Israel’s Politics of Deflection

30 Sep

 

Israel’s Politics of Deflection: Theory and Practice

 

General Observations

 

During my period as the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Palestine on behalf of the Human Rights Council I have been struck by the persistent efforts of Israel and its strong civil society adjuncts to divert attention from the substance of Palestinian grievances or the consideration of the respective rights of Israel and Palestine under international law. I have also observed that many, but by not means all of those who represent the Palestinians seem strangely reluctant to focus on substance or to take full advantage of opportunities to use UN mechanisms to challenge Israel on the terrain of international law and morality.

 

            This Palestinian reluctance is more baffling than are the Israeli diversionary tactics. It seems clear that international law supports Palestinian claims on the major issues in contention: borders, refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, resources (water, land), statehood, and human rights. Then why not insist on resolving the conflict by reference to international law with such modifications as seem mutually beneficial? Of course, those representing the Palestinians in international venues are aware of these opportunities, and are acting on the basis of considerations that in their view deserve priority.  It is disturbing that this passivity on the Palestinian side persists year after year, decade after decade. There are partial exceptions: support for recourse to the International Court of Justice to contest the construction of the separation wall, encouragement of the establishment of the Goldstone Fact-finding Inquiry investigating Israeli crimes after the 2008-09 attacks on Gaza, and the Human Rights Council’ Independent International Fact-finding Mission on  Isreali settlement expansion (report 22 March 2012). But even here, Palestinian officialdom will not push hard to have these symbolic victories implemented in ways that alter the behavioral realities on the ground, and maybe even if they did do their best, nothing would change.

 

             On the Israeli side, diversion and the muting of legal and legitimacy claims, is fully understandable as a way to blunt challenges from adversary sources: seeking to have the normative weakness of the Israeli side offset by an insistence that if there is to be a solution it must be based on the facts on the ground, whether these are lawful or not, and upon comparative diplomatic leverage and negotiating skill in a framework that is structurally biased in favor of Israel. The recently exhumed direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel exemplify this approach: proceeding despite the absence of preconditions as to compliance with international law even during the negotiations, reliance on the United States as the convening intermediary, and the appointment by President Obama of an AIPAC anointed Special Envoy (Martin Indyk), the latter underscoring the absurd one-sidedness of the diplomatic framework. It would seem that the Palestinians are too weak and infirm to cry ‘foul,’ but merely play along as if good natured, obedient, and frightened schoolchildren while the bullies rule the schoolyard.

 

           Such a pattern is discouraging for many reasons: it weights the diplomatic process hopelessly in favor of the materially stronger side that has taken full advantage of the failure to resolve the conflict by grabbing more and more land and resources; it makes it virtually impossible to imagine a just and sustainable peace emerging out of such a process at this stage; it plays a cruel game in which the weaker side is almost certain to be made to seem unreasonable because it will not accept what the stronger side is prepared to offer, which is insultingly little; and it allows the stronger side to use the process and time interval of the negotiations as an opportunity to consolidate its unlawful claims,  benefitting from the diversion of attention.

 

          There are two interwoven concerns present: the pernicious impacts of the politics of deflection as an aspect of conflictual behavior in many settings, especially where there are gross disparities in hard power and material position; the specific politics of deflection as a set of strategies devised and deployed with great effectiveness by Israel in its effort to attain goals with respect to historic Palestine that far exceed what the UN and the international community had conferred. The section that follows deals with the politics of deflection only in the Israel/Palestine context

 

 

The Specific Dynamics of the Politics of Deflection

 

            –anti-Semitism: undoubtedly the most disturbing behavior by Israel and its supporters is to deflect attention from substance in the conflict and the abuses of the occupation is to dismiss criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism or to defame the critic as an anti-Semite. This is pernicious for two reasons: first, because it exerts a huge influence because anti-Semitism has been so totally discredited, even criminalized, in the aftermath of World War II that featured the exposure and repudiation of the Holocaust; secondly, because by extending the reach of anti-Semitism to address hostile commentary on Israel a shift of attention occurs—away from the core evil of ethnic and racial hatred to encompass the quite reasonable highly critical appraisal of Israeli behavior toward the Palestinian people by reference to overarching norms of law and morality.

 

              This misuse of language to attack Jewish critics of Israel by  irresponsible characterizations of critics as  ‘self-hating Jews.’ Such persons might exist, but to infer their existence because of their criticisms of Israel or opposition to the Zionist Project functions as a means to move inhibit open discussion and debate, and to avoid substantive issues. It tends to be effective as a tactic as few people are prepared to take the time and trouble to investigate the fairness and accuracy of such allegations, and so once the shadow is cast, many stay clear of the conflict or come to believe that  criticism of Israel is of less interest than are the pros and cons of the personal accusations.  Strong Zionist credentials will not insulate a Jew from such allegations as Richard Goldstone discovered when he was vilified by the top  tier of Israeli leadership after chairing a fact-finding inquiry that confirmed allegations of Israeli war crimes in the course of Operation Cast Lead. Even the much publicized subsequent Goldstone ‘retraction’ did little to rehabilitate the reputation of the man in Israeli eyes, although his change of heart as to the main allegation of his own report (a change rejected by the other three members of the inquiry group), was successfully used by Israeli apologists to discredit and bury the report, again illustrating a preference for deflection as opposed to substance.

 

            Even such global moral authority figures as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter have been called anti-Semites because they dared to raise their voices about the wrongs that Israel has inflicted on the Palestinian people, specifically identifying the discriminatory legal structures of the occupation as an incipient form of apartheid.

 

            In the unpleasant course of being myself a frequent target of such vilifying techniques, I have discovered that it is difficult to make reasoned responses that do not have the effect of accentuating my plight. To fail to respond leaves an impression among some bystanders that there must be something to the accusations or else there would be forthcoming a reasoned and well-evidenced response. To answer such charges is to encourage continuing attention to the allegations, provides the accusing side with another occasion to repeat the charges by again cherry picking the evidence. NGOs such as UN Watch and UN Monitor specialize in managing such hatchet jobs.

 

            What is more disturbing than the attacks themselves than their resonance among those holding responsible positions in government and international institutions, as well as widely respected liberal organizations. In my case, the UN Secretary General, the U.S. ambassadors at the UN in New York and Geneva, the British Prime Minister, and the Canadian Foreign Minister. Not one of these individuals bothered to check with me as to my response to the defamatory allegations or apparently took the trouble to check on whether there was a credible basis for such damaging personal attacks. Even the liberal mainstream human rights powerhouse, Human Rights Watch, buckled under when pressured by UN Watch, invoking a long neglected technical rule to obtain my immediate removal from a committee, and then lacked the decency to explain that my removal was not ‘a dismissal’ when

UN Watch claimed ‘victory,’ and proceeded to tell the UN and other bodies that if Human Rights Watch had expelled me, surely I should be expelled elsewhere. I learned, somewhat bitterly, that HRW has feet of clay when it came to standing on principle in relation to someone like myself who has

been the victim of repeated calumnies because of an effort to report honestly and accurately on Israeli violations of Palestinian rights.

 

            –Auspices/Messenger: A favorite tactic of those practicing the politics of deflection is to contend that the auspices are biased, and thus whatever substantive criticisms might issue from such an organization should be disregarded. Israel and the United States frequently use this tactic to deflect criticism of Israel that is made in the UN System, especially if it emanates from the Human Rights Council in Geneva or the General Assembly. The argument is reinforced by the similarly diversionary claim that Israeli violations are given a disproportionately large share of attention compared to worse abuses in other countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa. Also, there is the complementary complaint that some of the members of the Human Rights Council themselves have appalling human rights records that disqualify them from passing judgment, thereby exhibiting the hypocrisy of criticisms directed at Israel.

 

            It is tiresome to respond to such lines of attack, but important to do so.

First of all, in my experience, the UN has always made fact-based criticisms of Israeli policies and practices, appointed individuals with strong professional credentials and personal integrity, and painstakingly reviewed written material prior to publication to avoid inflammatory or inaccurate criticisms. Beyond this, Israel is almost always given an opportunity to review material critical of its behavior before it is released, and almost never avails itself of this chance to object substantively. In my experience, the UN, including the Human Rights Council, leans over backwards to be fair to Israel, and to take account of Israeli arguments even when Israel declines to make a case on its own behalf.

