A Somewhat Anguished Open Letter to Blog Subscribers

4 Mar

 

In recent weeks, once again this website has been dominated by polarized debate about the relations between Israel and Palestine. My affinities in this debate are clear, but it has become for me and most others who share my viewpoint a very unproductive process. It reminds me of the sort of venom on display in the Republican primary struggle to select a presidential candidate, and at this point, the secondary struggle to offset the proto-fascist surge of Trump-mania that promises to make the choice of the next American leader a perverse and masochistic form of entertainment. This will be a tragedy not only for America, but for the world, considering the reality of its self-anointed role as the first global state in human history, and the implications this has for who is chosen to lead such a country.

 

I realize that such a free association is off point. What I want to express is that I have found the many comments contributors supporting Israel, while granting their sincerity, to resemble my experience in South Africa during the 1960s. In 1965 I spent the year in The Hague as an international law advisor to the Ethiopian and Liberian team in the South West Africa Cases being argued at the International Court of Justice. I learned many things, including being impressed and appalled by the skill and dogmatic convictions of the South African legal team in making their moral and legal case for apartheid, which I had previously uncritically viewed as a vicious form of racism that was not worth arguing about. It was not that I found these proponents of apartheid convincing, but it was my first experience of how ideological closure in the defense of a horrible situation can allow decent and intelligent people, pursuing their own social and material interests, to align themselves with what appeared to me to be a depraved structure of power and exploitation.

 

When I went to South Africa in 1968 to be an official observer at a political trial of activists in South West Africa, now Namibia, this dual experience of confrontation was deepened: with apologists for the apartheid regime and with those being victimized by it. I was told by the apologists a variety of things: “you don’t live here, and have no right to criticize what we do,” “blacks are better off here than elsewhere in Africa,” “it is either us or them, our survival is at stake,” “those who oppose apartheid are terrorists,” “we have brought prosperity and order to South Africa,” and on and on. My experience of the victimization of the African majority told, of course, a different story, one of fear, poverty, degradation, hardship, and the role of law in the service of oppression and degrading double standards.

 

I am not saying that the reality of Israel/Palestine relations are identical to those of apartheid South Africa, but there are essential similarities, including South African claims at the time of being a constitutional democracy governed according to the rule of law. There are also vast differences of history and circumstances, and the path to a just solution is very different, but the nature of debate between apologists for the status quo and its critics is sufficiently similar to make the comparison relevant and instructive.

 

While teaching at Princeton I agreed to debate a prominent American apologist for apartheid in an event sponsored by a conservative campus group. My opponent, an editor at the National Review with a Dutch background, made all the familiar pro-apartheid arguments in a cogent, even passionate form, and I angrily countered them, feeling afterwards ashamed that I had lost my poise having become so outraged by the distortions he was telling a mainly uninformed young student audience. It convinced me that such a debate, while sometimes captivating for its fireworks, is not the sort of communication and dialogue that I find worthwhile.

 

I have reached the same conclusion on several occasions with respect to the comments section of this blog. Over these years I have constantly vacillated between ignoring and engaging with the hostile and dogmatic comments submitted by Israeli apologists, which have frequently included nasty allegation or innuendo questioning my integrity and identity, and demeaning in various ways those who agreed with me. Such a dialogue of the deaf is repetitive, wasteful, hurtful, and initiates an intellectual race to the bottom.

 

I have been admittedly inconsistent in response, sometimes preferring a laissez-faire approach, sometimes monitoring to keep out personal insults and extremist views. I am a strong proponent of freedom of expression, although I have always found varieties of hate speech, including spurious allegations of anti-Semitism, to be troublesome and damaging. At the same time, while open to a wide divergence of views in the public square, I do not feel any obligation to invite those whose views I abhor to my home. A personal website is neither the public square nor a private dwelling, and that makes the issue messier, and undoubtedly explains why wavering between ‘openness’ and ‘boundaries.’

 

When a newspaper has opinion pieces and a comments section the case for extending the ethos of free speech is stronger, but not as convincing as it might appear on first glance. The Al Jazeera English comments section is dominated by vituperative and

hostile exchanges, polarizing and irrelevant debate and name calling, and rarely instructive. A personal blog site, even if addressing politically sensitive issues, seems to be justified in seeking to impose certain boundaries on what is acceptable. The goal is ‘productive conversation,’ which ideally would be hospitable to very divergent interpretations. I have always felt that I often learn most from those with whom I disagree, provided that these adversaries exhibit respect for the authenticity of my different experience and understanding.

 

These reflections leads me to once more adopt a more interventionist approach to comments submitted to this blog site. My goal is ‘productive conversation’ on a range of topics, and not limited to the Israel/Palestine agenda important that this is to me. I have enjoyed and benefitted from comments on a variety of issues, but rarely with respect to polar confrontations between Israel’s apologists and critics. With reluctance, but temporary resolve, I have decided to block comments that are written in a polarizing rhetoric or impugn the motives of Israel’s critics. It is

certain that the regular comment writers who I am categorizing as apologists for Israel will be offended, but I encourage them to go elsewhere. There are a variety of Zionist and pro-Israeli websites that are completely one-sided in ways they would find unproblematic, receiving either no critical comments or filtering out any that are out of tune with the spirit of the website.

 

On the basis of past experience, I have no illusions that this restrictive turn will work over time to improve the quality of discussion in the comments section, but I feel it is worth a try, and ask those who agree to be active, making it happen, providing that productive conversation on controversial issues is possible and useful.

97 Responses to “A Somewhat Anguished Open Letter to Blog Subscribers”

  1. american200 March 4, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    I haven’t commented here before, I just read the post as I get them on my email. But over the 14 years I have been involved in the I/P issue my opinion is the goal of most of apologists/activist for Israel in any venue is to bait other commenters and make the discussion all about Jews and then accuse everyone of being anti semites. I also use to spend a lot of time correcting many of their false claims and historical inaccuracies. That was also useless. I gave up responding to them long ago so blocking some of their comments is fine by me.

  2. Fred Skolnik March 4, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    I confess that I find it a little difficult to understand how your mind works. You have created a website that attacks the State of Israel in the most vehement and violent terms, in the wildest and most offensive language imaginable, and become offended when your assertions are challenged. You now seem to have created for yourself an analogy between South African racists and defenders of Israel like myself. I am certainly not a racist and what I am defending is certainly not racism. And nothing coming from your side can be construed as constructive. Your sole, demonstrable aim to establish Israel’s guilt. You are still hosting a public forum. If you invite the kind of malicious comments your admirers habitually make, and I have noted them more than once and you have slid around them more than once, then you should expect replies in kind. I will gladly yield to gentler voices like Harvey Epstein’s if you will modify your own tone and the tone of your followers. That seems fair enough. If you don’t like to be called out when you cross the line, and I have made it very clear what this line is and will happy to provide you again with the concrete examples, then block me and rationalize the censorship however you like.

    • Harvey Epstein March 4, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

      Fred and Richard,

      I would hate to see an encyclopedic mind, such as that possessed by Fred (and others) yield to me.

      The issues we discuss are explosive (both intellectually and physically). We all know how emotionally these things affect us. Richard has made his perspective very clear. So has Fred. You both have brilliant minds. Surely all on this blog should try to accommodate the other by toning down the rhetoric to an acceptable decibel level. I believe that this is all that Richard is requesting (unless Richard believes that this is too restrictive on his ability to present his views to an open discussion).

      This blog is, after all, Richards’. I firmly believe that he wishes to be a good host. The rest of us are just guests. Aren’t we each smart enough to be able to remove most of the venom from our speech and still be able to make our points? Let us hope so.

      Regards

      • Richard Falk March 5, 2016 at 10:16 am #

        Thanks, Harvey, for this expression of good will, greatly appreciated. I have two concerns,
        and if I understood your message correctly, you were addressing what I would call ‘the civility concern.’
        My second concern is whether there is a sufficient meeting of minds to enable a ‘constructive conversation.’
        I have felt that on several fundamental issues we perceive the relevant facts and law so differently that we
        talk past one another. For instance, Fred puts legal, political, and moral weight on both deep historical ties of Jews to
        the land that became known as ‘Palestine’ and to the British colonial gestures toward validating Zionist claims,
        while I regard such contentions as irrelevant or worse. Also, he thinks that because the Palestinians and Arab
        countries rejected the partition plan in 1947 it is forever irrelevant to the resolution of territorial claims,
        while I am more uncertain about this. Such issues are not worth further discussion at this stage of the conflict.
        I know subscribers differ on this, and I want to respect diverse views, but my goal is to achieve what I call
        ‘constructive conversation’ where we listen to one another and try to learn. And I am well aware that what makes
        a position ‘constructive’ is inevitably highly subjective. That is why I find the challenge of ‘blog ethics’ so
        daunting, but only in relation to this highly contested Israel/Palestine terrain. Greetings, Richard

      • Richard Falk March 5, 2016 at 10:17 am #

        I wonder if this of help with respect to your inquiry about logistics on the blog. It was sent to
        me by another subscriber:

        “I’ve attempted to comment on your blog several times in recent weeks, but found my comments not posting. I just tried a few things and discovered when I try to comment logged in via my WordPress account, it fails. I logged out and logged in via Facebook instead and it worked.”

  3. peteybee March 4, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

    I started to read this blog regularly maybe a year ago (Thanks Richard for taking to time to share your experiences in this blog!), and the discussions here are just like what happened when I forget to keep my mouth shut and decide to ask challenging questions of Israeli supporters of the way things are. Of course I don’t have Richard’s stature or experience in the U.N. and as a professor, so I probably get a slightly more blunt version of it, but I think the discussion goes about the same way.

    There are some pretty obvious contradictions in Israel’s needs as a Jewish state created after WWII with a mission of protection, vs the rights of Palestinians as human beings. The best I can hope for is to be told “You live in the U.S., you just don’t understand”. These are the exact words I got every time, and for the sake of staying friendly, I’ve stopped myself from entering this discussion in person. I figured this out probably as a teenager.

    The internet gives us a chance to explore some of these things at a distance (not face to face), without having to get too agitated with family, friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. So I think it’s actually OK to let people lose control a little bit, online.

    Then again, after reading through some of the comments here … oh boy! Just to keep up with the sheer volume of arguments, I think you have no choice but to actively filter it down to a manageable level.

    Best of luck!

  4. Vincent Di Stefano March 4, 2016 at 2:24 pm #

    Thank you Richard. This is long overdue. Your patience has been superhuman.

  5. Carlos March 4, 2016 at 5:38 pm #

    I too Richard have found that those brought up in Apartheid South Africa do not change their views in spite of a change of country, something to do with a sense of privilege and
    entitlement. To hear some from SA who have come to Australia talk, is very depressing.
    As for the Israel/Palestine conflict such hatred, is manifest in ordinary social relations. Evidence of closed minds. I have experienced both. Who was it said To thine own self be true. That’s all I can do. Maybe one day people will become more human.

  6. Carla Coco March 4, 2016 at 7:37 pm #

    I agree with Vincent. I have also needed to make similar adjustments in terms of my own on-line presence. The the hostile rhetoric is so predictable, and never new, and cycles of this type of rhetoric can be depressing.

    I know it adds some extra work to filter out some of the worst of it, but in the end, I think it’s worth the effort. I can think of a few blog sites I’ve stopped reading or participating in, just because of all the craziness, and I no longer feel any need to explain it, since it’s not only non-productive, which makes for a waste, but it’s destructive, even when one is of steel nerves.

  7. Ben March 4, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

    I think Taylor Swift said it best: “Hater’s Gonna Hate”.

    More seriously i wonder how many of the vehemently pro Israel commenters – given, as you say, that there are plenty of sites for them to visit where their lopsided belief systems won’t be challenged – are participating in Hasbara?

    I’ve spent the last two years researching the full history of the conflict and it bemuses me that anyone with a full knowledge of it can support Israel in its current form and with its current policies. Yes, the Jewish people have been persecuted for hundreds of years. Yes, they were the victims of a Holocaust. But, no, that doesn’t mean you can steal another people’s land in order to create your own “safe haven”, even if, 2,000 years ago, that land once belonged to you.

    Here’s a solution, although it may not be one that an international law professor such as Richard would approve of:
    Let the two state solution be implemented in a just manner and, if the extremist Arabs or even the local states still aren’t happy – which, despite some of their public positions, is unlikely to be the case – then Israel can just take back what was given up using the incomparable military might the state has built up over the last seventy years. No international actors – or current anti-Zionist commenters – would stand in Israel’s way, if Israel did what was right, got burned for it and took it all right back.

    • Kata Fisher March 4, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

      Ben, you are confused about reality. I kindly ask you to reflect on that.

    • Harvey Epstein March 5, 2016 at 10:29 am #

      Ben and Richard,

      Ben, your solution would violate international law and guarantees another war for which Israel will be blamed. Some of the worlds problems are not subject to any solution which can truly satisfy both sides; especially if one side makes it not a political issue but a fundamental religious one (per Hamas).

      As to who owns the land in dispute, read Fred’s discussion on the Moon Open Letter post. What folks are contesting over is land that for centuries was owned by the Ottoman Empire as government land, then fell to British Mandate (see a few more posts in the Moon Open Letter), then administered by Jordan until 1967 when it walked away from it, then came under Israeli control via an Armistice Line (not an established border between two sovereign nations) with Israel then willing to substantially return back to it’s pre-conflict borders in exchange for a genuine peace (this offer being declined), then under an Oslo Accord where parties agreed to some adjustment of borders so that a “real” border could be drawn. Then we have the 2000 effort with Arafat and the 2008 effort with Abbas, both of whom flatly rejected any Israeli proposal ( both of which gave the PA almost everything it asked for except the obvious non-starter of the Right of Return). Then we face the question, again, of just who the Palestinian really is claiming this Right of Return? Please see my prior post wherein the UN received an internal report, in the early 1950’s, which pointed out that approximately 120,000 of those “Palestinians” were in fact Lebanese migrant workers (residents of Lebanon who went to Palestine as seasonal workers) who found that living in the WB gave them a better lifestyle than that which they enjoyed in their native land.

      Was there some Israeli appropriation of land actually owned by a particular Palestinian? Probably. Is this just? Likely not, unless adequately paid for. Do there exist Deeds showing who actually has title to the rest of what is being contested? Dumb question. All we have are “wish lists” and an agreement to adjust borders between two sides – which could violate the individual claims of those being affected. Another potential mess.

      Can someone come up with facts showing that ” justice” is on the side of the Palestinian? It is done on Richards blog all of the time. Is this really a question of “Justice”? I often wonder, because sometimes “justice” is like “beauty”: it depends on the standards set. Islamic law is different than western law, in many regards. Yes, you can refer to the UN. But it can’t keep its own house in order.

      Israel is not always right, nor is she always wrong. Same with the PA. Until the commentators on Richards blog recognize this, we just speak at each other and remain entrenched in our respective bunkers. This is not a good thing.

      Richard, my comments are somewhat partisan, but spoken in a soft voice. I believe that this is within your standards, except that it is repetitious. But aren’t the questions and issues raised painted with the same brush?

      Regards

      • american200 March 7, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

        ” Can someone come up with facts showing that ” justice” is on the side of the Palestinian? It is done on Richards blog all of the time. Is this really a question of “Justice”? I often wonder, because sometimes “justice” is like “beauty”: it depends on the standards set. Islamic law is different than western law, in many regards.

        Yes I can.

        From Black’s Law….the most widely used Law dictionary.

        Definition of JUSTICE, n: In jurisprudence. The constant and perpetual disposition to render every man his due.

        Definition of JUSTICE: Protecting rights and punishing wrongs using fairness.

        1) fairness. 2) moral rightness. 3) a scheme or system of law in which every person receives his/ her/its due from the system, including all rights, both natural and legal.

        The question of what is justice for Palestine is not complicated. Although some people want to make it complicated.
        This conflict is and has always been about land.
        One peoples land was given in part to another people.
        Did the UN have the legal right to give a portion of land inhabited by others to the Jews?—that in itself is debatable.
        Did the inhabitants of Palestine have any debt to said Jews that ‘justice’ would demand they share or turn over their land to the Jews as payment?
        Did the inhabitants, owing no debt to the Jews, have a right to oppose the sharing/ now confiscation of their land?

        Frankly Israel has no ‘legal’ leg to stand on other then the UN Res 181.
        Further every acre Israel has confiscated since 181 is illegal under international law.

        What I see used often by pro Israel advocates is they–having no legal legs to stand on beyond Res. 181–resort to the ‘natural rights’ (see above) as in claiming some kind of ‘special natural rights’ of Jews due to persecution or the holocaust.
        The claim that a certain group should have special or natural rights over and above another or other groups of people –and over other victims of the many holocaust, genocides and persecutions that have occurred through out history— is not acceptable to the majority of the world’s populations.

        Hence the push back they get in most of their arguments.

