An Open Letter to my Blog

2 Sep

 


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An Open Letter to my Blog

 

            I have been disturbed by the recent exchanges of personal attacks inthe comments section of my blog. I realize that the subject-matter, and my views, are controversial, and attract strong responses for and against. I have tried to be broadly receptive to this broad range of opinions, and have excluded only those that have no substantive serious content. From my perspective some of these views are quite extreme, and as such provocative and deeply objectionable to those who see things differently. This tension among readers of the posts, not surprisingly, is mainly in relation to the Israel/Palestine conflict, and relates to both my views and to those of some of those who take the trouble to submit comments.

 

            I had the hope that the comment section could serve as a dialogic channel for the exchange of views, but I increasingly realize that this was an unrealistic wish. In my long academic experience I have found that dialogue is only mutually beneficial if there is a minimum of shared underlying understanding. If such an understanding is absent, the discussion quickly deteriorates, and becomes an exchange of angry views, and accusatory claims directed at the opinions of those who views are rejected. To be more concrete references to ‘Jew-hater’ and the like, or merging criticisms of the Zionist project with Judaism as religion or Jews as a people, create an atmosphere of discussion that I find unacceptable.

 

            In the interests of full disclosure, I acknowledge that I am deeply critical of many aspects of Israeli behavior, especially in relation to the Palestinians, and strongly supportive of lawful Palestinian resistance to a prolonged occupation (that, incidentally, has become an increasingly transparent cover for annexation and apartheid) and to the overall Palestinian struggle to realize their inalienable right of self-determination, as well as other rights under international law, including those pertaining to Palestinian refugees.

My main motivation to write posts for this blog, a considerable investment of time and energy, is to have a self-monitored outlet for my views on a wide range of issues having long ago realized that the mainstream media in the West would generally not publish what I have to say. This conclusion was not fanciful, but is substantiated by a pile of rejection slips and equally frustrating experiences of having submissions accepted on condition that I soften my views if I was to be permitted to pass through various gates of informal censorship maintained, with great arrogance, by the NY Times and other august media establishments.

 

            Some comments are critical of posts in view of my position as Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine for the UN Human Rights Council, and my failure to repudiate certain comments due to this affiliation. It should be understood that my UN appointment is an unpaid position that has certain guidelines in terms of the conduct of the mandate to which I adhere. I have done my best to fulfill my fundamental duty to the UN by doing my being truthful, accurate, and comprehensive in reporting on Israeli violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. I do not claim a UN credential in composing this personal blog, and consider it to be an exercise of my rights of free expression as a citizen of a constitutional democracy. At the same time, the implications that I am anti-Semitic or a covert self-hating Jew are deeply offensive, and seem to me consistent with many other efforts to confuse the domain of criticisms of Israel and Zionism with various forms of hate speech and racist emotions so as to insulate Israel and Zionism from various lines of criticism. It is also the case that certain pro-Israeli NGOs have consistently harassed me by issuing a variety of defamatory allegations, including pulling excerpts from the blog out of context and elaborating on their meaning in an inflammatory manner.  

 

            On this basis, I have decided to become much stricter about approving comments dealing with the Israel-Palestine conflict. There are many influential outlets for those with strong pro-Israeli, pro-Zionist viewpoints, and my modest blog is not needed to get such positions into the public domain. Consider the positions on the Israel/Palestine conflict adopted by the two main political parties in the United States to get a sense of the extent to which extremist  pro-Israeli sentiments dominate the dissemination of views about the conflict.

 

            Of course, there are other spheres of sharp controversy that overlap with my posts, for instance, the assessment of Turkish governance and foreign policy in recent years. Here, too, there are ultra-critical voices of current AKP governance that I find too ‘extreme’ and so far from my perceptions as to produce, at best, merely recurrent arguments, that is, various recycling of respective viewpoints, and not an engagement with substance within a framework of shared fundamental perceptions and presuppositions. In effect, one litmus test of a polarized society is that the abyss separating the essential worldviews are not reconcilable, and discussion excites emotions but it does not foster deeper understanding of the policy conflicts, but rather at best clarify the factual and normative foundation of the respective contradictory interpretation of current patterns of Turkish governance. I do not deny that many people enjoys such debates, but I am not one, and do not intend to allow this blog to become such a vehicle for polarized debate.  I will, however, continue to publish comments that responsibly express even extreme viewpoints if they do not engage in personal polemics.

             I hope that those with substantive interests will continue to submit comments, including harsh criticisms directed at my interpretations and analyses. I am interested in the connections between knowledge and policy, but not in argument or debate with those whose standpoint is radically different than from own, especially on the Israel/Palestine conflict. In relation to this conflict, I am deeply interested in an exchange of views with those that share my basic suppositions, and even within this constrained framework of inquiry, there are sharp disagreements, for instance, as between various one-state and two-state solutions, and their nature. My blog ethos can be summed up: Let many flowers bloom, but recognize that on this particular soil certain flowers will not flourish. 




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77 Responses to “An Open Letter to my Blog”

  1. Laurie Knightly September 2, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Can’t you just block further comment from personal attacks and cheap shots?

    • Jalsaid September 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

      ‘Personal attacks’ and ‘cheap shots’ is a highly accurate description of some of the commentators on here. Richard, if your blog was not important and of interest, it would not attract such trolls. Carry on writing the blog, the majority of us reading it enjoy and learn from your very knowledgeable and accurate assessment of the situation. Thank you for all the hard work which you do to help the oppressed peoples of Palestine

      • Suraya September 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

        Ditto Jalsaid’s comments. With much appreciation, support and solidarity from South Africa!

  2. Mansour Farhang September 2, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    I wish to suggest to critics of Professor Falk to read and article (the link below) by Patrick B. Pexton, the ombudsman of Washington Post.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/patrick-pexton-what-about-israels-nuclear-weapons/2012/08/31/390e486a-f389-11e1-a612-3cfc842a6d89_story.html

    • walker percy September 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

      Mansour,
      Thanks for the reference to the article by Patrik Pexton, which is germane to Professor Falk’s heartfelt disquisition on why he hosts this blog, and his responsibilities as its publisher. While Pexton makes several important points, I believe that he has struck a nerve when he talks about the risks one takes to one’s career by admitting to certain private opinions about Israel. He quotes George Perkovich, director of the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: “It’s like all things having to do with Israel and the United States. If you want to get ahead, you don’t talk about it; you don’t criticize Israel, you protect Israel.” Besides being ethically wrong, when this kind of organized coercion is used to target US policy makers and political candidates, the outcome is often decisions that are not in the best interest of the United States. I understand Falk’s desire to maintain a level of decorum here, but these are serious matters that affect the world and our futures together on this planet, and honest voices from all sides deserve to be heard. Unfortunately, these topics may lead some to conclusions that offend some delicate souls. But the stakes are too high, and it is time to shed these constraints. If everyone was allowed to say what they really felt about Israel, things might be very different over there (and over here) today, and this boring controversy would be over.
      walker

      • Sheff Pixie September 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

        But the stakes are too high, and it is time to shed these constraints. If everyone was allowed to say what they really felt about Israel, things might be very different over there (and over here) today, and this boring controversy would be over.

        Amen to that.

  3. Aaron September 2, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Then, if the commentary elicits a response, ergo a “debate” would you be prepared to respond to the commentary provided it is devoid of any personal attacks, accusations etc and deals strictly with the merits of the discussion?

  4. peri pamir September 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    İf i am the one Richard is referring to in the context of the discussion about AKP governance, i wish to underline that i am simply a concerned citizen responding to problems in my immediate political environment as i perceive them. This position may not agree with Richard’s albeit distant reading of events, but is this not what debates are all about ? While i took the trouble to respond to his arguments in detail, i am sorry that he dismissed mine simply in one stroke as too “extreme”. But let us not enter further into futile discussion. As i have told Richard in the past in the context of political discussions where we have held opposing viewpoints, let history simply be our judge once again… İn the meantime, i hope there may be other individuals who may wish to comment on the various issues raised by both of us…

  5. Mark Hamilton September 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Richard,

    What a great statement about the process of dialog and the deterioration of civil discourse even when energetic. We all have two parts to our reactions to ideas, presentations etc. One response is emotional and a gut level upwelling. The other is cerebral, thoughts about what is being said or read, our objections to what we believe is right or wrong about what we read or hear. Only speaking from our emotional side leaves little to be discussed and often leads to fear and feelings of being threatened. Speaking only from our intellectual cerebral side often make the discussion dry and seemingly separate from the real issue. What is needed if for people to acknowledge their gut responses, own them and then move to the ideas of how things can progress. If it is all seen as competition where the result has to be all or nothing in human affairs this will only lead to war.

    Take care,
    Mark

  6. Barry Meridian September 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Prof Richard Falk, your interviewed all the time in Arab TV.

    By the way, your views seem in tune with Gamal Zahran.
    Have you seen the genocidal comments Palestinians and Arabs say about Israel and Jews on Memri?

    Sadly, i believe the Arabs are slouching for a Holocaust against Jews.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/egypt-prof-says-israel-will-be-gone-by-next-year/

    Egypt prof: Israel will be gone by next year
    Ex-MP Gamal Zahran tells Iranian TV station that, Allah willing, Jewish state will be annihilated
    August 27, 2012

    • Barry Meridian September 2, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

      Mr Falk how dare those Israelis defend themselves?

      http://www.memri.org/palestinians-news.html

      #3539 – Released Hamas Terrorist Ahlam Tamimi on Palestinian Public’s Delight at Suicide Bombings

      Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas/Gaza) –
      July 12, 2012 –

      #3538 – Hamas Official Ahmad Bahr Preaches for the Annihilation of Jews and Americans

      Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas/Gaza) –
      August 10, 2012 –

      #3523 – Egyptian Cleric Sallah Sultan: People Worldwide “Thirst for the Blood of the Jews”

      Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas/Gaza) –
      July 27-August 3, 2012 -

      • Barry Meridian September 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

        The way Prof Falk thinks. When Israelis are murdered, grievously injured, or bereaved by PLO or Hamas terrorists, that does not count as an offense against human rights. When Arabs living under PLO or Hamas rule are lynched or thrown off roof tops that does not count as an offense against human rights. Defense of human rights consists of a search for occasions to accuse Israel of violating the human rights of Arabs.

