A SHORT MORATORIUM ON COMMENTS ADDRESSING ISRAEL/PALESTINE STRUGGLE

26 Mar

 

 

            It has always been my intention to make the tiny fragment of the blogosphere that I inhabit a site for civil discourse on a wide spectrum of concerns, issue oriented interpretations of what is transpiring in the world.

 

            Recently the comments sections has narrowed from this perspective into a dialogue between adversaries, several of whom seem preoccupied with, if not obsessed by, Israel, the Jewish experience, Zionism, and the Palestinian/Arab narrative and counter-narrative. Some of the contributions have been learned and sensitive to the reality that there are many diverse voices that need to be heard on this inflamed subject-matter, yet others have been intolerant, launched repeated personal attacks questioning motives and motivations, and have created a polemical aura at the site that has inhibited participation by those with other interests, concerns, and style.

 

            For these reasons, I have decided to have a moratorium on all comments relating to this subject-matter until May 1, 2014. I expect this might be troublesome for several faithful readers of my posts. Please bear with me, and understand this to be an effort to encourage more varied and less antagonistic exchanges. I am suspending this portion of the comments section at a moment that coincides with the ending of my six-year term as Special Rapporteur on Palestine for the UN Human Rights Commission. Let me add that I will continue to do my best to remain engaged in the struggle to find a just and sustainable peace for both peoples premised upon their equality.

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32 Responses to “A SHORT MORATORIUM ON COMMENTS ADDRESSING ISRAEL/PALESTINE STRUGGLE”

  1. Francis Oeser March 26, 2014 at 4:19 am #

    Richard, That you are sick to death of violent comment is understandable.

  2. Gary Schwartz March 26, 2014 at 4:26 am #

    Richard, your righteous commitment to fairness for the Palestinians is one of the great constants in international discourse. The equanimity with which you fend off animosity is admirable and a model to us all. You are a model in far more ways than that. The moratorium is entirely understandable. I only hope that developments in Israel and Palestine allow you to hold your peace for that long.

    Your admiring and affectionate friend,
    Gary

  3. Gene Schulman March 26, 2014 at 5:17 am #

    A welcome decision, Richard. I look forward to your future posts.

  4. Fantu Cheru March 26, 2014 at 5:39 am #

    Thanks you Richard for all wh

  5. Albert March 26, 2014 at 5:41 am #

    As G.K. Chesterton would say: “My country, right or wrong,” is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.” This is what comes to mind when some try to defend the indefensible and in their hopeless helplessness resort to personal attacks or even threats. At that point they actually admit the inferiority of their argument by resorting to infantility.
    Please Dr. Falk, keep doing what you have been doing all along; stand up for the rights of all peoples. Don`t turn off you beacon on this stormy ocean of international politics, where the castaways from the ship of human rights depend on your guidance.

  6. Georgianne Matthews March 26, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    As you have written Richard Falk: ”Let me add that I will continue to do my best to remain engaged in the struggle to find a just and sustainable peace for both peoples premised upon their equality.” Dear Honorab

  7. rehmat1 March 26, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    On Monday, US ambassador at the United Nations, Samantha Power (married to a Jewish professor), welcomed the departure of the UNHRC’s envoy for Palestinian territories, professor Richard Falk (Jewish), by the end of the next month. Both Tel Aviv and Washington have accused Dr. Falk of being biased against the Zionist entity and questioning the “official 9/11 story”.

    Last week Dr. Falk during a news conference said that Israeli policies bore “unacceptable characteristics of colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing“.

    In response to Falk’s latest ‘antisemitic remarks’, Samantha Powers condemned “Falk’s relentless anti-Israeli bias, his noxious and outrageous perpetuation of 9/11 conspiracy theories.”

    “His publication of bizarre and insulting material has tarnished the U.N.’s reputation and undermined the effectiveness of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The United States welcomes Mr. Falk’s departure, which is long overdue,” Said Power.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/03/26/the-power-happy-over-richard-falks-exit/

  8. oldguyincolorado March 26, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    The last sentence of your Memo flies in the face of what you have previously written and done. Had you shown any “balance” when so many have asked that of you, we would view you differently. Absent that “balance”, the comments by publications such as Reuters seem to be correct. You articulated one side only. This may make for a good lawyer but a very bad judge. You played the role of lawyer and not reporter. At best, you are guilty of omission and those of us who saw both sides know this. You should have been so much better. All we wanted was to hear both sides and then make up our own minds and not follow only your distilled presentation of some of the facts; especially when both you and we knew of the existence of these other facts. To not have even mentioned those facts when they were pointed out to you was a great disservice.

