The Complex Problematics of Palestinian Representation

30 Jan

 

 

[Prefatory Note: This post is a much modified and enlarged version of an article published on January 1, 2016 in Middle East Eye. It attempts to address the current quandary that arises from the collapse of Oslo diplomacy and the seeming continuing encroachment of Israel on the territories long believed to provide the Palestinian people with a sovereign state of their own. Such a prospect, now unattainable for both practical and political reasons, contemplated a Palestinian state that would enclose a territory that was 22% of historic Palestine, or less than half of what the 1947 UN partition plan envisioned. For this forthcoming compromise to have become non-negotiable is clear evidence that Israel is in the process of adopting a unilateral solution that is based on the priority of its biblical claims and ethnic origin narrative to the whole of historic Palestine, referred to as Judea and Samaria plus Jerusalem in internal Israeli discourse. In effect, the Palestine right of self-determination is being unconditionally denied, and the Palestinian people given several unpalatable choices with respect to their future.]

 

While serving as UN Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine, especially in my early years between 2008 and 2010, I fully expected to encounter defamatory opposition from Israel and ultra-Zionist, but what surprised me at the time were various efforts of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to undermine my role at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Its representatives exerted various pressures to encourage my resignation, and made unexpected moves to challenge my reports, especially if they described the actuality of Hamas exercising governing authority in Gaza. At the time I had the impression that the PA was far more concerned with this struggle internal to the Palestinian movement than mounting serious criticism of the abusive features of the occupation. As I was trying my best on behalf of the UN to report honestly on Israeli violations of Palestinian rights under international humanitarian law and human rights treaties, I was puzzled at first, and then began to wonder whether the Palestinian people were being adequately represented on the global stage.

 

This issue of representation has been rendered acute partly due to Israeli policies of fragmenting the Palestinian people, and then complaining that they have no partner with whom to make peace. Fragmentation indirectly subverts the right of self-determination by rendering ambiguous or unsatisfactory the nature of the self, that is, the people that is entitled to benefit from the right. The emphasis on this interplay between ‘self’ and ‘peoples’ arises from the authoritative language of Article I of the two human rights covenants that both make ‘self-determination’ the most fundamental of rights, which encompasses the others, and confers that right on ‘peoples’ rather than ‘states’ or ‘governments.’

 

The Palestinians are far from being the only people that is subjugated in ways that deny the ‘self’ the benefit of adequate representation. Consider the plight of the Kurdish people, or should it by now be ‘peoples,’ that can be traced back to the fragmentation imposed on Kurds by the manner in which colonial ambition reconfigured the political communities that has formerly been part of the Ottoman Empire in the ‘peace diplomacy’ that followed World War I. It is the notorious Sykes-Picot framework that was imposed on the region, and significantly responsible for the present turmoil that can be understood as a series of interrelated struggles by subjugated minorities to establish more natural political communities that protect their identities and their rights.

 

Jurists and politicians can spend endless hours debating whether the claimant of rights is indeed a people from the perspective of international human rights law. Many remember Golda Meir’s famous taunt, ‘Who are the Palestinians?’ There are many unrepresented peoples in the world that are marginalized in various settings, and none more regrettably than the 350 million so-called ‘indigenous peoples,’ victims of brutal dispossession, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and a variety of oppressive forms of subjugation. A truly humane world order would find ways to address historic grievances, while acknowledging that the past cannot be recreated or the present undone. There needs to be some good faith effort to reconcile the pastness of the past with overcoming the suffering being endured in the present. It is this process of reconciliation that Edward Said others articulated as the path to a sustainable peace for Jews and Palestinians.

 

Whatever the historic narrative that questions the emergence of Israel, as of the 21st century both practical and normative considerations converge on the quest for the dual realization of self-determination for Jews and Palestinians. Note that Zionism is a political project that was embraced by the Jewish people but it is not necessarily a reflection of self-determination for Jews if it encroaches on an equivalent Palestinian right. There is room for compromise, but only on the basis of accepting claims of equality, and refusing to treat the ‘settlements’ as part of the pastness of the past or to regard Palestinian refugees living in camps within and outside of Palestine as enjoying an inferior right of return or repatriation to that conferred on the Jewish people. Reasoning along this line makes it seem diversionary to continue the pursuit of a two-state solution, but this is a matter for the two peoples to decide by themselves if the right of self-determination is to be respected. And this prescribed course of action returns us to the issues surrounding the legitimacy and authenticity of representation. Until this issue is resolved a peace process is problematic if the goal is a sustainable and just peace.

 

Representation at the UN

 

Among the many obstacles facing the Palestinian people is the absence of any clear line of representation or even widely respected political leadership, at least since the death of Yasir Arafat in 2004. From the perspective of the United Nations, as well as inter-governmental diplomacy, this issue of Palestinian representation is treated as a non-problem. The UN accepts the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, although the reality of Palestinian governance to the PA since the Oslo diplomacy was initiated in 1993. A similar split between legal formalism and effective authority exists in international diplomacy although most of the 130 governments have extended diplomatic recognition to the PLO, rather than Palestine, despite its increasingly marginal role in the formation of national and international Palestinian policy in recent years. Ever since the General Assembly accorded recognition to Palestinian statehood in 2012 the question of representation has been settled in favor of the UN within the framework of the UN (UNGA Res. 67/19, 29 Nov. 2012).

 

This distinction between the PA and PLO is obscure for almost all commentators on the Israel/Palestine struggle, yet it has important implications for diplomacy and the scope and scale of Palestinian representation. The PA, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, is basically preoccupied with the West Bank and its own political relevance, and has seemed perversely aligned with Israel with respect to the fate of Gaza and even the 5-7 million Palestinian refugees worldwide. In contrast, the PLO, at least in conception and until the Oslo diplomacy took over, also in practice, conceived of its role to be the representation of Palestinians of a variety of political persuasions, as well as whether living under occupation or as refugees and exiles, that is, as a people dispossessed rather that a territory oppressively occupied.

 

The Oslo Diplomatic Fiasco

 

Among the flaws of Oslo was its affirmation of the delusion that a sustainable peace could be achieved simply by negotiating an end to the occupation of the West Bank, and maybe Gaza and East Jerusalem. The territorial remnant that was left after the Israeli withdrawal would then be viewed Palestine as a semi-sovereign state within these arbitrary borders. This ‘two-state’ international consensus even after its PLO endorsement in 1988 and regional incentives provided to Israel by the Arab Initiative of 2002 was, despite this, effectively killed by a combination of Israeli diplomatic rejectionism and its relentless.

