Postscript to Blog Faithful on ‘Civility’

9 Sep

(Prefatory Note: Earlier today I published a post dealing with the case of Steven Salaita, and its bearing on the misuse of civility as a tactic by Zionist forces to deny an academic appointment to a promising young Palestinian-American scholar. It made me rethink my ‘code of conduct’ guideline and controversies that have bedeviled the life of this blog to the extent it has featured discussion of the Israel-Palestine struggle. Steven’s explanation of his conduct, including the posting of anti-Israeli tweets advances important arguments bearing on academic freedom and relating to the use of a private Twitter account is available at <http://mondoweiss.net/2014/09/commitment-teaching-american&gt;)

 

Postscript to Blog Faithful on Civility

 

I have just posted on my blog website a criticism of the use of ‘civility’ to denya faculty appointment to Steven Salaita due to the alleged uncivility of his large number of anti-Israeli tweets. It has made me reflect upon my own reliance on ‘civility’ criteria to block comments that were personally insulting and operated to incite ethnic hatred. I believe that the rules of the road for the blogosphere are different than those that should govern the administration of a university.

 

My reason for blocking these comments was to encourage more reasoned and substantive discourse, and to avoid dwelling on the motivations behind the views being expressed and to exclude argumentation that seemed to deny the fundamental dignity of all ethnicities. In practice I found it difficult to be sufficiently diligent and evenhanded, and have tended several times to decideto allow serious comments to pass through the filter even though they violated my guidelines. Increasingly, I have blocked only the most serious instances of personal insults, usually directed at me although on some occasions at other comment writers, and the clearest instances of submitting material that denigrated an ethnic identity in a wholesale manner.

 

In the course of this experience I have discovered some home truths. Civility to serve positive purposes must be contextualized. In the Salaita context civility is used as a respectable tool of repression. In the blog context civility is a means of setting limits so that the interactive discourse can be more valuable for the blog community. Yet what I have learned is that my own bias in favor of reasoned dialogue as fruitful communication (undoubtedly influenced by Habermas) is not so well adapted to the subject-matter of posts dealing with inflammatory issues that polarize opinions. In this respect, I now believe my original view of the proper tone of debate was too austerely academic, and that there exists a genuine and principled place for the expression of intense emotions, and moral outrage. That it is appropriate to be angry, and to articulate views in such an agitated state of mind. In effect, I learned from Salaita’s tweets that emotional authenticity may be more appropriate than reasoned analysis in some situations.

 

And so I have come to a different temporary and more permissive resting place with respect to my blog’s code of conduct: let a thousand flowers bloom and remove only weeds of personal hostility and group hatred. In such a spirit, comments welcome provided only..

33 Responses to “Postscript to Blog Faithful on ‘Civility’”

  1. Nabila Mango September 9, 2014 at 4:36 am #

    Thanks for your honest reflections. Your piece on anti- semitism was brilliant . I shared it with over hundred people on the west coast , Europe and scattered Palestinians on this earth. Nabila Mango San Mateo, Ca

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. rehmat1 September 9, 2014 at 6:10 am #

    Dr. Falk – Professor Steven Salaita is not the lone victim of organized Jewry at the Campuses. The latest victim is Rev. Bruce Shipman, the Christian Chaplain at Yale for correcting the “Zionist narrative” of the latest Israeli war on Gaza.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/09/09/yale-christian-chaplain-chased-by-jewish-lobby/

  3. Gene Schulman September 9, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    Richard, as I told you at lunch the other day, you are too kind to your detractors. They really add nothing to the debate, and appear only to insult you and twist the facts. I feel you waste too much of your precious time responding to them. Of course, it is your blog, but I wouldn’t mind if any comment that doesn’t reflect the subject be bleeped.

    • Rabbi Ira Youdovin September 9, 2014 at 9:00 am #

      Gene,

      Were it not for those you dismiss as Prof. Falk’s detractors., there wouldn’t be a debate on this blog. Without us, what would you, Ray and Rehmat have to fight about?

      Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Gene Schulman September 9, 2014 at 9:31 am #

        Ira, I have no complaint about honest debate if confined to the subject of Prof. Falk’s essays. But you and the other detractors seem to find solace only in personally insulting him, and repeating your hasbara arguments. Such is not the stuff of debate, rather personal animus. I will make the charge again: You come off as paid trolls, here only to contradict what is written, no matter how factually true it may be. Kelso, for example, has a one track mind. You and Mr. Skolnik never deviate from the Lobby line – Israel can do no wrong; Hamas is ever the terrorist.