    There is no question but that the P.A. has its tale to tell, but so do the Israelis. You ignored them. Had you not done so then perhaps what you ended up saying would have borne more weight.

    • Kata Fisher March 26, 2014 at 9:28 am #

      Dear oldguyincolorado:

      I believe that Professors work is perfect in accordance to his calling – to that which he was called. One cannot do more than what is appointed to him. However, his calling cannot be limited, and can be only more active, and more blessed (enlarged in territorial bounds).

      I am speaking from my perspective which is more traditional.

      I do agree with your hopes.

  9. Laurie Knightly March 26, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    An accusation of unbalanced report on this issue is Hasbara talk. How do you balance thief and victim?

  10. youngerguyincolorado March 26, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    Re: oldguyincolordado. To suggest that “balance” in discussing Israel/US policy requires its moral equivalency with the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, is like suggesting that a perpetrator of domestic violence is entitled to rationalize his abuse on the same moral plane as the testimony of the abused. Does the perpetrator have a story? Of course. Is it entitled to an equal airing with his victim’s? I should hope not. As Memmi reminds us, the colonizer and the colonized are both damaged by oppression, but hardly equally. Colonial oppression never should afford to the colonizer the same level of empathy, understanding or justice as the colonized. A lesson that Samantha Power and the US would be wise to remember concerning the occupied territories of both the US (Hawai’i, Indian reservations, Puerto Rico) and of the Middle East. My reading of Richard Falk is that he is merely trying to remind all of us of those realities. Bravo to him.

    • Fred Skolnik March 26, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

      Israel is not a perpetrator, just as Europe and the Sovirt Union were not perpetrators when they defended themselves against the German invasions in World War II. The Arab states attacked Israel in 1948 and 1967, were defeated and had their territory occupied, refused to make peace and instead organized unremitting terrorist attacks against Israel’s civilian population. That is the story of the Middle East that you are running away from for reasons known best to yourself.

      • Anonymous March 29, 2014 at 2:52 am #

        Fred Skolnik

        Shame on your revisionism!

  11. rehmat1 March 26, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    @oldguyincolorado

    The PLO and has long been controlled by Israel thru Saudi ‘royals’. Mahmoud Abbas as chairman of PA has handed over more Palestinian land to Israel than later could have grabbed by war.

    British veteran journalist and author, Alan Hart, in his latest article, entitled An Israeli takeover of Palestinian Authority has claimed that US-Israel is planning to replace Mahmoud Abbas by an Israeli agent as the next president of the Palestinian Authority. The most favorite choice is reported to be Gen. Mohammad Dahlan, a Palestinian traitor.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/03/24/us-may-release-pollard-to-save-kerrys-peace-plan/

  12. Gene Schulman March 27, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    @ Fred Skolnik:

    You are being disingenuous. Prof. Falk specifically called for a moratorium on discussions of the Israel/Palestine conflict because it was getting out of hand with personal ad hominem attacks, and expressed a wish that comments be restricted to the issues he raises in this blog. If you have read the off-topic comments which were deleted this morning from Dan Livni, you should understand why he made this request. Prof. Falk’s legacy will be just fine without my or your help, but I am proud that you associate me with it.

  13. Richard Falk March 27, 2014 at 7:19 am #

    I have indicated that no more comments addressing the Israel/Palestine conflict will
    be accepted on this website until May 1st, and thereafter only those that confine their
    remarks to matters of substance, refraining from personal innuendo and insults.

    • Dan Livni March 27, 2014 at 9:53 am #

      Ok sounds good.

      • Margaret Kelso March 27, 2014 at 10:24 am #

        A good subject is the Elections in Turkey.

      • Margaret Kelso March 27, 2014 at 10:26 am #

        Richard Falk one thing I had to ask you. Do you follow any religion or your a non believer in God.

      • Kata Fisher March 27, 2014 at 10:57 am #

        Kelso: What kind of personal question is that? Religion has noting do with Faith…

        Following a religion does not equal valid Faith – or having a God.