      • Mark Hamilton September 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

        I don’t find this at all in Falk’s writings. What I find is that the offenses of the PLO and Hamas are frequently reported and deplored as terrorism but the offenses of Israelis, whether offensive or in retaliation are put in the context of defense of homeland. Is it not in the interest of truth to explore the balance of offenses, particularly in relation of the stronger versus the weaker, and then make public the human rights violations in this perspective. In the area of human rights is it not the responsibility of the stronger to be more judicious and moderate in it’s actions against the weaker foe?

        Take care,
        Mark

  7. rick September 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Dear Prof. Falk –
    Your framework for monitoring comments is very reasonable and helpful. I think most people genuinely interested in Mid East issues from a peace/justice perspective share your feelings. There is no point enouraging or facilitating people with fundamentally different objectives and perspectives. Some of them consciously try to distract or derail serious consideration and constructive debate. As such it is preferable to have some monitoring and restrictions.
    Keep up the great work.
    Rick

  8. BARNETT EADES September 2, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Mr Falk, Do not give the rabid haters the satisfaction of showing their messages.

  9. Barry Meridian September 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Mark, Falk is the biggest apologist for Hamas.

    http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2011/10/hamas-brags-about-eleven-years-of.html

    Oct 3, 2011

    Hamas brags about eleven years of terrorism
    The Palestine Times website published an article today listing Hamas’ terrorist accomplishments since the beginning of the terror war that began in September 2000.

    They brag about three specific acts of terror:

    •The massacre at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva killing 8 students
    •The attack by a laser-guided anti-tank missile against a schoolbus, killing a child (that they claim was a “soldier”)
    •The Park Hotel Passover massacre killing 30, mostly elderly, Jews. (Hamas inflates the number of victims to 36.)

    The article says that in the past eleven years Hamas has committed:

    •4303 terror attacks
    •61 suicide attacks
    •24 attempts to capture Israelis
    •423 bombings
    •90 sniper attacks
    •146 ambushes

    In addition, they claim 8085 projectiles fired from Gaza, of which 2627 were Qassam rockets and 303 were Grad rockets.

    They claim to have killed 910 “Zionists” in that time period, while losing 1697 of their members. Not civilians – 1697 dead Hamas terrorists. This doesn’t include members of other terror groups like Fatah and Islamic Jihad.

    It is clear from the article

    • deepaktripathi September 2, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

      Barry Meridian’s extremely offensive and repetitive multiple comment posts are exactly the kind of disruption which is the problem. It surely must stop, for such comments do not contribute to any debate. They amount to raiding someone else’s writing space, where others are given the privilege to respond to points made by Richard.

      The etiquette of submitting a comment at Richard’s blog must be to submit a brief paragraph or two, responding to a point made by Richard, and always be respectful. It is like a Q&A session after a lecture. It is certainly not London’s Speakers’ Corner, where anybody can stand up and rant.

      We should also be mindful that a response longer than Richard’s or any blogger’s original posting, amounting to another article in all but name, will be seen as a disruption. If you have so much to say that it becomes an essay, go somewhere else and publish that essay. Don’t raid what is someone else’s personal blog. There is no point attempting to sanctify it by saying it is all part of a healthy debate, because it is not. It is a free for all in which only the loudest and the most persistent will prevail.

      It is also very annoying when someone who is being given the privilege to comment on someone else’s blog posting writes an essay and then invites the world to just come on and join in. That is what has happened here and must stop.

      I would really be inclined to start moderating comments before publishing them after a short delay. This is what many other scholars and writers do.

  10. Barry Meridian September 2, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=839

    David Keyes
    I was wrong about Hamas
    November 16, 2011

    I was wrong about Hamas and I admit it. For years, I have consistently said that Hamas is a radical terrorist organization that must never be negotiated with. After much reflection, I now realize that Hamas has moderated its positions and can be an ally in peace.

    Consider the dramatic changes in rhetoric by Hamas leaders. Back when he was a extremist in 2007, Hamas parliamentary Deputy Speaker Ahmad Bahr said that Jews were “apes and pigs” and should all be killed. “O Allah, vanquish the Jews and their supporters,” he cried out. “O Allah, vanquish the Americans and their supporters. O Allah, count their numbers, and kill them all, down to the very last one.” But weeks ago, Bahr moderated his position and now calls Jews the “siblings of monkeys and pigs.” He hasn’t called for genocide against Jews in months and now simply urges his brethren to “sweep them out of our land.” From genocide to ethnic cleansing in just four years? Imagine what 2012 might hold! Perhaps calling merely for the enslavement of Jews? Indeed, anything is possible if we remain hopeful.

    Back in 2008 when Hamas parliamentarian Yunis al Astal was an extremist, he called for the conquering of America and Europe. In a moment of youthful indiscretion — and who hasn’t had a few of those? — he termed Jews the “brothers of apes and pigs.” Today he has changed his tune almost entirely. In May, on Al Aqsa TV, he said, “All the predators, all the birds of prey, all the dangerous reptiles and insects, and all the lethal bacteria are far less dangerous than the Jews.” Jews, he added, have been brought to Palestine so that Muslims “will have the honor of annihilating the evil of this gang.” Notice how he entirely dropped the global conquest rhetoric? Today he speaks modestly and moderately of slaughtering Jews only.

    In 2008, Hamas parliamentarian Fathi Hammad berated the Arab world for allowing 300 million people to be subjugated by a few million Israelis — the “brothers of apes and pigs” in Hammad’s then radical words. Fast-forward to today and Hammad, as interior minister, has had to deal with the realities of governing Gaza. His rhetoric has seen a commensurate shift toward moderation. “The Jews have become abhorred and loathed outcasts, because they live off corruption and the plundering of the peoples — not only the Arab and Islamic peoples, but all the peoples of the world,” he said last December on Al Aqsa TV. Who can doubt that “abhorred and loathed outcasts” is a step forward from “brothers of apes and pigs”?

    When Hamas Culture Minister Atallah Abu al-Subh was a radical back in 2008, he spoke of the “evil of the Jews, their deceit, their cunning, their war-mongering, their control of the world, and their contempt and scorn for all the peoples of the world …” Today, Subh, too, has moderated his message. “The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth,” he said in April on Al Aqsa TV. “Allah will kill the Jews in the hell of the world to come …”
    If Hamas keeps up this dramatic transformation, one can imagine a world in the not too distant future in which Jews are no longer hatefully called “apes and pigs” but rather moderately called “second cousins once-removed of apes and pigs.”

  11. Barry Meridian September 2, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2009/04/peacful-imam-calls-for-extermination-of.html

    April 19, 2009

    A Hamas cleric who once participated in an international conference of “Imams and Rabbis for Peace” — whose delegates vowed to “condemn any negative representation” of each other’s religions — has wholeheartedly espoused Hamas’s racist ideology in a recent Friday sermon on Hamas TV.

    Ironically, this latest profession of Hamas’s genocidal racism was preached and broadcast at the start of the month in which the UN is meeting in the “Durban II” conference in Geneva to condemn Israel as being “racist.”

    According to the Hamas interpretation of Islam, the Jews are inherently evil, seek to rule the world, and are a threat to Muslims and all of humanity. Therefore they are destined to extermination. In the words of Hamas religious leader Ziad Abu Alhaj, “Hatred for Muhammad and Islam is in their [Jews'] souls, they are naturally disposed to it…”

    He asserts that because of the Jews’ inherent evil, the Jewish state, “Israel … is a cancer that wants to rule the world.” One can find the details of the Jews’ plan in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which he jokingly refers to as “The Protocols of the Imbeciles of Zion” (a play on words in Arabic). He concludes that the Jews are destined to be annihilated:

    “The time will come, by Allah’s will, when their property will be destroyed and their children will be exterminated, and no Jew or Zionist will be left on the face of this earth.” [Hamas (Al-Aqsa) TV, April 3, 2009]

    He also claims that the Jews wanted to murder Muhammad.
    The following is the text of the Hamas sermon calling for the extermination of Jews:

    “Who is it that is leading the world today in the vicious, all-encompassing war against Islam and Muslims? The answer is clear: it is the Jewish nation. It is the Jews who today are leading the all-encompassing war against Muslims…

    We, the Muslims, know the nature of Jews the best, because the Holy Quran taught us. The prophetic traditions explained at length to Muslims the true nature of Jews… Their war and their hatred for Muhammad and Islam is in their souls, they are naturally disposed to it.

    Israel today lives in the heart of Arab-Muslim territory, and it is a cancer that wants to rule the world. Know, my brothers! The Jews’ expansion today brings the dissemination of an ancient thinking…

    They argued with Allah’s prophet Moses; they wanted to kill Allah’s prophet Jesus, and wanted to murder Allah’s prophet Muhammad…

    The Jews want to destroy every inch … Perhaps their famous book, which they deny [its authenticity] – known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but we call it, “The Protocols of the imbeciles of Zion” – in this book, my brothers, the Jews set down their plan to besiege the entire world by land, by air, and by sea – conceptually, economically, and its communications, as is happening today…

    The Jews’ grandeur today, and their ascent to the world’s throne, is because America, with all of its power, is ruled by the Senate, I won’t say ‘American’ but rather ‘Jewish’ [Senate] … The time will come, by the will of Allah, when their property will be destroyed and their children will be exterminated, and no Jew or Zionist will be left on the face of this earth.”

