An Open Letter of Response to CRIF (Conseil Représentif des Institutions Juives de France)

30 Dec

An Open Letter of Response to CRIF (Conseil Représentif des Institutions Juives de France)

I am shocked and saddened that your organization would label me as an anti-Semite and self-hating Jew. It is utterly defamatory, and such allegations are entirely based on distortions of what I believe and what I have done. To confuse my criticisms of Israel with self-hatred of myself as a Jew or with hatred of Jews is a calumny. I have long been a critic of American foreign policy but that does not make me anti-American; it is freedom of conscience and its integral link with freedom of expression that is the core defining reality of a genuinely democratic society, and the robust exercise of these rights are crucial to the quality of political life in a particular country, especially here in the United States where its size and influence often has such a large impact on the lives and destiny of many peoples excluded from participating in its policy debates or elections.

It is always difficult to negate irresponsible accusations of this kind. What follows is an attempt to clarify my honestly held positions in relation to a litany of charges that have been given currency by a defamatory campaign conducted by UN Watch ever since I was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to be Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2008. What follows are brief attempts at clarification in response to the main charges:

–the attacks on me by such high profile individuals as Ban ki-Moon, Susan Rice, David Cameron were made in response to vilifying letters about me sent to them by UN Watch, and signed by its Executive Director, Hillel Neuer. The contention that Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, also attacked me is misleading. She regretted the posting of a cartoon on my blog that had an anti-Semitic cartoon, but she took note of my contention that it was a complete accident and that the cartoon was immediately removed when brought to my attention;

–it was the cartoon that has served UN Watch as the basis of their insistence that I am an anti-Semite. Their bad faith is demonstrated by their repeated magnification of the cartoon far beyond what I had posted on the basis of its size on the Google image page for the International Criminal Court. As I have explained many times, I was unaware when I posted the cartoon of its anti-Semitic character, and pointed out that the post in which was inserted was dealing with my argument that the ICC was biased in its use of its authority, in this instance by issuing arrest warrants against the Qaddafi leadership in Libya. Israel was not mentioned in the post the content of which had nothing whatsoever to do with Judaism or Jews. To ignore such an explanation is to my way of thinking and to reprint the cartoon in an enlarged form is a sign of malicious intent; any fair reading of the 182 posts on my blog, including one devoted to Jewish identity would make it very clear to any objective reader that I have not expressed a single sentiment that can be fairly described as an anti-Semite. It is a grave disservice to both Israel and Jews to confuse criticism of Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinians with anti-Semitism.

–the claim that I am a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, actually a leading one, is false, as well. I have consistently maintained that I have insufficient knowledge to reach any conclusions about whether there is an alternative narrative of the 9/11 events that is more convincing than the official version. What I have said, and stand behind, is that David Griffin and many others have raised questions that have not been adequately answered, and constitute serious gaps in the official version that were not closed by the 9/11 Commission report. I would reaffirm that David Griffin is a cherished friend, and that we have professionally collaborated on several projects long before 9/11. It should be pointed out that Griffin is a philosopher of religion of worldwide reputation that has written on a wide range of issues, including a series on inquiries into the post-modern world and the desirability of an ecological civilization.

–The recent UN Watch letter that led me to be removed from the Human Rights Watch SB city Committee also claims I am a partisan of Hamas, which is a polemic charge and is untrue. What I have encouraged is a balanced view of Hamas based on the full context of their statements and behavior, and not fixing on language in the Hamas Charter or a particular speech. When the broader context is considered of Hamas statements and recent behavior is considered, then I believe there exists a potential opportunity to work with Hamas leaders to end the violence, to release the people of Gaza from captivity, and to generate a diplomatic process that leads to a period of prolonged peaceful co-existence with Israel. I have never insisted that this hopeful interpretation is necessarily correct, but I do maintain that it is worth exploring, and a preferred alternative to the current rigid insistence on refusing to deal with Hamas as a political actor because it is ‘a terrorist organization.’ It was evident in the recent violence preceding the November ceasefire in Gaza that leaders throughout the Middle East were treating Hamas as the governmental authority in Gaza and as a normal political entity, and this helped bring the violence to an end.

–Finally, UN Watch charges that I am biased and one-sided in my treatment of Israeli behavior, and cites Susan Rice and others for support, as well as noting my failure to report on violations by Hamas, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority. I can only say once more that I am trying my best to be objective and truthful, although unwilling to give in to pressure. I did make an effort in my initial appearance before the Human Rights Council to broaden my mandate to take account of Palestinian violations, but was rebuffed by most of the 49 governmental members of the Council for seeking to make such a change, and reasonable grounds were advanced for not changing my mandate. I have noted Palestinian violations of international law wherever relevant to the assessment of Israeli behavior, as for instance in relation to the launch of indiscriminate rockets. Palestinian abuses of human rights of Palestinians under their control while administering portions of Occupied Palestine is outside my mandate, and I have no discretion to comment on such behavior in discharging my responsibilities as Special Rapporteur.

It is my view that Israel is in control of the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and is primarily responsible for the situation and the persistence of the conflict, especially by their insistence on undertaking provocative actions such as targeted assassinations and accelerated settlement expansions.

I would grateful if this account of my actual views and beliefs can be circulated widely in response to the CRIF repetition of the UN Watch attacks.

Richard Falk

29 December 2012

162 Responses to “An Open Letter of Response to CRIF (Conseil Représentif des Institutions Juives de France)”

  1. Laurie Knightly December 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Anti-Semite had a different meaning in days past. It now means ‘advocate for justice in
    Palestine.’ Long may you continue……

    • Ray RayLil January 3, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

      To those who support Israel and to those who are against Israel. How many times should I say this: Before 1948, under international law the West Bank belonged to Jews, not Arabs, under Mandate of Palestine, which is a binding international law. Articles 6 and 25 of the Mandate gave exclusive right of citizenship and ownership of Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza to Jews, not Arabs. In 1948, Israel lost the war, and therefore Arabs captured the West Bank. Also, the U.N. Resolution 181 (in 1948) was merely a non-binding recommendation; it neither created the state of Israel nor gave the West Bank to Arabs.

  2. Levi December 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm #


    I will do my part to help your response reach a wide audience. The onslaught of attacks recently is absurd and I hope you know that many people both support and respect you. Thank you for your work and your steadfastness.


    • Adam Jones December 30, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      Dear Richard, when did you stop beating your wife? Seriously, how does one defend oneself against such mendacious and cynical allegations? Be assured that a great many of us know you to be a man and scholar of integrity, who is also one of the most vital and independent voices on Middle East affairs. That is precisely the reason you are targeted in this scurrilous fashion.


    • Annette Groth January 2, 2013 at 1:10 am #

      Dear Richard, as Levi I will also disseminate your reply widely. I am glad that I have met you when we both were participating in a panel foucssing on Human Rights violations in Israel.Please continue your committment to Human Rights. All the best for 2013, may peace prevail!
      Annette Groth, MP Germany

  3. walker percy December 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    Another teachable moment. Falk now has the opportunity to pull the curtain back and show the world how the zionist shaming mechanism works. His bravery in the face of this onslaught (which is probably just beginning) creates a indelible record. He is the perfect bait, now let’s watch what happens when he refuses to recant. This is a gift to humanity and we should be grateful.

  4. rediscover911com December 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    The accusation of ‘anti-semitism’ is an indicator that you are hated by those who claim to be Jew, but are of the synagogue of satan.

    Sad that you are ‘uncertain’ about 9/11. It is so clear that the official story is big lies. Having already been labeled as an anti-semite, you may as well step fully into the truth movement. Invite your friend David Griffin to do so as well, please.

    Dr. Ed Kendrick Development Group

  5. imleif December 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Mr. Falk, you remind me of some of my favourite quotes.

    I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. (Elie Wiesel)
    Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed (Martin Luther King)
    In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
    (George Orwell)

    • Gene Schulman December 31, 2012 at 1:16 am #

      It would be nice if Elie Weasel (intentional) would live up to his words and “never remain silent” when it comes to Palestinian suffering. His own silence only encourages the Zionist tormentor/oppressor.

    • American January 3, 2013 at 7:38 am #

      “”In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.””
      (George Orwell)

      Yes indeed. Falk is a brave/good man.
      I think we all know that Falk expresses the majority opinion of the world’s population on the I/P situtation and on the US enabling of it.
      We need more Falks.

      • Miss Costello January 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

        I would like, if I may, to add my voice to this worthy comment. To go further, It is truly shameful a man of Richard Falk’s crystal clear humanity, decency and integrity should be subjected to such vile abuse from those who are quite simply, not fit to lick his boots. Richard Falk is one of life’s true gentlemen, who has never shown ANYONE on this blog (or anywhere else) the slightest disrespect. His courteous manner, even to those who continually attempt (unsuccessfully) to twist and discredit his every honest word, is unequalled. That a man of his age ( no disrespect), should have to defend himself against a conspiracy of slanderous lies, only serves to show his accusers up for the devious, unprincipled scumbags they truly are

  6. pipistro December 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    it goes without saying that what you mentioned, is blatantly aimed at stifling any dissenting voice, and it’s possible mainly in the US arena. Whereas this voice exactly depicts the problem of violence and blatant injustice perpetuated towards the Palestinians.
    It’s imperative – from the wrong side of history – to smear the player, as there is so little to say about the ball.

  7. Maggie Roberts December 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    As a quaker I have been impressed with Richard Falk’s objective analysis of the conflict especially with regard to Gaza. It is abundantly clear that in criticizing Israel’s actions, the charge of anti-semite is used to obfuscate reality and as a weapon to denigrate the accuser. Quakers are opposed to violence and to war. Richard, all people who abhor violence are with you in your stand.

    • Richard Falk December 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      The Quaker faith has exerted its influence upon me, especially during my
      Princeton years when I went to meetings and collaborated on several occasions.

  8. Artie Alfreds December 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I salute your courage, Richard, and I have, too, have been called an anti-Semite, by other Jews, family and friends, for defending Palestinian rights.

  9. Fred Skolnik December 30, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    Dear Prof. Falk

    I honestly don’t believe that you are as contemptible an individual as you are made out to be and as anyone is bound to be regarded who rationalizes or “contextualizes” barbaric terrorism. I think you have simply painted yourself into a corner with a series of untenable positions that force you to justify what you would surely find revolting if it wasn’t directed against Israel, as well as to play up to readers who clearly hate Jews as much as they hate Israel.

    It is intellectually dishonest, to say the least, to represent Hamas as anything other than a terrorist organization intent on annihilating the State of Israel. It is just as dishonest to turn a blind eye to the Arab record in our time, at home and abroad, to readily forgive what is unforgivable, to sentimentalize murderers like Yassin and Mashal. To achieve this you have to create arguments, and a vocabulary, that have very little to do with reality, and sometimes you clearly get carried away, using totally irresponsible language that may be standard fare in blog comments but is not acceptable coming from someone who holds influential positions in international organizations, and that is what has gotten you into trouble. Instead of blaming Zionists for your problems, you might examine yourself.

    As for your admirers, granted that we are living in an age of declining standards where anything goes, and that people whose thinking lacks the rigor and coherence to be published on its own can now say anything that comes into their heads to a pretty big audience, nonetheless what they are saying, and the language they are using, should give you pause and cause you to ask yourself why it is that such people are attracted to your blog.

    I realize that when you are regularly exposed to such a high concentration of invective you become immunized to it and maybe even begin to believe that this is a legitimate mode of discourse and that antisemitism is not antisemitism after all but an “honest” and “objective” categorization of Jewish race defects. I think otherwise you might be a little more alive to the meaning of what is being said in your pages. I also confess that I may be more suspicious of criticism of Israel than most. I am suspicious because I find it hard to understand how it has come about that people have zeroed in on Israel as the arch-enemy of mankind in a world where populations are being massacred every other day. I would have expected the same indifference toward the Middle East as has been shown by such people toward, say, Africa, toward Rwanda and Darfur, for example, or what is going on today in Northern Mali, or even something like the old dispute between Greeks and Turks in Cyprus. Or conversely, the same heat and indignation with regard to these other conflicts. But no, not in the least. That is why I am suspicious. And of course nowhere in these pages do I find among your readers evidence of the slightest interest in a resolution of the Israel-Arab conflict in any practical way. That is the giveaway. For them, the whole point of speaking out or talking back is to vilify Israel. Hatred disguised as compassion can never disguise itself completely.

    • deepaktripathi December 30, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

      Dear Richard,

      Here he goes again! I think by now I know the strategy to defame you very well. It is based on low tactics to repeat lies, distortions, and endless widening of the argument at any given time that you (and we) can never prevail in any argument. But these people do not know that it only takes you to realise that you have not much to lose for telling the truth at all, and that the world has a habit of making up its own mind, as we have seen in the two recent UN votes. This campaign is so pathetic, because it is based on a complete denial of which way the wind is blowing. I wish you live a hundred more years.


    • Brewski December 31, 2012 at 12:37 am #

      “It is intellectually dishonest, to say the least, to represent Hamas as anything other than a terrorist organization”

      ” Israeli scholar Reuven Paz estimates that 90% of Hamas activities revolve around “social, welfare, cultural, and educational activities.”

      So you start from a flawed premise and the rest is blather.

      • Fred Skolnik December 31, 2012 at 12:45 am #

        You are surely joking.

      • Brewski December 31, 2012 at 1:03 am #

        No, I,m reading. Books Fred. I recommend books.

      • Fred Skolnik December 31, 2012 at 1:38 am #

        Which book would that be? I’m not aware of any he has written. Or are you getting your information at second hand again?

      • I'm with stupid December 31, 2012 at 3:29 am #

        Fred, since you seem unable to do research (because you are too busy making pointless comments?), here is a link that indicates some of Paz’s work.

        Happy research, Fred.

      • Fred Skolnik December 31, 2012 at 10:10 am #

        Sorry, I’m With Stupid, nothing there. Maybe you can give me a title and page number.