      • Oldguyincolorado September 9, 2014 at 10:45 am #

        Rebbe, apparently Mr. Schulman missed your comments of a few days ago regarding your Zionists efforts on behalf of the rights of the Palestinians. The lemmings of Prof Falk only see, hear and believe what this piper plays. Contrary facts are not part of their game plan. And you are correct: without someone like you they really do have no life.

        I do appreciate the fact that Prof Falk does now realize that the general subject matter of many of his blogs do touch upon very emotional issues. Some deal with conflicting Articles of Faith with which neither side is Absolutely Correct Every Single Time and the other Invariably Wrong. That is why I, and perhaps others are literally forced to present contrary arguments to the presentations of the Prof.

  4. Laurie Knightly September 9, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    Persons in the position of Steven Salaita have an obligation to demonstrate effective communication in the public sphere and he has not done so. This adds to the difficulties for advocates in the Palestinian cause and a defense of him personally. There is no legal moral historical theological decent honorable ethical nor justifiable excuse for the existence of Israel. This is why the Palestinians have unceasingly been prevented from seeking an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the issue of sovereignty. All proponents of Zionism can do is sling mud and in doing so disclose more about themselves than their targets. More reasonable and rational minds, however, are trying to find solutions to the injustice inflicted on the victims.

    • Fred Skolnik September 9, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

      My dear Laura Knightly

      There is no moral, decemt, honorable, ethical excuse for your own existence if you did not make yourself heard when Israeli women and children were being blown apart in buses and restaurants and murdered in their homes by Arab terrorists.

      • Gene Schulman September 10, 2014 at 12:52 am #

        Fred, not only are you being presumptuous, but viciously unkind in challenging Ms Knightly’s excuse for her own existence. You have no way of knowing whether or not she made herself heard on those occasions. I believe even the most hardened observers of those scenes of Arab attacks condemned them. But I question your own excuse for existence when you can ignore even the more disgusting attacks upon innocent Arab women in children in the most recent horrors perpetrated by Israeli forces, applauded by Israeli civilians as though it were a sporting event. Your lack of balance and nastiness is appalling.

      • Fred Skolnik September 10, 2014 at 1:10 am #

        No one applauded anything. A few Israelis watched the rockets over Gaza as a spectacle, just as Israeli’s watched the rockets over Tel Aviv as a spectacle. You are making hysterical assertions again, based entirely on a five-second news clip showing a dozen Israelis sitting on a hill, As for the rest, let Laura Knightly tell us what she has had to say about suicide bombers. In the meanwhile, why don’t you tell us what you have had to say about them. I mean, show us the comments, show us the words you used.

        As for the horrors of Gaza, Hamas is solely responsible for them. Israel acted as any country under attack would have acted and did whatever it could to avoid civilian casualties. If it hadn’t the result would have been up to 100,000 dead as in the two days of Dresden bombing. You can be a big sport with your own children’s lives, not with mine.

  5. Clif Brown September 9, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    Online debate can work well if those who are “speaking” try to observe the rules of formal debate. We are emotional creatures, but it is in the control and direction of emotion that our propensity to anger is best channeled. For a master of this technique watch David Norris. Well conducted formal debates are a joy to hear because they make progress on a topic, appealing to the intelligence of the listeners. A cardinal rule is to show respect for the opposing side, while laying into the subject under debate. A personal insult is pointless and can easily and just as pointlessly be countered with insult. That is a squirrel cage that we see wildly spinning on a great number of websites. A point made by using the logic of the opposition to show fallacies in thinking is a worthy goal and as deeply satisfying as a perfectly executed counter-move in the martial arts. Overall, I always think of readers, not of my opponent in an argument. One can all but count on failing to get an admission from an opponent, if only for the reason that face-saving is so important. The real audience is the third party, the questioning mind wishing to come to a decision on a topic and therefor eager to take in both sides. Online comments at most sites is 99% noise, which is a good thing because if it weren’t people would be even more addicted to their screens than they already are!

    • Fred Skolnik September 9, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

      Cliff

      When someone argues that the biblical patriarchs were thieves, liars and murderers and “it must be part of the genetic makeup of the Chosen People,” no one is going to try to prove, logically or otherwise, that this is not true. When this is the language. the antisemite becomes the topic and not his argument. Admittedly, there is nothing personal here. All Jews are meant. Perhaps you are speaking from the perspective of someone who does not feel attached to any country or nation and therefore does not take such insults personally. Some people do. The violent and irresponsible language directed against Israel is a very sure sign of such antisemitism, especially in view of the fact that such language is not being directed by these same people against a host of nations whose transgressions make those of Israel pale.