 

The Israeli rejection of the two state option, which from a Palestinian perspective was at most a minimalist version of peace, was made manifest over the last 25 years by increasing the inhabitants of the settlement gulag, establishing at great expense an infrastructure of settler only roads, and through the construction of an unlawful separation wall deep in occupied Palestine. Yet the 20+ years of negotiation within this framework served Israel well as does the lingering illusion that the only viable settlement is still a rendering of the two-state solution. Sustaining this illusion also helps the United States, and Europe, and perhaps most of all the PA by keeping its international status credible. It allowed Israel the protective cover it needed to continue annexing, building, and cleansing until a point of practical irreversibility was reached some years ago. These defiant actions on the ground undermined effectively the two state mantra without suffering the slightest adverse consequence. This enabled the United States, especially, but also Europe, to sustain the international illusion of ‘a peace process’ while the realities on the ground were making ‘peace’ a dirty word of deceit. It has become a ‘zombie solution,’ where the proposal outlives its viability, and serves purposes other than what it claims.

 

Most of all, this Oslo charade made the PA seem like it was a genuine interim state-building stage preceding existential statehood. In a situation without modern precedent, the PA achieved a weak form of de jure statehood via diplomatic maneuvers and General Assembly partial recognition under circumstances that lacked the most essential attributes of de facto statehood. Usually the situation is reversed, with the realities of statehood serving as a precondition to its diplomatic and legal acknowledgement. Israel played along with this Palestinian game by denouncing such PA moves as outside the agreed Oslo plan of statehood to be achieved only through negotiations between the parties. Of course, Israel had its own reasons for opposing even the establishment of such a ghost Palestinian state as the Likud and rightest leadership were inalterably opposed to any formal acceptance of Palestinian statehood even if not interfering with Israel’s actual behavior and ambitions.

 

Interrogating the Palestinian Authority

 

Yet there are additional reasons to question PA representation of the Palestinian people in the present situation. Perhaps, the most fundamental of all is the degree to which the PA has accepted the role of providing security in accord with Israeli policy within those parts of the West Bank under its authority, which includes the main cities. It is thus hardly surprising that Ramallah suppresses many nonviolent resistance activities of the Palestinians, including demonstrations in support of the beleaguered people of Gaza. As well, the PA zealously apprehends those militant Palestinians alleged to be supporting Hamas or Islamic Jihad, and is accused of torturing many of those detained in its prisons often without charges. The PA has also consistently leaned toward the Israeli side whenever issues involving Gaza have arisen since the Hamas takeover of administrative governance from Fatah in 2007. Perhaps, the high point of this collaborationist behavior was the PA effort to defer consideration of the Goldstone Report detailing evidence of Israeli criminality in the course of its 2008-09 attack (Operation Cast Lead) on Gaza; such a move was widely and accurately perceived as helping Israel and the United States to bury these extremely damaging international findings that confirmed the widespread belief, already substantiated by a series of NGO reports, that Israel was guilty of serious war crimes.

 

There have been several failed efforts by the PA and Hamas to form a unity government, which would improve the quality of Palestinian representation, but would not overcome all of its shortcomings. These efforts have faltered both because of the distrust and disagreement between these two dominant political tendencies in occupied Palestine, but also because of intense hostile reactions by Washington and Tel Aviv, responding punitively and tightening still further their grip on the PA, relying on its classification of Hamas as ‘a terrorist organization’ that thus making it categorically ineligible to represent the Palestinian people. Everyone on the Palestinian side agrees verbally that unity is indispensable to advance Palestinian prospects, but when it comes to action and implementation there is a disabling show of ambivalence on both sides. The PA, and its leadership, seems reluctant to give up its international status as sole legitimate representative and Hamas is hesitant to join forces with the PA given the difference in its outlook and identity. Since 2009 there have been no elections that would lend grassroots legitimacy, at least in the West Bank, to the PA claims relating to representation.

 

What Should be Done

 

In the end, there is reason to question whether PA status as representing the Palestinian people in all international venues deserve the respect that they now enjoy. It is a rather complex and difficult situation that should be contextualize in relation to the Israeli strategy of fragmentation, one purpose of which is a deliberate effort at keeping the Palestinian people from having coherent and credible representation, and then contending disingenuously that Israel has ‘no partner’ for peace negotiations when in fact it is the Palestinian people that have no genuine partner in Tel Aviv as the Israeli leadership has made abundantly clear that it will never allow a viable and truly sovereign Palestinian state to be established.

 

Among diaspora Palestinians I believe there is an increasing appreciation that neither the PA nor Hamas are capable of such representation, and that greater legitimacy attaches either to the demands of Palestinian civil society that underlie the BDS Campaign or are associated with the person of imprisoned Marwan Barghouti or to Mustafa Barghouti who is the moderate, secular, and democratic leader of the Palestinian National Initiative situated in the West Bank. What these less familiar forms of representation offer, in addition to uncompromised leaders, is a program to achieve a sustainable peace that is faithful to the aspirations of the whole of the Palestinian people and is not compromised by donor funding, Israeli controls, collaborationist postures, and geopolitical priorities. It takes seriously the responsibility to represent the Palestininian people in ways that extend to the Palestinian refugees and to the Palestinian minority of 1.6 million living in Israel as well as to those living under occupation since 1967.

 

Overall, the picture is not black and white. The PA, partly realizing that they had been duped by the Oslo process and that Israel will never allow a viable state of Palestine to emerge, have resorted to a more assertive diplomatic positions in the last few years, including an effort, bitterly resisted by Israel to make allegations of criminality following from their controversial decision to become a party to the International Criminal Court. Also, it is important that the Palestinian chair at the UN not be empty, and there is no present internationally acceptable alternative to PA representation. Perhaps, an eyes wide open acceptance of the present situation is the best present Palestinian option, although the approach taken to representation is in the end up to the Palestinians. It is an aspect of the right of self-determination, which as earlier argued is the foundation for all other human rights. At the very least, given the dismal record of diplomacy over the course of the last several decades, the adequacy of present representation of the Palestinian people deserves critical scrutiny, especially by Palestinians themselves.

 

Two final observations are in order. First, it may be useful to distinguish what might be called ‘Westphalian representation’ from ‘populist representation.’ Westphalian representation is the outcome of intergovernmental diplomacy and controls access to international venues, including the UN. Populist representation may or may not reinforce Westphalian representation, and is based on the outlook of civil society if taking the form of a consensus. At present, there is some tension between these two ways of conceiving of representation. There is also the issue raised by the exclusion of Hamas from the operation of Westphalian representation despite its exercise of governmental control over a significant portion of the Palestinian territorial reality.