        But to the point, for your information, Hamas gets its money from Iran, Saudi Arabia and a worldwide networks of charitable organizations, some undoubtedly legitimate, others terrorist fronts. Its weaponry it gets free of charge from Iran and Libya. What it does with its money is to maintain an army of 20,000 men (the Qassem brigades) who, when they aren’t firing rockets at Israel’s civilian population or planning suicide bombings, spend their time running around Gaza terrorizing their own civilian population in their war against secular life and freedom of any kind. It also runs schools and mosques where it incites hatred, supports the families of so-called martyrs, and indeed provides social services to keep social unrest to a minimum and stay in power. But so did Gaddafi. Assad and Mubarak. The joke is to represent the terrorism as a kind of sideline instead of what Hamas is all about. Read their charter and their own scorecard of terrorist acts before you try to pass them off as benign social reformers.

      • I'm with stupid December 31, 2012 at 10:51 am #

        You seem to be unaware that this is all true of Israel and the US, except the numbers for money, and deaths inflicted is orders of magnitude larger.

      • I'm with stupid December 31, 2012 at 11:12 am #

        Fred, since you seem to be unable to read a Wikipedia article and find the references, here is the link to some of his articles. . Also, you seem to be disingenuous about not finding what is clearly there, including books written.

        Also, the crimes of Hamas, once again, are trivial compared to Israel’s and it’s prime supplier, the US. Pointing at its charter is meaningless compared to Israel’s slaughter of Gazans in Cast Lead, its illegal settlements in occupied territories, which are crimes against humanity and its control of Gazans’ diets, destruction of Palastinians’ homes, also crimes against humanity, and other infrastructure.

        Your willful blindness in service, I assume, to your Zionism, is vile. Pointing your finger at Hanas, whose election to government was completely legitimate and was met with the crime against humanity called collective punishment, is also vile and illegitimate.

        Because of your dishonesty–so in accord with the attack on Falk–I will have no more responses to you.

      • Fred Skolnik December 31, 2012 at 11:52 am #

        Well, Stupid, chanting the litany does not make it true. But here again are a few of the “trivial” crimes of Hamas according to their own count:

        •4303 terror attacks
        •61 suicide attacks
        •24 attempts to capture Israelis
        •423 bombings
        •90 sniper attacks
        •146 ambushes

        In addition, they claim 8085 projectiles fired from Gaza, of which 2627 were Qassem rockets and 303 were Grad rockets.
        They claim to have killed 910 “Zionists” in that time period, while losing 1697 of their members. Not civilians – 1697 dead Hamas terrorists. This doesn’t include members of other terror groups like Fatah and Islamic Jihad.

        This included:

        •The massacre at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva killing 8 students
        •The Park Hotel Passover massacre killing 30, mostly elderly, Jews. (Hamas inflates the number of victims to 36.)
        No. 32A bus, mainly carrying Israeli schoolchildren, Patt junction, Jerusalem
        19 dead, 70 injured
        Sbarro Pizzeria, Jerusalem
        15 dead, 130 injured
        Snooker club, Rishon Letzion
        15 dead, 55 injured
        Student cafeteria, Hebrew University , Jerusalem
        10 dead, 85 injured

        And so on.

        The occupation exists because the Arabs started and lost a war. It continues because the Arabs are unwilling to reconcile themselves to the existence of a non-Muslim state in the Middle East. The security measures are there to prevent terrorism. You won’t learn very much about the Middle East by fishing around on the Internet for sites that share your biases. But if that is how you go about getting information, at least pick the right sites. You won’t find very much in Reuven Paz to support your invective. Try reading him instead of just “referencing” him.

    • Noevil9 December 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

      Mr Skolnik,
      What is amazing in your criticism of Mr Falk, and others that support him, is your defiance/ ignorance to admit the wrongs that Israel has been carrying out for years. Your moral judgement- or there lack off- of him and others is a great give away to your bias toward what Israel, and all Jews do. They can do no wrong. And when you are close to admit that they do, you already have rationalized in your own mind their crimes as legitimate. You most have missed the class, in first grade, when they taught two wrongs do not make a right. You see, you are typical Israel /Jewish defender, and that is the problem with what Israel and the blind supporters of it ,and it’s crimes. Don’t blame and focus on the messengers, look at those who are committing the crimes. Again Anti Semitism, is not those people who hate Jews, it’s those whom Jews Hate, because they expose them, and tell the truth.
      Read a great book; The Wandering Who? It will help people like you, if they choose to join humanity, and stop you from attacking every one who choses not to be silent about your crimes. That is what is wrong with our world today, your kind of persons( I am sure, you are going to thing of anti semitism again. If that will help your self esteem, so be it, even I advise you it’s damaging to your stand and image in the long run) is taken our ethics and morality to the ground.

      • I'm with stupid December 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

        “Israel, and all Jews do” “Anti Semitism, is not those people who hate Jews, it’s those whom Jews Hate”

        These statements are anti-Semitic because they equate Israel and Zionists with Jews. Please do not fall prey to that common and horrific mistake.

        I, for instance, am Jewish, but I am not a Zionist. Indeed, I find the Israeli nation state a major war criminal and a major danger in the world.

        Thanks for reconsidering those ideas,

      • Fred Skolnik December 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

        Of course “The Wandering Who” is a great book for people like you, so filled with anti-Jewish hatred that even Palestinian activists have repudiated it, starting with Omar Barghouti and Ali Abunimah.

      • deepaktripathi December 31, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

        Dear Richard,

        I think that Fred Skolnik has given us the perfect answer which informs us all of his true view. His one quote has gone straight into my archive:

        “The occupation exists because the Arabs started and lost a war. It continues because the Arabs are unwilling to reconcile themselves to the existence of a non-Muslim state in the Middle East.”

        We must rest our case.


    • Elizabeth Morley January 6, 2013 at 6:42 am #

      One reason why so many people “zero in” on the troubles in Palestine is that they have been with us for well nigh 100 years. Far more people know and worry about them than they do (rightly or wrongly) about some more recent troubles elsewhere. The other thing is that our country (I live in Britain) is the one that created this problem, and we don’t think our government is a very honest broker. That makes us unhappy and we want to speak out.

      • walker percy January 6, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

        Of course you are right Elizabeth. We are so fed up with this inane controversy. The argument that critics of Israel are singling them out is nonsense. As Ron Paul explained to the world, Arab terrorism against the US and UK is understandable given our unfair support of Israel and will not end until we withdraw our financing of their war machine. The horrifying part of this is that it appears that the cause of this outrageous behavior by Jews must be an outcome of their religious beliefs and practices. we are starting to draw conclusions from the current situation that must be used to fill in the blanks about pesky mysteries of the past. Now we know why every episode of persecution of Jews, from Esther to Spain to poland and russia, begins with demands that they reject their repulsive rituals, and ends with their forced conversion, expulsion or attempted eradication. They are not scapegoats, they really are dangerous, and all Jews who continue to defend this cult in spite of the obvious facts will be legitimately blamed when the next Jewish crisis grips the world.

      • Elizabeth Morley January 6, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

        I am shocked that you used my entry on this blog as an opportunity to post such a racist comment.

      • walker percy January 7, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

        Unfortunately, Elizabeth, delicate flowers like you who are not emotionally capable of handling the ugly truth are culpable for what happens next. Your country has been ruined. You have allowed yourselves to be manipulated into starting wars of aggression on behalf of a group of villains. you will have to accept the truth when your beautiful cities are ruined again because you failed to accept the sad truth: that one group through history has caused enormous suffering and destruction because they were taught by their mothers and fathers that they are superior to other ethnic groups , then they act out their cherished bible stories, which always seem to involve duplicity and violence. Its time for you to grow up. When nice ladies defend these miscreants, it encourages their vile behavior.

      • I'm with stupid January 8, 2013 at 12:38 am #

        From the looks of this: “that one group through history has caused enormous suffering and destruction because they were taught by their mothers and fathers that they are superior to other ethnic groups , then they act out their cherished bible stories, which always seem to involve duplicity and violence,” you’re the stupid I’m with.

        What disgusting anti-Semitism, not to mention spectacularly ahistorical.

      • Elizabeth Morley January 8, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

        Now then, Mr Percy, let me see if I am emotionally capable of handling the ugly truth of your revulsion, shall I? Could it be that in your simplistic craving to pinpoint the cause of all the world’s suffering you got stuck in a groove and can’t get out of it? That’s the kindest interpretation I can put on your analysis. As I’m with stupid has so aptly put it, it is spectacularly ahistorical. It is also comically un-anthropomorphic. Man is of the earth, Mr Percy, and cannot go against his nature. Aggression and greed are inbuilt. They are not the invention of one religion, even though you’d like to think so. (Funnily enough, the last person who told me to grow up was also called Percy – and he was a Zionist!)

  10. Bill Michtom December 30, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    Mr. Falk:

    I recommend refraining from defending yourself against lies and smears. Rather, you should call out the genocidal behavior of the Israeli government, its continuing crimes against humanity and its war crimes.

    The Israeli government continues to build illegal settlements in Palestinian land, restrict Palestinian diets, prevent necessary goods and services from reaching Gaza and the West Bank and murder Palestinians and their allies. Not to mention the continued oppression of women that is a feature of orthodox Judaism, most recently manifesting through the arrests and harassment of women at the Western Wall.

    Answering slander is exactly what they want you to waste your time with, as we can see with the Log Cabin Republicans’ slander of Chuck Hagel (who is hardly a Palestinian advocate) in a full-page NY Times ad.

    A response to the cartoon incident seems appropriate, but reviewing your whole career for these criminals is completely unnecessary.

    Be strong and know that people who understand the ugliness of the Israeli propaganda machine (which is, unfortunately, the US propaganda machine) are on your side.

    Bill Michtom

  11. I'm with stupid December 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

    Another point I wanted to make about being Jewish: In the Seder, there is a part toward the end that says three things that always, to me, defined what a Jew is.

    1. That we should think of ourselves as having personally come out of slavery.
    This to me meant identifying with the oppressed.

    2. That no one is free unless everyone is free.
    This was not every Jew, but EVERYONE.

    3. Jews have an obligation to work toward that universal freedom.

    It is Likud and their allies who do not understand what a Jew is. They have no right to accuse someone like you of being a self-hating Jew. They are hateful people who are not real Jews, because they are not open to universal freedom.

  12. Sanjay Dixit December 31, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    Dear Prof Richard Falk,
    I have received copy of your open letter of response to CRIF. Thank you. I am very happy to note that you have clarified your true and first hand position/view with respect to Jews and Israel. It is very unfortunate that you have been so deeply misunderstood. And it is extremely unfortunate that people who hold the highest positions in governments and bodies of international repute have so strongly misunderstood you. However, I have not misunderstood you that strongly. I, in fact, went on to say that your intelligence is comparable with that of Sir Albert Einstein. But no human being is perfect. Even the finest minds of the world have their failings; they are only human, although they are exceptionally intelligent, sincere and honest people of the world, at any given point of time. From my point of view I got the result I wanted; your open letter of response to CRIF (or something similar). It is very important to quash the concept of Anti-Semitism from the world 100%. Anti does not solve any problems; it is only persecution and only leads to gross injustice (sometimes ruthless, cruel, and inhuman) to a vast majority of people against whom the word is applied, which is what has been happenings. The manifestation of this view of mine can be seen in the following situations –
    a) Hate Israel day at UN
    b) Most of the nations voting against Israel at UN
    c) Heinous murder of Israeli boy in Palestine by dragging him, using motor cycles, by Palestinian youth as shown in news papers
    d) The gruesome murder by Pakistani Terrorists of pregnant Jew women Rivka Holtzberg during Mumbai 26/11 attacks
    e) Genocide of Jews in Nazi Germany
    f) Some terrible things written about Jews if one were to find out “Why the Jews were hated”, plus more……
    I would be very happy if you clear the misunderstanding about you, about Jews and Israel and an honest and true position persists in future using a constructive approach, which only is acceptable.
    Hope you agree with me. The concept of Anti-Semitism must be erased from our planet Earth forever.
    With Best Regards, Mr Sanjay Dixit,Mumbai,India

  13. Burns H Weston December 31, 2012 at 2:18 am #

    My dear Richard,

    As you know, I too have been called an anti-semite for attempting objectively to assess Israeli and Palestinian claims and counterclaims in this excruciating, mutually destructive, and seemingly endless conflict that is, let’s face it, at the core of what currently shapes Islamic attitudes and behaviors towards the overwhelmingly pro-Israeli West, especially the US. Laurie Knighly is spot on when she writes: “Anti-Semite had a different meaning in days past. It now means ‘advocate for justice in Palestine.'” When, Orwellian-style, words are so distorted as to cause cynical polemics to masquerade as detached and respectable discourse, when opinion is substituted for fact, one is left to wonder if truth ever can be spoken to power. The good news is, however, that, deaf and myopic though the ideologic opposition and its sympathizers may be, I know you well enough to know―from Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, Kosovo, Iraq, and on and on―that you never will relent in your professional responsibility to work against injustice wherever and by whomever inflicted. And for this, though we have not always agreed on the policy choices, I salute you. You are an inspiration and role-model for us all―no mere sparrow in the coal mine, but that resounding voice of humane conscience about which Reverend Niemöller wrote and without which most of us would be less capable as moral beings..

    Happy New Year, dear friend!

    Burns H Weston
    December 31, 2012

    • Richard Falk January 2, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

      Dear Burns: Your solidarity and support has always been a source of strength for me. And over the years, no one in the international law world has been on the same side more consistently! Wishing you the
      best possible 2013!

      With love, Richard

  14. Sanjay Dixit December 31, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    Dear Prof R.Falk : Wish you a Happy New Year 2013.

  15. bradbrzezinski December 31, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Prof. Falk I am sure you are not an antisemite as per the meaning of the term in the 1930s; few people are and even fewer will admit to it. Even David Duke denies being an antisemite although his website makes it plain that he detests Jews.

    We need to acknowledge what is wrong with antisemitism. Any situation that involves a group of people ganging up on a smaller group and demonizing and making a scapegoat of it, is a dangerous one. It can be fatal to the victims and also the perpetrators because it has the effect of blinding them to real dangers and enemies. This was the lesson of WWII. The death of 6m Jews was very tragic for the Jews but 66m others died in the conflict that was actually signaled by Hitler’s attack on the Jews.

