. Falk and dragging commenters’ attentions away from the crux of this horrific perversion of the Torah prescription “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 22:21 and other like admonitions): the slow dismemberment of and genocide against yesterday’s and today’s Christians and Muslims of Palestine.

    A psychosis is afoot. Alas, the psychotics are avid to be in charge and control.

    Robert H. Stiver
    Oahu, Hawaii

    • Ray Joseph Cormier July 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

      Somehow this generation of Israelis think themselves to be more pure, sinless and faultless than all their forefathers of so long ago. The Torah is replete with the admonitions of God as spoken by their Prophets. Those they stoned and persecuted for speaking the Truth.

      Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.
      The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel does not know, my people do not consider.
      Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
      Why should you be stricken any more? you will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
      From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and purifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
      Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
      Isaiah 1

      And so it is to this very Day

  22. Ray Joseph Cormier July 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Richard, it seems bearing your soul has aroused many critics.

    My comments here has someone comparing me to Dexter in another Blog that just appeared in the referral stats to my Blog. I stand in solidarity with you.

    zkharya
    24 July 2012, 10:13 pm

    The obsession with Revelation on Ray Joseph Cormier’s blog (http://ray032.wordpress.com/) reminds me of the arch serial killer from the last season of Dexter:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dexter_characters#James_Gellar

    Bonkers

    http://hurryupharry.org/2012/07/24/richard-falk-looks-in-the-mirror/

    • Richard Falk July 25, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

      Thanks, Ray, for your steadfastness, the quality that Palestinians value so highly and call samud.

      At least your assailant had the good sense to sign his name as ‘Bonkers’!!

      Warm greetings,

      Richard

      • Ray Joseph Cormier July 26, 2012 at 4:51 am #

        I addressed a comment to zkharya at Harry’s Place yesterday asking for an explanation in what context my Blog reminds him of a serial killer and it did not appear as yet. I doubt it will!

        These kind of people like to smear and denigrate anyone dissenting from their way of thinking, but can’t back anything up except with manufactured facts divorced from reality.

      • Sanjay Dixit July 31, 2012 at 3:06 am #

        TO: Mr Richard Falk
        CC: Mr Ray Joseph Cormier
        CC; Ms Monalisa
        Justice for Jews.
        First and foremost I expect you to issue a strong statement for the killing of innocent children and people by terrorist in Bulgaria recently. Killing of innocents does not resolve any conflicts, which you must know as a generic truth.
        Also dedicate this effort to the Jewish people.
        The word India is the form used by Europeans over the ages. European travelers were instrumental in giving the name India to erstwhile Bharat or Hindustan. Such has been the contribution and influence of Europeans on this land that is currently India and its people of today, as do most of the countries around the world, and thank you for that.
        India remains predominantly a Hindu state.
        Also, many other nations have made truly great contributions to this land over the ages and have played key roles in the progress.
        When it comes to Jews, it appears as though there are some questions being asked with respect to the formation of the Jewish state on basis of religion, whereas no other nation has been questioned similarly for they brook no interference in their internal matters.
        With respect to Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian lands, it is to be understood that when it comes to Muslim people, they would fight for the last square millimeter of land even if they had a soccer field for themselves, till the end of time, by shedding the blood of countless innocents, if required. Israelis have only a very small nation to contend with. Palestinians will fight for the last square millimeter of it.
        Where in the world does the perfect logic for everything exist? (Hope it really does some day)
        What about reason and justification in India – with its Caste System, a person may be rejected because he/she does not belong to the same caste although everything between them is or could be natural and sound. A boy and/or the girl could be killed by caste members for forming inter-caste alliances among a myriad of caste based prejudices of Indian society. A person may be straight away rejected simply because a person does not belong to the same caste. So, who sees reason for rejecting and killing – and these people assume position of power and respect.
        If India has reason for its Caste System then that was never ever taught at school level because that does not fall under the label of ‘knowledge’ that demands reason and justification for its existence and is not unequivocal. If someone claims that Caste System is justified, then let them teach it to the world for world benefit in the same way as Pierre de Fermat and Pierre-Simon Laplace among many great mathematicians who taught the world mathematics, and will continue to do so till eternity.

