The Obsolescence of Ideology: Debating Syria and Ukraine

23 Mar

 

            I have been struck by the unhelpfulness of ideology to my own efforts to think through the complexities of recommended or preferred policy in relation to Syria, and more recently, the Ukraine. There is no obvious posture to be struck by referencing a ‘left’ or ‘right’ identity. A convincing policy proposal depends on sensitivity to context and the particulars of the conflict.

 

            To insist that the left/right distinction obscures more than it reveals is not the end of the story. To contend that ideology is unhelpful as a guide for action is not the same as saying that it is irrelevant to the public debate. In the American context, to be on the left generally implies an anti-interventionist stance, while being on the right is usually associated with being pro-interventionist. Yet, these first approximations can be misleading, even ideologically. Liberals, who are deliberately and consigned to the left by the mainstream media, often favor intervention if the rationale for military force is primarily humanitarian.

 

            Likewise, the neocon right is often opposed to intervention if it is not persuasively justified on the basis of strategic interests, which could include promoting ideological affinities. The neocon leitmotif is global leadership via military strength, force projection, friends and enemies, and the assertion and enforcement of red lines. When Obama failed to bomb Syria in 2013 after earlier declaring that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime was for him a red line this supposedly undermined the credibility of American power.  My point is that ideology remains a helpful predictor of how people line up with respect to controversial uses of force, although relying on ideology is a lazy way to think if the purpose is to decide on the best course of action to take, which requires a sensitivity to the concrete realities of a particular situation. Such an analysis depends on context, and may include acknowledging the difficulties of intervention, and the moral unacceptability of nonintervention.  

 

            On a high level of abstraction, it is true that the hard right tends to find a justification for military action as the preferred solvent for any challenge to American foreign policy and the hard left is equally disposed to dismiss all calls for humanitarian intervention as sly anti-imperialist maneuvers, recalling Noam Chomsky’s dismissal of the Kosovo War in 1999 as ‘miltary humanism.’ In this sense it seems easier to proceed by dogma than to engage seriously with the existential complexities and uncertainties of the specifics pertaining to a conflict setting, and thus be willing to conclude either that ‘the situation is horrible, and something must be done’ and yet still believe that ‘the situation is horrible, but military intervention will only make it worse.’ This is the kind of conundrum that has perplexed and troubled me ever since the Syrian uprising in 2011 turned violent, unleashing the criminal fury of the Damascus regime, and attracting a variety of predatory outside forces on both sides. Often those on one side or the other of the debate fail to recognize the consequences of either a failed intervention or a refusal to intervene.

 

            There are at least two problems that bedevil interpretation in these setting. To assess particularities of context requires a genuine familiarity with the specifics and changing dynamics of a conflict if persuasive policy recommendations are to be grounded in relevant knowledge rather than on knee jerk reactions. And secondly, no matter how expert, core uncertainties will persist, and the difficulties of making choices that involve killing and dying of others is a huge weight of responsibility if the policy risks and alternatives are carefully weighed.

 

            I would add a third caveat—in the last fifty years military intervention has rarely worked out well for the target society or for the intervener; that is, historical experience would seem to call for what lawyers call ‘a presumption against intervention.’ This presumption is not intended as an absolute prohibition, but it does impose a burden of persuasion on the advocates of intervention. Often, also, the evidence pro and con intervention is doctored and manipulated one way or another to reflect the views of the government or of special interests.  This was spectacularly illustrated by the lead up to the U.S. led attack on Iraq in 2003 where governmental efforts to strengthen the public case for intervention produced notorious fabrications. Rwanda in 1994, did present an exceptionally strong humanitarian case supportive of a limited military intervention with operational responsibility entrusted to the United Nations, but the bad experience of the Clinton presidency with the Somalia intervention during the prior year led the United States to oppose effectively a UN effort to prevent, or at least mitigate, a genocidal onslaught.

 

            It would seem against such a background that the best solution in such situations might be procedural, that is, leaving the final policy decision in each instance up to a determination by the UN Security Council. If the Bush Administration had accepted the outcome of the Security Council vote that withheld approval for intervening in Iraq it would have been spared a humiliating strategic defeat that damaged America’s status as world leader. Allowing the Security Council to decide whether or not international force is required and justified also is consistent with the presumption against intervention due to the possibility that any of the five permanent members casting a negative vote counts as a veto.

 

            The Obama approach has not fared much better than that of Bush. It induced members of the Security Council opposed to military intervention to accept the plea of NATO countries in 2011 to engage in a humanitarian operation to save the besieged civilian population of the Libyan city of Benghazi by way of establishing a No Fly Zone. Once the operation got underway, it completely ignored these UN guidelines, and used its air dominance to widen the scope of violence and carry out an unauthorized mission of regime-change. The aftermath in Libya casts further doubt on the overall wisdom of authorizing intervention in such a circumstance of internal strife. As well, the spillover from the refusal of the interveners to adhere to the limited UN mandate has been to undermine trust in such a way as to weaken any prospect for the UN to play a more robust role in resolving the Syrian conflict where the case for interference has become stronger than it ever was in Libya.

 

            Beyond this issue of trust are questions of geopolitical alignment, especially encounters that align the U.S. and NATO on one side and Russia and/or China on the other. As yet, fortunately, there is no second cold war, although the neocons, and some in Europe, are beating the war drums in relation to the Ukraine in such a way as to point in that most unwelcome and totally unjustified direction.  Russia’s sensitivity to hostile developments on its borders, previously expressed a few years ago in the 2008 crisis over Georgia, is now more potently evident in relation to the Ukraine and  breakaway Crimea, which contains a strategic Russian naval base at Sevastopol that is the only Russian warm water port, as well as home to their Black Sea naval fleet.

 

            American exceptionalism, or put differently, the geopolitical asymmetry that generates one set of rules for the United States and another for secondary geopolitical actors such as Russia, pushes the United States to claim a license to act against Russian borderland encroachments that would never be tolerated in reverse, if say a radical anti-American takeover took place in Mexico, and Russia was audacious enough to object to American extra-territorial interference, dire consequences would follow. Recall the American readiness to risk World War III to prevent the deployment of Soviet missiles in Cuba back in 1962. The problems of both Syria and Ukraine are intensified by geopolitical antagonism that restricts the UN role to the margins and prevents a diplomatic consensus from allowing international cooperation to bring pressure to bear that will move parties away from violence and toward a political settlement.

 

            It is true that geopolitical antagonism is not an absolute political obstacle to intervention. The Kosovo War was undertaken despite the perceived inability to gain authorization from the Security Council due to anticipated Russian and Chinese opposition. The interveners relied on the combined legitimating weight of ‘a coalition of the willing’ and a regional consensus that favored intervention to protect the endangered Albanian majority population. A further legitimating factor in Kosovo was the plausibility of undertaking a military operation that could probably succeed quickly, and not produce many casualties on the intervening side. An important additional justification for intervention was the credible prospect of ethnic cleansing by Serbian forces of the sort that had actually taken place in Srebrenica a few years earlier in the midst of Bosnian strife. Finally, in light of this Serbian prior criminal behavior, the aspirations of the Kosovars for an independent political community seemed reasonable. A further post hoc vindication of intervention resulted from the large-scale return to Kosovo of most Albanian refugees after the Serbian control ended, reinforcing the interventionist rationale after the fact by showing its consistency with the dynamics of self-determination.

 

            Nevertheless, a questionable precedent was set in Kosovo by bypassing the Security Council. In effect, the Kosovo intervention involved recourse to non-defensive force without a mandate from the UN, and thus amounted to a deliberate violation of the core articles of the UN Charter and international law that unconditionally prohibits non-defensive threats or uses of force. An effort was made in the Kosovo context by the interveners to stress emergency conditions: the harsh memories associated with inaction in relation to Srebrenica and Rwanda were strong inducements to act beyond the law, and a quasi-legal reliance on a NATO consensus were argued as sufficient to prevent the formation of an unfortunate precedent. When a few years later, the United States, with only the United Kingdom as a credible ally, invaded and occupied Iraq, some negative implications of the Kosovo circumvention of international law became evident, and led the anti-interventionists to reassert their skepticism.

 

            Putting ideology to one side, the question of what is to be done is daunting in the very different challenges poses by Syria and Ukraine. Syria is above all a horrifying humanitarian catastrophe that is also destroying some of the country’s ancient and most cherished cities. It is a situation in which the opposition to the regime is disunited and itself guilty of atrocities, and in which both the governing authorities and insurgency are supported by external actors that treat the civil strife as primarily a proxy war engaging regional interests, and these external forces seem unlikely to yield significantly to their adversary regardless of the humanitarian ordeal being inflicted on the Syrian people. In this respect Syria illustrates regional and global geopolitics in its most cynical and destructive form. One revealing aspect of the disheartening complexity has led the anti-Assad governments to exclude Iran from the Geneva diplomacy that is supposed to be dedicated to finding a war-ending transition to a terrain of political competition. Iran’s exclusion seems irresponsibly submissive to the views of America’s regional allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel, and works against surmounting the admittedly difficult set of diplomatic obstacles in the quest for peace and political compromise relating to Syria.

 

             The geopolitical realities of the Ukraine are totally different, raising risks of a new cold war, or at least renewed great power rivalry, and is threatening to produce an uneven military encounter between Russia and the Ukraine over moves by Moscow to annex Crimea on the basis of a hastily arranged referendum that went, as expected Russia’s way by an overwhelming (95%) of the vote. Even if the lopsided outcome partly reflected pro-Russian intimidation there is little doubt that the people of Crimea strongly prefer being part of Russia than remaining an autonomous province in the Ukraine. The Western media gives little attention to the strong historical and cultural affinities between Russia and Crimea. It should be remembered that the Crimea had long been part of Russia, its population mostly Russian speaking, and its shift to the Ukraine accomplished by a capricious Kremlin decree in 1954 issued under the authority of Nikita Khrushchev who himself was part Ukrainian. From an international law standpoint the applicability of self-determination is ambiguous in light of this background. From a Ukrainian point of view, the transfer of Crimean sovereignty was a valid legal act 60 years ago, and the population of Crimea do not seem to qualify as ‘a people’ entitled to claim a right of self-determination. Besides, self-determination is not applicable if its exercise fragments an existing state, in this case Ukraine. But as we have seen, when self-determination is asserted successfully, as in former Yugoslavia, the resulting political entities, although fragmenting an existing state, which was a member of the United Nations, the political outcome will be generally accepted, although maybe not formalized immediately.

 

            Putting aside the geopolitical dimension, there are other problems with action (granting the unacceptability of inaction) in the Syria setting. First of all, the regime is not isolated from popular support, although the breadth and depth of the support is controversial, and probably belongs in the domain of the unknowable. Secondly, because the regime is well armed, it would require a major undertaking to have any assurance that intervention would produce regime change, security, and political transition rather than escalation. As recent history has demonstrated over and over again, in the post-colonial era a Western intervention is likely to provoke prolonged, and in the end, effective national territorial resistance, with highly unpredictable political consequences. In Syria, with minimal strategic interests of the United States at stake, the difficulties of achieving regime change by intervention seem too great, especially, as is the case, tactics would be relied upon that cut the casualties on the intervening side to an absolute minimum.  

 

            We are left, then, with the other part of the challenge: the unacceptability of doing nothing in relation to Syria, and a debate about what could be done to promote a more sustainable and satisfactory outcome in Ukraine.  It has been proposed for some time to undertake a series of humanitarian initiatives on behalf of the Syrian people, including a No Fly Zone to protect a humanitarian corridor that would be capable of delivering food and medicine to beleaguered communities in Syria. Such a course of action is beset with problems stemming from a lack of trust giving rise to suspicions about the authenticity of the humanitarian motivations. Concerns also exist as to the control of the scope and magnitude of the forcible action once undertaken, as well as about the genuine difficulties of making such a zone secure without expanding the scale and scope of the use of force.

 

            In the Ukraine, there seems to be no constructive role for the West to play at this stage. Granting that anti-Russian sentiments prevail in the Ukrainian speaking, Catholic, portions of Ukraine, it seems that the upheaval that led the Viktor Yanukovych government to collapse can be viewed as consistent with the internal sovereignty of the country, although not without some inappropriate Western encouragement of destabilizing political opposition. Even granting this kind of interference, it does not create an occasion justifying Russian intervention, and this is so, regardless of the degree to which the new leadership includes a strong fascist component. Fortunately, there is no current prospect of a Russian intervention designed to break up Ukraine, but the impact of Western anger, expressed by the imposition of sanctions personally directed at Putin and some of his close associates seems designed to hurt Russian investment and trade. Such hostile moves could easily trigger Russian retaliation, and give rise to an unpredictable and dangerous escalation of tensions. Given the way the world is organized on the basis of statist logic, reinforced by geopolitical zones of influence, it would be a major move in the direction of global hegemony if the West were to mount a provocative challenge to Russia’s relationship to what was previously known as their ‘near abroad,’ and from any point of view threatened vital Russian security interests.

 

            In relation to both Syria and Ukraine there are internationalist frustrations because of the inability to protect vulnerable people in severe distress. At stake are opposing principles of respect for sovereignty and  human rights, as well as the hostile interplay of dangerous geopolitical rivalries. The effort to uphold the collective rights of weaker countries and their peoples is opportunistically pursued, making current frustrations mainly a reflection of the dysfunctional operations of a structure of hard power world order that accords primacy to state sovereignty, the pursuit of national interests, and the hegemonic claims and conflicts of geopolitical actors having varying ambitions, claims under international law, and diplomatic and military capabilities.

 

            Further in the background is the presence of weapons arsenals filled with nuclear weapons that makes hardly any political or moral goal worth the risk of major inter-governmental military encounters. Until the political cultures of the main countries in the world are prepared to reorient their priorities around concerns with a species sense of identity and solidarity we are stuck with this territorially delimited structure that was initially established in 17th century Europe and then over time exported to the rest of the world. Such a world order is being challenged by functional considerations of sustainability, climate change, and weaponry of mass destruction, as well as by normative considerations associated with human rights, equity, and species survival. The breakdowns of such an order in Syria and Ukraine are emblematic failures of this system, but also in many respects, human tragedies entailing massive suffering and trauma.

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108 Responses to “The Obsolescence of Ideology: Debating Syria and Ukraine”

  1. Gene Schulman March 23, 2014 at 5:49 am #

    Reading this, I get the feeling you are struggling to come to a conclusion about what is happening in the Ukraine and Syria. It is quite clear to me that the US and its NATO and Israeli allies have instigated both events and are trying to create a humanitarian tragedy to justify intervention. R2P has only been an excuse to upset regimes which oppose Western imperialism.

  2. Mario Labbé March 23, 2014 at 6:06 am #

    “Further in the background is the presence of weapons arsenals filled with nuclear weapons that makes hardly any political or moral goal worth the risk of major inter-governmental military encounters. Until the political cultures of the main countries in the world are prepared to reorient their priorities around concerns with a species sense of identity and solidarity we are stuck with this territorially delimited structure that was initially established in 17th century Europe and then over time exported to the rest of the world. Such a world order is being challenged by functional considerations of sustainability, climate change, and weaponry of mass destruction, as well as by normative considerations associated with human rights, equity, and species survival. The breakdowns of such an order in Syria and Ukraine are emblematic failures of this system, but also in many respects, human tragedies entailing massive suffering and trauma.”

    We, who struggle for freedom and emancipation of working class, agree with this argument and it is precisely the sense of our values ​​and our mission in the Historical movement for the survival of the human species.

    • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 7:46 am #

      http://www.counterpunch.org/brenner1223.html

      CounterPunch; December 23, 2002 51 Documents:

      Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis

      by LENNI BRENNER

      In 1983, Croom Helm Ltd. published my 1st book, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. American writers don’t expect favorable reviews from the London Times, but editorialist Edward Mortimer declared that “Brenner is able to cite numerous cases where Zionists collaborated with anti-Semitic regimes, including Hitler’s.”

      Still less could a Trotskyist dream of a review from Izvestia, the Soviet government gazette, but they hailed it. “During the world war, Brenner points out, Zionism showed its real meaning: for the sake of its ambitions, it sacrificed the blood of millions of Jews.”

      Louis Rapoport, a failed Berkeley radical, denounced the book in the Jerusalem Post as “leftist babble.” Nevertheless, he conceded, there were “very real charges that will continue to haunt” Zionism “until they are dealt with honestly.”

      In 1987, Jim Allen, the celebrated British movie/TV writer, based Perdition, a stage play, on the book. When intense pressure on the Royal Court Theatre canceled production, we debated Sir Martin Gilbert, the Churchill family’s private historian, and Stephen Roth, head of the British Zionist Federation, nationwide, prime-time on ITV. The London Review of Books said the Zionist scheme “made it one of the most famous plays of the decade.” Indeed, unless the Queen was sick on the crapper, every politically or theatrically interested person in Britain watched us win, thanks to director Ken Loach’s strategic instructions.

      Extraordinary world interest wasn’t matched in America’s media. Alex Cockburn championed the book in the Village Voice and in the Nation. But the Voice refused to review it. The Nation sent it out to someone, but, sorry, “he never sent in the review.”

      Walter Laqueur had to bark in the Zionist New Republic after their Perdition debacle: “Some of Brenner’s book is invented, some is exaggerated or drawn out of context.” Yet even he admits that “German Zionists did not fully understand the meaning of Hitler when he came to power in 1933. Some of their comments and declarations make embarrassing reading 50 years later.”

      Despite Zionism’s best efforts, over 5,000 copies sold in 18 years before being put on the web: http://www.marxists.de/middleast/brenner/index.htm. Then Lyle Stuart of Barricade Books discovered that a friend, a Zionist propagandist, had never read the complete proposal of the “Stern Gang,” 1940s Zionist terrorists, to go to war on Hitler’s side. 51 Documents was born. Now Americans and others can read the evidence and judge for themselves.

      There are six selections re Zionism’s relationship to anti-Semitism and racism prior to Hitler. The 51 documents, including 35 letters, memos, articles, and reports by Zionists, are from the Hitler era and after. Seven are by Nazis, most notably Eichmann’s memoir, written in Argentina, on Hungarian collaborator RA<<zso Kasztner. Five of the six and 43 of the 51 are complete. The rest are extensive excerpts from important reports. There are four first-time full translations of articles from German, Hebrew, Italian and Russian.

      Zionism convicts itself. On June 21, 1933, the German Zionist Federation sent a secret memorandum to the Nazis:

      "Zionism has no illusions about the difficulty of the Jewish condition, which consists above all in an abnormal occupational pattern and in the fault of an intellectual and moral posture not rooted in one's own tradition. Zionism recognized decades ago that as a result of the assimilationist trend, symptoms of deterioration were bound to appear, which it seeks to overcome by carrying out its challenge to transform Jewish life completely.

      "It is our opinion that an answer to the Jewish question truly satisfying to the national state can be brought about only with the collaboration of the Jewish movement that aims at a social, cultural and moral renewal of Jewry–indeed, that such a national renewal must first create the decisive social and spiritual premises for all solutions.

      "Zionism believes that a rebirth of national life, such as is occurring in German life through adhesion to Christian and national values, must also take place in the Jewish national group. For the Jew, too, origin, religion, community of fate and group consciousness must be of decisive significance in the shaping of his life. This means that the egotistic individualism which arose in the liberal era must be overcome by public spiritedness and by willingness to accept responsibility."

      By 1936, the Post ran a news flash, "German Zionists Seek Recognition":

      "A bold demand that the German Zionist Federation be given recognition by the Government as the only instrument for the exclusive control of German Jewish life was made by the Executive of that body in a proclamation today. All German Jewish organizations, it was declared, should be dominated by the Zionist spirit."

      Zionist factions competed for the honor of allying to Hitler. By 1940-41, the "Stern Gang," among them Yitzhak Shamir, later Prime Minister of Israel, presented the Nazis with the "Fundamental Features of the Proposal of the National Military Organization in Palestine (Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning the Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe and the Participation of the NMO in the War on the Side of Germany."

      Avraham Stern and his followers announced that

      "The NMO, which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that:

      1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a new order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO.

      2. Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed folkish-national Hebraium would be possible and,

      3. The establishment of the historic Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.

      Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement are recognized on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively take part in the war on Germany's side."

      They hanged people all over Europe after WW II for notes to the Nazis like these. But these treasons against the Jews were virtually unknown in the run up to the creation of the Zionist state in May 1948. Ninety percent of America's Jews suddenly became emotional pro-Zionists. With Democrats, Republicans and even the Communist-organized Progressive Party competing for Jewish votes in the November Presidential election, Harry Truman's monetary aid bought arms from pro-Soviet Czechoslovakia, and an Israel was born, run by the German Zionists' cothinkers in Jerusalem.

      Jews and other Americans still know little of Zionism's sordid past. But today only programed fanatics can come away pro-Zionist after reading plain facts. Indeed, according to the American Jewish Identity Survey (2001), less than 22% of all Jews declare themselves Zionist.

      Opposition to Zionism also grows among liberal educated gentiles, every time their declared enemy, Pat Robertson, howls in favor of Orthodox Israel.

      For complex historical reasons, the Vietnam anti-war movement and anti-apartheid campaign emphasized demonstrations over sustained education. Even in victory, little was left behind in the way of attention to foreign affairs among the broad masses. Even after 9/11, the ultimate attention getter, US public knowledge about the Arab world, Islam, the oil industry, Zionism, and Washington's involvement with them, is minimal. But the present anti-Iraq war movement has no choice but to systematically educate itself and the public. The issues are too complex for anything less. Ignorance or illusions about any of the players, here or there, means certain death for X number of Arabs, Israelis, Kurds, Muslims and Americans.

      51 Documents can play a major role in making serious study a priority concern for an anti-war movement that will stay solidly in place until the present bipartisan power structure is destroyed and replaced.

      A check to me, for $22.00 + $1.84 media mail postage, gets a signed book back, anywhere in the US. Folks in other countries, and people wanting rates for bulk orders, should also write

      Lenni Brenner
      Park West
      Finance Station
      POB 20598
      NY, NY 10025

      Lenni Brenner can be reached at: BrennerL21@aol.com

  3. Fred Skolnik March 23, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    No amount of rhetorical sleight of hand is going to disguise the fact that you are rationalizing the Russian occupation and annexation of the Crimea in the same way that Hitler rationalized the Nazi takeover of the Sudetenland in 1938, The issue here is not America but the Russian act itself, which you refuse to condemn. In general, it seems to me that the only real criterion for “advocacy” among people who are hostile to America is which side America (or Israel) is perceived as being on, and therefore they often find themselves entangled in a web of impossible contradictions and supporting the most heinous regimes. Mubarak was perceived as a friend of America and therefore the America haters were for the protesters. Assad is perceived as an enemy of America and therefore the America haters are against the protesters and pull their punches when contemplating his atrocities. The net result of Mubarak’s actions against the Egyptian protesters was pretty close to zero dead. The result of Assad’s actions is 140,000 dead. The Assad advocacy or tolerance is reinforced by the fact that Hizbollah, an enemy of Israel, is supporting him, but at the same time, Hamas, which is also an enemy of Israel, is supporting the rebels. To get around this embarrassing problem, the haters focus with a show of great satisfaction on the fact that the loathsome al-Qaeda is active among the rebels and inadvertantly financed by America, but of course this is the most blatant hypocrisy, as the haters have always refused to acknowledge that al-Qaeda is a barbaric terrorist organization, even trying to exonerate it from 9/11. But lo and behold, Turkey too is on America’s side in the Syrian war. What to do? Criticize Turkey? But Turkey is now an adversary of Israel. When you are irrational, as haters are, you are going to wind up tripping over your own feet and committed to insane positions. And now Putin. Needless to say, when America and Israel are not part of the equation, these people couldn’t care less how many Arabs or Africans or Asians or Slavs are slaughtered in local wars. As Norman Mailer once noted, two blacks in the ring just don’t do it for fight fans, but when a white boy goes up against a black boy, the juices really start flowing.