    (The effects are sometimes localized e.g. Rwanda, but when it involves the Jews it has a higher chance of becoming a mass conflagration.)

    Today, “criticism” of Israel is done in the same style as the antisemitism of the Third Reich. It contains the hallmarks of singling out, blaming, scapegoating and demonizing. The beauty of it is that because it’s directed at a country not a people, even Jews can now wallow in this behavior and many do. The “critics” even make common cause with actual antisemites like Hamas and Hizb’allah, failing to see how this looks to those watching objectively on the sidelines.

    Perhaps we should find a new name for this behavior but regardless, the effect of blaming Israel for the world’s ills as is done at the UN and elsewhere, is likely to be tragic.

    • Brewski December 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      Let us deconstruct the argument you make here brad.

      What are we to deduce from your first paragraph?
      Is it:
      “David Duke denies being an antisemite, Richard Falk denies being an antisemite therefore…..what? Give us the logical sequence intended.

      Your second paragraph says:
      “a group of people ganging up on a smaller group”
      Does the larger group consist of Professor Falk and critics of the Israeli regime and the smaller the Israeli Government and its supporters within the Government and media of the United States? Who is the “smaller group” ?

      I will leave aside your bizarre notions about the origins of WWII (“conflict that was actually signaled by Hitler’s attack on the Jews”) – if it is indeed your belief that that conflict was in some way ignited by attitudes to Jews, that notion would take pages of History to correct, too much for this forum.

      From your comment:
      “Today, “criticism” of Israel is done in the same style as the antisemitism of the Third Reich.”

      Is it? Where is the similarity?
      Did the Third Reich object to the dispossession and expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians by “Jews” ?
      Did they highlight the killing of civilians by a “Jewish” government? ?
      Did they publicize the imprisonment and torture of civilians by a “Jewish” government?

      What do you make of the “Ankara document” in which LEHI (forerunner of the Irgun) offered to make common cause with Germany in 1940, stating:
      “The NMO, which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that:

      1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a new order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO……The establishment of the historic Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.”

      Is Lenny Brenner’s exposure of these Historical documents an example of antisemitism in your view?

      In short, if History or facts reflect badly on Israel or Jewish people, should it be treated differently from the History and facts of, say, Hindu, Muslim or German people ?

      • deepaktripathi December 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

        “In short, if History or facts reflect badly on Israel or Jewish people, should it be treated differently from the History and facts of, say, Hindu, Muslim or German people?”

        That’s precisely the point here.

      • bradbrzezinski January 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

        1 My point is that we need to understand what was wrong with the behaviours that made up antisemitism and avoid applying them in a different form; i.e. doing the same thing but without directly hating Jews.

        2 I said that Nazi antisemitism SIGNALED a large conflict. I did not say it IGNITED it. I know from people who attended them, backed up by research that Nazi rallies in the 1930s (including outside Germany), had a heavy focus on Jew-hatred.

        3 Large group, small group: the small group today is the state of Israel. The large group is the U.N., OIC and many constituent countries, foreign offices of most western countries, many trade unions, universities and media outlets as well as Israel’s own left. It is beyond question that immense double standards are being applied that make Israel the world’s scapegoat. A FEW EXAMPLES:

        In the latest UN session, 22 resolutions against Israel vs. 4 for the rest of the world. (NO country can deserve that.)

        When Israel was accused (without proof) of assassinating a state enemy in Dubai, western countries, notably Britain, lined up to admonish her for the use of their passports. Fast forward to Libya: British SAS were captured, each with several non-British passports.

        In 2012, rockets from Gaza were ignored by the UN despite some 20 letters of protest by Israel. Within 24 hours of a serious retaliation by Israel, the Security Council was convened. Compare that to the lackadaisical response to the Syrian crisis. Just today we learn that there have been 60,000+ deaths in 2 years. (That would be about 40 years worth on both sides for Israel / Arab states.)

        You speak of:
        – dispossession and expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians by “Jews” A
        – the killing of civilians by a “Jewish” government B
        – imprisonment and torture of civilians by a “Jewish” government C

        A. Yes that did happen but the no. was closer to 1/2m, it happened due to a war that their side started, some left at the behest of their side, a greater no. of Jews were given even worse treatment by Arab governments. Why do you and the world, only consider it a bad thing when Jews do it?

        B. Civilians are sometimes killed when Israel responds to aggression. This is a fact of war. It does turn out that Israel achieves the best ratios in the world at avoiding civilian deaths for similar conflicts. Why do you and the world focus only on the fact that the” Jewish government kills civilians” without commenting on their efforts to avoid doing so and without caring that Israel’s enemies focus almost exclusively on killing Israeli civilians as well as putting their own civilians in harm’s way?

        C. I do not believe that Israel simply imprisons innocent people. Given the horrendous double standards you employ, as illustrated above, this accusation carries no weight.

        4 Ankara document & Counterpunch article: Assuming all the accusations are true (and that’s far from clear), it means that a few small Zionist rump groups were badly misled and/or had bad intentions.

        You seem to want to use this “fact” to remove altogether the right of the Jews to a homeland. Would you say the same to the Kurds given there are Kurdish terrorist groups? Your authors also seem to believe that this bad behavior by a few, long ago, means that Zionism must be eschewed for all time. I assume than that you are horrified by the support of Obama for the Muslim Brotherhood. Of course there’s the current support of those I shall not name, for Hamas and Hizb’allah?

        If we can clear up these points, we could discuss:

        5 … if History or facts reflect badly on Israel or Jewish people, should it be treated differently from the History and facts of, say, Hindu, Muslim or German people ?

      • Brewski January 4, 2013 at 2:32 am #

        Brad. Sorry, must be brief.
        1. “David Duke denies being an antisemite, Richard Falk denies being an antisemite therefore…..what? Give us the logical sequence intended.

        2. What does “SIGNALED” mean in this context?

        3. That Israel and its supporters is the “small group” as opposed to those who support antisemitism is pure poppycock.

        ” it happened due to a war that their side started” – disputed but nevertheless, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says they are entitled to return to their homes.

        About 2-300 times as many Israelis die on Israel’s roads as die from “rockets from Gaza”. The U.N. ignores them too.

        “was closer to 1/2m” Disputed but does that make it OK? Are you prepared to accord 1/2m their Universal Human rights?

        ” a few small Zionist rump groups were badly misled ”
        Look up “National Military Organisation”
        You seem to have misunderstood the question which was: Is Lenny Brenner’s exposure of these Historical documents an example of antisemitism in your view?

        Can we now discuss 5?

      • bradbrzezinski January 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm #


        “Can we now discuss 5?”

        No. You dismissed what I said as poppycock but did not rebut the important facts I stated. Now you want to move on to a question which seems to contain the presumption that Jews / Israel are receiving preferential treatment. As one of my facts showed, at the highest international level, the UN, Israel is already the world’s scapegoat.

  16. richard December 31, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Dear Richard,

    Quite frankly you are better off without them – they seem to be a bunch of total no–hopers, who are totally obsessed with justifying Zionism, and seem to miss the point that the reason the UN keeps condemning Israel is because Israel behaves outrageously, and the UN bears the guilt of allowing the situation to develop over decades despite being charged with administering Palestine for the benefit of ALL it’s inhabitants, not just the hordes who have occupied that land and dispossessed it’s residents.

    I’m astonished you were on it originally to be frank – they seem to be so transparently apologists for Zionist expansionism [lord, I’m sounding like a political leaflet!]

    Very best

    Richard Jennings

  17. Dieter Misgeld December 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    I always respect your forthrightness and sincerity, Richard Falk. These accusations reported here are totally baseless and intentionally thoughtless. I hope CRIF will withdraw its statement and apologize.
    Dieter Misgeld. emeritus. university of Toronto,

  18. respectsérénité December 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm #


  19. DaBkr December 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    and I am shocked that you are shocked. do you not live in the world with everybody else?

  20. Noevil9 December 31, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Mr. falk,
    You know who you are. People who care, know who you are and what you did. This sad ,pathetic , poor tactics of the Zionists/ Israeli defenders, against you are not that special. They are old hat, that the world is tired of. You should stand your grounds of integrity and honor. Speak your conscious like you always have done. It’s a great opportunity for you to set the example, with all others, whom zionism, and Israel hates because they expose their crimes. Our ethics have been desecrated due to their Elasto-conscioness, and their morality switch, which they use to turn on, and off, when it comes to Israel. You have done us all (Jews or otherwise) right, by your morales, and the fairness of your justice. i Your loyalty was to the truth, and not your Jewishness, as most Jews have done. Sir, you honor us all. The rest of those who label you should learn from you instead.

  21. Mabs January 1, 2013 at 12:53 am #

    Dear Mr Falk

    It seems to me that an important trait for a person who sits on an HRW committee is the ability to apply sound judgement. Do you have sound judgement? I have some doubts. You say, “I have explained many times, I was unaware when I posted the cartoon of its anti-semitic character.” As you are an educated man, I find it almost incomprehensible that you could miss such an obvious feature of the cartoon. If, as you maintain, anti-semitism wasn’t involved in the posting then perhaps poor judgement could be the explanation.

    When the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in Iran you thought that “the depiction of him as fanatical, reactionary and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false and that he had “a notable record of concern for human rights.” Indeed, the ayatollah’s “new model of popular revolution” offered the world “a desperately-needed model of humane governance for a third-world country.”

    As was clear to many at the time who did not share your optimistic assessment, his rule proved to be the opposite of “humane governance”. This was another example of your poor judgement.

  22. rehmat1 January 1, 2013 at 5:49 am #

    Dr. Falk – One thing I never understood. If your criticism of Israel is based on your moral Jewish conscience – why you keep apologizing to pro-Israel Jewish lobby groups? Do you feel a guilty conscience deep down? I bet, French Jewish academic, Bernard-Henri Levy, is not bothered by his Jewish conscience. In November 2011, he had admitted to CRIF that Libya was destroyed because its leader Qaddafi had become a threat to Israel. Now Levy is behind the regime change in Syria.

    • Gene Schulman January 1, 2013 at 7:14 am #

      I doubt if B-HL has any conscience at all, Jewish or otherwise. He is an active member of the world Jewish Lobby, along with his British cohort, former MP Denis MacShane, both of whom will do anything to promote Israeli Zionist interests. Both have written books about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe without acknowledging the fact that it is the policies of Israel and the USA that are the true cause of any present-day anti-Semitism. Richard Falk has addressed this issue directly with MacShane following an exchange of letters I had with him about accusing Falk, himself, of anti-Semitism.

      • Fred Skolnik January 1, 2013 at 7:41 am #

        The argument that it is what Jews do, past or present, that causes antisemitism is completely fallacious. Jew haters hate Jews first and then find the reasons to. I think you too might benefit by reading Sartre’s “Portrait of the Antisemite.”

      • Gene Schulman January 1, 2013 at 7:53 am #

        I have read Sartre’s Portrait, and indeed was enlightened by it. But for your information, it was published in 1945, long before the creation of an Israeli state: A non sequitur in this discussion. Get yourself up to date and read some current revisionist histories, such as Benny Morris and Elan Pappe, et al!

      • Fred Skolnik January 1, 2013 at 8:05 am #

        You’re also joking, I can see, It is Morris who said that not a single sentence of Pappe’s book can be relied on. The idea that East European skinheads and French antisemites hate Jews because of the way they treat the Palestinians is absurd.

      • Gene Schulman January 1, 2013 at 9:15 am #

        If Morris did say that about Pappe’s book, then he would have to say the same about his own, because they say the same things about the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Of course, Morris has recanted and joined the other camp, from where he can spit on everyone else who doesn’t support Israeli policies.

        As for the Eastern European skin heads, they are more Islamophobic than anti-Semitic. Same in France, where there is hardly any overt anti-Semitism.

        I’m happy that Falk’s article has brought out so much sympathy for his position. Out of all the comments here, Skolnik is the only hasbarist, and he’s fighting a losing cause.

      • Fred Skolnik January 1, 2013 at 9:40 am #

        Nice try. Morris “recanted” after he looked at the newly opened archives that Pappe misrepresented and drew his own conclusions about what it is possible and not possible to say about the war in 1948.

        I don’t know of anyone who became anti-Hutu or anti-Tutsi after the Rwanda massacres and the same holds true for dozens of other conflicts throughout the world. You can’t really be so blind as not to understand what antisemitism is.

        Being alone here is a badge of honor.

      • Gene Schulman January 1, 2013 at 10:00 am #

        Your badge of honor seems more to me like a Yellow Star. As Avram Burg taught us in his book, “The Holocaust is Over”, it’s time to move on. Today’s Israel is not a result of the Holocaust.

        Frankly, I’m getting bored with responding to your loneliness. No more.

      • Bill Michtom January 2, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

        Didn’t expect to be on the same side of anything with you, Fred, but about this: “without acknowledging the fact that it is the policies of Israel and the USA that are the true cause of any present-day anti-Semitism,” there is no question.

        What makes that statement false is that the actions of a nation state–Israel–keep being conflated with an ethnic and religious group–Jews.

        I am a Jew and I am a serious antagonist to most of what Fred says here and certainly to the policies of Israel. But, if someone is an anti-Semite, s/he would not (and does not) make any distinction between me and Israel.

        By definition, an anti-Semite or an anti-anything is not dealing with reality. A bigot always comes up with a reason to hate the target of his/her hate.

      • rehmat1 January 1, 2013 at 10:56 am #

        If Dr. Falk likes – he can follow the moral Jewish conscience of Israel-British author and Jazz player Gilad Atzmon, who claimed to be proud of being a “self-hating Jew”. After publication of his book book ‘The Wandering Who: A study of Jewish Identity Politics‘, Glad proved himself to be the “promised Jewish Messiah”.

      • Gene Schulman January 1, 2013 at 11:53 am #

        Dr. Falk already endorsed Atzmon’s book. That is one of the reasons he is being hounded:

      • sabashimon January 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

        Is there a reason my posts are not making it on-site?
        It wouldn’t have anything to do with my support of, and agreement with Fred would it?

      • Richard Falk January 1, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

        My policy on comments, although I lack the time to be an efficient and consistent enforcer, is to deny posting on the basis of harshness, personal
        attacks, and insulting tone. I try to give my critics space even when their
        attacks are directed at my character so long as civil in language and substance.