 

            Further, the heightened attention given to Palestinian grievances is a justified result of the background of the conflict. It needs to be remembered that it was the UN that took over historic Palestine from the United Kingdom after World War II, decreeing a partition solution in GA Resolution 181 without ever consulting the indigenous population, much less obtaining their consent. The UN approach in 1947 failed to solve the problem, consigning Palestinians to decades of misery due to the deprivation of their fundamental rights as of 1948, the year of the nakba, a national experience of catastrophic dispossession. Through the years the UN has provided guidelines for behavior and a peaceful solution of the conflict, most notably Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which have not been implemented. The UN has for more than a decade participated in The Quartet tasked with implementing ‘the roadmap’ designed to achieve peace, but not followed, allowing Israel to encroach more and more on the remnant of Palestinian rights via settlement expansions, wall construction, residence manipulations, apartheid administrative structures, land confiscations, house demolitions. The UN has been consistently frustrated in relation to Palestine in a manner that is unique in UN experience, making the issue a litmus test of UN credibility to promote global justice and overcome the suffering of a dispossessed and occupied people.

 

            Usually, the attack on the sponsorship of a critical initiative is reinforced by scathing screed directed at anyone prominently associated with the undertaking. The attacks on the legendary Edward Said, the one Palestinian voice in America that could not be ignored, were rather vicious, often characterizing this most humanist among public intellectuals, as the ‘Professor of Terror.’ The most dogmatic defenders of Israel never tired of trying to make this label stick by showing a misleadingly presented picture of Said harmlessly throwing a stone at an abandoned guard house during a visit to southern Lebanon not long before his death as if a heinous act of violence against a vulnerable Israeli soldier. This effort to find something, however dubious, that could be used to discredit an influential critic disregard the ethics of fairness and decency. In my case, an accidentally posted cartoon, with

an anti-Semitic angle has been endlessly relied upon by my most mean-spirited detractors, although any fair reading of my past and present scholarship, together with the blog psot in which it appeared in which Israel is not even mentioned, would conclude that its sole purpose of highlighting the cartoon was to defame, and by so doing, deflect.

 

            In like manner, the use of the label ‘terrorist’ has been successfully manipulated by Israel in relation to Hamas to avoid dealing with its presence as the elected governing authority in Gaza or in responding to its offers of long-term coexistence provided the blockade of Gaza is ended and Israeli forces withdraw to 1967 borders. The Hamas demands are really nothing more than a call for the implementation of international law and UNSC resolutions, and thus highly reasonable from the perspective of fairness to both sides, but Israel is not interested in such fairness, and hence avoids responding to the substance of the Hamas proposals by insisting that it is unwilling to respond to a terrorist organization. Such a stubborn position is maintained, and supported by the United States and EU, despite Hamas’ successful participation in an electoral process, its virtual abandonment of violent resistance, and its declared readiness for diplomatic accommodations with Israel and the United States.

 

            If the messenger delivering the unwelcome message lacks prominence or the campaign of vilification does not altogether succeed, then at governmental levels, Israel, and the United States as well, will do its best to show contempt for criticism for the whole process by boycotting proceedings at which the material  is presented. This has been my

experience at recent meetings of the Human Rights Council and the Third Committee of the General Assembly where my reports are presented on a semi-annual basis and Israel and the United States make it a point to be absent. There is an allocation of the work of deflection: at the governmental end substance is often evaded by pretending not to notice, while pro-Israeli NGOs pound away, shamelessly repeating over and over the same quarter truths, which often are not even related to their main contention of biased reporting. In my case, UN Watch harps on my supposed membership in the ranks of 9/11 conspiracy theorists, an allegation that I have constantly explained to be contrary to my frequently articulated views on the 9/11 attacks. It makes no difference what I say or what are the facts of my position

once the defamatory attack has been launched.

 

            Diplomatic Deflection: The entire Oslo peace process, with its periodically revived negotiations, has served as an essential instrument of deflection for the past twenty years. It diverts the media from any consideration of Israel’s expansionist practices during the period that the parties are futilely negotiating, and succeeds in making critics and criticism of Israel’s occupation policies seem obstructive of the overarching goal of ending the conflict and bringing peace to the two peoples.

 

            Geopolitical Deflection: Although not solely motivated by the goals of deflection, the bellicose focus by Israel on Iran’s nuclear program, has seemed so dangerous for the region and the world that it has made Palestinian grievances appear trivial by comparison. It has also led outside political actors to believe that it would be provocative to antagonize Israeli leadership in relation to Palestine at a time when there were such strong worries that Israel might attack Iran or push the United States in such a direction. To a lesser extent the preoccupations with the effects of the Arab upheavals, especially in Syria and Egypt, have had the incidental benefit for Israel of diminishing still further regional and global pressures relating to Palestinian grievances and rights. This distraction, a kind of spontaneous deflection, has given Israel more time to consolidate their annexationist plans in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which makes the still lingering peace image of a two-state solution a convenient mirage, no more, no less.

 

 

A Concluding Comment: Overall, the politics of deflection is a repertoire of techniques used to shift the gaze away from the merits of a dispute. Israel has relied on these techniques with devastating effects for the Palestinians. The purpose of my analysis is to encourage Palestinians in all settings to do their best to keep the focus on substance and respective rights. Perhaps, it is time for all of us to learn from the brave Palestinian hunger strikers whose nonviolent defiance of Israeli detention abuse operated with laser like intensity to call attention to prison and administrative injustice. Unfortunately, the media of the world was silent, including those self-righteous liberal pundits who had for years urged the Palestinians to confront Israel nonviolently, and then sit back, and find satisfaction in the response from Tel Aviv. Waiting for Godot is not a matter of patience, but of ignorance!

 

 

  

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73 Responses to “Israel’s Politics of Deflection”

  1. truthaholics September 30, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    Reblogged this on | truthaholics.

    • Kata Fisher October 2, 2013 at 8:11 am #

      @trutaholic

      I would like to point out something: When there is a group (virtual, as we have here) collaborating, then it can be some difficulty when comes to perceptions/interpretation.

      I would indicate that sometimes we read emotions/expressions into other’s participant(s) posts/writings, without reflecting that the way we read/interpret the items is not what they intend to convey.
      I just like to point that out.

      Whenever possible we would omit writing with emotions excessive.
      A note: Sometimes when I read the things that I write down can be very distressing to me, without me being distressful.

      I hope this is helpful.

      • truthaholics October 2, 2013 at 10:32 am #

        Message understood …
        but SHOULDN’T you be saying this to those who misunderstand me?

        I’m sure you’re not for the blind leading the blind for, as you’ll know, this is a favourite Hasbarist tactic. lol

        Meanwhile, the facts on the ground are quite unambiguous and barefaced – they speak for themselves – so time to name and shame Zionists for what they do – their CRIME of:

        ETHNIC-CLEANSING and UNBRIDLED LAND-THIEVERY?

        Make no mistake, no other ideology this pugnacious or racist has survived the annals of time, so I don’t think zionists deserve any special treatment – not here online nor anywhere else.

        None whatsoever.

        | Denying sovereignty: A Northern Ireland solution for Palestine? http://fb.me/MQjmxJCY

      • Kata Fisher October 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

        I am not sure what happend; I did not intend to post right here.

      • Kata Fisher October 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

        I have a reflection:
        What happened?

    • Kata Fisher October 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      Truthaolic: What is Hasbarist tactic and ideology, and why is SO WRONG?

      I believe you have legitimate ability to teach…

  2. truthaholics September 30, 2013 at 6:13 am #

    Very insightful.
    This charts a painful chronology from tribal supremacism to cognitive dissonance to malignant narcissism, which to all intents and purposes renders Palestinians practically INVISIBLE.

    From victim to victimisers, Zionists have become the most predatory, vile and abusive tribe of racists on this planet!

    WHY?

    Because of their collective PTSD and selective blindness to the universal values of humanity.

    UNITED NOTHINGS:
    Time to break this vicious cycle of abuse for ALL humanity’s sake!

    • Caleb Powell October 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

      Quantify, quantify, quantify.

      That’s the problem here. Perhaps there is a small population of Israelis that your following statement might apply to, “Zionists have become the most predatory, vile and abusive tribe of racists on this planet!” But the absolutist way you frame it condemns everyone.

      There are nuts on the Israeli side, but there are also humane Israelis, and within the government there are those seeking for a peaceful solution and who have empathy for Palestine. Israeli military officers have been prosecuted for brutality against Palestinians, as in the case of Col. Yehuda Meir. This is what we call “moral ambiguity.”

      You, however, lack any nuance or balanced perspective. Yes, there is a way to criticize Israeli policy, and in many cases Israel deserves criticism, but your method is not one. Your comments exemplify hatred and anti-Semitism and point to another cliché: Two wrongs don’t make a right, and your comment suggests that you hate Israel, and that would certainly be a wrong.

      • truthaholics October 2, 2013 at 4:10 am #

        Not necessarily – kindly FREE your mind of BIAS then RE-READ my comment …

        Let’s call TRIBAL SUPREMACISM for what it is:
        APARTHEID!!!