  12. Barry Meridian September 2, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Sadly Falk supports the genocidal aims of the Terrortinians.

    http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=663&fld_id=663&doc_id=5832

    Female Palestinian terrorist does not regret murder of 15 civilians at Sbarro pizza shop that she planned.
    Ahlam Tamimi was happy to learn that 8 Israeli children were murdered at the Sbarros terrorist attack in 01 instead of the 3 children she thought originally.

    For people to understand the evil Israel is dealing with, just click on the link.

    Terrorist Ahlam Tamimi led a suicide bomber to the Sbarro pizza shop in Jerusalem in August 2001. 15 people were murdered in the attack, many of them children. In October 2011, Tamimi was released from Israeli prison as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal brokered between the Israeli government and Hamas.

    Transcript:
    PA TV shows Israeli Channel 1 TV re-broadcast of interview:
    Israeli interviewer: “Who chose Sbarro [restaurant, as the target of the attack]?”
    Tamimi: “I did. For nine days I examined the place very carefully and chose it after seeing the large number of patrons at the Sbarro restaurant. I didn’t want to blow [myself] up, I didn’t want to carry out a Martyrdom-seeking operation (i.e., a suicide attack). My mission was just to choose the place and to bring the Martyrdom-seeker (i.e., the suicide bomber). [I made] the general plan of the operation, but carrying it out was entrusted to the Martyrdom-seeker. … I told him to enter the restaurant, eat a meal, and then after 15 minutes carry out the Martyrdom-seeking operation. During the quarter of an hour I would return the same way that I had arrived. Then I bade him farewell. He went inside, he crossed the road and went to the restaurant, and I went back the way I had come… You have to know something: a Martyrdom-seeker has a very special character, and I was amazed at his great wish to carry out the operation, his great wish to pass over to a different life. How beautiful it is when you make a person – [starts the sentence again] [Suppose] there’s a poor person and you give him a lot of money. He will be happy and you yourself will be happy that you realized for him the happy life that he wanted. My job was to realize, for this Martyrdom-seeker, the happy life that he wanted.”
    Interviewer: “Didn’t you think about the people who were in the restaurant? The children? The families?”
    Tamimi: “No.”
    Tamimi: “I have no regrets, and no Palestinian prisoner regrets what he or she has done. We were defending ourselves. What are we supposed to regret? Should we regret defending ourselves? Should we regret that the Israelis killed one of us so we killed a different one of them? We have no regrets.”
    Interviewer: “Do you know how many children were killed in the restaurant?”
    Tamimi: “Three children were killed in the operation, I think. [Smiles.]”
    Interviewer: “Eight.”
    Tamimi: “Eight?! [Smiles.] Eight.”

    • Barry Meridian September 2, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

      On Feb. 16, 1979, two weeks after the Iranian revolution brought back religious radical leader Ayatollah Khomeini to power, Falk wrote an op-ed for the New York Times entitled “Trusting Khomeini” in which he criticized U.S. officials who warned Khomeini was a religious fanatic and anti-Semitic.

      “The depiction of [Khomeini] as fanatical, reactionary and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false,” Falk wrote.

    • monalisa September 3, 2012 at 12:12 am #

      To Barry Meridian:

      A suicide-bomber sees it as his last chance to show the world how his people are treated by the oppressor. And In case of Palestinians for example in Gaza, suicide bombers: it doesn’t wonder at all: Palestinians had been dispelled from their houses, their possessions taken away, their soil poisoned, not enough drinking water and most of the water even dangerous to digest (for this there are enough detailed reports quite recently released showing how people in Gaza have to live !! just a catastrophic situation!!)
      Having seen yesterday on TV how Israel’s military forces are beheaving, they don’t even spare children, no wonder what the world is going to think about.

      There should be differentiation between Jews living inside Israel and Jews living outside Israel.
      Far too many Jews outside Israel (and some even inside) don’t agree with what is going on in Israel and how its government is acting.

      As long as USA is on the side of Israel – Israel’s government can feel secure.
      But once USA has been its own citizen aware how their taxpayers’ money is spent things will change.
      Even the more than fourhundred nuclear warheads Israel is storing will not help to feed its people inside Israel. Israel’s government is practically making – together with the built big wall – a prison state of itself while imprisoning Palestinians to death. So Israel is fencing itself, while reaching outside with its bombs (see in the recent past years Lebanon for example! etc. together with several bombs onto Iraq and covert murder-actions!).

      It lies in the oppressors actions how things are done.
      In the case of Palestinians they are in the name of an apartheit state for Jews only (in this respect the law founding of Israel based on religious book/s speaks for itself !!) either spared to death or to flee (if possible!!) – see for this the open air prison Gaza. While other religious groups (Christians and Druzes etc.) are more and more leaving Israel (if they have enough money).

      To wink every time with the “Holocaust” in order to silence foreign people/governments shows just how weak is the concealing of the cover-ups and wrongdoings of the Israel government.

      Point.

      PS: We are living in the 21st century – not in the Middle Ages of Europe.
      Technical instruments are not only for wars different as in the Middle Ages: for gaining information too. Not to forget our earth doesn’t inhabit people only in United States and Europe – there are a lot of other countries too not under the influence of certain “manipulators”.

      monalisa

      • walker percy September 3, 2012 at 9:28 am #

        Monalisa,
        I was moved reading your statement of deep convictions and I agree with your appraisal of the situation in and around Israel. I share the intensity of your feeling about the grave injustices being done by the Jewish state, and the awful implications of their many reckless and highly expensive blunders. This small, self-involved group are fanning the flames of global militarism at a time of unprecedented economic turmoil, with unknowable future hazards looming in our immediate futures. Many wise men counseled against allowing the Zionists to set up their crusader state, but those voices were forcibly silenced, in the same way critics of Israel are being silenced today. We were specifically promised by Jewish leaders at the time that the Arab inhabitants would be protected, but instead Zionists indulged their apparent blood lust in a horrific spree of murder, rape and pillage, as if they were some kind of latter-day bible figures. Then, they pursued a national strategy of obfuscation and public relations to cover up the true nature of Zionism, along with indoctrination of children to ensure a steady stream of warriors to continue their conquest of the “biblical heartland”. In its current configuration, Israel is only defended by nut jobs like our friend Barry, and the world has come to the sickening realization that, if we are to prevent Israel from starting World War 3, we have to continue paying them 3 billion a year in blackmail money…
        Please keep on speaking truth to power, monalisa.
        walker percy

    • walker percy September 3, 2012 at 7:02 am #

      Dear Barry,
      Thanks very much for obliging us devoted Falk readers and commenters with the perfect example of the point we are trying to make. Your bizarre conviction that Jews are the aggrieved party in the Middle East, and your rhetorical method of cutting and pasting only those statistics that you think support your arguments illustrates typical Zionist dishonesty. Based on your actions, It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this conflict is simply an artifact of Jewish neurosis. If Jewish people are trying to commit suicide (like Masada), and if they have decided to bring down human civilization (like Sampson) rather than admit their perfidy in establishing a new crusader state in Jerusalem, then the world must act, calmly but firmly, to put an end to it. In particular, the United States must make clear to the rest of the world that we regret our one-sided support of Zionist criminals. The US must withdraw all future extortion payments, and they must extricate themselves from the horrifying proxy wars against Muslims that are being carried out on behalf of Zionists who have captured our electoral system through duplicity and bribery. Barry, I know that for you my words indicate an irrational hatred for Jews, but believe me when I say that my hatred is not irrational, and every time you expose the way your mind is working, you just help me make this point.
      Walker

  13. Dr. A. Clare Brandabur September 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    Dear Mr. Falk,
    I understand your aversion to some of the rhetoric concerning the Palestine/Israel conflict. I appreciate your courageus defense of the Palestinian cause and your concern for justice on all sides and your refusal to be silenced by extremists of all stripes
    My comment is directed to the problems facing Palestinian refugees who are trying to flee from Syria and who are discriminated against (according to recent reports on TV) by Lebanese officials: they are made to wait for admission longer than other Syrians fleeing their conflicted country, and are given only 15 days to remain in Lebanon.
    Isn’t this situation a perfect time for Palestinians to be allowed to return to Palestine? As I told you once (when we both attended a discussion during the Istanbul Tribunal on Iraq) the UN made a terrible mistake in 1948 when it accepted the tearful promise by Abba Eban (I thnk it was) that Palestinian refugees would be allowed to return just as soon as conditions stabilized. That the tears were crocodile tears is manifest from the fact that at that very time Palestinians were still being shot (and in some cases castrated) when they tried to salvage farm produce from their hastily evacuated homes.
    The time has come to allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their places of birth and residence as required under internaitonal law, especially at this time when, having been relegated to refugee camps in neighboring countries since 1948 or 1967, they are now threatened with the prospect of yet further displacement and when it is clearly impossible for them to return to the refugee camps in Syria. Yet the same world leaders watch in silence while the present Netanyahu government continues to strip people born in Jerusalem of their right to live there, while constructing thousands of “Jews only” housing units and roads.
    I offer this urgent suggestion in hope of opening a dialogue among the world leaders now ringing their hands in ineffectual dismay.This would be one giant step to resolution of one of the most difficult underlying problems of the entire Middle East — a festering sore based on the unjust decision to found a national home for the Jewish people at the expense of the continuing dispossession of the Palestinians.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Dr. A. Clare Brandabur

    • Fred Skolnik September 7, 2012 at 11:17 am #

      The national home for the Jewish people was not established at anyone’s expense. The Land of Israel was partitioned by the United Nations. The Arabs rejected the plan, wanting everything. The Jews accepted the plan, prepared to accept far less than they believed was rightfully theirs and live in peace with the Arabs. I say rightfully because the Jews had been continuously present in the Land of Israel for 2,000 years before the Arabs came out of the desert and conquered it, part of which time the Jews maintained an independent sovereign state, and continued to be present there from the time of the Arab conquest until the establishment of the State of Israel, whereas the Arabs trickled in from the surrounding countries, mainly in the 19th century. The refugee problem was created because these surrounding Arab countries attacked the State of Israel with the express intent of destroying it and massacring its population. At the same time hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced to flee Arab countries where they had lived for hundreds of years, abandoning their homes and property. The Jewish refugee problem was solved by Israel. The Arab countries will have to solve the Palestinian refugee problem. This is a great tragedy, for both sides, but that generation has all but died out and the supposed millions of so-called Palestinian refugess are in fact children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren born outside of Israel whose status is questionable and whose numbers are matched by the Jews displaced from Arab countries. If you have any real sympathy and compassion for the Palestinians you will urge them to return to the negotiating table and work out the two-state solution that Israel is committed to. The attempt to delegitimize the State of Israel and compromise its existence will only lead to still more Palestinian suffering, encouraging them to continue dreaming about a bloodbath on the shores of the Mediterranean instead of thinking about how to create a viable country and ensure the well-being of their population.