      • Aaron March 7, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

        american200:

        All you cite and repeat is wrong.
        The Jewish rights to Eretz Yisrael did not start with the holocaust and did not start with Zionism.

        Our rights to the land started when we defeated its inhabitants 3000 years ago in battle and started our own country under divine commandment.

        These modern activities you refer to are simply the latest response to the latest occupation of our land being the British, Turks before etc.

      • american200 March 7, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

        Another problem in the back and forth is people use ‘sources’ for their arguments that are often inaccurate (both legally and historically) and just because they support their own position.

        My advice to anyone re this issue is to start with the British National Archives and the reports on Zionism in Palestine as they are on -the- ground, in real time reports/communications/etc., during that time from a variety of national officials/ goverments and reporters other than British.
        Its not a far leap from there to the US Presidential Library of Truman and succeeding US Presidents to find their real opinions on Israel and Palestine in their private papers. The most common thing repeated by all of them is US Israel policy is about “domestic political considerations”.
        That will lead you straight to the Jewish Lobby for Israel.

        What I will gladly give to the pro Israel advocates is the admission that the US has–because of its inability to resist political corruption–been the biggest ‘enabler’ of Israeli aggression toward Palestine. So in that sense America (its government) is just as guilty as Israel in not delivering justice to Palestine. Maybe more so since without US support Israel could not do what it does.

        I use one example with people who arent that well informed on I/P and Israel—I simply ask them what ‘they’ would have done in 1948 if Texas or Vermont or any other US state had been the Jews
        promised land or haven and they had moved in and done the same here as they did in Palestine.

        That makes the Israel-Palestine conflict amazingly clear to them. No further argument has been necessary.

      • american200 March 7, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

        ”American200

        All you cite and repeat is wrong.
        The Jewish rights to Eretz Yisrael did not start with the holocaust and did not start with Zionism.

        Our rights to the land started when we defeated its inhabitants 3000 years ago in battle and started our own country under divine commandment.

        These modern activities you refer to are simply the latest response to the latest occupation of our land being the British, Turks before etc.’>>>>>

        I see Aaron that I left out a addition claim under ‘natural rights’ that Israel advocates use—I should have included the ‘divine rights’ of Jews also…i.e. that divine commandment from God.

      • Aaron March 7, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

        Exactly. As confirmed by the Book of over 1 billion Muslims, over 1 billion Christians and yes, only 15 million Jews. Given those odds I’d say that you and your fellow minions couldn’t fill up a thimble full of contrarian data.

        It doesn’t have to be viewed as divine. Even if devoid of any divinity, it certainly can stand muster as a substantial historical confirmation of the greatest story ever told….on Mount Sinai!!

  8. Gene Schulman March 5, 2016 at 2:08 am #

    Richard,

    It is so easy to understand your frustration. But I beg you to carry on, because your insights and experience are so important. Re the hasbarists who attack you: I would just let them rant on – the best way to deal with them is to ignore their rants, but let them stand so others can see how ridiculous and wrong they are. What bothers me most when reading the comments on your posts are the ones that have nothing to do with the subject, but only wish to express their own irrelevant ideas – Kata, for example. Nothing personal, but she is so far out……..!?

    So, ‘bon continuation’. This reader shall remain loyal.

    • Richard Falk March 5, 2016 at 5:27 am #

      Gene:

      As always, I appreciate both your loyalty and your guidance. My ambivalence is in part a response to considerable feedback
      from constructive readers that the vitriol expressed by the Israeli apologists has a Gresham’s Law effect on the quality
      of the comments section–in effect, bad comments drive out good comments. Warm greetings, Richard

      • Harvey Epstein March 5, 2016 at 10:34 am #

        Richard,

        Your earlier comments did not “pop up” on my computer before I wrote my most recent one.

        I have to rush off, my wife is waiting, but I will consider your most recent post and may respond.

        Regards

  9. Beau Oolayforos March 5, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    Sorry, but you opened the door on Trump: for me, Boileau said it best in 1667, in Satire 8: “Quiconque est riche est tout…”

    As for the usefulness of opposing viewpoints, I read in Breitbart News, a pathetic reactionary rag, that some “law-breakers” are actually handing out wire-cutters to migrants, so they can get through the fences. Every time people like Breitbart say “shame, shame”, I think “Bravo & Kudos”.

  10. Leslie Bravery March 5, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,
    In a rational world, free speech and fair exchanges of view should be welcome. Unfortunately we do not live in a rationally organised world; political manoeuvring by the powerful, aided and abetted by the mainstream news media, does not reflect the needs and aspirations of most of humanity. The UN Security Council’s selective vision and double standards drives it to pass resolutions that censure Israel but never restrain it. Most of the rhetoric in defence of Israel’s conduct actually gives the game away because it desperately attempts to distract public attention from the daily inhumanities and injustices committed by Israel. Zionist ideology is inherently racist and discriminatory, which is why so many Jewish people (a growing number, including Israelis) say to the world “not in our name”. The anti-Semitism slur against Israel’s critics is failing, as was recognised recently at a conference in Israel held by Gilad Erdan’s Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry. The conference was advised that it would be better to call opponents of Zionist rule as being ‘anti-Israel’ rather than ‘anti-Semitic’. It is a fact of history that ideologies come into fashion and then pass away. Unfortunately, the harm they do lives on, nurturing the seeds of future irrationalities. I believe that the most effective way to deal with Zionist hasbara is to witness for truth; and to publicise daily and without fail, every act of Israeli inhumanity.
    With respect,
    Leslie Bravery
    Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa/New Zealand

    • Kata Fisher March 5, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

      Leslie, when you talk about Israel – you do talk about ecclesialistical democracy (now). Ecclesialistical democracy is tough one! You will not even begin to understand it, unles, you are Hebrew propheth(s) or ordained. So do not be Anti-constitution of Israel. In overal, it is greater harm to humanity to have 6-100 premarital sexing then what Faith of Jews requests in Holy Land / Davidic kingdom. I do not mean to be toxic, but that’s some folks private reality.

    • Daniel Molnar March 24, 2016 at 8:17 pm #

      to publicize daily and without fail, every act of Israeli inhumanity: the Turkish news: http://www.worldbulletin.net/ is pretty brave in doing that; Al Jazeera America on line is gone. Keep in mind super rich American Zionists are funding various disinformation/ repression efforts.

  11. Harvey Epstein March 5, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

    Richard,

    You are faced with a minor conundrum: all people carry at least a part of their history with them. If carried long enough, that history sometimes evolves into an “article of faith” and then any concept of reason (and perhaps even a sense of justice) evaporates.

    Like it or not, “absolute truth” (whatever that means) is usually ignored in the face of an “article of faith”, because by its very nature, more often than not, that is why the article of faith persists. In our current discussions, each side has its own “articles”, though each chooses not to recognize them as such. Each side castigates the other for refusing to recognize the merit of their faith to such an extent that each is blind to the possibility that some merit might exist in some of the views of the other. Then begins the cycle of slogans and name calling such as Hasbara, anti-Semite, etc. Such verbiage does not lead to any real understanding between the protagonists, except to validate their respective hostility toward the other.

    I have tried to bring into our discussions what I call a sense of “balance” : ” Yes, each side does have something to say which merits our at least looking at it.” Some of your contributors take issue with the introduction of anything which violates their particular article of faith. This is a problem for both sides. Often, I do appear to be looking at just the Israeli side because the overwhelming bulk of what I see on your blog is solely PA oriented. That side has plenty of advocates already, you among the foremost. But I understand your orientation and your stated reasons for it. I get a feel of what you seek to achieve. Your goal is the same as many contributors on each side of the issue: a lasting peace; dignity and security for all. Our problem is getting there based on the existing facts on the ground. No easy task.

    So you have set up your blog, apparently as a gift to yourself. This is noted with some admiration by many (including me) and perhaps begrudgingly by some of your antagonists (among whom I often number myself). Now comes your underlying question: who gets to participate?

    First and foremost, this is your blog. We are your guests. While some may believe that this is a public forum, it is not. We do not have the absolute right to post to it. You can censor it. In fact you can determine that there is no right of comment for anyone. In essence, you can turn it into a newsletter and who has any right to complain? You have not done the latter. You invite comments, but here is where I get a bit confused: is it only like-minded people who can post, or may those who do not share your views also be allowed to speak? You appear to take both positions which are inherently contradictory. I gather this from your comments in this particular post and elsewhere in your blog.

    If your goal is to speak to like- minded people, then I am informed that you can place a “block” on any particular website from posting. Perhaps you can establish an “invitee” only system and have people be able to view your site, but not post to it without being pre-qualified. You can tailor make your site. If you do not want much aggravation or heated controversy, such could be your solution.

    Another possible position is to keep the blog as you have it but force us to self-police or you will exercise your right to censor. You may even block. This approach is aggravating and will generate controversy. I do not see any middle ground.

    I highly question the value of limiting the scope of discussion to “like minded people”. Surely you should only allow civility, but restricting the scope often leads to sterility. I am not really clear as to how “constructive conversation” can take place with such a volatile issue in the absence of some contentious approaches. What I note on your blog is that the like-minded people who support your views initially do little more than than tell you how correct you are and that no real conversation takes place until a “naysayer” injects him/ her self into the conversation. Then everyone’s hackles extend. If it is a gentle, peaceful, purely intellectual conversation you seek, your only practical choice is to block. Too many contributors, on each side, have far too many articles of faith to do otherwise.

    As to ignoring everything except the existing facts on the ground, you are heading up a very blind alley. Each sides egos need stroking. One or both sides need to get to a state of exhaustion; then perhaps we will arrive at a point where a line in the sand will be drawn which both sides will hate (but live with) and with the passage of time (perhaps a very long time), will lead to acceptance (which we need to equate with peace).

    Regards

  12. Mike 71 March 5, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

    Limiting access to this blog to “like-minded people” accomplishes nothing more than a few talking to themselves; it should be open to civil discourse to all interested in the central topic. In the past, pro-Israel commentators have been barred, despite the fact that they were civil, but ardent in their support of Israel and the two, or given Palestinian divisions between Fatah and Hamas, three-state solution.

    The unfortunate reality is that Palestinians have painted themselves into a corner from which it is increasingly difficult and near impossible to extricate themselves. In framing the conflict exclusively as to a “one to the exclusion of the other” proposition, rather than two, or three states for two peoples, they have locked themselves into a perpetual occupation from which there is no escape by military means, but which they may do so by diplomatic means, negotiation and compromise, which they unequivocally reject. See e.g. Articles 7 and 13 of the Hamas Covenant at: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp The concept of trading land for peace would end the occupation, ensuring peace and security for both Palestinians and Israelis, rather than an irrational pipe dream, which ensures continuation of the status-quo.

    Israel, within the 1949 “Green Line (not an internationally recognized border) is 75-80% Jewish, yet Palestinians would deny them the right to self-determination, just as the white 10% minority denied black and mixed race South Africans majority rule. Given Palestinian divisions, a three-state solution would create two states in Gaza and the West Bank, each of which would be Palestinian majority ruled. The Palestinian objective is not to create a Palestinian state, or states, but to eradicate the Jewish state, an instance of “do as I say, not as I do” hypocrisy. But the reality is that with the Palestinian National Authority crumbling under the corrupt leadership of the aging and ailing Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas devastated by three failed and futile “wars of aggression” against Israel, each more lethal and destructive to Gaza than the previous one, war is no longer a viable option for Palestinians.

    Had Yasser Arafat accepted the Barack offer of 2000, or Mahmoud Abbas accepted the Olmert offer of 2008, there would have been a Palestinian state, including East Jerusalem and the West Bank and another Palestinian state in Gaza. But rejection of those options has continued the post 1967 “Six Day War” occupation, most likely resulting in the permanent occupation and forfeiture of those lands. Under International Law, Israel as the victorious belligerent of the 1967 “Six Day War,” may retain captured land, until possession is modified by peace treaty. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uti_possidetis Persisting in a “one to the exclusion of the other” proposition releases Israel of any obligation to continue to respect UNGAR 181, providing for two states,” one Arab and one Jewish,” in the language of the Resolution, allowing “Greater Israel” to become the “One Democratic
    State,” playing conveniently into the hands of elements far to the right of Mr. Netanyahu.

    Continuing war against what the C.I.A has rated the 11th most powerful military in the world is an exercise in futility. When it again comes time to “Mow the Lawn,” Hamas, which has collaborated with IS/Daesh insurgents in Egyptian Sinai, will not have Egypt to mediate a cease-fire. The 10 year “Hudna” proposed by Hamas is not a peace treaty. Jews, with the exception of those few defined by Lenin as “Useful Idiots,” are not stupid people and unlikely to fall for the charade of going to war against a far better armed Hamas a decade down the road.

    With the exception of the 1956 Sinai Campaign, all of Israel’s wars have been “defensive wars of necessity,” rather than “unnecessary wars of choice. Israel, as a nation-state member of the U.N. has an “inherent right to individual, or collective self-defense,” as recognized under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. That right is also recognized under “Just War Theory. See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/war the Catechism of the Catholic Church: http://www.catholic.com/documents/just-war-doctrine military historians: http://www.JustWarTheory and philosophers: http://www.iep.utm.edu/justwar If Palestinians are not required to respect U.N. Resolutions, such as UNGAR 181, neither is Israel required to respect them. To paraphrase a question once posed by Uncle Joe Stalin, “How many
    divisions does Ban Ki-moon have?

  13. Aaron March 5, 2016 at 9:28 pm #

    Richard,

    Your state: “..is ‘productive conversation’ ..”

    Can you please cite an example so that we can better understand your guideline?

    • Richard Falk March 6, 2016 at 8:07 am #

      Aaron:

      Most of what is not deleted. At times, I make mistakes of judgment or am too busy to monitor.

  14. Clif Brown March 6, 2016 at 12:09 am #

    I participate with comments at several sites. What is being experienced here is, I’m sorry to say, routine. The pressure relief valve is to consider oneself addressing a large audience that remains silent.

    In my exchanges I never allow myself to get angry, call names or in any way abuse the person (almost always anonymous) that is my opponent on any issue. Though everything including the kitchen sink may be launched at me, I keep to the subject. I do it out of self-respect because others are reading the exchanges. I go by my real name which forces me to take responsibility for everything I say. Anyone going over the exchanges can judge for him/herself the content coming from both parties. It is my belief that the people reading but not saying anything are not hate-filled and unable to distinguish good reasoning from emotion. Perhaps this is a delusion, but it is what keeps me going without falling into despair over the low level to which my fellow countrymen seem prone to fall when personally addressing to world.

    What too many comments show is overwhelming frustration, a desire to put a fist through a wall. That person is not listening, nor transmitting anything productive. Let the rants proceed. I write for the third party.

    • Kata Fisher March 6, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

      A general courtesy note:

      Personally, I find this setting boring and topics/subjects irrelevant to me.

      In addition to that, my husband just abhors politics and religion – and absolutely will never have anything to do with it. He does not read any of this, what I say or what other folks say – he does not concerned what is going on here.

      He is all about fishing, hunting, good cooking, and Sunday morning of serious thinking.

      I grew up with two brothers – and I know when and when not is irrelevant to stay stubborn.

      However, my guy is right here, and he is my ecclesiastical sibling and, in fact, my guy is more than a pastor – but don’t be distressed he does not bite. He is polite with you all!

      “Why should you refrain from causing burden(s)?”

      He (Pastor) has to communicate in his message in truth, regardless of someone’s ethical standards/rules or feeling. However, this is also a growth process, and faith, and we cannot really push, or fast-forward that spiritual growth in faith and change, only the understanding factor.

      While in business / anything else we can apply professionalism / ethics / behavior-modification / manners because we may or cannot always implement the true identity of ourselves due to the different factors people have to deal with. (Be fake whenever you can! That is good / benificial for you!)

      In ministry (we / who) do not apply professionalism / manners, nor can be made to –we apply gracefulness (this is totaly different and not same as professionalism / ethics).