        Time to be disabused of obfuscation and word-smithery.

        Apartheid has no place in Africa, Palestine or ANYWHERE!
        We live in a post-colonial world now.
        Period.

      • Richard Falk October 2, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

        Dear Caleb Powell:

        I think you misjudge my attitude and intentions. I completely agree that it is wrong to condemn Israelis as a whole. There
        are as you say many humane Israelis, some being my friends, and others seeking peaceful solutions, but these are not the
        people who lead the country or shape the policy. When we talk about gross abuses of power we do not soften the assessment
        by nuance and pointing to exceptions. Israel has abused its power in relation to the Palestinian people, and nothing would
        give me greater pleasure than to see these two peoples living together as a result of a just and sustainable peace. I have
        not the slightest feeling of anti-Semitism and never have had throughout a long career. I have always opposed ever form
        of hostility to a group whether Jews or Roma or Kurds, and have sided with those who are at the receiving end of an unequal
        relationship.

        Richard Falk

      • truthaholics October 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

        Gracious as ever, Professor – thank you. (Y)

      • Fred Skolnik October 2, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

        Dear Prof. Falk

        I am sorry that you have not seen fit to reply to your Albert to make it very clear that his kind of venomous rhetoric is as unacceptable to you as my labeling people like him Israel haters or Jew haters.

        The Germans too were on the receiving end of an unequal relationship at the end of World War II. What you consistently fail to point out is that the West Bank was occupied because Jordan initiated a war. In this case there was no preemptive strike on Israel’s part but a response to the indiscriminate bombing of Jewish Jerusalem on the night of June 5, 1967, which I experienced personally. The occupation has continued as long as it has because the Arabs have been incapable of reconciling themselves to the existence of a non-Muslim state in the Middle East. Had they been willing to they could have had a state in 45 days instead of waiting 45 years. Israel’s security measures are in place for the sole purpose of preventing terrorist acts. Israel is not at war with the Palestinian people but with the terrorist organizations, who are themselves responsible for the suffering of the Palestinian people. The current negotiations are the only real chance the Palestinians have of achieving statehood. The contours of an agreement are clear to everyone and even Israel’s maximalist opening position is within the bounds of reason. The end result, as you surely know by now, will be a land swap that is not prejudicial to the Palestinians.

    • Kata Fisher October 3, 2013 at 7:43 am #

      Dear Mr. Skolnik

      Albert’s perceptions are valid based on spiritual realities (and he is limited in his appointed area of understanding about that).

      All consequences and conditions surrounding the state of Israel are due to landmarks that should not be there, as they are.

      Germany had conditions that are a consequence of disorderly church practices that date back before 19 century, and then finally due to Azusa street outpour of Spirit that went wrong (due to disorderly church practices), as these add on, and on (becoming worse and worse in natural, and geographically widened).

      The population on the ground managed to blaspheme God’s Spirit (individually and corporately).

      The Azusa Street was outpour was from God (it was said, however, that it was not, and else what was said) due to disorderly church practices. Evangelicals were void of the spiritual gifts that were relevant to the condition of the Church. They were traditional church, and they were swamped with disorderly church practices that were not applicable to the area of the Church in question. US Church/tribes proestant was/is responsible for all that.

      This has nothing to do with the condition in Israel in this point in time? –And why do I say that?

      There are things that you do not understand, and I really should not go into details about all of this. Why can’t you accept your limitation and be at peace in your appointed areas? And why do you ask of Professor Falk to step out of his appointed areas, just in order to assist you outside your appointed areas. You are placing him in bad position/spiritual risks (if you will understand). There is no wisdom in that.

      He is giving you all information that is applicable to his area of understanding when comes to the situation in Holy Land. No one is trying to exclude anyone, but do not expect things that are impossible for one.

      K.F.

  3. Gene Schulman September 30, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    Dear Richard,

    Thank you for this much needed assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. I am sorry that you have been so denigrated for your work to overcome it (I remember well the exchanges between us and Denis MacShane – he deserved what he got!) So long as the US is so attached to Israel like a Siamese twin, I’m afraid it shall be forever thus. Your concluding sentence about waiting for Godot says it all.

    Now back in Geneva from where I send warm regards.

    Gene

  4. Fred Skolnik September 30, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    I’ve only looked in on you in the last few days to see what you are up to and see that you are still acting as a magnet for Israel haters and that you have succeeded in driving away anyone who takes issue with your distorted view of the Arab-Israel conflict. I am not going to argue with you but I will point out a few of your persisting factual errors.

    Hamas is not the “elected governing authority in Gaza.” It won a majority in the Palestinian Authority’s parliamentary elections and proceeded to seize Gaza and expel all PA representatives, even murdering a few. This is comparable in every way to the Republicans seizing Massachusetts and expelling all Democrats after winning their majority in the House of Representatives.

    You persistently misuse and misunderstand the term “naqba,” which means disaster or catastrophe and signifies nothing more than the humiliating result of the ill-advised Arab attack on Israel in 1948.

    There is no “historic Palestine” other than Mandate Palestine and the Roman Palaestina, which was a new name for Judea meant to obscure its connection to the Jews. The Palestinians whose rights you are promoting are descendents of Arab migrant workers who began arriving in the area in the 19th century and never had anything remotely resembling a Palestinian identity until Nasser started using the term in the 1950s.

    The nonviolent hunger strikers you are bemoaning were almost all convicted terrorists, including not a few murderers.

    Critics of Israel are not called antisemites unless they use the kind of language that is typical of antisemites.

    Your representation of the UN Human Rights Council as a benign and fair-minded body is worse than a bad joke but even worse is your association with it and the manner in which you go about your “investigations.” The first thing to be noted is that you don’t speak a word of Arabic (or Hebrew for that matter) and are totally dependent on your Hamas hosts for all the information you receives in Gaza. You have no way of evaluating or verifying this information. If Hamas leads you to an Arab resident who states through an interpreter or in pidgin English that rockets are not stored in or fired from residential areas you dutifully records this and incorporate the statement into your report. Any historian gathering evidence in this way would simply be laughed off the stage. That someone with your lack of investigative qualifications and publicly stated biases should have been employed by a UN Human Rights Council whose members are among the worst violators of human rights in the world is a sure indication of what this Council is looking for and what you are prepared to give it.

    I will close by saying that dreaming up new phrases like “deflection” with which to attack Israel will not get the Palestinians a state, whose contours are clear to everyone and whose realization depends entirely on the readiness of the Palestinians to give up their apocalyptic dream of a great massacre on the shore of the Mediterranean.

    • Gene Schulman September 30, 2013 at 8:01 am #

      @ Fred:

      Why don’t you take your vindictive, vicious mendacity back to the settlement and get lost? Your hasbara b.s. is really getting to be a bore.

      I know plenty of Israelis and Palestinians (Hebrew and Arab, not to speak of English, speakers) who vouch for Richard’s views. You should have the credentials he has when it comes to speaking about human rights.

      Don’t bother to return the compliments. I can’t bear the thought of reading any more of you.

      • Fred Skolnik September 30, 2013 at 8:06 am #

        Still plugging away, aren’t you? Get a life, Gene. It isn’t healthy devoting this much time and effort to working up your little I Hate Israel file.

      • Kata Fisher September 30, 2013 at 8:25 am #

        Hi Gene :)

      • Albert September 30, 2013 at 11:47 am #

        Dear Mr. Schulman,
        Please do not dignify Fred`s existence with another reply. He is either totally ignorant of any historical facts, totally delusional or both. Because of his obvious intent to discredit the voices of reason, compassion and fairness, he does not even deserve to have his sickly diatribe dignified by reading it, much less reacting to it. It is telling, that Richard actually allows this kind of mental abuse on his site. That to me is a sign of being sure of his convictions and humanity.
        It does not take above average intelligence to detect a serious mental deficiency and lack of sound, logical reasoning, or a deliberate defiance.
        I wonder, what kind of trauma can possibly cause this much deviation from a healthy mental state. I feel sorry for Fred in a way, because he may not even be aware of his errant ways.

    • Kata Fisher September 30, 2013 at 8:25 am #

      Dear Mr. Skolnik:

      Your understanding of Arabs in Palestine is one-dimensional.

      Further, one has no legal obligation to dismiss—or make settlers (anywhere) illegal children /offspring of exiles. Sins of bloodshed between tribes are never ending.

      The evil landmarks of Israeli state have caused the conditions with Hamas and group like that. Your argument about that is null and void, even before it began. This is why: you are not looking at situation by Spirit of God. The Law condemns the landmarks of state that are in this point in time.