  14. Barry Meridian September 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    Falk criticized Israel for keeping Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan in custody, even after a video of Adnan pleading for suicide bombers to “carry the next explosive belt” was exposed.
    What this shows is how Falk is nothing but an Islamo Nazi supporter who enjoys Palestinian Nazis murdering Jewish civilians.

    • Barry Meridian September 2, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

      http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/159527

      Palestinian Authority Arab Poisoned Jewish Family He Worked For
      New terror method? A PA Arab burglarized an apartment home and poisoned a Jewish family he worked for. The victims have recovered.
      Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      9/2/2012

      A Palestinian Authority Arab and two Israeli Arabs burglarized an apartment home and poisoned a Jewish family they worked for last November, police revealed Sunday. “I hate Jews,” the PA Arab told investigators.

      The wo other Arabs from the “Triangle” area near Netanya also were charged with the burglary, but denied being involved in the poison attack.

      Police said Adnan Otman Nassarah, 46, from the Shechem area in Samaria (Shomron) burglarized the Lerner family apartment in Raanana, near Tel Aviv, while carrying out renovation work.

      The thieves had access to the home because the Lerner’s knew and trusted the contractor for whom the men worked and gave him the keys . When Eyal Lerner returned home one day, he discovered that items were missing. When police came to investigate, he fainted after drinking grapefruit juice that was on the table. Lerner has said that the juice had a strange taste.

      A later investigation revealed it was laced with poison. A volunteer policeman, Lerner’s wife Yifat and their two and half-year-old son also became ill after drinking filtered water, that later was found to contain cleaning liquid.

      All were hospitalized in light condition, except for Eyal, who was in serious condition until making a full recovery.

      Eyal Lerner told Israeli radio, “We lock the apartment a lot better now.” He added that after having made a full recovery, he feels better that the culprits have been arrested. Police advised, “Don’t give keys to anyone you cannot rely on.”

      “I was not difficultly to realize that we were burglarized, because the television was missing.” Yifat Lerner said. “Our camera also disappeared.”

      The two workers from the Triangle area were charged with burglary, and Nassarah additionally was charged with attempted murder.

      During the investigation, Arabs in Nassarrah’s village of Beit Furik stoned soldiers and police when they arrived at the house. They found poison in his home and also found stolen items in the home of one of the Arabs living in the Triangle.

  15. adriana September 3, 2012 at 4:54 am #

    Dear Dr. Falk,
    I am a regular reader of your blog. Please, continue to do just as you’ re doing.Do not give up.
    Palestinians and all other people who live in oppression need someone like you to speak about them.
    There is nothing worse than forgetfulness.

    • Barry Meridian September 3, 2012 at 5:21 am #

      Earth to MonaLisa, suicide bombers are taught Pal leaders that this is the best way ethnic cleanse and exterminate the Jews to implement the Arabs final solution against Israel.

      Here are some of the suicide bomb attacks for which Hamas claimed responsibility, in the period 1994 to 2006:-

      No32A bus, mainly carrying Israeli schoolchildren, Patt junction, Jerusalem
      19 dead, 70 injured

      Sbarro Pizzeria, Jerusalem
      15 dead, 130 injured

      Snooker club, Rishon Letzion
      15 dead, 55 injured

      Student cafeteria, Hebrew University , Jerusalem
      10 dead, 85 injured

      Park Hotel Passover meal, Netanya
      30 dead, 140 injured

      Teenagers on pedestrian precinct, Jerusalem
      11 dead, 180 injured

      No2 bus carrying Jewish worshippers back from the Western wall
      23 dead, 130 injured

      Shopping precinct, central Jerusalem (triple suicide bombing)
      23 dead, 150 injured

      Moment café, Jerusalem
      11 dead, 54 injured

      Shopping centre, Netanya
      5 dead, 100 injured

      Matza restaurant, Haifa
      15 killed, 40 injured

      Dolphinarium discotheque, Tel Aviv
      21 dead, 120 injured

      Port facilities, Ashdod
      10 dead, 16 injured

      Petrol station, Ariel
      3 dead, 20 injured

      Beachfront bar, Tel-Aviv
      3 dead, 60 injured

      Hitchhiking post, Tzfirin
      9 dead, 30 injured

      Café Hillel, Jerusalem
      7 dead, 50 injured

      Suicide bombings of Israeli passenger buses

      Number 11 bus, Haifa – 16 dead

      Number 960 bus, Haifa – 11 dead

      Number 361 bus, Meron – 9 dead

      Number 4 bus, Tel-Aviv – 6 dead

      Number 20 bus, Jerusalem – 11 dead

      No 37 bus, Haifa – 17 dead

      No 6 bus, Jerusalem – 7 dead

      No 14A bus, Jerusalem – 17 dead

      No 18 bus, Jerusalem – 49 dead (the same bus route attacked on successive weeks)

      Two buses following each other in Beersheva – 16 dead

      On 19 August 2003 a Hamas suicide bomber killed 22 Jews on a bus travelling away from the Western Wall in Jerusalem in an act that shocked even emergency workers and conflict-hardened commentators.
      This Briefing describes the attack and its consequences.
      Bus Number 2: a popular route for prayer at the Western Wall
      Bus Number 2 travels through the heart of Jerusalem, to and from the Western Wall, every day. The bus passes through many strictly orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods. It is perhaps the most convenient way for devout Jews to reach the Western Wall, the most holy site in Judaism, to pray there. The bus is often extremely overcrowded.
      Hamas bombs families of worshippers
      On the evening of Tuesday 19 August 2003 a Hamas suicide bomber, from the West Bank town of Hebron, boarded a Number 2 bus as it was departing from the precinct near the Western Wall. The bus was filled with worshippers, including many women, children and families. The bomber was dressed as a religious Jew.
      He made his way to the central part of the bus (an area including several baby-buggies). As the bus was driving through the neighbourhood of Beit Yisrael, he detonated his bomb.
      22 passengers on the bus were killed, most instantly. Body-parts were blown dozens of metres away from the scene, and many victims’ bodies were unrecognisable. 134 people – passengers, pedestrians, and drivers of nearby vehicles – were injured, many seriously. The bomb had been packed with ball-bearings to maximise the suffering of the victims.
      Rescue workers described the attack as the most gruesome in three years of the Palestinian intifada: “There were small babies bleeding on the ground. One of the [rescue] workers was leaning over an infant, no more than 15 months old, giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation…. it was hopeless” (Israeli rescue worker, quoted in Ha’aretz 20 August 2003).
      The victims
      Virtually all the victims were from ultra-orthodox Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak (outside Tel-Aviv) and Netanya (to the North) and included:-
      Children aged 16, 12, 9, and 3, and two babies under 1 year old
      Mrs Goldie Taubenfeld from New York, the mother of 13 children, who had been on a wedding visit to Israel

      Rabbi Shalom Reinitz, the father of 9 children, one of whom was also killed and a second injured

      A father of seven children, two fathers of five children, and a father of four children

      An engaged 19 year old girl (Nechama Rechnitzer), and a 22 year old woman (Lilach Kardi) who lost both her parents as a teenager and who was bringing up her 14 year old brother by herself.
      An atmosphere of mourning descended over the affected Jewish neighbourhoods, as families and communities spent the day after the attack at a succession of funerals, burying their dead, and engaging, emotionally shattered, in tearful soul-searching.
      Israeli commentators of all political and religious affiliations were struck by the dignity of the affected communities, and by the absence of hysteria or calls for retribution.
      The consequences
      The attack had several consequences for the Palestinian civilian population, all of them extremely negative:-
      Israel broke off all contact with the Palestinian Authority, blaming it for repeatedly failing to dismantle the infrastructure of Hamas;
      Israel immediately suspended its plan, due to have taken effect the next day, to withdraw from the Palestinian towns of Tulkarem and Ramallah, and hand them over to the control of the Palestinian Authority;

      Israel reintroduced military checkpoints on various roads across the West Bank, which had been removed some weeks earlier as a “confidence-building measure” with the Palestinians;

      Israel halted the release of all Palestinian prisoners still to be released under an agreement with the Palestinians; and

      domestic opposition in Israel to its construction of its security fence (to prevent suicide and other terror attacks) was virtually silenced.
      None of this prevented the murderer’s wife from praising his action. She was quoted as saying she was not sad about her husband’s deed and was delighted that his lifelong wish could be fulfilled: “All of his life he dreamed of being a martyr” (Israel Insider, 20 August 2003)
      Shattering life, shattering hope
      The bombing of the Number 2 bus shattered life in Israel. And it shattered hope for Israelis and for Palestinians desperate to move beyond the violence. Few events have so graphically illustrated:-

      •the self-destructive impact of its mass-murders on the Palestinian people.