        If you keep fending for unequivocal logic for the existence of Jewish state for its people then where on earth are they supposed to go. It is important to ascertain where on earth the Jewish people NOT came from. Say unequivocal No, No,……..No…and then find out where the Yes is or are. Surely they did not come from some other planet because they are as human as we all.
        Inter-religious and intra-religious contradictions, conflicts, prejudices that are not resolved, which could be minor or major, in nature, exist everywhere. Let us set for ourselves the examples of great mathematicians who solved the most difficult mathematical problems in the world and paved the way for human progress for all times to come. It is important to think and work likes a mathematician to solve non-mathematical problems. Where in the world is the perfect logic but with Mathematicians? So please find a really good one and he/she will definitely resolve in a very short durations of time, things that have remained pending since millennia.
        The Jews people are exceptionally intelligent. They require European support on some specific fronts in the same way as in the same way as say, a nations like India got European support/benefit for its development and progress for which they will be thankful for ever.
        The Jews should not be persecuted.
        Europeans should give the same pattern of support to the Jews and they gave to rest of the world after even their worst failings, and let them live with peace and dignity with and within Europe and rest of the world for ever.
        Mr Sanjay Dixit,
        Mumbai
        India.

      • Richard Falk July 31, 2012 at 7:22 am #

        Dear Sanjay Dixit:

        First of all, I do not issue statements in response to international incidents unless I have special interest in the event.

        I do condemn all violence that directly or indirectly targets civilians, and the suicide bombing of this bus filled with Israeli tourists is such an incident. I would point out, however, that the identity of the perpetrator has not been established. Israel accused Iran & Hezbollah in Lebanon, but this has not been confirmed. Although not a justification, it should be understood that Israel has in recent years been reliably identified as responsible for the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists. It should also be appreciated that the Palestinians have not been implicated in the incident. We need to base our moral understanding on the way violence is being used by all political actors in any context, and that includes Israel, which is responsible for many civilian deaths in the region, and in relation to the Palestinians or Lebanese to by far the greater number. The condemnation of terror is not something that can be reduced to quantitative terms, but the comparative reliance on such violence seems relevant to any claim to occupy the higher moral ground in these ongoing regional conflicts.

        Ricahrd Falk

      • Sanjay Dixit July 31, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

        Dear Mr Richard Falk,
        It was nice of you to have replied to my mail. I appreciate.
        Now, Iranian Nuclear programs are Military based and their nuclear scientists, in tandem with their government, although they claim is for peaceful purpose, is actually not the case (acknowledged by US also). Iran’s clandestine nuclear programs are primarily intended to be a deterrent to Israel, backed by US. Therefore, Israel kills their scientists in order to inflict failure of their nuclear programs. Pakistan’s nuclear programs are also intended for the same purpose.
        If a person has to live in dirty waters, he himself, eventually, becomes dirty. So, is the case with Israel. They have had to eventually, even if they don’t like it; inherit the philosophy of the region for their existence and survival. You see only the reflection of that in their actions.
        India also provides the best proofs of terrorist attacks done by Islamic militants but Pakistan does not accept the given proofs as evidence of their involvement in the attacks. This is their way of working and this is the way they are – they won’t accept even if the proofs are as perfect as a mathematical proof.
        The Islamic people started it all; the dirty waters works – dirty minds and dirty philosophy of living by murdering innocents in cold blood.
        The starting point for resolving conflicts is acknowledgement of the fact that innocents on both sides of the conflict must never be killed. This philosophy only will go the distance to solve the seemingly most intractable conflicts in t his world.
        Thanks and Regards,
        Sanjay Dixit, Mumbai, India