  15. FAROUK ASVAT March 9, 2016 at 12:34 am #

    THE ZIONIST WALL
    © Farouk Asvat

    The Zionist Wall is a living thing:
    It brings death to the people of Palestine
    It comes with soldiers
    That massacre grandfathers in the streets
    It comes with bulldozers
    That destroy grandmothers in their homes

    The Zionist Wall is a breathing thing:
    It brings death to the Muslims of Palestine
    It comes with tanks
    That blast fathers to kingdom come
    It comes with white phosphorous
    That burns mothers to a living hell

    The Zionist Wall is a living thing:
    It brings death to the people of Palestine
    It comes with living clusters
    That kill children in the fields
    It comes with active uranium
    That contaminates babies in their prams

    The Zionist Wall is a breathing thing:
    It brings destruction to the Christians of Palestine
    It consumes orange trees and olive branches
    It slithers into crèches and clinics
    It slides into homes and orchards
    It destroys lives and livelihoods

    The Zionist Wall is not a dead thing:
    It brings death to the people of Palestine.
    It comes with helicopter gunships
    That shoot children playing in the streets
    It comes with military aircrafts
    That bomb mothers praying in their homes

    The Zionist Wall is not a dead thing:
    It brings death to the Jews of Israel.
    It comes with maniacal bombers
    That blow up buses and restaurants
    It comes with suicidal martyrs
    That obliterate school children and rabbis

    The Zionist Wall is not a dead thing:
    It brings death to the people of Israel.
    It shoots down ambulances and schools by day
    It blows up shops and hospitals by night
    It comes with dreams of paradise and virgins
    It leaves behind orphans and widows

    The Zionist Wall is a weeping wall:
    Those who lived and died in concentration camps
    Now create concentration camps
    For the living and the dead

    The Zionist Wall is a weeping wall:
    Those who died and survived a holocaust
    Now create a holocaust
    For the living and the dead

    The Zionist Wall is a wailing wall
    For the living and the dead of Palestine

    The Zionist Wall is a wailing wall
    For the living and the dead of Israel

    The Zionist Wall is a wailing wall
    For the living and the dead of the world

    © farouk asvat

    composed: 17.01.2009 [johannesburg, south africa].

    [] Acknowledgements:

    The Zionist Wall has been published in:

    http://www.faroukasvat-poems.blogspot.com (08.03.2016);
    I Dream In Long Sentences (kindle, 2015);
    I Dream In Long Sentences (amazon paperback, p64, 2015).

    • Aaron March 9, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

      So Richard,

      Is this lying racist rant permitted under your new guidelines?
      If it is then is it open for challenge?

      It it is I hope not on the basis of art/poetry etc? Mein Kampf also had its poetic excursions.

      • Leslie Bravery March 9, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

        Zionism is the last of the state-sponsored twentieth century ideologies to survive and persecute ‘the other’. The Zionist wall is a reality, not a lie, and the suffering it engenders is inspired by racist fantasies of ‘chosenness’. Listen to the voices of anti-Zionist jews such as Miko Peled and Jewish Voice for Peace. No people are ‘chosen’ above others. Humanity is one and those who believe otherwise sadly build a ghetto around themselves.

      • Mike 71 March 9, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

        Leslie,

        If you are at all familiar with the history of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, you would be aware that in 1948 Israel accepted UNGAR 181, providing for two states, “one Arab and one Jewish” in the language of the Resolution. It was not the Israelis who rejected the concept of multiple states for the peoples of the region, but the Arabs (now Palestinians) who per the terms of both the P.L.O. and Hamas’ founding documents seek a “one to the exclusion of the other” solution. See: e.g.the Hamas Covenant at: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp Zionism is as legitimate a form of nationalism, as that of the Palestinians. If the outcome of the conflict is to be a “one to the exclusion of the other proposition,” then Israel is just as entitled to be that “One Democratic State.”

        Neither of the Palestinian dictators, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah (now in the 11th year of the four year term to which he was elected in 2005), nor Ismael Haniyeh of Hamas (now in the ninth year of the five year term to which he was elected in 2007), has produced either a democracy, or a state. They prefer to engage in successive futile “wars of aggression” against what the C.I.A. has rated as the world’s 11th most powerful military, rather than negotiate peace which would grant them land and an independent secure state.

        In inciting their children and youth to stab Israelis and foreign visitors to Israel, they bring down upon themselves the retribution of the I.D.F., whose obligation is to protect Israel’s civilian population. As the aggressor, Hamas may define its own “Rules Of Engagement,” but when the I.D.F. applies those same “R.O.E.” against them, they have no right to complain. When it again comes time to “Mow The Lawn” in Gaza (probably later this year, or early next year), Israel will act pursuant to Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, recognizing an “inherent right to individual, or collective self-defense.”

        “Peace will come when the Palestinians love their children more than they hate the Israelis.” –Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier

      • Leslie Bravery March 9, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

        Mike 71,
        David Gordis is a former executive at the American Jewish Committee, a central organisation of the Israel lobby, as well as a former president of the Hebrew College. He is also a former vice president of the Jewish Theological Seminary. In his late 70s he has now come to realise the true nature of Zionism and the human misery it has wrought. In an article just published in Tikkun he writes that Israel is “distorted by a fanatic, obscurantist and fundamentalist religion which encourages the worst behaviors rather than the best.” Zionism has never had anything to do with Judaism but it wears the prayer shawl when it suits it. Rabbi Michael Lerner commented sadly on the article, lamenting that Zionism had not shown itself to be an embodiment of what is best in Jewish tradition, history and ethics but rather “a manifestation of all the psychological and spiritual damage that has been done to our people, which now acts as an oppressor to the Palestinian people.” If you listen to the voices of the anti-Zionist Jews I mentioned in my previous comment, instead of ignoring them, you will gain much. They know very well the history of Zionism from the late 19th Century to the present. The irrationality, duplicity and racism were apparent from the beginning. Unfortunately, great power politics intervened to silence the voices of those who tried to warn of the inevitable disaster that the empowerment of such an ideology would bring.

      • Aaron March 9, 2016 at 9:56 pm #

        So here is another opinion:

        Undeterred by Facts, Leftist Pundit Scorns Historic Owners of Jewish Land He Dubbed ‘Palestinian’

        By: David Israel
        Published: March 6th, 2016

        Gideon Levy
        The willingness to admit mistakes is almost a lost art in Israel’s media. In most cases, Israeli opinion makers, when proven wrong, prefer to ignore the whole thing and just move on, nothing to see here, folks. One exception to the rule is Gideon Levy, Haa’retz’s leading anti-Zionist columnist, who used an embarrassing error he had made in his column last week to blithely move the debate’s goalposts to an entirely different part of the field, and ram a new ball through. As victories go, this one required double the lying power and did little to promote dialogue inside Israel’s society. Of course, Gideon Levy to Israeli dialogue is what Sweeney Todd is to haircuts.

        Writing about Gush Etzion junction, one of the bloodiest locations of the wave of terror of the past six months, Levy asked himself, “What do the settlers who pass here each day think? Are they also afraid? Do they admit it? Do they contemplate the depressing thoughts that should be inevitable — what are they doing there? Is it all worth it? Do they really wish to live like this?” at which point he listed all the despicable things settlers do, most poignantly, “Is it moral on their part to demand that IDF soldiers stand here day and night, in every kind of weather, only to protect their beliefs and their lust for real estate?”

        Readers who have not been exposed to this kind of manipulative trash since 1967 might shudder at the nastiness oozing from Levy’s prose; but to most Israelis, who have read so much of it over the years, it just becomes part of the ongoing leftist buzz they’ve learned to tune out ages ago. Why Levy even bothers any more is baffling — but our sages have already said that everything a person does to earn a living is honorable, even skinning mules, so the sun rises and sets, the wind blows, and Gideon Levy collects his paychecks writing settler porn.

        Except that in this episode of his Hebrew Der Stürmer editorial, Gideon Levy screwed up. He concluded the piece with, still berating his “favorite” Jews: “Do they imagine that the Palestinians would ever give up this junction which was built on their land, against their will, like the rest of the giant settlements all around?”

        Philosopher and linguist Professor Asa Kasher of Tel Aviv University, an ethicist who authored the IDF Code of Conduct, posted on his Facebook page that the “Palestinian land” Gideon Levy described, that very Gush Etzion junction, was purchased by his grandfather, Talmudist Menachem Mendel Kasher, who in 1926 paid ten Arab land owners good cash for the land right there, where the Gush Etzion junction today stands.

        In fact, very much in contradiction of the fake Palestinian narrative Levy promotes three times a week, every week, in Ha’aretz, and many more times on television and in well paid lectures, that land, which became the Jewish community of Migdal Eder, was destroyed by Arab pogromists in 1929, same year that the Hebron Jewish community was massacred.

        The Gush Etzion settlement efforts continued in the years before the establishment of the Jewish State, and in the 1940s four Jewish communities (Kfar Etzion, Ein Tzurim, Massu’ot Yitzhak, and Revadim) became permanent, thriving villages. But all four were destroyed by the Jordanian legion in 1948, their civilians who remained alive were taken captive, and the entire area came under Jordanian rule. From 1948 to 1967, that loss of the four Jewish communities of Gush Etzion—together with the destroyed Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip—remained a painful note in the Israeli nation’s collective memory. Which is why no mainstream Israeli politician dreams of handing the Gush Etzion block of towns back to the Arabs, not even the Labor party.

        So that when Gideon Levy makes such a nasty statement about Jewish settlements and is proven wrong when he says they rightfully belong to the Arabs, his normative response should have been to 1. hide face in shame, or, 2. apologize profusely, or, 3. do Both.

        But you already knew he didn’t. What Levy did instead was turn the whole thing on its face: yes, he declared, the settlers do own the junction, and whatever other piece of land Jews have purchased in Judea and Samaria since the early 20th century — and so do the Arabs own all the land which they had fled from in “green line” Israel, back in 1948.

        It’s a seductive argument. Since Asa Kasher says he owns the Gush Etzion area because it belonged to his grandfather, therefore he believes in the right of ownership and the right of return to the land by everyone, therefore Asa Kasher should support returning, say, the lands of the Arab village of Sheikh Munis, where the campus of Tel Aviv University stands today. Levy added an enormous bunch of superlatives and adjectives about Israeli cruelty and sulfur bombs and dead Arab babies, but the gist was the Arabs’ right to much of 1948 Israel.

        Prof. Kasher responded on Sunday morning, again on his Facebook page, saying he did not claim he owned the rights to Gush Etzion junction, only that his grandfather did. And he also argued he had said nothing about the proper status of lands that had been purchased by Jews and abandoned because of Arab pogroms.

        “I only said that Gideon Levy is lying when he says that Gush Etzion junction used to belong to Arabs and was taken away from them by force.”

        It’s on that point, for that specific lie, that Gideon Levy should apologize. He made a mistake, he stepped with great pomp and pomp and circumstance on a painful wound in Israeli history, and for that he should be sorry. If shame is in the range of emotions which Ha’aretz pundits are capable of feeling.

      • Leslie Bravery March 10, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

        Buying plots of land doesn’t buy sovereignty or rights of racial superiority over the native population.

        No Zionist has ever been able to refute a single word written by Miko Peled (the son of an Israeli Army general) in “The General’s Son”, a personal account that reveals the true nature of political Zionism. Likewise, no Zionist can provide evidence to counter the truth presented by Anna Baltzer outlining her personal experiences in her book: ‘A Witness in Palestine’. Zionists never admit or discuss Israel’s gross violations of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Instead they try to divert the argument by changing the subject.

        At http://www.palestine.org.nz can be found the harrowing daily reports of Israeli Occupation malevolence and as this discussion develops I shall refer to it from time to time. Israel accuses critics of Zionism of anti-Semitism, is the Zionist state saying that Palestinian protest is anti-Semitic?

        The popular understanding of Israel is challenged in the following comment made in an interview with International Clearing House journalist, Silvia Cattori, on 11 January 2008, by Holocaust survivor, Hedy Epstein, whose parents perished at Auschwitz in 1942: “Israel would not be able to carry out its crimes against humanity without the United States, the world, permitting it to do so and the mass media, which, with few exceptions, dehumanises Palestinians and instils fear, ignorance and loathing of them and their culture.”

        Generally, there is a consensus between the news media and Western governments when commenting on Israel and it is through the filter of global corporate news outlets that most people gain information on world affairs. The interview shows that the World Zionist Organisation does not speak exclusively for all Jews, even though its strident voice is given such prominence on their behalf. The views of anti-Zionist Jews, both religious and secular, are seldom heard while Zionism vilifies its critics, including those who are Jewish, as ‘anti-Semitic’.

  16. Fred Skolnik March 11, 2016 at 12:23 am #

    Dear Leslie Bravery

    You are making categorical statements that are based on memoirs and polemical works and not on works of history or, I imagine, any personal experience or familiarity with the Middle East or the State of Israel. Israel’s claim to sovereignty was not based on buying plots of land but on the historical attachment of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, where its culture, language, religion and national consciousness were formed. Israelis do not consider themselves racially superior to Arabs but in fact as belonging to the same race and even refer to them as “the cousins” (benei ha-dodim). The conflict is not racial but national and to the extent that religion is linked to nationality (overwhelmingly so among the Arabs, much less so among Israelis), also religious.

    Two peoples made a claim to the same land. The UN offered a compromise. The Jews accepted it, the Arabs rejected it and attacked the State of Israel with the declared aim of destroying it.

    Azzam Pasha, the convivial Arab League Secretary-General, summed things up very clearly in Sept. 1947:

    “The Arab world is not in a compromising mood. It’s likely, Mr. Horowitz, that your [Jewish Agency] plan is rational and logical, but the fate of nations is not decided by rational logic. Nations never concede; they fight. You won’t get anything by peaceful means or compromise. You can, perhaps, get something, but only by the force of your arms. We shall try to defeat you. I am not sure we’ll succeed, but we’ll try. We were able to drive out the Crusaders, but on the other hand we lost Spain and Persia. It may be that we shall lose Palestine. But it’s too late to talk of peaceful solutions.”

    Refute that, and I’ll continue.

    • Leslie Bravery March 11, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

      Dear Fred Skolnik,

      Your response makes no attempt to refute a single word written by Miko Peled in “The General’s Son”, or the truth presented by Anna Baltzer in her book: ‘A Witness in Palestine’. Instead, there is an attempt to divert attention away from these works because they are too revealing of Zionist malevolence. It is to be hoped that this will actually arouse more interest in the evidence these two Jewish authors present! The Zionist political movement has always embodied the attitudes of European colonialism, not least because it was aware that it would depend upon the support of the colonialist powers to achieve its aims.

      The Zionist narrative is a distortion of history that is being used right now to perpetrate, with impunity, ethnic cleansing and the desecration of Holy places, both Christian and Muslim. To defend Zionism in practice is to defend night home invasions and the abduction, and terrorising, of children. Then there is the constant sabotage of Palestinian agriculture and economic endeavour. There is much, much more to be said concerning this but that can be dealt with later. In his book Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, Lenni Brenner comments that:

      “Zionism, . . . is an ideology, and its chronicles are to be examined with the same critical eye that readers should bring to the history of any political tendency. Zionism is not now, nor was it ever, co-extensive with either Judaism or the Jewish people. The vast majority of Hitler’s Jewish victims were not Zionists. It is equally true, as readers are invited to see for themselves, that the majority of the Jews of Poland, in particular, had repudiated Zionism on the eve of the Holocaust, that they abhorred the politics of Menachem Begin, in September 1939, one of the leaders of the self-styled ‘Zionist Revisionist’ movement in the Polish capital.”

      In a statement on 27 March 2008, the International Jewish Solidarity Network (IJSN) said that the Zionist project:

      “ . . . dishonours the persecution, displacement and genocide of European Jews by using their memory to justify and perpetuate European authoritarianism and colonialism. It is responsible for the extensive displacement and alienation of Mizrahi Jews (Jews of Sephardi, Asian and African descent) from indigenous identities, languages, histories, cultures and homelands and attempts to reduce all of our diverse cultural, religious, ethnic and racial identities to one of national identity.”

      • Fred Skolnik March 11, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

        Why should I refute unspecific references to the books you apparently live by? I see that your idea of presenting evidence is to quote an opinion by someone who is hostile to Zionism or the State of Israel. All you and they are saying is that Zionism is bad. I don’t see any facts in anything you have written. Not that it is relevant, but the Zionist movement was very active in Poland between the wars with flourishing youth movements, educational systems and sports organizations. It was a Jewish national movement that many Jews identified with, Other Jews identified with the Bund, the Communists and Agudat Israel. So what? Today most Jews support and identify with the State of Israel, regardless of where they live. What does that have to do with the Arab-Israel conflict?

        All of Israel’s security measures are aimed at preventing terrorist attacks. Rocks kill and children throw them. If children were to throw rocks at you or your family you would call the police and the police would arrest them. In the West Bank the army arrests them. They are arrested in the middle of the night not to terrorize anyone but to prevent riots in the villages and neighborhoods where they live, riots that can only cause the Palestinians more grief. Your take on Israeli ethnicity is superficial and not even yours. You are uncritically quoting a book that gives you what you want and are totally unequipped to verify or evaluate what you are quoting. How Israel works out its social problem is really none of your business. That too has nothing to do with the Arab-Israel conflict. This obsession with getting the dirt on Israel strikes me as neither healthy nor normal.

        No one is seeking to divert attention from anything. If you have something real or specific to say, as opposed to anti-Zionist rants, I will address it. Since we are talking about the Arab-Israel conflict, I would think its origins are relevant and would therefore like to see you address my own remarks in my previous comment.

      • Leslie Bravery March 12, 2016 at 7:50 pm #

        It is simply fatuous to say: “If children were to throw rocks at you or your family you would call the police and the police would arrest them. In the West Bank the army arrests them.” These have to be the words of a person living in an ideologically-induced fantasy world, cocooned from reality. The Israeli Army has no right to be in the West Bank and its presence there is a war crime.

