On Blog Comments

2 Aug

During the current crisis in Gaza I have temporarily relaxed the application of civility guidelines
because feelings ran so high on both sides, and many comments intertwined insults and slurs with important substantive
arguments.

I am uncertain as to whether this was the best approach. I do feel strongly that this website
should not become a venue for the exchange of personal insults and expressions of ethnic and
religious hatred, and even intense hostility. During this period I have excluded those comments that did seem to step across the
civility lines in ways that were particularly unacceptable to me, and realize that the role of being a
moderator is extremely subjective at best, yet I see no alternative. When I read the uncensored
comments section of AlJazeera, and other websites, I am appalled by the vituperative level of the
discourse, often having no bearing on the substance of the opinion piece. Of course, readers of this blog
have no way of knowing whether I am exercising good judgment in excluding the comments that I do not
approve, and there is no way around this issue. I can only say that I try to perform this role in a
meta-political way, that is, independent of my views on the merits, but sometimes falter as to whether
this or that comment should be read as exhibiting anti-Semitism or racist attitudes toward Palestinians,
Arabs, Muslims.

Also, I have to be selective in responding to comments as I have a range of other commitments and unmet deadlines. I do
not have the time or inclination to engage in debates about most of my views on controversial issues. I do try
to clarify confusions that I may have caused, or at times, to try to explain myself better. A consistent
complaint by some is that I am one-sided in my criticisms of Israel, not noting positive aspects, and
rarely condemning the behavior of Israel’s adversaries. I start from the perception that the Israeli side
is in control, dominating the situation, inflicting most of the pain, enjoying overwhelming support in the
Western media, and from Western governments, especially from the United States. For these reasons most of my commentary is written from the perspectives of the subjugated and victimized whose situation is not taken into proper account, and is in this
sense sympathetic with and supportive of the Palestinian struggle for basic rights under international law.

49 Responses to “On Blog Comments”

  1. Gustav Skaar August 2, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

    Vey well said !

  2. perkustooth August 3, 2014 at 12:24 am #

    I believe that the extreme polarization of both right and left are part of the problem and that the extreme right and left benefit from this polarization by virtue of the fact that it virtually negates the ability to find a middle ground. Those forces on both sides that want to perpetuate the conflict for their personal gains are leaving anyone who actually seeks resolution out in the cold. Unfortunately these are the citizenry who are suffering, again, on both sides. It also forces conflict based on what should be non-issues like Israel representing the whole of the Jewish population or Palestine representing the whole of the Palestinian population neither of which makes any real sense. And people who are not citizens of these respective countries are largely taking the bait and arguing the wrong issues. The issue is human rights violations and how to stop them and hold the respective perpetrators responsible.

    • Albert August 3, 2014 at 6:23 am #

      perkustooth, you commented in a most objective way and I agree with your views. The only thing I would add here is, that it is not the Palestinians, who took the land of the Israelis but the other way around. And I also resent the severe imbalance in power between the two parties. Israel with its unconditional support of the US, superior airforce and precision weaponry against the crude missiles of the Palestinians.
      The number of victims on both sides attest to that. There is nothing glorious or victorious about the Israelis being able to play roughshod over the Palestinians. I remember the blitzkrieg of 1940 and my country was fully occupied before the first nightfall. But at least before, my country was not under enemy control yet, unlike Palestine, where the enemy makes all the decisions. And with the claimed high efficiency rate of the missile interceptors, Israel does not have to worry about those primitive Hamas missiles. So why make such a noise about those missiles? How much damage have they done to Israel so far? These are fair questions, that do not leave the path of objectivity. I admire Dr. Falk`s courage to defend the rights of all people, including those of the Palestinians. If the world only had a few more of his kind.

  3. Albert August 3, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    And to please the millions of non-Muslims, who are sick and tired of Israel`s incessant bullying and persecuting of the Palestinians. Some courage, when you have the military might and financial support of the American empire. Let`s first bring the war criminals to justice on both sides. That will also show a severe imbalance in direct proportion. This whole mess reminds me of a young punk beating an old woman to pulp.