  6. Beau Oolayforos September 10, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    Don’t mean to sound like the ‘Hamas cheerleader’ that some shyster accused Jimmy Carter of being, but…imagining what it must’ve been like for them to sit down for ‘peace talks’ with Israel, the US, and Egypt reminded me of some Psalm or other that says “…thou setest a table for me in the presence of mine enemies…” Or maybe Dylan’s lyrics about ‘underdog soldiers in the night’? or ‘refugees on the unarmed road of flight’? Oh yeah – these refugees have nowhere to flee to. Except maybe UN buildings…we know the story…

  7. carlos September 10, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    In Australia we have had the similar case of Professor Jake Lynch, Peace Studies, Sydney University, for supporting the BDS campaign, which is openly supported by Desmond Tutu. I remind that a boycott campaign in South Africa against racism eventually succeeded.
    Our SBSTV station is currently airing a series ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’. Its aim: to get each party to see the other’s point of view, not to compromise but educating against closed minds.
    As a quaker and against violence, I applaud Professor Falk’s attempts to give all ethnicities dignity(note his influence from Habermas).
    With the threat of climate change to our planet and my thoughts are for children/grandchildren, surely we can get over religious differences and face the bigger picture?

    • Richard Falk September 10, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

      Thanks for this comment, which is very much in harmony with my thinking..

      • Gene Schulman September 11, 2014 at 12:09 am #

        Readers may also find the attached interesting: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/10/academics-and-israel/print

        BTW: I am currently reading a new bio of Stephan Zweig, a noted anti-Zionist, in spite of his close friendship with Hertzl – “The Impossible Exile” by George Prochnik. This book explains Zweig’s anti-Zionism, along with Einstein’s, for the same reasons given in the above article. He predicted just how Israel would turn out if it followed the Zionist program.
        Some of the defenders of contemporary Israel on this blog might want to think twice after reading this book.

      • Fred Skolnik September 11, 2014 at 1:13 am #

        It may be, Gene, that one day you will realize that realiity is stronger than someone’s idea of reality and then you will stop hiding behind other people’s opinions. The reality is that the Jews created a flourishing state where they can live a national life like all other nations and that the Palestinians could have had one too, in 1948, and even in 1967, and even now, but rejected it and chose your way, your arguments, your hatred. It hasn’t gotten them very far. I hope they wake up before you do.

  8. Rabbi Ira Youdovin September 11, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    The Salaita case is not about free speech. It’s about hate speech. The examples of Salaita’s comments cited by Prof. Falk constitute a carefully collected and unrepresentative sample of the dozens on record. More typical of his “body of work” are:

    “Fuck you, Israel. And while I’m at it, fuck you, too, PA, Sisi –

    “The IDF spokesperson is a lying motherfucker.”

    “If you’re defending Israel right now you’re an awful human being.”

    “If Netanyahu appeared on TV wearing a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children, would anyone be surprised?”

    This was not a one-time temper tantrum that might be dismissed as a momentary lapse. This is a university professor who repeatedly sounds like a potty-mouthed teenage punk. And unlike the teenager who likely is content to walk down the street muttering to himself until his anger subsides, Salaita wanted to share his animus with anybody within tweeting range.

    As I posted yesterday, I won’t get into the controversy over whether Salaita’s firing is justified. I know little about the rules governing academic freedom. And, truth be told, I have more than a little sympathy for the plight of his family with neither income nor health insurance. Were it up to me, a simple apology—one that would focus on his tactics and not demanding that he renounce his underlying convictions—would have sufficed to merit reinstatement.

    But apparently, that’s not what he and his supporters want. Prof. Falk’s applies the principle of “constructive imbalance” by referring to Salaita’s “alleged incivility”—you read that right, alleged…the adjective perhaps being justified by Salaita’s spelling “motherfucker” with a lower case “m”. The professor avers that he would never use that kind of language, but stops short of suggesting that perhaps Salaita shouldn’t either. He then proceeds to argue that Salaita’s incivility—excuse me, alleged incivility—is not only immune from punishment. To the contrary, it should be rewarded with a public apology from the school’s chancellor along with compensatory damages. How about a statue in the Quad? Only in America can someone get rich by tweeting defamatory obscenities.