  23. pabelmont January 1, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    There is nothing new about attacks on those who either report accurately on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians or on those who actively protest Israel’s (and the USA’s) practices w.r.t. Palestinian human and national rights.

    Your response to such an attack, the essay above, is admirable. I would imagine that you have been attacked before and will be attacked again, so I do wonder what makes the CRIF attack (mentioned but not here in evidence) special enough to get such lengthy treatment in response.

    BTW, for readers like myself, it would be helpful to see several motivational links: link to your mandate as Special Rapporteur; link to the material(s) which constituted the attack by CRIF and to which you respond here; and link to the “anti-semitic” cartoon and accompanying text if either or both are still on-line. (Google provides clues to the opinions of David Griffin on 9/11. The USA’s quick summary treatment of the events of 9/11 seems echoed by Israel’s summary treatment of many suggestions that its warriors have committed war-crimes. There are certainly many people who do not appreciate other people’s looking behind the hastily-drawn curtains which cover alleged crime scenes.)

    Sometimes blogging on human rights topics can seem quite hopeless. Here is one person’s explanation of why she carries on, here regarding H/R in India, Her concluding comment on which people have CHOICE is very interesting and might (for all I know) have relevance for Gazans as well.


    Quite often, when you see what is being done to people, it creates rage in you and humiliation if you keep quiet. People ask me why I write, and I say it’s in order to not be humiliated. I don’t write for anything else except to not be humiliated. Every time I write, I keep telling myself that I won’t do it again, but it’s like I can’t contain it inside my body; I write, and it’s a relief.

    As a writer, if you know something and then you keep quiet, it’s like dying. Between the various choices of fear, I still choose to write rather than not write.

    * * *

    For many years, I have been writing and following resistance movements and the new economic policy. I’ve always found that the chances of coming upon despair are much greater in middle-class households, than on the ground where people are actually fighting. Middle-class people have the choice between hope and despair, just like they
    have the choice between shampoo for dry hair and oily hair; they have the choice between doing politics and interior design. People who are fighting don’t have a choice; they are fighting and they are focused and they know what they are doing. They are arguing with each other a lot, of course, but that’s all right.

  24. Gendzier, Irene L January 1, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    Dear Richard, Please know that you have my total support. Please also let me know if there is anything that I can do in your support. Irene

    • Richard Falk January 2, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      Dear Irene

      Thanks so much. Your support is always for me a source of strength!
      Wishing you the best possible 2013!

  25. David T. January 2, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Dear Mr. Falk,

    you’ve made some naive mistakes. 9/11, “Holocaust”, Gilad Atzmon, Hamas etc are all minefields in the political arena. No matter how precise an academic like you might formulate his position, the reaction of the potical brute will be as disproportionate as the military action some of them justify.

    Unable to refute your arguments ad rem, they will always attack you ad hominem to force you wasting your time defending your persona. And from my personal experience they won’t even win a debate about what’s antisemitic and what’s not and this discussion would be just another waste of time.

    To shift the debate back towards the case just ask them if your criticism is worse than the policies against Palestinians which are commited in their names or they defend.

    • Richard Falk January 2, 2013 at 9:13 am #

      I understand your reasoning, and mostly agree, but I am too long an adherent of dialogic democracy to absent myself from conversation even when I know that
      there is little interest in resolving or even understanding differences.

  26. Miss CostelloMiss Costello January 2, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Fred Skolnik; “You are surely joking”.
    Look in the mirror, YOU are the joke.

  27. Deir Yassin January 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Oh, my God, Mr. Falk ! You don’t know the CRIF ? This should be considered an honor, like being on that SHIT-List of “Self-Hating” Jews made by Massada2000.
    The CRIF is probably the most right-wing Israeli Hasbara-mouthpiece around, AIPAC is moderate in comparison. Their name does not reflect anything.
    CRIF spend most of their time accusing even the slightest critique of Israel of being antisemitic. The list of French Jews that have been accused by them is endless, and you’re in good company: Etienne Balibar, Rony Brauman, Michel Warschawski, Eric Hazan….. Everytime there’s a documentary about Palestine or Israel on French national television, they send letters complaining about anti-semitism if it doesn’t start and end with the HaTikva and Am Israel chai.

    “Lorsque Sharon est venu en France, je lui ai dit qu’il doit absolument mettre en place un ministère de la Propagande, comme Goebbels” [when Sharon came to France, I told him that he must absolutely create a ministry of Propaganda, like Goebbels], Interview of Roger Cukierman, leader of CRIF, Haaretz, 26 september 2001.
    CRIF is the French bureau of that Ministry that now exists under the direction of Youli Edelstein.
    Bon courage ! And thank you for standing up for justice.

  28. Maggie Roberts January 2, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    Dear Richard: I did not realize that they had taken you off Human Rights Watch. Is this true? I tried to post a comment, had difficulty but here is what I was going to say. “I have read with interest the comments forwarded, both supportive and deriding. My heartfelt thoughts are with you as you withstand criticisms from these people. If only they could see that the more they label impartial and honest people like you as antisemitic, people all over the world will begin to hate all Jews. Such a prospect is anathema to those who stand against injustice. Stay strong Richard. We all live and die but as Aristotle said – strive for the good life!.

  29. Fred Skolnik January 3, 2013 at 4:42 am #

    The Arabs started a war, lost a war and got their territory occupied. To get around these simple truths, Israel haters have had to invent a great many fictions, which they reinforce by uncritically quoting the fictions of other Israel haters, like Atzmon and Pappe, the darlings of the Israel-hating community. Why these people hate Israel instead of, say, Sudan or Rwanda, is something I will not go into again.

    The reason the occupation continues is because the Arabs cannot reconcile themselves to the existence of a non-Muslim country in the region, starting with the three famous noes of Khartoum and persisting to this day in the determination of Hamas and other terrorist organizations to annihilate the State of Israel. The reason Israel enforces security measures is for no other reason than to prevent terrorist attacks. Before the terrorist attacks began, despite the Arab rejectionism the Gaza border was virtually open with as many as 40,000 Gazans working in Israel every day along with tens of thousands more from the West Bank and an open bridges policy vis-à-vis Jordan.

    Israel has not built new settlements or expanded the boundaries of the old ones since the early 1990s. I realize that no one commenting here really cares about the fate of the Palestinian people – that is, does not have the slightest interest in how a real resolution of the conflict might come about – but for the record I will say once again that such a resolution will include a trade-off of territory that will entail the dismantlement of Israeli settlements outside the new border. It will also entail a symbolic return of refugees – the 40,000 or so that Olmert mentioned a few years ago happens, coincidentally or not, to be more or less the number of surviving refugees (the rest are their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren born outside Israel, and these will have to be dealt with by the Arab world just as Israel dealt with a similar number of Jews displaced from Arab countries at the time; in such a resolution of the refugee problem Israel has expressed a willingness to participate financially in their resettlement along with other Western countries and to compensate those who abandoned their property in Israel).

    Continuing to curse Israel and making unsubstantiated accusations with all the dirty words that Israel haters have at their disposal may be satisfying to such people but it certainly doesn’t help the Palestinians. If nonetheless that is all you wish to do, at least cite real evidence from real sources. It isn’t good enough to get all your information at third hand, even if it’s what you want to hear.

    • anthony Blake January 3, 2013 at 5:10 am #

      absolutely wonderful and concise and succinct reply Fred but rest assured the bile will return with the replies!

    • Richard Falk January 3, 2013 at 10:43 am #

      To Fred Skolnik:

      From first sentence onward your comment is a one-sided polemic. You do not
      even admit divergent views and interpretations.

      I suggest you read John Quigley’s THE SIX-DAY WAR AND ISRAELI SELF-DEFENSE
      just published by Cambridge University Press, which throws deep scholarly doubt on the Israeli narrative of the 1967 War.

      It is your tone and argument that converts criticism of Israel into ‘hate’
      and the like. What most critics are seeking are several things: respect for Palestinian rights under international law; Israel respect for international law and UN authority; a less arrogant approach to the conflict.

      Of course, there are other terrible things happening in the world, but this conflict is different, especially for Americans. This country has been funding Israel’s military capabilities for years, as well as supporting its diplomacy in the face of near universal censure; Israel is a nuclear weapons state in a volatile region, and has been threatening to initiate another war, this time against Iran, and without any sign that it will forego nuclear weapons.

      If you wish discussion of these views, you need to take account of the viewpoints of others, and not merely denounce those who disagree, or exaggerate their positions so as to make them seem one-sided and hateful.

      Mr. Skolnik:

      There is no possibility of dialogue if you present every criticism of Israel as evidence of ‘hate’ and the like. Your comment from start to finish is a one-sided polemic that gives no space for honest disagreement or divergent views.
      I suggest you read John Quigley’s scholarly THE SIX DAY WAR AND ISRAELI SELF-DEFENSE: QUESTIONING THE LEGAL BASIS FOR PREVENTIVE WAR, based on archival research into material just recently made available, and throwing doubt on the Israeli narrative about the 1967 war. Also, take a look at Miko Peled’s recent autobiographical book that argues along similar lines.

      As long as you regard critics of Israel as Israeli-haters you are avoiding the issues that engage most of us: seeking to protect Palestinian rights under international law; insisting that Israel obey international law and respect the authority of the UN; avoiding a war against Iran.

      Of course, there are many other problems in the world, but this conflict goes back to UN action at the end of World War II, and has a special relationship to the rest of the world, particularly for Americans whose government devotes billions to the Israeli war machine and shield Israel from censure at the UN and elsewhere.

      Besides, for most of my life, I have been concerned with a variety of other issues, including some in Asia and Africa.

      I do not doubt your sincerity, but to deny others the good faith of their views is to avoid engagement with everyone other than those that share your

      • Gene Schulman January 3, 2013 at 11:06 am #

        I would not have been so kind to Fred Skolnik. But then, I am not a diplomat like Richard Falk. Bravo, Richard, for your restraint, and wisdom.

      • Fred Skolnik January 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

        Dear Professor Falk

        I confess that I don’t get my information about Israel from scholarly books about Israel’s sins and the realities of the Middle East that are written by scholars who do not even understand the Hebrew language, let alone Arabic. How exactly did Quigley read this archival material? I live here, have lived through these wars, have witnessed the conflict, know it at first hand. I was here, for example, when the Jordanians bombarded the civilian population of Jewish Jerusalem on the night of June 5 after Israel virtually begged Hussein not to join the other Arab countries in attacking Israel and guaranteed that Israel would not act against Jordan if he didn’t (communicated to Hussein through General Odd Bull of the UN Truce Supervision Organization and through the U.S. State Department). (Hussein afterwards explained himself in terms of Arab manhood.) This was an act of war, as was the closing of the Straits of Tiran by Egypt, not to mention Egypt’s expulsion of UN Emergency Forces from Sinai and the massing of 100,000 troops and 1,000 tanks along Israel’s border there, all of which was accompanied by mass war hysteria in the Arab capitols and Nasser’s mocking invitation to Rabin “to come and get him.” What is there to interpret here?

        I understand why it is necessary to grasp at straws to establish Israel’s culpability and this is exactly what Israel haters are doing. My sense of the hatred of Israel that permeates the comments in these pages derives not from the criticism but from the language it is couched in. Rabbi Youdovin and many American Jews and non-Jews are critical of some and even many of Israel’s policies, without resorting to the kind of vehement and malicious invective one finds in your pages. The hatred is palpable. No one here is interpreting anything. These people are simply fulminating against Israel with the wildest language that you will let through. If you do not understand or want to understand where these sentiments are coming from, then you are blind, and I say this with all due respect.

        I am not aware that anything I have written in making the case for Israel in not correct. I have spelled out the history of the conflict as it is. There are no narratives here. There are two wars initiated by the Arabs that created both the refugee problem and the occupied territories. In 1948, Israel was prepared to live in peace, with both the Arabs in its midst and in the surrounding countries, in the territory allotted to it by the UN. In 1967, Israel was prepared to make peace with the Arabs and withdraw from all occupied territories with the exception, I imagine, of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, and maybe Gush Etzion as well though not necessarily. Those are the realities. The Palestinians have no one but themselves to blame for not having a state. Terrorism will not get them one. That is the gist of my argument.

      • Ray RayLil January 3, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

        You said: “. . . but this conflict goes back to UN action at the end of World War II, and has a special relationship to the rest of the world, . . .” This conflict has nothing to do with UN action at the end of WWII. The U.N. resolution 181 was merely a non-binding recommendation; it neither created the state of Israel nor gave the West Bank to Arabs.

        I emailed you all related info about a month ago. Please read my email.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin January 4, 2013 at 8:21 am #


        I haven’t had time to read John Quigley’s “The Six Day War and Israel’s Self Defense”, but a summary issued by his publisher indicates that its subject is the legality of Israel’s pre-emptive attack on Egypt and Syria on June 6, 1967, which he uses as a template for advancing highly restrictive criteria for legitimizing pre-emptive warfare. In fact, the full title of the book is “The Six Day War and Israel’s Self Defense; Questioning the Legal Basis for Preventative War.”

        Quigley’s bases his argument on the proven fact that the troops Nasser amassed on the border after ordering the UN Peacekeeping Force to leave were not in attack formation, and that the United States and key European nations did not believe Egypt and Syria planned to attack. The counter argument asks why Egypt and Syria amassed troops at the border and ordered out the peacekeepers if they didn’t plan to attack? Moreover, Nasser’s closing the Straits of Tiran to blockade the Israeli port of Eilat was, itself, a casus belli under international law.

        You cite Quigley’s thesis to support the narrative frequently repeated on this blog, apparently with you concurrence, that Israel planned and initiated the Six Day War as a vehicle for expanding its borders. That theory is unsupportable for a variety of reasons. I won’t take the time to enumerate them here (many have already been cited on this blog.) Suffice to say at this point that Quigley’s book does not provide evidence to support the allegation that Israel planned the war as an offensive war of aggression for the purpose of expanding territory.