 

Secondly, it is relevant to appreciate that the PA seems to be pursuing a ‘two state’ solution by unilateral initiative rather through negotiations and the consent of Israel. Its state-building initiatives in the West Bank combined with its diplomatic statehood initiatives seem designed to generate a sort of ‘state’ that enjoys a certain international status even though the reality of subjugation under apartheid administrative structures remains the experience of the Palestinian people who continue to live with the ordeal of a quasi-permanent occupation.

30 Responses to “The Complex Problematics of Palestinian Representation”

  1. sudhan January 30, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    Under Israeli power, PA has been a pliant tool to carry out the wishes of the the occypying power. The ensuing coordination between Israel and PA to neutarlise your position as UN Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine was not a secret to many political observors. In any case, despite all the hurdles you came across, you stood your ground as a man of principles with great courage.

  2. Harvey Epstein January 30, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

    So we finally have an admission that the Israeli position has been correct all along: the “Palestinians” have been grossly mal-served by their corrupt leadership for decades. And of course it is always the fault of Israel. When the Palestinians finally grow up and realize that their leadership has been in the game only for the money that it can scim, will they be able to get some direction. Perhaps they will reflect on 2000 and 2008 when Israel was offering to commence negotiations based upon conceeding almost all of the realistic demands being made by their opposition.

    Based on this post, pray tell me: with whom can Isreal now negotiate? The UN, as an interlocutor, representing a totally disorganized group of folks who have not had their act together since 1947, or before? LOL

    Do you expect that Israel, now surrounded by failed, or very stressed states, should feel safe with any arrangement that does not give it all of the security it needs, should go along with anything? Well Bibi has been asking for negotiations with no real response from Abbas. Maybe somehing will happen, but if it does, the PA really needs to shorten its sights and ‘get real’.

    Frankly, Iran wont let anything productive come out of any of this now that the sanctions pressure is off of it. How sad.

  3. Fred Skolnik January 30, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

    It is good that you “fully expected” the opposition to you as Rapporteur, because it at least indicates that you were fully cognizant of the fact that someone who exposes himself as a biased party in a role that demands impartiality is unacceptable as an investigator, not to mention someone who refers to one of the sides in the conflict he is investigating as Nazis even before beginning his investigation.

    As you insist on corrupting the meaning and intention of the word apartheid at every opportunity in order to make it fit Israel, I can only repeat what I have said before: An occupation by definition entails separation between the occupying power and the occupied population and the existence of two different legal systems for occupying and occupied nationals. All separation measures instituted by Israel are solely for purposes of security and it makes absolutely no practical difference if the Israeli presence in the West Bank is in the form of army bases (certainly legal under an occupation) or settlements (irrespective of their illegality).

    Israel’s Law of Return was not “conferred” on it by anyone. It was legislated by Israel as a sovereign state and is similar to immigration laws of dozens of other countries that favor their own expatriate nationals at the expense of national minorities. There is furthermore no historical or legal precedent for a right of return extending to descendants of refugees born outside a given country. And once again, an equal number of Jews was displaced from Arab countries in the 1948 war period, losing everything they had, the result of which was a de facto population exchange similar to the one between Pakistan and India in the same period (involving 15 million people at the time).

    Israel has repeatedly stated that it is willing to negotiate a two-state solution directly with the Palestinians with no prior conditions. Abu Mazen has refused to enter such negotiations. Israel’s opening positions are clear to everyone as are the Palestinian positions. That is what is meant to be negotiated. That they twice turned down settlements based on land exchange and a symbolic return of refugees (30-40,000, which equals the number of original refugees still living) indicates that their leaders either lack the courage to end the conflict or simply prefer the Big Dream of a massacre on the shores of the Mediterranean to the hard and unglamorous work of governing a country.

    • Gene Schulman January 31, 2016 at 4:50 am #

      @ Harvey and Fred: A few truths to contradict your twisting and lies……

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44085.htm

      • Fred Skolnik January 31, 2016 at 5:00 am #

        I looked, Gene, but I don’t see how my lies are contradicted:

        Lie 1: Given Prof. Falk’s biases, he should have disqualified himself as a Rapporteur.

        Lie 2: The word apartheid was not coined to describe a military occupation.

        Lie 3: Many countries have laws similar to Israel’s Law of Return.

        Lie 4: Israel has repeatedly stated that it is willing to negotiate a two-state solution directly with the Palestinians with no prior conditions. Abu Mazen has refused to enter such negotiations.

        Point me to Finkelstein’s contradictions.

      • Kata Fisher January 31, 2016 at 7:06 am #

        Dear Fred,

        Dont you think that diplomats/ Rapporteur past/present can be excused from such irational acusations?

        I can’t belive excuses that you make for a state that is in a massive practices of eclesialistical murders, oppressions of local population.

        If Israelis are to be righteous – they would make things right for confused Arabs in Holy Land. First, they have evil leadership, and second – they have evil oppressors.

        I believe that it was enough for Israeli to walk in the same patterns that Nazi were, and entire Church in world know what those patterns are.

        If Israeli were from wild branches (converst to Judism) that does not mean that they have atteind fatnes of the Olive tree for their minds (By Spirit of God). This also means that can remain for generations just as stupid, and just as sinful, and evil – just as any other unconverted / not in Spirit mankind – that are fall off from grace, even fall of from common grace that is automatic to all mankind.

        And that also means that they can , will, and do behave in the same ways / patterns that Nazi did, and/or Russian gestapos – just for few exsamples.

        We all know that Both Jews and Areabs in Holy Land are people there for Gid-given purpose. What exsacy it is – who knows? However, it must be racism and hate ( in spirit-Nazi fashion) that does not want those people there.

        If nations want to behave as pit-bull dogs and comit eclesialistical murders – what it should be said of them? They are just as pit-bull dogs. Nothing else can be said f them. I am sure that is a lot to be said of them and including that they are just as pit-bull dogs.

        Anoter thing: If you have terrorist among you – you will not shoot down entire areas of civil populations to get rid of them. Why are you doing that on Arab bread-wining land? Yea, there is no bred to be attained there, right? Church-Charismatic does not say and believe so!

        Is realy time for Israeli to stop making excuses, and deal with Nazims among them. You may have few stupid leaders among you such as Natanyahu, Bush, or Trump – but you will be OK.