    • Richard Falk March 23, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      You are spinning a tale from the dark fantasies that motivate such a response. I
      have been consistently opposed to the Assad regime, and favored, although narrowly,
      the NATO intervention in Kosovo. You fail to make even an effort to assess the substance
      of my arguments, and I agree, it is much easier to use this cookie cutter approach based
      on the false and defamatory assumption that I, and those similarly disposed, analyze and
      align ourselves simply on the basis of ‘hatred’ toward Israel and America. Such a response
      is many times easier that assessing the specific criticisms in relation to the facts as known
      and the principles as applicable.

      • Fred Skolnik March 23, 2014 at 10:11 am #

        None of this mitigates the fact that you are rationalizing the Russian takeover of the Crimea in the same way that Hitler rationalized the takeover of the Sudetenland (“The Western media gives little attention to the strong historical and cultural affinities between Russia and Crimea. It should be remembered that the Crimea had long been part of Russia, its population mostly Russian speaking …”). It is in fact incredible that you should seek to justify such an act. As for Assad, he certainly isn’t being reminded by you every other day that he is committing genocide as you are so quick to accuse Israel of at every opportunity. When the package that you are presenting is unraveled, it does not look too good, and your eagerness to inculpate America and’or Israel does at bottom become the substance of your arguments.

    • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/24-march-1999-remembering-the-nato-led-war-on-yugoslavia-kosovo-freedom-fighters-financed-by-organized-crime/23912

      Twelve years ago, March 24th 1999, marks the commencement of NATO’s aerial bombardment of Yugoslavia. The bombings which lasted for almost three months, were followed by the military invasion (under a bogus UN mandate) and illegal occupation of the province of Kosovo.

      In the course of the last week, the so-called international community, backed by the UN Security Council has called for the bombing of Libya, a sovereign country, allegedly to protect the lives of civilians under the logo of “Responsibility to Protect”.

      The covert operations, the military strategies applied in Libya not to mention the process of media disformation bear a canny resemblance to Yugoslavia in 1999.

      The Libyan “humanitarian bombing” campaign is an integral part of a military strategy which consists in destroying the country’s civilian infrastructure. It is a “copy and paste” of previous “humanitarian bombing” endeavors including the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia and the 2003 military campaign and occupation of Iraq.

      The military technology applied today against Libya is far more sophisticated and precise.

      In 1999, when Belgrade was bombed, the children’s hospital was the object of air attacks. It had been singled out by military planners as a strategic target.

      NATO acknowledged that that had done it, but to “save the lives” of the newly borne, they did not target the section of the hospital where the babies were residing, instead they targeted the building which housed the power generator, which meant no more power for the incubators, which meant the entire hospital was for all sakes and purposes destroyed and many of the children died.

      I visited that hospital, one year after the bombing in June 2000 and saw with my own eyes how they did it with utmost accuracy. These are war crimes using the most advanced military technology using NATO’s so-called smart bombs.

      In Yugoslavia, the civilian economy was the target: hospitals, airports, government buildings, manufacturing, infrastructure, not to mention 17th century churches and the country’s historical and cultural heritage.

      The following article focussing on the KLA, written and published in April 1999, documents the KLA’s links to organized crime and Al Qaeda.

      While the nature of the opposition in Libya remains to be analysed, Western media reports have confirmed that it is integrated by members of the Libyan Islamic Fighter Group (LIFG), a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda.

      Michel Chossudovsky, March 24, 2011

      Heralded by the global media as a humanitarian peace-keeping mission, NATO’s ruthless bombing of Belgrade and Pristina goes far beyond the breach of international law. While Slobodan Milosevic is demonised, portrayed as a remorseless dictator, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is upheld as a self-respecting nationalist movement struggling for the rights of ethnic Albanians. The truth of the matter is that the KLA is sustained by organised crime with the tacit approval of the United States and its allies.

      Following a pattern set during the War in Bosnia, public opinion has been carefully misled. The multibillion dollar Balkans narcotics trade has played a crucial role in “financing the conflict” in Kosovo in accordance with Western economic, strategic and military objectives. Amply documented by European police files, acknowledged by numerous studies, the links of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to criminal syndicates in Albania, Turkey and the European Union have been known to Western governments and intelligence agencies since the mid-1990s.

      “…The financing of the Kosovo guerilla war poses critical questions and it sorely test claims of an “ethical” foreign policy. Should the West back a guerilla army that appears to partly financed by organised crime.” 1

      While KLA leaders were shaking hands with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at Rambouillet, Europol (the European Police Organization based in the Hague) was “preparing a report for European interior and justice ministers on a connection between the KLA and Albanian drug gangs.”2 In the meantime, the rebel army has been skilfully heralded by the global media (in the months preceding the NATO bombings) as broadly representative of the interests of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

      With KLA leader Hashim Thaci (a 29 year “freedom fighter”) appointed as chief negotiator at Rambouillet, the KLA has become the de facto helmsman of the peace process on behalf of the ethnic Albanian majority and this despite its links to the drug trade. The West was relying on its KLA puppets to rubber-stamp an agreement which would have transformed Kosovo into an occupied territory under Western Administration.

      Ironically Robert Gelbard, America’s special envoy to Bosnia, had described the KLA last year as “terrorists”. Christopher Hill, America’s chief negotiator and architect of the Rambouillet agreement “has also been a strong critic of the KLA for its alleged dealings in drugs.”3 Moreover, barely a few two months before Rambouillet, the US State Department had acknowledged (based on reports from the US Observer Mission) the role of the KLA in terrorising and uprooting ethnic Albanians:

      “…the KLA harass or kidnap anyone who comes to the police, … KLA representatives had threatened to kill villagers and burn their homes if they did not join the KLA [a process which has continued since the NATO bombings]… [T]he KLA harassment has reached such intensity that residents of six villages in the Stimlje region are “ready to flee.” 4

      While backing a “freedom movement” with links to the drug trade, the West seems also intent in bypassing the civilian Kosovo Democratic League and its leader Ibrahim Rugova who has called for an end to the bombings and expressed his desire to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Yugoslav authorities.5 It is worth recalling that a few days before his March 31st Press Conference, Rugova had been reported by the KLA (alongside three other leaders including Fehmi Agani) to have been killed by the Serbs.

      Covert Financing of “Freedom Fighters”

      Remember Oliver North and the Contras? The pattern in Kosovo is similar to other CIA covert operations in Central America, Haiti and Afghanistan where “freedom fighters” were financed through the laundering of drug money. Since the onslaught of the Cold War, Western intelligence agencies have developed a complex relationship to the illegal narcotics trade. In case after case, drug money laundered in the international banking system has financed covert operations.

      According to author Alfred McCoy, the pattern of covert financing was established in the Indochina war. In the 1960s, the Meo army in Laos was funded by the narcotics trade as part of Washington’s military strategy against the combined forces of the neutralist government of Prince Souvanna Phouma and the Pathet Lao.6

      The pattern of drug politics set in Indochina has since been replicated in Central America and the Caribbean. “The rising curve of cocaine imports to the US”, wrote journalist John Dinges “followed almost exactly the flow of US arms and military advisers to Central America”.7

      The military in Guatemala and Haiti, to which the CIA provided covert support, were known to be involved in the trade of narcotics into Southern Florida. And as revealed in the Iran-Contra and Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) scandals, there was strong evidence that covert operations were funded through the laundering of drug money. “Dirty money” recycled through the banking system–often through an anonymous shell company– became “covert money,” used to finance various rebel groups and guerilla movements including the Nicaraguan Contras and the Afghan Mujahadeen. According to a 1991 Time Magazine report:

      “Because the US wanted to supply the mujehadeen rebels in Afghanistan with stinger missiles and other military hardware it needed the full cooperation of Pakistan. By the mid-1980s, the CIA operation in Islamabad was one of the largest US intelligence stations in the World. `If BCCI is such an embarrassment to the US that forthright investigations are not being pursued it has a lot to do with the blind eye the US turned to the heroin trafficking in Pakistan’, said a US intelligence officer.8

      America and Germany join Hands

      Since the early 1990s, Bonn and Washington have joined hands in establishing their respective spheres of influence in the Balkans. Their intelligence agencies have also collaborated. According to intelligence analyst John Whitley, covert support to the Kosovo rebel army was established as a joint endeavour between the CIA and Germany’s Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND) (which previously played a key role in installing a right wing nationalist government under Franjo Tudjman in Croatia).9 The task to create and finance the KLA was initially given to Germany: “They used German uniforms, East German weapons and were financed, in part, with drug money”.10 According to Whitley, the CIA was, subsequently instrumental in training and equipping the KLA in Albania.11

      The covert activities of Germany’s BND were consistent with Bonn’s intent to expand its “Lebensraum” into the Balkans. Prior to the onset of the civil war in Bosnia, Germany and its Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher had actively supported secession; it had “forced the pace of international diplomacy” and pressured its Western allies to recognize Slovenia and Croatia. According to the Geopolitical Drug Watch, both Germany and the US favoured (although not officially) the formation of a “Greater Albania” encompassing Albania, Kosovo and parts of Macedonia.12 According to Sean Gervasi, Germany was seeking a free hand among its allies “to pursue economic dominance in the whole of Mitteleuropa.”13

      Islamic Fundamentalism in Support of the KLA

      Bonn and Washington’s “hidden agenda” consisted in triggering nationalist liberation movements in Bosnia and Kosovo with the ultimate purpose of destabilising Yugoslavia. The latter objective was also carried out “by turning a blind eye” to the influx of mercenaries and financial support from Islamic fundamentalist organisations.14

      Mercenaries financed by Saudi Arabia and Koweit had been fighting in Bosnia.15 And the Bosnian pattern was replicated in Kosovo: Mujahadeen mercenaries from various Islamic countries are reported to be fighting alongside the KLA in Kosovo. German, Turkish and Afghan instructors were reported to be training the KLA in guerilla and diversion tactics.16

      According to a Deutsche Press-Agentur report, financial support from Islamic countries to the KLA had been channelled through the former Albanian chief of the National Information Service (NIS), Bashkim Gazidede.17 “Gazidede, reportedly a devout Moslem who fled Albania in March of last year [1997], is presently [1998] being investigated for his contacts with Islamic terrorist organizations.”18

      The supply route for arming KLA “freedom fighters” are the rugged mountainous borders of Albania with Kosovo and Macedonia. Albania is also a key point of transit of the Balkans drug route which supplies Western Europe with grade four heroin. 75% of the heroin entering Western Europe is from Turkey. And a large part of drug shipments originating in Turkey transits through the Balkans. According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “it is estimated that 4-6 metric tons of heroin leave each month from Turkey having [through the Balkans] as destination Western Europe.”19 A recent intelligence report by Germany’s Federal Criminal Agency suggests that: “Ethnic Albanians are now the most prominent group in the distribution of heroin in Western consumer countries.”20

      The Laundering of Dirty Money

      In order to thrive, the criminal syndicates involved in the Balkans narcotics trade need friends in high places. Smuggling rings with alleged links to the Turkish State are said to control the trafficking of heroin through the Balkans “cooperating closely with other groups with which they have political or religious ties” including criminal groups in Albanian and Kosovo.21 In this new global financial environment, powerful undercover political lobbies connected to organized crime cultivate links to prominent political figures and officials of the military and intelligence establishment.

      The narcotics trade nonetheless uses respectable banks to launder large amounts of dirty money. While comfortably removed from the smuggling operations per se, powerful banking interests in Turkey but mainly those in financial centres in Western Europe discretely collect fat commissions in a multibillion dollar money laundering operation. These interests have high stakes in ensuring a safe passage of drug shipments into Western European markets.

      The Albanian Connection

      Arms smuggling from Albania into Kosovo and Macedonia started at the beginning of 1992, when the Democratic Party came to power, headed by President Sali Berisha. An expansive underground economy and cross border trade had unfolded. A triangular trade in oil, arms and narcotics had developed largely as a result of the embargo imposed by the international community on Serbia and Montenegro and the blockade enforced by Greece against Macedonia.

      Industry and agriculture in Kosovo were spearheaded into bankruptcy following the IMF’s lethal “economic medicine” imposed on Belgrade in 1990. The embargo was imposed on Yugoslavia. Ethnic Albanians and Serbs were driven into abysmal poverty. Economic collapse created an environment which fostered the progress of illicit trade. In Kosovo, the rate of unemployment increased to a staggering 70 percent (according to Western sources).

      Poverty and economic collapse served to exacerbate simmering ethnic tensions. Thousands of unemployed youths “barely out of their Teens” from an impoverished population, were drafted into the ranks of the KLA…22

      In neighbouring Albania, the free market reforms adopted since 1992 had created conditions which favoured the criminalisation of State institutions. Drug money was also laundered in the Albanian pyramids (ponzi schemes) which mushroomed during the government of former President Sali Berisha (1992-1997).23 These shady investment funds were an integral part of the economic reforms inflicted by Western creditors on Albania.

      Drug barons in Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia (with links to the Italian mafia) had become the new economic elites, often associated with Western business interests. In turn the financial proceeds of the trade in drugs and arms were recycled towards other illicit activities (and vice versa) including a vast prostitution racket between Albania and Italy. Albanian criminal groups operating in Milan, “have become so powerful running prostitution rackets that they have even taken over the Calabrians in strength and influence.”24

      The application of “strong economic medicine” under the guidance of the Washington based Bretton Woods institutions had contributed to wrecking Albania’s banking system and precipitating the collapse of the Albanian economy. The resulting chaos enabled American and European transnationals to carefully position themselves. Several Western oil companies including Occidental, Shell and British Petroleum had their eyes rivetted on Albania’s abundant and unexplored oil-deposits. Western investors were also gawking Albania’s extensive reserves of chrome, copper, gold, nickel and platinum… The Adenauer Foundation had been lobbying in the background on behalf of German mining interests. 25

      Berisha’s Minister of Defence Safet Zoulali (alleged to have been involved in the illegal oil and narcotics trade) was the architect of the agreement with Germany’s Preussag (handing over control over Albania’s chrome mines) against the competing bid of the US led consortium of Macalloy Inc. in association with Rio Tinto Zimbabwe (RTZ).26

      Large amounts of narco-dollars had also been recycled into the privatisation programmes leading to the acquisition of State assets by the mafias. In Albania, the privatisation programme had led virtually overnight to the development of a property owning class firmly committed to the “free market”. In Northern Albania, this class was associated with the Guegue “families” linked to the Democratic Party.

      Controlled by the Democratic Party under the presidency of Sali Berisha (1992-97), Albania’s largest financial “pyramid” VEFA Holdings had been set up by the Guegue “families” of Northern Albania with the support of Western banking interests. VEFA was under investigation in Italy in 1997 for its ties to the Mafia which allegedly used VEFA to launder large amounts of dirty money.27

      According to one press report (based on intelligence sources), senior members of the Albanian government during the Presidency of Sali Berisha including cabinet members and members of the secret police SHIK were alleged to be involved in drugs trafficking and illegal arms trading into Kosovo:

      (…) The allegations are very serious. Drugs, arms, contraband cigarettes all are believed to have been handled by a company run openly by Albania’s ruling Democratic Party, Shqiponja (…). In the course of 1996 Defence Minister, Safet Zhulali [was alleged] to had used his office to facilitate the transport of arms, oil and contraband cigarettes. (…) Drugs barons from Kosovo (…) operate in Albania with impunity, and much of the transportation of heroin and other drugs across Albania, from Macedonia and Greece en route to Italy, is believed to be organised by Shik, the state security police (…). Intelligence agents are convinced the chain of command in the rackets goes all the way to the top and have had no hesitation in naming ministers in their reports.28

      The trade in narcotics and weapons was allowed to prosper despite the presence since 1993 of a large contingent of American troops at the Albanian-Macedonian border with a mandate to enforce the embargo. The West had turned a blind eye. The revenues from oil and narcotics were used to finance the purchase of arms (often in terms of direct barter): “Deliveries of oil to Macedonia (skirting the Greek embargo [in 1993-4] can be used to cover heroin, as do deliveries of kalachnikov rifles to Albanian `brothers’ in Kosovo”.29

      The Northern tribal clans or “fares” had also developed links with Italy’s crime syndicates.30 In turn, the latter played a key role in smuggling arms across the Adriatic into the Albanian ports of Dures and Valona. At the outset in 1992, the weapons channelled into Kosovo were largely small arms including Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles, RPK and PPK machine-guns, 12.7 calibre heavy machine-guns, etc.

      The proceeds of the narcotics trade has enabled the KLA to rapidly develop a force of some 30,000 men. More recently, the KLA has acquired more sophisticated weaponry including anti-aircraft and antiarmor rockets. According to Belgrade, some of the funds have come directly from the CIA “funnelled through a so-called “Government of Kosovo” based in Geneva, Switzerland. Its Washington office employs the public-relations firm of Ruder Finn–notorious for its slanders of the Belgrade government”.31

      The KLA has also acquired electronic surveillance equipment which enables it to receive NATO satellite information concerning the movement of the Yugoslav Army. The KLA training camp in Albania is said to “concentrate on heavy weapons training – rocket propelled grenades, medium caliber cannons, tanks and transporter use, as well as on communications, and command and control”. (According to Yugoslav government sources.32

      These extensive deliveries of weapons to the Kosovo rebel army were consistent with Western geopolitical objectives. Not surprisingly, there has been a “deafening silence” of the international media regarding the Kosovo arms-drugs trade. In the words of a 1994 Report of the Geopolitical Drug Watch: “the trafficking [of drugs and arms] is basically being judged on its geostrategic implications (…) In Kosovo, drugs and weapons trafficking is fuelling geopolitical hopes and fears”…33

      The fate of Kosovo had already been carefully laid out prior to the signing of the 1995 Dayton agreement. NATO had entered an unwholesome “marriage of convenience” with the mafia. “Freedom fighters” were put in place, the narcotics trade enabled Washington and Bonn to “finance the Kosovo conflict” with the ultimate objective of destabilising the Belgrade government and fully recolonising the Balkans. The destruction of an entire country is the outcome. Western governments which participated in the NATO operation bear a heavy burden of responsibility in the deaths of civilians, the impoverishment of both the ethnic Albanian and Serbian populations and the plight of those who were brutally uprooted from towns and villages in Kosovo as a result of the bombings.

      NOTES

      1. Roger Boyes and Eske Wright, Drugs Money Linked to the Kosovo Rebels The Times, London, Monday, March 24, 1999.

      2. Ibid.

      3. Philip Smucker and Tim Butcher, “Shifting stance over KLA has betrayed’ Albanians”, Daily Telegraph, London, 6 April 1999

      4. KDOM Daily Report, released by the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs, Office of South Central European Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, December 21, 1998; Compiled by EUR/SCE (202-647-4850) from daily reports of the U.S. element of the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission, December 21, 1998.

      5. “Rugova, sous protection serbe appelle a l’arret des raides”, Le Devoir, Montreal, 1 April 1999.

      6. See Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia Harper and Row, New York, 1972.

      7. See John Dinges, Our Man in Panama, The Shrewd Rise and Brutal Fall of Manuel Noriega, Times Books, New York, 1991.

      8. “The Dirtiest Bank of All,” Time, July 29, 1991, p. 22.

      9. Truth in Media, Phoenix, 2 April, 1999; see also Michel Collon, Poker Menteur, editions EPO, Brussels, 1997.

      10. Quoted in Truth in Media, Phoenix, 2 April, 1999).

      11. Ibid.

      12. Geopolitical Drug Watch, No 32, June 1994, p. 4

      13. Sean Gervasi, “Germany, US and the Yugoslav Crisis”, Covert Action Quarterly, No. 43, Winter 1992-93).

      14. See Daily Telegraph, 29 December 1993.

      15. For further details see Michel Collon, Poker Menteur, editions EPO, Brussels, 1997, p. 288.

      16. Truth in Media, Kosovo in Crisis, Phoenix, 2 April 1999.

      17. Deutsche Presse-Agentur, March 13, 1998.

      18. Ibid.

      19. Daily News, Ankara, 5 March 1997.

      20. Quoted in Boyes and Wright, op cit.

      21. ANA, Athens, 28 January 1997, see also Turkish Daily News, 29 January 1997.

      22. Brian Murphy, KLA Volunteers Lack Experience, The Associated Press, 5 April 1999.

      23. See Geopolitical Drug Watch, No. 35, 1994, p. 3, see also Barry James, In Balkans, Arms for Drugs, The International Herald Tribune Paris, June 6, 1994.

      24. The Guardian, 25 March 1997.

      25. For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, La crisi albanese, Edizioni Gruppo Abele, Torino, 1998.

      26. Ibid.

      27. Andrew Gumbel, The Gangster Regime We Fund, The Independent, February 14, 1997, p. 15.

      28. Ibid.

      29. Geopolitical Drug Watch, No. 35, 1994, p. 3.

      30. Geopolitical Drug Watch, No 66, p. 4.

      31. Quoted in Workers’ World, May 7, 1998.

      32. See Government of Yugoslavia at http://www.gov.yu/terrorism/terroristcamps.html.

      33. Geopolitical Drug Watch, No 32, June 1994, p. 4

      • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 7:51 am #

        http://www.globalresearch.ca/natos-rape-of-yugoslavia/5375189

        March 24, 1999 will go down in history as a day of infamy. US-led NATO raped Yugoslavia. Doing so was its second major combat operation.

        It was lawless aggression. No Security Council resolution authorized it. NATO’s Operation Allied Force lasted 78 days.

        Washington called it Operation Noble Anvil. Evil best describes it. On June 10, operations ended.

        From March 1991 through mid-June 1999, Balkan wars raged. Yugoslavia “balkanized” into seven countries. They include Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia.

        Enormous human suffering was inflicted. Washington bears most responsibility.

        Diana Johnstone’s book titled “Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions” is a definitive account of what happened.

        Claims about Milosevic’s “Greater Serbia” ambitions were false. Washington-led wars wanted Yugoslavia balkanized. Germany was very much involved.

        Both countries encouraged cessation. They provoked conflict. After ravaging and destroying Yugoslavia, they took credit for ending it.

        Milosevic wanted Yugoslavia’s disintegration prevented. He wanted minority Serbs protected. Johnstone said Washington’s aims included:
        ◾preventing a European-backed settlement;
        ◾“assert(ing) its dominance over European allies in the arbitration of European conflicts;”
        ◾expanding NATO through a new “out of area” humanitarian mission (aka US dominated colonization); and
        ◾“gain(ing) influence in the Muslim world by championing the Bosnian Muslims.”

        She called “government by international bureaucracy (a) new trend in the New World Order.”

        After the 1995 General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (the Dayton Accords), “Bosnia-Herzegovina (was) ruled by…a complicated set of local authorities under the strict supervision of a ‘High Representative’ (a contemporary Proconsul or Viceroy) who can, and does, annul laws adopted by the local democratic institutions or dismiss democratically chosen officials” not supportive of US imperial aims, said Johnstone.

        In other words, democracy was verboten. It prevented from emerging. Washington rules were instituted. Colonization ended Yugoslavia’s market socialism experiment.

        Predatory free-market harshness replaced it. Complete with IMF-imposed financial terrorism. In October 1998, a NATO air verification mission was agreed to for Kosovo.

        In November, Milosevic agreed to a framework political settlement. A second Verification Mission was established to assure compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions 1160 and 1199.

        The former banned arms sales to Serbia. It imposed economic sanctions. The latter ordered both sides in Kosovo to end hostilities and observe a ceasefire.