      • Barry Meridian September 3, 2012 at 5:42 am #

        Mr Falk doesn’t seem to understand, the reason he was given this job at the U.N, is cause he’s one of the biggest Israel haters in history.
        The person who replaces Falk will be just as hateful against Israel defending itself.

      • Barry Meridian September 3, 2012 at 5:44 am #

        For $22.00 and the promise of 72 virgins in Allah’s paradise, a mildly retarded Palestinian boy was coerced into becoming a human bomb by Islamic clerics. Compelling young children to do their dying for them seems to have become a favorite tactic of the Islamic fundamentalists”

        Sent To Die (March, 2004)
        “And know that your property and your children are just a temptation, and that Allah has the best rewards.” (Qur’an 008.028)

        If you needed more evidence of Islam’s vile and heinous nature, the cover story from the March 25, 2004 edition NY Daily News certainly obliged. For $22.00 and the promise of 72 virgins in Allah’s paradise, a mildly retarded Palestinian boy was coerced into becoming a human bomb by Islamic clerics. Compelling young children to do their dying for them seems to have become a favorite tactic of the Islamic fundamentalists in control of Yasser Arafat’s political party called Fatah.

        Islamic Imams and warlords are cowards, hiding behind little boys. They corrupt, coerce, and recruit children with promises of perverted rewards, while they themselves remain in the comfort and safety of their mosques and madrasas. No doubt they know Muhammad’s dogma is fraudulent and morally bankrupt and that Islam is simply a means to wealth and power.

        SENT TO DIE
        They promised the boy $22 and 72 virgins
        By DEBORAH BLACHOR in Jerusalem and CORKY SIEMASZKO in New York
        DAILY NEWS WRITERS

        A Palestinian boy bomber who was given $22 and promised 72 virgins in paradise was forced at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers to strip and remove the explosives strapped to his body.

        “Do I have to take my clothes off here?” Hussam Abdu, 14, asked as soldiers yelled orders from behind barricades at a West Bank checkpoint.

        The soldiers insisted.

        “He panicked, lifted his hands and a tragedy was prevented because he did not manage to detonate the explosive,” said Lt. Col. Guy, commander of the paratrooper unit.

        It was around 3 p.m. when Abdu walked up, wearing an oversized red jacket. The soldiers were suspicious and ordered him to raise the jacket, revealing a gray vest packed with explosives.

        “We could see that there was something on under his jacket,” said one of the paratroopers.

        They ordered Abdu to take off his clothes, one item at a time – a suspenseful striptease caught on camera.

        When Abdu had stripped down to his underpants, the soldiers used a yellow, remote-controlled robot to deliver a pair of scissors to cut off the vest.

        “Lift your right hand and reach out to grab the scissors with the left,” one yelled.

        The frightened boy did as he was told, and after struggling with the scissors he was free of his deadly payload.

        “He said he didn’t want to die,” said another soldier who was at the checkpoint. “He didn’t want to blow up.”

        Abdu was bundled in a green hooded parka and rushed off to safety while the vest was taken away and safely detonated.

        The boy later told investigators that Tanzim – a militant group affiliated with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement – told him that the only way he would ever have sex was to blow himself up.

        They also promised to give 100 shekels to his mother, who is ill. The boy said he wanted to be “a hero.”

        “This is another example of the atrocious tendency of the Palestinians to sacrifice their own children for the purpose of attacking innocent Israelis,” said government spokesman David Baker.

        Abdu’s neighbors in Nablus said the boy belonged to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a militant group.

        Israeli soldiers are increasingly on the lookout for kiddie bombers.

        They recently caught a 10-year-old Palestinian boy carrying explosives through the same roadblock. But unlike Abdu, Abdallah Quran apparently did not know the package he was paid $1 to carry was explosives. Both boys are students at the same school. [Link to NY Times article of March 25, 2004.]

  16. Barry Meridian September 3, 2012 at 5:51 am #

    THE REAL ESSENSE OF ”MIDEAST” CONFLICT”
    Arabs want to destroy Israel, but Israel doesn’t want to be destroyed.

    The obstacle to peace remains Arab terrorism perpetrated by Arabs to annihilate an Israel of any size. And the inability of Arabs to live side by side with Jews, or anyone else.

  17. Barry Meridian September 3, 2012 at 6:08 am #

    By the way, 1600 people killed in Syria last week and not a word from Falk about this.
    Falk likes Assad cause he gave refuge to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad killers for the last 10 years.
    Falk has never once said Assad is about aparthied.

  18. david singer September 3, 2012 at 6:55 am #

    Mr Falk

    I must express my surprise at your decision to effectively ban freedom of speech on your blog page. I have argued that you should not act as a censor but allow the publication of comments that are deeply offensive so as to expose those making such comments to public gaze and condemnation for their views. You should be prepared to make it quite clear in no uncertain terms that you condemn specific statements that are made by posters with which you personally disagree – otherwise the absence of expressing such opprobrium can only be interpreted as agreement with the views expressed. I ask you to reconsider your decision – which strikes at the heart of freedom of speech.

    You invite people to continue to submit comments including harsh criticisms directed at your interpretations and analyses – so let me do so,

    What I find particularly frustrating is your propensity for generalisation without any factual substantiation. You need to be prepared to justify your statements when challenged with facts.

    You might recall that my first post to your criticism of the Dani Dayan article in the New York Times challenged many of your statements – but you consistently refused to answer my post.

    Take this statement that you have now made:

    “In the interests of full disclosure, I acknowledge that I am deeply critical of many aspects of Israeli behavior, especially in relation to the Palestinians, and strongly supportive of lawful Palestinian resistance to a prolonged occupation (that, incidentally, has become an increasingly transparent cover for annexation and apartheid) and to the overall Palestinian struggle to realize their inalienable right of self-determination, as well as other rights under international law, including those pertaining to Palestinian refugees.”

    Your response to the following questions would be appreciated

    1. Does “lawful Palestinian resistance to a prolonged occupation ” include the indiscriminate killing of Israeli civilians by slitting their throats whilst asleep in their beds or blowing up women and children having a night out at a pizza bar or by firing 10000 rockets into civilian residential areas from Gaza? Do you condemn such acts as murderous and unlawful acts without qualification or do you consider such acts to be “lawful Palestinian resistance“?

    2. Israel has made offers in 2000/1 and 2008 to cede more than 90% of the West Bank to the Palestinian Arabs – which were rejected. Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005 and evacuated all 8000 civilians living there. Israel has withdrawn from more then 90% of the territory it won in the Six Day War. Israeli settlements in the West Bank exist on 1% of the land. Israel is rady to resume negotiations with the Palestinian Authority without preconditions. On what basis do you then claim that Israel is pursuing a policy of creeping annexation?

    3. On what basis do you justify the use of the highly emotive and judgmental word “apartheid”? Please detail ten specific examples of what you consider to be acts of “apartheid”. Indeed what do you mean when using the word “apartheid”?

    4. What do you consider to be the Palestinians inalienable right of self determination? Must it be statehood and nothing else or could it be something less than statehood such as autonomy or confederation or reunification with Jordan? Does such inalienable right continue in perpetuity even if it has been rejected when offered or not taken up in 1937,1947, between 1948-1967, 2000/1, and 2008?

    5. What do you consider to be the rights of Palestinian refugees under international law?

    6. What do you mean by the use of the word “Palestinians”? Who qualifies to be called a “Palestinian?”

    I look forward to your responses,

    • Richard Falk September 3, 2012 at 9:08 am #

      Mr Sanger:

      This is nothing to do with freedom of speech. A blog can be defined by the
      blogger. It is true I thought it would be useful to have informed discussion of some of the issues raised in my blog, but not the sort of personal attacks either on those who write comments or against me. I am not interested in having such defamatory remarks refuted, which merely lead to their repetition.

      My discussion of Dani Dayan’s opinion piece was not meant to raise issues of substance about his underlying claims, but to reinforce my claim that the settlement movement has proceeded to a point that makes a two state solution increasingly realistic.

      Your position that you asked for my responses about, I have years ago written in two long law review articles published by the Harvard Journal of International Law, and I have no interest at this stage of my life in going over that ground once more. For this reason, I regard your position as being outside the domain of responsible debate, and feel it is not worthwhile to engage in arguments about it. I certainly support your right to disseminate such views, which you do on your website, but I think at this point you can respect my desire not to denounce specific comments that have appeared in the comments section nor to take on the joy of responding to them.

      • david singer September 3, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

        Mr Falk

        I must say i am disappointed that you refuse to answer the six specific questions I put to you in relation to your extremely wide and generalized statement.

        Since you state that you dealt with these issues in two long review articles published in the Harvard Journal of International Law, I would have expected you to have the answers readily at your finger tips.

        Your reluctance to justify your statement is in my opinion totally unjustified. It makes your statement meaningless and void of any credibility.

        I guess I will have to go to the two articles to see what you have written on the six questions i raised.

        Are you at least prepared to give me the references to the articles and whether they can be found online?

        Even better are you prepared to email me copies of them?

        Even better – are you prepared to publish them on this blog page so that everyone can read them and try to understand what has led you to make the statement you have?

  19. Rabbi Ira Youdovin September 3, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    To: David Singer and others

    Prof. Falk is 100% correct in insisting that this is his blog and he is entitled to set the rules. Indeed, he makes no secret of what he wants his blog to be:

    “My main motivation to write posts for this blog, a considerable investment of time and energy, is to have a self-monitored outlet for my views on a wide range of issues having long ago realized that the mainstream media in the West would generally not publish what I have to say.”