  4. ray032 August 3, 2014 at 6:45 am #

    “I start from the perception that the Israeli side is in control, dominating the situation, inflicting most of the pain, enjoying overwhelming support in the Western media, and from Western governments, especially from the United States.

    For these reasons most of my commentary is written from the perspectives of the subjugated and victimized whose situation is not taken into proper account, and is in this
    sense sympathetic with and supportive of the Palestinian struggle for basic rights under international law.”

    This is the same perspective from where I view the conflict too!

    • Fred Skolnik August 3, 2014 at 6:51 am #

      The Allies were also in control and dominating the situation as the Third Reich collapsed and its military capabilities were being destroyed. So what?

      • ray032 August 3, 2014 at 7:18 am #

        No doubt or question in my mind the Dresden fire bombings and the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were gross war crimes by the US.

        Once the winner of any war wins, being in fact the biggest terrorist of the war, the defeated have few options

        War makes legal, killing people and massive destruction of property, everything that is illegal for the governed to do in the maintenance of Peace, Good Order and Security.

        Humanity evolved out of it’s barbaric bloodyhistory after WWII. The Christian Crusaders were extremely brutal to Jews and Arabs, and there will be no accounting until the Great Day of Judgment by Almighty God.

        Prior to World Wars i & II, there were no rules for the behaviour of Nations during and after war.

        These International rules came into force at the same time as the recreation of temporal Israel from the Bible. They were not designed to be directed against the Jewish people per se.

        Unfortunately since then, the Western governments have been continually appeasing Israel in their continual, flagrant violation of International Law with impunity.

        The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
        And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
        And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
        Genesis 6:11-13

        It’s much worse Today. Multitudes! Multitudes in the Valley of Decision. The Day of the Lord is near in the Valley of Decision.

      • Fred Skolnik August 3, 2014 at 7:24 am #

        Israel hasn’t won the war against the terrorists. They are firing the same number of rockets today as they were at the beginning of their attack and that is why Israel continues to attack their military installations – rocket launchers, rocket factories and rocket stores. When they stop shooting, Israel will stop shooting.

  5. Kari Egge August 3, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    I fully understand and symphatize with your views. Since it is your blog, it is your right to post your professional views and understanding of the situation, and also delete or not respond to comments when you find that they exceed your level of tolerance. Your blogs are valuable in these troubled times and I hope they will continue.

  6. ray032 August 3, 2014 at 7:34 am #

    Looking past the Orwellian language of “Operation Protective Edge” Israel already has that protective edge with the American financed Iron Dome systems.

    This is a murderous, terrorist bombardment of civilians in Gaza. The “collateral” damage is the Palestinian Freedom Fighters since most of the people Israel is killing are civilians.

    I have been very active in other venues discussing this unholy war. I’m pleased to see the media is now using many of the terms I have been using in describing the utter destruction Israel is raining on Gaza.

    I prophecy Israel will lose the good will and support of Christians and most people of good will in this world.

    • ray032 August 3, 2014 at 7:43 am #

      NOTE: ALL the Palestinian homes Israel is destroying were made from reinforced concrete. The images show that without question.

      After the Israeli destruction in Gaza in 2008 and 2012, Israel would not allow concrete into Gaza to rebuild.

      In any case Fred, Israel demonstrates to the world they consider Jews to be more human than Palestinians.

      After the 1967 Six Day War, Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban said, “Wars are not always begun by shots. They are often begun by action and the action which really created the state of war in an acute sense was the imposition of the blockade. To try to murder somebody by strangulation is just as much attempted murder as if you tried to murder him by a shot, and therefore the act of strangulation was the first violent, physical act which had its part in the sequence.”

      This was talking about the Egyptian partial economic blockade of Israeli shipping through the Straights of Tiran after Israel went through the test run of the planned 6 Day war by provoking Syria April 7, 1967 and shooting down 7 Syrian jet fighters.

      This “military exercise” gave the Israeli General Staff the confidence in their assessment the combined Arab armies were no match for Israeli military supremacy.

      Israel started the military hostilities beyond words June 5, 1967 by destroying the Egyptian Air Force in a stand down position on the ground, not on a war footing.