      Israel has always managed to sin against the Law, the only reason God continued with them was because of His plan: To be at assistance to entire human race, as catching up with Jewish exiles, offspring of righteous by His Spirit. No? By Faith in the Scripture, I understand this.

      Now days when they sin against the Law, God and His Sprit are far from them. He only warns them. (Their enemy that supports them in their lawlessness is abounding, and together they enjoy their lawless ways). God and His Spirit that comes through the servants of God, and all righteous is restricted (the Spirit of God is restricted) when comes to those who are in generational sins against God’s Spirit. They reject the presence.

      I do not think that anyone is driving anyone away (as you suggesting that our Beloved Mr. Falk does).
      I believe that people here, are here to learn from different perspectives—or not. All are welcome, as I understood.

      In this point in time there are International Laws by which humanity has to head—Jews and Non-Jews or they are quite evil, as they practice killing and lawlessness. Killing and herem was always consequence that followed stubborn and evil will, even since Abel’s blood as it is now.
      I do not thinking in a dumb spirit (or defilement of my mind)—are you-or will not repent of bewitchment that you follow?

      K.F.

    • ray032 September 30, 2013 at 9:52 am #

      Talking about factual errors, or half Truths, Fred, you are in no position to throw stones at Richard. You neglect to mention.

      In an election all external Observers certified as being Free and Fair, the Palestinian People elected Hamas to represent their interests and form the majority in the Palestinian Authority Legislature.

      The Palestinian People were tired of the corruption and do nothing of the PLO and wanted change. Hamas has a Social Welfare arm in addition to a Military arm.

      The immediate reaction of the nominally Democratic Israel/US, was not to enter a dialogue with the 2nd Legitimate Democratically elected government in the Middle East, by appealing to the Social Welfare arm of Hamas now that they had the Responsibility to govern.

      No, it was to immediately cut off all financial transfers to the Palestinian Authority in a communal punishment of the Palestinian People for their Free Will Democratic choice.

      This decision was deliberately designed to cause the rupture and violent split between the PLO and Hamas, with the legitimate Democratically elected government of the Palestinian People confined to the world’s largest Ghetto prison of Gaza.

      The Abbas Presidency is illegitimate, it’s legal mandate ended a long Time ago, but Israeli/US interests don’t want to see another Democratic election at this Time because Hamas would win again.

      What was the signal to Hamas? Ballots don’t count except in the Democratic choices we approve.

      Better not use bullets either or you’ll be labelled terrorists instead of Freedom Fighters in this war and our Propaganda is much more far reaching than yours.

      Statement by Abba Eban, Israeli Foreign Minister, June 14, 1967.

      “Wars are not always begun by shots. They are often begun by action and the action which really created the state of war in an acute sense was the imposition of the blockade.

      To try to murder somebody by strangulation is just as much attempted murder as if you tried to murder him by a shot, and therefore the act of strangulation was the first violent, physical act which had its part in the sequence.”

      But that was Then and this is Now. Palestinians have no value to Israelis except for cheap labour, as if the life of someone confined to Gaza, does not react the same way Abba Eban described when Jews were affected.

      So much for treating others in the same manner as you want to be treated!

      • Fred Skolnik September 30, 2013 at 10:17 am #

        You don’t seem to understand the meaning of Hamas’s parliamentary election victory. It did not turn Hamas into an elected government. It gave them a parliamentary majority in a presidential regime, as might be the case under the French system, for example. Foreign aid was suspended because Hamas refused to disavow terrorism after a coalition government was formed. Fighting between the factions broke out over control of Palestinian security forces. In all this time Abu Mazen remained the legally elected president.

        Trying to murder someone is to fire over 10,000 rockets at Israel’s civilian population in the space of 10 years. No terror, no imported rockets, no blockade. It’s as simple as that. And you are forgetting that Gaza has a border with Egypt, underutilizes the Israeli border crossings for supplies, and can get whatever it needs aside from war materials by sea by having ships discharge their cargo in Ashdod for inspection.

        Everyone understands what a peace agreement is going to look like. It will not include the disappearance of the State of Israel.

      • Kata Fisher September 30, 2013 at 11:31 am #

        Dear Mr. Skolnik:

        Part of ancient Landmark is in Egypt—that is the territory of dispute? Further, Jordan is within the Landmarks of Holy Land, and there is no dispute over that, as I understand. Syria, as well has some territory of ancient Land? Any other that I may not know as I only looked at the present existence?

        Now, all that land is not available; it is lost to the other lands.

        Could it be that it is so due to invalid landmark that is appointed ahead of the times?

        I will conclude by this: Paul Apostle wrote to the Church Charismatic leaders in letter that “Anti-Christ” (a spiritual reality) will attempt to change the seasons/times. I believe that according to Spiritual ethics there is quite a bit for people in Holy Land to reconsider.

        One Jewish Rabbi was saying that dismantling of the landmark will be expected/hoped for (but which one?)

        K.F.

      • ray032 September 30, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

        Fred, it is you that is in error, not understanding the significance of the stunning Hamas win at the polls. Hamas won an outright majority in the Palestinian Legislature in the 2006 election. A coalition was not necessary.

        Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections, Complicating Peace Efforts in Mideast
        By Scott Wilson
        Washington Post Foreign Service
        Friday, January 27, 2006

        RAMALLAH, West Bank, Jan. 26 — The radical Islamic movement Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, according to official election results announced Thursday, trouncing the governing Fatah party in a contest that could dramatically reshape the Palestinians’ relations with Israel and the rest of the world.

        In Wednesday’s voting, Hamas claimed 76 of the 132 parliamentary seats, giving the party at war with Israel the right to form the next cabinet under the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah.

        Fatah, which has dominated the legislature since the previous elections a decade ago and the Palestinian cause for far longer, won 43 seats. A collection of nationalist, leftist and independent parties claimed the rest.

        Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, another Fatah leader, resigned his post along with his cabinet early Thursday, as reports of Hamas’s victory began to circulate. Although the cabinet would have been required to step aside even if Fatah had retained its majority, Qureia acknowledged in submitting his resignation that Hamas had earned the right to form the next cabinet.

        “This is the choice of the people,” Qureia, a member of the party’s discredited old guard who did not run for reelection, told reporters here. “It should be respected.”

        Abbas, on the other hand, will continue to serve the four-year presidential term he won in an election a year ago, shortly after the death of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, the founder of Fatah. Abbas will maintain the broad power to create national policy and control the security services, though he needs parliamentary approval for his budget and legislative proposals. He will also shape peace policy with Israel as head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which does not include Hamas…………………………………..

      • Fred Skolnik September 30, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

        You also don’t understand your own arguments:

        “Abbas, on the other hand, will continue to serve the four-year presidential term he won in an election a year ago, shortly after the death of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, the founder of Fatah. Abbas will maintain the broad power to create national policy and control the security services, though he needs parliamentary approval for his budget and legislative proposals. He will also shape peace policy with Israel as head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which does not include Hamas.”

        These are not powers that Abbas seized but constitutional powers. Subsequent events are just as I describe them. You won’t understand the Middle East by cutting and pasting newspaper clippings.

      • ray032 October 1, 2013 at 3:44 am #

        Fred, maybe the others are right, and it’s pointless to exchange any information with you.

        The article was printed in 2006. The Constitutional power of Abbas ENDED in 2010 and it suits Israel the pliable Abbas stays in power even though he has no legitimate Constitutional right to be there. Democratic Israel will not permit another election knowing Hamas would get another majority.

        The current round of Peace negotiations under Abbas are a fraud since Hamas is not included.

        Obviously you blind yourself to this, “Hamas claimed 76 of the 132 parliamentary seats, giving the party at war with Israel the right to form the next cabinet under the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah.

      • Fred Skolnik October 1, 2013 at 4:06 am #

        Hamas can enter the peace process when it ceases to be a terrorist organization with the declared aim of destroying the State of Israel. Abbas is in power under the emergency powers granted to him by the Palestinian Constitution. Abbas is not pliable, he is weak, which is what prevents him from leading the Palestinian people to statehood in a peace agreement in which each side will get less than it wants. The alternative is not getting a state at all. You are so pumped up with hostility toward Israel that you are losing sight of the best interests of the Palestinians, if you ever cared about them at all.

      • Richard Falk October 1, 2013 at 5:46 am #

        You seem, Fred, incapable of making your points without adding an insult, and it is
        for this reason that I find your participation unhelpful. It is fine to disagree, but
        to impugn my motives, and those of others, is exactly what I mean by uncivil behavior that I am trying my best to discourage, and if necessary, exclude.