        By the way – that Trump guy is in dear need to be smeard by some anoiting olis from Roman-Chatolic-Charismatic prists and Baptised in SPirit of God by free Fall.

        Natanyahu, Bush – there is no revocable hope to them. Western Hemisphere is spiritualy excommunicated. This is true for Israel – Western Hemisphere manipulated.

        I know what I am talking about, I am ordained Roman-Chatolic-Charismatic. I know about evils of charismatic disorders and works of satanic seals in blood-lines.

        Do not make excuses for such things at work in Israel while you atacking elderly Rapporteur.

        Where is your revenge?
        Should not your revenge be where God’s revenge is?

        Why is not?

      • Harvey Epstein January 31, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

        Gene, the comments I made are reflective of what Richard said: there is disunity within the PA to the point that it can not deliver an enforceable agreement and its leadership is corrupt. Are these lies? You and Richard take the position that this is primarily the fault of Israel. I say the PA has been hoisted by its own petard. Either way, these are the facts on the ground.

        Your citation misses a key point: the nakbah for the PA was intended to be a holocaust for the Jew. Why do so many forget that? This holocaust is still the stated goal of Hamas, the PLO, Iran, etc. These folks have never changed direction. How often must I point out that they seek not peace but Hudna. That’s what Hamas and the PLO tell their people in Arabic.

        By the way, we all fall into the myth that the displacement numbers of “real Palestinians” as of 1947-48 was @ 650-675,000. In fact, in 1961, UNRWA director John H. David admitted that the Arab countries overstated their refugee population in the 1950s (perhaps by @ 50%) so that they could get more UN money. In 1966, Dr. Walter Pinner rendered a report to the UN that as of 1966, there were only 367,000 legitimate refugees – taking this number, and assuming a natural rate of increase, the original number of refugees in 1947-48 was more on the order of 300,000. People got more than one I.D. card to collect extra benefits. In essence, the UNRWA got defrauded. 300,000 is still a big number, but it isn’t the 650,000+ number that we hear so much about. Remember, this is the conclusion of the UN itself. Will this change anything? Probably not because the myth has been repeated so often that it has now become an article of faith.

        Regards

      • Richard Falk February 1, 2016 at 7:50 am #

        Harvey, I would only say in response that Palestinian disunity is a distinctly secondary explanation
        of the failure to resolve the conflict, and that Israel as the more powerful party has primary responsibility
        for the gridlocked diplomacy, especially as a significant aspect of Israeli effort to weaken the Palestinians
        has been to fragment their reality to the extent possible. Furthermore, increasingly those in control of the
        Israeli government have made it clear, as has Netanyahu throughout most of his career, of deep opposition to
        the establishment of a Palestinian state (recall his participation in rallies comparing Rabin to Hitler, and
        his campaign promise of a year ago),

  4. B January 31, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

    Since these comments usually end up in moderation, I thought I’d send you one that belongs there, one on a personal note, since it’s clear that you’re not just commenting on the world but looking back on a full life. Hope it serves as a brief change of pace from the obsessive hectoring you’re going to get for bringing up Palestine again.

    By happenstance I returned to the ideas you discuss, rights and rule of law, only in the past few years. I say I returned because I’m now rereading books I read 45 years ago, holding the very same books in my hands again and marveling how I was induced to forget them for decades on end. It’s like springing back to my original shape after decades of occupational warping. Historic things happened, great efforts came to fruition, and I simply didn’t notice. As the bureaucratic saying goes, I had a clearance but no ‘need to know.’

    I recall seeing your name on syllabuses but never ended up taking those courses. If I had taken one, it might have changed my life, by reminding me of ideals that the US suppresses here at home. I’m grateful that you and others kept them in view. I don’t share the pessimism you sometimes express because your integrity made gains that cannot ultimately be reversed. I know you’re worried but I hope you’re also very satisfied and proud.

  5. QCPal February 1, 2016 at 12:56 am #

    Reblogged this on QCpal.

    • Harvey Epstein February 1, 2016 at 9:56 am #

      Richard,

      Thanks for your comment. I must point out, however, that it does not explain why the PA is corrupt and its leadership seems to be rather well off.

      You seem to seek a level playing field. As a practice matter, that does not exist. If such a leveling were to occur, perhaps the weaker party should stop saying, and believing, that its end goal is the destruction of the stronger party and the death of most or all of its Jewish citizens.

      Simply put: if I throw a rock at a tiger, and at the same time I tell it that I want to kill it (and really mean it), can I reasonably expect that it will just throw a rock back at me, especially if it believes my threat?

      The PA has had chances to improve the lives of its citizens. Instead of infrastructure it builds offensive capabilities. It spews hate and teaches its children to do the same. If those on the West Bank have cause to complain about their condition, perhaps they first need to look into a
      mirror.

      Do I say that Israel is always right; is not part of the problem; etc.? Of course not. But tell me, what can Israel do until the PA and its population meaningfully change their course. For decades, the PA sought not peace, but Hudna. It still does. Israel did not elect Abbas. Israel did elect a Bibi, but looking back on 70 or so years of history in this region, does that really surprise anyone?

      We are often told by pundits that the population of Israel wants genuine peace. Let the PA start with that and, within their own population, begin to work on it. My fear is that this is all just a pipe dream.

      Regards

      • Gene Schulman February 2, 2016 at 12:53 am #

        @ Harvey. Rather than throwing stones at Richard for his good works, you might want to read some real history. Rather than just repeating your hasbara mantra, you might want to listen to an insider:

        http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44102.htm

        Cheers

      • Fred Skolnik February 2, 2016 at 4:13 am #

        You are truly pathetic. Fulminations and wild language are not “real history” and Miko Peled is neither an historian nor an insider but another left-wing extremist with an axe to grind. With all the time you spend feverishly combing the Internet for incriminating evidence, are you still not capable of speaking in your own words and your own name? When you are and gtaduate to the next level of human discourse, I’ll be happy to point out your misconceptions and errors if such there are..

      • Harvey Epstein February 2, 2016 at 6:02 am #

        Gene,
        Interesting article. So the Jews who bought land from Arabs have stolen that land; Jews who acquired land during the Ottoman Empire have no right to what they purchased; so all of the state owned land during these time periods belonged to the Arabs and the then Ottoman/resident/citizen Jews, or Mandate Jews had no claims on that state owned land; etc.

        The article ignores the existence/claims/history of resident Jews. Sorry, but they existed and why should their claims to previously owned state land be ignored? Only Arabs have claims? How racist!