        As schoolchildren growing up in London during the Second World War under Nazi bombing, we used to talk at playtime about what we would do to the Germans if they arrived in our home town. We certainly were not going to welcome them; we were so fortunate, they never came. Resistance to military invasion and Occupation is a natural reaction and a right that belongs to everyone.

        In 1942, two young Hungarian Jewish boys, Bela and Thomas Elek, managed to bomb the largest Nazi bookshop in Paris, the Rive Gauche. The youngest, Bela, only 12 years old, had drawn a plan of the shop’s interior and his elder brother, Thomas, made and planted the bomb. Resistance is natural and to be expected. Today, cellphone videos, small video cameras and even CCTV are catching Israeli soldiers and police in acts of callous brutality that they are now unable to pretend never happened. Many such videos ‘go viral’ on line.

        Body-armoured Israeli soldiers exercise an unrelenting and cowardly malevolence towards Palestinian children. There is no law under this brutal foreign military Occupation, other than the Israeli Army’s guns and boots. The children find it particularly distressing to see their parents humiliated in front of them during Israeli Army home invasions. Forced from their beds in the middle of the night, abused and traumatised minors, released after brutal interrogation recount their experiences to family and friends. Such horrors reinforce everyone’s desire to resist. This is something the ideologically-warped Zionist mind can never understand. During the Second World War German Occupation of France, Nazi propaganda tried to persuade the people that the French Resistance was made up solely of Jews and foreigners. It didn’t work. By D-Day the French civilian Resistance was estimated to be equal to five divisions of regular troops.

        The Palestinian people have the right to expect the so-called Security Council to live up to its name. Israel must be restrained and BDS has set a non-violent example and alternative to violent resistance that is supported by most of humanity. Sanctions should be imposed upon the Zionist state and Israel forced to understand that it faces suspension and ultimate expulsion if it fails to respect the Fourth Geneva Convention.

      • Richard Falk March 11, 2016 at 7:21 pm #

        I agree with your reasoning..and thank you for refuting the specious defenses of Zionist and Israeli
        arguments..

      • Leslie Bravery March 11, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

        Thanks Richard – just witnessing for truth. Silence would amount to complicity.

      • Richard Falk March 13, 2016 at 5:15 am #

        Leslie:

        Agreed. I appreciate your presence.

        Richard

      • Fred Skolnik March 11, 2016 at 9:29 pm #

        Dear Prof. Falk

        What reasoning? Quoting other people’s assertions or making your own unfounded assertions does not qualify as “reasoning.” I note that you don’t mention “facts” and I understand why. Leslie thinks that Miko Peled is full of such facts and that not a single one of them has ever been refuted, so I invite her to present, say, five such Miko facts and I will gladly address them.

        I would also appreciate it if you would explain what precisely is “constructive” about all this hate-filled venom being directed against Israel, Jews and Zionists. Your protege ray has even gone back to the Nazi business.

        And what exactly is specious about saying that “Two peoples made a claim to the same land. The UN offered a compromise. The Jews accepted it, the Arabs rejected it and attacked the State of Israel with the declared aim of destroying it”; or that “Israel’s claim to sovereignty was not based on buying plots of land but on the historical attachment of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, where its culture, language, religion and national consciousness were formed.”

      • Richard Falk March 13, 2016 at 5:18 am #

        Yours is ‘the hate-filled venom,’ and it seems to me worse, because you seem completely unaware
        of and insensitive to your biases and their connection to daily criminality of Israel’s policies and practices,
        including collective punishment, blockade, excessive force, on and on.

      • Fred Skolnik March 12, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

        Dear Leslie

        The presence of the Israeli army in the West Bank is not a war crime. It is a military occupation. Military occupations are legal in the wake of war. The British responded to the German bombardment of London in precisely the same way that Israel responded to the Jordanian bombardment of Jerusalem and occupied Germany after their war in the same way that Israel occupied the West Bank.

        Rocks kill and whoever throws them is going to be arrested. The body armor is irrelevant. Women and infants in cars do not wear body armor.

      • Leslie Bravery March 13, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

        Dear Fred,
        Countering Zionist propaganda is well worth the effort because it will be seen by the vast majority of people whose minds are free of psychotic, ideologically-induced racism. The growing success of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) attests to that – G4S says it will exit Israeli market and Ahava has just announced it is about to quit the Occupied West Bank.

        International law forbids occupying powers from settling their citizens in Occupied territory. It is interesting to note that, while Israel’s security and ‘right to exist’ are foremost in the one-sided undiplomatic language of the Zionist state’s supporters, security for Palestinians is never mentioned. Likewise, the right of Palestinians to defend themselves against Israeli violence is never recognised. In the language of great-power politics, Israeli air raids, house demolitions, home invasions, vandalism and economic sabotage are never described as violent. The recognition in international law of a population’s right to resist ‘belligerent Occupation’ is thus swept out of sight as Israel’s friends tell Palestinians that they must ‘end the violence’.

        Perhaps the most stark monument to Israel’s military Occupation of the West Bank is the eight-metre-high Wall being built, not along the Green Line but on Palestinian land. The soulless concrete Wall and menacing sniper towers carve their tortuous route round Palestinian population centres, deliberately isolating them both from their farmland and each other. Israel calls its Wall a ‘separation barrier’. Palestinians would agree with that – it separates Palestinians from each other. Access to health services, employment and even the choice of a spouse are now determined by this ugly Israeli intrusion into their lives. Some people have already been forced to abandon their land to Israel and many more are agonisingly awaiting an uncertain future. Palestinians often don’t even know on which side of the Wall they will live or whether they are to be expelled. In the documentary section of his DVD, The Ramallah Concert, Israeli conductor, Daniel Barenboim, accompanied by a guide, watches the building of Israel’s Wall. “Which side is Palestine?”, asks Barenboim – the guide answers – “both sides.” In its July 2004 ruling, the International Court of Justice (World Court) at The Hague, held that construction of Israel’s Wall is “contrary to international law,” in part because it “destroyed and confiscated” property, it greatly restricts Palestinian movement and it “severely impedes the exercise by the Palestinian people of [the] right to self-determination”.

      • falkuncensored March 14, 2016 at 11:09 am #

        even if one thing you said were true (none of course), you and your colleagues still refuse to explain why the “Palestinians” refuse to negotiate for peace. Go figure.

      • Leslie Bravery March 14, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

        Well, you have set a trap for yourself there haven’t you? So thank you for the opportunity to put the record straight.

        First of all, the object of ‘negotiations’ with the Palestinians while they are under military Occupation is to extort an outcome, under duress, favourable to Israel. In civil law, any contract or agreement arrived at under such conditions would be considered unenforceable. The very first requirements for peace are an end to the Occupation by Israel and the removal of all Jewish settlements that are defined, under international law, as illegal.

        What’s to negotiate anyway? The Zionist regime, which views indigenous native populations as infiltrators, is obviously never going to voluntarily give up land that it has annexed. On 29 November 2015, Netanyahu declared that there are no plans to deliver any land from West Bank Area C to Palestinians. In a meeting for Likud ministers, he stressed that there will be no transfer of land to the Palestinian Authority, “not 40 thousand dunams, not 10 thousand, not one metre.” How diplomatic is that?

        The special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Makarim Wibisono, in his final report to the Human Rights Council noted that the Palestinian Government had co-operated fully with the Council, he said that Israel had obstructed his efforts to fulfil his mandate “every step of the way”. Last year, Mr Wibisono called upon Israel to investigate and make its findings public with regard to the killing of more than 2,000 Palestinian civilians, one-third of them children, during the Zionist state’s blitz on Gaza in 2014. Israel’s utter inhumanity towards the people of Gaza has lately been demonstrated, once again, with the commencement of the annual cutting of gas supplies at the coldest time of the year.

        In announcing his resignation, Makarim Wibisono expressed the hope that “whoever succeeds me will manage to resolve the current impasse, and so reassure the Palestinian people that after nearly half a century of Occupation the world has not forgotten their plight.” The special rapporteur also voiced his “deep concern at the lack of effective protection of Palestinian victims, of continuing human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law”.

        For eighteen months Israel continued to ignore Wibisono’s repeated oral and written requests for access to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel’s refusal to honour its pledge to grant access is further evidence of Zionism’s contempt for Palestinian human rights and the international community. The sad truth is, that Israel has been pandered to for far too long and its intransigence has been strengthened by the international community’s failure to bring Israel to account.

        Zionist websites never mention Palestine, neither do they ever acknowledge the UN-recognised Right of Return to their homeland of ethnically-cleansed Palestinians. The only so-called ‘right of return’ that Zionists recognise is that claimed by the Zionist movement for Jewish people worldwide, who have no roots or former connection to Palestine.

        Exchange of views with a Zionist

        A letter to the Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa New Zealand (PHRC) from a Zionist, criticising our daily newsletter In Occupied Palestine, raises many points commonly made in favour of Israel. Here they are, with the PHRC’s responses:

        Zionist:

        The Right of Return is a necessary part of preserving world Jewry. For centuries, non-Jewish officials of governmental organisations had persecuted Jews, and one had even tried to systematically exterminate all of them while a number of other countries were unconcerned with the issue. This demonstrated that non-Jewish governments were incapable or unwilling to protect Jews. Now there is a Jewish state, which exists to protect its citizens, many of whom are Jews. Part of this protection involves allowing them to return. It can do so at its discretion, since the government holds the prerogative to do so.

        PHRC:

        The colonisation of Palestine by Europeans is in no way ‘a return’ and most Jewish people do not choose to live in Israel. Many religious Jews find the idea of a ‘Jewish state’ to be deeply irreligious and racist. Israel’s conduct, far from protecting Jews, actually strengthens anti-semitism. Before Israel existed, in Eastern Europe, Russia, Britain and the US, Zionism’s adherents held themselves aloof from broad working-class efforts to defend Jewish communities, claiming that anti-semitism is inevitable and eternal.

        Zionist:

        Israel in fact granted citizenship to the Arabs that fell within its territory. Now that it has citizens, it needs to protect them. New Zealanders were not in fact “unified” regarding South Africa. Racism in Palestine can be better attributed to groups like Hamas, which has the stated aim of pushing all the Jews into the sea.

        PHRC:

        Palestinians were given no say over their future and simply found themselves Occupied, against their expressed wishes, by a foreign power. Israel was an ally of Apartheid South Africa and, to this day, still does not have such a thing as Israeli citizenship, pure and simple; that is defined by ethnicity. Israel initially nurtured and encouraged Hamas, in the hope of promoting internal conflict so as to reduce the effectiveness of secular Palestinian Resistance movements, such as Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organisation. But in 2006 Hamas won a majority in the election for the Palestinian Authority. The Hamas Charter does call for an Islamic religious state in all of historic Palestine but, over time, the movement’s platform has seen moderation. Hamas has, for years, actually accommodated Israel to the extent of agreeing to negotiate a peaceful two-state solution, dependent upon Israel ending the Occupation and withdrawing fully to its pre-1967 borders. Hamas, in fact, says it will recognise the right of Israel to exist when Israel recognises the right of a Palestinian state to exist. Regardless, the Government of Israel continues both to annex the Jordan Valley and drive its Annexation Wall along its intended course. Hamas represents a people that needs a homeland free from racial discrimination, the only possible hope for a peaceful future for all who live in Palestine/Israel.

        Zionist:

        The struggle for human rights is clouded by other things, such as suicide bombing by groups that want to remove all the Jews. The democratic Palestinian leadership does not seem to be able to control such groups and so protect Israeli civilians, so another group that is more able to do that job is in fact doing the job. That group is the IDF.

        PHRC:

        Suicide-bombing of civilians is one of the symptoms of despair caused by injustice and the perception that some Palestinians have of abandonment and betrayal by the world community. The so-called IDF violently oversees the daily existence of Palestinians in their own land and is complicit in the destruction of Palestinian olive trees and crops by illegal Israeli settlers. How would Israelis react to having their homes invaded at night, their children abducted and military posts set up on the roofs of their houses? Nothing can justify Israel’s brutal annexation of Palestinian territory, nor the wanton destruction and continuing blockade of Gaza.

        Zionist:

        The Nazis were an aggressive and brutal occupying force, whereas Israel is a democratic country, open to negotiation (it has in fact complied with many of the points on the road map) and only acts coercively in self-defence. Unfortunately, it is often forced to act in such a way by circumstances outside of its control.

        PHRC:

        *See below, our response to “Israel is open to co-operation whereas the Nazis were only responsive to war”.

        Zionist:

        After WW2, Britain got out of Palestine at about the same time that another state declared its independence. Since then, Israel has done a remarkable job of defending its citizens and keeping its enemies at bay. These enemies of course were not of its own choosing.

        PHRC:

        By Occupying Palestine, the Zionists certainly did, tragically, make a choice. Furthermore they did so without regard for the cost to humanity. On 3 January this year a Palestinian Israeli and another Palestinian passenger with Israeli residency were forced off an Aegean Airlines flight from Athens to Tel Aviv when Jewish Israelis objected to their presence on the aircraft. The first report of the racist outrage appeared in the American newspaper The Jewish Press. Israel Radio and other Western news media also covered the story. According to the airline, a growing number of Jewish passengers “very vocally and persistently” demanded that the pair be removed from the aircraft. The whole episode lasted 90 minutes. As is very often the case with Western diplomacy, so it was also with the Greek airline, the Zionists were accommodated and the rights of the Palestinians denied. The airline did, however, eventually thank the pair for their “understanding and collaboration”. Zionism, the last of the twentieth century’s state-sponsored racist ideologies, continues to threaten international peace and stability. The diaries of Zionism’s founder, Theodor Herzl, reveal a deeply racist and elitist mentality.

        Zionist:

        *Israel is open to co-operation whereas the Nazis were only responsive to war.

        PHRC:

        As Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion said:

        “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”
        (Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp. 121-122)

        Here, in a nutshell, is what the Palestinians are faced with. Israel refuses to admit to any defined limitation of its borders. Neither does the so-called Jewish state observe any international agreement, Geneva Convention or UN Resolution it does not like. Anything Israel may have agreed to has been for the sake of expediency, to be repudiated at any time convenient to Israel. The object of ‘negotiations’ with the Palestinians while they are under military Occupation is to extort an outcome, under duress, favourable to Israel. In civil law, any contract or agreement arrived at under such conditions would be considered unenforceable. The very first requirements for peace are an end to the Occupation by Israel and the removal of all Jewish settlements that are defined, under international law, as illegal.

        Contradictions

        Although Israel publicly claims legitimacy arising from the UNGA Partition Plan of 1947 (Non-binding Resolution 181), for the Zionists this was not nearly enough to meet their real agenda and territorial ambitions. The sixth prime minister of Israel, and erstwhile terrorist leader, Menachem Begin, said of the partition plan: “The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognised …. Jerusalem was and will forever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for Ever.” Iron Wall, p. 25 & Simha Flapan, p. 32. Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion (another leader with a terrorism record) put it this way: “No Zionist can forgo the smallest portion of the Land Of Israel.” In a written letter he made it absolutely clear that, for Zionists, “A Jewish state must be established immediately, even if it is only in part of the country. The rest will follow in the course of time.”

        Negotiation with Zionism is appeasement

        Hope for successful negotiation presupposes trust, founded upon goodwill and honesty. No process of negotiation can be legitimate if its aim is to subvert the requirements of justice. Compromise is the very essence of negotiation but to be valid it must be justifiable. The irrational, racist and duplicitous ideology of Zionism is manifestly unjustifiable. Therefore, it follows that negotiation with its proponents can have no positive result for human rights, peace and stability. Zionism’s manic preoccupation with ethnicity is manifested daily with ever-expanding Jewish-only Occupation settlements. Palestinians living under belligerent military Occupation suffer constant economic and agricultural sabotage and many other intolerable inhumanities, including night and day invasions of their homes. The sole reason for all this cruelty is the Zionist drive towards the final goal of Eretz Israel in the whole of the land of Palestine. What could there possibly be to negotiate?

        As Miko Peled, the ex-Israeli Army officer and son of a Zionist General, said in a recent article regarding:

        Israel’s Occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank

        “Get the hell out of Palestinian towns, villages and neighbourhoods. And, dismantle the wall and all the checkpoints on your way out.”

        and:

        Rockets from Gaza

        “Lift the siege on Gaza, dismantle the wall and checkpoints there, and allow the people in Gaza the freedom they deserve.”

        Brought up as a Zionist, he intelligently enquired further and discovered for himself the terrible consequences of the imposition of Zionist ideology. He also wrote that Israel should “free all Palestinian prisoners, repeal all the laws that give Jewish people exclusive rights in Palestine, repeal the law that prohibits Palestinians from returning to their land and allocate the billions of dollars that will be needed for paying reparations to the refugees and their descendants.” He went on to say that, “Israel is to call for free, one-person one-vote elections where all people who live in mandatory Palestine vote as equals.”