      • Gene Schulman January 4, 2013 at 8:38 am #

        I haven’t read Quigley’s book, so I can’t say whether it supports Richard’s thesis or not. But certainly Tom Segev’s “1967” does support it. And Segev is an Israeli Jew who speaks and writes Hebrew. You say that other posts on this blog give evidence that Israel was in the right to make a pre-emptive attack on Egypt. I haven’t seen any, except for undocumented statements by Fred Skolnik. Why is it that everybody who disagrees with Israel’s foreign policies must be an anti-Semite or self-hating Jew, in your eyes? Isn’t it just possible that some Jews feel offended by being associated with fascist war mongers? That doesn’t change their Jewishness, rather their association with Zionism.

      • Richard Falk January 4, 2013 at 10:32 am #


        Quigley has access to much more extensive and varied archival material than was available to Segev, and is an authoritative account as far as I am concerned.


      • Richard Falk January 4, 2013 at 10:30 am #


        I suggest you read the entire book. The main thesis is that the Israeli military command appreciated that there was no security threat to Israel, but that there existed an opportunity to expand and strengthen Israel’s future security by acting in a self-defense mode. Quigley documents this claim with very extensive research in the historical records, and it a revisiting of the 1967 War that corresponds with the more informal account given by Miko Peled, son of the famous Israel general.

        The related question as to why the Arab neighbors helped create such a scenario by their posturing is an important issue that relates mainly to internal Arab politics at the time, as far as I understand the issue.

        Best for 2013,


      • Fred Skolnik January 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

        Dear Prof. Falk

        I’m aware that you’re not very interested in hearing from me, but the bombardment of Jerusalem, the closing of the Straits of Tiran and the shelling of settlements in Galilee are a litle more than posturing. You are to too quick to dismiss Arab actions as trivial, like the murderous attacks of Hamas, and therefore unworthy of response. No country can be expected to absorb these kinds of attacks, irrespective of whether they place their existence in jeopardy. Mentioning that a writer is the son of a “famous”” general does not validate his remarks. Certainly Israel thought out the implications of the war in terms of its future security but that does not mean that it sought it.

      • I'm with stupid January 6, 2013 at 10:20 am #

        What validates Peled’s remarks is that they what his father said to him.

      • Richard Falk January 6, 2013 at 11:36 am #

        I welcome your blog comments, but I ask two things in my effort to maintain
        civility in the face of controversy:
        –do not send multiple comments, but include what you wish to say in a single comment;
        –avoid personal attacks.

    • pipistro January 3, 2013 at 11:14 am #

      “The Arabs started a war, lost a war and got their territory occupied.”
      In the light of the basic principles of international law – one for all, the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by force – this proposition says it all. Insofar as resistance is a consequence, and occupation is its motive, the rest is chutzpah.

      • Ray RayLil January 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

        “The Arabs started a war, lost a war and got their territory occupied.” Even those who defend Israel don’t know what is going on. Again I have to inform everyone about international law. Before 1948, the West Bank belonged to Jews, not Arabs, under mandate of Palestine, which is a binding international law. In 1948, Israel lost the war, and therefore Arabs captured the West Bank. The U.N. resolution 181 (in 1948) was merely a non-binding recommendation. It did not create the state of Israel, nor it gave the West Bank to Arabs.

    • Brewski January 3, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      “The Arabs started a war”

      Ignoring the inadmissibility of territory gained in War no matter who is the aggressor, this trope has long been disqualified. Not by Pappe, not by Morris but by the document document “The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine in the Period 1/12/1947/­- 1/6/1948” …. produced by military intelligence SHAI of the Haganah entitled “The emigration of Palestinian Arabs in the period 1/12/1947-1/6/1948”, which states that 391,000 Palestinia­ns were driven from their homes during the 6 Months before any Arab State intervened and before UNGA 181 was to come into effect. Keesing’s Contemporary Archives in London place the total number of refugees before Israel’s independence at 300,000. Just some of the actions that took place before the Arab League intervened:
      Tiberias. April 8. 6,000 residents expelled
      Deir Yassin, April 9, 1948. (Around 107 villagers were killed, including women and children)
      Haifa 22/23 April. more than 100 killed 55,000 expelled by mortar and bomb attacks.
      Jaffa. 25 April (Jaffa was not even in the planned Jewish state), Begin launched a mortar bombardment which went on for three days during which twenty tons of high explosive were fired into the town. 50,000 expelled.

      So, according to Fred’s narrative, the expulsion of 300,000 people at gunpoint is not a cassus belli and the Arab League should have sat on its collective hands while all this was going on.

      • Fred Skolnik January 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

        Don’t quote documents that you are incapable of reading in the original.

        The contention that 400,000 Arabs were driven from their homes before the Arab invasion is totally unfounded and nothing of this sort is to be found in any Hebrew document.

        Arabs fled Israel before and during the war for 3 different reasons:
        because they were encouraged to do so by Arab leaders who assured them that they would be able to return to their homes after they finished slaughtering the Jews; because they were afraid to get trapped in a war zone; because they were indeed expelled by Israeli commanders.

        There is no way to ascertain, on the basis of the archive material, how many Arabs fled for each of these reasons. What can be ascertained is that it was not Israeli government policy to expel the Arabs. The government in fact encouraged them to stay. To the extent that there were expulsions, these were initiatives by Iocal commanders.

        To argue that the Arabs invaded Israel because of expulsions is something you are tossing into the pot on your own and has nothing to do with reality.

        War is not pleasant. In wars there are depredations on both sides. But Israel did not start these wars. The refugee problem can only be solved in the way I have indicated.

      • Brewski January 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

        Got me there Fred. I don’t read Hebrew. I assume Morris does though. You can read about the document here for starters.

        ” encouraged to do so by Arab leaders ” is also a trope long since dismissed
        “by an Israeli historian using the most scrupulous and authentic Zionist sources”
        You may read about that here:

        But leaving all that aside, even if we assume everything you say is true, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights dictates that all displaced persons must be permitted to return to their homes. That this applies to the Palestinian refugees has been confirmed many times including (UNGA) Resolutions 2535, and 3236 so no comfort for you in the denial of Historical documents.

      • Brewski January 3, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

        Nearly forgot.
        “To argue that the Arabs invaded Israel because of expulsions is something you are tossing into the pot on your own and has nothing to do with reality.”

        From article 10 of the declaration of the Arab League, May 15, 1948:

        “(b) Peace and order have been completely upset in Palestine, and, in consequence of Jewish aggression, approximately over a quarter of a million of the Arab population have been compelled to leave their homes and emigrate to neighbouring Arab countries. The prevailing events in Palestine exposed the concealed aggressive intentions of the Zionists and their imperialistic motives, as clearly shown in their acts committed upon those peaceful Arabs and villagers of Deer Yasheen, Tiberias, and other places, as well as by their encroachment upon the building and bodies of the inviolable consular codes, manifested by their attack upon the Consulate in Jerusalem.”

      • Fred Skolnik January 3, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

        This is evidence? An Arab League statement justifying their invasion of Israel? You’ll find similar documents produced by the Germans before they invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland.

      • Fred Skolnik January 3, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

        Dear Brewski, you are quoting what Morris wrote before he studied the newly opened archives and revised his views. That’s what happens in historiography when an historian is honest. The other citation is from Arab apologists like Chomsky and Finkelstein. We know what they have to say. They’ve built entire careers on attacking Israel.

      • I'm with stupid January 6, 2013 at 9:55 am #

        Yeah, Fred. Before Chomsky “started attacking Israel” what was he? Well, except about the most important linguist in modern history and a long-standing, world renowned dissident on US policy domestic and foreign.

        Good thing he started attacking Israel or he would have continued to be an unknown, third-rate academic.

      • Brewski January 4, 2013 at 12:28 am #

        Ah Fred. Morris did indeed change his mind. He did not change his findings however and he could not change the documents upon which he based them. He simply decided that the expulsion was necessary.
        Here he is in a 2004 Haaretz interview:

        Morris: “…in certain conditions, expulsion is not a war crime. I don’t think that the expulsions of 1948 were war crimes. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. You have to dirty your hands. …..”

        Ari Shavit: “So when the commanders of Operation Dani are standing there and observing the long and terrible column of the 50,000 people expelled from Lod walking eastward, you stand there with them? You justify them?”

        Morris: “I definitely understand them. I understand their motives. I don’t think they felt any pangs of conscience, and in their place I wouldn’t have felt pangs of conscience. Without that act, they would not have won the war and the state would not have come into being”.

      • Fred Skolnik January 4, 2013 at 12:40 am #

        Yes, he did change his findings. That’s how historiography works. As I mentioned to you, Palestinians fled Israel for 3 reasons and he acknowledges that is impossible to ascertain how many left for each reason. I also mentioned that the Arab world will have to accommodate the descendants of the refugees just as Israell accommodated the Jews displaced from Arab countries during and after the war. Would you really like to see the Palestinians get their state or is the cutting and pasting more of a kick?

      • Brewski January 4, 2013 at 12:57 am #

        For my further elucidation, please cut and paste the article that supports “Yes, he did change his findings”.

      • Fred Skolnik January 4, 2013 at 2:07 am #

        I don’t cut and paste. Read his “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War.” That’s a book.

      • Brewski January 4, 2013 at 11:09 am #

        Read it. Facts don’t change, only Morris’ speculations as to motives. But whatever his opinion, the documents, dates and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights remain. They prove that 391,000 civilians were expelled before May 15, good cause for intervention in anyone’s language and at the end of the War, around 726,000 indigenous people were displaced and have been denied their fundamental Human Rights, according to the UDHR, U.N. declarations and even Israel’s agreement, ever since. These people have been vilified by a deliberate campaign to perpetuate the denial, a campaign that you, either knowingly or unknowingly, participate in.

      • Fred Skolnik January 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

        There’s no sense going around in circles. You’re totally ubnqualified to make categorical statements about what happened in 1948. The refugee problem will be resolved in negotiations along the lines that I’ve indicated and not through oneupmanship.

      • I'm with stupid January 6, 2013 at 10:12 am #

        “You’re totally unqualified to make categorical statements about what happened in 1948. The refugee problem will be resolved in negotiations along the lines that I’ve indicated and not through oneupmanship.”

        As usual, Fred, you argue by projection: OTOH, your opponent is “totally unqualified” , but OTOH, one should not use “oneupmanship.”

        Nicely done.

    • Bill Michtom January 3, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      Unsurprisingly, there is a significant difference between Fred’s version of history and one that is not presented by a Zionist. I suggest looking at this article in Wikipedia:

      Most importantly, the idea that settlements are static is just nonsense.

      • Fred Skolnik January 3, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

        All building activity since the early 1990s has been inside existing settlements. If you need Wikipedia articles to understand the Arab-Israel conflict, you shouldn’t be making categorical statements about anything.

        As for your challenge to Rabbi Youdovin, here’s one for you to ponder (from Walker Percy). You can look for the others yourself:

        “Jews are always ultimately the victim, having set up circumstances to ensure their persecution by the larger community in response to their unethical business dealings, cultural insensitivity to other groups, nepotism, flaunting of wealth, and self-organization into exclusive ethnic enclaves…. If you go back to the 1930′s, you find the same complaints about German Jews.”

    • Ray RayLil January 3, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      Correction to your statement: Before 1948 the West Bank belonged to Jews, not Arabs, under international law, i.e., Mandate of Palestine. In 1948 Israel lost the war, and therefore Arabs captured the West Bank.

  30. Rabbi Ira Youdovin January 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    This discussion has consisted of (1) declarations of support for Prof. Falk, some laced with animus toward Israel and Jews (including one inspired soul who “quoted” Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellie Weasel; (2) a few expressions of mostly tasteless triumphalism from the Professor’s detractors. With the exception of several typically thoughtful comments from Fred Skolnik, there has been little or no attempt to address the question raised by Prof. Falk: is there substance in the CRIF’s case against him, and in Human Right Watch’s reasons for forcing him to resign from its board. The latter is the more significant of the two because unlike CRIF, which is a pro-Israel Jewish organization, HRW is a non-denominational agency that has been highly critical of Israel (check its website). What might prompt a peacenik watchdog agency to deem Prof. Falk as being unsuitable for board membership?

    This is not the first time Professor Falk has been censured, including by such high profile individuals as Ban ki-Moon, Susan Rice, and David Cameron. He attributes these instances to vilifying letters sent by Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, a Jewish NGO. That’s too facile. The aforementioned leaders assuredly receive numerous communications asking them to say something nasty about someone. It’s not likely that they denounced Prof. Falk without thoroughly checking Hillel Neuer’s accusations.

    Determining whether someone is an anti-Semite or self-hating Jew is beyond my capability, as the decision hinges on whether an internal pathology is at work. On the other hand, although I take no position on whether Prof. Falk is an anti-Semite or self-hating Jew, one can look for statements and acts that most people would agree are anti-Semitic. This approach adheres to Prof. Falk’s admonishing to focus on the message not the messenger.

    Apropos, I believe that the two most prominent matters of contention: the anti-Semitic cartoon and Prof. Falk’s post on Khaled Mashaal’s speech, offer nothing that helps in addressing the core issue. Prof. Falk’s claims that his failing eyesight prevented him from seeing the Star of David on the rodent’s helmet. Others reject the claim. Neither side can prove its case. I would like to accept the Professor’s word, but he undermines his credibility by falsely stating that he removed the cartoon immediately upon becoming aware of its complete message. In fact, his initial response was to deny the cartoon’s existence, going so far as to accuse Hillel Neuer of fabricating it. However, as the incident proves nothing, I agree with the Professor that UN Watch and others should give it a rest.

    Regarding Khaled Mashaal’s jihadist declaration, Prof. Falk’s outrageously apologetic treatment may reflect anti-Israel animus and/or a strong preference for Hamas over its rival Fatah, which he has criticized for “collaborating” with Israel. But as stated earlier, anti-Israel animus is not co-extensive with anti-Semitism. On the other hand, Human Rights Watch has good reason to be troubled by having a board member who sanitizes a proclamation of intent to destroy a sovereign state sitting on its board. HRW’s great contribution toward making this a better world lies in its commitment to confront and denounce hate speech, not in making excuses for it.