        Non-believing and believing is nonsense in the context of your question…

        Look at substance when you can.

        I hope this is helpful to your Faith.

        K.F.

      • Richard Falk March 28, 2014 at 7:04 am #

        I have pondered your question carefully so as to provide a true response. In short, I am a believer in spiritual reality but without following
        any path set down by an organized religion.

      • Gene Schulman March 28, 2014 at 8:50 am #

        Not to be contentious, Richard, but your response begs the question: Just what is spiritual reality? That sounds rather like Michael Lerner’s philosophy. Or is it Spinoza’s “god”?

      • Richard Falk March 28, 2014 at 11:12 am #

        You are right, Gene. I would need to reflect further. Perhaps, closest, is associated
        spirituality with what the Protestant theologian, Paul Tillich, described as matters of
        ‘ultimate concern.”

      • Margaret Kelso March 28, 2014 at 11:31 am #

        Kata Fisher I understand what your saying.
        Christians often ask the question.
        How can Jesus be both God and God’s son?

      • Kata Fisher March 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

        Kelso: Yes. It is a mystery. Faith is a mystery.

        In the Gospels, we read this mystery that points to the Old Testament, which alone is a mystery.One can understand mystery’s of the Scripture and think that they are something, still apart of Love itself (which we believe comes from God, and is God) mystery understanding individuals are nothing. Apart of God and touching on the things of the Scripture, we are nothing. With that, we have to desire (and do) that which is NOT desired in hell, and by that alone, we do well. :) It is simple.

        We look at the manifestation of the substance/spiritual reality (for confirmation of Faith/God’s Spirit, when present). With that, we rely on the work of God’s Spirit, alone. The fruits of the Spirit we know and these do not fail to give us evidence of spiritual realities, in their manifestation.

        We can see the work of the Spirit and fruit of the Spirit, and we can see that which is not of God’s Spirit. Further, you would want to be in the Apostolic teaching of John, the Gospel of John and meditate on that (when you are Christian and can not understand – if you are trying to rationalise your Faith, you will have a difficult time believing in the Scripture).

        http://biblehub.com/aramaic-english-gospels/john/1.htm

        You would want to read original text (it has strong substance of God’s Spirit / Word that is written down) with that your mind / spirit can only perceive it better (apart from your understanding). God-Spirit alone can add to your Faith, and by God’s Spirit your spirit is activated to attain Faith that is active by Word /Spirit and in the work.

        In the Gospel of John, you will find Miracles, Manifestation of God-Sprit that manifest the power of God’s Essence by His Names that we find in the Old Testament.

        I hope this adds to your joy!

      • Mario Labbé March 29, 2014 at 5:26 am #

        I agree your decision, prof Richard Falk, and I fully understand your wisdom. Sometimes People must take a break to better get their clear idea and take decisions wih cold blood. Passion and emotions often lead us to make decisions that may exceed our thinking. Let us take an example that which Christ offers us in the Christian religion to understand the full meaning.

        That said I wish you all Happy Easter, Happy Pessah and I would like to say at the end I only Hope Peace & Love for all but that World will ever need Justice to reach that summit World never reached yet… ,חג הפסחא יהודי

      • Kata Fisher April 13, 2014 at 11:38 am #

        Dear Mario Labbé,

        I pray that our Holy Days are a blessed season.

        Kata Fisher

  14. ElSaid Rants March 28, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    Sir
    We met briefly when you addressed our conference (BDS & Badil) in Geneva on March 19th.
    Thank you for your courage, depth of analysis and commitment to justice for Palestinians.
    Have a well merited time off.
    Kindest regards
    Said EL-Said

  15. Anonymous March 29, 2014 at 2:50 am #

    You made a great job at the UN! Sad that is ending now.
    The next person will be US handpicked one can bet…

  16. Anonymous March 29, 2014 at 2:53 am #

    Besides Mr Falk are you going to keep making your voice heard at other forums? Your courage is needed!

    • Richard Falk March 30, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

      When given the opportunity, I shall continue to be a witness on behalf of those who struggle against injustice to the best of my abilities..

  17. Richard Falk March 30, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    By the monitoring rules that I have set all comments on Israel/Palestine until May 1st are excluded.
    I will exert self-discipline by not addressing the issues myself in a post during this period, although
    temptations to do so are great at the end of my term as SR.

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