        The so-called February 1999 Interim Agreement for Peace and Self-Government in Kosovo (the Rambouillet Agreement) was prelude for war.

        It was an ultimatum Milosevic couldn’t accept. It was designed for rejection. It was a take-it-or-leave-it demand.

        It ordered Milosevic to surrender Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) sovereignty to a NATO occupation force.

        It demanded unimpeded access to its land, airspace and territorial waters, as well as any area or facility therein.

        It required the FRY to let NATO freely operate outside federal law. Demanding it was outrageous. Milosevic’s justifiable refusal became pretext for war.

        It followed mercilessly. Nobel laureate Harold Pinter denounced what happened.

        He called US-led bombing and dismemberment of Yugoslavia “barbaric (and despicable), another blatant and brutal assertion of US power using NATO as its missile (to consolidate) American domination of Europe.”

        For 78 days, around 600 aircraft flew about 3,000 sorties. Thousands of tons of ordnance were dropped, as well as hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles. Up to then, its ferocity was unprecedented.

        Nearly everything was struck. Massive destruction and disruption followed. Known or suspected military sites were targeted.

        So were civilian sites and infrastructure unrelated to military operations. They included:
        ◾power plants;
        ◾factories;
        ◾civilian transportation;
        ◾telecommunications facilities;
        ◾roads, bridges and rail lines;
        ◾fuel depots;
        ◾schools;
        ◾a TV station;
        ◾China’s Belgrade embassy willfully on a false pretext (claiming a mistake didn’t wash);
        ◾hospitals;
        ◾government offices;
        ◾churches;
        ◾historic landmarks; and more.

        Cities, villages and other areas were struck throughout the country. NATO began running out of targets. It didn’t matter. Bombing continued relentlessly.

        It was willful, lawless aggression. Horrendous war crimes were committed unaccountably. Humanitarian disaster followed.

        Outrageous claims about humanitarian intervention were fraudulent. Washington claimed another imperial trophy. The former Yugoslavia no longer exists.

        An estimated $100 billion in damage was inflicted. Environmental contamination was extensive.

        Large numbers were killed, injured or displaced. Two million people lost their livelihoods. Many their homes and communities. Most their futures.

        Serbia’s sovereign Kosovo territory was lost. It’s now US/NATO occupied territory. It’s home to Camp Bondsteel. It’s one of America’s largest military bases.

        Kosovo is run by Hashim Thaci. He’s a former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright protege.

        In 2000, she ordered then chief Hague prosecutor Carla del Ponte to exclude his name from a list of suspected war criminals.

        He’s a street thug posing as prime minister. He’s nicknamed “The Snake” for good reason.

        Former Clinton Balkans envoy Robert Gelbard called him and likeminded figures “terrorists.”

        Former US DEA official Michael Levine said:

        He has known organized crimes ties. “The KLA (he formerly headed) is tied in with every known Middle and Far Eastern drug cartel.”

        “Interpol, Europol, and nearly every European intelligence and counter-narcotics agency have files open on drug syndicates that lead right to the KLA…”

        He remains unindicted. Washington, EU nations and UN officials elevated him to power.

        He’s a former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commander. Post-war, he usurped power. He took control of many municipalities.

        It doesn’t matter. He’s Washington’s man in Kosovo. He runs it like a crime family. Friends in high places support him.

        Washington and complicit EU partners opened an avenue to Eurasia. A permanent US military presence was established where it previously didn’t exist. It serves America’s broader imperial agenda.

        Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria followed. So does slow-motion genocide in Palestine. Iran’s turn awaits.

        Washington’s dirty hands want Venezuela’s democratically elected government ousted. Obama’s war on humanity continues.

        Russia is in the eye of the storm. Global war is threatened. Neocons infest Washington. They influence administration and congressional policy.

        What’s ongoing bears erie resemblance to events preceding WW I. Barbara Tuchman’s “The Guns of August” explained its beginning and early weeks.

        One thing led to others. Events spun out-of-control. Deadly consequences followed. Before it ended, over 20 million died. Many more were wounded and/or maimed. An entire generation of youth was lost.

        Weapons used then were toys compared to now. A possible armageddon end times scenario looms. Irresponsible leaders risk it. Mainstream media support what demand opposition.

        History has a disturbing way of repeating. George Santayana famous dictum is forgotten. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” he said.

        George Bernard Shaw once said: “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.”

        Damn fools run things now like before. Today’s super-weapons make earlier ones seem like toys.

        Crazies act like nuclear missiles and bombs are king-sized hand grenades. Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance.

        Will Ukraine become a flashpoint for East/West confrontation. Will something erupt making Yugoslavia’s destruction look insignificant by comparison?

        Will Washington neocon extremists challenge Russia belligerently? Will mainstream media support them? Will public outrage fail to materialize?

        Will potential armageddon be risked? Will never again really happen this time? Einstein once said he didn’t know what WW III weapons would be used.

        “…WW IV will be fought with sticks and stones,” he said. Betrand Russell was an Einstein contemporary.

        “Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war,” he asked? It’s the only way to live in peace. The alternative risks annihilation.

        The choice is clear. The wrong one assures potential disaster. America heads humanity dangerously toward it. Either we end wars or they’ll end us. There’s no in between.

        A Final Comment

        The late Michael Mandel (1948 – 2013) was among a group of law professors wanting justice. They filed war crimes charges against numerous Western officials and complicit allies.

        They did so at International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Notable US ones charged included Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, William Cohen and General Wesley Clark.

        European ones included Tony Blair, Robin Cook, George Robertson, Javia Solana, Jamie Shea, and numerous others – 68 in all.

        On February 22, 2000, in testimony before Canada’s House of Commons, Mandel explained he “specialize(d) in criminal law and comparative law with an emphasis on domestic and foreign tribunals.”

        He got involved because of the outrageous “killing and maiming of innocent people for what…were purely self-interested motives.”

        He called it “the farthest thing from humanitarianism.” NATO’s war was illegal, he stressed. Force is justified only in self-defense or when Security Council authorized.

        He explained relevant UN Charter provisions. They leave no ambiguity. They were systematically violated. So was the NATO Treaty and Canadian law.

        The NATO Treaty Preamble states:

        “The Parties to this Treaty reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments.”

        “Article 1: The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.”

        “Article 7: This treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations under the charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

        The Canada Defense Act states:
        ◾“31. (1) the Governor in Council may place the Canadian forces or any component, unit or other element thereof on active service anywhere in or beyond Canada at any time when it appears advisable to do so.
        ◾(a) by reason of an emergency, for the defence of Canada; or
        ◾(b) in consequence of any action undertaken by Canada under the United Nations Charter, the North Atlantic treaty or any other similar instrument for collective defence that may be entered into by Canada.”

        Mandel was unequivocal saying:

        “The illegality of NATO’s war on Yugoslavia is not disputed by any legal scholar of repute, even those who had some sympathy for the war…”

        “NATO has no humanitarian lessons to teach the world,” he stressed.

        “Much more plausible than the humanitarian thesis is the one that the United States deliberately provoked this war, that it deliberately exploited and exacerbated another country’s tragedy…for purely selfish (political) and economic” reasons.

        It ravaged and destroyed a country for power and profit. War crimes charges against culpable officials are warranted.

        Grave international law breaches were committed. No Western or complicit official was held accountable. Justice remains denied.

        Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

        His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

        http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

        Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

        Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

        It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

        http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

  4. ray032 March 23, 2014 at 7:26 am #

    Professor Falk, there is an unfolding Revelation of things both Temporal and Spiritual in this world like never before in Human History.

    With the introduction of nuclear weapons, we are the 1st Generation having the Weapons of Mass Destruction, the means of the self-destruction of Nations and Peoples. It will be the survivors having Hell to pay if they are not Citizens of Heaven. We truly are living in Interesting Times.

    There have been many human generations since the Tower of Babel, the Beginning of the Nations parable from 4400 years ago. It seems since that event, the world has always been manipulated motivated by the Pride of Power. In my view, we are coming to the end of that Age described in your last paragraph.

    This is my view concerning the Revelation of things material and Spiritual mentioned above in the discussion of science and religious Creationism posted in Raw Story Yesterday;

    I have Faith in the Eternal God, and science does not challenge that at all. There is news recently science is only now getting signals from the original Big Bang they estimate to have happened some 11,000,000,000 years ago.

    I have to confess, even though I have that Faith in the Eternal, I have no concept or have fully realized Eternity in my finite mind, but I can only imagine even 11 Billion years would be like a flash in the pan.

    What I have seen in the Book is 1000 years to God is the same as a Day.

    In that frame of reference, and with the benefit of hindsight, God did create the world in 6 Days through the Book. The following is the Beginning of the Book;
    Genesis 1
    [1] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    (11Billion or 11 trillion, it doesn’t matter)

    [2] And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face
    of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
    (this is a big world, and to the individual living wherever they be, the world is much larger than the little space they occupy, and is without form and void as far as they can see. There is no doubt to this very Day, darkness is still upon the face of the deep mysteries of Life and this world))

    [3] And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
    (Big Bang! Light)

    What intrigues me in the Genesis account is the next line;
    [4] And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

    This suggests to me God didn’t know what Light was until God saw the need for it in Eternity, and even God is on an Eternal voyage of Discovery.

    In my view of the Spirit of these words, I have no conflict with Science.

    Reading on, it records God created humans to live in a Paradise Garden on this earth, naked and unashamed, to get it on and inhabit this earth. It records God saw that was good.
    Since the Muslim Quran is is the rewriting of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, I can see where they could see 47 Virgins waiting for them in God’s Paradise described in the Jewish Genesis 1

    It must be primal in humans, that for many, the only time they acknowledge God is when they are with someone, naked and unashamed, and it was good!

    That was at the Beginning, 6000 years or 6 Days ago.

    At the end of the Book, it is recorded;

    And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth
    Revelation 11:18

    Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.
    Revelation 12:12

    Everyone can see in this world, we are destroying this earth in our pursuit of material comforts and things.

    People may not see the Spirit of God, but in this world, everyone can see the Nations are angry and getting angrier and the People within them. The Witches Brew in Syria is evidence of that

    Which wrath is which?

    By that 1000 years = 1 Day frame of reference, by the same scale, this is the 3rd Day when the Spirit of Christ will rise again, and has already risen in me.

    In the last Book of the Book it records there is another Genesis to come, and it is addressed to individuals.

    [14] And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things say the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the Creation of God;
    [15] I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot.
    [16] So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.
    Revelation 3

    In the last chapter of the last Book in the Book I am relieved to see it is recorded;
    [11] He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
    [12] And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
    [13] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

    Extrapolating verse 11, it tells me I don’t have to waste my energies judging anybody. All I have to do is Love God and love others as they are where they are with the Love with which God loves me.

    Let all those that seek You Rejoice and be Glad in You: let such as Love Your Salvation say continually, The LORD be Magnified.
    Psalm 40

    • Gene Schulman March 23, 2014 at 7:52 am #

      With all due respect to your personal beliefs, ray032: Nonsense!

      • ray032 March 23, 2014 at 8:10 am #

        And I respect your personal opinion, specifically for now, your opening comment in this discussion. I see it that way too!

        Maybe, if you think on my comment, if not Today, eventually, you may see the sense of it, if not all of it, some of it.

    • Mario Labbé March 23, 2014 at 10:26 am #

      Hey, ray32, if you got that faith, you also should know Ten Commandments which say: I. I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt not have other gods before me.
      II. Thou shalt not make for thyself any graven image.
      III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
      IV. Remember the Lord’s Day to keep it holy.
      V. Honor thy Father and Mother.
      VI. Thou shalt not kill.
      VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
      VIII. Thou shalt not steal.
      IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
      X. Thou shalt not covet.

      Now, could you tell me, how many people on this Earth scrupulously follow the rules that God has provided us ? If this Earth Babel does not provide enough people apply to the construction of His Kingdom, does it should mean that God just like the disappearance or destruction of the human species?

      I agree Gene when he’s saying, NOWAY !!!!

      • ray032 March 23, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

        No one but God could answer your question, but obviously not enough. or this world would not be in the dire straights it’s in.

        As to freely expressing our personal views publicly, some will share them and others won’t. That’s the chance we all take. It’s alright for you to agree with Gene. Someone else replied with this comment in Raw Story;

        Paul M Ray Joseph Cormier • a day ago

        Cool story bro, In no way flies in the face of reality, and isn’t in any way a case of special pleading. You’ve definitely proven that your creation story is right, and all others are wrong.

        You just got your card stamped. Straight to Rapture for you!

      • Kata Fisher March 23, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

        Ray,
        “Left behind” doctrine is a heresy.
        Christianity misinterprets events of End Times (The Second & Third Messiah’s coming / presence in the world) in general.
        When we reference to the Rapture – this means that living Church is “meeting” the One who is coming down to earth to establish Eternal Kingdom / Jerusalem…according to New Testament teaching – this event is a post tribulation (and is post – tribulation events of teaching in the Books of Old Testament).

        Look and See :D

      • ray032 March 23, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

        Kata, it is written Jesus asks, Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?
        Luke 18

        Why does he ask?

        [20] At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
        John 14

        Where do you go to meet with the Lord? Anyone having the genuine Faith doesn’t have to go too far.

        [20] And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God comes not with observation:
        [21] Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU.
        Luke 17

      • Kata Fisher March 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

        “…According t the riches of the Grace of Him; which He lavished upon us in all wisdom and understanding; having made known to us the mystery of the will of Him, which he purposed in Him, for the stewardship /administration of the fullness of the times; to head up the all things in Christ, the things in the havens, and all things upon the earth;…”

        Paul wrote this to the Church in Ephesus:
        :)

  5. peteybee March 23, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    Thanks for your post! I have been wondering about the problems with the left/right label too. Here is what I came up with (fyi, i DO have an ideological axe to grind):

    http://spreadanidea.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/what-the-ukraine-crisis-tells-me-about-left-vs-right/

  6. Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 23, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    Prof. Falk,

    I’m curious as to why you don’t apply to Palestine-Israel the same style of analysis you apply to Syria, the Ukraine and just about everywhere else. Certainly there are complexities in the Palestine-Israel conflict that warrant consideration before rushing to judgment, as you do. Instead, you airbrush out these complexities via a mechanism you call “constructive imbalance”: Israelis are evil; Palestinians are good. To justify this false image, your narrative ignores Israeli peace initiatives, the existence of a substantial pro-peace movement in Israel and among Diaspora Jews…as it ignores or whitewashes the genocidal intentions enshrined in the Hamas Covenant (you characterize them as “vague aspirations”), and items such as Khaled Meishal’s genocidal threats in a speech he made upon returning to Gaza. In it, he pledged not only to annihilate Israel, but to do the killing slowly so that each Israeli would suffer pain and watch loved ones suffering. In this instance, a comparison with the Nazis is appropriate: Zyklon B killed swiftly and painlessly. You argued that Meishal’s diatribe be ignored because he was only responding to the excitement of the moment, which is a strange conclusion coming from the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights violations in the Occupied Territories.

    Prof. Falk, you complain about American exceptionalism and the double standard that arises from it. Might we call your approach “Falkian Exceptionalism”?

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Gene Schulman March 23, 2014 at 10:46 am #

      Ah, the good rabbi returns. This time, I’m afraid, he is a bit off topic. But then, he does seem to have a one track mind: to slander Richard Falk.

    • Kata Fisher March 23, 2014 at 11:04 am #

      Dear Rabbi Ira Youdovin: I would allow myself to submit to you that you are taking the situation out of it context – that alone brings things outside the appropriate argument / balances.

      Dear Professor Falk,

      In the case of Russia and unrest in Ukraine – that conflict; it seems that Russia has acted in the context of humanitarian will and design. Based on simple perception / fundamentals I believe this to be the case: as a nearby / neighboring country it was alert to answer imminent need / threat to the Russia and also Ukraine (restrict / annulling of internal civil conflict by external presence).

      Not only that, this approach is entrepreneurial in the context of present conditions / needs when internal / civil wars reach outside their borders, overflowing into other countries. What approach can restrict and annul / cancel out some forces that cultivate conditions for a full-blown civil war in a country and the regional sphere.

      In their approach, it is visible that Russia is protecting their national security and security and strength of Ukraine (as whole people). Russia is not shaking the country / Ukraine, and rather is a balancing force that is valid. (Not as we have seen in Iraq with Americans troops, who actually invaded the country of Iraq and has practiced full-blown destruction of Iraq in order to serve their individual interest). People of Iraq were not in their concern, and good-will was not the purpose / plan.
      Ukraine would be left to their weaknesses and “self-destruction” without imminent presence of Russia.

      Russia is responsible and reliable global leader. I hope that their way will continue to increase stability in the region, and also force illegal and hypocritical attitudes toward International Law & sustainable / valid security to an acceptable standard, which they have demonstrated as a country; continuously improving in all of their ways. We would understand that US and many others as a country is not guided by the International Law when comes to their appointment of the laws and approach.

      It is necessary to revoke / annul that mind-set that has no sincere will toward global citizenship, and well-being of their people in their approach, as they do not care about conditions of their neighbors, and their citizens, first.

      I will submit to you that, in this point, in time, Russia is entrepreneurial in their approach (in the context of present conditions).

      I hope that you are having a wonderful day, and also everyone here, as well.

    • Mario Labbé March 24, 2014 at 4:50 am #

      Sorry to say Rabbi Ira Youdovin, but Prof Falk does apply same rules to one and each other. And I should add, he applies exactly the contrary of your rethoric. Plz, take a closer look one moment. In this low Earth, could you tell us who is ruling the world, if not USA who else. So then, when this World applies politicy of double standard as Israel does as well how may you condamn him (and as Palestinian as well we may say) of something your Zionism ideological teach you. In that sense, aren’t you blndfold yourself by your own sin ? Jesus said: ” he who is without sin cast the first stone.” You look ready to condamn prof Falk to what you are doing yourself. More of that, I may add like Jesus said : ” You see the dan straw eye your neighbor but you do not see the beam in yours.” Unfortunaltly Rabbi, you are trying to get legitimated what is illegal under the Law of God and all this is driving us to Hell. We anti-zionist activist say enough is enough. There is already too much blood spread over this low Earth, the World must take act of it, and realized we all go in wrong way, we all go right on the wall.

      • Fred Skolnik March 24, 2014 at 5:32 am #

        Dear Mario

        If you are really concerned with the welfare of the Palestinian people, you might try quoting Jesus to them as well and while you are at it counsel them to throw Hamas and its rockets into the sea and negotiate a settlement with Israel. Wjat is illegal under the law of God is murder and that is what the terrorist organizations are guilty of. What is not illegal is occupation of a country that makes war against you and refuses to make peace. And what exactly is an anti-Zionist activist? Since Zionism was a political movement to reestablish the sovereignty of the Jewish people in its ancient homeland, then I must assume that being an anti-Zionist means being against the existence of the State of Israel. In that case, Hamas really is the place for you.

      • ray032 March 24, 2014 at 5:47 am #

        Fred, Israel disappeared from the kingdoms of this world for 3000 years until it was recreated from the Bible in 1948. It would not have disappeared, and Hitler could not have risen up unless the Almighty God of Israel consented to him being born into this world. Without him, in the atmospheres after WWII, Israel would not have recreated. See the story of Job.

        Israelis cannot see it but I can relate to the people who lived in Palestine viewing the invasion of the Jewish Europeans as a catastrophe imposed by outside powers without consulting the indigenous people.

        I just posted this in the Blog of Jonathan Cook, an Independent Journalist living in the original Nazareth, not the Jewish settlement of Upper Nazareth.

        “Fareed Zakaria on GPS said yesterday Putin was “looking back” to the old days of the Soviet Union. I’m of the view he was looking ahead, based on the past evidence, NATO was coveting the Russian Naval base in the Crimea, and he took the only logical preemptive step to protect Russia’s strategic interests. The US is not the only country having them in this world. I would say Russia has a more legitimate claim on the Crimea based on recent history, than Israel has annexing the Golan and East Jerusalem after an absence of 3000 years. Now that the US and the West has raised International Law to be an inviolable principle, the47 year Israeli Military occupation of Palestinian Land contrary to International Law, will now come under increased scrutiny, and the BDS movement will take on the same urgency as the economic sanctions placed on Russia for violating International Law.”

      • Fred Skolnik March 24, 2014 at 5:57 am #

        Dear Ray

        You become a little incoherent when you start talking about God. If you’ll say something that makes sense, I’ll reply to you.

      • Gene Schulman March 24, 2014 at 6:05 am #

        With no intention of encouraging him, I must agree with Fred on this point. Can we leave everyone’s personal religious inclinations aside, and concentrate on the issues raised in Prof. Falk’s post? Thank you.

      • ray032 March 24, 2014 at 6:20 am #

        Fred, how do you separate Israel from God? The whole unsettled war between Israel and the Palestinians is because the Jews claim God gave the Land to the Jews exclusively and to the Jews, it doesn’t matter what the Palestinians think or what International Law says?

      • Fred Skolnik March 24, 2014 at 6:43 am #

        No Israeli government and no Zionist leader has ever claimed that the Land of Israel was given to the Jewish people by God. Zionism was a secular movement and the governments of the State of Israel have been secular governments. The rationale of Zionism is stated very clearly in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, where the word God does not appear and which states that the Land of Israel is the birthplace of the Jewish people where their national consciousness, culture, language and political identity were forged. Nonetheless, the Jews accepted a compromise in 1947 that recognized the rival claim of the Arabs. The Arabs rejected it, wanting everything, and the result is the misery of the Palestinian people. I would expect anyone who has the least bit of concern for their welfare to encourage them to repudiate terrorism and negotiate a settlement with Israel. That is the only way they are going to get a state.

      • ray032 March 24, 2014 at 7:37 am #

        Fred, that is such a load of crap and you wilfully delude yourself, ignoring what is obvious to others if not to you.

      • Fred Skolnik March 24, 2014 at 7:43 am #

        Is that the best you can do, ray?

    • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 5:49 am #

      http://www.hirhome.com/israel/leaders0.htm

      Rabbi, take a closer look on this analysis and and tell us after that Ziionism has nothing to do with Nazism .

      Short Preface

      When Hitler came to power in 1933 outrages against the German Jews began immediately. This provoked a storm of protest all over the world. But, especially, it provoked ordinary Jews to organize to boycott German goods and services and sink the German economy. Many gentiles (non-Jews) joined them. This brought the Third Reich to its knees and within an inch of destruction. Hitler barely survived. What saved him?

      The established Jewish leaders did.

      To those who don’t know Jewish history (almost everybody) this is amazing, inconceivable. In fact, it was normal. This article will cover the 1933 crisis, relying on the massively detailed work of Jewish historian Edwin Black, who documents what happened in The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine (1983, Carroll & Graf). But in order to give a satisfactory account of why Jewish leaders behaved the way they did in 1933, I will begin briefly by explaining the context of the Jewish experience as they came out of the Middle Ages into the modern world, for without this context what happened in 1933 is difficult to comprehend.

      If you would like to jump straight to the 1933 boycott, you may do so with the hyperlinked table of contents below. Then, having seen what happened, you may come back to the first section — entitled “The Background” — for a full historical understanding of why the Jewish leaders betrayed the Jews so dramatically.

      The push for Jewish assimilation in the 19th century
      ________________________________________________________

      If the 20th century finally gave birth to the modern world, then the 19th was the extended prelude of contractions: a series of social and political upheavals set in motion by the enduring influence of the French Revolution. One consequence of these upheavals was that the political situation of the Jews was gradually liberalized in Europe, and in some countries they were even granted full citizen rights, equal to those of Christians.