      Israelis see Palestinians as being sub-human like the Nazis saw the Jews in another place and time. Israelis cannot comprehend the Palestinians in Gaza would have the same human reactions to the punishing 7 year total economic blockade of Gaza, as the Israelis had to the porous, partial Egyptian blockade of 1967.

      • Fred Skolnik August 3, 2014 at 8:04 am #

        When you start making comparisons with the Nazis, you give yourself away and the conversation ends.

  7. ray032 August 3, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    Except for your propaganda spin that suggests there is no other side shooting back in Syria and the Syrian government killed all 170,000 casualties.

    That’s like saying it is Hamas’ F-16 jet fighters, Apache helicopter gun ships, tanks, and destroyers at sea killing the disproportionate number of civilians in Gaza, destroying their homes and meagre possessions.

    As to my views concerning Israeli starting the 1967 war, this report helped shape them despite your denials.

    CIA Analysis of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War
    Getting It Right

    https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol49no1/html_files/arab_israeli_war_1.html

  8. Dan Livni August 3, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Ray, here is what Amos Oz a well known peacenik who said this in Israel 2 days ago to an interviewer.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/08/the-most-dangerous-moment-in-gaza/375434/

    Amoz Oz: I would like to begin the interview in a very unusual way: by presenting one or two questions to your readers and listeners. May I do that?

    Deutsche Welle: Go ahead!

    Question 1: What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?

    Question 2: What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?

    With these two questions I pass the interview to you.

    • oldguyincolorado August 3, 2014 at 11:49 am #

      Oh Dan, you can’t shoot back; You need to go over to you neighbor and ask him if you can loan him a shovel. This is the UN approach, isn’t it?

  9. oldguyincolorado August 3, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    To say that your remarks try to somehow “balance” the scales in favor of the Palestinians because Israel is so strong is to be disingenuous. You know that I have said to you, on multiple occasions, that Israel is not perfect, but it is not always wrong. I have asked you in the past if you have ever said anything to “balance” the scale in favor of Israel. No response.

    What is happening in Gaza is horrible, but whose “fault” is that? They bare part of the fault. Hamas shoots at civilian targets and Israel shoots at military targets and sometimes misses. Hamas has been aiming at civilian targets ever since it came into existence. It is called a terrorist organization for good reason.

    Get some “balance” in your reporting and perhaps your arguments might begin to merit attention. To be so one-sided only produces suspicion as to your real intent.

    You, as a lawyer, should realize that if you want to moderate, you can’t just “judge”.

    • ray032 August 3, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      Seems Israel, with it smart missiles and unguided tank shells just aimed in the direction of residential homes in Gaza, does not just “miss sometimes” , but most of the Time.

      This seems to be evident to everyone in the world except for the Israeli hasbara teams.

  10. rehmat1 August 3, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    In the West, everyone seems to have the “freedom” to call everyone who criticizes Israeli occupation as “terrorist” – but some historians do question that narrative. for example, Charles Laffiteau, PhD, explains the term “terrorism” in his book, ‘Jewish Terrorism and the Creation of the State of Israel’: “Terrorism was used by adherents of the Jewish religion many centuries before it was ever used by Christians, Muslim or other types of religious extremists.”

    The Brazilian investigative journalist, Alcibiades Bilzerian claimed on August that “Hamas may be the most Moral Terrorist in History”.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/08/01/hamas-the-moral-terrorist-group/

  11. Dan Livni August 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    The Israeli writer Naomi Ragen, in her searing, heartfelt article entitled “Don’t Cry for Us Israelis,” articulated this sentiment perfectly:

    “We aren’t greedy for sympathy. After all, we got so much after the Holocaust, we prefer other people to have their share now. These days, we prefer to live, rather than have people cry over us and the injustices done to us.

    So by all means, cry for the Palestinian people – men women and children – whose duly elected leadership has callously left them without protection from just retribution for their terrorist crimes. The leaders who took their people’s aid money and are living in Qatar in five star hotels building shopping centers for themselves. Who built terrorist tunnels under their homes, mosques, hospitals and schools, and recruited their sons to die for Allah, while they sit in bunkers waiting for the U.N. to rescue them.