    At one time, he did muddy the waters by presenting the blog as a forum for “serious discussion”. As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most controversial issues extant today, a natural assumption was that a broad spectrum of views would be welcome, so long as they weren’t defamatory. While Prof. Falk has been faithful to this implied commitment, he has been disrespectful of thoughtful questions, such as those asked by David Singer, by ignoring or dismissing them out of hand.

    Regrettably, Prof. Falk’s recent post adds to the confusion. On the one hand, he states:

    “I have decided to become much stricter about approving comments dealing with the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

    And on the other:

    “I will, however, continue to publish comments that responsibly express even extreme viewpoints if they do not engage in personal polemics.”

    And on yet another:

    “ [I] do not intend to allow this blog to become such a vehicle for polarized debate.”

    As Prof. Falk’s positions are famously polarizing, the above triptych of self-contradiction warrants examination. The key to understanding what’s in play is perhaps found here:

    “In my long academic experience I have found that dialogue is only mutually beneficial if there is a minimum of shared underlying understanding.”

    There’s substantial validity in this observation. For example, it would be a mutual waste of time for me to debate with someone like the late journalist Helen Thomas, who believed that Israeli Jews should be sent back to Poland. However, the question remains: what does Prof. Falk regard as “a minimum of shared underlying understanding”?

    A very respectful post from Peri Pamir suggests an answer:

    “I wish to underline that I am simply a concerned citizen responding to problems in my immediate political environment as I perceive them. This position may not agree with Richard’s albeit distant reading of events, but is this not what debates are all about ? While I took the trouble to respond to his arguments in detail, I am sorry that he dismissed mine simply in one stroke as too ‘extreme’.”

    Peri Pamir’s comment was a response to a post on Turkey. But his experience of rejection coincides with my own futile efforts to engage Prof. Falk in dialogue on Israel-Palestine, which invariably ended in my views being ignored, rejected as “extreme,” or dismissed as being “unbridgeable with Prof. Falks’ opinions. As I’ve spoken and written widely in opposition to Israeli expansionism, and in favor of establishing an independent Palestinian state, this left me puzzled. But I believe I now understand it.

    Prof. Falk views Israel-Palestine through a prism he calls “Constructive Imbalance”. I’ll leave it to him to explain how he came to this, if he so chooses. But what it means operationally is that Israel is portrayed as doing nothing good, and the Palestinians are portrayed as doing nothing bad. (Professor, please tell me if I’m misrepresenting your views. But please tell me how I’m misrepresenting them, so that I can correct my misperception.)

    If dialogue on this blog is limited to folks who embrace “Constructive Imbalance” or something similar, the dialogic spectrum will be exceedingly narrow. Indeed, I smile (albeit somewhat ruefully) when Prof. Falk writes of his desire to initiate a discussion on one state vs. two states as a solution for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some weeks ago, when I inquired into his preference for a one-state solution, he rejected my views —i.e. a preference for a two-state solution—as being “unbridgeable” with his. So much for discussion.

    But as I said at the outset, it’s Prof. Falk’s blog and he can run it any way he likes. I do, however, question the wisdom of his strategy. If, as he says, he wants the blog to be a conduit for bringing his views to a wider readership than is currently available to him, why cut out those who are not already in his fold?

    • david singer September 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

      Rabbi

      Of course I agree that Mr Falk is entitled to set the rules on his blog. But I and others are entitled to express our opinions on the rules he sets.

      As you point out – I have been seeking responses from Mr Falk as to vague, generalized and unsubstantiated statements made by him on his blog as well as factual errors I claim he has made.

      He continues to remain silent.

      Surely he should be confident enough to justify his own comments on his own blog and to denounce those comments he personally finds offensive and virulent.

      I don’t believe Mr Falk regards himself and his views as being above critical examination. He said so himself when stating:

      “I hope that those with substantive interests will continue to submit comments, including harsh criticisms directed at my interpretations and analyses. I am interested in the connections between knowledge and policy, but not in argument or debate with those whose standpoint is radically different than from own, especially on the Israel/Palestine conflict”

      Yet when I question his interpretations and analyses by requesting he substantiates what he has said in vague and unsubstantiated terms – he refuses to answer.

      Claiming that there is “creeping annexation” and “apartheid” is simply not good enough. They are meaningless terms without facts to substantiate them.

      What facts have motivated Mr Falk to make such claims?

      If I claimed the PLO were “Jew haters” – shouldn’t I expect to be challenged to give my reasons for making such a statement? Can I just keep repeating this comment ad nauseam without having to answer anyone who challenges me to put up or shut up?

      Mr Falk must answer specific questions directed at clarifying the basis for comments made by him – or stand condemned for failing to do so.

    • walker percy September 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

      Oh, and Helen Thomas is not dead.
      walker

      • Walker percy September 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

        Understood

  20. Björn Lindgren September 3, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Dear Richard,

    First, thank you for your compassionate work and inspiring and thought-evoking blogs. They are well informed, humane, and offer healthy perspectives and visions.

    I well understand how you feel and respond to offensive comments and attacks on your person and blog.

    The middle of the political scene is now often occupied by extremists, usually neoliberals, technocrates, or worse. Financial capital is well on its way to destroy industry, works, welfare, democracy, and will buy the debt burdened countries´ communal water, electricity, schools, hospitals for nothing. And squeeze out even more profit.

    In this situation, many people feel neglected and deceived: equality, welfare, work, and justice are slowly on their way out. Politics offer no vision or hope. Here, nationalistic or “culture cards” are subtley played out by the trangulating center. Angela Merkel criticizing “Multi Kultur;” Fredrik Reinfeldt, Swedish Prime Minister talking of “ethnical Swedes.” Politics for or against different groups; not for the wellfare and wholeness of society.

    The forms are different in different countries, but the underlying structure is the same. We have seen it before in the 20s and 30s. Structural violence; structrual fascism…

    What can decent and responsible citizens do? Leave TV sofas, stop abusing “psychology,” and talk with each other about what needs to be done, politically. (Cafés!) Cultivate deep values, norms and goals. Don´t let the dark shades of unconsciousness again rise and set the (dis-)order of the day. Organize locally against the takeover by globalization (financial capital). It is soon coming to a school or workplace near you!

    We live in the Weimar Republik.

    Cheers, Björn Lindgren, Vassmolösa.

    • walker percy September 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      Very interesting analysis. There are many parallels between today and the 1930’s. But having been through this movie already, we know how to fix it. Unfortunately, the Republican party in the USA has been seized by a highly immoral group known as neo-conservatives, who are being enriched in many ways by the conflicts they produce. These diminutive men have mischief in mind, and they are obsessed with revenge for the holocaust, which was caused people who would now be known as neo-con. This is a toxic, hapless bunch, and I predict that they will be held personally responsible for what is to come.

  21. monalisa September 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    to Barry Meridian:
    In order to have more balance I think that:

    you should kindly state also how much are the sums/donations etc. Israel gets from USA and from Europe ?
    Not only the sums also the other figures when it comes for example to the military “donations” ?
    Would you kindly give the rounded figures concerning the agreements between EU and Israel about goods’ exports from Israel to the EU ? Same goes for agreements between USA and Israel.
    Would you kindly state the sums Israel gets from some US lobbies ?
    Would you kindly state how the transfer of science transfer goes ?
    And not to forget: since the Jews from Russia came to Israel since this time the research in several fields of science has grown in Israel – which is clearly visible in some records.
    Educated people in Russia putting their knowledge to the benefit for Israel.

    All in all I have to state:
    for how uninformed do you think people are ?

    Your comments sound like someone has been paid to write these comments as you did here in this blog.
    How interesting – isn’t it ???

    But never forget: the oppressor has it in his own hands how to beheave: to make it better or worse.
    Israel is no exception from this non-written centuries old rule. It is known from previous oppressors’ behaviour (states, kingdoms) to put the blame on the oppressed people. Israel too is in this regard no exception.

    monalisa

  22. Rabbi Ira Youdovin September 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    To Barry Meridan,

    With all due deference, please stop. Many of your points are well taken, but enough is enough!

    A few of us are trying to open this blog to a respectful exchange of thoughtful opinions that do not meet Prof. Falk’s very narrow criteria of acceptability, so as to challenge him to substantiate his allegations and to invite readers to evaluate his opinions. He has thus far resisted doing this, which conveys a revealing message to those who appreciate the meaning of “stonewalling.”

    Your persistence, which borders on harassment, reinforces Prof. Falk’s argument for excluding dissent.

    Respectfully,

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Fred Skolnik September 3, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

      Barry Meridian is at least hitting them in the face with what they do not wish to know. The rest of us are making no impression whatsoever on these hate-filled people.

      • david singer September 3, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

        Fred

        I would hope that readers are also beginning to understand that Mr Falk apparently does not have the courage of his convictions to justify each and every generalized and unsubstantiated statement he makes.

        I regret that he continues to shut shop and pull down the blinds when challenged. Indeed I am very surprised that he chooses to do so.

        Does he expect us to just accept his statements unquestioningly at face value?

        I am not prepared to do that.

        Are you or any other readers of this blog prepared to accept his word as gospel without any facts to back up his concluded opinions?

      • Richard Falk September 4, 2012 at 5:16 am #

        You are incapable of addressing my reasons for restricting debate in the comments section, and seem unable to refrain from attacking my character as you have snidely and consistently done on your website without having the courtesy to disclose that you were doing this.

      • david singer September 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

        Mr Falk

        What website are you referring to?

        Are you refusing to provide the references to your your two law journal articles?

      • Fred Skolnik September 3, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

        I don’t think it does any good to challenge him or any of his readers on any point, as they simply ignore it or slide around it. The best approach is to state the irrefutable facts, over and over again, at greater and greater length, as Barry has done, so that it will be clear that there is another side to the story and a truth that they are unwilling to face.