        Israel’s Gaza blockade and periodic aerial devastation

        Israel makes much of its so-called withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. An Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, once said the settlement of Netsarim in the south Gaza Strip was as dear to him as Tel Aviv. Israel’s unilateral withdrawal of the settlement is evidence that Israel’s claims to Palestinian land are, and always have been, a matter of territorial ambition and expedience. The evacuation was also a de facto admission that all the death, destruction and colonisation by settlement visited upon the Palestinian people in Gaza was never necessary or justifiable. It is astonishing that the world does not seem to have yet recognised that. What applies to the Israeli presence in Gaza applies equally to the rest of Occupied Palestine. The precedent that was set by the withdrawal from Gaza should encourage the world community to insist on Israel’s full compliance with all its obligations under international law.

        Palestinian children under Israeli military rule

        On 6 January this year, the UK Parliament held a non-legislative debate on ‘Child prisoners and detainees in the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ (OPT) at Westminster Hall. The meeting heard a detailed summary of a damning UK Government Foreign and Commonwealth-funded independent lawyers’ report of 2012 on the abuse of children held in Israeli military custody. As far back as 2009 the UN Committee against Torture called for interrogations of children and adults by Israeli Occupation forces to be video-recorded. To date, Israel has refused to comply, no doubt for obvious reasons. The whole essence of the Occupation is discrimination, so for an Israeli child the maximum period of detention without access to a lawyer is 48 hours but for a Palestinian child it is 90 days.

        Duty and responsibility

        While everyone has the right to believe in and express their beliefs, there can be no justification for indulging the proponents of an ideology that tramples upon fundamental human rights and international law. Israel must be called to account; recent statements by Israel’s lawmakers, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, emphasise their collective intransigence.

      • falkuncensored March 14, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

        Richard,

        In order to answer to her diatribe I need to invest 2 hours of my time.
        Are you going to allow it or delete it?

        Let me know in advance of my effort.

      • Richard Falk March 14, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

        Aaron:

        It will be only deleted if personally abusive. It is not a diatribe. It is a sharply
        critical assessment.

        I am not happy that you chose to name your blog ‘falkuncensored.’ I moderate in the interest
        of civility, and have always been receptive to defenses of Israel if phrased as arguments, and
        do not insult the critic directly or indirectly.

      • falkuncensored March 15, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

        “I am not happy that you chose to name your blog ‘falkuncensored.’ I moderate in the interest of civility, and have always been receptive to defenses of Israel if phrased as arguments, and do not insult the critic directly or indirectly.”

        So Richard, what alternative do you propose?
        All your moderating is clearly geared to steer opinion to agree with as much of yours as possible. I also have an opinion. But in my blog free speech applies, something you and most of your lefty BDS supporters don’t believe in. You have clearly gone beyond the issue of “civility”.

        Here in Canada I just launched a campaign to stop a Roger Waters concert because of his BDS support. I can assure you that any discussion about it on my blog will only be filtered for insults and vulgarities, nothing more.

        I will be in your town this spring. Let me know if you want to get together on some neutral ground for a coffee.

      • Fred Skolnik March 14, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

        Leslie

        You are not putting the record straight. You are falsifying it. Wibisono was “obstructed” because he proclaimed Israel’s guilt before he began his investigation. Everyone who is sincerely interested in a resolution of the conflict understands what the contours of a settlement will look like. Unfortunately, the entrenchment of Hamas makes a settlement less likely now than ever before. Israel’s nightmare scenario is that Hamas would quickly overrun any Palestine state and set up its rocket launchers 15 yards from Jewish Jerusalem. That is never going to happen and the sooner you realize this the sooner you will stop wasting your time working up “arguments” that aren’t going to help the Palestinians one bit. Your basic supposition is that Israel should not have been established. Well, the Arabs do not own the Middle East. They conquered it. The Jewish claim to a piece of the Land of Israel was and is no less valid than theirs. The world agreed. The Arabs and people like yourself didn’t. The Arabs chose war and paid the price. The security measures are there to prevent acts of terrorism and will continue to be in place until the Palestinians renounce terrorism and dismantle the terrorist organizations. The quotes from Ben-Gurion I have replied to. I can see that they are in everyone’s drawer, though the quotes that aren’t to your liking you quietly put through the shredder. In fact I have replied to all your assertions so I invite you to go back and read them when you finish reading my reply to your water myth.

    • Laurie Knightly March 11, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

      Leslie;

      Fred forgot to mention [again] that this was said in a Cairo press conference concerning the 1947 UN recommended partition of Palestine. The preceding sentence reads ” Personally, I hope the Jews do not force us into this war because it will be a war of elimination and it will be a dangerous massacre which history will record similarly to the Mongol massacre or the war of the Crusades. I think the number of volunteers from outside Palestine will exceed the Palestinian population.” The propaganda folk also changed the date of the quote to 1948. Even more disgusting is that the Palestinians are slandered for resisting their foreign takeover. How inconsiderate of them!

      Also, claimed here is that if you feel an historical, religious, cultural attachment to a land, you have a valid claim – albeit thousands of years past and your identity understandably vague. The Jews involved seem to be quite sure that they slaughtered every last Canaanite and that God didn’t mean to exile them – maybe Fred thinks he’s the awaited Messiah. This is the work of an encyclopedic mind. Very impressive.

      According to Ira, the date/context of quotes is not important. Also, that Israel has made some mistakes. Wonder what those could be….

      Whatever injustice has been done to the Palestinians, however, it was a UK/US/UN design and implementation. They all put their mouths where the money was/is. Regardless of public comment, the deals were made in executive session. And they still are…….

      So thanks, Leslie……..

      • Fred Skolnik March 11, 2016 at 9:13 pm #

        Poor deluded Laurie

        Look again. The date that Fred didn’t forget to mention is Sept. 1947. (And the part that Fred “left out” is even worse than the part that Fred put in. Mongols! That is precisely it, isn’t it?) The whole point is that the remark was made before there was a single refugee. The point is that the Arab invasion was not made on behalf of the Palestinians, who thought of themselves as Arabs living in Greater or Southern Syria and had no other identity, but in the name of Allah (“Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Quran its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the cause of Allah its most sublime belief” – remember?). Running to Canaan or calling Jewish identity vague is not going to obviate the fact that the Arabs conquered the Middle East and that the Zionist movement has nothing to do with God or the Messiah. You can falsify Arab history or your own history as much as you like but try not to falsify Jewish history too.

      • Laurie Knightly March 12, 2016 at 9:40 am #

        Fred; Where did you cite that Azzam was referring to the Partition Plan? The context is vital. The date alone is not enough and could be meaningless or deceptive – even by a few days. I do agree, however, that there were plans and threats to prevent the takeover of Palestine by any other group – beginning on this issue with the Brits. Justifiably so. They had hopes and promises after being rid of the Turks and were defrauded. As the history of the Muslim world is monarchs, dictators, mullahs, tribal wars. caste etc, it’s totally lacking in role models – now or earlier. But I do not see how this is an entitlement to dispossess them of their lands – and oil.

        And can you differ without personal insults? Are you that insecure? The fact that many of us are not ‘deluded’ is what is making you so angry. Jews do not consider themselves racially superior to Arabs, you say? Perhaps a few do not but that’s doubtful. I hear that about the black/white issue in the US. Many who espouse this are most uncomfortable if they become subordinate to persons from a group heretofore considered inferior. Ready for the servant to become master? Or equal? Not hardly. Just like to see you doing better over there somewhere….Also gender and ingroup caste…. women were as reluctant to work for women as were men. And these all still issues – albeit vastly improved. This is not irrational; when a group gains power, they favor/promote their own or collaborators.

        As Freud noted – it’s the narcissism of minor differences. There’s always some kind of pecking order. If one cannot demean someone else, from where could one confirm status? Fortunately, there are some for whom justice is dominant. They face daunting odds.

      • Leslie Bravery March 12, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

        Well said Laurie, much appreciated.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

        Ms. Knightly:

        You write: According to Ira, the date/context of quotes is not important. Also, that Israel has made some mistakes. Wonder what those could be…. ”

        Where did I say that? To the contrary, I believe that context is very important. Indeed, the core issue presented by Prof. Falk’s narrative is that by omitting Palestinian wrongs, he de-contextualizes Israel’s response. For example, by reporting only that Israel fires rockets into Gaza without mentioning that these come in response to Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza, he portrays Israel’s action as being unprovoked, thus demonizing Israel.

        As far as what Israel’s mistakes may be, I’ve noted some of them on this blog and written and spoken of them extensively in other spaces.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Richard Falk March 14, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

        I have often written about the military interaction on the Gaza border. It is not correct, however, to
        accept the Israeli timeline. In the most momentous instance, back in November 2014, it was Israel that
        broke the ceasefire by attacking Gaza and killing six Palestinians, after which Gaza launched some rockets
        that did virtually no damage, but served as the pretext for the massive Israeli attack initiated at the
        end of December.

      • Leslie Bravery March 15, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

        Resistance is the reaction aggression. The majority of Palestinians in Gaza are refugees from other parts of Palestine. In addition the Israeli blockade of Gaza is a constant and inhuman act of aggression. There fore it is no surprise to see that Israel provokes resistance. The time-line for this year alone to 12 March says it all. An Israeli air strike on 12 March caused the deaths of a 10-year-old Palestinian boy and his six-year-old sister, according to medical officials. The boy was identified as Yassin Abu Khoseh. His sister Issra died in hospital later. Medics said the pair were hit by fragments from a missile fired by Israeli aircraft. The children’s brother Ayyoub (13) suffered moderate injuries in the air strike. The children’s father said that he was asleep when their home was hit and awakened by the blast, rushed to see if the children had been hurt. “My boy was killed instantly, drowning in his own blood; my daughter was very seriously injured.” His other son said that when he looked at his brother and sister, he found them bleeding heavily from injuries to their heads and various parts of their bodies. The Israeli attack was in response to rockets fired from Gaza that landed harmlessly in open areas in southern Israel, causing no deaths or injuries. The missiles fired from Gaza were themselves a response to over 240 ceasefire violations by Israel since the first of January this year. Israel does its utmost to provoke missile launchings from Gaza. Just this year alone from 1 January to 10 March, there have been three Palestinian Gaza ceasefire violations. All were directed at Israeli blockade-enforcing military, taking place on 23 January, and 2 and 7 March. Over the same period, there have been more than 240 Israeli ceasefire violations aimed at civilian targets, mostly farmers and fishing boats. As a result of Israeli aggression in Gaza there have been so far this year, six Palestinian deaths, including three children. Fifty-three Palestinians have been wounded and, in addition, Israel has carried out five hijackings of Palestinian fishing boats. http://www.palestine.org.nz
        http://www.euronews.com/2016/03/12/two-palestinian-children-in-gaza-killed-by-israeli-airstrike/

      • Fred Skolnik March 14, 2016 at 11:10 pm #

        I think, Prof Falk, you mean “July 14” (2014) (and not November 2014), which was the date of the first ceasefire, which Hamas rejected, because it “had not been consulted.” Hamas fired over 60 rockets at Israel in June and 250 in the first days of July, including 80 on July 7, when Israel responded for the first time. You are creating a fictitious timeline that conveniently overlooks anything that spoils your argument. Your idea that thousands of rockets fired at civilian population centers are somehow a trivial matter because “they do little damage” comes right out of the theater of the absurd.

  17. Laurie Knightly March 11, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    As I have unsubscribed to the blog, this is my only check in regarding its projected management policy and it appears that it will continue hosting proponents of the eradication of Palestinians – considered by zionists to be non existent/expendable as a sovereign people. Also, those of us who acknowledge the rights of Palestinians are disparaged in a variety of terms including thinly disguised euphemisms like ‘admirers’ meaning too ignorant to possess our own opinions but judged dismissively as mindless groupies of a sort.

    Recently, Israel has announced a $26 million cyberattack on the BDS Movement and any other located criticisms of Israel on whatever platform where it appears. Huge amounts of funding have already been distributed in behalf of this objective. The massive resources allocated to this particular sabotage are described on Alternet by Susan Lazare on Feb 22, 2016. This is a very important disclosure and suggests some small progress must be occurring.

    The problems on this blog are classic in design and the purpose is glaringly obvious. Wreck the blog. Wading thru and clearing the garbage is not worth the effort. In the case of lectures, call in broadcasts, letter to the editor etc, the speaker does not let lies, distortions, insults, disruptions, irrelevancies etc go unchallenged/deleted. The endless repetitions here make it too tedious and futile, however, to retain an open forum. Very good, nonetheless, to note some new voices like Farouk Asvat and American200. Farouk has that ‘balance’ in his work that has been so longed for by Richard’s detractors.

    To the peddlers of religious diatribes, I say that you have a very different agenda than the one attempted here and are not helping the cause. If Richard wants to host you and other persons of devious intent, so be it.

    And to Ira, Harvey, Aaron and Fred, I say:

    Falk you!

    • Laurie Knightly March 11, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

      I have immediately contacted the doomsday preppers so that I might survive in the devastated US trying to somehow survive without subsidized Israeli imports. We could not possibly exist being so backward, uneducated and primitive a country.

    • Fred Skolnik March 12, 2016 at 10:42 pm #

      I see that Prof. Falk deleted my reply to you with regard to the BDS movement. I said, “Falk you too, Laurie,” but it couldn’t be that, since you used the same expression. I also said that Israel has every right to fight against a movement that is trying to undermine its economic and academic life. That seems a polite enough remark, so it can’t be that either. I then pointed to the element of hypocricy in the BDS movement, because all of its supporters utilize products that incorporate Israeli technology and medical research, including computers, mobile phones, voice mail, ebooks, Facebook, antiviruses, the Internet and medications and medical procedures for almost every major disease. Is that what Prof. Falk does not wish to be reminded of?

      • Richard Falk March 13, 2016 at 5:13 am #

        Laurie’s ‘Falk you too’ was not welcome, but it came at the end of a valuable substantive
        comment, and I let it stand. Yours, as usual, came with little content beyond insult and
        dogma.

    • Fred Skolnik March 12, 2016 at 11:09 pm #

      As for the insults, anyone who talks about Jewish plans “for the destruction of others and religious/ethnic triumph of themselves.” which comes right out of Mein Kampf, deserves to be insulted, at every opportunity, because such a creature is placing himself beyond the pale, and I hope Prof. Falk agrees with me and will not try to protect you by deleting this remark but face up to the fact that his blog has become a magnet for the most despicable expressions of Jew hatred,

      • Richard Falk March 13, 2016 at 5:11 am #

        It has also become a magnet for people like yourself who seem ideologically one-eyed, and add nothing to what
        I have been calling a ‘constructive conversation.’ On most issues, the Israeli position has become so substantively
        weak, that Zionist ‘true believers’ either have gone silent or have recourse to insults intended to defame critics.

    • Gene Schulman March 13, 2016 at 3:01 am #

      It is too bad that, if I understand her correctly, Laurie has decided to unsubscribe to this blog. Her’s has been one of the essential voices in combating the hasbara nonsense that has prevailed here since I began listening in. I, myself, have considered dropping out, because discussions with the likes of the hasbarists who appear here only to smear Richard, are like talking at the proverbial Wall. Useless, useless, useless! The only thing that makes me hesitate, is that by dropping out (or unsubscribing) leaves the field open to these Zionist rabble-rousers. And that would count as a victory for them. We must stay and counter their lies and propaganda. I welcome a name I had not encountered here before – Leslie Bravery! The name fits the cause.

      • Ben March 13, 2016 at 4:14 am #

        “The presence of the Israeli army in the West Bank is not a war crime. It is a military occupation. Military occupations are legal in the wake of war. The British responded to the German bombardment of London in precisely the same way that Israel responded to the Jordanian bombardment of Jerusalem and occupied Germany after their war in the same way that Israel occupied the West Bank.”

        Fred, if this is your justification for the illegal occupation of the West Bank, then you have a justification for everything and no matter what anyone says, you will have a justification for it. And that suggests that you are more than a little one sided and not really worth arguing with.

      • Richard Falk March 13, 2016 at 5:05 am #

        I agree with this assessment of Fred’s comments that strain for arguments that support
        whatever Israel does, however criminal or contrary to international law.

      • Mike 71 March 13, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

        Richard,

        The post-war occupations of defeated aggressors are a long accepted aspect of International Law, dating from Roman Law. In this instance, Israel, as the victorious belligerent of the 1967 “Six Day War,” may retain captured lands, until possession is modified by peace treaty. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uti_possidetis

        Just as the Post-World War II occupations of the Axis Powers ended with peace treaties ending the state of belligerency, when the Palestinians are willing and ready to end this occupation by negotiation and end to the state of belligerency, as provided by UNSCR 242,
        they will do so. Until then, the State of Israel, which remains under siege by Palestinian terrorists deliberately targeting civilians in violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, may take appropriate and necessary defensive measures under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, recognizing an “inherent right to individual, or collective self-defense.”