      • Sanjay Dixit August 1, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

        Dear Mr Richard Falk,
        CC; Monalisa.
        SUB: Religious fundamentalism and solving the religion based problems and conflicts.
        Religious fundamentalism and religious fundamentalists work against the premises of their own religion. They are, in fact, persons and groups of persons, who deviate from their religion the most. Those who claim to be the most ardent followers of it are the worst followers of it, the worst violators of it.
        Moderate position on religion keeps us well within the fundamental framework of a religion, any religion. Every religion teaches Compassion, mutual respect (respect for fellow humans), love, non-injury, to do our work, peace, understanding, making the best of the human birth that we have, leading a good life, etc. This is the common thread that binds all religions. No religion teaches to hate, injure and kill – none of them. And when religion ceases to be everything, as is for fundamentalist hardliners, the most genuine expression of religions becomes clearly visible, which most desirable.
        Religions are like flowers of different shapes sizes and colors in a garden. Bee takes the honey from each flower without injuring and defiling it although some of them are same and some of them are different.
        For me, in the same vein, and from this moderate position on religions, going to a Temple, Church, Mandir, Mosque, Synagogue or any other place of worship of a religion, feels like being one of the bee from a millions of them, taking the same honey, the pure form of the religions from it and living life in the best possible way and living in the abode of god, any and every.
        This opens up new vistas, and paves the way for progress, that is needlessly hampered by fundamentalist people who maintain hard line position on respective religions. Therefore, being moderate with respect to religions is the key. Therefore, hard-line fundamentalist positions on regions have been the root cause of several nasty manifestations of it through the centuries and Millennia.
        The Middle East conflict has religious dimensions to it.
        Hope this helps and supports you in resolving the ongoing problems and conflicts in the Middle East.
        Kind Regards,
        Mr Sanjay Dixit, Mumbai, India

      • Sanjay Dixit August 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

        To:Mr Richard Falk

        Correction:

        In the sentence –

        And when religion ceases to be everything, as is for
        fundamentalist hardliners,

        read as –

        And when religion ceases to be everything, as against for
        fundamentalist hardliners,

        Regret the error.

        Rgds,
        Mr Sanjay Dixit

      • Ray Joseph Cormier August 2, 2012 at 12:12 am #

        Sanjay, you write, “Religious fundamentalism and religious fundamentalists work against the premises of their own religion. They are, in fact, persons and groups of persons, who deviate from their religion the most. Those who claim to be the most ardent followers of it are the worst followers of it, the worst violators of it.”

        You are not the 1st to recognize this reality. Jesus said 2000 years ago, and I assume it applies to Jews, Christians & Muslims, especially Today;

        You hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
        This people draws nigh to me with their mouth, and honours me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
        But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
        Matthew 15

        These words are not addressed to Atheists.

      • Sanjay Dixit August 3, 2012 at 6:19 am #

        Dear Mr Richard Falk,

        Thanks for writing to me and agreeing to my point of view. I also respect your point of view. You do expect Israel to respect rights of all people under international law and that is important for me. Every person or group of persons expects the law to act in the interest of their lives and self-interest, if they happen to seek solutions to their life problems with the help of the law, because if any person or a groups of persons agree to abide by laws that do not serve the interests of their lives and their self-interest, then it could prove to be really very harmful to them, if they comply. Israel cannot see the international law, however noble and well meaning they may be, serving the interests of their lives and self-interests,and so they do not comply with your expectations. The cost of sacrifices needed by complying is much too high for them to bear with, they feel. I think no rational human beings will ever agree to comply with a law if he/she see that it may not work in the interest of their lives and self-interest or may even work against it if they comply – it’s a question of survival and existence. Your point of view is legal, for Israel it’s a matter of survival and existence and their fundamental problem is that by respecting human rights under the law, their human rights, they feel, get automatically violated. They do not want to see their human rights getting violated as a reward for respecting other peoples rights. Everybody wants at least a reasonable or minimum acceptable win situation in any dispute/conflict/problem.

        My humble request to Israelis and Palestinians is to find the optimal solution to their problems and solve their conflict and live in peace and contribute to the progress of the region and the world.