  23. Frances September 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Dear Dr. Falk,

    I would like to offer my unconditional support for your decision regarding the comments section of your blog. It is demoralising to read the hateful extremism (and the misinformation that goes along with it), that makes its way into the comment sections of most online blogs, youtube videos, news site, etc. I worry that more and more people are getting their “education” from such comments, which does not bode well for knowledge, not to mention justice and peace.

    Best regards,

    Victoria, British Columbia CANADA

    • Richard Falk September 4, 2012 at 5:12 am #

      Thanks for this supportive statement..it is much appreciated.

      • Barry Meridian September 4, 2012 at 5:59 am #

        David Singer all you need to know about Falk is, he said this about Gilad Atzmon. Mr Falk said he’s a “a de-Zionized patriot of humanity.
        If you ask Mr Falk to explain why he thinks a Holocaust Denier like Atzmon is a humane person, Falk wont answer the question.
        If you ask Mr Falk why he thinks Atzmon who claims the Jews control the world as Atzmon said was written in the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a humane person, Falk wont answer the question.
        Atzmon even claims the Jews persecuted Hitler.
        So the question is very simple?
        Why does Falk support this Hitler Apologist Atzmon?
        Falk supports Atzmon, cause like Falk, Atzmon want the elimination of the state of Israel.
        As i said, Falk believes Israel defending itself is genocide.
        Falk believes Israel should just let Hamas fire thousands of missles at them and do nothing.
        Falk believes Israel should do nothing, while Palestinian leaders call for Israel to be anihilated. Falk says nothing, while Palestinian clerics call for Israel to be exterminated.
        The fact that Israel has responded to Palestinian terrorism in such a limited way, shows how humane Israel is.
        What other country would respond with limited strikes against Arab terrorists, if that country suffered over 20,000 terrorist attacks in 12 years like Israel has.

      • david singer September 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

        Barry Meridian

        Those are serious charges you make against Mr Falk. I applaud his posting these comments notwithstanding your trenchant criticism of him.

        I certainly hope you are proved wrong in your claims.

        I will reserve my judgement to give Mr Falk the opportunity to reply.

      • Fred Skolnik September 4, 2012 at 6:45 am #

        Note that in the three-week Gaza war of 2008/9 the total number of civilian deaths was around 450 (according to PA and IDF estimates of fewer that 1,200 total deaths less the 700 dead “fighters” acknowledged by Hamas). Compare this with the 25,000-100,000 civilian deaths in the two-day Dresden bombimg by the Allies in World War II and you will begin to understand something about the lengths Israel goes to to avoid civilian casualities, despite the fact that the terrorists intentionally take up positions in residential neighborhoods and store their rockets in apartment buildings, schools and mosques. I have to wonder how quickly Richard Falk and his admirers would run to the police and demand protection if someone was shooting out their windows. Israeli civilians have the same right to protection, especially after Israel did precisely what it was urged to do, namely, withdrew from Gaza and dismantled the settlements there.

  24. Barry Meridian September 4, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    David Singer, do you know that in the last month 100,000 Syrians have fled Syria due to the Assad assault against them.
    Yet ask Mr Falk, do you think Assad is commiting ethnic cleansing against the Sunni’s and he wont answer the question?
    I wonder when Falk and his Israel hater friends at the U.N will blame the Jews for this?
    Here’s the article.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/04/world/meast/syria-civil-war/index.html

    More than 100,000 refugees flee Syria in one month
    CNN Wire Staff
    September 4, 2012

  25. fasttimesinpalestine September 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Professor Falk,

    You are far too kind in explaining yourself to people who come to your blog to engage in nothing more than facile attacks and dishonest debate. It’s your blog, your rules. That’s the end of it. (That’s how I run my own blog. I don’t see why I should provide another outlet for propaganda, racism, and stupidity.)

    But I’m curious why the likes of Barry Meridian are still allowed to comment. He has nothing substantive to offer, and he takes up a lot of space.

    But I love the “hurt feelings” routine of the people who ask you endless questions and then feel entitled to an answer on your own blog. That’s some high-class entertainment.

    Rock on, professor. You are a rare class act.

    Pamela in New York

    • david singer September 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

      fasttimesinpalestine

      Sure it is Mr Falk’s blog and he can lay down the rules. That doesn’t mean everyone has to lay down and accept those rules as being fair or reasonable.

      I don’t think anyone is a rare class act who makes general statements that they are not prepared to back up with facts when challenged.

      Accusing Israel of “creeping annexation” and “apartheid” is simply not good enough.

      Mr Falk is not prepared to tell us what motivated him to make such unsubstantiated and highly damaging statements.

      I am one of those who have been asking Mr Falk “endless questions” concerning statements he has made.

      If Mr Falk doesn’t want to answer them then I am entitled to draw the conclusion that he has no answers. His silence is damning.

      He is after all a UN Special Rapporteur and his statements carry a lot more weight than mine or I would respectfully suggest than yours. He has the ability to influence a lot of people. His views must therefore be open to close scrutiny.

      Sure – he can continue to run for cover and rock on as he is doing.

      Those like you who think he is right are entitled to your opinion – as i am to mine.

      From my standpoint his evasiveness does not send out a good message to those who seek genuine dialogue in trying to see an end to a conflict that has gone on for 130 years.

    • Fred Skolnik September 6, 2012 at 12:02 am #

      Dear Pamela in New York

      I’ve posted something for you on your website, under “About Me.” This falls under the category of things you would prefer not to contend with, so I’m sure you won’t be printing it. Let it remain between us then.

      • fasttimesinpalestine September 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

        @Fred, I was pretty clear: I don’t want my blog to be a forum for propaganda, racism, and(/or) stupidity. Your post pretty much hit the trifecta, hence no go. I do not apologize. Life’s too short, and too precious.

        @David, “His silence is damning”? Seriously? A highly-respected professional with an exceptionally long and impressive paper trail (which you clearly haven’t bothered to read) doesn’t want to waste his time with a badgering, self-entitled, wilfully blind troll, and it’s his problem? As if.

      • david singer September 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

        I am not particularly interested in following Mr Falk’s paper trail. I am more interested in what he says on this blog – which he refuses to substantiate.

        Instead of procrastinating and writing continuing refusals to respond to my questions – Mr Falk could have already answered them.

        If he chooses not to do so I will just have to draw my own conclusions.

        “A highly-respected professional with an exceptionally long and impressive paper trail” has a reputation to maintain. If people like you want to accept every word he utters as gospel then do so. Thinking people will do otherwise.

        Thanks for the personal abuse – which in the end becomes the only weapon of those who are unable to argue their positions with any conviction by shooting the messenger and ignoring the message.

        Even your guru Mr Falk has made clear his objection to such personal denigration. It is a pity you are not listening.

      • fasttimesinpalestine September 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

        Also Professor Falk, like myself, has actually lived in and experienced the reality in the Palestinian territories as well as meeting and interacting with many layers of Israeli society and countless players on the international stage. What are your credentials exactly?

        I’m not saying only people with personal and professional experience in this conflict can participate in this debate. I’m just curious where all the self-certitude and entitlement comes from.

        (The same thing happened when I worked in a think tank in Washington. People who had never been near the Middle East told me I couldn’t have seen what I claimed to have seen because it contradicted what they had seen on CNN. I’m not even kidding.)

        Pay attention occasionally instead of automatically retreating into defensive mode. You might learn something.

        Otherwise, well, there’s a saying we have in the South: “There’s no point wrestling with a pig. You just get dirty, and the pig enjoys it.”

        Liberals have a bad habit of catering to people who come without any intention of honest debate. It’s long past time we started standing up for ourselves and calling a spade a spade. You’re entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. “Fair and balanced” is meaningless when one side says the sky is blue and the other insists, “The sky is red, and if you don’t agree, you’re a bigot and the terrorists win.”

        We can’t keep falling for that game.

      • david singer September 6, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

        You state:
        “Pay attention occasionally instead of automatically retreating into defensive mode”

        I am paying attention and I am trying to get Mr Falk to tell me what facts he relies on to support his opinion that there is “creeping annexation” and “apartheid” in the West Bank.

        It is Mr Falk that is retreating into defensive mode in refusing to answer me

        His view seems to be that if he says something – then no one should question his opinion which is sacrosanct and inviolate.

        That is the stuff of dictatorship and censorship.

    • Walker percy September 6, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      Pamela, I completely agree that prof. Falk is a great american. I enjoy your comments,too.
      Walker

      • fasttimesinpalestine September 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

        Thanks, Walker. I’m done wrestling with pigs for now. As you and I and Professor Falk know, there is ample evidence for creeping annexation and apartheid in the West Bank — so much so that even many top Israeli officials and commentators say it openly. Some people just refuse to pay attention and would instead rather whine and badger.

        Oh well. If this is all we’re up against, the future looks brighter and brighter. As they say, truth is a one-way valve — and history is definitely on our side. Just wish the bending toward justice would happen a little faster… before too much more loveliness is destroyed.

      • david singer September 6, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

        You are indeed not only a steadfast fan of Mr Falk – indeed you are a clone – all rhetoric and no substance.

        What facts do you rely on to justify the vague and unsubstantiated claims of “creeping annexation” and “apartheid”?

  26. monalisa September 5, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    Generally:

    Atrocities are usually done by the oppressor.
    Oppressors are too blaming the oppressed groups being criminals – nothing new as I already wrote above.
    History even the recent ones, show the same ill way of thinking usually leading to a break down of the oppressor state itself.
    For this from the old times until today: The Greek Empire with its fast expansion by Alexander the Great to the Roman Empire weaken its domestic trade because of imports from the overthrown foreign countries and therefore prone to collapse; to the British Empire regarding the inhabitants of the Indies as “primitive” and therefore acting as “a superior race” to todays prevalent political landscape.