    I agree with Prof. Falk that some Jews allege anti-Semitism as a shield against having to deal honestly with Israeli violations. It’s assuredly true that not all criticism of Israel, even harsh criticism, reflects anti-Semitism. But some does. An important yardstick in identifying anti-Semitism is whether the statement uses traditionally anti-Semitic tropes and graphic images, especially references to the Holocaust.

    In 2007, a full year before his appointment as UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Prof. Falk published an essay, “Slouching Toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” in which he equated Israelis with Nazis. After identifying himself as an American Jew, which brought his Jewish identity into play, he wrote: “Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not.”

    The Professor’s post omits mention of this essay, although it’s central to the case against him. Indeed, when I referred to it in a comment posted on this blog, he responded that he had “never equated Israelis with Nazis, and find the accusation odious.” This was odd because the essay is easily accessible on line. Evidently, Prof. Falk is eager to disassociate himself from it, but is unwilling or unable to publicly repudiate or even modify it.

    There may be times when equating the actions of a state or organization with Nazism is appropriate. Israel should not be immune from the allegation, if it’s legitimate. But while acknowledging that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem entails human rights violations, these in no way constitute or portend a holocaust. The Nazis killed six million Jews and five million other human beings in a little more than a decade. In sharp contradistinction, the Palestinian population of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem has increased significantly since 1967. Calling Israelis Nazis is unambiguous defamation, laced with a heavy dose of anti-Semitic racism.

    A second marker of anti-Semitism is allusion to alleged Jewish character flaws. In 2011, Prof. Falk again stirred up controversy by giving an on-the-cover endorsement to the book “The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics” by Gilad Atzmon. He praised it as “A transformative story told with unflinching integrity that all (especially Jews) who care about real peace as well as their own identify should not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.”

    Many critics, Jewish and non-Jewish, have condemned the book as being anti-Semitic. In a long article published in The New Republic magazine, Alan Dershowitz, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, cited numerous quotes from the book to support his judgment that it is anti-Semitic, and invited Prof. Falk to defend his endorse in public debate. Prof. Falk declined the invitation, reinforcing the perception that he harbors a bias he is unwilling, or unable to defend.

    A third characteristic is overstating Israel’s failings in contradistinction to overdrawn depictions of Palestinian righteousness, so as to make Israel appear as the personification of evil waging a Holy War on goodness.

    Prof. Falk writes: “any fair reading of the 182 posts on my blog, including one devoted to Jewish identity, would make it very clear to any objective reader that I have not expressed a single sentiment that can be fairly described as an anti-Semite.” That may be technically correct. But an examination of his blog reveals more than he perhaps realizes.

    In all of his 182 posts, some of them lengthy, there is not one word that is favorable to Israel. Not one!!!! (I invite Prof. Falk’s supporters to check.) Nor is there much criticism of the Palestinians. He writes “I can only say once more that I am trying my best to be objective and truthful….” This is a mind-boggling claim when, in fact, his reporting is radically unbalanced.

    Calling out only one side for human rights violations inevitably demonizes it, which is a tactic long deployed by anti-Semites and is assuredly Prof. Falk’s intent. Reporting on the recent violence in Gaza with no mention of the years of relentless rocket attacks on Israeli civilians from inside Gaza creates the false impression that Israel launched an unprovoked attack for the sole purpose of harming innocent people. As the Professor’s denial of Palestinian bad deeds and bad judgment is systemic, the Falk Version is the Palestinian narrative on speed.

    Prof. Falk defends this approach by explaining that his mandate from the Human Rights Council precludes his reporting on violations by Hamas, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority. He claims that he initially requested a broader mandate that would allow him to take account of Palestinian violations, but was rebuffed by most of the 49 governmental members of the Council. That may be true. But why did he then accept the position knowing that his reports would distort the reality on the ground? Judge Goldstone rejected the same restrictions when invited by the UN to write a report on Operation Cast Lead, refusing to accept the position until they were removed. The UN acquiesced.

    Moreover, the repeated appearance of blatantly anti-Semitic comments on his blog—some of which are praised by Prof, Falk and their authors thanked—betrays sympathy for Jew-hatred.

    In summary, the case made against Prof. Falk is by no means based solely on his harsh criticism of Israel. Included are his racist slandering of Israelis as Nazis, his praise for a blatantly anti-Semitic book, his demonizing Israeli Jews through an outrageously one-sided narrative, and his willing acceptance of gutter anti-Semitism on this blog.

    It must also be added that Prof. Falk’s views are rejected by many non-Jews who are harshly critical of Israel. I’m thinking specifically of liberal Protestants who are extremely critical of the Occupation but are careful to avoid being indentified with Prof. Falk because of what they see as his anti-Semitism. The notion, perpetrated by Prof. Falk and repeated by many on this blog, that he is condemned only by Zionist Jews may be comforting to him and supporters, but it is patently false.

    It’s wrong for Jews to cry anti-Semitism as an excuse for not reckoning with Israeli violations. But it’s equally wrong to turn the accusation on its head and use it as an excuse for not coming to grips with ones own prejudices.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Gene Schulman January 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

      Oh dear. There are so many false factoids in this screed about Falk’s anti-Semitism that it would take too many hours to address them all, and it is late where I live. Allow me to just thank the good rabbi for finally dredging up the name of Alan Dershowitz, that paragon of balance. I’m surprised that he hasn’t commented on this blog, himself. Rabbi, you criticize Falk for not debating Dershowitz about Atzmon’s book. Why should he, when Dersh refuses to debate Atzmon, himself, about it? Citing Dershowitz shows your own true colors, and makes anything you have to say as irrelevant as anything he would say, or has said.

    • Bill Michtom January 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

      “An important yardstick in identifying anti-Semitism is whether the statement uses traditionally anti-Semitic tropes and graphic images, especially references to the Holocaust.”

      It has always seemed to me that a good guide for ANY bigotry is whether a person defines the group by the actions of some members. For anti-Semitism, that would be: is the description of the acts of Israel being conflated onto all Jews. That’s the most common example I see, along with the ludicrous “Jews control (or are attempting to control) the world.”

      Saying that references to the Holocaust are a problem in and of themselves is illegitimate for the same reason, i.e., conflating any reference of the Holocaust to the entirety of the Holocaust demonstrates the same problem as any bigotry. Context is tremendously important.

      “In all of his 182 posts, some of them lengthy, there is not one word that is favorable to Israel.”

      This is a matter of focus, not necessarily of prejudice. Is it a person’s responsibility, especially one who is focused on problematic actions, to be sure to praise the actor in question? No. It is, I think, an illegitimate criticism because it proves nothing one way or the other.

      “Calling out only one side for human rights violations inevitably demonizes it.” See above.

      “Judge Goldstone rejected the same restrictions when invited by the UN to write a report on Operation Cast Lead, refusing to accept the position until they were removed. The UN acquiesced.”

      However, immense pressure from Israel defenders was brought to bear on Goldstone until he changed his conclusions, at least publicly. So, again, not such a great example.

      Unsurprisingly, Dershowitz’s “quotes” are misleading, leaving out important context. Additionally, Dershowitz gives page numbers for some instances and not for others. Why would he do that if he really wanted people to check his claims. But, in the wonderful age of the Internet, this can be done. Mr. Dershowitz is, again not surprisingly, untrustworthy.

      “Moreover, the repeated appearance of blatantly anti-Semitic comments on [Prof Falk’s] blog—some of which are praised by Prof, Falk and their authors thanked—betrays sympathy for Jew-hatred.”

      It would be better for your case if you gave us quotes so that we could see if your references are more trustworthy than Mr. Dershowitz’s.

      “Reporting on the recent violence in Gaza with no mention of the years of relentless rocket attacks on Israeli civilians”

      This is another argument that depends on ignoring context: the vast difference between the damage done by Israeli attacks and those by the rockets. This is NOT to excuse the rocket attacks, merely to point out that your arguments, along with the oh-so-honorable Mr. Skolnick’s, tend to be biased toward your side while calling out the alleged bias of Mr. Falk.

  31. Gene Schulman January 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Perhaps, Mr. Skolnik, you should read some scholarly books instead of merely repeating the hasbara being fed to you by your local media. I would suggest one very important book that contradicts your own narrative of the 1967 war: “1967” by Tom Segev, a journalist scholar who does understand Hebrew. As an American, one of the most important segments in this book is about the attack on the USS LIberty. Of course, I was sad to learn that the US government was complicit in the cover up of that “incident.”

    Coeval in age with Richard Falk, I have been around long enough remember the history of Israel, and it has been sad for me to watch what was once thought to be haven for the Jewish people turn into totalitarian monster. Again, I am sad to realize that the US is still complicit.

    • Fred Skolnik January 3, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

      “Totalitarian monster” are just two big bad words strung together to vent your anger,

      The Liberty attack has nothing to do with what is being discussed here.

      I have not read Segev’s book. As I say, I was here. I listened to Jordanian radio telling us exactly what the Arabs intended to do to us and then I saw what they tried to do to us. I don’t require “hasbara.” And what exactly do you think happened? Did Nasser not close the Straits of Tiran? Did Hussein not bombard Jerusalem? Did Syria not shell Israeli settlements in Galilee?

      • sabashimon January 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

        Fred, you are wasting your breath here. Just as Pappe said facts are less important to him than the “narrative”, so too most of the folks you’re engaging with have no use for facts. They interfere with their…..narrative.

      • Fred Skolnik January 3, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

        I agree that I am wasting my breath. But maybe one or two of these people will look into the mirror and recognize their malice. Healthy people do not invest so much time scouring the Internet for incriminating evidence against their enemies. And sincere, unbiased people do not have categorical opinions about conflicts between distant countries they have never visited and whose language they don’t understand, using hostile sources that they are incapable of evaluating. If I were directed to consider the conflict between the Turks and Kurds, for example, the first thing I would recognize is that I am unequiped to express an informed opinion, and if I suddenly became an advocate, or rather hater, of one side or another, cutting and pasting like a madman to make a case, people who knew me would surely say, “What is wrong with you? Have you completely lost it? Get a life?”

      • Gene Schulman January 4, 2013 at 12:17 am #

        Hey, Fred, I don’t now you, but can still ask the question: ” What is wrong with you? Have you completely lost it? Get a life.” Your own knowledge of the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict is biased and, by your own admission, not based on scholarly records (you don’t read books). So why is your word any more valid than those who do? As you said, get a life!

      • Fred Skolnik January 4, 2013 at 12:58 am #

        “Did Nasser not close the Straits of Tiran? Did Hussein not bombard Jerusalem? Did Syria not shell Israeli settlements in Galilee?”

        What scholarly records say otherwise?

      • Miss Costello January 4, 2013 at 1:21 am #

        Fred Skolnik- ” No country is required to remain passive until an enemy has crossed its borders,” So where are they??

  32. rehmat1 January 3, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    The Six Day War was a planned Israeli aggression against its Arab neighbors. As result of Israel’s naked aggression, the Zionist regime was able to occupy Sinai and Gaza Strip (Egypt), the West Bank including Arab East Jerusalem (Jordan) and the Golan Heights (Syria). The Zionist leaders also had a plan to drop nuclear bombs on Cairo, Damascus and Amman, in case the Jewish army got tangled in a longer war with its Arab neighbors.
    A few months before the planned aggression – the Israeli leaders claimed that its Arab neighbors have become an “existential threat” to Israel. A similar lie they have been propagating against Iran to fulfil Zionists’ remaining dream of Eretz (Greater) Israel.
    There were no Arab armies planning to “push Israeli Jews” into Sea – a lie the Zionist regime have kept alive for the last 45 years. The ‘Six Day War’ was a US-Israel pre-planned expansionist aggression. Israel’s prime minister and former leader of Jewish terrorist organization (Irgun), Menachem Begin, admitted in 1982: “In June 1967 we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that (president of Egypt) Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him“.
    In order to drag the US into its aggression, Israeli air force attacked American Navy intelligence ship, USS Liberty, while sailing in international waters on June 8, 1967. The attack killed 34 American servicemen and injured 175 more. Mathilde Krim, a female Irgun operative was “servicing” president Lyndon Johnson in the White House the night the 1967 Israeli aggression began. The White House called the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty “an accident”.
    British veteran journalist and author, Alan Hart, in his book, ‘Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews‘ – and American author Jeff Gates in ‘Guilt by Association‘ have exposed Israeli lies about the ‘Six Day War’ and its continue cover-up by the US administrations since then.

    • Fred Skolnik January 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

      To anyone who takes this seriously, I can only say that when Israel did wait too long for “proof,” it got the 1973 war. No country is required to remain passive until an enemy has crossed its borders, nor does its very existence have to be threatened before it responds to warlike actions. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor did not endanger America’s existence but everyone understands America’s response. Israel took the initiative in the face of a situation that could have gotten out of control at any moment, taking into account, among other things, the war hysteria in the Arab capitols. And where it counts, from the Palestinian point of view, Jordan clearly struck first.

  33. Rabbi Ira Youdovin January 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm #


    I understand from your second paragraph that Quigley offers no explanation for why Egypt and Syria amassed troops on their border with Israel, why Nasser ordered the UN peacekeepers to leave and blockaded the Straits of Tiran, which is a casus belli under international law? With all due respect, you tend to use “internal Arab politics” as a default escape route when facts don’t support your narrative.

    Besides, Quigley’s account, even as you relate it, does not support the theory, articulated by you and others on this blog, that Israel planned the Six Day War as a vehicle for expanding its borders. Quigley apparently does not allege pre-planning (as Segev does).

    And what about Jordan, which would have been Israel’s first target were it planning expansion beyond minor border adjustments made for security purposes? Jordan was not attacked until the third day, and only after it had fired at targets inside Israel. Does Quigley account for that?

    (btw, my own theory, which I don’t often share, is that King Hussein entered the war for the express purpose of losing the West Bank. A very intelligent and prescient man, he understood that the rising tide of Palestinian nationalism could bring him severe domestic problems, especially with Jordan’s Palestinian majority. Three years later, the PLO launched the “Black September” civil war on Jordanian soil, which the King survived with essential Israeli assistance.)

