Syria: What to Do Now

26 Feb


            There is a new mood of moral desperation associated with the ongoing strife in Syria that has resulted in at least 135,000 deaths, 9.3 millions Syrians displaced, countless atrocities, Palestinian refugee communities attacked, blockaded, and dispersed, and urban sieges designed to starve civilians perceived to be hostile. As the second round of negotiations in Geneva-2 ended as fruitlessly as the earlier round, there is a sense that diplomacy is a performance ritual without any serious intent to engage in conflict-resolving negotiations. Expectations couldn’t be lower for the as yet unscheduled, but still planned, third round of this Geneva-2 process.


The Damascus regime wants an end to armed opposition, while the insurgency insists upon setting up a transition process that is independently administered and committed to the election of a new political leadership.The gap between the parties is too big, and getting bigger, especially as the Damascus government correctly perceives the combat tide as turning in its favor, leading the main opposition forces seemingly to seek to achieve politically and diplomatically what they appear unable to do militarily. Also, it is unclear whether the opposition presence in Geneva has the authority to speak on behalf of several opposition groups in the field in Syria.


In light of these frustrations it is not surprising to observe an acrimonious debate unfolding between American interventionists who believe that only force, or at least its threat, can thread the needle of hope. The interventionists, invoking the responsibility to protect norm that was used effectively to mobilize support in the Security Council to mandate a no fly zone in Libya back in 2011, suggest that such an approach should be used again in 2014 either to establish a no fly zone opening a corridor that will allow humanitarian aid to flow to besieged cities or to achieve regime change in Syria as the only way to end the ordeal by ridding the country of a governing process guilty of repeated mass atrocities against its own people.


The anti-interventionists point out that the Libyan precedent of 2011 is tainted by the deliberate expansion of the humanitarian scope of what was authorized by the UN Security Council to undertake a much wider campaign with the clear intent of regime change, which in fact ended with the capture and execution of Qaddafi, then the head of state in Libya. It is also somewhat tarnished by the post-Qaddafi realities of widespread militia violence and the failure to develop a coherent and legitimate governance structure. The anti-interventionist argue that introducing external military force almost always makes matters worse, more killing, more devastation, and no politically sustainable outcome, and there is no good reason to think this will not happen in Syria. Furthermore, without a Security Council mandate such a use of military force would once again be undertaken in violation of the UN Charter and international law as it could not be justified as self-defense.


Providing humanitarian relief in a situation mainly free of internal political struggle should be sharply distinguished from the realities amid serious civil strife. The response to the Somali breakdown of governability during the presidency of George H. W. Bush in 1992, is illustrative of a seemingly pure humanitarian response to famine and disease characterized by a posture of political non-interference and by the shipment of food and medical supplies to a people in desperate need. This contrasted with the supposedly more muscular response to a troubled Somalia during the early stages of the Clinton presidency in 1993 when the humanitarian mission was fused with anti-‘warlord’ and political reconstruction goals. Difficulties soon emerged as robust national armed resistance was encountered culminating in the Blackhawk Down incident that resulted in 18 deaths of American soldiers, prompting an almost immediate American pullout from Somalia under a cloud of intense criticism of the diplomacy of ‘humanitarian intervention’ within the United States. This had the disastrous spillover effect of leading the supposedly liberal Clinton White House to discourage even a minimal humanitarian response to the onset of genocide in Rwanda in 1994, which might have saved hundreds of thousand of lives.  In the Rwanda context the United States Government even discouraged a modest upgraded response by the United Nations that already had a peacekeeping presence in the country, and whose commander urged reinforcements and authority to protect the targets of genocidal massacres. This failure to act in Rwanda remains a terrible stain on America’s reputation as a humane and respected world leader, and is frequently interpreted as a racist disregard of threats confronting an African population when no major strategic interest of Western countries were present on the side of the victims.


The Syrian reality since its inception was dominated by a political uprising, later an insurgency, demanding regime change in Damascus.  It was also beset with a leadership deficit and by factionalism that only became worse with the passage of time. It was further complicated and confused by its proxy dimensions, both in relation to the supply of arms and with respect to diplomatic alignment.


The humanitarian relief argument to be credible, much less persuasive, needs to deal with the complexities of Somalia 2, and not act as if the humanitarian response can be addressed in detachment from the political struggle as was the case in Somalia 1. When political objectives become intertwined with a humanitarian rationale, forces of national resistance are activated on the reasonable assumption that the real goal of the mission is the political one, and the humanitarian relief is being used as a cover. As we can foresee, this complexity makes for a stiffer climb facing an advocate of humanitarian intervention in the current Syrian tragedy. There exists a more difficult burden of persuasion, although not an impossible one. Indeed, against the background of recent failed interventions, every proposed intervention confronts such a burden at some level. The Syrian case makes this burden more formidable, given the record of past interventions in the region and considering the mixture of forces that make up ‘the opposition,’ which is so far from unified even in carrying on the struggle against the Assad regime, on occasion diverting attention to take action against a rival faction.


In fact, the Syrian situation has an originality that makes the Somalia template clarifying, but hardly definitive. The Syrian political struggle is more acute and vicious than was the case in Somalia 2. Also the humanitarian crisis is deeper and the plight of many Syrians caught in the maelstrom of this horrifying war that is both internal and contains regional proxy elements in ways that make it more confusing as to the probable effects of threats and uses of force on behalf of genuine humanitarian goals.