      • Fred Skolnik October 1, 2013 at 6:06 am #

        Dear Prof. Falk

        I think you are being selective in your standards. Here is your Gene Schulman:

        Why don’t you take your vindictive, vicious mendacity back to the settlement and get lost? Your hasbara b.s. is really getting to be a bore.

        But what is worse, and what invites my responses, is the vehemence of the hatred displayed by your admirers:

        “… the Zionist mob that has appropriated and is defiling it by its vicious and hateful acts as the Zionist state.”

        I am part of that mob and I do take this kind of calumny personally. This is not civilized discouse but unrestrained hatred. The problem with Israel hatred and Jew hatred is not the argument but the hater. But I will say once again that I do not equate criticism of Israel with antisemitism. What make it antisemitic is the language, which is a dead giveaway of what lies behind it.

      • Gene Schulman October 1, 2013 at 6:21 am #

        Ah, Fred. Gene Schulman does not hate Israel, nor do I think anyone else does who comments on Richard’s blog. What I do dislike is your smearing Richard, inter alia, with ad hominem rhetoric. Can’t you just stick to the issues without accusing honest criticism of being anti-Semitic?

    • truthaholics October 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

      @ Fred Skolnik: Israel-hater? LMAO! :D

      Since WHEN is loving Israel indicative of anything other than being pusillanimous, blackmailed and otherwise morally supine?

      | Quintessential Question: Does Israel even have the legal Right to exist in International Law? http://wp.me/p1xXtb-26G

      FACT: No, for two clear reasons:

      [1] The UN General Assembly has no legal right or basis to Partition ANY land, especially against the wishes of the majority indigenous population living there.

      [2] Un General Assembly Resolution 273 SPECIFIES Israel’s admission to the UN as “conditional.”

      *CONDITIONAL on DISCHARGING all the obligations contained in the UN Charter and REMAINING able and willing to carry out those obligations as a PEACE-=LOVING NATION.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_273

      *CONDITIONAL on Israel’s acceptance of UNGA Resolution 181: the “Partition Plan” of Palestine.

      YET the fact is that by 1949 Israeli actions had VIOLATED UNGA Resolutions 181, hence 273.

      By showing SCANT REGARD for the UN, Israel AGAIN bared its TRUE COLOURS and ETHNICALLY-CLEANSED some 800,000 Palestinians from their homes in order to acquire an additional 22% of Palestine by force BEYOND the 56% of Palestine already allocated to them by UNGA 181.

      Thus the Resolution STILL REQUIRES COMPLIANCE by Israel to return the additional 22% of land it has acquired and usurped BY FORCE against the indigenous Palestinians, the will of the International Community and the SPIRIT of international Law.

      *CONDITIONAL on Israeli COMPLIANCE with UNGA Resolution 194: “Right of Return” of Palestinian Refugees or their Compensation.

      While Israel rejected this Resolution OUTRIGHT, inexplicably it was still admitted to the UN.

      United States (Vote: For): President Truman later noted, “The facts were that not only were there pressure movements around the United Nations unlike anything that had been seen there before, but that the White House, too, was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leaders—actuated by political motives and engaging in political threats—disturbed and annoyed me.”[24]

      India (Vote: Against): Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru spoke with anger and contempt for the way the UN vote had been lined up. He said the Zionists had tried to bribe India with millions and at the same time his sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, had received daily warnings that her life was in danger unless “she voted right”.[25]

      HENCE, given that Israel did not and still does not meet Resolution 273′s “conditional” requirements for admission, its membership to the UN is and REMAINS illegal, null and void ab initio.

      Make NO MISTAKE, Israel is simply a ROGUE STATE – nothing but all wolf since 1948!

      We ALL live in a post-colonial world now so time to ditch backward, apartheid, tribal, racist ideologies and smell the coffee.

      Perhaps even share it too – like good neighbours do, for, after all, COMMON SENSE dictates building bridges NOT fences and enjoins us to be GOOD to our NEIGHBOURS not just our TRIBE.

  5. ray032 September 30, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    Good you have this on record, Richard.

    I have always accepted without question, you report using the Plumb Line of International Law without bias, except to bring forth Justice for an occupied, oppressed and subjected people in violation of International Law and UN Resolutions..

    It increasingly annoys me, the US and it’s Allies call on other Nations to uphold International Law and UN Resolutions, but invokes US-Israeli Exceptional-ism when they ignore International Law and UN Resolutions.

    I am glad to see this article. You are expanding on a similar idea I posted to Ira Sharkansky’s Jerusalem Post blog just Yesterday;

    “No one sees themselves as others see them. I am struck by this one line, “But one should also appreciate the suspicions expressed by Israelis and others about the Iranian strategy of stringing out talks while building the means for producing nuclear weapons.

    The Iranians might have learned that tactic from the Masters at doing it.

    It is just as real written this way, “But one should also appreciate the suspicions expressed by Palestinians and others about the Israeli strategy of stringing out talks while building more settlements on the Land that is the purpose of Peace negotiations.

    Israel, having all the cards, political, economic and military, has been stringing out idle talks since the Camp David Accord of 1979 in the pursuit of Eretz Israel.”

    • Albert September 30, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

      Thanks for your insightful comment Ray. I believe I used to read some of your reactions on another site, that changed drastically not long ago, where the personal attacks went off the deep end. My personal views are based on what humanism expects from us. But I can appreciate your take on the same issues as seen through a rather religious lens. It is quite informative for me, because, even though I have thrown off any religious beliefs, I do believe in God, but my definition of God is not the commonly accepted version. And lacking any proof either way, who can claim to know, which definition is true?

  6. john francis lee September 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    ” Palestinian officialdom will not push hard to have these symbolic victories implemented in ways that alter the behavioral realities on the ground, and maybe even if they did do their best, nothing would change. ”

    This at the end of the catalogue of ‘inexplicable’ failures of the Palestinian ‘leadership’. It seems to me that the Palestinian ‘leadership’ works for the USrael. The Palestinians had an election once … and then the USraelis appointed ‘new’ leadership when they didn’t like the Palestinians’ democratic choce. The USraeli/Palestinian leadership know very well for whom they work and what their product must be … and the ‘negotiator’ for the US … what is the sound of one hand clapping ?

    I haven’t yet read the real meat of this post and am looking forward to doing so, but that line above accompanied by the strange complaints of non-understandiing by someone who surely understands much better than I do the lay of the land in Palestine made me want to voice questions on the Palestinian side right at the top.

  7. john francis lee September 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    On the anti-semitism ‘weapon’ … it seems past time to me for the Jews outside of Israel … and I imagine there are more Jews in the US alone than in all of Israel … to take back their Jewishness form the Zionist mob that has appropriated and is defiling it by its vicious and hateful acts as the Zionist state.

    Jews outside of Israel need to emphasize the idependence of “the Jews” and the state of Israel. This seems to be beginning to happen, in the US at least. I try to follow Cecile Surasky at Muzzlewatch – where links to a very informative series by Donna Nevel and Elly Bulkin on Islamophobia and Israeli politics have just been posted – and she and the Jewish Voice for Peace are doing just that !

    On auspices/messenger … this is like the Bush regime’s pointing out that they “weren’t as bad as the Nazis” … no one was/is talking about the Nazis. In the US case we’re talking about the serial destruction of Islamic countries by the United States of America – now joined by resurgent European imperialism – and in the case of Israel about its destruction of Palestine and the Palestinians. If the US and Israel would like to bring up other issues at other venues, fine. But “The salient points of the international discussion with respect to the US and Israel are as outlined and that’s what we’re talking about here and now.” Seems to me the best way to deal with this gambit.

    The answer to not finding the solution to the ‘problem’ is bad faith on Israel’s part and the constant, complicit support of her bad faith by the USA, in my view, and I think in the view of a growing majority of ordinary people the world around.

    The US and Israeli governemts are surely the most hated world-wide … for their acts and not for their ‘freedom’ … and that hatred will eventually extend to the peoples of both countries.

    After all, it is the American people who are ultimately responsible for reining in our rogue state in the end, just as it is the Israelis who must be held responsible for reining in theirs.

    • john francis lee October 21, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

      This morning I saw an article by Ilan Pappe, Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism

      … [T]he Bible became both the justification for, and the map of, the Zionist colonization of Palestine. Hardcore Zionists knew it would not be enough: colonizing the inhabited Palestine would require a systematic policy of ethnic cleansing. But portraying the dispossession of Palestine as the fulfillment of a divine Christian scheme was priceless for galvanizing global Christian support behind Zionism.