        If what I have been writing to you proves genuinely useful to you, and to the people involved in resolving the conflict, then I will be very much delighted. Do make use of it, if required and useful.

        With Best wishes,
        Sanjay Dixit, Mumbai, India

    • Sanjay Dixit August 2, 2012 at 6:12 am #

      Hello Ray Joseph,
      I was feeling really great today that this thought came to my mind after some applying thought. After you told me that Jesus Christ said the same thing 2000 years back I felt very happy but equally saddened to note that what he said was not instilled completely in the day to day lives and thinking process of people, which He definitely would have wished for most in the best interest of Christians, Jews and Muslims. Had that been done, by seeing the common factor in the fundamental teachings of religions, I am sure much of the unfortunate things that we see in the Middle East, in History, and in the current times would never have occurred in the first place, and this is what Jesus Christ would have wished for most. I hope you see common ground, which is definitely there, and resolve all issues once and for all in the best interest and the well being of humanity. Surely Jesus Christ will be very happy if you achieve that, which is definitely possible – not much difficult.
      Best Wishes and Kind Regards,
      Sanjay Dixit, Mumbai, India

      • Ray Joseph Cormier August 2, 2012 at 6:23 am #

        It is also written the good and the bad will grow side by side until the Harvest. We the people, this generation, are the workers in the vine yard. Will we harvest good or evil in our generation?

        In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway – Mother Teresa

    • Sanjay Dixit August 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

      continued……
      To: Mr Ray Joseph Cormier,
      Mr Richard Falk
      Monalsia.
      Again coming to what Jesus Christ said 2000 years back: India can also claim that, why 2000, Indian Gods and Philosophers gave the best advises more than 5000 years back. So, what if they gave the best advises 5000+ years back; what is India? Because the Europeans came, India became the India of today. Otherwise what was India, only an entity that is was fractured with thousands of broken bones from head to toe and later got wrapped by plaster and bandage in a hospital (British Rule of India), given the necessary treatment and subsequently supported/helped to walk the globe with plaster and bandages on even to this date – courtesy the Europeans. India appears to walking the Earth fully plastered and bandage like an astronaut looks like walking on moon.
      By the same token, the Indians (or Hindustani’s) by now should have led the world for maintaining the Planet Earth in the best condition and for human settlement on other planets. But laziness, false pride and false arrogance has undone everything what the world’s great men advised, counseled and guided more than 5000 years back.
      This is because of the non-moderate, fundamentalist, hard line,conflict oriented tendencies in humans generally that is the causal factor behind this. Advises, counsel and guidance given by the world greats only produced a contradictory result.
      All this has tremendous implications for current humans on earth. It is absolutely vital right now that Christians, Jews and Muslims (hopefully all religions of the world together) find common ground, the common factor on the moderated platform for resolving current problems and conflicts, otherwise what kind of world will there be 2000 years later, that is 4000 years after Jesus Christ, is only for you to imagine. At least I would like to see the best conditions on Mother Planet the Planet, Earth and humans and other lives well settled on other planets as well.
      From: Mr Sanjay Dixit, Mumbai, India.

      • Richard Falk August 3, 2012 at 12:24 am #

        Mr. Sanjay Dixit:

        I agree with your ecumenical and universalist sentiments, and agree that the world religions can contribute to their realization, which is in the interest of all peoples on earth.

        To make such sentiments real, however, requires respect the rights of all peoples as embodied in international law, and this is what Israel refuses to do, causing great suffering for the people of Palestine.