    The rest is predictable. The controversy affords an opportunity for Prof. Falk to repeat his shopworn allegation that Ameican Jews are conspiring to weave a vast net of McCarthy-like repression over college campuses to thwart honest discussions of Israel’s sins.

    The Palestinians and their supporters are woefully short on heroes. The five most often mentioned—Arafat, Saladin, Gandhi, Mandela, and Martin Luther King are dead. Moreover, three weren’t Arabs and only one was a Palestinian. So now, Steven Salaita becomes a heroic martyr in the struggle for freedom of expression. But one does wonder, what kind of honest discussion could emerge from his obscene adolescent ranting?

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Richard Falk September 11, 2014 at 3:29 am #

      I will respond in due course to the contention that these tweets constitute ‘hate speech,’ which is a very serious,
      and I believe misguided charge.

      At this point, I wish you would stop invoking my reference to ‘constructive imbalance.’ It was intended only to justify
      telling the Palestinian side of the story in the American media/governmental setting where the imbalance is strongly tilted
      in Israel’s favor, which holds the dominant position in the conflict.

      If you want an informed, and humane, account of Israeli/Zionist tactics on American campuses I suggest you read Ali Abunimah’s
      chapter, “The War on Campus” in his excellent book, THE BATTLE FOR JUSTICE IN PALESTINE. I can lend you a copy if you wish to
      read this very important text by a highly intelligent Arab-American author.

      RF

      • Fred Skolnik September 11, 2014 at 7:26 am #

        I have to wonder, Prof. Falk – and I say this sincerely – why you even bother to read books of this kind, that is, books that are essentially polemical rather than historical in nature and have as their sole aim proving that Israel is completely in the wrong in the conflict. One would have thought that you already had all the arguments. What pleasure can you possibly get from hearing it all over again, unless it is the esthetic pleasure of seeing Israel attacked? I, for example, would not think of reading polemical works, or even articles in a newspaper, that attack the Arab side and justify the Israeli side. I prefer to read purely historical works that have no ideological or political bias, whether about Israel or anything else, My advantage, of course, is that I live here, speak the language and understand the milieu, so I am less in need of “interpretations.” But really, what can be duller than hearing the same arguments over and over again? Do you really need more ammunition, some little anecdote that shows once again what monsters the Israelis are?

        By the way, Ali Abunimah is among the Palestinian activists who signed that statement condemning Atzmon as a racist and antisemite.

      • rehmat1 September 11, 2014 at 11:15 am #

        Gilad Atzmon is a very rare person. I think he could be the Jewish promised Messiah; uniting the Jews under one roof. The Jewish Lobby’s re-action to his new book ‘The Wandering Who: A study of Jewish Identity Politics‘ has proved that Gilad Atzmon could be the only Jew who unifies the Zionist horde. In reviewing Gilad Atzmon’s book – Shahram Vahdany called Gilad ‘King of Jews’.

        Dr. Falk called the book a kind of diary of Atzmon’s journey from a hardcore Israeli nationalist to a de-Zionised patriot of humanity and a passionate advocate of justice for the Palestinian people. The metaphor of a journey, which pervades the experience of the Jewish Diaspora, is apt — it even seeps into the title.

        Gilad atzmon told Canadian Jewish author Eric Walberg that Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s call for the Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time, said: “I am certain that political discourse is not going to bring a change. I am afraid to say it, but I think Israel is in a bad way and its supportive crowd isn’t much better.”

        http://rehmat1.com/2011/09/26/gilad-atzmon-the-jewish-messiah/

      • Fred Skolnik September 11, 2014 at 11:24 am #

        Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon

        Note: This statement was first published by the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) and is authored by all of the undersigned.

        For many years now, Gilad Atzmon, a musician born in Israel and currently living in the United Kingdom, has taken on the self-appointed task of defining for the Palestinian movement the nature of our struggle, and the philosophy underpinning it. He has done so through his various blogs and Internet outlets, in speeches, and in articles. He is currently on tour in the United States promoting his most recent book, entitled, The Wandering Who.

        With this letter, we call for the disavowal of Atzmon by fellow Palestinian organizers, as well as Palestine solidarity activists, and allies of the Palestinian people, and note the dangers of supporting Atzmon’s political work and writings and providing any platforms for their dissemination. We do so as Palestinian organizers and activists, working across continents, campaigns, and ideological positions.