      “In the course of the nineteenth century, Jews in substantial numbers abandoned Yiddish as their primary language to speak, for example, ‘good’ German, and significant segments of the community succeeded in leaving behind the commercial occupations of their fathers to become poets, composers, philosophers, and intellectuals of various other stripes.”[15]

      This new liberal momentum that, in fits and starts, was prying open the legal shackles of the Jews was greeted with a delirious enthusiasm by many Jews, desperate as they understandably were to end their inferior status. Something very interesting and with tremendous consequences now took place: the emancipated Jews made efforts to assimilate to Christian society, and, as they did, they were seduced by antisemitism. This phenomenon made modern antisemitism very difficult to combat, and it would have important negative consequences for the possibility of Jewish self-defense in the context of the German Nazi onslaught.

      It is important, especially, to understand the ideology of the German Jewish leaders, and those whom they influenced, because without this context one cannot make sense of the reactions of the Jewish leadership to the Nazi persecution, and therefore neither can one fully understand the Holocaust. I will begin by explaining how the legal emancipation of the Jews during the 19th century produced a great wave of assimilation, and the consequences of that. I will focus first on the grand sweep of the process of assimilation and then on how it affected the German Jewish leadership in particular.

      Why didn’t assimilation happen earlier?
      ______________________________________

      Previously, the Jews could say with confidence that their own civilization was superior to that which surrounded them, for the contrast was dramatic. Jewish society was freer, more socially just, much more ethical, and much, much more alphabetized than Christian society. Historian James Carroll, a Catholic who has studied medieval Judaism in the context of the ecclesiastical attacks of which it became a victim, says:

      “Jewish life at the millennium was humane and thriving… I read this history as a Christian, but it seems fair to say that the Talmudic system[16] had shaped a way of thinking by the very seriousness with which the commentary of rabbis was taken. That way of thinking, in turn, shaped Jewish communal life. The problems and crises of Jews were addressed and resolved through commentary and further commentary — an inbuilt commitment to text, reading, imagination, and community. All of this was organized around an admired collective whose authority was rooted in study and in the proven wisdom of its ‘responsa,’ its responses to questions. Though based on the Law of Moses, Judaism had emerged as a community ordered not by legislation or decree but by the influence of its interpreters, reflecting on a compilation of the commentary of ancestral masters. This is the culture of Talmud, a culture not of codification but of conversation, written and oral; a culture not of hierarchy but of mutuality.”[17]

      This obvious superiority of Judaism, I think, contributed greatly to strengthening the commitment of Jews to their religion despite the interminable avalanche of attacks, in this way achieving the spectacular survival — despite all odds — of the community. But in the 19th c. the Christian societies in the West became freer than they had been: the press flourished, and a variety of opinions were expressed at the same time that the censoring power of the Church and the monarchies receded. These societies also became less harshly unequal, and education became more widely accessible. Even if these were partial victories, the consequence of hard-won battles fought from below, and resisted bitterly by the aristocratic classes, the palpable gains over the course of the century gave a sense of evolution: the world progressed — not just in politics, but in science, art, and industry — and this direction seemed inexorable, inevitable, irresistible. ‘Progress’ — and consciousness of it — became one of the obsessions of that generation; the very definition of modernity was this cult of ‘progress’ (this outlook has not altogether disappeared).

      To many Jews, this modern world that was coming into being, and which, many promised, would be ever better, shone with a more attractive sheen than the Orthodox community. Many, without coercion, chose to convert to Christianity; others traveled only half-way there, assimilating to Christian culture and abandoning judaism, but — and here lies the crucial issue — functioning still as Jews and even as leaders with great influence in their community. This would have certain consequences, because assimilation to ‘modern society’ carried with it the adoption of the Western world’s dominant ideology: antisemitism.

      The new antisemitism, and its appeal for many Jews
      ___________________________________________________

      If the spirit of Judaism was winning — the universal ethics of the European Enlightenment — was Jewish Law itself still necessary? Long a refuge and promise of universal liberation, many Jews now felt that they were dragging a heavy ball and chain that kept them in the Middle Ages and precluded full immersion in ‘modern society,’ thus sabotaging the millenarian hope of redemption: the passion to live — finally! — in a world where Jews could be ‘normal.’ This was the perception, especially, of wealthy Jews who already had a foot in Christian society and the other foot half outside of Judaism, for they wished to join the European ruling classes as full members. It is they who most found to their taste the old wine that antisemites were now selling in shiny new bottles.

      The new attacks against Orthodox Jews represented them as a stubborn resistance, wishing to remain in a retrograde culture, and polluting modern society with their nefarious influences. In those days so-called ‘scientific’ racism was flourishing — fed as it was by the nationalist eruptions that would then extend themselves over the European continent like brushfires — so the supposed degeneracy of the Jews was often explained as a product of their objectionable biological nature. Those who pushed these far right arguments were the “traditionalist adversaries of the Jews and of Enlightenment liberalism, [who] maintained that the Jews were a separate nation and so could not be absorbed as citizens into European nations.”[18]

      It is well to point out, however, that the ‘liberal opposition’ didn’t speak very differently on the question of the Jews: “Among Enlightenment figures, virtually all insisted that the Jews would need to give up their concepts of Jewish nationhood… Some went further and attacked Judaism at its foundations as immoral, inhumane, and inconsistent with civilized society.”[18a] Those who defended the ‘liberal’ view, then, “advocated [Jewish] integration but typically with limits to the citizen rights to be extended the Jews and with those rights coming only upon the Jews’ renunciation of much of their heritage.”[19]

      The ‘right’ hand was a fist and the ‘left’ hand was extended only in exchange for abolishing the Law of Moses. Check mate.

      Once this dilemma is appreciated we can recognize the profound genius of Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism. His strategy recruited, on the one hand, the forces of liberalism because he was proposing a new State where his people could establish themselves as a democracy and be free, but it harnessed also the energies of the racist nationalism that sought to exclude the Jews, for many antisemites found appealing the idea of ridding themselves of the Jews by sending them to the Middle East. But the antisemites had their judo moves, too: by making clear that modern citizenship came with a price — to proclaim oneself ‘assimilated,’ on the Christian side, and allied with the new antisemitic accusations — they managed in this way to recruit the energies of many Jews, especially in the upper classes. The ‘assimilated’ ended up defending the view that in order to resolve the so-called ‘Jewish Problem’ Talmudic Judaism would have to be abandoned, because Christian hate was supposedly a consequence of the ‘primitive’ difference that Orthodox Jews were clinging to with needless obstinacy.

      This ‘explanation’ for antisemitism betrayed an almost complete ignorance of history, or at least a denial of it. And it shoved to one side the contemporary evidence: Where is the movement to exterminate the Amish, who represent a resistance to the modern world more extreme than anything in Orthodox Judaism? (As I have argued elsewhere, the fundamental reason for antisemitism is that Jewish Law, the law of liberated slaves, carefully protects the rights of ordinary workers, and this has always been offensive to the Western ruling classes.) But nothing here is sadder than the irony of these ‘new’ attitudes that in fact betrayed the liberal spirit that had produced the opportunity for emancipation in the first place. For if liberalism is not the tolerance of the difference that does not hurt us — and Jewish orthodoxy, like Amish orthodoxy, does not hurt us (on the contrary, avoiding harm is at the center of both movements) — then it is nothing. The modernizing Jews — who benefited from liberalism — did not defend the liberal and modern principle of religious tolerance, because they did not respect the right of their Orthodox brethren to remain different.

      Historian Joseph Dan gives us another clue. There is a “deep ambivalence in the modern Jewish soul,” he says, for it contains “the rejection of the practical norms of traditional Judaism as ‘medieval’ and ‘ignorant,’ on the one hand, and the nostalgic cherishment of the deep roots in the past,” on the other.[20] I think the key here is the nostalgic cherishment of the deep roots in the past. It is quite uncomfortable to affect nostalgia for something that in fact will not consent to disappear, and the Eastern Jews, who inisted on the everlasting relevance of the halachach, were the majority. In consequence, the modernizing Jews, shorn now of the Law that defines Judaism, felt inferior in their authenticity as Jews. The solution? To abolish Jewish Orthodoxy so that it could become the object of a genuine nostalgia.

      “In the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Jews in central Europe were told by much of the surrounding society that Yiddish was a crude, bastardized, unwholesome language that reflected the degenerate nature of the Jews and illustrated their unfitness for citizenship rights. Many Jewish leaders and members of the cultural elite in the Jewish community embraced this attack and urged the abandonment of Yiddish as, in the words of one such figure, ‘a language of stammerers, corrupt and deformed, repulsive to those who are able to speak in a correct and orderly manner.’”[21]

      It is interesting and revealing that the derogatory — in truth condemning — comment about Yiddish cited above comes from Moses Mendelssohn, the father of the ‘Jewish Enlightenment’ movement known as Haskalah. The leaders of this movement were called maskilim, and Mendelssohn is the father figure. One cannot accuse Mendelssohn himself of antisemitism because he “adhered to the practice of traditional Judaism throughout his life, was concerned about the welfare of his fellow Jews, and extended what help he could to Jewish communities across Europe in distress from the actions of local authorities.”[22] But Mendelssohn’s comment about Yiddish shows that his recommendation to his Jewish brethren to get an education beyond the Jewish language in order to participate more fully in their societies was not simply a practical advice. Mendelssohn had absorbed some of the prejudice of Christians against the Jewish people, whose tongue was simply a language like any other. His followers absorbed much more antisemitism than he did, because “very few, if any, of the maskilim shared Mendelssohn’s commitment to traditional Jewish observance. Rather, there was almost unanimous support for doing away with it.”[22a] As we shall see, it is not a great exaggeration to say that the maskilim represented a Jewish movement to abolish Judaism.

      To round out the context, I will cast a brief look at the currents that had been affecting Orthodox Jewish practic.

      The Orthodox Jews
      ___________________

      In the 18th and 19th c. there came into being the Hassidic movement, founded by the Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov towards the end of the 18th. “Hasidism undoubtedly was to some extent a revivalistic movement, which brought new enthusiasm and new impetus to the performance of the old traditional ethical and ritualistic traditional norms,” and it has played an important role in the survival of Orthodox Judaism.[23] But from the practical, ethical point of view, it brought nothing new:

      “It should be emphasized that it is very difficult, if not absolutely impossible, to point out even one central religious idea which is characteristic of the Hasidic movement as a whole and only to it, one that is not found in any Jewish non-Hasidic or pre-Hasidic movement, which is not part of the concept of the Zaddik and the relationship between the community and its leader. All the rich intellectual and spiritual ideas found in the many hundreds of books written by Hasidic leaders since the last two decades of the 18th century…to this very day are all ideas which can be found in many other Jewish books of ethics and homiletic… — except the theological ideas concerning the role of the Zaddik.”[24]

      But this idea of what it meant to be a Zaddik was certainly new: “The Hasid believes that his leader and teacher, the Zaddik, is divinely inspired, and that his soul is constantly connected with the higher realms of the divine hierarchy of forces (which Hasidism adopted from the symbolism of the Kabbalah). The Zaddik thus represents a divine power, and serves as an intermediary between the worshipper and God himself.”[25]

      Because there really are no new ethical concepts that are exclusive to Hasidism as such, there isn’t here a dramatic ‘revelation’: Hasidism is thoroughly conservative. What Hasidism injected into the mystical Jewish tradition of Kabbalah is an element it did not have and which most other mystical movements possess: the saint, defined more than anything as a good man, who in the Jewish version also works for social justice, and whose authority emanates from the perception of his ethics and his presumed direct, often ecstatic, link to God. There is also the detail that a Zaddik’s authority is dynastic, for it is transmitted from father to son (and in some cases to son-in-law). In this manner, Hasidic communities were created around different Zaddik dynasties.

      “Never before in Judaism was there such a large movement motivated by the concept of a leadership which serves as a religious, mystical intermediary between Man and God. The only exception is the Sabbatian movement of the 17th and 18th centuries, which believed that its messiah, Shabtai Zvi, was an intermediary between the people of Israel and the Godhead, an idea which was presented especially in the works of Nathan of Gaza, the prophet of Shabtai Zvi.”[26]

      Shabtai Zvi had been a complete disaster, for after convincing astonishingly large multitudes all over the Jewish world that he was the long-awaited Messiah, he demonstrated that he was in fact an enemy of Judaism who wanted to abolish Jewish Law, and in the end converted to Islam, a religion that considers it pious to murder recalcitrant Jews or else make them slaves of the Muslims.[26a] It is true that Hasidism shares with the Sabbatean movement the element of charismatic leadership, but in another sense Hasidism is the very antithesis of Shabtai Zvi, for it means to preserve the Jewish Law. In a certain way, the Hasidic movement harnessed the feverish desire of the Jewish masses for a charismatic leadership — amply demonstrated in the Sabbatean movement — and used it to preserve traditional Judaism, neutralizing the threat present in Sabbateanism and later reverberations. Orthodox Jews, too, have their judo moves.

      Precisely because Hasidism is an injection of charismatic leadership into Jewish mysticism, it went in a direction contrary to rationalism. The traditional rabbis had always been in general rationalists and many of them were passionately in love with science, but science “was notably less popular among the Hasidim.”[27] It should not surprise us that the rationalist currents in Jewish orthodoxy perceived a threat in Hasidic mysticism, thus giving birth to “the struggle of the Mithnaggedim or the traditional Talmudic Jews, against Hasidism.”[28] For example, “Rabbi Elijah [Ben Solomon Zalman],” the Vilna Gaon, a great enthusiast of science, “was the chief figure in the traditionalist campaign against the Hasidim in the late eighteenth century, and one of his major criticisms was what he perceived as Hasidism’s anti-intellectualism. This, he argued, was antithetical to the essential rationalism of Jewish belief and would inevitably lead to a falling away from basic Jewish tenets.”[29]

      The reaction of the mitnagdim against the Hasidim “was to be one of the contributory factors of the Haskalah movement” of the maskilim.[30] But whereas the mitnagdim sought to protect the rationalism in Jewish Orthodoxy from the charismatic influences of Hasidism, the Haskalah rationalism of the maskilim, inspired by the European Enlightenment, took from Enlightnment figures their antipathy toward religion as such, launching an attack against Jewish Orthodoxy itself, including the traditional orthodoxy that the mitnagdim were defending. “Maskilim transformed Sabbateanism into a metaphor for Hasidism, the immediate object of their polemics, as well as other aspects of contemporary Jewish life, such as rabbinism and kabbalism, which they regarded as obscurantist, and which they hoped to reshape and reform.”[31] For the maskilim to paint Hasidism with the colors of Sabbateanism was to perpetrate a great injustice. An even greater injustice was to paint in this way the rest of Jewish orthodoxy, which had always been of a rationalist and non-charismatic tendency. Why were the maskilim doing this? Because, they said, they wanted to “restore the Jewish people to the world of reality,”[32] and this position required that Orthodox Judaism be represented as unreal: a mystical outburst of hysterics along the lines of Shabtai Zvi. This is how they justified their alliance with the Christian ruling classes that were working so hard to erase Judaism from the face of the Earth.

      These efforts were destroying what had been a Golden Age of Orthodox Judaism in Eastern Europe.

      Many Jews took refuge in Eastern Europe, in the 16th and 17th c., from the anti-Jewish mass killings, forced conversions, and expulsions that took place in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. Thanks to the autonomy that the Polish kings allowed, the Jewish comunity in these lands came closer than any other to a complete realization of an Orthodox Jewish society, a full expression of its compendium of Talmudic laws.[33] The beginning of the end came at the end of the 18th c., when the Polish state was dismembered and divided between Prussia, Austria, and Russia (it would not be recreated until after WWI).

      There were maskilim — assimilated, upper class Jews — who now became leaders of the effort to destroy Jewish Orthodoxy in Russia. The Jewish upper classes avoided having to give their children to the Russian army by kidnapping lots of poor Jewish children who were taken often at the age of 7 or 8, would be educated by the Russian state, and would then begin a 25-year military service. Many were converted to Christianity.[34] The Russian experience was traumatic, especially when the infamous pogroms began. But it was the alliance of the maskilim with the Christian ruling clases in Germany that would have the gravest historical consequences.

      Jewish assimilation in German lands
      ____________________________________

      The Jews in Prussia and Austria were all that remained after the humble Jews in whom the government saw no great utility had been expelled, and after various policies had abolished the independence of the rabbis in German lands, forcing the Jews to integrate into the legal framework of the state. So the German Jewish communities “typically remained small and relatively affluent and their leading figures tended to be well connected with centers of power and other elite elements in the surrounding society.”[34a]

      From this position resulted certain pressures: “contacts with the higher echelons of the larger society, and the allure of those echelons, unhappiness with the disabilities that followed on being Jews, and the absence of a sizable and strong Jewish community with communal institutions…led a number of Jews to abandon their Judaism and either themselves convert or baptize their children,” in this way completing their integration with the German elites.[35] “Philosophically, assimilationists no longer considered themselves Jews living in Germany. Instead, they saw themselves as Germans who, by accident of birth, were Jewish.”[36]

      The consequences of adopting this vision quickly made themselves felt: of the 550,000 Jews who were emancipated between 1869 and 1871 in German lands, by 1930 a total of 60,000, or 10%, had relinquished all ties to Judaism either through apostasy, by being raised without any Jewish identity in mixed marriages, or simply by turning away completely from the Jewish community.[37] And many of those who retained some form of Jewish identity were assimilating anyway. The German Jewish minority viewed the recently annexed Polish Jews — Orthodox, comparatively poor, and Yiddish speaking — with horror, for they considered them “obstacles whose reform was necessary to win over the surrounding society to a more benign attitude toward Jews.”[38] They looked at Polish Jews and thought: ‘No wonder Christians hate us.’ And this meant that “they were predisposed to blame ‘Polish’ Jews for the persistence of anti-Jewish prejudice and Jewish disabilities should they reject proffered programs of self-reform.”[39]

      “The support given by Prussian and Austrian maskilim to Joseph II’s efforts to push Jews out of their established occupations was aimed essentially against the Jews of Galicia, or Austrian-controlled Poland. And these pro-reform Jews did not perceive reform of Polish Jewry as simply a pragmatic step but chose to construe it rather as the exchange of an intrinsically primitive, corrupt, degenerate life for a better, more wholesome one.

      …various maskilim worked to advance Prussian, Austrian, and even Russian steps to dismantle the vestiges of autonomy that persisted in the formerly Polish territories, impervious to the damage they were doing to the Jewish communities in those regions.”[40]

      The maskilim didn’t merely advocate state education for the Jews but wanted to restrict their religious education, and beyond this “embraced the attacks on Talmudic studies that had for centuries figured prominently in anti-Jewish indictments of Jewish religious learning and practice,” representing the study of the Talmud like the Christian antisemites did: as “primitive, arcane, and even corrupting, and certainly inconsistent with Jewish entry into the modern world and participation in the surrounding civil society.” In the maskilim’s conception of Judaism the Jews had, as before, the obligation to enlighten the world with their ethics, but this would no longer make reference to the Talmudic system of laws; the Jews would simply practice better than anybody the universal humanitarian ethics of the European Enlightenment (which, ironically, had been inspired by a Talmudic scholar: Baruch Spinoza).[41] In this way, the assimilated Jews would become energetic defenders of the rights of everybody except their Orthodox brethren. For the maskilim were not looking to enrich Judaism but “to woo non-Jewish opinion and win assimilation into surrounding cultures and societies.”[42] Because the maskilim wanted to feel ethical and at the same time satisfy the antisemites with whom they were assimilating, they had to represent the destruction of Judaism as a way to better the modern world. In this way, they adopted practically all of the prejudices of the Christians against the Jews, including those accusations concerning their occupations, which would become the central axis of modern antisemitism: the Jews love money, and their money gives them power.

      It is absurd, in principle, to fault a people for earning their life in a particular way so long as this is not a criminal endeavor, and the Jews were not criminals. But it is an even greater absurdity here because the Jews had been forced to earn their living as moneylenders. There was no choice involved. The artisan guilds of the Middle Ages excluded the Jews, and the political class forbade them from owning land. How were they supposed to earn a living if they could be neither farmers nor artisans? The Church did not allow Christians to lend money, because this was supposedly a sin, and the moral censure of the Church made it convenient to force the Jews into this profession, as it generated another structural advantage for the mobilization of antisemitism. This is how many Jews became moneylenders.

      “Moneylending became the occupation of Jews at all financial levels. Wealthier Jews were the financiers of royalty, nobility, and even churches and monasteries; poorer Jews forced out of trade and crafts turned to extending small loans to the traders and craftspeople…”[43]

      Given that moneylending was a sin to Christians, it isn’t very difficult to see where the prejudice against the supposed ‘capitalist materialism’ and ‘lack of productiveness’ or ‘parasitic nature’ of the Jews came from. (In any case, it was a Western European phenomenon; the Eastern European Jews, the great majority, were in fact overwhelmingly artisans because of the greater liberties that had traditionally existed in the East under the Polish kings.)

      But even though the accusations were absurd, the maskilim embraced them, alleging that their Jewish brethren had supposedly been corrupted by their trade in money. One assimilated and ‘modernizing’ German Jew who made this argument a pillar of his philosophy was Karl Marx. “Marx argued, along with various Jew-baiters at the time, that it is not simply that Jews are coarsened by their involvement with commerce but, rather, that the Jews and their religion are immutably materialistic and degenerate and this drives them to engage in trade.”[44] It is hardly a coincidence that Marx’s father should have converted to Christianity, baptizing young Karl when he was six. We have here the prototype of the assimilated Jew, who wants to demonstrate to Christians that he is truly on the other side, a ‘good Jew,’ acceptable because he attacks his ‘former’ people. Marx was quite loud and proud in his displays of antisemitism.

      “In his essay ‘On the Jewish Question’ (1844), Marx argues that the Jewish mind is too limited and Jewish thinking too concrete to have fashioned a true religion. Instead, it produced a pseudo-religion whose practical expression is materialism and occupation in trade. Also as a consequence of their limited nature, the Jews are incapable of creativity and lack aesthetic sensibility… Marx writes in the essay, ‘What is the worldly cult of the Jews? Huckstering. What is his worldly god? Money… That which is contained in an abstract form in the Jewish religion — contempt for theory, for art, for history, and for man as an end in himself — is the real, conscious standpoint of the man of money.’”[45]

      Naturally Marx blamed the Jews for the very capitalism that his ideology was meant to extirpate from the world, so the essence of Marx’s program was actually the “liberation of the world from the ethos of the Jews!”[46] And the more Marx was attacked for being a Jew, the more he strove to demonstrate that he really wasn’t, ramping up the volume of his antisemitic attacks.

      I hardly find it a coincidence that Marx, founder of a false ‘left’ that was thoroughly anti-liberal and would re-enslave the workers wherever it succeeded, murdering them also by the millions, should have been a ferocious antisemite. The Law of Moses that Marx so thoroughly despised, after all, was born, according to Exodus, in a slave revolution against an oppressive Egyptian kind, and is therefore designed with great care to protect the rights and liberties of ordinary workers.[47] Judaism is the real left, if anything is. If Marx was an enemy of the Jewish constitution, he couldn’t really be a friend of the workers, and the trajectory of his ideology stands in evidence: hardly anything in history has been worse for the workers than Marx’s ideology.

      understand what follows. The great pressures on the Jews during the 19th c. that produced the above processes of assimilation — especially in German lands — sliced in two the Zionist movement. This rupture, as we shall see, made very difficult the defense of the Jewish people when, in the context of the German onslaught, patriots confronted traitors in the Jewish leadership.

      • Fred Skolnik March 26, 2014 at 6:37 am #

        Edwin Black writes in his 2009 Introduction to “The Transfer Agreement”: “Ultimately, the Transfer Agreement saved lives, rescued assets, and seeded the infrastructure of the Jewish State to be.” You are throwing around a lot of half-digested material for the sole purpose of denigrating Jewish leaders who were trying to get Jews out of Germany.

      • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 6:55 am #

        So dear Fred, I could say as same to you as well, IsraHell is right place to you…

        http://www.transferagreement.com/index.php?page=10193

      • Fred Skolnik March 26, 2014 at 7:29 am #

        IsraHell? You really are a hater, aren’t you?

      • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 8:27 am #

        Dear Fred, could you tell me what is the difference between what rabbi said to Prof. Falk,

        I’m curious as to why you don’t apply to Palestine-Israel the same style of analysis you apply to Syria, the Ukraine and just about everywhere else. Certainly there are complexities in the Palestine-Israel conflict that warrant consideration before rushing to judgment, as you do. Instead, you airbrush out these complexities via a mechanism you call “constructive imbalance”: Israelis are evil; Palestinians are good. To justify this false image, your narrative ignores Israeli peace initiatives, the existence of a substantial pro-peace movement in Israel and among Diaspora Jews…as it ignores or whitewashes the genocidal intentions enshrined in the Hamas Covenant (you characterize them as “vague aspirations”), and items such as Khaled Meishal’s genocidal threats in a speech he made upon returning to Gaza. In it, he pledged not only to annihilate Israel, but to do the killing slowly so that each Israeli would suffer pain and watch loved ones suffering. In this instance, a comparison with the Nazis is appropriate: Zyklon B killed swiftly and painlessly. You argued that Meishal’s diatribe be ignored because he was only responding to the excitement of the moment, which is a strange conclusion coming from the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights violations in the Occupied Territories.

        Prof. Falk, you complain about American exceptionalism and the double standard that arises from it. Might we call your approach “Falkian Exceptionalism”?

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

        and your own replica : IsraHell? You really are a hater, aren’t you?

        Don’t you think, you still are applying double standard as Zionist as well only because my thought isn’t following yours. In your mind, everyone doesn’t follow yours are antisemtic or hater or any wrong life style as which deserve death capital as well. Sorry to have to repeat this, Fred, but read what Rabbi said above and tell me where do you get your freedom of speech when every time someone disagree you he is called as antisemitic or haters or arabs or jews has been called in other time as well. Aren’t you still apply same rules as Nazi did for Jews as well ? Can’t we call that such rules double standard ?

        On the other hand, I ever said I want to destroy Israel, I just want peace in Middle East… I previously said GIVE PEACE A CHANCE but Imperialists and Zionists as well are still trying to save from their accountabilty in this bloodbath in saying about everyone argue against Zionist Policy that we are antisemitic or haters… Thats exactly which is driving us on wall…

    • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 7:56 am #

      Rabbi, do you want any more link to understand how international relationship does work on same basis as Israel or Zionists did as well ?

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-colored-revolutions-swastikas-and-the-threat-of-world-war-iii/5374625

      As the US, EU and Britain huff and puff in barrel loads of clichés: “red lines” are “crossed”, “sovereignty and territorial integrity” has been “violated”, they stand “shoulder to shoulder” with their Neo-Nazi counterparts in the interim puppet government.

      They are “resolute” against “Russian aggression”, and will not “stand idly by”, sanity seems in short supply.

      US Secretary of State, John Kerry representing a country which makes Genghis Khan look like a wimp when it comes to illegal invasions, still retains the prize for jaw dropper of the decade: “You just don’t, in the 21st century, behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext”, he pontificated on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

      On the thirteenth anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq and the total destruction of it’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity”, by America and Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron has scuttled off to Brussels for a meeting of European Union Ministers to agree on a “robust response” to Russia – which has fired not a shot, invaded no one and threatened nothing except to respond that if sanctions were imposed on Russia they might consider a trading response. Fair enough, surely?

      The government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea called a referendum, distinctly disturbed by the threat by Kiev’s US proxy government that the Russian language was to have no status, and Jews and blacks would not be tolerated.
      fraction under 97% voted to cede to Russia, with a turnout of over 80% – an electoral enthusiasm of which Western governments could only dream.

      As much of the main stream media and the usual politicians thundered of voting under pressure or even at gunpoint, one hundred and thirty five international observers from twenty three countries said, consistently, they saw no pressure of any sort, and they had “not registered any violations of voting rules.”(1)

      President Putin also points out the double standards: “Our Western partners created the Kosovo precedent with their own hands. In a situation absolutely the same as the one in Crimea they recognized Kosovo’s secession from Serbia legitimate while arguing that no permission from a country’s central authority for a unilateral declaration of independence is necessary”, further reminding that the UN International Court of Justice agreed to those arguments.

      “It’s beyond double standards. It’s a kind of baffling, primitive and blatant cynicism. One can’t just twist things to fit interests, to call something white on one day and black on the next one.”

      Clearly referring the threats and onslaughts on sovereign nations of recent years, he added, on being accused of violating international law: “Well’ it’s good that they at least recalled that there is international law … Better late than never”, commenting with some validity, that his nation’s stance on Crimea was in no way similar.

      And there is that ill used (by the usual suspects) “Responsibility to Protect”, defined as including: “crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and their incitement”, precisely what the bunch that has taken over the government in Kiev has threatened, with the Jewish community in Kiev feeling so besieged that: “Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, called on Kiev’s Jews to leave the city and even the country if possible …”

      The UN definition of Responsibility to Protect also stipulates that States have a responsibility to “encourage and assist” in fulfilling responsibility in protection of those threatened and at risk. Russia has arguably done as requested by its former State and neighbour and as laid out by the UN. Yes, of course there is self interest, with NATO encroaching ever closer and the country’s Black Sea Fleet based in Crimea and NATO countries, the US and UK planning military exercises with Ukraine – but Russia’s actions have been a model of peaceable, threat free strategy.

      President Putin expressed the all admirably:

      “Russia is an independent and active participant of international relations. Just like any nation it has national interests that must be taken into consideration and respected.”

      He laid out the double standards:

      “In the practical application of policies, our Western partners – the United States first and foremost – prefer to be guided not by international law, but by the right of strength. They believe in their exceptionalism, that they (can) decide on the fate of the world, that they are always right.”

      Law was disregarded in Yugoslavia in 1999, bombed by NATO with no UN mandate, Afghanistan, Iraq. Perversion of the UN Resolution on Libya, which was for a no fly zone, not bombing the country in to submission – a tragic, shameful travesty with the horror of the murder of the country’s Leader, most of his family, over which Hillary Clinton laughed as she said: “We came, we saw, he died.” Clinton of course, has now called Putin “Hitler.”

      The “coloured revolutions” in Europe and the Arab world were simply more of the same by other means, Putin stated, but in: “Ukraine the West crossed a red line”, with Russia’s wish for dialogue and compromise ignored.

      The red line was in that: “The coup-imposed authorities in Kiev voiced their desire to join NATO, and such a move would pose an imminent threat to Russia.”(2.)

      Meanwhile, escaped from the American asylum, Vice President Joe Biden said that the U.S. stands resolutely with Baltic States in support of the Ukrainian people against Russian aggression. “Russia cannot escape the fact that the world is changing and rejecting outright their behavior”, Biden said, after meeting Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Latvian President Andris Berzins. What aggression exactly?

      However, as ever, the all is more complex:

      “Current international law combines two contradictory principles: a government’s territorial integrity on the one hand, and a nation’s right to self-determination on the other, according Maxim Bratersky of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.”

      The West recognized Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in 2008, based the principle of right to self-determination. “Kosovo is a mirror image of the current situation in Crimea”, says Bratersky:

      “In sending troops into Kosovo, NATO did not allow the Serbs to intervene in the referendum. The UN did not give NATO’s forces a mandate to send troops into Kosovo.” He also points out that South Sudan ceded from Sudan in 2011 (with world leaders or their Ambassadors attending the celebrations.) East Timor became independent of Indonesia, both endorsed by the UN. Mutual agreement ruled, as with Crimea and the Russian Federation.

      In 1997, the British returned Hong Kong to Chinese jurisdiction.

      “But on the whole, the system of international law does not function. The side that has the most bayonets wins,” Bratersky states. “Kosovo is a vivid example of this.”(3)

      In trade and energy supplies, Russia has a lot of bayonets and the coffers of the EU and US are woefully low.

      David Cameron has grand plans to “celebrate” the centenary of the start of World War 1 this year, he still seems hell bent on celebrating it by starting World War 111.

      As this is finished, in response to the US placing travel bans on Russian politicians and public figures, rather than engaging in a diplomatic exchange of views, Russia has: “announced sanctions against several advisers to President Obama as well as a number of lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – retaliation after President Obama announced economic sanctions against Russia.

      The sanctions ban Boehner, Reid, and Senators Mary Landrieu, Daniel Coats, Robert Menendez, John McCain, as well as Obama advisers Caroline Atkinson, Daniel Pfeiffer, and Benjamin Rhodes from entering Russia.” (4)

      Someone please chuck that Obama Nobel Peace Prize into the Potomac.

      Notes

      1. http://www.globalresearch.ca/crimean-referendum-at-gunpoint-is-a-myth-international-observers/5373767

      2. http://rt.com/news/putin-address-parliament-crimea-562/

      3.http://rbth.com/international/2014/03/09/kosovo_and_ukraine_3495.html

      4.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/03/20/reacting-to-sanctions-russians-ban-reid-boehner-and-7-other-lawmakers/

  7. Olga Stavrakis March 23, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    I happen to be born in Kiev in a multi ethnic family. We were WWII refugees to the US and I return to Ukraine often. I was there in September taking a group of tourists and the locals in both Crimea and Odessa were very adamant and clear when US and UK visitors asked what they can do to help Ukraine. They said emphatically, “Stay out of our affairs. Both US and EU! Stay out, thank you very much. We will solve our problems out ways.” One thing they did not want us to do was support Tymoshenko who, they say stole billions of their money and is sitting on it in England. They also said they are not Ukrainian and do not want to be.

    In Odessa, I passed a small group of young Carpathians singing nationalist songs and beating on a tambourine in front of a huge banner that said UKRAINE FOR UKRAINIANS. I asked them what they meant. They refused to answer in Russian so we spoke broken English (theirs – not mine). They said it means that only Ukrainians should rule and only the Ukrainian language should be spoken. This is in a city where Russian is the national language.

    I asked if my Greek grandfather who was born in this very city and whose brother worked here all his life as a physician would be considered Ukrainian. They said NO! They would not be Ukrainian.

    In 1998, when I visited Kiev, the Russian language was forbidden by law. Streetcar ticket collectors, who spoke only Russian and Ukrainian refused to communicate with me in Russian – our common language – and did not know French, German, Greek, Spanish, or any other language I happen to speak. So we were often at an impasse.

    In Crimea in 1995, a group of Canadian Ukrainian emigres shouted obscenities at a poor Russian vendor selling war pins to help his family survive. They jeered him asking why he refused to speak Ukrainian. He said he is Russian and never spoke Ukrainian in his life. They made rude jokes about him. But the idiocy is that they also did not speak Ukrainian. They spoke a broken mix of Polish and Russian that is common in Canada and no one in Ukraine can understand it.

    Under these circumstances, I think the Crimeans are doing what they feel is the best option. It may not be the ideal option and ideology be damned. Had Ukraine treated them better, they would certainly have preferred to go westward but Ukraine did not. The nationalists have insulted and isolated them. Now 10% of the parliament is Svobodo which is ultra right wing and nationalist. Scary really. Read their platform and listen to the speeches. They want all to identify by ethnic group and religion as if that makes a major difference.

    The ideology in Europe these days is that language = ethnicity=land boundaries=political entity. In this way, AFrica is way ahead of Europe. They could care less about national boundaries and all ethnic groups lived well together until the European divide and rule came along.

    The ideology should not be left or right but should be “can we all live together in peace and respect our differences?” If you are a fundamentalist the answer is NO because fundamentalists are always right. If you cannot be wrong, however, you have no chance of be right so that is not an acceptable ideology. Tolerance, respect and acceptance.

    That means US, as well. We have to tolerate what the Crimeans are doing and what the majority wants and make sure they do not oppress their minority. All of Eastern Ukraine is in the same place. They hate the Western Ukrainians because they are fundamentalists who are always RIGHT and only their way, their language, their culture, and their attitudes are accepted.

    They even rewrote history of Ukraine after independence, but luckily cooler heads prevailed and they have gone back the better supported history of the Rus.

    So we should not be talking of ideology when it comes to Ukraine, but of tolerance and of dumping the idea that people who speak a language and share some kind of ideology deserve to control a territory within which different folks are aliens and have no rights.

    That also includes the horrible way the Estonians are treating Russians. They have something to learn from the Latvians, their neighbors, who are a much more tolerant and accepting people.

    • Dan Livni March 24, 2014 at 7:45 am #

      Rabbi Ira, your totally right.
      Here’s another example.

      http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2014/03/hamas-mp-we-must-massacre-jews.html#.UzBCDfldXls

      Hamas MP: “We Must Massacre Jews”
      From MEMRI:
      March 23, 2014

      In a recent address, Hamas cleric and MP Yunis Al-Astal said that the Koran indicates that “we must massacre [the Jews]… to prevent them from sowing corruption in the world.” Al-Astal further said: “We must restore them to the state of humiliation imposed upon them… They must pay the jizya security tax while they live in our midst.” The address was aired on March 6, 2014, on the Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV, broadcasting from Gaza.

      Following are excerpts:

      Yunis Al-Astal: In today’s show, we will discuss the demand that the Palestinian people recognize [Israel] as a Jewish state, so that the occupation will graciously hand them out scraps. I would like to begin by quoting what Allah said about them: “The worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are those who disbelieve. They are the ones with whom you made a covenant, but they break their covenant every time.”

      The obvious question is: What is the solution to this gang of people? The Al-Anfal chapter of the Koran provides us with the answer. After He said: “They are the ones with whom you made a covenant, but they break their covenant every time,” Allah added: “If you gain mastery over them in a war, use them to disperse those who follow them that they may remember.” This indicates that we must massacre them, in order to break them down and prevent them from sowing corruption in the world. They are the ones who still spark the flame of war, but Allah has taken it upon Himself to extinguish it.

      We must restore them to the state of humiliation imposed upon them. They should be dhimmi citizens. This status must be imposed upon them by war. They must pay the jizya security tax while they live in our midst.

      However, in Palestine, where they are occupiers and invaders, they cannot have the status of dhimmis.
      The next to last paragraph is actually very important. While Muslims like to claim how well they treated second-class dhimmis over the centuries, al-Astal is admitting the truth: the entire point of dhimmitude is to impose a state of humiliation on Christians and Jews.

      Which is why Muslims will never accept Israel. The idea that the weak, dhimmi Jews are more powerful than Muslims – in the middle of the Muslim world – is the worst humiliation that can be imagined. They can sort of accept that 2 billion Christians have a lot of power outside Muslim geographical centers, after all, that’s been the status quo for 500 years. But 6 million Jews building a country that a billion Muslims cannot destroy? That cannot be accepted, no matter what.

      And this is why these Jews in Israel are not even accorded dhimmi status, according to al-Astal. Their humiliation of Muslims is so egregious that the Koran itself must be interpreted to demand that they be massacred.

      But the West still thinks that a couple of Muslim national leaders signing a piece of paper can change the entire Islamic psyche overnight or in a few years.

      • Dan Livni March 24, 2014 at 7:52 am #

        ray032 have you seen how small Israel is to the Arab world.
        Remember the Arabs all come from Saudi Arabia.
        Mohammad and his armies invaded the entire Mideast and North Africa and thats how the Arabs went from 1 country to 22 countries.

      • Dan Livni March 24, 2014 at 8:00 am #

        Ray032
        The talks have made no progress because the Palestinian Arabs refuse to accept the FACTS that Israel is a Jewish nation,

        99% of the Palestinian Arabs are not refugees, and the other 1% should have gotten on with their lives years ago, and the Jews, Hindus, and Sikhs expelled from Muslim lands did.

        The Palestinians want 2 Palestinian states and no Jewish state.
        They want a Palestinian state free of Jews and to flood Israel with millions of Arabs for the 2nd Pal state.

        Obama should know, Saying that is it time for the Palestinians to make concessions is the end of the peace talks. Because Palestinians and concessions don’t work together..

        http://www.timesofisrael.com/tv-report-abbas-said-no-to-obama-on-3-core-peace-issues/

        TV report: Abbas said ‘no’ to Obama on 3 core peace issuesRejecting Kerry framework, Palestinian leader reportedly told US president he won’t recognize ‘Jewish Israel,’ abandon ‘right of return,’ or commit to ‘end of conflict
        BY TIMES OF ISRAEL
        March 22, 201

      • ray032 March 24, 2014 at 8:25 am #

        My answer to that is what I posted to another discussion before yours appeared.

        The link leads to a re-post of one of Richard’s articles. I selected all the images and placed them in the Professor’s picture less writing.

        “I’m including this picture in my blog article:

        http://ray032.com/2013/11/30/am-i-my-brothers-keeper-2/.

        Thanks for sharing. The FACT Israel built it in the disputed territory, the very reason for Good Faith Peace negotiations, and not along the 1967 line, is concrete evidence Israel is engaged in idle Talk and has no intention of negotiating from the 1967 line, all the while, creating pre-conditional facts on the ground.

        Last year Israel doubled settlement expansion over 2012. There are very solid reasons Palestinians can see it is the Israelis not negotiating in Good Faith. The younger Palestinians brought up in the Israeli Military Dictatorship, cannot see any benefits yet of what Abbas has brought to them with his acquiescing to the Israeli/US demands.

        It is entirely up to the Israelis to provide some relief before more individuals get into the ongoing war until Good Faith negotiations by both sides show some tangible results creating a real Peace between the individuals beyond the power struggle.

      • Fred Skolnik March 24, 2014 at 8:35 am #

        That is not an answer, ray. That is another reason why the Palestinians aren’t going to get a state in the near future. The contours of an agreement are understood by everyone. The only thing you are right about is that the Palestinians cannot see the benefits of living at peace with Israel. Building a country and creating a real national life is hard, unheralded work. It is apparently more appealing to your young Palestinians to dream about a great massacre on the shores of the Mediterranean.

      • ray032 March 24, 2014 at 9:01 am #

        Dan, Israel may be small, but it is this world’s 4 biggest arms merchant with a growing MIC of it’s own. That temporal reality has a conflict of interest with Spiritual Israel being a Light unto the Nations, leading the world into beating the swords into plow shares and the spears into pruning hooks so the Nations no longer learn war any more.

        The TRUTH and REALITY is the US sells more Weapons of Death, Destruction and Intimidation to this world than ALL OTHER NATIONS COMBINED.

        I see an inherent danger to the world by the FACT of THAT KIND OF POWER guiding America in it’s policy making bodies.

        The Jews in Israel Today are not like those in Europe at the end of WWII. Those Jews had no weapons or power over those who ruled over them and oppressed them.

        Now Israel has all the weapons and power over the Palestinians and obviously, after a 47 year Israeli Military Dictatorship, and all the while Israel expanded throughout Palestinian land contrary to International Law that was codified BEFORE Israel joined the United Nations.

        Demanding Israel adhere to International Law is not being Antisemitic.

        Israel, while denying it, acts out creating facts on the ground reclaiming the land as it was 3000 years ago because the Jewish Book of the Law, the Bible, says it is the Jewish homeland God gave them, and it trumps International Law the code for all Civilized Nations.

      • Fred Skolnik March 24, 2014 at 9:20 am #

        You are repreating in your last paragraph your erroneous statement about God that I tried to correct so that you will have a clearer sense of reality. You seem to be fixated on a misunderstanding of the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.

      • Mario Labbé March 24, 2014 at 10:41 am #

        Peaceful partner debate, look how Zionism is hatred personnified :

        “The past leaders of our movement left us a clear message to keep Eretz Israel from the Sea to the River Jordan for future generations, for the mass aliya (=Jewish immigration), and for the Jewish people, all of whom will be gathered into this country.”
        — Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir declares at a Tel Aviv memorial service for former Likud leaders, November 1990. Jerusalem Domestic Radio Service.

        “The settlement of the Land of Israel is the essence of Zionism. Without settlement, we will not fulfill Zionism. It’s that simple.”
        — Yitzhak Shamir, Maariv, 02/21/1997.

        “(The Palestinians) would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.”
        — Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) Yitzhak Shamir in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988

      • Mario Labbé March 24, 2014 at 11:41 am #

        Dan, you should begin to stop your own mass killings by wrong Zionism interposed and take at place Palestinian to what they are, then Human Beings. After that, we might talk about peace. GIVE PEACE A CHANCE, First, PLEASE !!! Aren’t you elected people of God or Hell ???

      • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 6:12 am #

        Sorry dan but you are totally wrong. Take a look on that before say anything. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/heritage/episode8/documents/documents_11.html

        Example of certificate issued by Haavara to Jews emigrating to Palestine:

        CERTIFICATE
        The Trust and Transfer Office “Haavara” Ltd. places at the disposal of the Banks in Palestine amounts in Reichmarks which have been put at its disposal by the Jewish immigrants from Germany. The Banks avail themselves of these amounts in Reichmarks in order to make payments on behalf of Palestinian merchants for goods imported by them from Germany. The merchants pay in the value of the goods to the Banks and the “Haavara” Ltd. pays the countervalue to the Jewish immigrants from Germany. To the same extent that local merchants will make use of this arrangement, the import of German goods will serve to withdraw Jewish capital from Germany.
        The Trust and Transfer Office,

        HAAVARA, LTD.

        We hereby confirm, that in accordance with the above arrangement, we have transferred to-day, by order of Messrs. ______ the sum of (Haavara) Reichmarks: _____ in payment of invoice dated _____ as per order dated ___. Equivalent of above amounting to ___ has been received by us. Dated ____ The above sum in Reichmarks has been transferred to the exporter/s ________ of __________, (German)
        The Haavara agreement was highly controversial. While it helped German Jews to emigrate, it also provided a major market for German goods in Palestine, thereby helping Germany’s weak economy at a time when many Jews felt that German goods should be boycotted. The following passage is from an anti-Haavara flier circulated in Palestine.

        Until When Will the Yishuv Support Hitler?
        BOYCOTT Hitler’s Products!
        BOYCOTT German Movies!
        Ivri! Remember What the German Did to Your Brother

      • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 7:26 am #

        “Yet the Jewish leaders most skilled in wielding the boycott and backlash weapon would in 1933 refuse, in part because the enemy was now Germany, Fatherland of the Committee. It was now German Jewish blood that would be spilled-not Russian Jewish. It was now their own uncles and lifetime friends whose lives would be subject to reprisal in any war for Jewish rights.

        Those skilled in using Jewish weapons would also refuse because a wholly new tactic would now be used to shape Jewish destiny. Palestine would be the new solution. Hence, the question was now whether to use or not to use the one weapon Jews had, the one weapon they knew how to use: boycott and protest.

        Yet the one weapon Jews had was the one weapon Hitler feared.”

        http://redpillmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/The-Transfer-Agreement-Hitler-and-the-Jews-Copy1.pdf

    • Dan Livni March 24, 2014 at 11:29 am #

      Jerusalem has been a unified city except for a few decades of the past 3,000 years, capital of 3 natives states, all Jewish, and with a renewed Jewish majority since the 1800’s.

      Jordan’s 1948-67 seizure of the Old City and City of David, with their Jewish and Christian historic and holy places, and nearby neighborhoods didn’t create a new city. Jews are not “settlers’ in a land in which Jews have lived for 3 millennia,

    • Fred Skolnik March 24, 2014 at 11:43 am #

      You don’t understand what you’re reading, Mario. Ultra-Orthodox Jews opposed Zionism precisely because it was a non-religious, anti-messianic movement rooted in Jewish history, culture and national identity and not Jewish law.