      • Leslie Bravery March 13, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

        Every area of Israeli-Occupied Palestinian territory experiences arbitrary restrictions of movement imposed by the Israeli Army. This lack of freedom of movement is the frustrating and humiliating background to daily life for the Palestinian people, whose suffering includes a variety of human rights abuses, from night home invasions to wanton acts of agricultural and economic sabotage. The Israeli Occupation Army enforces a permit system for the benefit of settlers that determines where Palestinians may live in their own land.

        Water

        A major aquifer under the West Bank is controlled by Israel and from it the occupying power illegally plunders two-thirds of the precious water. Across the Occupied West Bank, Israel’s illegal settlements have completely free access to water. Settler homes enjoy full swimming pools and well-watered gardens, while Palestinian access to their own water is severely restricted. Israel compounds this crime in two ways: The Zionist state forces Palestinians to pay the Israeli government public water supply company Mekorot for what little water they are allowed and, at the same time, Israel forbids Palestinians to sink wells or even build water storage facilities. Palestinians living under Israeli occupation are restricted to about 70 litres a day per person – well below the 100 litres per capita daily recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – whereas Israeli daily per capita consumption, at about 300 litres, is about four times as much. In some rural communities Palestinians survive on far less than even the average 70 litres, in some cases barely 20 litres per day, the minimum amount recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for emergency situations response.

        In addition, reports by both the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme show that the water crisis in Gaza is likely to be critical and irreversible by 2020. The reports show that Gaza is almost completely dependent on a coastal aquifer that has now become filled with undrinkable sea water. Both international bodies express concern that Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip means severe limitations on people’s access to essential water supplies.

        One example of the water discrimination faced by Palestinians is the plight of Furush Beit Dajan villagers in the Jordan Valley. A visit by a delegation that included two British MPs in January 2015, co-ordinated by EWASH member Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC), heard how the Israeli occupation was choking the community’s access to water. Israeli settlements surrounding the village faced no restrictions on access to water resources while Palestinians are only allowed to extract water from wells down to a depth of 80m. Palestinian farmers are unable to obtain the quantity or quality of water necessary to effectively irrigate their crops. Following the Occupation of the West Bank in 1967 the Israeli Army seized all the agricultural land in the area and Palestinian farmers are forced into renting their own land back from the Israelis.

        *Restrictions of movement

        Israel places checkpoints at the entrances to towns and villages to prevent people from entering or leaving. Interference with people attempting to move around towns and villages consists of blocking roads with concrete blocks, barbed-wire and/or earth mounds. People attempting to transport farm produce and other goods find obstacles placed on the roads by the Israeli Army. Trucks have to be unloaded by hand and similarly re-loaded onto vehicles brought from beyond the obstructions. Road closures are used to isolate areas wherever the Israeli Army considers the presence of Palestinians to be ‘illegal’. When the Israeli Army declares a curfew, anyone appearing in the street or at a window is liable to be shot dead. There are instances of Palestinian mothers giving birth at checkpoints, having been denied ready access to hospital. In some cases mothers have died as a result of Israeli Army indifference. *Restrictions of movement comprise: Closures of checkpoints – Flying checkpoints – Closures (per district) – Closures of main roads – Closures of crossings.

        Agricultural and economic sabotage

        Both the Israeli Army and illegal (according to international law) settlers terrorise Palestinian farmers, often preventing them from working their land, as well as frequently uprooting or setting fire to Palestinian olive trees and bulldozing their crops. The United Nations (UN Security Council Resolution 465) has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel’s construction of settlements constitutes violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The International Court of Justice (see also summary) says these settlements are illegal and no foreign governments support Israel’s settlements. The aim of the settlements is both to take land and resources from the local people and to bring pressure to bear on them to leave. On 21 January 2015, the newspaper Falesteen reported that the Israeli Occupation settlement of Kiryat Arba in Hebron had demanded the equivalent of US$22,359 in property ‘taxes’ from a Palestinian farmer, Al-Ja’bari, for his nearby house and farmland.

        The Gaza fishing industry

        The Gaza fishing industry is being crippled by the enforcement of a draconian fishing limit. The Israel Navy forces Palestinian fishing boats to remain within a three-nautical-mile, over-fished zone, sometimes at the cost to crews of life, limb and property. Gaza City’s ruined international airport is permanently closed. Palestinians needing to enter or leave Palestine can do so only with Israeli permission. In addition to Israel’s occasional massive bombing raids, Gaza residents are forced to live with the constant fear of overflying drones and the traumatising effects of sonic booms created by Israeli war planes. The effects on the children of Gaza are particularly distressing.

        House demolitions and evictions

        The Israeli Army routinely destroys Palestinian houses built without Israel’s permission. Since the beginning of 2015, the Israeli Occupation has demolished 77 homes, livestock shelters, farm buildings and other structures in Area C of the West Bank, resulting in 110 people, around half of them children, losing their homes at the height of the winter, according to a report compiled by the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). OCHA also reported that between 19 and 26 January, Israel had already demolished 41 structures, far higher than the weekly average in 2014 of nine demolitions per week. In that seven-day period, the Israeli occupation delivered 45 ‘halt to construction’ orders and two demolition orders. In 2014, Israel demolished the homes of 969 Palestinians – a total of 493 homes and ancillary structures in Area C of the West Bank which, under the Oslo Accords, is under exclusive Israeli control. In East Jerusalem seven Palestinian buildings were demolished, including two on 29 January in the Jabal Mukkaber neighbourhood. Buildings were also torn down in Issawiya, Shuafat and Ras al-Amud. In East Jerusalem, 208 Palestinians were displaced in 2014 after Israel demolished 97 buildings. In 2014, according to OCHA figures, the Israeli occupation destroyed 590 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 1177 people. The 41 structures destroyed by Israel between 19 and 26 January, according to OCHA, were in Bedouin and other pastoral communities in Hebron, Jericho, Ramallah and Beit Iksa, north-west of Jerusalem. The destruction included buildings that had been donated by European humanitarian organisations. Construction stop orders were issued for a park funded by donor nations in the Yatta area and buildings in the Ramallah area and near Tubas, in the northern Jordan Valley.

        On 23 January 2015, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator, James W. Rawley, expressed his concern over the recent spate of Israeli Army demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. “In the past three days, 77 Palestinians, over half of them children, have been made homeless,” said Mr. Rawley. “Some of the demolished structures were provided by the international community to support vulnerable families. Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension. They must stop immediately,” he said.

        Discrimination

        Israel’s planning policies very much limit the ability of Palestinians to build in East Jerusalem, discriminating against them compared to Jews. In Area C – the majority of the West Bank – except in certain exceptional cases, Israel does not allow Palestinians construction levels to match natural population growth, and prevents hundreds of communities with some 300,000 Palestinian residents to connect to essential infrastructure and services (according to OCHA figures). Under this Israeli-imposed regime, Palestinians living in overcrowded housing and appalling conditions, are faced with the choice, either to move out to the Palestinian enclaves in Areas A and B or build homes without Israeli permits and face the consequences.

        Home invasions and abductions of children and other youngsters

        Israeli troops frequently invade Palestinian homes (often at dead of night) and abductions of Palestinian minors are commonplace. Israeli soldiers often vandalise the interiors of Palestinian homes being raided and frequently terrorise children and other minors with threats. Youngsters abducted by Israeli soldiers are often blindfolded and their wrists tied behind their backs. Many children are illegally taken to prison in Israel, where more terror is practised against them, such as solitary confinement and shackling in painful positions for long periods. The majority of these children are detained inside Israel in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

        This inhumane treatment of children prompted an Investigation and Report by UNICEF in February 2013. The report found that each year approximately 700 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17, mainly boys, are arrested, interrogated and held captive by Israeli army, police and security agents. The majority are charged with throwing stones, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment, or 20 years if thrown at a moving vehicle (six months maximum for a juvenile, 12-13 years). The usual process, as described in the UNICEF Report, is for the child to be aggressively awakened in the middle of the night by armed soldiers, and forcibly brought to an interrogation centre, tied and blindfolded, sleep-deprived and brought to a state of extreme fear. The transfer can take up to an entire day. Interrogation takes place in a police station (without a lawyer or family member present) using a mix of intimidation and threats. Child prisoners have been threatened with death, physical violence, solitary confinement and sexual assault, against themselves or a family member. Most children confess at the end of such interrogation. Some children have been held in solitary confinement, for a period ranging from two days up to one month before the court hearing. Children are generally brought before a military court in leg chains and shackles, wearing prison uniform. Most see their lawyers for the first time when they are brought to the court. UNICEF found that the practices described are in violation of international law.

        Israel’s toxic hazard weapon

        Israel has devised yet another technique designed to to drive Palestinians from their land and weaken their resolve to resist. It is a direct assault on their health that carries the menace of further agricultural and economic sabotage. For instance, activity at Israel’s Barkan industrial complex generates growing quantities of polluting waste-water from the production of plastics, lead and other commodities that endanger human health. Pollution from Barkan flows into the streams that run through valleys where there are Palestinian farms as well as towns. Israeli Occupation settlements discharge their untreated waste to add to the pollution. This poisons Palestinian land, crops, farm animals and essential, if meagre, water supplies. Settlers – with Israeli Army assistance – release wild pigs, that reproduce rapidly, into Palestinian areas, spoiling agriculture and damaging olive trees, fencing and small buildings. The pigs cannot be controlled because Israel will not allow the people to own or use firearms, or even knives, to kill the pigs. Poison cannot be used because of the danger to Palestinian farm animals.

        ‘Rubber bullets’

        The unqualified term ‘rubber bullets’ is misleading because it implies that ammunition is made solely of rubber. In fact there are two types of such bullets, both of which are made of steel with a minimal coating (1mm to 2mm) of either rubber or plastic. The medical journal The Lancet has published the results of medical examinations of victims wounded by rubber-coated steel bullets, coming to the conclusion that when firing this type of ammunition it is “impossible to avoid severe injuries to vulnerable body regions such as the head, neck and upper torso, leading to substantial mortality, morbidity and disability.”

        Tear gas – Israel’s daily violations of the CWC

        Israel has signed, but refuses to ratify, the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Tear gas riot control agents, including tear gas and pepper-spray, are banned in international warfare under both the 1925 Geneva Protocol and Article 1 of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. The CWC defines chemical weapons as “munitions and devices that are designed to cause death or other harm through toxic chemicals” that lead to “death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals.” According to the CWC, “riot control agents” are any chemicals, not specifically named in their list of prohibited chemicals, that can cause humans to suffer rapid “sensory irritation or disabling physical effects which disappear within a short time following termination of exposure.” Belligerent military occupation by a foreign power is an act of war and when the Israeli Army fires tear gas grenades at Palestinian villagers in their homes or at protesters it is violating the CWC; the more so when standard weapons of war, such as live fire, accompany the use of tear gas. Persons blinded by tear gas cannot avoid live fire, rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades or military vehicles and bulldozers. But that is the reality for Palestinians living under Israeli military Occupation.

        Israeli Army military exercises force Palestinians out of their homes

        An example of this practice is contained in an International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS) report on the Israeli Army’s terrorising of a Bedouin community in the Jordan Valley. The report tells of a continual programme of Israeli military training in the village of ‘Atuf that traumatises the population. Every week 22 families, amounting to 172 individuals, are displaced from their homes from 4am to 5pm by Israeli military live-fire exercises. Since 1967 Israeli troops have been forcing the Bedouin people to leave their houses each week. Whole families and their livestock are displaced to outlying fields to the sound of gunfire and explosions. The entire area is designated “Area C” and there is a ‘closed military zone’ where nothing is allowed to be built or improved. A whole valley of fertile farmland lies uncultivated while the nearby Occupation settlement of Beqa constantly expands. In both ‘Atuf and Tamun countless houses have been demolished by the Israeli Army and many more are under demolition orders. Since 1970, 14 people have been killed and 30 have lost limbs due to exploding abandoned Israeli Army ordnance. The explosives can be as small as a pen, easily mistaken by children as harmless. The continual sound of explosions and gunfire results in many cases of psychological trauma, especially to children, and the only school in the district is within earshot of the weekly Israeli military exercises.

        Ethnic discrimination

        In addition to all of the above, Palestinians citizens of Israel as well as those living under occupation have to contend with more than 50 discriminatory Israeli laws. These affect all areas of life, including rights to political participation, access to land, education, state budget resources and criminal procedures. Some of the laws also violate the rights of refugees.

        Israeli Army violence

        The Israeli Occupation Army enforces many of the above restrictions with the threat, or actual use, of military action as well as personal physical assault. Thus, daily life for Palestinians is conducted in an all-pervasive atmosphere of violence and fear.

        The Prawer Plan

        The Israeli Knesset approved a plan which has since been suspended for the mass expulsion of the Arab Bedouin community in the Naqab (Negev) Desert in the south of Israel. If fully implemented, the Prawer Plan would have resulted in the destruction of 35 ‘unrecognised’ Arab Bedouin villages with the forced displacement and dispossession of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel.

      • Fred Skolnik March 13, 2016 at 4:23 am #

        The occupation of the West Bank is not illegal and doesn’t have to be justified. Ocuupation is generally what you get when you lose a war.

      • Richard Falk March 13, 2016 at 5:04 am #

        To put it most gently, yours is a distinct minority viewpoint, admittedly argued by Israeli legalists.
        According to most objective international law experts, belligerent occupation is supposed and expected
        to be temporary, subject to Geneva 4, and in this case within the confines of unanimous
        Security Resolution 242 calling for Israeli withdrawal and non-acquisition of territory by use of force
        in war.

      • Richard Falk March 13, 2016 at 5:07 am #

        I, too, miss your presence, Laurie, and share Gene’s wish, and besides, learn from your comments.

      • Fred Skolnik March 13, 2016 at 5:12 am #

        Prof. Falk

        You are misrepresenting UN Resolurion 242, which states the following among other things:

        “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” (note that the word “the” before “territories” was removed in the final draft to enable the parties to negotiate final borders to replace the old armistice lines).

        “Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

        “Requests the Secretary General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution.”

        The resolution did not therefore envisage a unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops but a negotiated package that included “respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

        The Arab response, at Khartoum, was “no peace, no recognition, no negotiations.” The Palestinian response, leaving aside the terrorism, was, as enunciated by Hamas, the legal representatives of the Palestinians by virtue of their parliamentary victory, as we are occasionally reminded by you yourself: “Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Quran its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the cause of Allah its most sublime belief” (from the Charter).

  18. Laurie Knightly March 13, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    It would behoove us to clarify within this section some clearly understood rules for inclusion – and enforce them perhaps with a warning. Some of the more ‘polite’ opinions have no relevance and endless repetition as well as seemingly nicer insults and discrediting of fellow participants. How many times must Fred demean others, in slanderous terms, before being excluded form the list? Must one/two of us peruse his disparaging remarks and compile them in a list for consideration? Is there a pivotal number? How many charisms must Kata contribute before declaring enough? I’m stuck here till the flamers are deleted.

    Some notes:

    Removal of the word ‘the’ from Res 242 is one more example of very questionable intent. Or conversely, very obvious to many of us.

    The UK has issued many documents citing that a ‘home’ in Palestine for Jews did not mean all of Palestine. There is no reason, however, to believe that their leadership cared what happened to the indigenous population. The non Jewish provision, considered to be inserted by Montague, was controversial. An equal disregard of Arabs was cited by Truman. The UK could have clarified what a ‘home’ would/could mean. The Palestinians were entitled to a court hearing and almost exclusively have been denied due process.

    Fred: The word ‘racial’ is no longer limited to major divisions of humankind but includes cultural interventions, attitudes, and beliefs. Human intermingling has outmoded definite racial divisions. The UN cited Zionism as racism – till yielding to pressure. Maybe that’s why Israel has devised a means of tampering with DNA. Repeated many times on this blog and elsewhere, is that there could still not be a valid land claim for disparate populations/individuals thousands of years later. This claim is beyond ridiculous. Check Oxford English and Encyclopedia Britannica for definition of race. Also, wording such as ‘strong racial hostility between Jews and Arabs’ has been cited in legal textbooks.

    Fred also stated that the UN ‘offered’ – which it cannot do. The UN can recommend and it is not binding. Israel has had no reason, however, to believe that non compliance will cause them any problems. Who obeys UN Resolutions?

    As to the racial superiority question, much has been written concerning a Jewish genetic claim of superlative intellect over any and all. It appears to reference Ashkenazi Jews versus some control group of which I have inquired many times but not been given an answer. Again, considering the degree of ethnic and religious intermingling………

    Good to read that 300 members of the Society for Psychological Research have just opposed holding their annual meeting in Jerusalem for obvious reasons.

    Hamas was formed in 1987 and leaders met regularly with Rabin. Officials not affiliated with the PLO ware welcomed and encouraged. The blame starts there.