  12. Zak August 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    Personally, I don’t believe in censorship at all. The only exception is clear incitement. I do not believe in the concept of hate speech, nor do I think racism should be hidden or censored. I don’t believe issues can be addressed this way, people can be educated about reality, or relationships forged, strengthened or abandoned if peoples’ feelings -whether heroic or despicable – are left to the confines of their minds.

    When a person who never stops going on about the plight of the Palestinians feels that threats and violence should be directed at Americans or Jewish people as a whole, I want to know about that. I don’t want them to keep that inside. I want to have the opportunity to address them, their emotions, their logic, or lack thereof. And at the end of it all, I want to know whether the person I’m dealing with is racist, so I can adjust my behaviour towards them accordingly.

    • Kata Fisher August 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

      Zak:

      “People need change. People need God. God changes people.”
      — Pastor Jonathan Wiggins

  13. rehmat1 August 4, 2014 at 8:00 am #

    Why the Zionist idiots portray Hamas or Hizbullah as “terrorist organization”, while ignoring the long history of Zionist-Jewish terrorism?

    On Tuesday September 9, 1947, American newspaper The Argus reported the arrest of 16 members of Jewish terrorist groups Stern Gang and a US Army Air Force (USAAF) pilot Reginald Gilbert by the French police at the Toussus le-Noble airport near Versailles.

    The terrorist group was lead by a Ukrainian-born Rabbi Baruch Korff, chairman of the American Political Action Committee for Palestine and his private secretary Judith Rosenberger, a Hungarian-born US citizen. All of them were accused of trying to bomb the British Foreign Office building in London in order to force London to withdraw its forces from Palestine which the World Zionist movement had decided to turn into “for Jews only” Israel by armed terrorism.

    In 2003, the released British secret service MI5 documents also confirmed that there was a “Project for a air raid over London City, in the course of which leaflets were to be dropped in the name of Stern Gang, together with high-explosive bombs“.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/08/04/september-1947-when-jew-terrorists-tried-to-bomb-london/

    • Fred Skolnik August 4, 2014 at 8:27 am #

      This is why:

      • 4303 terror attacks
      • 61 suicide attacks
      • 24 attempts to capture Israelis
      • 423 bombings
      • 90 sniper attacks
      • 146 ambushes
      • 8085 rockets fired from Gaza
      • 910 “Zionists” killed (2011-2011)

      This does not include terrorist acts by other terror groups like Fatah and the Islamic Jihad.

      Why do the terrorist idiots bring disaster on the Palestinian people?

      • Richard Falk August 4, 2014 at 8:57 am #

        Would you also include comparative casualty figures and Israel instances of state terror as documented
        by numerous independent groups, and to some extent by Israeli NGOs. The violence is not from one side only.

      • Fred Skolnik August 4, 2014 at 9:06 am #

        This will bring us back to what we have been arguing about without end. Your starting point is that Israel should not have been established, wanted and started all the wars in the Middle East, does not have the right to defend its population by military means, and that Arabs who blow up people in busses and restaurants are freedom fighters like the French partisans. I disagree.

  14. ray032 August 4, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    Richard, as the International Law Scholar you are, based on your long years of experience, I would like to see a post listing ALL International Laws and violations of the Geneva Conventions you sincerely think Israel violates. Just the Laws, their sections, numbers and wording would be sufficient.

    This would be valuable information in the upcoming debates bound to come over Israeli Zionist policies after this murderous bombardment of the civilians in Gaza the whole world saw. Apparently domestic TV news did not show Israelis the massive Death and destruction in Gaza. By the figures, the militant Palestinian Gaza defenders were the “collateral” damage

    These Laws and rules governing war and occupation of conquered lands in the aftermath, were codified at the same Time Israel was recreated from the Bible, so they were not written to be aimed at solely at newly created Israel the world Community imposed in Palestine.

    Certainly I understand you have a lot on your plate, but I would expect, with your long experience on this issue, it might just be a matter of copy and paste information already stored on your computer?