      Quote Zionists, not Orthodox, non-Zionist rabbis like Eckstein. You seem a little lost with all these references whose context and meaning you misunderstand.

      • Kata Fisher March 24, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

        Fred Skolnik is Stating the fact: Yes, Ultra-Orthodox Jews opposed Zionism (and still do). This is a fact.

        Also, they condemn this practice, as well.

        https://nsnbc.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/israels-war-on-children-part-i-murdering-children-for-sport-the-jewish-holocaust-against-arab-childre

        Spiritual lines of Jewish people (Jews that are believers) have never caused confusion with the Law and the Holy Land. However, there are Jews that are not a spiritual or genetically valid line that are people/tribes who cause problems.

        If we are to be loyal to Jewish people and the promise that they are under – then, we have to state and study these facts, to know and understand them. We can’t ignore the truth – if we do ignore the truth we are cursing Jewish people that are righteous before God, just.Why? We denie their will to them in their Holy Land.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 25, 2014 at 3:19 am #

        Just when you think you’ve heard it all, Kata Fisher throws in another one of her mind-boggling “Reflections”. As an affirmation of “loyalty to Jewish people”, Ms. Fisher posts (1) a two-year-old clipping from a notoriously anti-Israel/anti-Semitic/anti-American/anti-EU and anti-a whole lot of other things website run by Christof Lehmann; (2) a podcast interview with Texe Marrs, a Texas-based crackpot who believes that both Hillary Clinton and Newt Gingrich are “doctrinaire Marxists”, and that Gingrich is also a member of an occult secret society known as the Bohemian Grove. (For her part, Hillary, together with hubby Bill, are deep into Egyptian occultism and Masonic magic.) Needless to say, Marrs doesn’t like Jews or Israel, and he doesn’t like Roman Catholics, which resonates with Ms. Fisher’s disdain for the Roman church. To top it off, he’s a conspiratorial theorist who believes that Timothy McVeigh was framed in the Oklahoma City bombing, which was planned and carried out by the US government.

        Finally, there’s a podcast interview with an ultra-Orthodox rabbi who is part of a miniscule group that’s actively working to make Israel disappear from the face of the earth.

        Are you still with me? (I’m not making this up. It’s all there on Ms. Fisher’s post.)

        This all comes together because the ultra-Orthodox sect dislikes the same thing Lehmann and Marrs dislike, which is the State of Israel. According to Ms. Fisher, this proves that “valid Jews”—i.e. the ultra-Orthodox—present no obstacle to Palestinian-Israeli peace because they lay no claim to the land. Trouble comes from the rest of us—she calls us “invalid Jews”—who are Zionists. Were I feeling mean spirited this morning, I would ask her how she would classify the tens of thousand ultra-Orthodox Jews who are Zionists, serve in the Israeli army, etc.

        Others on this blog, such as Gene Schulman, make a point of noting that their criticism is directed at Zionists, not at all Jews. While I believe that their delineation is not so clear cut as they think—due to nuances in the composition of Jewish identity that don’t lend themselves to a black/white analysis—I accept their methodology as reasonable.

        But Ms. Fisher is another matter entirely. By what right does this self-identified Charismatic Catholic, who knows little or nothing about Judaism, arrogate to herself the authority to identify “valid” and “invalid” Jews? She does this sort of thing on a regular basis, even dredging up the medieval blood libel of accusing Jews of being the anti-Christ. It may somehow get by Prof. Falk’s sniff-test. But it’s fair to ask, is there no end to this woman’s audacity?

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Kata Fisher March 25, 2014 at 9:13 am #

        Our beloved Rabbi Ira Youdovin is misinterpreting my intentions!

        First, I am very sorry that you have a morning that is upset, dear Rabbi!

        Secondly, about my intentions:

        1) To point out scientific research.
        2) To point out what Orthodox Rabbi believes & what happens to them, occasionally.
        3) To explain the condition of Palestine people who are ethnically cleansed by Israeli state that is secular, has not based their works on the believe in the Law and yet claims some religious substance, and without a valid purpose.

        We say: ”Get the entire region of the Holy Land back from the neighboring countries – you cannot steal and destroy that what belongs to Palestinian people who are ancient Jews as contemporarily Muslims in the Holy Land: Jewish-exiles.”

        We say, “Stop paganism of thy blood-line.” We have scientific research to confirm that?

        A Note: I made a decision on an experiment: take out my first name — just completely go without my name, and see how fast I‘ll get an attention / awareness of myself! (A hint: It is a religious experiment). This is a joke, for sure! However, ordination is a sacramental ritual that went very wrong, and all I can do as a girl-ordained is mock! Girls mock.

        As for me and my Faith, faith of Roman-Catholicism has nothing to do with it! Church-Charismatic that is valid is on unleavened bread! We do not believe in the arts of false-prophets who defiled Church in Rome with vast heresies. That is why we are Church-Catholic-Charismatic, so that we may not eat of that which is vomit! The truth & reality is……….?

        With that, we know and stand solid as we point to the first generation of Christianity, and Apostolic teachings that we find in the New Testament.

        Anti-Semitism is not vested in Church that is valid.
        I will use this opportunity and point this out:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/22/us/a-wedding-amid-cries-of-unfinished-business-from-a-marriage.html?smid=fb-share

        “Ms. Kin is Jewish girl, and her accursed ex-husband is a pagan-uncultivated?” Is there a problem with mixed marriages? (Now, I am sure that our beloved Rabbi would understand that, as well as Zionism?). We shall say this: “Stop paganism of thy blood-line.” We have scientific research to confirm that? Perhaps, change your religious divorce practices – or not!

        If that, then why:” the tens of thousand ultra-Orthodox Jews who are Zionists, serve in the Israeli army, etc.” as you Rabbi asked!

      • Fred Skolnik March 25, 2014 at 9:53 am #

        Dear Rabbi Youdovin

        The fact that there is an army of Christians out there, and not a few Jews, who seem to be devoting their lives to scouring the Internet for any scrap of “evidence,” from whatever source, that denigrates Jewish and/or Israeli life, practices and morality would ordinarily not warrant a moment of attention, given the general ignorance of these people, but in view of what such malice has wrought in the past it cannot be ignored, so as tempted as I am to tell you that it is pointless to respond to the Katas, just as I tell myself that it is pointless to respond to the Rays, in the end I think it our duty to expose them, again and again, until there can be no mistake about who and what they are.

      • Gene Schulman March 25, 2014 at 10:30 am #

        Fred, no one here is denigrating Jewish and/or Israeli life. Only Zionist policies which denigrate and oppress others lives. By attempting to “expose” the Katas and Rays, you only show your own ignorance and expose yourselves for what you really are, tools of the Zionist imperialists.

      • Fred Skolnik March 25, 2014 at 10:42 am #

        I am not going to quote some of the remarks that have been made about Jews on this site. I think you are aware of them as much as I am. Phrases like imperialist tools went out with the lexicon of the Soviet Union. Someone who gets all of his information at third hand like you you should not be speaking about ignorance and should not be throwing around phrases like oppression and ethnic cleansing. All you are revealing is a monumental animosity and resentment toward Israel that has very little to do with what Israel does or does not do, which in any case you have no real way of verifying or evaluating, so I will continue to expose you whenever you display your ignorance.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 25, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

        Whoa, Gene. Ray032 and Kata Fisher do far more than critique Israeli policy. And what they do is not good.

        Ray032 meanders through Scripture and history and comes up with off-the-wall conclusions. May I remind you that you characterized as “nosense” one of his comments on the current thread, and also did the unthinkable by agreeing with Fred Skolnik in his critique of another. Does this make you a “tool of Zionist imperialism”?

        My favorite Ray032-ism is when he claims that reading Scripture makes him realize that “I don’t have to waste my energies judging anybody. All I have to do is Love God and love others as they are where they are with the Love with which God loves me.” Then he goes on to judge and criticize, as you accurately note.

        Kata Fisher is another story. She’s a nasty bigot who throws around medieval anti-Semitic canards such as “anti-Christ,” dips into the Nazi playbook by asserting that Jews have polluted bloodstreams, denounces religions not her own as being “invalid”, and slanders the teachings of Roman Catholicism as “vomit”. I suppose Prof. Falk lets this get by his Decency Filter because at day’s end, the estimable Ms. Fisher can be counted on to say something nasty about Israel. But she adds nothing to the conversation except a little comic relief. (Gene, do you remember that when she first appeared, you suggested, perhaps facetiously, that I was secretly writing the stuff submitted under her name as a false flag campaign to discredit Prof. Falk’s supporters?)

        One final word, Gene, to your complaint that our purpose in posting is to drive you and other readers away. (Full Disclosure: Fred Skolnik and I have never met or communicated in any way other than through this blog. I’d like to. He seems like a decent and knowledgeable guy. Ditto for oldguyincolorado. But we don’t have each other’s e-mail address or telephone numbers.) I can’t speak for Fred, but my purpose is precisely the opposite of what you allege. I want to engage you and others in conversation, not to change your minds, but to create space for sharing conflicting views. Isn’t that what a blog is suppose to do? It certainly comports with Prof. Falk’s explanation of why he created the blog. Yes, please don’t do away. Stay, but also be present. When you resolve not to dignify us with responses to our nonsense, you defeat the purpose and potential of blog communication.

        Ira

      • Dan Livni March 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

        Gene Schulman

        Israel is the only genuine pluralistic democracy in the entire Middle East region. It is multi-racial and multi-ethnic, with Jewish law, history and traditions providing the binding glue to the nation while at the same time respecting the right of people of all faiths to worship as they please.

        Saudi Arabia, by contrast, has criminalized worship of any faith other than Islam even in one’s own home. Non-Arabs in Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations are looked down upon and treated very poorly. Christians are persecuted throughout the Arab and Muslim world.
        In Israel, they are welcomed and respected.

        Zionism is the expression of Jewish self-determination. Why shouldn’t Jews have a country of their own, and be able to live peacefully and securely on their own historic land?

        There has been continuous Jewish presence in the land of Israel going back centuries before Mohammed was born.

        Why can’t Israel call itself a Jewish state when many of their neighbors insist on enshrining Islamic law in their own constitutions and some countries like Iran even use “Islamic” in the full name of their country?

        The Palestinians should stop their campaign of hatred and accept the idea that the Jewish state of Israel is here to stay.
        Sadly the Palestinians would rather fire missiles behind schools and hospitals hoping Israel fires back, so its kills Palestinians civilians.

      • Dan Livni March 25, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

        Gene Schulman, all your answers are in this article.

        http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=62&x_article=2675

        Why Israel Insists on Palestinian Recognition of a Jewish State
        Ricki Hollander
        March 25, 2014

      • ray032 March 25, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

        The State of Israel was founded as a Jewish state, its identity as the nation-state of the Jews was its raison d’etre. as it is written in your link to the article.

        “a” Jewish state? There is already the one and only Jewish State in this world called Israel. The PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist already.

        I suspect the only reason Israel is one of the few countries in this world not having a Constitution is because they cannot codify the Law to grant equal civil rights to all people in the Land, including Arabs and non-Jews.

      • Kata Fisher March 25, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

        Dan Livni:
        I am completely catatonic when I read your writing.

        You wrote this:

        “Zionism is the expression of Jewish self-determination.”

        And by this they kill & destroy ancient Jews (they practice religious genocide over ancient Jews/Muslims – they are insain). What is wrong with that? – If you believe that what is done is Jewish self-determination you are complete out of your conscience.

        Are you like a government employer that practices Psychological warfare in this setting – or you are just naturally in a mind like that?

        If that is you’re “naturally in a mind” I would tell you that you need Baptism in God’s Spirit by a free fall! You are void of any law of the conscience.
        I just preformed spiritual ritual of the Church-Charismatic of decrement of spiritual realities.

      • Fred Skolnik March 25, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

        Dear Ray

        I just noticed the following from you and have to laugh:

        “I read in Israeli news media, Jews only roads are built right through Palestinian villages, with no on or off ramps in the village. There is no good reason to do this except to humiliate, divide and conquer.”

        Are you being serious? The whole purpose of the security roads is to avoid the Arab villages. Simple logic should tell you that by definition a security road cannot go through an Arab village, and this is in fact the case. You are living in a dream world.

      • ray032 March 26, 2014 at 5:29 am #

        Beit Safafa residents angry over highway set to divide village

        http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Beit-Safafa-residents-angry-over-highway-set-to-divide-village-339551

      • Fred Skolnik March 26, 2014 at 5:49 am #

        The unbuilt Bet Safafa road is a public highway, not a “Jews only” or security road and not one of many “roads been built through Palestinian villages” as you are falsely implying but a planned road to be built through a single village and available to the same Arab drivers who use Begin Boulevard. That the residents of Beir Safafa don’t like the idea is understandable. They are no different from tens of thousands of Israelis who have objected to having highways built near their homes.

      • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 10:55 am #

        http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/a-racist-jewish-state-1.225919

        Dan, I got your answer.

        A racist Jewish state

        There is a very thin line between a democratic Jewish state and a racist one. This week the line was crossed.

        Every day the Knesset has the option of passing laws that will advance Israel as a democratic Jewish state or turn it into a racist Jewish state. There is a very thin line between the two. This week, the line was crossed. If the Knesset legal counselor did not consider the bill entitled “the Jewish National Fund Law” as sufficiently racist to keep it off the agenda, it is hard to imagine what legislation she will consider racist.

        In 1995 the Supreme Court rescued the state from callously discriminating against its Arab citizens through the Ka’adan case, which prohibited the Israel Lands Administration from discriminating against non-Jews by leasing land through the Jewish Agency. Since then the attorney general has stated that such discrimination is unacceptable – also when it is carried out through the Jewish National Fund. The MKs were unable to accept this egalitarian ruling, and on Wednesday a large majority of 65 voted in favor of a preliminary reading permitting such discrimination. The bill is also backed by the head of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, MK Menahem Ben-Sasson.

        Any explanation by the supporters of the bill seeking to beautify it should be rejected immediately by anyone who cares about the country’s image. This bill reflects an abasement of the Zionist enterprise to lows never imagined in the Declaration of Independence. Even though the Jewish National Fund purchased the lands for the Jewish people in the Diaspora, the State of Israel has already been established and these lands must now serve all its citizens.

        For those living for tomorrow and not the past, the aim is to create in Israel a healthy, progressive state where the needs of the two peoples should concern the leaders and legislators. The Jewish National Fund’s land policy counters the interests of the state and cannot discriminate by law against the minority living in Israel.

        The clause in the bill stating that “the leasing of JNF lands for the purpose of settling Jews will not be seen as unacceptable discrimination,” even though it involves 13 percent of state-controlled lands and allows for further expressions of discrimination. For example, the establishment of a university only for Jews on JNF land, or a hospital, or a movie theater.

        It is not surprising that MK Uri Ariel, who favors the redemption of lands by Jews also beyond the Green Line, is the person who initiated the Jewish National Fund bill. But the support of Benjamin Netanyahu, Ami Ayalon, Michael Eitan, Reuven Rivlin and Shalom Simhon is a very bad omen for the future of legislation in Israel. The Ka’adan case in the Supreme Court failed to bring about change. The power to discriminate was passed on to communities’ acceptance committees that reject candidates by reverting to the clause of “being ill-suited to the community.” If it was not for the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Ka’adan case, it would have been possible also to reject non-Jewish candidates from Russia.

        The Ka’adan ruling was exceptional in setting red lines, allowing a broad range for change, establishing norms and preventing the debasement of the rule book. It turns out that the Supreme Court is not omnipotent. In an instant, a racist Knesset can overturn its rulings.

      • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 11:04 am #

        http://forward.com/articles/182171/israels-everyday-racism-and-how-american-jews-tu/

        The Anti-Defamation League and the rest of the American Jewish establishment owe Jesse Jackson a big apology. They put the man through the wringer, they made him apologize in every possible forum for his “Hymie” and “Hymietown” remarks back in 1984. Yet look at the kinds of things Israeli leaders — senior government ministers, chief rabbis — get away with without ever having to apologize, without ever being punished in the slightest.

        Again, the media, the left, some Ethiopian Jews and presumably some African refugees were outraged. But Lau defended his words, blaming the media, saying “they made a big deal out of a joke.”

        Who else defended his remarks about “kushim”? Bennett: “The media are pouncing on him for a joking, insignificant remark.”

        So really — what was so bad about “Hymies” and “Hymietown”? Or the thousand other anti-Semitic or even just possibly anti-Semitic remarks that the ADL and other American Jewish organizations have “pounced on” since then? Israeli public figures say the same kind of garbage, the difference is that they never, ever pay a price for it, in fact they usually manage to play the victim and get away with it, and at worst will be obliged to offer some backhanded apology.

        Likud lawmaker Miri Regev is doing fine after having called Sudanese refugees “a cancer on our body” to a crowd of hopped-up south Tel Avivians in May of last year, shortly before the crowd went on a window-smashing mini-pogrom against the Africans in the neighborhood.

        Legendary basketball coach Pini Gershon’s career and public stature didn’t suffer at all after he explained his racial theory about blacks to a class of amused army officers in 2000.

        “The mocha-colored guys are smarter, but the dark colored ones are just guys off the street,” Gershon said. “They’re dumb like slaves, they do whatever you tell them.”

        Nor was there any blowback whatsoever after Bibi Netanyahu bragged in 2007 that the cuts he’d made to child subsidies had brought a “positive” result, which he identified as “the demographic effect on the non-Jewish public, where there was a dramatic drop in the birth rate.”

        Imagine the scandal if an American political leader boasted publicly that his cuts to child subsidies had reduced the “non-Christian” birth rate. Imagine the ADL’s reaction. But in Israel, in 2007, from the mouth of a once-and-future prime minister — nothing.

        These are just a few of the more appalling examples of the kind of racist remarks that Israeli politicians, rabbis and celebrities feel free to make. I haven’t even mentioned Avigdor

        Just last week, Naftali Bennett, the fresh new face of right-wing Orthodox Judaism, said in a cabinet meeting how he didn’t like these releases of Palestinian prisoners. “If you catch terrorists, you simply have to kill them,” he was quoted in Yedioth Ahronoth as saying. The head of the National Security Council, Yaakov Amidror, told Bennett, “Listen, that’s not legal.” Bennett replied: “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.”

        The media, the left and the Arabs made a big deal out of it, nobody else. Bennett defended what he said, and so did countless talkbackers and Facebookers.

        Two days later the newly-elected Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, David Lau, was seen on a video telling an audience of yeshiva boys that they shouldn’t watch European basketball games in public.

        “What difference does it make,” Lau said, “if the kushim who get paid in Tel Aviv beat the kushim who get paid in Greece?” Kushim, especially when used in a dismissive context like Lau did, is a well-understood derogatory term for blacks.

        Again, the media, the left, some Ethiopian Jews and presumably some African refugees were outraged. But Lau defended his words, blaming the media, saying “they made a big deal out of a joke.”

        Who else defended his remarks about “kushim”? Bennett: “The media are pouncing on him for a joking, insignificant remark.”

        So really — what was so bad about “Hymies” and “Hymietown”? Or the thousand other anti-Semitic or even just possibly anti-Semitic remarks that the ADL and other American Jewish organizations have “pounced on” since then? Israeli public figures say the same kind of garbage, the difference is that they never, ever pay a price for it, in fact they usually manage to play the victim and get away with it, and at worst will be obliged to offer some backhanded apology.

        Likud lawmaker Miri Regev is doing fine after having called Sudanese refugees “a cancer on our body” to a crowd of hopped-up south Tel Avivians in May of last year, shortly before the crowd went on a window-smashing mini-pogrom against the Africans in the neighborhood.

        Legendary basketball coach Pini Gershon’s career and public stature didn’t suffer at all after he explained his racial theory about blacks to a class of amused army officers in 2000.

        “The mocha-colored guys are smarter, but the dark colored ones are just guys off the street,” Gershon said. “They’re dumb like slaves, they do whatever you tell them.”

        Nor was there any blowback whatsoever after Bibi Netanyahu bragged in 2007 that the cuts he’d made to child subsidies had brought a “positive” result, which he identified as “the demographic effect on the non-Jewish public, where there was a dramatic drop in the birth rate.”

        Imagine the scandal if an American political leader boasted publicly that his cuts to child subsidies had reduced the “non-Christian” birth rate. Imagine the ADL’s reaction. But in Israel, in 2007, from the mouth of a once-and-future prime minister — nothing.

        These are just a few of the more appalling examples of the kind of racist remarks that Israeli politicians, rabbis and celebrities feel free to make. I haven’t even mentioned Avigdor Lieberman and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. As a rule the words are directed at Arabs, now and then against blacks: either Ethiopian Jews, African refugees or athletes.

        I’ve lived roughly half my 61 years in the United States, the other half in Israel. There is absolutely no comparison between American tolerance for public displays of racism and Israeli tolerance for it.

        I’ve stood in the middle of Israeli crowds chanting “Death to the Arabs.” I’ve sat in a Tel Aviv soccer stadium watching and listening to an entire section of fans erupt in monkey sounds – “Hoo, hoo, hoo!! Hoo, hoo, hoo!! – after a black player on the visiting team scored a goal.

        A few liberals and a few do-gooders and a few journalists wring their hands. But the racists in the street, the synagogues, the Knesset and the government go on doing their thing.

        Does this mean all Israelis, or even most of them, are racists? No. Does it mean Israeli society, by commission and omission, encourages racism? Oh, yes. To a degree that would be unthinkable in the United States.

        And the leaders of the U.S. Jewish establishment, Israel’s most valued, devoted, determined friends, keep pouncing on every untoward or conceivably untoward remark about Jews or the Jewish state. Yes, the ADL will send out a press release about its “concern” over the “inappropriate” remarks made by some relatively minor Israeli figure.

        But it never hits hard at the major figures. It said nothing last week about Bennett or Lau. The ADL goes after anti-Semitism with a fist, it goes after Israeli racism with a sigh.

        As a matter of fact, the ADL and the entire American Jewish establishment should suspend their campaigns against anti-Semitism indefinitely and take a look at what’s going on in Israel.

        When the Jewish state is this riddled with racism, its advocates abroad should be a little less outraged over the offenses of gentiles. They should be a little more humble — and a lot less hypocritical.

      • Gene Schulman March 26, 2014 at 11:13 am #

        Democratic Jewish State = oxymoron

      • Kata Fisher March 26, 2014 at 11:27 am #

        Dear Gene,

        It is so. It is an ecclesiastical people’s state – or it is Landmark-neutral / free (Democratic)!

      • Kata Fisher March 25, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

        Dear Rabbi Ira Youdovin:

        Israel is a delusional pursuit for Zionist Jews and Zionist Christians (when Palestinian) peoples are killed!

        PALESTINIANS MUSLIM ARE EXILE JEWS (ANCIENT) THE JEWISH EXILES RETURNED TO THE HOLY LAND! Our Children become martyrs and saints, and children of the wicked are accursed and cut off in all generations.

        It is written: Do not kill! In Christianity, this means: do not hate! Who am I to worship other Gods, and believe what is done in Holy Land is of God and not of Satan? It is a fully breathed work of Satan – that which is taking place in the Holy Land!

        All things that are spiritually excommunicated are given over to Satan.

        I have no other God that I worship, but one who was worshiped by King David. Judah and Household of David are in one mind. If I were to agree with pursuit/s of Zionist Jews and Zionist Christians I would be cursing Holy People and the Holy Land – and by that I would be in danger of cursing the Holy One, as well!

        The Church Charismatic in God’s Sprit you say is “nasty bigot” – you said that of me. I am not surprised dear Rabbi, I know that you hate me.
        Before I was perceived by you to be a “nasty bigot” – Christ and all Apostles were perceived as that by many and in all generations. Why?