        Again we see the ethnic cleansing nonsense as it is applied just to Jews. Arabs/ Muslims live in Israel. They vote, work, own property, get medical care, education (yes I know it is second class, but Israel just increased funding for it so things are changing), own businesses, etc. Tell me, how many Jews will be allowed to even exist in any new Palestinian state, once it is formed? If you read what the PA intends, that number is Zero. Remember Gaza? How many Jews are left there?

        From 1948-1967 who was in charge of Gaza and the West Bank? Was it Israel? Help me here Gene; I was a high school graduate during most of that timeframe, but I have forgotten in my old age.

        Perhaps the article you cite might have just a few flaws; be a bit biased; have a political agenda; be written by a diaspora theologian?

        I do not intend to throw rocks at Richard. Between us, he probably is the tiger. All I intended was to point out that his response ignores the reality of the current PA leadership and likely what it is: unequipped to heal the wounds of its followers, most of whose wounds being self inflicted. What have they done with all of their money? Why do they continue to seek a holocaust? Why do they use the words of a Hudna? Why do they continue to preach hate? Why do they continue to self destruct? Why do they think that Israel should not protect itself? Etc., ad nauseum.

        Gene, I do read what you cite and consider what you say. I wonder if you do me the same courtesy? Perhaps Fred is correct on what you do. If so, then all you accomplish is to build a higher wall between us. This does not lead to understanding, it only leads to an intellectual black hole from which nothing fruitful can escape.

        Israel is not always right, nor is she always wrong.

        Regards

      • Fred Skolnik February 2, 2016 at 6:10 am #

        Our Gene is programmed to retreat to his second line of defense and chant “hasbara” whenever he comes up against something that is unanswerable, or at least unanswerable at his level of knowledge. And of course he knows that Prof. Falk will always be there to protect him – and God knows he needs protecting – removing any remark that returns his gratuitous insults in the same coin.

      • Gene Schulman February 2, 2016 at 6:54 am #

        Dear Fred and Harvey and all others floundering in the sea of hasbara. It is not that I can’t answer your arguments, you present none. Every time someone tries to answer you, you just repeat the same old mantras over and over again. So it is useless to try. And I have given up trying. Seems like every one who disagrees with you is a left wing extremist with an axe to grind. Well, you can count me among them. Better than being a right wing fascist with nothing but genocide on his mind.

        Please don’t bother answering, I’ve heard it all before.

      • Fred Skolnik February 2, 2016 at 7:06 am #

        The replies are repeated because the allegations are repeated, word for word. The replies are ignored because they are unanswerable. It is very simple. Whenever you’re challenged you run away, a week or two later you come back with the same allegation, thinking the reply will have been forgotten, and so on and so forth (not you of course, because you have nothing to offer one way or the other).

        Fascist? Genocide? Are you nuts? Here you have a reasonable, mild-mannered, accommodating gentleman like Harvey Epstein trying to do just what Prof. Falk claims he wishes to do – conduct a civilized discussion – and all you can think to do is pour out some more of your hate-filled venom.

  6. Harvey Epstein February 2, 2016 at 6:52 am #

    Gene,

    During the 1948-1967 timeframe, my formal education went far beyond high school. Not that this makes my arguments any more persuasive, nor the arguments of someone whose formal education ended with high school any less worthy of equal or greater consideration. My problem has been the often gross one sidedness of what I see on this blog. I do take into consideration Richards goal, but should others on this blog be limited to just that? Richard seems not to insist upon that. Your comment that I state only Hasbara mantra is disingenuous; in my opinion it carries with it the same weight as if I were to call you a rabid anti-Semite, which I hope and believe is not true. Rather than using labels and “code words” to describe one another’s positions, can’t we each look at all of the facts before we jump to conclusions? When arriving at any conclusion, can we set it forth, remembering the admonition of the current Pope as to what he deems to be anti- Semitic?

    Regards

    • Harvey Epstein February 2, 2016 at 6:56 am #

      Fred,

      I wrote my last post before I saw your most recent one.

      Regards

      • Harvey Epstein February 2, 2016 at 8:14 am #

        Gene,

        I just saw your last post. To say that it is contemptible, ill considered, child like and carrying no intellectual weight is to understate my feelings regarding it. I will do you the courtesy of presuming that it was just a momentary lapse on your part.

        If you really meant what you said about yourself, then you are in that intellectual black hole I earlier described.

        Right wing fascists with genocide on their minds can be identified by seeing what they actually do. If you can look at facts, what has happened in Gaza? No Jews. If you look at the goal of the PA regarding the population it plans on having in its state, no Jews. If you read the Charter of Hamas and the writings of the PA, they plan on the extermination of Israel and ridding the area of Jews. Now that all sounds fairly right wing and genocidal to me. If you look at Israel, with a 20% Arab/Muslim/Israeli citizen population, with none of them in any concentration camp awaiting the oven, how can you consider Israel to be genocidal?

        You probably presume that everyone living in the West Bank is entitled to the same civil liberties as Israeli citizens. They do not live under a civilian administration, they live under a military administration which has totally different rules, rules which can end if that population had the appropriate leadership which was willing to negotiate a two state solution. Good luck. You have seen all of this before, as you say, but you are not the only one on this blog, so I choose to repeat some of what you choose not to see. Is this all “fair” for the average Palestinian? Probably not. Is this all the fault of Israel. Surely not. The PA has a serious portion of any “fault” for the current situation, and its apologists, such as yourself, refuse to acknowledge this. To claim that Israel is solely responsible because she is the stronger of the two parties (Richards position) is akin to saying that if two kids are fighting, the bigger kid is the one at fault and the smaller one is completely innocent ( even if he threw the first punch).

        I think that you and others mislabel Israel. She might be discriminatory in some of what happens to her Arab population, but that ” tar brush ” can be applied to every other country on earth (to a greater or lesser degree). I have yet to hear that Israel is engaged in any mass execution of any portion of her population. True, she might be killing some, but not all, who try to kill Jews, when they might otherwise be captured and tried in a court of law; but that is not genocide. If Israel was genocidal, why would she pursue, capture and criminally try Jews who murder Muslims?

        Gene, you need to take a deep breath and reexamine the labels you use. Discrimination, which we both recognize may exist, is not genocide. Showing contrary facts is not Hasbara. Continuing to label things with improper definitions is obfuscation.

        Regards

    • Gene Schulman February 2, 2016 at 7:16 am #

      I’ve been looking at the facts for 85 years, and my conclusions are based on that. BTW: I am not anti-Semitic, but admit to being anti-Zionist. Can your extended educate compute that?