    I

    • Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

      Prof. Falk,

      “Would you also include comparative casualty figures and Israel instances of state terror as documented by numerous independent groups, and to some extent by Israeli NGOs. The violence is not from one side only.”

      Richard Falk August 4, 2014 at 8:57#

      This inadvertently proves my point about the one-sidedness of your blog and the Lawyers’ Statement. Violence comes from both sides of the conflict, but you acknowledge only one. Fred’s comment, which quotes Hamas’ own listing of its violent operations, is the only possible response to clear implications that all violence is Israeli. Inevitably leads to polarization that precludes conversation, and too often degenerates into hurling personal insults.

      Thank you for your very helpful explanation of “constructive imbalance”. You note that you post readers’ comments in a “meta-political” way. Of course, I have no way of knowing what you’ve censored. But a substantial number of comments critical of your views do get through. There’s a continuing problem with the large volume of personally abusive comments from your supporters, some of them anti-Semitic. Hllel Neuer has posted a long list of anti-Semitic remarks by Walker Percy that you’ve welcomed on your blog and praised. It reflects badly on you. I’ve raised this issue repeatedly, but to no avail. It’s your call.

      Regarding your own posts, you explain that you try to balance what you describe as Israel’s undeserved but overwhelmingly positive image in the West by writing “from the perspectives of the subjugated and victimized whose situation is not taken into proper account, and is in this sense sympathetic with and supportive of the Palestinian struggle for basic rights under international law.”

      No objection to that, until one explores how you go about presenting the Palestinians’ perspective. There’s an old saying: “one is entitled to ones own opinions but not to ones own facts.” Denying the undeniable and defending the indefensible is a poor way of getting ones point across. The Hamas National Charter calls for genocide and ethic cleansing. It’s there in black and white. It’s accessible to anyone with a computer. But you ask people not to believe what the document says. Where’s your evidence? It isn’t very convincing that a few (unnamed) Hamas leaders told you in private conversation that their organization really wants peaceful co-existence with Jews. With all due respect, the credibility of your claim is not low. Who are these Hamas peaceniks? Why can’t we know their names? Why can’t you report what they actually said? And most important, if Hamas has changed its spots, why doesn’t it modify its National Charter?
      I do hope Hamas has changed, or is in the process of changing. It would bring the long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace a lttle closer.

      Rabbi Ira Youdovin

  15. Richard Falk August 6, 2014 at 12:02 am #

    As I keep saying, I will not accept challenges directed at me personally of the sort that Dan Livni consistently
    makes, as well as he (and you) seek single-mindedly wants to blame Hamas for the carnage being caused by Israel,
    a country that has endured little civilian casualties and disruption by comparison to what is happening in Gaza
    for the third time in six years.

    • Fred Skolnik August 6, 2014 at 12:17 am #

      Hamas is certainly to blame for the carnage. Bending the truth is not a virtue. Hamas commenced a massive rocket barrrage directed at Israel’s civilian population from military installations embedded in residential areas, both acts being war crimes by simple definition. Israel returned fire in accordance with international law, targeting these same military installations and taking the required steps to minimize the inevitable civilian casualties. The responsibility for all civilian deaths and all property destruction lies with Hamas, who turned Gaza’s hospitals, medical clinics, schools, playgrounds, mosques and residential buildings into a war zone, building, storing and firing its rockets there and constructing an underground city beneath a city consisting of command posts and attack tunnels leading toward Israeli settlements. The tragic consequences of the fighting nowithstanding, Israel did not act illegally. It acted to defend its population and has a perfect right to do so.

      • ray032 August 6, 2014 at 8:23 am #

        AS certain as you seem to be in your outlook, I am equally certain Israel provoked this whole war, watching and studying the sequence of events very closely.

        The sequence of event for this particular episode started with Netanyahu going ballistic with the announcement of a Fatah-Hamas Unity government.

        The Israeli policy in the occupied territories has been divide and rule, and this is totally evident in the separation of Palestinian community from Palestinian community, so Israel can build direct routes to the settlements. The last thing Israel wants is a united Palestinian People facing Israel in Good Faith negotiations.