        A note: Some people here have a RIGHT TO TRUTH! RIGHT TO SUNSHINE IN THE LAND!

        http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/impu/principles.html

        Rabbi, you can’t judge the Church-Charismatic that is under the Law of Spirit and work of that: Law of the Gospel. This Gospel that, in fact, acts as a double edged sword! (I do not feel apologizing about that).

        But I can say this dear Rabbi Ira Youdovin: You lack spiritual Love…

      • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 10:44 am #

        May I can say to you, Kata, I love you and let us show them the power of love in preaching love no war … I mean you got the right way of life, May God bless you.

      • Kata Fisher March 26, 2014 at 11:17 am #

        Dear Mario Labbé:

        Only Judah and Household of David have spoken like that.

        “The Joy of the Lord is my strength.”

        In the context of the Book of Nehemiah, we find that.

      • ray032 March 25, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

        Rabbi Ira, to get Gene and Fred to see eye to eye on anything is an accomplishment, and to think that is because of my expressed Vision born of Faith and belief in my God. There’s still Hope!!!

        I’m one with the Prophet in this view and understanding; Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

        As a Rabbi, you have to walk among secular people who have no Faith in the God of Abraham. Each one demands Freedom of Speech for themselves, but you can’t talk about God in the Public Square. You don’t have Freedom of Speech to express Faith in God in this world’s secular, materialistic system of things. the works of men’s hands. As a Rabbi you must know so many scriptural insights on what God has to say about that.

        I agree with you that discussion is good and it is even better when the mind is engaged. The fact is, we are all Propagandists according the the dictionary definition in trying to get our views across, trying to have others see it from. your perspective.

        On the birth of Messiah, I see it from the perspective of the Christian Sect of Judaism. I would not have Faith in God if not 1st by God, and 2nd, by Judaism.

        In the Annunciation to the Shepherds by the Angels, it is recorded Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

        This world gives not much Glory to God and mostly by lip service and not heart service, and does not have much Good Will, so there is No Peace.

        I do say we have arrived at the Age when the works of men’s hands are now being brought into Judgment by Almighty God..

        But for the immediate,you do have me curious what you mean by this? “Ray032 and Kata Fisher do far more than critique Israeli policy. And what they do is not good.”

        if you care to engage in conversation, please explain yourself. That’s just an unsubstantiated accusation.

        Also please provide your evidence in my words that made you express your favourite “Ray032-ism”?

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 25, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

        Ray032,

        Your suggestion that Fred and Gene agreeing on anything may presage Messiah’s arrival brought a smile to my face. Touche’ and Amen. Thank God somebody on this blog has a sense of humor! And you may be right about M. I’ve taken my long white robe out of mothballs, purchased a trumpet, and am preparing to hasten to the Temple Mount to herald His (Her?) coming. Hallelujah.

        Your challenges to what I wrote about you merit a serious and civil response.

        You posted—“Extrapolating verse 11, it tells me I don’t have to waste my energies judging anybody. All I have to do is Love God and love others as they are where they are with the Love with which God loves me)—two days ago. I quoted it verbatim.

        Fact is that you pass judgment, frequently and often harshly. Just run through your comments posted on this thread and you’ll see what I mean.

        Please understand, there’s nothing wrong with feeling God’s love to the extent where you don’t feel compelled to criticize. And there’s nothing wrong with voicing criticism. The problem is that the two are mutually exclusive. You don’t seem to grasp this.

        As regards your going beyond critiquing Israeli policy: you meander around Scriptural text, history, Jewish belief and practice and too often get things wrong. I’m not talking about Christian vs. Jewish understandings of the Hebrew Bible. You’re a Christian I’m a Jew. Both of us are correct in the context of our own faith community. It’s things like your insistence that Israel bases its legitimacy on God’s biblical promise from three millennia ago. Fred Skolnik tried to correct this politely but you rejected his words “a load of crap.” (Which, frankly, doesn’t sound very loving.)

        So I’ll take a crack at it. Israel’s Jewish community reflects a broad diversity of beliefs, perspectives and historic experiences. A small minority does believe that God’s biblical promise entitles the contemporary State to expand to its biblical dimensions. Because Israel guarantees and protects freedom of speech, advocates of this view are able to express it. This is picked up by the media and given undeserved prominence. What Fred was saying is that no Israeli government nor prime minister has ever made the claim. It is made by disparate individuals, not by the State. Israel’s legitimacy in the region is rooted in history, not theology. Israel’s Declaration of Independence does not mention God. (In comparison, America’s Declaration speaks of inalienable rights bestowed by God.) If you don’t believe me, read the Declaration and ancillary documents written over the past seven decades.

        You’re absolutely right in observing that defining the role of Palestinian citizens is an obstacle impeding Israel’s adopting a constitution. But it’s only one of many. The diversity of Israel’s population—not only Palestinians and Jews but also a multiplicity of Jewish religious, ethnic, and social orientations—makes drafting a single document incredibly difficult. The first European settlers arrived on American shores in 1608. But it was not until 1789, after nearly two centuries of shared experience, that the Founding Fathers were able to draft a constitution. And the key human rights issue—the status of African Americans—was not determined until after the Civil War (and, in fact, still lacks clarification). And btw, England has never had a constitution and still has succeeded as a democracy.

        Ira

      • Fred Skolnik March 25, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

        I will add a short comment with regard to Israel’s lack of a constitution, which has nothing to do with Arabs but was opposed historically by the religious parties out of fear that it would undermine the rabbiinical courts and Jewish family law. Instead the Israeli Knesset developed a series of Basic Laws that have quasi- constitutional force.
        Israel’s Arabs have full civil rights and unrestricted recourse to the courts and do not require a constitution to fortify or institutionalize these rights. Discrimination is not a legal issue in Israel but a social and political issue. It derives in the first place from the fact that Israel’s Arabs are a national minority whose primary identity is with a larger Arab world that is hostile to Israel. Among Jews whose families came from Arab countries, it represents a backlash deriving from the way Jews were treated there. And of course it operates among individuals in the same way that bigotry operates everywhere else,

      • ray032 March 26, 2014 at 7:57 am #

        Rabbi, I don’t judge anyone’s soul. I can judge scenes and situations knowing the other has an equally valid right to his/her views and understanding as I have, even if they be diametrically opposed to mine.

        Only God and the Individual know those facts.

        Religious Jews are waiting for the 1st TIME appearance of Messiah. Christians are waiting for the 2nd TIME appearance of Messiah, and Muslims are waiting for the 1st TIME appearance of the Hidden Mahdi.

        There might be equal disappointment for the expectation all 3 Abramic monotheistic religions embracing the greater majority of this world’s population have, when those three versions will be the same ONE.

        Looking into TODAY’S world as it’s developing, with a witches brew in Syria in a vicious, bloody, destructive ongoing war over power involving many Nations just on the border with Israel.

        There is an old saying, if the shoe fits, wear it.

        I don’t understand how any literate person cannot see what is happening in Syria Today fits like a glove with the images behind these words of the Prophet concerning Syria and Damascus.

        Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of Nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!
        [13] The Nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. This is EXACTLY what is happening in Syria TODAY. even though the record goes back some 2600 years ago.

        I can’t deny within myself, I see the possibility and circumstances coming into place in this world with the exercise of the ‘Samson Option’ being Final.

        Putin has drawn his Red Line. Crimea is now Russian territory with it’s long history and being of existential primary strategic importance to Russia.with facts on the ground and he will not back down. I don’t expect he will move further unless the West escalates the situation.

        With all these ‘Signs of the TIMES,’ even the secular, non religious can see the need for a Saviour of the world! That’s job is already taken so no one should think it is up to them even though they should never stop trying to measure up.

      • Fred Skolnik March 26, 2014 at 8:45 am #

        Dear Prof. Falk

        If I am in any way responsible for attracting this collection of raving lunatics to your site I am truly sorry, but I think it also has something to do with who you are.

      • Kata Fisher March 26, 2014 at 9:20 am #

        Fred Skolnik:

        A Quote: “Fred Skolnik has spirit of the tempter in him.”
        A Quote:” He is decayed ethically and spiritually…”
        A Quote: “by the gift of God’s Spirit? No. Not by gift of God’s Spirit.”
        A Quote:” By the irrevocable sins.”

        Fred Skolnik you have the spirit of the tempter in you.
        You are decayed ethically and spiritually…
        “by the gift of God’s Spirit?” Just kidding!!!!
        By the irrevocable sins.

        Fred Skolnik has spirit of the tempter in him.

        Note: I just preformed Church-Charismatic ritual of discerning of the spirits.

      • ray032 March 26, 2014 at 6:32 am #

        Rabbi,this brought a smile to my face, ‘Israel’s legitimacy in the region is rooted in history, not theology.’

        As a Rabbi, are you now suggesting there is no such a concept as God’s Chosen People?

      • Fred Skolnik March 26, 2014 at 6:58 am #

        But that has nothing to do with Zionism; it is a theological idea. Don’t you get it, Ray?

      • Fred Skolnik March 26, 2014 at 7:14 am #

        Once again: The idea of God’s Chosen People has nothing to do with Zionism; it is a religious idea. Don’t you get it, Ray? For the last time:

        No Israeli government and no Zionist leader has ever claimed that the Land of Israel was given to the Jewish people by God. Zionism was a secular movement and the governments of the State of Israel have been secular governments. The rationale of Zionism is stated very clearly in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, where the word God does not appear and which states that the Land of Israel is the birthplace of the Jewish people where their national consciousness, culture, language and political identity were forged.

      • ray032 March 26, 2014 at 9:54 am #

        Actions speak louder than words, and the Israeli government gives financial incentives for Jewish “settlement,” creating preconditions on the the very ground contrary to International Law, that is the purpose of Good Faith Peace negotiations.

        So if secular forces and a 47 year Military Dictatorship are behind reclaiming the ancient homeland God gave the Jews, and excluding God from the process, there is grave danger the Promised Land will never be seen and known on the ground.

      • Kata Fisher March 26, 2014 at 10:21 am #

        Yes, so it is.

      • Kata Fisher March 26, 2014 at 10:25 am #

        I have a reflection:
        They do not fear the God who is Holy, and they do not fear the Laws that are appointed.

      • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 10:41 am #

        Nice respond, Gene. I agree.

      • Kata Fisher March 25, 2014 at 10:52 am #

        About Fred Skolnik:

        His arguments do not surprise me; it is a void eternity!

      • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 6:36 am #

        Rabbi says to Kate :”Just when you think you’ve heard it all, Kata Fisher throws in another one of her mind-boggling “Reflections”. As an affirmation of “loyalty to Jewish people”, Ms. Fisher posts (1) a two-year-old clipping from a notoriously anti-Israel/anti-Semitic/anti-American/anti-EU and anti-a whole lot of other things website run by Christof Lehmann; (2) a podcast interview with Texe Marrs, a Texas-based crackpot who believes that both Hillary Clinton and Newt Gingrich are “doctrinaire Marxists”, and that Gingrich is also a member of an occult secret society known as the Bohemian Grove. (For her part, Hillary, together with hubby Bill, are deep into Egyptian occultism and Masonic magic.) Needless to say, Marrs doesn’t like Jews or Israel, and he doesn’t like Roman Catholics, which resonates with Ms. Fisher’s disdain for the Roman church. To top it off, he’s a conspiratorial theorist who believes that Timothy McVeigh was framed in the Oklahoma City bombing, which was planned and carried out by the US government.”

        Why couldn’t Palestinian do same as you are saying about this kind of propaganda ? I Mean why Palestinian couldn’t say everything come from Israel and USA is wrong because it all comes from Hell of Cash and Money ? In other word, Rabbi you can’t save to answer questions only by saying : so then it comes from Islamic, Arabs, communists, Anarchists, Tzigan, mental disorder, Black people, or whatever Christ, they don’t think on your side so they are simply wrong because they don’t agree us !!!

        We call that mind disease in my book, not Jews perversion like you could purpose but to my eyes I call it totalitary thought which is driving us right on the Wall, rabbi….

    • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 11:16 am #

      Thank you so much, Olga, for your testimony.

  8. Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    To: Mario Labbe’

    So long as you’re trotting out defamatory statements, let’s have a look at these:

    “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.’ (Preamble)”

    “The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Holy Possession] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part, or abandon it or any part of it.’ (Article 11)”

    “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’ (Article 7)”

    What is the difference between these and the ones you quoted? Well…yours are the opinions of a single individual who served a relatively brief term as Israel’s prime minister a quarter century ago, before being beaten by Yizhak Rabin who sought peace and reconciliation with the Palestinians. The quotes you cite are from the Hamas National Covenant, which is the ideological platform stating the aspirations of one of the Palestinians’ two major political parties. Hamas has repeatedly refused to modify its views.

    The quotes you cite speak for an individual. The other expresses views endorsed by something approaching half of the Palestinians.

    Which set is the more significant of the two?

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • ray032 March 24, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

      Jews and Christians pick and choose the lines from the Books to suit their agendas. For the Jews of Israel, it’s god gave the land to the Jews to the exclusion of other moderating scriptures.

      I pick this from the Quran

      [2.62] Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

      • Fred Skolnik March 25, 2014 at 1:20 am #

        I see that you have a problem letting go of a false idea about God and Zionism that you’ve gotten used to and probably found very necessary in building your case against Israel. Believe me, Ray, the fewer fictions that you work into your arguments the more convincing you will be. But I am willing to take you through this step by step:

        Do you understand that Zionism was a secular political movement?

        Awaiting your reply.

      • ray032 March 25, 2014 at 2:18 am #

        Full Definition of ZIONISM
        : an international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel

        Ever read the comments in The Jerusalem Post? They are full of hatred matching anything coming from the Arab side.

        The separation wall was not built along the 1967 Green line, but within Palestinian Territory. It snakes around the settlements. I read in Israeli news media, Jews only roads are built right through Palestinian villages, with no on or off ramps in the village. There is no good reason to do this except to humiliate, divide and conquer. The Wall meanders. The Jews only roads could go around the villages.

      • Fred Skolnik March 25, 2014 at 2:31 am #

        You are going off on a tangent, ray. We are talking about your false notion that Zionism claims that the Jews have a right to the land of Israel because God gave it to them. Do you understand now that you are mistaken?

    • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 5:51 am #

      http://www.hirhome.com/israel/leaders0.htm

      The push for Jewish assimilation in the 19th century
      ________________________________________________________

      If the 20th century finally gave birth to the modern world, then the 19th was the extended prelude of contractions: a series of social and political upheavals set in motion by the enduring influence of the French Revolution. One consequence of these upheavals was that the political situation of the Jews was gradually liberalized in Europe, and in some countries they were even granted full citizen rights, equal to those of Christians.

      “In the course of the nineteenth century, Jews in substantial numbers abandoned Yiddish as their primary language to speak, for example, ‘good’ German, and significant segments of the community succeeded in leaving behind the commercial occupations of their fathers to become poets, composers, philosophers, and intellectuals of various other stripes.”[15]

      This new liberal momentum that, in fits and starts, was prying open the legal shackles of the Jews was greeted with a delirious enthusiasm by many Jews, desperate as they understandably were to end their inferior status. Something very interesting and with tremendous consequences now took place: the emancipated Jews made efforts to assimilate to Christian society, and, as they did, they were seduced by antisemitism. This phenomenon made modern antisemitism very difficult to combat, and it would have important negative consequences for the possibility of Jewish self-defense in the context of the German Nazi onslaught.

      It is important, especially, to understand the ideology of the German Jewish leaders, and those whom they influenced, because without this context one cannot make sense of the reactions of the Jewish leadership to the Nazi persecution, and therefore neither can one fully understand the Holocaust. I will begin by explaining how the legal emancipation of the Jews during the 19th century produced a great wave of assimilation, and the consequences of that. I will focus first on the grand sweep of the process of assimilation and then on how it affected the German Jewish leadership in particular.

      Why didn’t assimilation happen earlier?
      ______________________________________

      Previously, the Jews could say with confidence that their own civilization was superior to that which surrounded them, for the contrast was dramatic. Jewish society was freer, more socially just, much more ethical, and much, much more alphabetized than Christian society. Historian James Carroll, a Catholic who has studied medieval Judaism in the context of the ecclesiastical attacks of which it became a victim, says:

      “Jewish life at the millennium was humane and thriving… I read this history as a Christian, but it seems fair to say that the Talmudic system[16] had shaped a way of thinking by the very seriousness with which the commentary of rabbis was taken. That way of thinking, in turn, shaped Jewish communal life. The problems and crises of Jews were addressed and resolved through commentary and further commentary — an inbuilt commitment to text, reading, imagination, and community. All of this was organized around an admired collective whose authority was rooted in study and in the proven wisdom of its ‘responsa,’ its responses to questions. Though based on the Law of Moses, Judaism had emerged as a community ordered not by legislation or decree but by the influence of its interpreters, reflecting on a compilation of the commentary of ancestral masters. This is the culture of Talmud, a culture not of codification but of conversation, written and oral; a culture not of hierarchy but of mutuality.”[17]

      This obvious superiority of Judaism, I think, contributed greatly to strengthening the commitment of Jews to their religion despite the interminable avalanche of attacks, in this way achieving the spectacular survival — despite all odds — of the community. But in the 19th c. the Christian societies in the West became freer than they had been: the press flourished, and a variety of opinions were expressed at the same time that the censoring power of the Church and the monarchies receded. These societies also became less harshly unequal, and education became more widely accessible. Even if these were partial victories, the consequence of hard-won battles fought from below, and resisted bitterly by the aristocratic classes, the palpable gains over the course of the century gave a sense of evolution: the world progressed — not just in politics, but in science, art, and industry — and this direction seemed inexorable, inevitable, irresistible. ‘Progress’ — and consciousness of it — became one of the obsessions of that generation; the very definition of modernity was this cult of ‘progress’ (this outlook has not altogether disappeared).

      To many Jews, this modern world that was coming into being, and which, many promised, would be ever better, shone with a more attractive sheen than the Orthodox community. Many, without coercion, chose to convert to Christianity; others traveled only half-way there, assimilating to Christian culture and abandoning judaism, but — and here lies the crucial issue — functioning still as Jews and even as leaders with great influence in their community. This would have certain consequences, because assimilation to ‘modern society’ carried with it the adoption of the Western world’s dominant ideology: antisemitism.

      The new antisemitism, and its appeal for many Jews
      ___________________________________________________

      If the spirit of Judaism was winning — the universal ethics of the European Enlightenment — was Jewish Law itself still necessary? Long a refuge and promise of universal liberation, many Jews now felt that they were dragging a heavy ball and chain that kept them in the Middle Ages and precluded full immersion in ‘modern society,’ thus sabotaging the millenarian hope of redemption: the passion to live — finally! — in a world where Jews could be ‘normal.’ This was the perception, especially, of wealthy Jews who already had a foot in Christian society and the other foot half outside of Judaism, for they wished to join the European ruling classes as full members. It is they who most found to their taste the old wine that antisemites were now selling in shiny new bottles.

      The new attacks against Orthodox Jews represented them as a stubborn resistance, wishing to remain in a retrograde culture, and polluting modern society with their nefarious influences. In those days so-called ‘scientific’ racism was flourishing — fed as it was by the nationalist eruptions that would then extend themselves over the European continent like brushfires — so the supposed degeneracy of the Jews was often explained as a product of their objectionable biological nature. Those who pushed these far right arguments were the “traditionalist adversaries of the Jews and of Enlightenment liberalism, [who] maintained that the Jews were a separate nation and so could not be absorbed as citizens into European nations.”[18]

      It is well to point out, however, that the ‘liberal opposition’ didn’t speak very differently on the question of the Jews: “Among Enlightenment figures, virtually all insisted that the Jews would need to give up their concepts of Jewish nationhood… Some went further and attacked Judaism at its foundations as immoral, inhumane, and inconsistent with civilized society.”[18a] Those who defended the ‘liberal’ view, then, “advocated [Jewish] integration but typically with limits to the citizen rights to be extended the Jews and with those rights coming only upon the Jews’ renunciation of much of their heritage.”[19]

      The ‘right’ hand was a fist and the ‘left’ hand was extended only in exchange for abolishing the Law of Moses. Check mate.

      Once this dilemma is appreciated we can recognize the profound genius of Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism. His strategy recruited, on the one hand, the forces of liberalism because he was proposing a new State where his people could establish themselves as a democracy and be free, but it harnessed also the energies of the racist nationalism that sought to exclude the Jews, for many antisemites found appealing the idea of ridding themselves of the Jews by sending them to the Middle East. But the antisemites had their judo moves, too: by making clear that modern citizenship came with a price — to proclaim oneself ‘assimilated,’ on the Christian side, and allied with the new antisemitic accusations — they managed in this way to recruit the energies of many Jews, especially in the upper classes. The ‘assimilated’ ended up defending the view that in order to resolve the so-called ‘Jewish Problem’ Talmudic Judaism would have to be abandoned, because Christian hate was supposedly a consequence of the ‘primitive’ difference that Orthodox Jews were clinging to with needless obstinacy.

      This ‘explanation’ for antisemitism betrayed an almost complete ignorance of history, or at least a denial of it. And it shoved to one side the contemporary evidence: Where is the movement to exterminate the Amish, who represent a resistance to the modern world more extreme than anything in Orthodox Judaism? (As I have argued elsewhere, the fundamental reason for antisemitism is that Jewish Law, the law of liberated slaves, carefully protects the rights of ordinary workers, and this has always been offensive to the Western ruling classes.) But nothing here is sadder than the irony of these ‘new’ attitudes that in fact betrayed the liberal spirit that had produced the opportunity for emancipation in the first place. For if liberalism is not the tolerance of the difference that does not hurt us — and Jewish orthodoxy, like Amish orthodoxy, does not hurt us (on the contrary, avoiding harm is at the center of both movements) — then it is nothing. The modernizing Jews — who benefited from liberalism — did not defend the liberal and modern principle of religious tolerance, because they did not respect the right of their Orthodox brethren to remain different.

      Historian Joseph Dan gives us another clue. There is a “deep ambivalence in the modern Jewish soul,” he says, for it contains “the rejection of the practical norms of traditional Judaism as ‘medieval’ and ‘ignorant,’ on the one hand, and the nostalgic cherishment of the deep roots in the past,” on the other.[20] I think the key here is the nostalgic cherishment of the deep roots in the past. It is quite uncomfortable to affect nostalgia for something that in fact will not consent to disappear, and the Eastern Jews, who inisted on the everlasting relevance of the halachach, were the majority. In consequence, the modernizing Jews, shorn now of the Law that defines Judaism, felt inferior in their authenticity as Jews. The solution? To abolish Jewish Orthodoxy so that it could become the object of a genuine nostalgia.

      “In the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Jews in central Europe were told by much of the surrounding society that Yiddish was a crude, bastardized, unwholesome language that reflected the degenerate nature of the Jews and illustrated their unfitness for citizenship rights. Many Jewish leaders and members of the cultural elite in the Jewish community embraced this attack and urged the abandonment of Yiddish as, in the words of one such figure, ‘a language of stammerers, corrupt and deformed, repulsive to those who are able to speak in a correct and orderly manner.’”[21]

      It is interesting and revealing that the derogatory — in truth condemning — comment about Yiddish cited above comes from Moses Mendelssohn, the father of the ‘Jewish Enlightenment’ movement known as Haskalah. The leaders of this movement were called maskilim, and Mendelssohn is the father figure. One cannot accuse Mendelssohn himself of antisemitism because he “adhered to the practice of traditional Judaism throughout his life, was concerned about the welfare of his fellow Jews, and extended what help he could to Jewish communities across Europe in distress from the actions of local authorities.”[22] But Mendelssohn’s comment about Yiddish shows that his recommendation to his Jewish brethren to get an education beyond the Jewish language in order to participate more fully in their societies was not simply a practical advice. Mendelssohn had absorbed some of the prejudice of Christians against the Jewish people, whose tongue was simply a language like any other. His followers absorbed much more antisemitism than he did, because “very few, if any, of the maskilim shared Mendelssohn’s commitment to traditional Jewish observance. Rather, there was almost unanimous support for doing away with it.”[22a] As we shall see, it is not a great exaggeration to say that the maskilim represented a Jewish movement to abolish Judaism.