    Finally, what’s the point on dwelling on events of 65 years ago when there is a general consensus that Israel will have to negotiate an international border on the basis of the Green Line (language of the recent UN resolution), and compensate for the remainder with negotiated land swaps? Squabbling over now-irrelevant details serves only to distract attention from the quest for peace, and fire up forces on both sides who reject compromise.



    • Evildoer January 4, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

      Dear Prof. Falk,

      I have great appreciation to your work at the UN and on behalf of Palestinian rights. I wish I could share your letter and defend you publicly. Unfortunately, I cannot do that in good conscience, although I have no reason to believe you are in fact an antisemite.

      In your response to the CRIF and UN Watch, you have zeroed in on their false accusations, and they are aplenty, while studiously ignoring the one accusation that sadly sticks: your enthusiastic endorsement of a plainly and incontestably antisemitic book.

      Your failure to address this charge makes your open letter disingenuous, since you only address the criticism you find easy to address. And the fact that you stick to that endorsement means that you yourself are not in my opinion able to recognize blatant antisemitism, a fact that renders worthless your profession of innocence. So why I think you are not an antisemite, I cannot in good faith take your self-defense seriously.

      • Richard Falk January 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

        Since my endorsement of this book has been attacked I have re-read several times, and I find
        it to be an intelligent and valuable self-reflection on the historical and intellectual underpinning
        of Jewish identity. I do not share the experience or all of the interpretations of the author, but to
        condemn it as anti-semitic (that is, as evincing a hatred of Jews) seems unfounded and unfair. In all
        my dealings with the author I have found him to be a gentle and warm personality without any evidence
        of hatred toward Jews, although raising questions about Jewishness and the Jewish heritage that deserve
        reflection and discussion, not denunciation and repudiation. I appreciate that some passages taken out
        of context can be read as inflammatory, but I do not believe that this is the intention or overall drift
        of the book’s main argument.

    • Fred Skolnik January 4, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

      At the risk of sounding impolite, I will make one further remark regarding the representation of Quigley as an authority. To the extent that he is discussing preemptive attacks as a legal issue, that is fine, but when he presumes to discuss Israel’s thinkig about going to war on the basis of documents that he is incapable of reading in the original, then he is out of his depth. No serious, self-respecting historian writes about a subject without understanding the language in which his source material is written. When Sir John Norwich wrote his bestselling history of Byzantium he apologized to the reader in front of each volume for only having schoolboy Greek and assured them that he was therefore only writing a popular history and not making any claim to academic scholarship. That is how Quigley’s book should be viewed and the attempt to pass him off as an authority is only emblematic of the way “evidence” is gathered in the effort to denigrate Israel.

      • Brewski January 4, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

        “No serious, self-respecting historian writes about a subject without understanding the language in which his source material is written. ”

        The cries heard amongst the gurgling sounds are those of babies being thrown out with the bathwater. Most notably Benny Morris who, to the best of my knowledge, is not fluent in Arabic which, under this dictate, would seem to be a requirement. Others of course include, well just about anyone in the business.

        Interestingly, Ilan Pappe seems best qualified, being fluent in both Arabic and Hebrew.

      • Fred Skolnik January 4, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

        Morris’s work is based on the Israeli archives and seeks to establish how the Israeli government and army acted in the 1948 war. I have mentioned his conclusions. Pappe’s work is based on the same archives. Morris has shown how Pappe mistranslates and misrepresents the material there. I realize that it is essential for you to establish Israel’s criminality. How this will help the Palestinians I have no idea, and I have the feeling that you don’t rerally care.

      • Brewski January 5, 2013 at 1:24 am #

        Leaving aside the matter at hand for a moment, it is observable that you make a lot of assumptions based on little or no data Fred. For example, writers and poster’s motivation and qualifications. The fact that these assumptions are wrong does not foster credibility in a polemicist who wishes his dicta to be taken at face value.

        But back to our topic.

        It is possible that Morris’ revised thesis (that there was no plan to expel Palestinians) might well be ascertained from Israeli Archives. But then there is the German case. There are, for example, no records alluding to the Holocaust in German archives. A researcher basing his work on that material would miss that event. Absence is not proof of absence in this case.
        We do know however, that somewhere around 800,000 Palestinians were displaced and their property became the property of the Israeli State (a remarkable happenstance if there were indeed no plan) but it really matters not if there was a plan – those people have an inalienable right to return to their homes and property. What is also beyond dispute is that plans were put in place to prevent this happening.

      • Fred Skolnik January 5, 2013 at 2:06 am #

        Your statement that there is no record of the Holocaust in German archives is nonsensical. Every breath of air taken in the Aktions, transports, camps, executions was meticulously documented and filed away.

        No one denies that there are refugees. I have indicated how the problem will be resolved in practical terms. Even Abu Mazen understands this but you apparently don’t.

      • Brewski January 5, 2013 at 3:46 am #

        Don’t obfuscate Fred. You know as well as I do that even the great Raul Hilberg stated that he knew of he knew of no documentary evidence that the Nazis murdered or planned to murder Jews in gas chambers.
        It could be said that detail of the expulsion of Palestinians is also well documented in Israeli records, for example the Israel Defence Forces Intelligence Service Analysis of June 1948 which I linked to above.
        The point at issue is whether or not Morris’ conclusions are reliable when based exclusively on Israeli archives as you have asserted.

      • Fred Skolnik January 5, 2013 at 4:00 am #

        Do you really want me to list the German and other archives where tens of millions of pages of documents are stored that set out in complete detail what was done to the Jews.

        Morris’s conclusions are obviously not based only on Israeli archives. But for your information, there are no Arab archives that are open to anyone.

        You still don’t seem to understand or want to understand that putting an end to the misery of the Palestinians is more important than scoring points in an argument.

        I’m going to sign off now. You can talk to yourself for a while.

      • Brewski January 5, 2013 at 5:39 am #

        “Do you really want me to list the German and other archives”
        I guess Hilberg is down the gurgler too. If it pleases you, just a few documents pertinent to the Nazi extermination plans would serve to prove him wrong.

        You now say: “Morris’s conclusions are obviously not based only on Israeli archives”
        At least you have resiled from the position forced by your former ill-judged statement. As a matter of fact, there is a raft of Arab material available including the Jordanian archives and I would be surprised if Morris had not done some research in that direction. The point of all that was simply to highlight the absurdity of your insisting on fluency which is almost as bizarre as your notion that folk such as I are motivated by hate, which I presume is the thrust of your last paragraph.

      • Fred Skolnik January 5, 2013 at 7:01 am #

        You win. You’ve dragged me down to your level. Hilberg himself based the first edition of his history on the so-called Nuremberg Archive, a collection of 36,000 captured Nazi documents that the prosecutors drew from to tie the defendants to their crimes. Visit the Holocaust memorials at the camps and you’ll find plenty of material telling you how they operated. Visit the Berlin archive and you’ll find the records of the SS. Visit Yad Vashem and you’ll discover that there really was a Holocaust and that the Germans planned and implemented it and wrote it all down.

        Excerpts from the meeting between Adolf Hitler and the Mufti, Haj Amin Husseini, on 28 November 1941.
        The notes were taken by Dr. Paul Otto Schmidt and are quoted in Gerald Fleming’s “Hitler and the Final Solution”, p. 101-104. Also geheime Reichssache 57 a/41, Records Dept. Foreign and Commonwealth Office Pa/2:

        The F�hrer then made the following declaration, requesting the Mufti to lock it deep in his heart:

        1) He (the F�hrer) would carry on the fight until the last traces of the Jewish-Communist European hegemony had been obliterated.

        2) In the course of this fight, the German army would – at a time that could not yet be specified, but in any case in the clearly foreseeable future – gain the Southern exit of Caucasus.

        3) As soon as this breakthrough was made, the F�hrer would offer the Arab world his personal assurance that the hour of liberation had struck. Thereafter, Germany’s only remaining objective in the region would be limited to the annihilation of the Jews living under British protection in Arab lands.


        Adolf Hitler, quoted in “Hitler,” by Joachim Fest, Vintage Books Edition, 1974, p. 679-680:

        Nature is cruel; therefore we are also entitled to be cruel. When I send the flower of German youth into the steel hail of the next war without feeling the slightest regret over the precious German blood that is being spilled, should I not also have the right to eliminate millions of an inferior race that multiplies like vermin?


        Speeches by Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler before senior SS officers in Poznan, October 4 and 6, 1943.
        Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals – Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1949-1953, Vol. XIII, p. 323, and Himmler, Reichsfuehrer-SS – P. Padfield, Henry Holt and Co, NY, 1990, p. 469:

        I mean the evacuation of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish race. It’s one of those things it is easy to talk about, “the Jewish race is being exterminated”, says one party member, “that’s quite clear, it’s in our program, elimination of the Jews, and we’re doing it, exterminating them”. And then they come, 80 million worthy Germans, and each one has his decent Jew. Of course the others are vermin, but this one is an A-1 Jew. Not one of those who talk this way has watched it, not one of them has gone through it. Most of you know what it means when 100 corpses are lying side by side, or 500, or 1,000. To have stuck it out and at the same time – apart from exceptions caused by human weakness – to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard. This is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and is never to be written.

        I ask of you that what I say in this circle you really only hear and never speak of. We come to the question: how is it with the women and the children? I have resolved even here on a completely clear solution. That is to say I do not consider myself justified in eradicating the men – so to speak killing or ordering them killed – and allowing the avengers in the shape of the children to grow up for our sons and grandsons. The difficult decision has to be taken, to cause this Volk [people] to disappear from the earth.

        [This speech was recorded; the magnetic tapes are in the National Archives in Washington, DC]


        Speech by Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler at Kharkow, April 1943.
        Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression – Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1946, Vol. IV, p. 572-574:

        We have – I would say, as very consistent National Socialists, taken the question of blood as our starting point. We were the first really to solve the problem of blood by action, and in this connection, by problem of blood, we of course do not mean antisemitism. Antisemitism is exactly the same as delousing. Getting rid of lice is not a question of ideology. It is a matter of cleanliness.


        The Goebbels [Reich Propaganda Minister] Diaries, February 14 1942.
        The Goebbels Diaries 1942-1943 – L.P. Lochner, Doubleday & Co., 1948, p. 86:

        World Jewry will suffer a great catastrophe at the same time as Bolshevism. The F�hrer once more expressed his determination to clean up the Jews in Europe pitilessly. There must be no squeamish sentimentalism about it. The Jews have deserved the catastrophe that has now overtaken them. Their destruction will now go hand in hand with the destruction of our enemies. We must hasten this process with cold ruthlessness.


        The Goebbels [Reich Propaganda Minister] diaries, March 27, 1942.
        The Goebbels Diaries 1942-1943 – L.P. Lochner, Doubleday & Co., 1948, p. 147-148:

        Beginning with Lublin, the Jews in the General Government [Nazi occupied Poland] are now being evacuated eastward. The procedure is a pretty barbaric one and not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews. On the whole it can be said that about 60 percent of them will have to be liquidated whereas only 40 percent can be used for forced labor.


        Speech by Hans Frank [Governor of occupied Poland], to German soldiers in Poland, urging them to write home.
        Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression – Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1946, Vol. II, p. 633-634:

        In all these weeks, they [i.e., your families] will be thinking of you, saying to themselves: my God, there he sits in Poland where there are so many lice and Jews, perhaps he is hungry and cold, perhaps he is afraid to write. It would not be a bad idea to send our dear ones back home a picture, and tell them: well now, there are not so many lice and Jews any more, and conditions here in the General Government have changed and improved somewhat already. Of course, I could not eliminate all lice and Jews in only one year’s time. But in the course of time, and above all, if you help me, this end will be attained. After all, it is not necessary for us to accomplish everything within a year and right away, for what would otherwise be left for those who follow us to do?


        Speech by Hans Frank [Governor of occupied Poland], December 16 1941.
        Documents on the Holocaust – Edited by Y. Arad, Y. Gutman, A. Margaliot, NY, Ktav Pub. House in Association with Yad-Vashem, 1981, p. 247, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression – Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1946 Vol. II p. 634:

        One way or another — I will tell you quite openly — we must finish off the Jews. The F�hrer put it into words once: should united Jewry again succeed in setting off a world war, then the blood sacrifice shall not be made only by the peoples driven into war, but then the Jew of Europe will have met his end….

        But what should be done with the Jews? Can you believe that they will be accommodated in settlements in the Ostland? In Berlin we were told: why are you making all this trouble? We don’t want them either, not in Ostland nor in the Reichskommissariat; liquidate them yourselves! Gentlemen, I must ask you to steel yourselves against all considerations of compassion. We must destroy the Jews wherever we find them, and wherever it is at all possible, in order to maintain the whole structure of the Reich…

        The Jews represent for us also extraordinary malignant gluttons. We have now approximately 2,500,000 of them in the General Government [Nazi occupied Poland], perhaps with the Jewish mixtures and everything that goes with it, 3,500,000 Jews. We cannot shoot or poison those 3,500,000 Jews, but we shall nevertheless be able to take measures which will lead somehow to their annihilation, and this in connection with the gigantic measures to be determined in discussions with the Reich.

        Letter from Hugo H�ppenerner, higher SS and Police leader in the Warthegau, to SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, July 16 1941:
        Documents of Destruction – R. Hilberg, Quadrangle Books, Chicago, 1971, p. 87.
        Enclosed is a memorandum on the results of various discussions held locally in the office of the Reich Governor.

        Subject: Solution of the Jewish question

        4) This winter there is a danger that not all of the Jews can be fed anymore. One might weigh honestly, if the most humane solution might not be to finish off those of the Jews who are not employable by means of some quick-working device. At any rate, that would be more pleasant than to let them starve to death.

        5) For the rest, the proposal was made that in this camp all the Jewish women, from whom one could still expect children, should be sterilized so that the Jewish problem may actually be solved completely with this generation.


        Excerpted from a memorandum dated 27 April, 1942 by Dr. Erhard Wetzel (a lawyer), who was serving as desk officer in the Reich Ministry for the Eastern Territories.
        “Nazism: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, 1919-1945”, Volume II, J.Noakes and G.Pridham, editors. Schocken Books, New York, (c)1988 by the Dept. of History and Archeology, University of Exeter. ISBN 0-8053-0973-5 (vol. 1), 0-8052-0972-7 (vol. 2). Document #690 on p.979:

        Re: the Solution of the Polish Question

        …It should be obvious that one cannot solve the Polish problem by liquidating the Poles in the same way as the Jews. Such a solution to the Polish problem would burden the German people with guilt for years to come and lose us the sympathies of people everywhere, particularly since our neighbors would be bound to reckon that they would be treated in the same way when the time came.