        The 9 month American sponsored Peace Negotiations was a farce to buy time engaging in more idol talk. It was a charade, as if a real Peace could negotiated with Abbas, whose legal mandate expired in 2010, who acts as the Israeli/American appointee proxy police force to keep the Palestinians seething under the 47 year Israeli Military Dictatorship “quiet.”

        That simmering pot is ready to boil over.

        In my view, adjunct and conditional to the Israelis inheriting the Promised Land, and living in Peace and Security among ALL the People, is the condition of proclaiming a Jubilee Year every 50 years and implementing in GOOD FAITH, it’s conditions.

        Israel acts only on taking the Land part of the Bible Promised Land, yet remains oblivious to the concurrent conditions God set for living in Peace with it’s neighbours and strangers. That is the real Promised Land

        There are only 3 years left for Israel to prepare for that Jubilee Year after a 47 year Military Dictatorship governing the Palestinian lives outside of Israel proper, depriving the conquered occupied Arabs of Palestine, Civil and Democratic rights, if Israel does not start preparing for that Jubilee Year NOW, unfortunately for ALL Humanity, it may be too late to stop Armageddon in 3 years.

    • Fred Skolnik August 6, 2014 at 1:06 am #

      I must add a final comment here that illustrates for me your unbalanced approach. If Israel in 1967 had commenced a rocket barrage directed against, say, the civilian population of East Jerusalem, using launchers and other military installations emplaced in residential areas in Jewish Jerusalem, and Jordan had returned the fire, killing a great many Jewish civilians, you would have been writing exactly the comment that I just now wrote above. Correct me if I’m wrong.

      • Richard Falk August 6, 2014 at 3:27 am #

        It is useless to try to convince one another. You insist on beginning the timeline
        on these outbursts of Israeli political violence by looking only at the reaction to
        prior rocket attacks, and overlooking more lethal Israeli provocations that preceded
        the launching of the Hamas ineffectual rockets. You also fail to acknowledge the relevance
        of a blockade unrelated to security as Israel has always closely monitored whatever crosses
        to and from Gaza that has imposed collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza
        that Israel is pledged to protect by the Geneva Conventions. I am not excusing the rockets,
        but insisting that the only acceptable way to evaluate such allegations if by establishing
        the proper context.

      • Fred Skolnik August 6, 2014 at 7:18 am #

        Once again, Prof. Falk, there is no context that can excuse the brutal acts of the terrorist organizations who have chosen a course of action that is condemned by all the bodies you invoke to establish Israel’s guillt. You are also again misrepresenting the blockade. All aid other than war materials can reach Gaza via Ashdod. How on earth do you think Hamas got ahold of its more sophisticated rockets and God knows what else. You are also insisting on usind the term collective punishment in a false and distorted sense. Israel’s blockade is as legal any blockade in time of war and the suffering caused to a population as a result of war as such has never and nowhere been construed a collective punishment. If you do not understand what Hamas is, then there is very little that you do understand about the Middle East.

      • Fred Skolnik August 6, 2014 at 8:26 am #

        I will again add another comment. Professor Falk. To speak of Israel as “provoking” Hamas is ludicrous. It like saying that the police provoke criminals by arresting them. Hamas are the criminals, by any definition of international law, as a perpetrator of war crimes. Israel is the police, as an occupying power, in the same way that the Allies were the police as the occupiers of postwar Germany. Israel occupied Arab territories as the result of a war that the surrounding Arab countries provoked. Let us take this as the entry point in your timeline, though we can choose 1947 with precisely the same results, and with your permission I will expand the discussion here, as the occupation is what we are all talking about, and I will express myself a little caustically, with your permission, as I lived through these events and know precisely how they came about.