      • Harvey Epstein February 2, 2016 at 9:06 am #

        Gene,

        My comments regarding my education were intended only to evidence the fact that during the 1948-1967 time frame I was old enough to remember and understand certain events as they actually took place. Apparently you were, too.

        I do recognize that you are not an anti- Semite. Some of your prior comments made to me indicated that. And yes, I do compute that you are an anti- Zionist. I always have.

        Just because I believe that Israel must continue to exist does not make me a Zionist. More likely, it makes me a realist.

        Am I correct in thinking that you are not Jewish, or if you are, that you are of the diaspora theology (that Israel should never have come into existence at all)? Perhaps both assumptions are correct: you are not Jewish and Israel should never have come into being. Your answer will help me gage how I need to respond to your various comments. This touchstone will allow me to couch my future responses to you in a more meaningful way; so that we can speak with each other rather than make noises at each other.

        Fred, thanks for your kind words.

        Regards

      • Gene Schulman February 3, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

        Harvey,

        Though I do not agree with what you say, out of reciprocal politesse I would like to share with you the introduction I wrote to a discussion about possible solutions to the Palestine/Israel dispute. This was addressed to the Burlamaqui Society, of which I am a member and which meets monthly to discuss current issues.

        And to answer your question I will also mention that I no longer consider myself Jewish.

        December 2015

        I have been asked to lead a discussion about possible solutions to the Palestine/Israel impasse to peace. I am sure all of those in attendance tonight have given much thought to this problem. I certainly have. After all, this problem has been with us for a long time, beginning with the creation of Zionism way back before the turn of the 20th century.

        Let us take a brief look back at some of that history to throw some light on where the issue stands today. I shall try to be objective, withholding my personal opinions on the events described.

        For centuries the Jewish people have been discriminated against and treated as an enemy of Christianity and Islam, even though all three religions stem from the same roots of monotheism, i.e., as believers in one transcendent God that created and rules the universe.

        In the 19th century, anti-Semitism was rife throughout the West, especially in Europe; pogroms and other acts of violence and discrimination were a constant. Late in that century a movement rose up (Zionism) to find a safe haven for the Jews where they could live and practice their religion in safety, and the search for such a haven began with the thought that the Jews needed the protection of their own homeland.

        Zionism became a political ideology and led the search for such a homeland. After years of negotiation with political powers in the West, it was decided that the Jews should settle in Palestine, the alleged historical homeland of these Diasporic peoples, and which since the end of World War I, had been under the mandate of the British empire.

        For a good part of the 19th century and into the 20th, Jews had been emigrating from their original countries—especially Russia, Poland and Germany, where the majority lived—to Palestine and establishing a minor presence.

        After the second World War, in which the Jews were massacred in the Holocaust, those living in Palestine decided it was time to declare their own independent state, and in 1948 they so did. Through a lot of political machinations, the state of Israel was recognized by the major powers and the recently-organized United Nations. Fait accompli!

        The declaration said that the state of Israel would “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex, and guaranteed freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.”

        I would say, after nearly seventy years, these words are moot.

        Immediately, war broke out between the new Israelis and the indigenous Palestinians and their Arab supporters, which Israel won. Over the years, many more wars have broken out between the Palestinians and Israelis, and many between Israel and other neighboring countries and Israel won all.

        Today, Israel stands all powerful in the Middle East, and despite protests to the contrary, is in no danger or under threat to its existence. Meanwhile, the Palestinians are stateless, and all the lands on which they have subsisted for centuries, are occupied and under full control of Israel’s military.

        Since that first war, many attempts to broker a peace and possibly allow the Palestinians their own state, have been mounted and, until now, have failed. Meanwhile, the Israelis have been illegally building settlements in the occupied territories and been denying the Palestinians the normal human right to govern themselves or control their own destiny.

        I doubt that anything in this general overview would be contested by those gathered here this evening.

        * * *

        Now, before going into more detail about possible equitable solutions for both the Palestinians and Israelis, I would like to explain my own ongoing interest.

        One of the advantages of growing old is that age offers one the opportunity to look back at the recent history and recall, firsthand, the events through which one has lived. I was just eighteen years old when Israel declared its independence as a state. My adult life has run parallel with its time in history.

        I had never given much thought to Israel and its Palestinian problem beyond what I have already written elsewhere about my own experiences of being a Jew. But an event in 1949 called my attention to Israel like a bucket of water thrown in my face, and I have never stopped thinking about it since.

        At the time, during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college, I was steadily dating a nice Jewish girl in Los Angeles, and both of us were taking summer courses at UCLA. I spent as much time with her and her family as I did with my own. On one weekend, her older brother who was living in New York, and who I had never met, came to L.A. to say goodbye to his family: He had joined the Israeli army and was on his way to fight Arabs in defense of Israel. Of course, his family was upset and spent that weekend attempting to dissuade him.

        Why are you doing this? What is Israel to you? We are secular Jews and American. What? You’ve given up your American citizenship? (required of anyone who serves in a foreign army) Are you crazy? You’ll never be able to return. We’ll never see you again. You’ll be killed! Lots of tears.

        One would think he had read an advance copy of Ben Hecht’s autobiography A Child of the Century (which I too would read), and been so moved by the pages devoted to the creation of Israel, that he became a convinced Zionist and wanted to serve the cause. In retrospect, he was not not unlike those jihadists today in France, and elsewhere, running off to wars in Syria.

        Anyway, he left, leaving a deep impression on me. I don’t know whatever became of him (his sister and I broke up when we each went off to different schools at summer’s end). It is from that experience that I have been following the course of Israel, wondering if I might be channelling my ex-girlfriend’s brother through these years.

        So, what can be done about the ongoing conflict between the Palestinian people and the Israeli state?

        Having watched the evolution of it from the beginning, I think it is a very tough nut to crack. The Palestinians have been demanding their own state (much as the Israelis did) for years, appealing to the powerful nations, as well as to the United Nations, for help. Many resolutions have been proposed in that body which could help equalize the status of the Palestinians, but all have been vetoed, or otherwise quashed by the United States.

        For years, the Israelis have held the upper hand. Untold numbers of peace conferences have been held, all mostly brokered by the US – two state solutions, whereby the Israelis and Palestinians would share the land divided into two separate but equal states, each governing themselves. These solutions have gone nowhere because the Israelis have no intention of sharing their land with anyone, except more Jews. They are successful in blocking such resolutions primarily because of the full backing, financially and militarily, of the United States which shares the Israeli desire to fully control the Middle East.