      The Bible was never taught as a singular text that carried any political or even national connotation in the various Jewish educational systems in either Europe or in the Arab world. What Zionism derogatorily called “Exile” – the fact that the vast majority of Jews lived not in Palestine but communities around the world – was considered by most religious Jews as an imperative existence and the basis for Jewish identity in modern time. …

      This new, and I should say inevitable, religious-nationalist mixture that now informs the Jewish society in Israel has also caused a large and significant number of young American Jews, and Jews elsewhere in the world, to distance themselves from Israel. This trend has become so significant that it seems that Israeli policy today relies more on Christian Zionists than on loyal Jews.

      I must say that the comparison of Israeli Zionism to a fundamentalist Christian sect seems very apt to me. I read that most of the illegal ‘settlers’ in Palestine now are Americans. Surely the same funders (American Fascists : The Christian Right and the War on America) seem happy to support the Israeli Zionist cause as well … and for the same reasons.

      • Gene Schulman October 22, 2013 at 12:25 am #

        One of the wiser revisionist historians offers his take on Zionism. For my part, both Judaism and Zionism should fade into history. Along with every other religion and political ideology that base themselves on such myths.

      • Richard Falk October 22, 2013 at 3:06 am #

        Gene: I understand, and share, many of these sentiments, but we must realize that for most people in the world it is only religion and national identity that gives meaning and purpose to their lives endured in material misery. In this sense, Marx was both right and wrong in my opinion. Religion is both dangerous and sustaining at the same time. My approach has been to affirm that part of the great religious traditions that are ecumenical and inclusive. More than ten years ago I wrote a book to this effect. Also,
        the exclusion of religion doesn’t work either as it creates a spiritual vacuum that is filled by a variety of totalitarianisms. Warm greetings from chilly London, Richard

      • Gene Schulman October 22, 2013 at 4:52 am #

        Richard, thanks for your comment to my anti-religious remarks. I understand your position that suggests that religion is needed by those whose hopes and aspirations are thwarted by the conditions of their miserable lives. I too feel for those sad people, but I do not think religion can help them. It only serves as a sop to keep them in their place. I believe religion, in all of its forms, is a curse on mankind. The best thing that will help those people is education! It is time to stop indoctrinating people in churches and schools into false beliefs that serve only those that wish to control society, and teach them the realities of life. Please don’t think I am one of those evangelist-style atheists like Dawkins, or Hitchens, Dennett or Sam Harris, who claim that science has all the answers. I’m not. Science and understanding of the universe is open-ended, and doesn’t – can’t – give us all the answers. But humanity must be rational if we want to live together in peace. Religion is not only not rational, but is divisive. It can’t even agree within itself the difference between right and wrong. I know, such arguments have gone on since the beginning of time, and we’re no closer to agreement than ever. But we must not give up. Let us keep arguing, but recognize that religion has failed. The front pages of our newspapers are living proof!

        Peace, Gene

      • Albert October 22, 2013 at 7:58 am #

        Dear Dr. Falk,
        Gene`s assessment of religion may seem a bit ‘Hitchinistic’, but it does bring the message home with an urgency never before having been as great as at present. The abuse of religion, not so much by the religion itself, but by those, who like to (ab)use religion as a justification for their criminal and barbaric policies is, what causes the problems today in the international political arena. Whereas before one Christian sect would be used against another to justify the slaughter of innocent people, now one religion is set up against another, while at the same time stoking the fires of internal hate in that religion, with the divide and conquer tactics, by spreading and increasing hate and misinformation between the Sunni and the Shia sects today.
        The right wing capitalism of today with its extreme abuses of power, that comes with the ever increasing concentration of money, makes religion the soothing balm on the souls of the multitudes of the disadvantaged. It is the very factor, that makes their miserable existence bearable. I witnessed and lived that sad phenomenon just before and during WWII, which has influenced my views on life as a whole and on politics in particular since. It is the abuse of power, that creates people like Marx, Lenin, Mao etc..
        That ‘spiritual vacuum’ is now being filled by the totalitarianism of pagan right wing capitalism, wrapped in a misleading version of so called democracy, that benefits just a select few. I prefer the one, that benefits the majority. Neither is ideal, but lacking an alternative, I would be inclined to choose the socialist version. It tends to somewhat spare the already disadvantaged.

      • Kata Fisher October 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

        Dear Gene & Professor Falk:

        There is just a small difference. With that, I see that both of you are right.
        The Spirit of Faith and spirit of Religion are two difererent things.

        I would say this: the Religion itself (as spirit of religion) is not safe and often not good, but evil; it is not what upholds and sustains the mankind. It will destroy man-kind/human.

        However, the Spirit of Faith is what sustains one. One can have authentic Faith, without Religion. Likewise putting up with religion is possible for Faith authentic.

        The Faith itself will not line up what religion in its practice (one by Faith and Spirit will deviate from that), in accordance to the Spirit of their mind/Faith.

        The belief/Faith authentic is based on Spiritual reality, and no myths (myths which can be located in religious practices/Religion).

        In general; it is best to be in Faith and Spirit, and under no religion, at all. However, religion is acceptable, as long as it does not violate mankind.

        Now how do I clarify that, without being misunderstood? You do need religious orders, and you do not (basically). You need valid one, and not invalid. Unfortunaly, both are applicable.

        One cannot disregard (in essence of humanities). That is how each culture will express its values: (art, creation, preservation) the way we transition our ideas, from one generation to another. If we violate that; then, we violate a human within its cultural background.

        Self-determination will be organized based on individual and corporate values: Philosophy, History Theology. Now, all of this is appropriate to mankind (we can’t gat that out from human l existence).

        If we try to do that, we violate natural and spiritual balances.

        I hope this is helpful
        K.F.

      • Richard Falk October 23, 2013 at 12:14 am #

        Yes, Kata, for me these distinctions are helpful, and reflect my way of ‘believing’
        without being captive to metaphysical traditions that claim exclusive access to truth
        and community. I am impressed by your consistent effort in comments to be helpful to
        others, what I would call ‘a generosity of spirit’ that we all as individuals and as
        a species need to nurture at this historical time if we are to meet the global challenges facing humanity. Thanks for this.

  8. 3n4g September 30, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    You have always said that under international law the West Bank and Gaza belong to Palestinians. If so, what international law says this?

    • Richard Falk October 1, 2013 at 5:57 am #

      It is complicated to give an adequate answer, but briefly the assumption from the end of WW I was that the
      indigenous people in the former Ottoman Empire would be granted rights of self-determination. Colonial ambitions
      led to a sort of compromise in relation to Palestine in the form of a British Mandate. The UK administered the
      mandate with the idea that Palestine would be eventually given to the indigenous population, which ambiguously
      including the Jews (in light of the Balfour Declaration). UN Res 181, partitioned the territory between the two
      people, again implicitly concluding that the Palestinians were entitled to at least 45% of the territory. The UNSC
      including the US has proceeded on that assumption, as has the so-called Roadmap. The Palestinian people under international
      law as generally understood, although challenged by some Israeli international law experts, confers a right of
      self-determination to be exercised in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, unless in cooperation with Israel
      it was exercised in the whole of historic Palestine, creating a bi-national secular state.

      • David Singer October 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

        Professor Falk

        As you are well aware, I totally disagree with your interpretation of the Mandate for Palestine and your conclusions.

        However assuming that your interpretation and conclusions are accepted – can you please explain why Israel should now concede any claim to sovereignty in any part of the West Bank because of the failure of the Palestinian Arabs to accept sovereignty in the West Bank when it was offered to them by:
        1 the Peel Commission in 1937
        2 the United Nations in 1947

        The Palestinian Arabs had between 1948-1967 – according to your viewpoint – the opportunity to exercise the right of self determination in the entire West Bank and East Jerusalem when not one Jew lived there after they all had been expelled in the 1948 War. Instead they opted to unify the West Bank with Transjordan in 1950 and rename the new entity “Jordan”.

        Has their failure to exercise self determination in the West Bank during those 19 years weakened their claim in international law to do so in 2013?

        Has their failure to accept sovereignty in more than 90% of the West Bank offered by Israel in 2000/2001 and in 2008 not further weakened their claim to 100%?

        Do they run the risk of seeing their claim to any part of the West Bank being forfeited because of their failure to accept the offers that have been made to them and rejected over the past 76 years?

        How many more times can offers of compromise be rejected by the PLO before even you will say “enough is enough – it is time for Israel and Jordan the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine to sit down and negotiate the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank between their two respective States”

      • Kata Fisher October 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

        David,

        I heard about you before (from Walker). I hope you are doing well, and I was not causing you to be absent.

        K.F.

      • 3n4g October 1, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

        But the Mandate of Palestine is the only law of the land. It is both binding and irrevocalble. The Chapter 6 U.N. Resolutions (including resulotion 181) and the Interntational Court of Justice judgments are not binding, i.e. they are not law. The Mandate of Palestine gave exclusive right of owenership (Article 25) and citizenship (Article 7) of the West Bank, Gaza, and the rest of Israel, i.e., the area east of the Jordan river, to Jews. The British were merely the trustee of the land for the benefit of the Jews. They were not the owners of the land.