    My historical sources come primarily from Simha Flapan, The Birth of Israel, John Quigley, The Case For Palestine, Essays from Francis Boyle and papers from the International Progress Organization at meetings in Vienna. Israel on Record, Howard Friel/Richard Falk and much from Israel Shahak. Currently, a flooding of testimony from both Arab and Jewish organizations regarding the conflict. Groups like Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem et al have no qualms about speaking the truth.

    One can also easily discern who was there then and who is there now and easily note the ruthless destruction of Palestine.

    And a question: Did the PNC ever submit a formal approval document citing Israel’s existence as a ‘right’? Arafat’s correspondence does not qualify and I have not found the issue beyond a pending stage.

    • Fred Skolnik March 13, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

      All you seem to be saying here is that Israel should not exist. I disagree. And yes, that you read a great many polemical works by authors who share your views. As for the word racist, you are precisely right. Its meaning has been expanded, by people who recognize it as a very dirty word and wish to apply it to their enemies. No Jew has ever argued genetic superiority. Jews who think about these things have attributed Jewish intellectual achievements to the fact that the Jews are historically and culturally a book-oriented people. The UN cited Zionism as racism with very little pressure, I admit. As Abba Eban once remarked, if the Arabs wished to pass a resolution in the General Assembly decalaring that the earth is flat, they would have no trouble doing so,

  19. Fred Skolnik March 13, 2016 at 9:37 pm #

    Leslie

    I see that you have a readymade tearsheet to whip out on special occasions. I can oonly repeat that all Israeli security measures are aimed at preventing acts of terrorism aimed against Israel’ civilian population and are perfectly legitimate. In the case of water exploitation, since you are leading off with that, here is a different view, as summarized in the Jerusalem Post (you can rad the entire study via the link):

    It comes back again and again: The canard that Israel is denying West Bank Palestinians water rights negotiated under the Oslo Accords.

    Haaretz returns to the issue every once in a while with stories about water supply disruptions in the Palestinian Authority, Israeli confiscation of Palestinian water tanks in the Jordan Valley, or Palestinian Water Authority reports about “disproportionate” water allocations to settlements.

    You have to read the fine print to discover that illegal Palestinian tapping into Israel’s water lines and massive Palestinian water wastage are the causes of the problem. You have to study the issue in depth to discover that it is not Israeli “occupation policy” but Palestinian political resistance against joint water management and cooperation that is responsible for the slow development of the Palestinian water sector. The PA considers water and waste as weapons against Israel, not as areas of cooperation with Israel.

    For too long, Israel has failed to respond in detail to Palestinian accusations of Israeli “water apartheid” which are ubiquitous in the UN and NGO world. Only recently has the civil administration and the Israel Water Authority, along with one of Israel’s top hydrologists, Prof. Haim Gvirtzman, begun to fight back with properly documented counterclaims.

    The newly released studies show clearly that that Israel has fulfilled all of its obligations according to the agreements it signed in 1995 with the Palestinian Authority (and in fact has exceeded them), while the Palestinians are wasting tremendous amounts of water while refusing to utilize modern water conservation or sewage treatment methods.

    In an exceptional study (http://besacenter.org/mideast-security- and-policy-studies/the-israelipalestinian- water-conflict-an-israeliperspective- 3-2/>) published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Gvirtzman shows that large differences in per capita consumption of natural water between Jews and Arabs that existed in 1967, when the administration of Judea and Samaria was handed over from Jordan to Israel, have been reduced over the last 40 years and are now negligible.

    He thoroughly refutes Palestinian accusations of inequitable and discriminatory Israeli water policies.

    The Palestinian Authority consumes 200 million cubic meters of water every year, with Israel providing more than 50 m.c.m. of this – which, under the Accords, is more than Israel it supposed to provide a full-fledged Palestinian state under a final-status arrangement.

    Nevertheless, the Palestinian Authority claims that it suffers from water shortages in its towns and villages due to the Israeli occupation and it cites international law in support of its claims. These claims grandiosely amount to more than 700 m.c.m. of water per year, including rights over the groundwater reservoir of the Mountain Aquifer, the Gaza Strip Coastal Aquifer and the Jordan River. These inflated demands amount to more than 50 percent of the total natural water available between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

    But Gvirtzman, of the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University (who has for years been part of the Israeli team for water coordination with the PA), demonstrates that the current division of natural fresh water resources between Israel and the Palestinians is fair. Israel’s population stands at 7.2 million, five times the actual West Bank Palestinian population of 1.4 million. Proportionately, Israel controls 1,200 m.c.m. of the available natural fresh water, and the PA 220 m.c.m. In per capita terms, this works out to about 160 metric cubes of water per person per annum in both Israel and the PA.

    As for settler water use, well, Israel sends into the West Bank for Palestinian usage far more water than settler communities use.

    Statistics released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics and the Palestinian Water Authority for World Water Day this past March, according to Gvirtzman, are fabricated.

    Straight-out lies. In complete contradiction of the PA’s concocted data, Gvirtzman shows that every Israeli citizen pays more for his or her water – in order to subsidize Israel’s sale of water to the Palestinians at discount prices. In fact, residents of Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim (not to mention Tel Aviv and Haifa) pay twice as much for their water as residents of Nablus and Ramallah pay for their water – if the latter bother to pay anything at all.

    But most of all, Gvirtzman’s BESA Center report accuses the PA of doing almost nothing to preventing massive leaking in its domestic pipelines; almost nothing to implement modern water conservation techniques; and nothing to recycle sewage water for irrigation.

    In fact, many Palestinian farmers routinely overwater their crops through old-fashioned, wasteful flooding methods. Generally, they don’t pay their own water bills, so they don’t care to conserve. (The PA uses international donor money to pay for this waste.) Moreover, at least one-third of the water being pumped out of the ground by the Palestinians is wasted through leakage and mismanagement – by the Palestinian Water Authority’s own estimates.

    The PA euphemistically calls this “unaccounted for water.”

    Worse still, no recycling of water takes place in the Palestinian Authority and no treated water is used for agriculture. By contrast, in Israel about half of all agriculture is sustained by treated waste water. In fact, Israel’s use of treated waste water, its desalination activities, and its measures to reduce water losses in the water system add 800 m.c.m. per year to its water supply, amounting to one-third of Israel’s total water usage.

    At the same time, 95 percent of the 56 m.c.m. per year of sewage produced by the Palestinians is not treated at all. Palestinian sewage flows untreated into the streams and valleys of the West Bank, and infiltrates into the Mountain Aquifer, polluting it for Jews and Arabs alike. Some 17 m.c.m. per year of raw Palestinian sewage flows into (pre-67) Israel too.

    Only one sewage plant has been built in the West Bank in the past 15 years, despite there being a $500 million international donor fund available to the Palestinians for this purpose, and despite the fact that Israel has practically begged the PA to build these sewage plants. Only very recently did the PA agree to accept World Bank funding for wastewater treatment plants in Hebron and Nablus.

    Even when Israel builds a sewage pipeline, like the Wadi Kana trunk line to collect waste water from several communities in the Kalkilya district and treat the sewage in Israel, the PA declines to cooperate. It has not connected the 11 Palestinian towns in the area to this new sewage line.

    “The Palestinians generally refuse to build sewage treatment plants,” Gvirtzman says. “The ugly truth behind all the anti-Israel propaganda is that PA is neither judicious nor neighborly in its water usage and sewage management.”

    Unfortunately, the international community has allowed the PA to get away with this hostile behavior; to continue its strategy of noncooperation with Israel; to flout all logical standards of professional conduct.

    With Israel’s mega-water desalinization plants coming online, Israel will soon have more than enough water for its own needs as well as sufficient water for sale to the PA. “But first, the PA needs to become a responsible actor,” says Gvirtzman. “It must prevent water wastage, collect real fees from its citizens for water usage, and deal professionally with its sewage. It must also stop stealing from Israel’s wells and pipelines, while running around the world falsely accusing Israel of stealing Palestinian resources.”

    Indeed, the PA has violated its water agreements with Israel by drilling over 250 unauthorized wells, which draw about 15 m.c.m. a year of water, and by connecting these pirate wells to its electricity grid.

    Moreover, the PA has illegally and surreptitiously connected itself in many places to the water lines of Israel’s Mekorot national water company – stealing Israel’s water. (That’s why the civil administration recently confiscated some PA water tanks in the Jordan Valley.)

    The civil administration points out that the PA has barely begun to tap into the Eastern Aquifer in the West Bank (which was allocated to PA use by accord with Israel), from which it could produce another 60 m.c.m. per year. The Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee has approved the drilling of 70 water wells by the PA for this purpose, yet more than half of the approved wells have not yet been drilled. This would put a grand total of 260 m.c.m. of water per year at the disposal of the PA.

    The Palestinians also have rejected on political grounds a proposal which would have created a water desalination plant in Gaza specifically to meet Palestinian needs. The US had set aside $250m. for the project, which again could have yielded a huge increase in the amount of available water for the Palestinians.

    But hey – it’s much easier to steal water from Israel and simultaneously complain that Israel is drying out West Bank Palestinians.

    Which leaves us with the following question for John Kerry and the international community that is so earnestly trying to impress upon Israel the necessity of establishing a Palestinian state: Can you guarantee us that your much-touted Palestinian state will be any more responsible than the Palestinian Authority has been in cooperating with Israel in so many vital civilian areas, such as water and waste management? Or, might Israel have reason for concern that a Palestinian state will be even more nasty and belligerent?

  20. Laurie Knightly March 14, 2016 at 12:08 am #

    Claims of Jewish genius: The genetic researchers are Jason Hardy, Gregory Cochran, Henry Harpening and Charles Murray. From Journal of Biosocial Science. Also,there is plenty of opposition to genetics versus environmental factors in Jewish genius research.

    Andrew Pollack, NYT DNA evidence can be fabricated according to scientists in Israel. August 17, 2009. Cited by me above on linking zionism and racism. Nothing there about racial equality but danger of false claims using DNA testing in legal cases.

    Keep trying Fred………..

    • Fred Skolnik March 14, 2016 at 4:32 am #

      You made the statement that Jews or Israelis consider themselves racially superior to Arabs and you are supporting this claim by telling us that a few American geneticists who don’t even seem to be Jewish, not that it would matter if they were, conducted a genetic study to ascertain if there is a “Jewish gene” that might explain Jewish intellectual achievements. Are you being serious? These scientists did not conduct their study to “prove” that Jews are racially superior to Arabs or anyone else but to determine if there is a Jewish gene that is linked to Jewish intelligence. That is the kind of thing geneticists do. In this way they were able to ascertain, for example, that Jews have a genetic predisposition to certain diseases, such as Tay-Sachs disease. So what?

      I doubt very much if you have ever heard a Jew assert that he is racially or genetically superior to an Arab. Jews talk about Arabs and Arabs talk about Jews the way people at war always talk about each other, the way the Americans and the British talked about the Germans in World War II and the way the Germans talked about the Americans and the British. And by the way, since you seem to set great store by the Hebrew Bible and are always running triumphantly back to Canaan to “prove” what barbarians the Jews are, you should also be aware that Jews, and especially religious Jews, consider themselves racially related to the Arabs and therefore any “good” genes they may have would necessarily also be present in Arabs, via the “barbaric” Abraham, on the evidence of the Bible.

  21. Fred Skolnik March 14, 2016 at 4:36 am #

    I see, Prof Falk, that you don’t agree with me that the suggestion that modern Jews are tampering with human genes to make themselves racially superior is as debased as the suggesion that medieval Jews were tampering with Christian blood a gene livel instead of a blood libel. Your insensitivity to the entire lexicon of Jew hatred convinces me that you really are completely alienated from your Jewish roots..

  22. Fred Skolnik March 14, 2016 at 5:07 am #

    Incidentally. Prof. Falk, if you really object to references to sewers and filth, please remove Mr. Schulman’s comment in your last post consigning Rabbi Youdovin and myself to a barn:

    “Sorry, Harvey. I would like to exculpate you because you are at least polite. But the piece you wrote (above) shows you come from out of the same barn as Fred and Ira.”

    If you don’t get it, he is calling us animals.

    • Gene Schulman March 14, 2016 at 6:38 am #

      If the shoe fits, wear it. But that isn’t what I implied, it’s what you infer. I could just as easily have said you graduated from the same school (of thought).

      Re Jewish genius, you might want to have a look at Steven L. Pease’s “The Debate Over Jewish Achievement: Exploring the Nature and Nurture of Human Accomplishment.” Or wait for Gilad Atzmon’s publication of a book on the same subject. It ain’t in the genes, it’s the culture! Which I would claim is changing for the worse.

      • Fred Skolnik March 14, 2016 at 6:42 am #

        Well, if that was what you meant you should have said so. No one would normally use the word barn for school of thought, but with your mind, who knows?

      • Gene Schulman March 14, 2016 at 7:12 am #

        ‘The Debate Over Jewish Achievement: Exploring the Nature and Nurture of Human Accomplishment.’

        A review, by Gene

        There is no question that Jews have achieved a great deal beyond their numbers. They have won a larger percentage of Nobel prizes in proportion to their representation in the general population would indicate. They have excelled in many fields, medicine, science, the arts – music, architecture, literature – business, politics. As approximately .02 percent of the world population, their accomplishments rank at about twenty percent. Why is that? What makes Jews stand out? What is so special about Jewish success?

        Over the past years, many researchers have attempted to explain this phenomenon. Books have been written, papers presented, in attempts to explain what is so special about Jews. In seeking answers to this question, can reasons be found that would help others to be as successful? Many believe that Jews have higher IQs than in the general population. That it is in their genes. Others, that it is Jewish culture that has given them the leg up. Over the years there has been a great debate raging over ‘Jewish achievement’. It involves nature vs. nurture, evolutionary psychology, sociology, genetics, philosophy. And just plane racism.

        Now, along comes Steven L. Pease, a non-Jewish businessman who had earlier written ‘The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement’ which describes the fact of Jewish achievement, with a new book which attempts to explain the why of it. The subject is very controversial. Much of the controversy is over the science involved which has certainly not been resolved. Also the religious nature of the question. Are Jews really the ‘chosen’ people their good book says they are?

        Pease begins with the history of the debate. He describes all the previous literature. Books such as one of the most famous: Herrnstein and Murray’s ‘The Bell Curve’, Or Arthur Koestler’s ‘Thirteenth Tribe’, which claimed that Ashkenazi Jews were descended from a tribe of Khazars who converted to Judaism in the 8th century, to name only the two most well known. But Pease is thorough. As one who has spent a lot of time myself reading on this subject, I have not come across so much material unfamiliar to me in one place. Pease is also fair. He describes this literature in an objective way without imposing his own judgements, except in very few cases where the literature is obviously errant.

        I have found few faults in Pease’ narrative, and generally agree with his conclusions; that if there is a special Jewish intelligence, it is due rather to culture than genes. Where I do differ with him is on the importance of the Bell Curve. Also, Pease ascribes the Khazar controversy to Koestler who, actually, only described earlier work in the theory, and makes no judgement on its veracity. His hope was that readers would not take it to mean that Israel has no right exist. I have written about this elsewhere, where I describe a meeting with a high ranking member of the Saudi ruling family who had read the book, and concluded just what Koestler had hoped he wouldn’t.

        My own take on this controversy is that I do not believe Jews as a group have any higher intelligence than other members of society. Whether intelligence is cultural or genetic, attributing it to a religious group is a non sequitur. Religion is not a trait, it is a choice. The studies have shown that there is great difference in intelligence between Middle Eastern-born Jews and European-born Jews. So I would believe that intelligence lies in the geographical culture rather than in the religion, and local non-Jews might express similar intelligence measures as their Jewish neighbors. The local environment would seem much more important in determining intelligence.

        Whether Pease’ book is the final word on this controversy I can’t tell. What I can say is that it is one of the best I have read on the subject. I recommend it to all who have an interest. Especially those Jewish friends who love to send me lists of high achieving Jews, from Spinoza to Einstein; from Maimonides to Feynman. From Woody Herman to Woody Allen. They forget to mention the Meyer Lanskys, Bugsey Siegles, Mickey Cohens and Alan Dershowitzes. QED

      • Mike 71 March 14, 2016 at 9:47 am #

        Gene,

        Malcolm Gladwell in his “Outliers,” on the culture of success, found that these same attributes were common to Asian cultures, particularly the Chinese. A chapter of the book focused on the sons of Jewish garment workers entering the field of “mergers and acquisitions,” which the “White Shoe” law firms, such as Mudge, Rose, which once employed Richard Nixon, wouldn’t touch. Gladwell also touched on his own Jamaican heritage, which had the same work ethic and the Scottish-Irish heritage peoples of Appalachia, infamous for their culture of violence and alcoholism.