        Best wishes,

        Richard Falk

  23. sanjay dixit August 5, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    Dear Mr Richard Falk,
    continue….
    During the 26/11/2008 terror attacks by Pakistan trained terrorists attacked the Jewish community in Mumbai for taking revenge against the Jewish community in the Chabad House. The building was home to a Chabad house, a Jewish outreach center run by Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, and they have owned the Building since around 2006. The center had an educational center, a synagogue, offered drug prevention services, and a hostel. The building was attacked and six of its occupants, including Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, who was five months pregnant, were killed during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks by Pakistani Islamic terrorists. Their two-year-old son Moshe survived the attack after being rescued by his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel. They murdered these people ruthlessly in cold-blood for taking revenge for what was happening in Palestine, whose human rights you protect. The Jewish community over here is peace loving, humane, caring, live quietly, and do not quarrel with others, are religious, sincere and honest people. Merciless revenge was taken against them. Imagine AK-47 bullets going through the body of a pregnant woman and her child in her womb. No remorse for doing that. Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi was one of the main handlers of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai who remains remorseless about it. You want Israel to respect human rights under International law. With anti-Semitism on one hand and the Arab and Islamic world on the other, they are an insecure community for the right reasons. Why should they respect the rights of people who are against them and who kill them in such a horrible manner? The law should secure Human Rights of both sides of conflict. Israelis should also feel that their rights have been guaranteed and protected in as much as you wish the same for the Palestinians. Then only the problems will see the much required ray of hope for resolution. Kindly do whatever you can to resolve the conflict in the Middle East.
    Best Regards,
    Sanjay Dixit, Mumbai, India

    • Ken Kelso August 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

      Let’s play ‘what if’

      How difficult is it, if it is even possible, for parents who live in the Palestinian Authority today to educate toward nonviolence, tolerance, recognition of the State of Israel and peace?
      Karni Eldad Feb.04, 2010

      Assume for a moment that you are a Palestinian parent. Assume (really, let your imagination run free) that you are a Palestinian parent who wants peace. You would presumably want to educate your children in the same spirit. So how difficult is it, if it is even possible, for parents who live in the Palestinian Authority today to educate toward nonviolence, tolerance, recognition of the State of Israel and peace?

      Sports are generally considered a good thing – a challenging, healthy activity. And that is certainly true of sports tournaments for children. A PA soccer tournament could be both fun and educational – if it were not named for the terrorist Dalal Mughrabi. She is the one who perpetrated the bloody attack on Israel’s coastal highway in 1978, which killed 37 Jews.

      According to Palestinian Media Watch, a celebration was held on Palestinian television to mark this terrorist’s 50th birthday, sponsored by PA President Mahmoud Abbas himself. The event included a party at which a youth orchestra played in Mughrabi’s honor. For the last two years, the PA has also run a summer camp named after this “martyr” (no, not Hamas, the PA – the good guys). Abbas funded a computer center named after her, and recently, a square in Ramallah was named for her as well, with Abbas’ full backing. How heartwarming.

      The PA and its leader, Abbas, are for some reason considered partners in the dream of peace between us and them. But peace, if it is to be true and lasting, must be based on the desire and trust of both sides.

      For some time now, the PA, and even this newspaper, have been claiming that the Palestinian Authority does not incite against Israel. That is partly true. What you find on television, in textbooks, on posters and in public statements is not incitement; incitement is something superficial, something easily pushed aside by the next bit of incitement to come along. What is happening in the PA is systematic education, brainwashing that poisons the minds of its children – or rather “your children,” as the U.S. secretary of state once said in commenting on the issue.

      If two PA schools are named after the arch-murderer Mughrabi, what will be implanted down the road in the subconscious of the children who attend them? That murdering Jews is a good thing, which brings you honor. If Palestinian television describes Palestine as extending “from Gaza and Ashkelon in the south to Haifa and, further north, Acre,” if children are told that Tiberias is an important Palestinian city and Lake Kinneret a Palestinian water source, if Jaffa is called “Palestine’s gateway to the world,” what will your children understand from this? That there is no Israel. It doesn’t exist.

      In quiz shows on PA television and crossword puzzles in PA newspapers, children know the right answers to questions such as “Which is Palestine’s most important port – Acre, Jaffa or Haifa?” Other questions include: “Name three states that border Palestine” (the correct answer is Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan) and “What is the area of the state of Palestine?” The correct answer to that one is 27,000 square kilometers – a territory that encompasses the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, including the entire State of Israel. It is clear from the questions, of course, that the state of Palestine already exists. And so on and so forth.