      To round out the context, I will cast a brief look at the currents that had been affecting Orthodox Jewish practic.

      The Orthodox Jews
      ___________________

      In the 18th and 19th c. there came into being the Hassidic movement, founded by the Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov towards the end of the 18th. “Hasidism undoubtedly was to some extent a revivalistic movement, which brought new enthusiasm and new impetus to the performance of the old traditional ethical and ritualistic traditional norms,” and it has played an important role in the survival of Orthodox Judaism.[23] But from the practical, ethical point of view, it brought nothing new:

      “It should be emphasized that it is very difficult, if not absolutely impossible, to point out even one central religious idea which is characteristic of the Hasidic movement as a whole and only to it, one that is not found in any Jewish non-Hasidic or pre-Hasidic movement, which is not part of the concept of the Zaddik and the relationship between the community and its leader. All the rich intellectual and spiritual ideas found in the many hundreds of books written by Hasidic leaders since the last two decades of the 18th century…to this very day are all ideas which can be found in many other Jewish books of ethics and homiletic… — except the theological ideas concerning the role of the Zaddik.”[24]

      But this idea of what it meant to be a Zaddik was certainly new: “The Hasid believes that his leader and teacher, the Zaddik, is divinely inspired, and that his soul is constantly connected with the higher realms of the divine hierarchy of forces (which Hasidism adopted from the symbolism of the Kabbalah). The Zaddik thus represents a divine power, and serves as an intermediary between the worshipper and God himself.”[25]

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      Because there really are no new ethical concepts that are exclusive to Hasidism as such, there isn’t here a dramatic ‘revelation’: Hasidism is thoroughly conservative. What Hasidism injected into the mystical Jewish tradition of Kabbalah is an element it did not have and which most other mystical movements possess: the saint, defined more than anything as a good man, who in the Jewish version also works for social justice, and whose authority emanates from the perception of his ethics and his presumed direct, often ecstatic, link to God. There is also the detail that a Zaddik’s authority is dynastic, for it is transmitted from father to son (and in some cases to son-in-law). In this manner, Hasidic communities were created around different Zaddik dynasties.

      “Never before in Judaism was there such a large movement motivated by the concept of a leadership which serves as a religious, mystical intermediary between Man and God. The only exception is the Sabbatian movement of the 17th and 18th centuries, which believed that its messiah, Shabtai Zvi, was an intermediary between the people of Israel and the Godhead, an idea which was presented especially in the works of Nathan of Gaza, the prophet of Shabtai Zvi.”[26]

      Shabtai Zvi had been a complete disaster, for after convincing astonishingly large multitudes all over the Jewish world that he was the long-awaited Messiah, he demonstrated that he was in fact an enemy of Judaism who wanted to abolish Jewish Law, and in the end converted to Islam, a religion that considers it pious to murder recalcitrant Jews or else make them slaves of the Muslims.[26a] It is true that Hasidism shares with the Sabbatean movement the element of charismatic leadership, but in another sense Hasidism is the very antithesis of Shabtai Zvi, for it means to preserve the Jewish Law. In a certain way, the Hasidic movement harnessed the feverish desire of the Jewish masses for a charismatic leadership — amply demonstrated in the Sabbatean movement — and used it to preserve traditional Judaism, neutralizing the threat present in Sabbateanism and later reverberations. Orthodox Jews, too, have their judo moves.

      Precisely because Hasidism is an injection of charismatic leadership into Jewish mysticism, it went in a direction contrary to rationalism. The traditional rabbis had always been in general rationalists and many of them were passionately in love with science, but science “was notably less popular among the Hasidim.”[27] It should not surprise us that the rationalist currents in Jewish orthodoxy perceived a threat in Hasidic mysticism, thus giving birth to “the struggle of the Mithnaggedim or the traditional Talmudic Jews, against Hasidism.”[28] For example, “Rabbi Elijah [Ben Solomon Zalman],” the Vilna Gaon, a great enthusiast of science, “was the chief figure in the traditionalist campaign against the Hasidim in the late eighteenth century, and one of his major criticisms was what he perceived as Hasidism’s anti-intellectualism. This, he argued, was antithetical to the essential rationalism of Jewish belief and would inevitably lead to a falling away from basic Jewish tenets.”[29]

      The reaction of the mitnagdim against the Hasidim “was to be one of the contributory factors of the Haskalah movement” of the maskilim.[30] But whereas the mitnagdim sought to protect the rationalism in Jewish Orthodoxy from the charismatic influences of Hasidism, the Haskalah rationalism of the maskilim, inspired by the European Enlightenment, took from Enlightnment figures their antipathy toward religion as such, launching an attack against Jewish Orthodoxy itself, including the traditional orthodoxy that the mitnagdim were defending. “Maskilim transformed Sabbateanism into a metaphor for Hasidism, the immediate object of their polemics, as well as other aspects of contemporary Jewish life, such as rabbinism and kabbalism, which they regarded as obscurantist, and which they hoped to reshape and reform.”[31] For the maskilim to paint Hasidism with the colors of Sabbateanism was to perpetrate a great injustice. An even greater injustice was to paint in this way the rest of Jewish orthodoxy, which had always been of a rationalist and non-charismatic tendency. Why were the maskilim doing this? Because, they said, they wanted to “restore the Jewish people to the world of reality,”[32] and this position required that Orthodox Judaism be represented as unreal: a mystical outburst of hysterics along the lines of Shabtai Zvi. This is how they justified their alliance with the Christian ruling classes that were working so hard to erase Judaism from the face of the Earth.

      These efforts were destroying what had been a Golden Age of Orthodox Judaism in Eastern Europe.

      Many Jews took refuge in Eastern Europe, in the 16th and 17th c., from the anti-Jewish mass killings, forced conversions, and expulsions that took place in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. Thanks to the autonomy that the Polish kings allowed, the Jewish comunity in these lands came closer than any other to a complete realization of an Orthodox Jewish society, a full expression of its compendium of Talmudic laws.[33] The beginning of the end came at the end of the 18th c., when the Polish state was dismembered and divided between Prussia, Austria, and Russia (it would not be recreated until after WWI).

      There were maskilim — assimilated, upper class Jews — who now became leaders of the effort to destroy Jewish Orthodoxy in Russia. The Jewish upper classes avoided having to give their children to the Russian army by kidnapping lots of poor Jewish children who were taken often at the age of 7 or 8, would be educated by the Russian state, and would then begin a 25-year military service. Many were converted to Christianity.[34] The Russian experience was traumatic, especially when the infamous pogroms began. But it was the alliance of the maskilim with the Christian ruling clases in Germany that would have the gravest historical consequences.

      Jewish assimilation in German lands
      ____________________________________

      The Jews in Prussia and Austria were all that remained after the humble Jews in whom the government saw no great utility had been expelled, and after various policies had abolished the independence of the rabbis in German lands, forcing the Jews to integrate into the legal framework of the state. So the German Jewish communities “typically remained small and relatively affluent and their leading figures tended to be well connected with centers of power and other elite elements in the surrounding society.”[34a]

      From this position resulted certain pressures: “contacts with the higher echelons of the larger society, and the allure of those echelons, unhappiness with the disabilities that followed on being Jews, and the absence of a sizable and strong Jewish community with communal institutions…led a number of Jews to abandon their Judaism and either themselves convert or baptize their children,” in this way completing their integration with the German elites.[35] “Philosophically, assimilationists no longer considered themselves Jews living in Germany. Instead, they saw themselves as Germans who, by accident of birth, were Jewish.”[36]

      The consequences of adopting this vision quickly made themselves felt: of the 550,000 Jews who were emancipated between 1869 and 1871 in German lands, by 1930 a total of 60,000, or 10%, had relinquished all ties to Judaism either through apostasy, by being raised without any Jewish identity in mixed marriages, or simply by turning away completely from the Jewish community.[37] And many of those who retained some form of Jewish identity were assimilating anyway. The German Jewish minority viewed the recently annexed Polish Jews — Orthodox, comparatively poor, and Yiddish speaking — with horror, for they considered them “obstacles whose reform was necessary to win over the surrounding society to a more benign attitude toward Jews.”[38] They looked at Polish Jews and thought: ‘No wonder Christians hate us.’ And this meant that “they were predisposed to blame ‘Polish’ Jews for the persistence of anti-Jewish prejudice and Jewish disabilities should they reject proffered programs of self-reform.”[39]

      “The support given by Prussian and Austrian maskilim to Joseph II’s efforts to push Jews out of their established occupations was aimed essentially against the Jews of Galicia, or Austrian-controlled Poland. And these pro-reform Jews did not perceive reform of Polish Jewry as simply a pragmatic step but chose to construe it rather as the exchange of an intrinsically primitive, corrupt, degenerate life for a better, more wholesome one.

      …various maskilim worked to advance Prussian, Austrian, and even Russian steps to dismantle the vestiges of autonomy that persisted in the formerly Polish territories, impervious to the damage they were doing to the Jewish communities in those regions.”[40]

      The maskilim didn’t merely advocate state education for the Jews but wanted to restrict their religious education, and beyond this “embraced the attacks on Talmudic studies that had for centuries figured prominently in anti-Jewish indictments of Jewish religious learning and practice,” representing the study of the Talmud like the Christian antisemites did: as “primitive, arcane, and even corrupting, and certainly inconsistent with Jewish entry into the modern world and participation in the surrounding civil society.” In the maskilim’s conception of Judaism the Jews had, as before, the obligation to enlighten the world with their ethics, but this would no longer make reference to the Talmudic system of laws; the Jews would simply practice better than anybody the universal humanitarian ethics of the European Enlightenment (which, ironically, had been inspired by a Talmudic scholar: Baruch Spinoza).[41] In this way, the assimilated Jews would become energetic defenders of the rights of everybody except their Orthodox brethren. For the maskilim were not looking to enrich Judaism but “to woo non-Jewish opinion and win assimilation into surrounding cultures and societies.”[42] Because the maskilim wanted to feel ethical and at the same time satisfy the antisemites with whom they were assimilating, they had to represent the destruction of Judaism as a way to better the modern world. In this way, they adopted practically all of the prejudices of the Christians against the Jews, including those accusations concerning their occupations, which would become the central axis of modern antisemitism: the Jews love money, and their money gives them power.

      It is absurd, in principle, to fault a people for earning their life in a particular way so long as this is not a criminal endeavor, and the Jews were not criminals. But it is an even greater absurdity here because the Jews had been forced to earn their living as moneylenders. There was no choice involved. The artisan guilds of the Middle Ages excluded the Jews, and the political class forbade them from owning land. How were they supposed to earn a living if they could be neither farmers nor artisans? The Church did not allow Christians to lend money, because this was supposedly a sin, and the moral censure of the Church made it convenient to force the Jews into this profession, as it generated another structural advantage for the mobilization of antisemitism. This is how many Jews became moneylenders.

      “Moneylending became the occupation of Jews at all financial levels. Wealthier Jews were the financiers of royalty, nobility, and even churches and monasteries; poorer Jews forced out of trade and crafts turned to extending small loans to the traders and craftspeople…”[43]

      Given that moneylending was a sin to Christians, it isn’t very difficult to see where the prejudice against the supposed ‘capitalist materialism’ and ‘lack of productiveness’ or ‘parasitic nature’ of the Jews came from. (In any case, it was a Western European phenomenon; the Eastern European Jews, the great majority, were in fact overwhelmingly artisans because of the greater liberties that had traditionally existed in the East under the Polish kings.)

      But even though the accusations were absurd, the maskilim embraced them, alleging that their Jewish brethren had supposedly been corrupted by their trade in money. One assimilated and ‘modernizing’ German Jew who made this argument a pillar of his philosophy was Karl Marx. “Marx argued, along with various Jew-baiters at the time, that it is not simply that Jews are coarsened by their involvement with commerce but, rather, that the Jews and their religion are immutably materialistic and degenerate and this drives them to engage in trade.”[44] It is hardly a coincidence that Marx’s father should have converted to Christianity, baptizing young Karl when he was six. We have here the prototype of the assimilated Jew, who wants to demonstrate to Christians that he is truly on the other side, a ‘good Jew,’ acceptable because he attacks his ‘former’ people. Marx was quite loud and proud in his displays of antisemitism.

      “In his essay ‘On the Jewish Question’ (1844), Marx argues that the Jewish mind is too limited and Jewish thinking too concrete to have fashioned a true religion. Instead, it produced a pseudo-religion whose practical expression is materialism and occupation in trade. Also as a consequence of their limited nature, the Jews are incapable of creativity and lack aesthetic sensibility… Marx writes in the essay, ‘What is the worldly cult of the Jews? Huckstering. What is his worldly god? Money… That which is contained in an abstract form in the Jewish religion — contempt for theory, for art, for history, and for man as an end in himself — is the real, conscious standpoint of the man of money.’”[45]

      Naturally Marx blamed the Jews for the very capitalism that his ideology was meant to extirpate from the world, so the essence of Marx’s program was actually the “liberation of the world from the ethos of the Jews!”[46] And the more Marx was attacked for being a Jew, the more he strove to demonstrate that he really wasn’t, ramping up the volume of his antisemitic attacks.

      I hardly find it a coincidence that Marx, founder of a false ‘left’ that was thoroughly anti-liberal and would re-enslave the workers wherever it succeeded, murdering them also by the millions, should have been a ferocious antisemite. The Law of Moses that Marx so thoroughly despised, after all, was born, according to Exodus, in a slave revolution against an oppressive Egyptian kind, and is therefore designed with great care to protect the rights and liberties of ordinary workers.[47] Judaism is the real left, if anything is. If Marx was an enemy of the Jewish constitution, he couldn’t really be a friend of the workers, and the trajectory of his ideology stands in evidence: hardly anything in history has been worse for the workers than Marx’s ideology.

      The biggest irony of all this is that by the end of the 19th c. and beginning of the 20th, “[the] Jewish pursuit of assimilation was being met with the shrill antisemitism purveyed by the new antisemitic political parties in Germany and Austria,” showing that assimilation was not actually the panacea against anti-Jewish hatred that the proponents of assimilation imagined.[48] Theodore Herzl, an assimilated Jew, reacted to this reality by becoming a nationalist Jew and launching the Zionist movement as a worldwide and politically relevant phenomenon. But many other assimilated Jews, finding themselves in limbo, rejected by the Christian society they had tried to assimilate to, and incapable of solidarity with a traditional Jewish community they had abandoned and attacked, concluded that they must really be plagued by an intrinsic inferiority that could not be shaken. Coming thus to the logical end of their ideology, they arrived at that singular phenomenon: hatred of their own selves, culminating in the pathos of that absurd — though ideologically consistent — curtain call of suicide. It was the case, for example, of Otto Weininger, who converted to Christianity in 1902, followed by his family. A year later he argued in Sex and Character that women were inferior in everything, devoting also a chapter to Jewish inferiority. He went out of his way to point out that he was a Jew and not excluded from his own condemnations. A year later he took the logical step and killed himself.[49]

      Once the preceding context has been digested, it is possible to understand what follows. The great pressures on the Jews during the 19th c. that produced the above processes of assimilation — especially in German lands — sliced in two the Zionist movement. This rupture, as we shall see, made very difficult the defense of the Jewish people when, in the context of the German onslaught, patriots confronted traitors in the Jewish leadership.

    • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 6:18 am #

      In an interview for Book TV, investigattive journalist Edwin Black talks about his extraordinary book, “The Transfer Agreement” and its 25th Anniversary republication.

      The Transfer Agreement is Edwin Black’s compelling, award-winning story of a negotiated arrangement in 1933 between Zionist organizations and the Nazis to transfer some 50,000 Jews, and $100 million of their assets, to Jewish Palestine in exchange for stopping the worldwide Jewish-led boycott threatening to topple the Hitler regime in its first year.

      • Fred Skolnik March 26, 2014 at 6:46 am #

        Edwin Black writes in his 2009 Introduction to “The Transfer Agreement”: “Ultimately, the Transfer Agreement saved lives, rescued assets, and seeded the infrastructure of the Jewish State to be.” You are throwing around a lot of half-digested material for the sole purpose of denigrating Jewish leaders who were trying to get Jews out of Germany.

      • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 7:36 am #

        Fred, I will make you smile. http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2008/08/SAND/16205

        Comment fut inventé le peuple juif

        Les Juifs forment-ils un peuple ? A cette question ancienne, un historien israélien apporte une réponse nouvelle. Contrairement à l’idée reçue, la diaspora ne naquit pas de l’expulsion des Hébreux de Palestine, mais de conversions successives en Afrique du Nord, en Europe du Sud et au Proche-Orient. Voilà qui ébranle un des fondements de la pensée sioniste, celui qui voudrait que les Juifs soient les descendants du royaume de David et non — à Dieu ne plaise ! — les héritiers de guerriers berbères ou de cavaliers khazars.

        (Google translate)

        How was the Jewish people invented

        Do the Jews are a people? To this old question, an Israeli historian brings a new answer. Contrary to popular belief, the diaspora was not born of the expulsion of the Jews of Palestine, but successive conversions in North Africa, Southern Europe and the Middle East. That undermines a cornerstone of Zionist thought, who wants the Jews are the descendants of the kingdom of David and not – God forbid! – The heirs of Berber warriors or Khazar horsemen.

        (…)

      • Fred Skolnik March 26, 2014 at 7:43 am #

        Yes, you made me smile. This is as nutty as anything can be. Now that you’ve discovered Sand, you might try reading real history.

  9. Gene Schulman March 25, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    I am not a great fan of this linked site, nor of the author of this article, but it is an excellent summary of the Israel/Palestine situation that some of those who comment on this blog might want to consider. Especially those who deny ethnic cleansing.

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/03/25/bad-to-the-bone-a-brief-history-of-ethnic-cleansing-in-palestine/

    I feel sorry for Prof. Falk, who took such great pains in his last post to caution readers to confine their comments to the subject of his posts. But the usual suspects (no names necessary) continue to push their own agendas. Of course, your purpose is no secret – to drive other readers of this blog away. Well, this is to let you know we’re not going away, but also not dignifying you with responses to your nonsense.

    • Fred Skolnik March 25, 2014 at 9:51 am #

      Don’t you get it yet, Gene? One last time then: Referencing” second-hand sources, or in your case usually third-hand sources, is not a proof or an argument. Are you that dense? or are you a clone of Mr. Rehmet?

    • Mario Labbé March 26, 2014 at 10:39 am #

      Gene quotes: “Ideologue Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, whose work we have examined in a previous article, declared that Israel over the years has maintained “a robust and vibrant democracy,” and that the Arabs should look up to Israel in order to free themselves from the shackles of undemocratic government.[1]

      There is no doubt that Goldhagen knows what he is doing, because scholars of various stripes have shown him the utter silliness of many of his sophomoric arguments.[2] In fact, after much reflection on Goldhagen’s writing, Norman Finkelstein actually called him “the Holocaust industry poster boy.”[3]

      Goldhagen knows he is deceiving readers into thinking that Israel is a democratic country. Goldhagen knows that the actual historical account shows that Israel does not even come close to having a vibrant democracy.[4]

      Yet the Holocaust industry poster boy continues to perpetuate this fabrication precisely because Zionism cannot work without deliberate fabrications and colossal hoaxes.

      What, then, is the actual account? What has the nation of Israel done to the Palestinains over the decades? It is perhaps high time to dispel this “vibrant democracy” myth.

      The establishment of Israel in 1948 was a sort of “survival of the fittest” process: thousands upon thousands of Palestinians had to be systematically uprooted, slaughtered, and deported from their homes. Christians in the region suffered as well.[5]

      Even David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, conceived the point that injustice had been done to the Palestinians, when he told Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, that

      “If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs.

      “We come from Israel, it’s true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Asuchwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?”[6]

      palestineIsraeli historian Zeev Sternhell, who considers himself “a super-Zionist,” declares that

      “In fact, from the beginning, a sense of urgency gave the first Zionists the profound conviction that the task of reconquering the country had a solid moral basis. The argument of the Jews’ historical right to the land was merely a matter of politics and propaganda.”[7]

      He moves on to say that “Whereas the conquests of 1949 were an essential condition for the founding of Israel, the attempt to retain the conquests of 1967 had a strong flavor of imperial expansion.”[8] Moreover, “None of the major leaders of the labor movement believed that the Palestinians deserved the same rights” as the Jews.[9]

      Judaizers and Zionists draw the ridiculous conclusions that Israel was outnumbered since its beginning in 1948,[10] and yet they won. The simple fact is that the same Judaizers never define what they mean by “outnumbered.”

      Let us take for granted the argument that Israel was outnumbered. The Israeli soldiers were well-trained, while the Arab soldiers were “remarkably ineffective at translating…latent resources into actual military power, while Israel, by contrast, has been especially good at doing so.”

      Yigal Yadin, a senior military chief during the war and the IDF’s second chief of staff, believed that “if it had not been for the British presence in Palestine until May 1948, ‘we could have quelled the Arab riot in one month.’”[11]

      Therefore, it is not irrational to posit that the 1948 war was in many ways literal ethnic cleansing, and some Jewish historians have made this exact argument.[12] Theodor Hertzl, founder of the Zionist movement, noted in 1895 that “Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor [Palestinians] must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.”[13]

      Joseph Weitz, director of the Jewish National Fund, likewise declared at the dawn of the twentieth century, “It must be clear that there is no room for both peoples in this country…There is no room for compromise on the point!…We must no leave a single village, not a single tribe.”[14] Similarly, David Ben-Gurion once again declared, “We will expel the Arabs and take their place.”[15]

      I just want to say thank you to Gene for his honest and true statement through this web link.

  10. Kata Fisher March 25, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    About Fred Skolnik:

    His arguments do not surprise me; it is a void eternity!

    I am Church-Catholic-Charismatic – not Contemporarily Christianity (which is of the devil, mostly, and excommunicated spiritually: fall offs). They will agree with him, in fact!
    In fact, they are offshoots of church-charismatic in satanic spirits these practices and they are in satanic seals and Blasphemy of God’s Spirit (generational and personal sins):

    These are the Evangelicals/protestants in their generational cycles and are never grafted in. Zionism is just like that!

    Church Roman Chatolic be to repenting of their evil works – or they will become as Evangelicals / protestants are now.

    Church that is under prophetic anointing can be only under “seal of David” and not under the “seal of the Beast” as we see with some of these pagan-charismatic in Nazi-Spirit: Antichrist spirit.

    Satanic seals and Blasphemy of God’s Spirit (generational and personal sins) can be inactive / silent in the ofspring for many generations.

    Why is Church of Jesus Christ of Nazareth here? To tell thise people of the conditions of Contemporarily Christianity and/or to explain that Jewish-exsiles (Muslims) are killed in the Holy Land.

    Fred Skolnik – I do not need anyone to “expose me” (nor they can) I can tell yu who I am! I am not a harlot! I am ordained, so what do you ask of me? Forgivness of your sins?

  11. Fred Skolnik March 26, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    Dear Prof. Falk

    If I am in any way responsible for attracting this collection of raving lunatics to your site I am truly sorry, but I think it also has something to do with who you are.

    • Kata Fisher March 26, 2014 at 10:45 am #

      Why is Church of Jesus Christ of Nazareth here? Forgivness of your sins?

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