        Frustrated by the failure of any two state solutions, many have now turned to the possibility of a one-state solution, whereby both peoples would become equal citizens in the one existing state of Israel. (See the debate between Uri Avnery and Ilan Pappe that I sent out. http://www.countercurrents.org/pappe110607.htm ).

        Of course, the Israelis object to that, out of fear that the Palestinians, via demographic growth, would out populate the country and leave the Jews in the minority. How then would Israel justify its self-proclaimed status as the Jewish state? In effect, there already exists one state, populated by two peoples, although with unequal status; Israelis with all power, and Palestinians with no citizenship and no rights.

        So, what to do? One solution might be that of Helen Thomas, the White House reporter who suggested that the Jews “get the hell out of Palestine.” (She added: “Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German, it’s not Poland…”) That didn’t go over very well and she lost her job.

        Another solution might be the one the Israelis most favor and are doing their best to accomplish; drive the Palestinians out, i.e., continue with the ethnic cleansing they have been practicing since 1948.

        Personally, I don’t have a solution. At least one that would be acceptable to both sides. I see Israel becoming a pariah state that will soon have nothing but enemies at its borders. Those enemies won’t have to attack Israel, merely stop recognizing it as it eats its own intestines and dies of loneliness and moral decay and economic collapse. But wait, you say, Israel has the USA behind it. It can’t collapse. Gentlemen, the USA is in the same boat with Israel. They will sink together.

        I yield the floor to your comments and opinions. (There were many of both, but no resolution.)

      • Richard Falk February 4, 2016 at 7:36 am #

        Gene: a vivid account that exhibits your qualities of integrity and empathy, as well as a
        plausible realism about the destiny that awaits Israel and the US if these two countries
        do not change course drastically. Thanks, Richard

      • Gene Schulman February 4, 2016 at 8:25 am #

        Thank you, Richard. I can only hope that Harvey’s mind is as open as yours, and that what I wrote will have a similar effect on him.

        Best, Gene

      • Kata Fisher February 4, 2016 at 9:16 am #

        Professor Falk and Gene,

        I have a note for you:

        If you look at Israeli/Jewish “occupation” (of current Palestine,/Jordan,/Israel), and you look at it historically within its historical landmarks:
        a) you look as far as A.D. 70, or, even pre and post of The Maccabean Revolt / (post-exilic time),
        moreover,
        b) that you also see, pre-and-post-Arabic conquests
        – these items will make possible for you to notice that Jewish presence was in Holy Land, consistent.

        With that, it is also legitimate to acknowledge that Israeli “occupation” (if we are to use word “occupation”) is much different from that what Europe/Arab colonial era/conquest has done to indigenous peoples world wide.

        Hebrew/Israeli/Jews were already population in current Palestine/Jordan/Israel before pre-Arabic conquests (even before the actual Maccabean Revolt).

        There were exceptions that Hebrew/Jews/Israeli were/are exiled and/or alienated from and within the Land of Israel/Davidic kingdom.

        I believe that is important to note that colonial conquest/occupation can not really ( not in actual, real terms) be legitimately attributed to the current Israeli presence in Holy Land.

        However, Revolt of Jews/Israeli/Hebrews could be more actual reality to the situations in the area/s. Why had had “Revolting”? What is to be revolted?

        I am not sure that Biblical History or even Historical happenings/records are irrelevant to the current situation.

        I am sure that Israelis are aware of Hebrew-Jewish-Arab/s lines in Holy Land (as Israeli diaspora/exiles)

        All of those things are actual reality that can be attributed to the both peoples in the Land.

        Still, there is more to it – when you look at minorities and majorities.

        It is legitimate to say that Sara is in Hagar’s womb and Hagar is in Sarah’s womb (it’s Biblical humor).

        A correction:

        Actually, it’s Catholic humor..

      • Kata Fisher February 4, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

        Another Note:

        Also, from Biblical History – we can not that ancestral wishes may be just honored by God and sins of ancestor is remembered, and revisited generation, after generation to the all offspring that are outside New Covenant.

        It can also mean that interpretation / application of any claimed Sacred writings in Church age can serve as a curse if not handled in Charismatic Church Order during the Church Age.

        Church Age Order is Charismatic Church Order; otherwise, it becomes according to all ancestral wishes, and sins.

        Further, it can also mean, that Hellenistic Jews, Job(eic) Jews, Jews that are lines of Esau may be the current people-tribes to whom the land is given under conversion valid/invalid (by all means all people tribes are more then legitimate to Holy Land in Church Age).

        While Hebrew-Jews are actually Arabic Tribes that are in Stewardship of undetermined /not discerned validity of the prophesy – that which has yet to be discerned and not known how to be applied in Church age / dispensation of New Covenant – I have to caution all about that in reference to Ancestral sins when Pre-exilic Prophets gave the scrolls inspired by Spirit of God – to be given evil doing people/Kings and they did terrible things with the Scrolls and the prophets – annulling/burning what was written down, applying their own discernment and ways.

        But I am sure that they can apply in Church age what their ancestors could not in their appointed age.

        Concerning spiritually excommunicated Hebrew Israel that is never going to be in New Testament is a lot to the Biblical Doctrine, and all current happenings.

        Further,

        Say that people use to come off /communicate in odd codes / and make sacrilegious code-distinctions among themselves and/or try to handle Church age and Holy Land issues in some odd interpretations of undiscerned text (outside the Church Order and Teaching Office that is prophetic, in ordination by Free Fall of the Spirit) – it is important to give know this to them that they are bringing sword upon themselves and their offspring, as well as everything involved – but they can continue doing all that they are. Church-Charismatic has no problem with that.

        We may not have any God-given instruction to annul this chaos of satanic seals – if there were, we would not have a problem, at all.

        Perhaps – they thought that they have God-given instruction (from undiscerned writings, claimed Scripturally valid) – and they actually do not, but they were applying all of that, and now they are in self-made swords.

        Everything that is going on in Holy Land is extremely off, exclusivly in cult-fasion., and in judgment upon all.

        Is any concern to Church-Charismatic what choices are made to Holy Land? Absolutely not, because it does not effect actual Church in any relevant way. It will effect descendants of people-tribes/nations that are actually making choices.

        Church-Charismatic will let you know about Order of Church Age, and it can even let you know about ancestral sacrilegious jokes. We as Church can be smeared on with it – but it is revocable, and annulled in us – nothing that is done against us has no actual lasting power over us.

        Church can not be smeared with sins of others and remain in those sins as consequences to them-self. Church can experiance Devious satanic works against the Church – but it does not effect the Church nor the Church exsistance/purpose.