      Your efforts to educate your children toward tolerance and acceptance of the neighboring Jewish entity are doomed to failure from the start.

      It is your word against the brainwashing inculcated by the schools, the television programs, the crosswords, the teachers, the textbooks, the songs. So what can you do? And how?

      • Ray Joseph Cormier August 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

        It is always a two way street except in Israel where there are Jews Only roads.

        This video by an Israeli woman tells how the Jews portray the stereotype Arab in Jewish children’s books. If Jews and Arabs constantly magnify the negatives in each other, abandon all Hope those who enter here.

        Palestine in Israeli School Books: Nurit Peled-Elhanan

      • roberthstiver August 17, 2012 at 1:55 am #

        Thanks, Mr. Cormier, for a concise, measured dose of sanity.

      • Ken Kelso August 17, 2012 at 5:29 am #

        To funny, Nurit Peled-Elhanan.
        She’s as anti Zionist as Richard Falk.
        Just google her to see all her crazy views.
        Why dont you look at the racist statements and glorifications Pal leaders are saying about Jews and Israel.
        Just go to this site.
        http://www.palwatch.org.

      • Ken Kelso August 17, 2012 at 5:31 am #

        As i’v said, 3 times in the last 12 years the Pals have rejected a peace agreement that would have given them a state.
        Why, cause as Richard Falk would say, they cant accept the Zionist project not under Sharia law.

        This entire charade is being carried out as part of the mistaken belief that Fatah supports the two-state solution. They don’t. Abbas may be saying some placating things to the press, but Fatah held it’s congress in Bethlehem 2 years ago and reiterated that it does NOT support peace with Israel: http://www.e-fateh.org/paper_full_3.aspx Article (12) – total liberation of Palestine and the liquidation of the Zionist state economically and politically, militarily and culturally. Article (13) – the establishment of independent democratic Palestinian state with full sovereignty over all Palestinian territories [no two state solution anywhere in the goals of Fatah]

      • Ken Kelso August 17, 2012 at 5:31 am #

        For the Arabs, no Israel within ANY borders can exist. This is why they keep choosing war over a state in peace

        The problem is Arab rejection of the idea of a Jewish state in the ME.

      • Ken Kelso August 17, 2012 at 5:35 am #

        W hen it comes to rejecting peace offers the Palestinians are numero uno!
        Having a conflict is a goldmine for the Pals and Unicef with the billions they get in aid from it.

        http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=1921

        UNICEF supports Palestinian hate ad
        by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
        Mar. 22, 2010 A
        UNICEF-supported program’s advertisement features a giant ax splitting the Star of David

      • Ken Kelso August 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

        Mr Falk, i had to ask one question.
        You say we dont have all the facts regarding 9/11
        So explain what your saying? I dont understand.
        Are you saying the official story of Bin Laden and 19 Arabs being behind 9/11 is not true.”
        So you explain to me what happened on 9/11

      • Richard Falk August 18, 2012 at 7:36 am #

        Mr. Kelso: I have said many times and in many places that there are unanswered questions relating
        to the events that took place on 9/11 for which no satisfactory answer has been provided
        despite the lapse of ten years.

        I have no counter-narrative as to what actually took place, who was responsible, and I am
        not rejecting the official narrative.

      • Ken Kelso August 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

        Mr Falk, can you tell me one question about 9/11 that you think wasn’t answered?

  24. Small Backpack August 21, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    I have learn some excellent stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting.
    I surprise how much attempt you put to make such a magnificent informative site.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Longing for Human Solidarity – For What? By Richard Falk | ikners.com - July 21, 2012

    [...] For What?(richardfalk.wordpress.com) [...]

  2. Anonymous - July 25, 2012

    [...] [...]

  3. Defaming Richard Falk | Greenan Report - June 7, 2013

    […] What? Can be read here. The UN Watch response can be read […]

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