        A letter to Rosenberg enclosing reports from Generalkommisar for White Russia, Wilhelm Kube, about the extermination of Jews in the east, June 18 1943.
        Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression – Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1946, Vol I, p. 1001:

        …The fact that Jews receive special treatment requires no further discussion. However, it appears hardly believable that this is done in the way described in the report of the General Commissioner of 1 June 1943. What is Katyn against that? Imagine only that these occurrences would become known to the other side and exploited by them! Most likely such propaganda would have no effect only because people who hear who hear and read about it simply would not be ready to believe it.

        [“Special treatment” and “resettlement” mean extermination, as is obvious from many such documents; consider, for instance, the following]


        Memorandum from Gestapo Headquarters, 15 June 1944.
        Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals – Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1949-1953, Vol. IV, p. 1166:

        In amending my directive of June 20 1944, I request that those people subject to special treatment be sent to a crematorium to be cremated if possible.

      • I'm with stupid January 7, 2013 at 12:36 am #

        Fred, you left out that Hilberg’s book is in its third edition.

      • Brewski January 5, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

        No Fred. We are definitely not debating on the same level for, if you remember, that debate was about Historical method. It is not necessary for me to discuss the provenance of any of the screed you posted for, as you point out, Raul Hilberg was aware of it. His conclusions are sufficient for me. Furthermore, one does not have to look very deeply into the words and diaries of Jabotinsky, Ben Gurion, Begin et al to find equally disturbing, similar rhetoric.

        This whole amusing exercise has been, to the perceptive reader I hope, a demonstration of the taxi-cab logic inherent in Zionist ideology and tactic.You ride on one premise while it suits, then abandon it and choose another. Historians are used in similar fashion. While they toe the Zionist line, they are held up as gospel, should they detract, they are abandoned. In Morris’ case, the reverse is true. Zionists who once spat at the mention of his name now quote him willy-nilly, conveniently forgetting his avowed racism and apologetic for genocide whilst striking out any opponent on far less serious ideological grounds as they have done to Professor Falk.

        What is also demonstrated is your unwillingness to approach the hard questions. Despite the unequivocal status of the Palestinian refugees in International Law and their inalienable rights, your response to to folk like me (and I dare to say, Professor Falk) who stand up for those rights is to level accusations of hate.

        That is enough for now.

    • pipistro January 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

      “I now approach my final comment. It is a reflection on the future. The Court, in paragraph 162, observes that in its view this tragic situation can be brought to an end only through implementation in good faith of all relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973)”(Advisory Opinion, para. 162) […] The obligations emanating from these resolutions are obligations of result of paramount importance. They are synallagmatic obligations in which the obligation of each party constitutes the raison d’être of the obligation of the other. It is legally wrong and politically unsound to transform this obligation of result into a mere obligation of means, confining it to a negotiating process.” (ICJ Advisory Opinion 2004 – Separate opinion of Judge Elaraby)

      “…no one should be oblivious that negotiations are a means to an end and cannot in themselves replace that end. The discharge of international obligations including erga omnes obligations cannot be made conditional upon negotiations.” (ICJ Advisory Opinion 2004 – Separate opinion of Judge Al-Khasawneh)

    • I'm with stupid January 6, 2013 at 10:18 am #

      “Squabbling over now-irrelevant details serves only to distract attention from the quest for peace, and fire up forces on both sides who reject compromise.”

      Attacking Gaza for freely electing Hamas looks a lot like rejecting not only compromise but democracy. Additionally, deciding to vastly expand building in retaliation for a UN vote on Palestinian status does not look like the action of someone who wants compromise.

  34. Jo from France January 4, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    It is not always easy to say the truth only Time Will help to be thruly heard …
    Thanks for your work, people like you help not to despair
    A french citizen

    In french:

    La vérité n est pas toujours facile dire et c est seulement avec le temps que vous serez vraiment audible..
    Merci pour votre travail, c est grâce à des gens comme vous que l on ne désespère pas..
    Un citoyen Français

  35. Evildoer January 5, 2013 at 2:16 am #

    I understand your reply as the statement of your opinion, and all I can say again is that this proves that you don’t understand what the word ‘antisemitism’ means, and are refusing to educate yourself. That takes away the credibility of your self-defense. Obviously, the credibility of “I am not an antisemite” requires some evidence that the person saying it can identify antisemitism. Your definition of antisemitism as “hating Jews” is a joke. Racism is not a personal affect. It is a political phenomenon. Unfortunately, I cannot simply circulate your open later because I don’t find it credible. So I wrote my own take.

    • Gene Schulman January 5, 2013 at 2:57 am #

      Among the first lines in the Hippocratic oath is “do no harm.” With friends like you, Evildoer, Falk needs no enemies. Your attempt to excuse Falk’s position as stated in his open letter, smears him even more than the original NGO smear. Richard doesn’t need me to defend him, he does well enough himself. But I do take offense at your attacking him on other grounds than the mandate for which he is responsible: to report on human rights offenses by Israel in the occupied territories.

      Re his endorsement of Atzmon’s book, you may not care for it and interpret it as anti-Semitic, but that does not mean it is not a valuable book. After I read it when it first came out, I purchased and handed out over twenty copies to friends whom I thought needed an education in Jewish identity politics. I have corresponded with Atzmon and can’t find a whit of anti-Semitism in his thinking. The same for Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappe, all of whom have been banned from entering Israel. Israel does itself no favors by banning authors and books. I seem to remember the Nazis doing the same during the their reign in Germany.

      I stand 100% percent behind Richard Falk. He is as a light unto nations!

      • Fred Skolnik January 5, 2013 at 3:09 am #

        You are misinformed. Israel does not ban books. As for banning people, it has a perfect right to declare malicious enemies persona non grata, as does any other country.

      • Evildoer January 5, 2013 at 3:18 am #

        Gene, I’m glad that you take offense at my opinions. Being offensive to antisemites is something I take pride in.

      • Gene Schulman January 5, 2013 at 4:36 am #

        As a good Jew you must remember this from Proverbs: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” I promise not to clap when it happens to you.

      • deepaktripathi January 5, 2013 at 5:19 am #

        Thanks Gene for saying this. I have also met Gilad Atzmon, and do not share the allegations against him at all. Severe criticism of one’s own country and society is an essential element of human freedom which everybody has a right to. Even the most authoritarian regimes have found it difficult to prevent it. I believe Richard Falk is absolutely right in his stand.

        Deepak Tripathi

      • Gene Schulman January 5, 2013 at 8:06 am #

        I thank you, Deepak. Always good to have reasonable support. It’s too bad that among so many favorable opinions of Richard’s positions there have to be a few fruitcakes like the good rabbi and Fred Skolnik, that want to hog the blog. Not enough they have to disagree with Richard, they also must teach us about the Holocaust, as though we hadn’t heard about it, or somebody had been denying it. That subject has nothing to do with that of Richard’s blog, but they must see themselves in print, trying to prove that they exist. Alas.

      • Fred Skolnik January 5, 2013 at 8:11 am #

        Your friend Brewski is denying it in his own twisted, self-satisfied way.

        “Don’t obfuscate Fred. You know as well as I do that even the great Raul Hilberg stated that he knew of he knew of no documentary evidence that the Nazis murdered or planned to murder Jews in gas chambers.”

    • wingsprd January 5, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

      Hey Evildoer, isn’t what the Zionists have, and are, doing, to the Palestinians racism? Take the blinkers off. ps you obviously can’t spell so why should we take your posts seriously. ….Delete!!

      • Evildoer January 6, 2013 at 4:08 am #

        So what you’re saying, Wingred, is that Zionism is the moral beacon whose standard of behavior your seek to emulate. Good to know.
        PS, you failed your punctuation class. Delete!

  36. Ceylan January 6, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    Dear Richard,

    At first I thought this was some practical joke, honestly!

    When I began to read the comments left after your open letter to CRIF, half way through them, once again it became clear that how some people can be easily mislead by disinformation, I was terrified!

    Than I looked up for that tiny yet worth a whole library worth book on my bookcase, of another “open letter” from by gone days: “J’ACCUSE” by Emile Zola.

    Meanwhile I also remembered reading, recently, an article on FP (December 14th, 2012,) defending Susan Rice on some “false accusations”, written by Albright & Berger: “The Real Susan Rice, Setting the Record Straight on UN Ambassador” .
    Ironic I thought 🙂

    Here with this comment, I am not going to defend you or try to flatter you and your fans 🙂

    I will simply and humbly like to re-fresh our memories and in particular the members or sympathizers of CRIF or for that matter those who might even have a slight doubt about you regarding the false accusations:
    PLEASE KINDLY read or re-read on Dreyfuss Affair & Zola’s “J’ACCUSE”.

    For those who does not have the patience nor the time I will copy paste some excerpts from hundreds of references one can google search:

    + + +

    As the
    amazed London Times noted: “Zola’s true crime has been in daring to rise to defend the
    truth and civil liberty … [and] for that courageous defense of the primordial rights of the
    citizen, he will be honored wherever men have souls that are free …”

    France delivered a famous eulogy:
    “Given the obligation which befalls me to recall the struggle waged by Zola on behalf of
    truth and justice, is it possible for me to remain silent concerning those men so
    passionately bent on destroying an innocent man? … How might I remove them from
    your sight when it is mine to show you Zola rising up, weak and unarmed, before them?

    “Let us envy [Zola]: he has honored his country and the world with an immense body of
    work and a great deed … [H]is destiny and his courage combined to endow him with the
    greatest of fates. He was a moment in the conscience of humanity.”

    Echos of the Dreyfus Affair had a lasting impact on modern Jewish history, proving to
    many securely-assimilated Jews the latent power of anti-Semitic hatred, even in a
    democratic country. It drove Theodor Herzl from a complacent European liberalism to
    his conviction of the need for an independent Jewish State. And J’Accuse was the turning
    point of “l’Affaire”—written and published by non-Jews, it was a landmark in modern
    Jewish history, signifying the eventual triumph of truth, justice and political freedom over
    the mostly deeply-rooted anti-Semitic prejudice.

    + + +

    It seems from 19th to the 21st century we are still skidding at the same spot in history due to our short memory -ironically and significantly in particular those members of CRIF.

    As the title of a related conference presentation by a Christophe Charle ( ) suggests it is surely a “blindness of historical memory” on their side. I humbly suggest those French Jews and those who are in the same par with them to refresh their memories by reading more on their own history.

    In Christophe Charle’s words, you are a true “intellectuel” (with an “e” not an “a”!) and a democrat with a deep conscience for humanity. Yet, you seem to forget that we are living in the age of “liberal democrats” for whom anything and everything has a justification, including false accusations.

    Thank you for being a “romantic” democrat and an “intellectuel”: your kind is not produced anymore so please hang on there since you are the mirror of our conscience by being both Dreyfuss and Zola.



  37. Miss Costello January 8, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Reply to Walker Percy’s second comment re. Elizabeth Morley.

    Which century were you born in?? “delicate flower”-“nice ladies” -“not emotionally capable”.

    What an outdated and blatantly sexist remark to make of someone you know absolutely nothing about. I do – and I can categorically state here and now; Elizabeth Morley is neither a ‘delicate flower’ OR ‘nice lady’, in the patronising sense YOU imply. Elizabeth is one powerful woman here in the UK, who has earned the respect of all those fortunate enough to witness her passionate dedication and support for the Palestinian people in a way that puts most of us to shame. Myself included. And what would YOU know of her “emotional capability”? Not that it’s any business of yours, Elizabeth Morley has faced many challenges in her lifetime with great courage. She certainly doesn’t need any help from the likes of a complete nincompoop on ‘emotional capability’.

  38. Chriatian West February 21, 2013 at 3:48 am #

    “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

    Pamela Geller.

    (and a few billion, or so, of civilized people)

    • pipistro February 21, 2013 at 10:19 am #

      And at least some spelling killers, I guess.

  39. Beau Oolayforos November 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,
    To paraphrase Shakespeare, when you speak the truth, you shame a lot of devils, and they’re not going to stay quiet.

  40. leaflet insertion mumbai March 22, 2016 at 2:05 am #

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  1. Richard Falk: An Open Letter of Response to CRIF (Counsèil Représentif des Institutions juives de France) « Peace and Justice Post - December 31, 2012

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  3. An Open Letter of Response to CRIF (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France) | Reflections – Deepak Tripathi's Diary - December 31, 2012

    […] BY RICHARD FALK  […]

  4. Open Letter of Response to CRIF (Counsèil Représentif des Institutions juives de France) ~ by Prof. Em. Richard Falk | Occupied Palestine | فلسطين - January 1, 2013

    […] Richard Falk Weblog | Dec 30, 2012 […]

  5. » Il critique Israël, le CRIF hurle à « l’antisémitisme » : Richard Falk contre-attaque - January 2, 2013

    […] Trois jours plus tard, nous avons contacté l’intéressé afin de l’informer de ces propos et de s’enquérir de sa réaction. Issu de la prestigieuse université de Princeton, ce professeur émérite de droit international, âgé de 82 ans, a d’abord préféré ignorer une telle attaque. Nous lui avons alors proposé de nous transmettre sa propre tribune afin de donner aux citoyens français l’opportunité d’entendre sa voix. Après avoir hésité sur la forme de sa réponse, Richard Falk nous a finalement fait parvenir le samedi 29 décembre une lettre ouverte à l’attention du CRIF. Le lendemain, il publia en parallèle sa tribune sur son propre blog. […]

  6. 'It is a grave disservice to Israel and Jews to confuse criticism of Israel’s behavior with anti-Semitism' -- Richard Falk - January 3, 2013

    […] Richard Falk has responded on his blog: […]

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  8. Richard Falk : lettre ouverte au CRIF - January 4, 2013

    […] Source : et le blog de Richard Falk […]

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