      • 3n4g October 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

        Correction: I said: “i.e., the area east of the Jordan river,” I meant: “i.e., the area west of the Jordan river,”

      • David Singer October 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

        Professor Falk

        I would appreciate your reply to my post on 1 October.

  9. Kata Fisher October 1, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    I have a reflection:
    I do not think that Mr. Skolknik has ability to perceive what is said here from adult perspective. Perhaps, Pedagogy would be appropriate means of communication. (He cannot perceive).
    He does not have to believe anything that is said here, the only thing he needs to do is to respond to the dictates of his conscience, if he has any that are taking place. He has to response to that prompting in order to annul stubbornness and impenitent way of his heart. When he responds to the dictates of his conscience God will be faithful to honor that.

  10. poirefrais13 October 1, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    Fred Skolnik,

    I read the first 2 lines of your first comment.
    It bothered me that you find it admissible to write condescending, mean attacks against Professor Falk and your understanding of his views.
    Distasteful comment spoil the rest of the comments. I have put off reading this post till later because of this.

    I am sensitive to language and tone, and disrespectful attacks. On a different site, such comments might not be accepted.

    I have been not been able to read the comments. But, I know that whatever your opinions and views, maligning, attempts to discredit Professor Falk are out of line and not acceptable.

    Professor Falk is respectful, tolerant and forbearing.
    Shameful, unfounded, disrespectful comments are uncalled for, as far as I am concerned.

    I noticed, being less critical or judgmental, sometimes leads some to take advantage of generous, open spirits, where reciprocity is lacking.

    I’ll go watch “Latino Americans”, and look forward to reading Prof. Falk’s post, shortly.

  11. Myriam Obadia October 2, 2013 at 2:14 am #

    Quite a hateful person when it comes to Israel. He says he doesn’t understand the reluctance of Palestinians to use the International institutions to regain their land. Well, maybe if he checked the archive he’d find out that the reluctance is due to the fact that they are perfectly aware the Palestine attributed to them lays East of the Jordan and not West of it. They know full well that it is much easier for them to kill Jews and steal Judean land from the Jews (who have no UN support), than to get back their own land from the Saudi Hashemite usurper that the UK put on the throne with the support of the whole security counsel. BTW, taking the Goldstone report as supporting evidence for his point of view is, at best, disingenuous, since Goldstone himself recanted when he realized he had been given faulty and incomplete data.

    • Kata Fisher October 2, 2013 at 8:23 am #

      @ Myriam Obadia
      I understand that you are having errors interpretation of facts—when you take all items into consideration (in a systematic approach to the consequences applicable to the situation in Holy Land).

      You can look at this in another way: you lack subject matter expertise that Mr. Falk has in order to criticize the work/perception of our beloved Mr. Falk—or him personally. I hope that you are well in your areas of concern.

      I hope this is helpful

      I personally allow myself to dismiss old women babble (but that is me in my obnoxiousness).

    • Albert October 2, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      Sorry Myriam Obadia, but your argument resembles a dog`s breakfast. It may have all the necessary ingredients, but they sure are mixed up. It is not hard to see, where you are coming from and you have the fullest right to express your thoughts, as we all do. But I would appreciateit, if you wee a bit more considerate and respectful of Dr. Falk, whom I respect for his knowledge an humanism. Zionism puts all the Jews, who do not want to embrace the Zionist philosophy, in a bad spot, because too many people do not differentiate between a Jew and a Zionist, while those two are as unlike as the Nazis were from the general German population. You might want to try and put yourself in the shoes of the Palestinians, just to get an idea, what suffering is really like. I am surprised, that after the horrors of the Holocaust, so many people, who were victimized by it, can now reverse the role and commit the same kind of atrocities to other. Yes, I do understand the traumatization the Jewish people suffered, but that does not justify their revenge like attitude now. And as far as Mr. Goldstone is concerned and his recantation, that seems to me more a function of coercion, rather than conviction on his part. I seem to detect a kind of desperation in your arguments, which seems to be based on some kind of fear. Maybe you should try to rationally analyze you fears and try to understand them and their causes. Please do continue to comment here, but please refrain from attacking others in such a vitriolic way. It shows your feeling of inferiority in the argument. The usual cause of that behavior.

  12. Fred Skolnik October 2, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Dear Prof. Falk

    From Albert: “I am surprised, that after the horrors of the Holocaust, so many people, who were victimized by it, can now reverse the role and commit the same kind of atrocities to other.”

    When you or your admirers compare Israelis to Nazis the pretext of engaging in civilized discourse collapses. You are using the language of hatred. Your only defense would be that the comparison is valid, but to make it seem valid you have to pervert and trivialize the meaning of the word Nazi to make it fit any exercise of authority by a perceived enemy. Therefore police facing rioters are typically called Nazis and even Seinfeld had his “soup Nazi.” But you of course know exactly what the Nazis did so any comparison is simply disgraceful. I sincerely hope that you will respond appropriately to this admirer of yours.

    • Kata Fisher October 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

      Dear Mr. Skolnik
      There is activity of Nazi spirit in Israel because of the landmark that is there. When Israel state landmark took place there was spiritual alliance with that spirit of demonic principality. This is what Church Charismatic sees. There are some bad issues whith church that is false charismatic that you may not be awear of. (It always acts to trip; it is in demons and witchcraft).
      K.F.

      • Albert October 3, 2013 at 10:36 am #

        Dear Kata, I was reading your reply to a comment by Mr. Kolnik. I read your comment and felt I owe you an explanation about the views I hold, which are based on over eighty years experience in this particular incarnation. The Nazi era I experienced first hand and was traumatized by it, both physically and psychologically. My family helped feed a Jewish family during those horrible years and as a youngster I was asked several times to deliver food to them, that they could not get otherwise, because everything was rationed and of course the Jews did not get those coupons and nobody would ask a kid, where he is going and with what or for whom. I clearly remember the gratitude in their eyes and also the anguish and fear. When I read some comments here from people, who most likely never suffered any kind of repression or trauma themselves, because most of my generation has already gone on into another dimension, then I wonder, what their arguments are based on. I am certainly not anti Semitic nor a racist, In fact I abhor every kind of discrimination and find the gender variety the most prevalent of all as well as the most ominous. Anybody who has experienced the horrors of the Nazi era will never forget and as humans would never consider causing the same kind of trauma to others. It is my wartime experience, that makes it so difficult to comprehend, that Jews in general would do to the Palestinians, what the state of Israel is doing to them. Again I like to emphasize, that Judaism and Zionism are not the same.

      • Kata Fisher October 3, 2013 at 11:22 am #

        Before I was directed here, I did not know anything about terms such as “hasbara” and “zionisam” because I was not in setting that was referring to these terms.
        However, I have strong impression about things that are taking place here because I had understanding just by Spirit. I do feel presence of prophetic anointing and move of the Spirit in this place. Those who are under the Law of Spirit endure and overcome.

        Albert, I feel most humble that you said what you said.

      • Kata Fisher October 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

        http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/4F.HTM

        I was looking at this earlier, and that which I was reading was so difficult to grasp.

    • Kata Fisher October 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

      I have a reflection:
      It will always challenge the sovereign will of God, but it will not have legitimate power to do that—to accomplish that which is contrary to sovereign will of God.

  13. Daniela October 5, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    Dear Richard,
    thank you for writing this article and the important work you are carrying out.
    In view of this ongoing anti-semitism rethoric I would however like to ask why until now nobody has ever turned around the tables more offensively by pointing out that such a rethoric is a real slap into the face of all true victims of the holocaust.
    If I speak for myself I can say that, being a german I am deeply ashamed of this part of our history and I am proud of having had a grandfather who undetook every effort possible to clear his debts with a Jew before it might be too late.
    Therefore confusing anti-semitism and hating people just for their ethnicity with criticism of ongoing and persistent human rights violations is not only unacceptable, it also violates the justified mourn over millions of innocent victims.
    In this sense I believe that insisting on seperating these issues is not only necessary, it is also essential in order to combat any form of racial discrimination.
    Keep up the great work

    • Kata Fisher October 5, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

      Daniela: I do not belive that you should hold on to that feeling of shame. There is so much to that.

      There is certainly a spiritual alliance between invalid church and state of Israel. How does this have an effect on Jewish congregation (in corporate) I have no valid knowledge. Only thing that I understand that there are valid Rabbis /Spirit filled (that will have to be the tribe of Judah or are David).