        I am aware that there is an “official” alternate history of the Six-Day War fabricated by the anti-Israel crowd and recited almost word for word when the opportunity arises as though pulled out of a thick file of anti-Israel material compiled with such admirable diligence that one wonders why these people don’t devote just a little of their time to learning Hebrew or Arabic so that they could actually read the material that they quote in translation and out of context at second or third hand without the slightest possibility of evaluating or verifying it. I recall your blog about Miko Peled’s op-ed in the L.A. Times, written by the left-wing peace-activist son of an Israeli general, which you represent as a kind of defining moment, based on “very reliable documentation,” in your discovery that Israel was the culprit in the Six-Day War because it “did not perceive a threat in 1967 and … understood that there was no danger at all that its Arab neighbors could attack them with any harmful effects on Israeli security. But what the Israeli leadership at the time did see was an attractive opportunity for expanding their territorial domain, and as well, they saw an excellent opportunity to destroy the military capabilities of their Arab neighbors.”

        I have not seen the documents and neither have you. Calling something you have never seen “very reliable documentation” is not something done by a scholar who doesn’t want to be laughed at. I have no doubt that Israel’s generals felt that they could defeat the Arab armies (and the politician’s less so, with Dayan telling the hospitals to prepare for tens of thousands of casualties, which you might think is a trivial matter). I imagine there were also Arab generals who felt that they could defeat the Israeli army. The question of whether Israel’s existence was at stake is irrelevant. Certainly a great many Israeli lives were at stake. Israel is in fact the only country in the world whose existence actually is at stake every time it goes to war, because if it lost a war it would cease to exist. The existence of France, Holland, Belgium and the United States was not at stake when they went to war against Germany and no one would think to condemn them for defending themselves. If the Germans had won the war, France would have remained France under a puppet regime and Hitler would have made state visits every couple of years, greeted by large crowds waving French and Nazi flags, capped in the evening by an enjoyable few hours at the Opéra Bastille with a German opera company doing Wagner and life would go on. Not so Israel. Nor is it relevant that Nasser lost control of events and went a step too far. With 1,000 Egyptian tanks and 100,000 Egyptian troops moving toward Israel’s border and the war hysteria in Cairo, Israel was not going to wait until the Egyptian army was outside Beersheba to respond, not to mention the fact that the closing of the Straits of Tiran was already a casus belli. (The Egyptian army had already reached Yad Mordechai, just south of Ashkelon, in their 1948 invasion, where the famous holding action had enabled Israeli troops to regroup and stop their advance to Tel Aviv for the Great Massacre.) Of course the Israeli generals who believed in the Israeli army saw this as an opportunity to destroy Egypt’s military capability and rid Israel of a threat that had hung over its head for 20 years. What do you expect? And you are of course forgetting that Jordan attacked Israel and not the other way around, shelling the civilian population of Jewish Jerusalem on the night of June 5, which is itself a war crime and an act of war, not to mention Syria’s bombardment of the Galilean settlements during the preceding months, also a war crime and act of war. However, nothing was further from the minds of the “Israeli leadership” than territorial expansion. Only someone completely ignorant of the Israeli ethos in the 1960s could make such a statement. It was simply not part of public or political discourse or thinking at a time when Begin was thought of as a bombastic windbag in a Mapai-dominated political culture and Gush Emunim would only be founded in 1974.

        When Israel did follow your advice and ignored Arab troop movements, it got the Yom Kippur War with 3,000 dead Israelis. Please do not tell us how to defend ourselves.

      • ray032 August 6, 2014 at 8:37 am #

        Fred, from reading the majority comments with thumbs up on any discussion involving Palestinians, I see view them as being sub-human like the Nazis viewed the Jews in another Place and Time. I say the world is waking up to see that, especially after this latest Israeli murderous bombardment of Civilians.

        Your problem is with your ideological fixation that Hamas is not made up of humans just like Jews.

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

        “Wars are not always begun by shots. They are often begun by action and the action which really created the state of war in an acute sense was the imposition of the blockade. To try to murder somebody by strangulation is just as much attempted murder as if you tried to murder him by a shot, and therefore the act of strangulation was the first violent, physical act which had its part in the sequence.”