        As to the Asians, Gladwell cites a Chinese proverb which sums up their work ethic: “No man who rises before dawn to work in the rice fields fails to make his family rich.” That same proverb can be equally applied as the reason for Jewish success. That concept is something which few Marxists can grasp. With an ethic of “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need,” there is no incentive to make oneself, or his family rich. Why work hard when your efforts only enrich the “Nomenklatura,” while you and your family live in poverty? The proof of the ineffectiveness and counter-productivity of such “ethics” can can be seen in Cuba, where the average monthly wage is $20.00 and workers steal from their employer, the state, or trade in the “underground economy” to supplement their incomes, and North Korea, where “Fatty Kim (a Chinese characterization of Kim Jong-un)” gets fatter, while one third of the “Hermit Kingdom’s” population starves. The Chinese learned the futility of this approach during “the Great Leap Forward” in the 1950’s with the collectivization of agriculture, during which millions starved.

        Your ranking of Alan Dershowitz with the likes of Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegal, only exposes your anti-Zionist bigotry. Every culture has its criminals and traitors, their Benedict Arnolds, their Vidkun Quislings, their Marshall Petains and their Neville Chamberlains. Israel has them too, in Miko Peled, a former academic who led the Israeli Hadash (Communist) Party, now in exile in Britain (whose name escapes me) and others frequently quoted in this blog. If these people had any legitimacy, they would be serving in the Knesset and government, rather than being Israeli society’s outcasts.

      • Gene Schulman March 14, 2016 at 7:23 am #

        What the f***, Jesus was allegedly born in a barn. You should be pleased I alleged the analogy.

        You don’t have an insecurity complex, Fred. Yours is a cathedral!

  23. Fred Skolnik March 14, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    By the way, Gene, when you say that Jewish culture is changing for the worse – and I am being sincere, though I have the feeling that the sole criterion by which you judge Jews is according whether or not they support Israel, though I hope I’m wrong – I would be interested to know at what point in history it was at its peak, the peak from which it has changed for the worse. And what exactly do you mean by Jewish culture – the culture of Jews collectively, individually, statistically?

  24. Laurie Knightly March 14, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    Don’t know what reference Gene made to the barn but assume that it was part of the expression that the horse is out of the barn – meaning that it’s too late to lock the door – word is out. Fred’s reference to people connected to barns are animals is the most shocking words I have heard of this blog. What an arrogant demeaning remark which obviously refers to Anglo-Saxon rural types who do physical labor. Richard, you must stop this at once! As you might discern, I’m learning to speak Freddish – rather fun!

    Ilan Pappe:

    The 1948 Israeli War of Independence involved one of the largest forced migrations in modern history. Around a million people were expelled from their homes at gunpoint, civilians were massacred, and hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed. Denied for almost six decades, had it happened today it could only have been called “ethnic cleansing”.

    Various comments on the blog have addressed the facts stated above. And to many, they would be far more disturbing than perceived challenges to IQ testing – albeit that is mildly interesting. Also, some recent references show IQ testing results the highest in 1. Hong Kong, 2. S Korea, 3. Japan, 4. Taiwan and 5. Singapore. The next 5 are in German and Scandinavian countries. If this be true, it suggests that parental discipline and ingroup loyalty/mate selection/hero systems etc may be the predominating determinants.

    • Fred Skolnik March 14, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

      If you feel equipped to enter a discussion of refugee numbers and weigh the evidence, go right ahead, but do your homework first. I’ll give you another set of figures to consider – this one coming from Benny Morris – which I myself cannot verify, like you, but at least I can read the sources if I choose to. According to Morris, of the 700,000 or so refugees, some fled on their own, some were urged to flee by their leaders and return after the massacre, and some were indeed expelled. Morris argues that it is impossible to ascertain how many Arabs were in each category but feels that the smallest number was in the last category. I have no idea if this is true and neither do you. The violence that Morris documents amounts to a dozen cases of rape and a a few hundred Arabs killed in what he calls massacres. This is bad enough but compared with other armies makes the Israelis look like angels. And of course there was an equal number of Jews displaced from Arab countries in the period of the war, losing everything they owned, which I’m sure doesn’t trouble you at all. And incidentally, Morris argues that not a sentence that Pappe has written can be relied upon. I have seen some of his (Hebrew) examples of how Pappe intentionally mistranslates his sources to put Israel in the worst possible light and understand what Morris is talking about. Nonetheless I have no categorical views in the matter. You apparently do without the slightest possibility of verifying or evaluating anything you read. Good for you!

    • Fred Skolnik March 14, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

      In any case, Laurie, here are some additional sources for you to consider. As I say, unlike you I have no categorical position, recognizing that the Arabs fled for the reasons mentioned above and below and that an equal number of Jews were displaced from Arab lands.

      “The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from the Zionist tyranny but, instead, THEY ABANDONED THEM, FORCED THEM TO EMIGRATE AND TO LEAVE THEIR HOMELAND, imposed upon them a political and ideological blockade and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live in Eastern Europe, as if we were condemned to change places with them; they moved out of their ghettos and we occupied similar ones. The Arab States succeeded in scattering the Palestinian people and in destroying their unity. They did not recognize them as a unified people until the States of the world did so, and this is regrettable”.

      – by Abu Mazen, from the article titled: “What We Have Learned and What We Should Do”, published in Falastin el Thawra, the official journal of the PLO, of Beirut, in March 1976

      “The first group of our fifth column consists of those who abandon their houses and businesses and go to live elsewhere. . . . At the first sign of trouble they take to their heels to escape sharing the burden of struggle.”

      – Ash Shalab (Jaffa newspaper), January 30, 1948

      “The Arab streets are curiously deserted and, ardently following the poor example of the more moneyed class there has been an exodus from Jerusalem too, though not to the same extent as in Jaffa and Haifa.”

      – London Times, May 5, 1948

      “The refugees were confident that their absence would not last long, and that they would return within a week or two. Their leaders had promised them that the Arab armies would crush the ‘Zionist gangs’ very quickly and that there was no need for panic or fear of a long exile.”

      – Monsignor George Hakim, Greek Catholic Bishop of Galilee, in the Beirut newspaper Sada al Janub, August 16, 1948

      “Of the 62,000 Arabs who formerly lived in Haifa not more than 5,000 or 6,000 remained. Various factors influenced their decision to seek safety in flight. There is but little doubt that the most potent of the factors were the announcements made over the air by the -Higher Arab Executive, urging the Arabs to quit.. . . It was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades.”

      – The London weekly Economist, October 2, 1948

      “It must not be forgotten that the Arab Higher Committee encouraged the refugees’ flight from their homes in Jaffa, Haifa, and Jerusalem.”

      – Near East Arabic Broadcasting Station, Cyprus, April 3, 1949

      “This wholesale exodus was due partly to the belief of the Arabs, encouraged by the boasting of an unrealistic Arab press and the irresponsible utterances of some of the Arab leaders that it could be only a matter of some weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armies of the Arab States and the Palestinian Arabs enabled to re-enter and retake possession of their country.”

      – Edward Atiyah (then Secretary of the Arab League Office in London) in The Arabs (London, 1955), p. 183

      “The mass evacuation, prompted partly by fear, partly by order of Arab leaders, left the Arab quarter of Haifa a ghost city…By withdrawing Arab workers their leaders hoped to paralyze Haifa.”.

      – Time, May 3, 1948, p. 25

      The Arab exodus, initially at least, was encouraged by many Arab leaders, such as Haj Amin el Husseini, the exiled pro-Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem, and by the Arab Higher Committee for Palestine. They viewed the first wave of Arab setbacks as merely transitory. Let the Palestine Arabs flee into neighboring countries. It would serve to arouse the other Arab peoples to greater effort, and when the Arab invasion struck, the Palestinians could return to their homes and be compensated with the property of Jews driven into the sea.

      – Kenneth Bilby, in New Star in the Near East (New York, 1950), pp. 30-31

      I do not want to impugn anybody but only to help the refugees. The fact that there are these refugees is the direct consequence of the action of the Arab States in opposing Partition and the Jewish State. The Arab States agreed upon this policy unanimously and they must share in the solution of the problem, [Daily Telegraph, September 6, 19481

      – Emil Ghoury, Secretary of the Arab Higher Committee, the official leadership of the Palestinian Arabs, in the Beirut newspaper, Daily Telegraph, September 6, 1948

      The Arab States encouraged the Palestine Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies.

      – Falastin (Jordanian newspaper), February 19, 1949

      We will smash the country with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews seek shelter in. The Arabs should conduct their wives and children to safe areas until the fighting has died down.

      – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Said, quoted in Sir Am Nakbah (“The Secret Behind the Disaster”) by Nimr el Hawari, Nazareth, 1952

      The Secretary General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, assured the Arab peoples that the occupation of Palestine and of Tel Aviv would be as simple as a military promenade. . . . He pointed out that they were already on the frontiers and that all the millions the Jews had spent on land and economic development would be easy booty, for it would be a simple matter to throw Jews into the Mediterranean. . . Brotherly advice was given to the Arabs of Palestine to leave their land, homes, and property and to stay temporarily in neighboring fraternal states, lest the guns of the invading Arab armies mow them down.

      – Habib Issa, Secretary General of the Arab League (Azzam Pasha’s successor), in the newspaper Al Hoda, June 8, 1951

      Some of the Arab leaders and their ministers in Arab capitals . . . declared that they welcomed the immigration of Palestinian Arabs into the Arab countries until they saved Palestine. Many of the Palestinian Arabs were misled by their declarations…. It was natural for those Palestinian Arabs who felt impelled to leave their country to take refuge in Arab lands . . . and to stay in such adjacent places in order to maintain contact with their country so that to return to it would be easy when, according to the promises of many of those responsible in the Arab countries (promises which were given wastefully), the time was ripe. Many were of the opinion that such an opportunity would come in the hours between sunset and sunrise.

      – Arab Higher Committee, in a memorandum to the Arab League, Cairo, 1952, quoted in The Refugee in the World, by Joseph B. Schechtman, 1963

      “The Arab governments told us: Get out so that we can get in. So we got out, but they did not get in.”

      – from the Jordan daily Ad Difaa, September 6, 1954

      “The Arab civilians panicked and fled ignominiously. Villages were frequently abandoned before they were threatened by the progress of war.”

      – General Glubb Pasha, in the London Daily Mail on August 12, 1948

      “The Arab exodus from other villages was not caused by the actual battle, but by the exaggerated description spread by Arab leaders to incite them to fight the Jews”

      – Yunes Ahmed Assad, refugee from the town of Deir Yassin, in Al Urdun, April 9, 1953

      “[The Arabs of Haifa] fled in spite of the fact that the Jewish authorities guaranteed their safety and rights as citizens of Israel.”

      – Monsignor George Hakim, Greek Catholic Bishop of Galilee, according to Rev. Karl Baehr, Executive Secretary of the American Christian Palestine Committee, New York Herald Tribune, June 30, 1949

      “Every effort is being made by the Jews to persuade the Arab populace to stay and carry on with their normal lives, to get their shops and businesses open and to be assured that their lives and interests will be safe. [However] …A large road convoy, escorted by [British] military . . . left Haifa for Beirut yesterday. . . . Evacuation by sea goes on steadily. …[Two days later, the Jews were] still making every effort to persuade the Arab populace to remain and to settle back into their normal lives in the towns… [as for the Arabs,] another convoy left Tireh for Transjordan, and the evacuation by sea continues. The quays and harbor are still crowded with refugees and their household effects, all omitting no opportunity to get a place an one of the boats leaving Haifa.””

      – Haifa District HQ of the British Police, April 26, 1948, quoted in Battleground by Samuel Katz

      “The Arabs did not want to submit to a truce they rather preferred to abandon their homes, their belongings and everything they possessed in the world and leave the town. This is in fact what they did.”

      – Jamal Husseini, Acting Chairman of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee, told to the United Nations Security Council, quoted in the UNSC Official Records (N. 62), April 23, 1948, p. 14

      “the military and civil authorities and the Jewish representative expressed their profound regret at this grave decision [to evacuate]. The [Jewish] Mayor of Haifa made a passionate appeal to the delegation to reconsider its decision”

      – The Arab National Committee of Haifa, told to the Arab League, quoted in The Refugee in the World, by Joseph B. Schechtman, 1963

      “…our city flourished and developed for the good of both Jewish and Arab residents … Do not destroy your homes with your own hands; do not bring tragedy upon yourselves by unnecessary evacuation and self-imposed burdens. By moving out you will be overtaken by poverty and humiliation. But in this city, yours and ours, Haifa, the gates are open for work, for life, and for peace, for you and your families.”

      The Haifa Workers’ Council bulletin, 28 April 1948

      “…the Jewish hagana asked (using loudspeakers) Arabs to remain at their homes but the most of the Arab population followed their leaders who asked them to leave the country.”

      The TIMES of London, reporting events of 22.4.48

      ” The existence of these refugees is a direct result of the Arab States’ opposition to the partition plan and the reconstitution of the State of Israel. The Arab states adopted this policy unanimously, and the responsibility of its results, therefore is theirs.

      …The flight of Arabs from the territory allotted by the UN for the Jewish state began immediately after the General Assembly decision at the end of November 1947. This wave of emigration, which lasted several weeks, comprised some thirty thousand people, chiefly well-to-do-families.”

      – Emil Ghory, secretary of the Arab High Council, Lebanese daily Al-Telegraph, 6 Sept 1948

      “Since 1948 we have been demanding the return of the refugees to their homes. But we ourselves are the ones who encouraged them to leave. Only a few months separated our call to them to leave and our appeal to the United Nations to resolve on their return.”

      – Haled al Azm, the Syrian Prime Minister in 1948-49, The Memoirs of Haled al Azm, (Beirut, 1973), Part 1, pp. 386-387

      “Since 1948 it is we who demanded the return of refugees… while it is we who made them to leave… We brought disaster upon… Arab refugees, by inviting them and bringing pressure to bear upon them to leave… We have rendered them dispossessed… We have accustomed them to begging… We have participated in lowering their moral and social level… Then we exploited them in executing crimes of murder, arson, and throwing bombs upon… men, women and children – all this in service of political purposes…”

      – Khaled al Azm, Syria’s Prime Minister after the 1948 war [note: same person as above]

      “As early as the first months of 1948 the Arab League issued orders exhorting the people to seek a temporary refuge in neighboring countries, later to return to their abodes in the wake of the victorious Arab armies and obtain their share of abandoned Jewish property.” – bulletin of The Research Group for European Migration Problems, 1957

      One morning in April 1948, Dr. Jamal woke us to say that the Arab Higher Committee (AHC), led by the Husseinis, had warned Arab residents of Talbieh to leave immediately. The understanding was that the residents would be able to return as conquerors as soon as the Arab forces had thrown the Jews out. Dr. Jamal made the point repeatedly that he was leaving because of the AHC’s threats, not because of the Jews, and that he and his frail wife had no alternative but to go.

      Commentary Magazine — January 2000, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/0001/letters.html

  25. Gene Schulman March 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

    Your office must be one big power point center. We’ve all read this stuff before, Fred, but we’ve learned to separate the wheat from the chaff. And this is all chaff, especially what pours out of Commentary Magazine, the Zionist/neocon bible.

    • Fred Skolnik March 14, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

      But do tell me when you think Jewish culture was at the peak from which things got worse and how you define Jewish culture.

  26. Laurie Knightly March 14, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

    Why would leaving one’s house during warfare cause loss of ownership – for whatever reason? Seems very sensible to me. I once lived in a waterfront home subject to floods over the seawall during hurricanes. My family evacuated several times – sometimes warned by authorities, other times by neighbors and sometimes at our own discretion. When we returned we still owned our homes. The property was not donated to foreign refugees – nor were we exiled to encampments as a result.

    You left out Plan Dalet – very important. Also, Israel must now own huge parts of the Middle East considering how many people have abandoned their homes during the conflicts in those regions. It takes a very strange mentality to claim that Jews leaving other ME countries are entitled to take over the homes and possessions of Palestinians. The Israelis have never ceased to be pleased when Jews make aliyah for whatever reason. At one time, those who failed to do so, got very ugly criticism. Now it’s realized how effective they can be in other countries when loyal to Israel. And those who disagree become vilified.

    • Fred Skolnik March 14, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

      Under normal circumstances, what you say is true. In the case of the Arab-Israel conflict a new reality was created in which the two sides occupied the territory on either side of the armistice line and could not reach an agreement on a state of permanent nonbelligerancy. With the arrival of Jewish refugees from Arab countrie a de facto population exchange had taken place, much like the exchange of populations between India and Pakistan in their wars. Immigrants were not as a rule given Arab houses – they mostly populated new towns and settlements and new immigrant neighborhoods in the cities – though they did receive Arab land held by the state as abandoned property. Morally, this too can be seen as a tradeoff in that the Jews from Arab countries had lost everything they owned. Obviously the Palestinians were the victims and it is all unfair but that is what happens in war – war that Israel sincerely did not want.

      Plan Dalet referred to hostile Arab villages serving as bases for the Arab gangs that were terrorizing the Jewish population and could not be allowed to operate as such behind the lines of the Israeli army as it advanced to meet the invading Arab armies. It was not a master plain aimed at expelling Arabs as such.

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