    To blame whole religious groups/opppressed people being “barbaric” shows just how some sort of people think and reminds of the Holocaust itself: on which basic thought it had carried out.

    Shame on the heads of those people having not learned the necessary lesson from past history.

    Seems that history is repeating itself just under another cover.

    monalisa

    • Fred Skolnik September 5, 2012 at 1:42 am #

      Dear Monalisa

      You have too many things mixed up in your mind. I am not calling “whole people” barbaric but the terrorists, and if the whole people support them, then they are as guilty as the Germans who passively supported the Nazis.

      There is no racism involved in the Arab-Israel conflict. The Arabs are perceived as enemies, which they themselves have declared themselves to be, just as the Allies perceived the Germans as enemies.

      The Palestinians are not oppressed. They are occupied, in the same way that any country that starts a war and loses it gets occupied. The security measures are there to prevent terrorism. But all this has been said often enough in these pages and if you find it convenient to fabricate another kind of story, go right ahead.

  27. monalisa September 5, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    Just to say:

    Discussions on different topics on tables in a club or coffee house or within some invitational gatherings or even within family gathering (for example on some birthdays, religious holidays etc.) would hardly go up to the point where individual persons are aciting insidious and direct blatantly accusing and denouncing in the same way as in this blog some comments are showing. Discussions can be full of heat and presenting different opinions, thats why discussions should take place, but a certain level should prevail.
    Educated people should know when to stop and what to say/write.

    If this an individual cannot balance it will shed light on his/her own character:
    Whether in real live discussions or virtual ones.

    monalisa

  28. david singer September 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    When and on what date did Mr Falk make this comment?

    Perhaps Mr Falk can also confirm or deny he made it.

    As you may have gathered I don’t like jumping to conclusions on unsubstantiated claims.

    • Ira Youdovin September 5, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

      Prof. Falk’s verbal assault on David Singer is unwarranted. The points Mr. Singer raises are valid. They merit a considered response, not hostility.

      As Singer correctly notes, Falk tars Israel with broad accusations, using deliberately incendiary phrases like “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing.” When challenged, he refuses to substantiate them. And when Singer presses, Falk accuses him of harassment. It’s not that Singer asks too many questions. He repeatedly asks the same ones because Falk refuses to answer them.

      Embedded in the Falk-Singer exchange is a truth many readers of this blog may find inconvenient. Falk views the Israel-Palestinian in a curious perspective he calls “Constructive Imbalance.” Israel is portrayed as doing nothing good, and Palestinians are portrayed as doing nothing bad. (Those who dismiss this as a vicious caricature of Falk’s approach are invited to scroll through nearly two years of his posts on this blog for evidence that proves me wrong. You won’t find any! And I again say to Prof. Falk, if I’m misrepresenting your position, please tell me how.)

      “Constructive Imbalance” is ethical relativism run amok. It conjures up an alternative reality whose immutable laws reject a priori even the possibility that any opinion that differs from its basic assumptions may have validity. This explains why Falk has so much trouble getting his views published at a time when even harsh criticism of Israel is commonplace in western print and electronic news media. His views are simply beyond the pale, except in forums that accept his bias.

      Indeed, Falk is candid in acknowledging that he created the blog as a venue for him to disseminate his views shielded by idiosyncratic rules that enable him to ignore, dismiss or reject out-of-hand dissenting opinions, however much credibility these views may have in the world outside. However, by making it an open blog, instead of a password-controlled list serve, and advertizing it as a forum for “serious discussion”, Falk invites in intruders like Singer, Fred Skolnik, myself and others, who seek to engage along lines promised by the blog’s self-description. That was never Falk’s intention, and he has now revised the blog’s mission statement:

      “I am deeply interested in an exchange of views with those that share my basic suppositions, and even within this constrained framework of inquiry, there are sharp disagreements, for instance, as between various one-state and two-state solutions, and their nature. “

      In other words, he welcomes “sharp disagreement” with people who agree with him.

      In addition to precluding free discussion, “Constructive Imbalance” facilitates an “ends justify means” mentality that permits, and even encourages, ethical violations. That arsenal includes prevarication, denial, obfuscation and patently false accusations.

      I was hit by this in my first exchange with Falk, when I noted that he had compared Israelis to Nazis . (In a 2007 essay, “Slouching Toward a Palestinian Holocaust”, that can be accessed on line.) Falk responded, “I have never equated Israelis with Nazis, and find the accusation odious.”

      I was stunned beyond belief by what is generally called a “provable lie.” Had he forgotten that he had written the essay? Was he gambling that I hadn’t checked the source? Or was denial a fair tactic in this alternative realm?

      And there was the matter of Falk posting a blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon. When readers objected, Falk sequentially (a) denied its existence, (b) acknowledged its existence but insisted that it wasn’t anti-Semitic, (c) blamed a Jewish blogger for making the whole thing up, and, finally, (d) claimed that the anti-Semitic detail on the drawing was so small that it eluded his aging eyesight (which someone on campus here in Santa Barbara characterized as “The Mother of All ‘The Dog Ate My Homework’ Excuses.”) In fact, the cartoon’s message—that American Jewish and/or Israeli influence were pressuring the United States to undermine international law—is precisely what Falk had been alleging all along. The cartoon was a graphic representation of his core message.

      Falk avoids responding to challenging questions because he can’t address them without risking a tear in the carefully woven fabric of his alternative reality. How can he answer Singer’s totally legitimate question of whether he includes suicide bombings among the forms of Palestinian resistance he categorizes as legitimate? On the one hand, Falk condemns targeting innocent civilians. On the other, this past July he abruptly abandoned his championing Palestinian non-violence to promote an op ed he found on the Electronic Intifada entitled “How Obsession With ‘Non-Violence’ Harms the Palestinian Cause.” In the real world, Falk would have to reconcile these two apparently mutually exclusive views. But on the blog, the rules spare him that burden.

      At times, evasion reaches near-comic proportions. Recently, Falk replied to Singer’s pressing for clarification of something he posted by saying that he had explained his position long ago in two lengthy articles published in the Harvard Law Review. Singer, an attorney, responded with the not unreasonable request for assistance in locating them. After all, they are published material that Falk, himself, had introduced. Falk exploded in anger and accused Singer of being snide.

      I didn’t begin following this blog in order to find evidence for discrediting Falk. To the contrary, I began because a mutual friend here in Santa Barbara told me that Falk’s critics were treating him unfairly, and urged me to read what he actually was saying. What I’ve found has been frustrating at best, and not infrequently outrageous.

      I’ll survive. But as one who opposes the occupation and advocates the creation of an independent Palestinian state, I’m deeply saddened by the damage Falk does to Palestinian hopes for achieving this goal any time soon. The Palestinians, like Israel’s Jews, are divided into two ideological camps. One encourages reconciliation and cooperation toward the goal of peaceful co-existence: two states for two peoples. The other regards the conflict as a zero-sum game in which each side tries to drive the other into the sea, a path that leads inevitably to more bloodshed and endless conflict.

      Typical of this genre of conflict, the rejectionists on both sides demonize their counterparts as being without merit, thus undermining prospects for reconciliation. Constructive Imbalance demonizes Israelis. So when the views Falk posts on this blog are re-printed by Al Jazeera and read by Palestinians, they strengthen the hand of the rejectionists, and undermine the efforts of leaders like Palestinian President Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad to find common ground with Israeli moderates.

      This terrible irony is the saddest part of all. In championing the Palestinian cause in a tragically misguided fashion, Falk becomes an obstacle not only to peace, but to the Palestinians achieving their legitimate national aspirations.

      Sadly, discussion of this topic is banned from Prof. Falk’s blog.

      Rabbi Ira Youdovin

  29. Walker percy September 6, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    Ah, Fred, you have hit the nail on the head. Israel exists and we all know about the “facts on the ground”. They have cut the 300 million Arab who surround them to the quick through their disrespect and bad manners, and now we must pay them billions per year just to hold back the tide of humanity who do, indeed, plan to kill them, just as soon as the USA runs out of money or interest. Quite the conundrum…hmmm, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to ignore those wise men who warned what would happen if the zionists went ahead with their plan to create a Jewish state on inhabited land, especially in that place. But now that it exists, we have to find a way to prevent the next catastrophe in the long Jewish tradition of Creating enemies and getting themselves killed.
    Walker Percy

    • Fred Skolnik September 6, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

      That is why Israel will continue to have an army and continue to have a state while you have – what? – comments in a blog?

    • Aaron September 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

      I couldn’t have said this any better. Succinct and to the point!!

  30. Samir Halabi November 13, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    My family fled for their lives from their home in Aleppo after the massacre that took place in 1947, our family have never lived in Israel, we haven’t even visited it since it’s inception in may 1948. We were lucky to be accepted as Swiss citizens, since 1949 our family has lived without disturbace in Geneva. However our tranquil life was interrupted by the many Arab & non-Arab Muslim immigrants to the city. I was visiting some family friends some months ago when I was attacked by three North-African Arab youn men, they cleary saw that I was Jewish, they knew somewhow knew that i was a Middle-Eastern Jew, however what they didn’t see and didn’t know that I always now am accompanied by by faithful protector/bodyguard and military trained canine a ‘Black Russian Terrier’ dog he weighs just over 82kg and stands to his shoulders at just under 90c/m he quickly brought two of those scum to the ground, the thiird then tried to run away like a coward hes was, I caught him and knocked him to the ground, the dog stood guard, I called the police on my mobile, when the police arrived i wasn';t even questioned as to what took place, the three jew-hating attackers were just loaded into the police van and taken away. I now feel ashamed that i never visited Israel before this incident took place, I decided then and there to go and visit israel and pray at the Kottel. I am now proud to be an ardent supporter of ‘The Jewish State of Israel, due soley to what took place that day.

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