        The Israeli bombardment of 2008, 2012 and this latest obscenity was over Israel lifting this punishing 7 year economic destruction of Gaza with the intent, the Gazans would “self-deport”

        The Egyptian brokered cease fire terms after the 2012 war was Israel would lift the sanctions. Israel never followed up and that is why, contrary to the Israeli/American propaganda spin, rejected the 1st cease fire as being a trick.

      • Fred Skolnik August 6, 2014 at 8:58 am #

        You don’t seem to understand what Abba Eban is saying.

        However, I have no desire to have a discussion with you about what you understand or don’t understand from watching television or feverishly combing the Internet for incriminating evidence. But since you have had many disparaging remarks to make about the biblical faith of the Jews, I will permit myself to make a few remarks about your faith, since you are constantly waving it in everyone’s face, which I’m sure most people find very annoying. If you’re going to quote Scriptures, ray, at least quote them in Hebrew and Greek so that we’ll know that you actually understand what you’re reading. I have to say that I’m amazed that someone like yourself who purports to live by the Word and sets so much store by the Holy Books, especially Isaiah, is too lazy to learn the languages in which they are written so that you might really understand what they mean. I would have thought that you would have been hungry to know what the Bible says in its own language. For example, I’m sure you don’t understand what Isaiah 7:14 means and that is a very important verse for your faith (quoted in Matt. 1:23). Learning Hebrew would also help you understand the Middle East a little better. Then you wouldn’t have to rely on second- and third-hand sources for your information.

      • ray032 August 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

        I understand what Abba Eban was saying. It’s very simple and direct. If I do not understand his words as far as you are concerned, why don’t you paraphrase what he is saying that differs from my interpretation?

      • ray032 August 6, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

        Fred, I like your reference to Isaiah 7:14 & Matthew 1:23. I hope you realize the significance Matthew is taking up from the Jewish Prophet 600 years before Christ Jesus walked through the occupied territories. There was no Christianity when Christ was teaching the Jews. That came much later when the Pope of Rome replaced the Emperor of Rome.

        Are you’re wondering if I know there is the discussion “virgin” in those scriptures from the Old & New Testament, in the original Hebrew is not a virgin but a young girl or woman?

        Reading the Angel Gabriel delivered the Quran to Mohammad, I decided to revisit mention of him in Daniel 8:16 & 9:21 in the pre-Christian Old Testament.. In Dan 9:21 the Angel Gabriel is described this way, “even the MAN Gabriel.”

        Some 550 years later, this same Angel/man appears to Mary the Virgin/young woman: And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
        To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
        And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, you that are highly favoured, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women.

        And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
        And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for you have found favour with God.
        And, behold, you shalt conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
        He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
        And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

        I read that verse many times but then I saw something in it I never noticed before, and wondered if it was mistranslated?

        “And the angel came in unto her, and said” Luke 1:28 KJV

        It seems to me it should read, ‘And the Angel came unto her’

      • Fred Skolnik August 6, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

        You aren’t interpreting what he is saying, you are quoting it. I can only assume that you are quoting it to refute what I wrote to Prof. Falk. I wrote that the the closure of the Straits of Tiran was in itself a casus belli. Eban wrote that the closure of the Straits of Tiran was in itself a casus belli. Why are you quoting it?

      • Fred Skolnik August 6, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

        How do you know how Daniel is described in the Book of Daniel when you don;t read Hebrew?

        How do speculate abour mistranslations in Luke when you don;t read Greek?

        Let’s call it a day, ray.

      • Fred Skolnik August 6, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

        I mean how anything is described in the Book of Daniel and what anything means in the Book of Luke. I hope you’re going to take my advice before you get back on the soapbox. But this is the end of our little dialogue.

      • ray032 August 7, 2014 at 2:51 am #

        And the blockade of Gaza since 2997 is a casus belli for Hamas. The war of 2008, 2012 and this latest murderous assault were all over the Israeli blockade.

  16. ray032 August 6, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    Richard and others. I just saw this interview with Norman Finklestein now. In it, he is saying the same things I’ve written in this Blog and in other online discussions of this latest Israeli murderous bombardment of the Civilians of Gaza since it started.

    ‘Norman Finkelstein on Gaza conflict, Hamas goals and Iron Dome myth’

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