        Atzmon’s politics rest on one main overriding assertion that serves as springboard for vicious attacks on anyone who disagrees with his obsession with “Jewishness”. He claims that all Jewish politics is “tribal,” and essentially, Zionist. Zionism, to Atzmon, is not a settler-colonial project, but a trans-historical “Jewish” one, part and parcel of defining one’s self as a Jew. Therefore, he claims, one cannot self-describe as a Jew and also do work in solidarity with Palestine, because to identify as a Jew is to be a Zionist. We could not disagree more. Indeed, we believe Atzmon’s argument is itself Zionist because it agrees with the ideology of Zionism and Israel that the only way to be a Jew is to be a Zionist.

        Palestinians have faced two centuries of orientalist, colonialist and imperialist domination of our native lands. And so as Palestinians, we see such language as immoral and completely outside the core foundations of humanism, equality and justice, on which the struggle for Palestine and its national movement rests. As countless Palestinian activists and organizers, their parties, associations and campaigns, have attested throughout the last century, our struggle was never, and will never be, with Jews, or Judaism, no matter how much Zionism insists that our enemies are the Jews. Rather, our struggle is with Zionism, a modern European settler colonial movement, similar to movements in many other parts of the world that aim to displace indigenous people and build new European societies on their lands.

        We reaffirm that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form with any conspiracy theories, far-right, orientalist, and racist arguments, associations and entities. Challenging Zionism, including the illegitimate power of institutions that support the oppression of Palestinians, and the illegitimate use of Jewish identities to protect and legitimize oppression, must never become an attack on Jewish identities, nor the demeaning and denial of Jewish histories in all their diversity.

        Indeed, we regard any attempt to link and adopt antisemitic or racist language, even if it is within a self-described anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist politics, as reaffirming and legitimizing Zionism. In addition to its immorality, this language obscures the fundamental role of imperialism and colonialism in destroying our homeland, expelling its people, and sustaining the systems and ideologies of oppression, apartheid and occupation. It leaves one squarely outside true solidarity with Palestine and its people.

        The goal of the Palestinian people has always been clear: self determination. And we can only exercise that inalienable right through liberation, the return of our refugees (the absolute majority of our people) and achieving equal rights to all through decolonization. As such, we stand with all and any movements that call for justice, human dignity, equality, and social, economic, cultural and political rights. We will never compromise the principles and spirit of our liberation struggle. We will not allow a false sense of expediency to drive us into alliance with those who attack, malign, or otherwise attempt to target our political fraternity with all liberation struggles and movements for justice.

        As Palestinians, it is our collective responsibility, whether we are in Palestine or in exile, to assert our guidance of our grassroots liberation struggle. We must protect the integrity of our movement, and to do so we must continue to remain vigilant that those for whom we provide platforms actually speak to its principles.

        When the Palestinian people call for self-determination and decolonization of our homeland, we do so in the promise and hope of a community founded on justice, where all are free, all are equal and all are welcome.

        Until liberation and return.

        Signed:
        •Ali Abunimah
        •Naseer Aruri, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
        •Omar Barghouti, human rights activist
        •Hatem Bazian, Chair, American Muslims for Palestine
        •Andrew Dalack, National Coordinating Committee, US Palestinian Community Network
        •Haidar Eid, Gaza
        •Nada Elia, US Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
        •Toufic Haddad
        •Kathryn Hamoudah
        •Adam Hanieh, Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London
        •Mostafa Henaway, Tadamon! Canada
        •Monadel Herzallah, National Coordinating Committee, US Palestinian Community Network
        •Nadia Hijab, author and human rights advocate
        •Andrew Kadi
        •Abir Kobty, Palestinian blogger and activist
        •Joseph Massad, Professor, Columbia University, NY
        •Danya Mustafa, Israeli Apartheid Week US National Co-Coordinator & Students for Justice in Palestine- University of New Mexico
        •Dina Omar, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine
        •Haitham Salawdeh, National Coordinating Committee, US Palestinian Community Network
        •Sobhi Samour, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London
        •Khaled Ziada, SOAS Palestine Society, London
        •Rafeef Ziadah, poet and human rights advocate

      • Gene Schulman September 11, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

        Et alors! Look at the guy who criticizes others for using references. Have you ever heard any of Atzmon’s lectures? Have you read his book? Or are you merely relying on what others say of him? Gilad Atzmon is one of those brilliant rare birds who is not afraid to tell the truth about Jewish tribalism. I have not only read his book, and agree with it, but have heard him speak on several occasions, dined with him, and am in regular correspondence with him. I certainly don’t believe he is a potential messiah, but I do believe he has much to teach us (and you) if you take the time to hear him. Both Jews and many Palestinians are critical of him because he dares to tell them what they don’t want to hear.