        Further,

        The Land of Israel was stolen from Spiritual Authority of the Church / Scripture between Jordan and British ( recent). Then, Jews accepted the ecclesiastically illegal offer of the Holy Land to themselves. They (Jews) did not wait for acceptable time to actually annul/correct what Jordan and British have agreed upon and have done. They were in a rush, and it seems now they are to delayed.

        I am really concerned that these things are outs appointed time / marks for this generation and can and will continue for another 100 years. Then, even after over 100 years (if any humanity still exists in its current habitat) it will be just as same as always was – unless next 4 generations can correct what has happened now.

        Now I really do not know what all these different people want to do with these different people tribes – don’t they think that should step to the side and get some crooked things straighten out – just in case that they can be done after past 100 years, and not 200, 300 yeras?

        Church of Britain will no longer have Spiritual Authority over the Holy Land – or will and should continue in it.

        Also, I will let you all know that works (actual works) that look perfect and turn out in sword/s of destruction are works of some women such as Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. Now why I say that?

        Well, I just said that to your all’s notice.

      • Harvey Epstein February 4, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

        Gene,

        I just saw your last post and the response of Richard. As to your history of Israel and the existence of Jews in the land prior to Zionism, I and others who contribute to this blog have long since given additional facts to show that Jews were among the indigenous people (and technically Palestinians, too). So were Christians. So were Muslims. Your focus seems to be only on Muslims, so let us be clear about that. It is okey. They have rights, too. Some day you should analyze what has been happening to Christians in the ME.

        My problem with you and some others is that unlike me, Fred and some others, the existence of Jews in the land should be historically
        discounted. You seem not to take into consideration the Treaty of San Remo, etc., how extensive Israel was initially intended to be and how many times it was thereafter split to appease Arabs and their protagonists. With each split, Jews ( including those you might consider to be indigenous) ended up with less and less. Arabs were allowed to immigrate into everything west of the Jordan ( and be counted as “indigenous”?) and Jews were forcefully excluded from immigrating; Jews were thrown out of the Golan; etc. You were alive, Gene! Have you forgotten?

        Your girlfriends brother probably went to fight because the Arab armies intended another holocaust and he wanted to stop that. Did he go to kill Arabs or prevent them from slaughtering more Jews? You call him a jihadist?!? I wonder what your old girlfriend would think about your saying that? I am sorry his parents cried, but their son seems to have found something worth fighting for after having witnessed the murder of 6 million Jews and he was in a position of getting a gun to stop another slaughter. Her parents cried. Do you know how they felt after that war was over? Might they have had a sense of pride? Perhaps their son was a ” light” to these diaspora types. You do not know the end of that story. Do you have all of the facts before you draw your conclusions? I think not not and the failure to take into consideration all of the facts is what underlies all of my criticism regarding this blog! Conclusions based on one sided views! Enough said, but I could go on.

        As to your no longer considering yourself to be a Jew, let me say the following with only the best of intensions: In the depths of your soul are you still a Jew? On the surface, are you just confused because you feel that some (or most) Jews are not acting as you believe they should and you wish to disassociate yourself from those acts and those people? Have you found other Jews, who do not deny that they are Jews (perhaps Richard might be one, I really do not know) who have your same world views? If the answer to any of these is “yes”, then you are still a Jew. I have met such as you before, and every time I probe this attempt to disassociate, I get the same response: yes, they really still are Jewish, though sometimes the response is not verbal ( in the end wanting a Jewish funeral , being buried in a shroud, disclosure of Jewishness at a funeral, agreeing to be part of a minion when we might be short a person, etc.).

        As to the Helen Thomas comment, and so you can get some understanding of how some non- diaspora folks feel, let me relate a story I just read (perhaps not factual, but put on your Talmudic keypah): Two European diplomats were speaking, one a Jew ( but not Israeli ) and the other not a Jew. They were discussing the problem of Islamic terrorism. The non-Jew says to the Jew …”When the “s..t” hits the fan, you can always go to Israel, but where can I go? I have no place to go!” For the first time in almost 2,000 years, and after being thrown out of so many countries, including almost all Muslim countries, Jews now have a place to go. Those who we call Palestinians should have dozens of Muslim countries to go, and those countries won’t take them in and/or let them become citizens! How many refugees has Saudi Arabia taken in? Zero, according to the last count I heard. And like Ms. Thomas, they want to drive all Israelis out or into the sea and not make any place for these indigenous people.

        I feel badly for innocent West Bank Muslims when Israel does something I believe is wrong. I feel worse for the Jews they seek to deny any room for. Israel is offered Hudna and then holocaust. You seem to choose not to recognize that. Prove I am wrong on that and I will reconsider. If you can not prove that I am wrong, then whether you are Jew, self-denying Jew, non-Jew, or “whatever”, perhaps it is you who should reconsider. Will ” complete justice and fairness and goodness and right” ever come about for everyone? If that is your goal, you live in an alternate world.

        Gene, thanks for giving me a better understanding of your background.

        Israel is not always right, nor is she always wrong – but she has the right to exist.

        Shalom, landsman.

    • Kata Fisher February 2, 2016 at 8:11 am #

      A Note:

      Right now the Pope is actually two Popes, one office. Francis is in spiritual gifts of the priest – priest does his own thing – he is not paying attention to actual needs of the Church (that what Benedict asked for).

      What Benedict asked for was for Church Leadership to go about grave sins in the Church, when he, the Pope made the decision to have actual overlaps of the Popes in the Church.

      Francis wants grace for rotting Church Leadership and rotting Church members – I am not sure how he is going to get to that on his own and current Vatican Leadership.

      I know, in fact, that the only way was getting to that what that what Benedict asked for will be reinforcing True and Apostolic Catholic Faith. Therefore,
      1) the Teaching and
      2) the Order of the Church that was handed down to us by Christ as the most excellent choice, and was adopted the tradition of the Church in Rome. The order of celibate priesthood, undefiled by the illegitimate/legitimate sexual relationships/ marriages ( by women / spirits of the women) – the body of actual priesthood, and that is: in valid Apostolic Faith and Church-Charismatic ordinations) that is free from iniquity / wickedness / self-pursuits of human needs / marriages.

      Pope Francis is not handling all things that well – in True and Apostolic Catholic Faith – teaching and the Order of the Church – he is just a part of actual appointing of the Pope.

      Year of the Family was and remains a scandal. So will be scandal this year of Mercy.

      You may or may not accept things of the Popes when comes to the Middle East.

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