      I believe spiritual coercion will be relevant to the situation in Israel, as well as overseeing of heresies that may be within Jewish congregations based on that which is valid for traditional Judaism. I personally do not know anything about traditional Judaism, but have come across a valid Rabbi because he teaches appropriately when comes to Israel and the Landmarks.

      How many invalid branches of Judaism may be? I personally could not tell, as I did not learn nor have experienced Judaism as a religion. That which I saw (and heard) from a Rabbi I know, and it is about landmark of Israel, which I also knew by Scripture, and he confirms also.

      The Church does not recognize coercion into disobedience a valid cause for the Church-judgment. There was a significant coercion that acted top-down over the population by Nazi regime and church-corporate. If your Grandfather did anything under the fear of coercive power as individual; he did nothing that is applicable to him personally, (in fact, as masses/lay people were spiritually excommunicated/coerced by church-disorder—not a valid act of the church).

      Spiritual Coercion that will lead to an acknowledgment of corporate guilt of a Church (US Church protestant) will be applicable.

      Spiritual requests that lead to these Spiritual coercions are appropriate. It is asked for sincere repentance, in order to revoke guilt upon offspring and give appropriated respect to the souls of those who departed (Jews and non-Jews). There has to be a complete and sincere repentance over US Church protestant (a Church-corporate).

      What took place in Germany is a corporate Church-guilt (applicable to the Church US -not Church of Germany). There is no legal binding of demonic powers over German Christianity—there was a corporate disorder and sins that followed—added on to a nation. The sins were corporate by a cause of another Church—an evil church that caused others to do evil things.

      This is what I understand that concerns Christianity valid-or not valid; coercion of 1909 was not sufficient because it was heretical (imposed due to a disorder of other church), and ended up as a remaining (spiritual in nature) curse upon those who are responsible: US Church protestant.

      There has to be some kind of eccalistical/Church coercion toward US Church protestant, due to protestant charismatic disorders that lead to sins that are not describable, as this is evident in this point in time.

      US Government has no judicial power in US to exercise any type of coercion over the rule of the Church. (In US, there is no Church-rule that is valid when one reflects upon condition that protestant church is experiencing, and taking to other lands.

      Even US Catholic-Church of Rome fell short to valid Church-Order of Church in Rome with liturgy and translations (which can differ for different denominations, but cannot be heretical). Charismatic disorder with US Catholics is well handled, as they have strong valid Church Charismatic, and non-charismatic that oversee and to balance that out.

      I really feel awkward (as a woman) to write about these things. The best way I can describe US Christianity is “Christian-paganism” I am not sure if there is such a term to be applicable; however, one sees ancient pagan-practices within US Church (in corporate). Now, as individual Christian person they will be appropriate (mainly outside the Church) which is almost irrational way of thinking at condition of the Church.

      Regardless of that, I have a valid understanding that is relevant to these items, by experience and Spiritual understanding, as one had to endure quite of evil that was coerced over me-spiritually-imposed due to those who were not called and not qualified; yet, allowed by their denomination to do whatever. But this is not about me (in any way) as there are others in great spiritual harm and consequence that I ever could be.

      In overall when you look at US Church—they do whatever: they cannot discern betwixt discipleship (qualified for ministry) and lay people/masses (disqualified for ministry).

      Only spiritual maturity would allow for lay-people to exercise influence of the Church (laying hands for healing, exorcism, instruction/teaching, and similar—this is so due to vast competencies/abilities that is passed down in gifts-spiritual to all of the Church, but mature in ability/understanding). Traditional and non-traditional Church will be limited to do hardly anything outside priest oversight. They would have to be discerned/overseen by valid oversee diocese in order to remain valid. Lay people are capable of ill will invisible for them (due to the inability) to discern what is of severe harm-spiritual to another person. One can sin against another person by a mere behavior/bad conscience, so if the behavior exercises spiritually the harm, person in question will be under spiritual penalty (Church judgment). Church itself has to exercise all works in natural and spiritual by absolute truth of the Gospel according to individual or corporate ability that is relevant.

      One can consider what took place in Germany (a corporate coercion that was evil in nature took place). We can reflect upon that and with lament over both Jews and Non-Jews that were involved.

      US Church protestant is responsible for having some kind of rule that is relevant. Even if this means visitation church-by-church and establishing that, (they are ‘churches individual’ that do not really fall in any particular category of protestant denominations, but are so).

      In order for a church to remain valid, independently, without a teaching office of the Church appointed—the pastor would have to be under prophetic anointing that is fully active. Meaning, he would have to be a charismatic pastor under prophetic anointing; otherwise, his interpretation of the Scripture will be invalid and a heresy). Otherwise, they would only instruct in the scripture, and any interpretation would be valid at a random chance (hardly valid on criteria that are relevant to the Church doctrines).
      Now, the protestant churches that have teaching office and church order, and are traditional are most likely in a good shape.

      K.F.

    • Richard Falk October 7, 2013 at 9:54 am #

      Danielea: I agree with these sentiments, and have tried to suggest, perhaps indirectly, that such
      misuses of anti-Semitism cheapens the concept, and draws attention away from the ugly realities
      of persecution and genocide that Jews have endured for centuries.

      I notice your email address is from France, and so it seems appropriate to write as I am in Paris for a few days.

  14. jg October 5, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,
    Once again I am suffering from eye strain, which makes it hard to read longer articles.
    However, I saw something I will read in the morning, and I wanted to pass it on to you for reflection. I hope this is a good place to do it.

    “Tel Aviv Conference Plans For Palestinian Return.”
    4/10/2013 Alex Shams

    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?

    or http://www.maannews.net/eng

    Best wishes to you.

    • Richard Falk October 10, 2013 at 12:55 am #

      JG: Thanks, for calling this article on the Palestinian right of return to my attention. It was obviously a courageous and significant undertaking by those Israelis who organized such an event. And for your supportive words.

      • Fred Skolnik October 10, 2013 at 3:32 am #

        Dear Prof. Falk, with your permission I would like to make a few remarks about the so-called right of return.

        It seems to me that anyone actively promoting a wholesale return of Arabs to the State of Israel is in effect signing a death warrant to the entire idea of a peace settlement, and certainly understands that such a return is not feasible, for the simple reason that it would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state and therefore, as Amos Oz pointed out long ago, deny the Jews the right to self-determination in the Land of Israel in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations itself. Therefore even if such a right existed in law and precedent, Israel would not permit it, and therefore, knowing this, whoever seriously argues for a return is simple engaging in rhetoric whose only aim, in plain English, is to make Israel look bad, without any regard to the real probem of ending the conflict.

        But the right of return is not clearcut in law and precedent. I am certainly not going to argue international law with you. Israel’s legal arguments have been made by Israeli legal experts. The are summarized by Ruth Lapidoth and can be seen on the Jewish Virtual Library site:

        http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/refreturn.html

        or even on Wikipedia under “Palestinian Right of Return.”

        I will mention only that the status of descendants of refugees is debatable, and the fact is that all but 30-40,000 surviving refugees were born outside Israel. Secondly, the Arab refugee issue is no different from refugee issues in dozens of other wars, most notably between India and Pakistan where 15 million Muslims and Sikhs were displaced with no internationally recognized claims for resettlement and compensation. In fact such claims have never been recognized and wholesale “returns” of populations in such circumstances have never taken place. But Israel’s argument goes beyond this, because a similar number of Jews were displaced from Arab countries in the same period and there has been a de facto exchange of populations. I will not review the conditions under which Jews were living at the time under vindictive Arab regimes. That Israel wanted them to leave is totally irrelevant. They are no different from the Arab refugees, they lost everything they had, and arrived in Israel penniless. The problem of the refugees will therefore have to be solved in the Arab countries, just as Israel solved the problem of Jewish refugees displaced from those same Arab countries. The Palestinians are of course free to make any claims they like in negotiations, and no doubt, will, but I think it would be fair ro say that those who are not committed to the destruction of the State of Israel understand and accept the fact that there will be no large-scale return. The question is whether they have the courage to stand up and say so in explicit terms. Ultimately they and their supporters will have to decide whether they want a real national life or an unresolved conflict.

  15. walker b percy October 27, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    richard, you must look at Gideon Levey article in Haaretz today about M.V. If this M.V. is right, then he is right about everything (10-22-63). We may be at the tipping point. Use extreme caution, but you are the one let the world know what is about to happen. Good Luck to us all. If you want to reach me, send secure location for communication.

  16. walker b percy October 27, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    I made in a mistake in my previous post….

    • Kata Fisher October 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      Walker,

      Hi. I was wondering where you were.
      :)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Answers You Will NOT Get If You #askIDF ~ by @occpal | Occupied Palestine | فلسطين - October 3, 2013

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