      • Clif Brown September 11, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

        A quick comment to agree with Gene Schulman on Atzmon’s book – it’s a masterpiece that should be ready by everyone because it delves into what personal identity is all about and how much of it is received, not built from personal investigation into what one claims oneself to be. I’d think it could be a terrific text for a college course in psychology, but imagine what a firestorm that would bring!

      • Fred Skolnik September 11, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

        Prof. Falk

        Don’t you agree that anyone who celebrates a book that vilifies Jews is beneath contempt? Why delete the remark? And if someone had praised Mein Kampf?

      • Richard Falk September 12, 2014 at 1:39 am #

        Mr. Skolnik:

        I do not at all agree with your characterization of the Atzmon’s book. It is fine to express your disagreement with its radical argument,
        but to brand it as belonging to a category of books similar to Mein Kampf is in my judgment ‘beneath contempt.’ Will you agree?

      • Fred Skolnik September 12, 2014 at 1:48 am #

        Far milder, of course, but definitely in that direction. If disparaging racial or ethnic generalizations are not racism, what is?

      • Richard Falk September 12, 2014 at 2:00 am #

        I know Gilad. He is as far from being a racist as you are, and to brand him one, is to discredit his argument
        without engaging it.

      • Fred Skolnik September 12, 2014 at 2:19 am #

        The entire purpose of his writing is to show why Jews are such rotten people. You are falling into the trap that I once noted, namely, that as an extension of the idea that that there is no such thing as Israel hatred, only valid criticism of Israel, so there is no such thing as antisemitism or Jew hatred, only valid criticism of Jews, “arguments” that may or not be agreed with, and certainly this would extend to the “criticism” found in Mein Kampf, which also becomes not racism but generalized “arguments” about the Jewish character that should be seriously and dispassionately weighed in perhaps a classroom atmosphere. Your personal impressions of Atzmon are irrelevant. What matters is what he writes, which certainly represents what he thinks. If anyone wrote about “Negroes” or Arabs in the way Atzmon writes about Jews, you woukld hit the ceiling. I will repeat: disparaging racial or ethnic generalizations are racism, by definition.

      • Richard Falk September 12, 2014 at 3:11 am #

        I agree that Gilad comes close to the line at times, but I am convinced that the main purpose of his book is to make Jews and others think about their tradition, and the tendencies embedded in it that have been actualized via the Zionist experience and its disregard of the suffering inflicted on the Palestinian people, which you and
        other maximal Zionists offload on Hamas and Palestinian resistance, and he has succeeded in doing this for many of us. Atzmon is a serious writer and thinker who is also a kind of provocateur, raising questions in realms where ‘angels fear to tread.’ Instead of branding him as an anti-Semite why not engage with his arguments and analyses. That would be productive rather than name-calling, which is at best diversionary.

      • Gene Schulman September 12, 2014 at 3:42 am #

        Thanks to all of the above for a very interesting discussion of Gilad Atzmon.

        I can understand Fred Skolnik’s argument from his Israel-firster point of view, but attempting to smear Atzmon by comparing his book to Mein Kampf is beyond the pale. Atzmon does not rave hatred, but analyzes Jewish identity with a psychologists eye.

        I agree 100% with Richard Falk’s arguments (surprise, surprise!). Especially his new post in response to Ira Rudovin’s biased understanding of the Salaita case.

        Observing you all from sun-dried Djerba.

        Gene

      • Fred Skolnik September 12, 2014 at 3:39 am #

        I do not characterize him as an antisemite. I once explained how I characterize such Jews.

        I have already suggested that just as you would not think to ask a “Negro” or Arab to “engage” with the “arguments and analysis” of someone purporting to “explain” why they are in his opinion stupid or violent, you should not expect a Jew to “engage” with arguments and analysis “explaining” why Jews are so rotten.

  9. rehmat1 September 11, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    Australia is no doubt a Zionist occupied country. However, there are a few honest and courageous politicians who could not dare to speak their minds while in power.

    Malcolm Fraser, 84, former Australian prime minister (1975-83) in his recently published book ‘Dangerous Allies’, has claimed that Israeli attack on USS Liberty in June 1967 was “deliberate”. Fraser’s mother Una Woolf had Jewish family roots.

    Former Australian foreign minister Robert John (Bob) Carr (born 1947) in book ‘Diary of a Foreign Minister‘ had claimed that Australia’s foreign policy is controlled by pro-Israel Jewish lobby groups.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/05/23/australian-ex-pm-israel-is-a-dangerous-ally/

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