My basic contention is that there are no easy answers at this stage as to what should be done about the Syrian situation, and dogmatic discourse for or against intervention misses the deeply tragic nature of the policy predicament for all political actors. I would feel more comfortable about the intervention debate if it were expressed in a discourse that accords prominence to the virtue of humility. Too much in Syria remains unknowable to have any confidence that a clear line of advocacy will be historically vindicated.


For me the fundamental question is what it is best to do or not do in such a desperate situation of radical uncertainty. It is not only that the interventionists, and perhaps the anti-interventionists are motivated by a convergence of humanitarian/moral considerations with geostrategic ambitions, but that the nature of these hidden calculations are discussed in governmental circles behind locked doors and transcribed in secret policy memoranda. Until we address these questions of consequences and secret goals in the context of uncertainty and unknowability, the public discourse on what to do about Syria offers limited insight into how best to evaluate policy options being endorsed by policymakers and leaders. I hope that such a discussion will ensue, and replace the rather pointless and dogmatic self-righteous indignation of both interventionists and anti-interventionists.


I remember hearing the senior State Department diplomat, George Ball, speak just weeks after he left the government in the closing years of the Vietnam War. His primary message was that he only began to understand the war when he stopped reading the cables, that is the secret highly classified messages being sent by the military commanders and their civilian counterparts in the war zone. In effect, rather than make policy more transparent its counter-intuitive reality was to shroud the reality of Vietnam in greater obscurity. It is easy to explain why. Those in the field were committed to achieving victory, and were determined to provide reassurance, however false, to the leaders back in Washington so that they could deal with growing anti-war pressures that were a combination of public fatigue after almost a decade of engagement  and skepticism based on what became known as ‘the credibility gap’ between the claims of continuing progress in the war and what was actually taking place in Vietnam.  


38 Responses to “Syria: What to Do Now”

  1. Fred Skolnik February 27, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    As though to bear me out you are again attempting to implicate the United States through totally irrelevant allusions to Vietnam and Rwanda. Public debate is not going to solve Syria’s problems. The only real conclusions to be drawn are that barbaric people are slaughtering one another without restraint and that Syria today is precisely what Israel would look like if it was not strong and if any of the “solutions” you have proposed were actually implemented.

    • oldguyincolorado February 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

      Now Fred, you forgot the implementation of the dhinni laws that one of the Islamic groups is imposing on the Christians in their area: pay the tax in gold, convert or die; no more building or repairing of churches; no open praying; no ringing of bells; no overt signs of existence as a religious group, etc.
      I am sure that all of us agree that Christians are not barbaric; just innocents who also face slaughter in this Muslim vs. Muslim war (although I do understand that Christian fighters have joined Assad because they understand that if he falls, so do they – they really seem not to have wanted to choose sides but were forced to choose life vs. conversion, dhinni or death). Now I know that some of the Islamic groups have rejected what this other group is doing, but who is to say which of these Islamic groups will ultimately prevail. That is the conundrum facing the Christians. So, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
      As to the rest of your comments, I say “ditto” – there is no time or opportunity to go through an evaluation process and decide which of these grossly evil folks is the lesser of the evils. And the “innocent” Muslim in Syria is really the cause of his/her own destruction because of horrible leadership either imposed, voted upon, or tolerated by them. The same holds true for the Palestinian who lived with an Arafat and his ilk: they still do not use reason and compromise to resolve problems; they demand and expect to get everything they want; after all, it really is not about politics, it is about religion or tribalism (to paraphrase the Charter of Hamas).
      The only surprise in this article was the failure of Prof. Falk to somehow drag Israel into the discussion. But you did – and for the best of reasons. Because it is true.

  2. Gene Schulman February 27, 2014 at 1:14 am #

    Thanks, Richard, for this comprehensive discussion. My own problem with R2P is that it is always applied by those who want to serve their own interests, and not the interests of those suffering and in need of protection. Yugoslavia, Libya, Haiti, etc. are all classic cases where the powerful imposed regime change for their own benefit rather than the benefit of those in danger. I do not trust R2P rationales when used by such players as the US/NATO, who definitely are seeking geopolitical gain, especially now in Syria. It is rather a mockery when the US stirs up the trouble in the first place, and then asks to be allowed to provide protection.

    • Gene Schulman February 27, 2014 at 1:23 am #

      Forgot to hit the button for follow up comments.

  3. Albert February 27, 2014 at 6:52 am #

    Who invited America to intervene? Was it a request by the heads of a sovereign country, who fear rebellion, or are rebels asking for international assistance? If not, then it can be considered as terrorism, whether we like to hear that or not.
    This is clearly an issue for the UN and only by request of the government. But to me it smells like another one of those powergrabs by the US empire, to isolate Russia, which is an ally of Iran, just like the Ukranian revolt seems to be instigated by external powers.
    The west likes to attack Iran, but is afraid of the powers of Iran`s allies. Iran is one of the last three holdouts for central bank control takeover. Before 2001Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Sudan also belonged to that group and see what happened to them. Now the only holdouts left are Iran, north Korea and Cuba. And by sheer ‘coincidence’ these are all enemies of the US, whose central bank, the Federal Reserve, is privately owned by the international banking cartel, which in turn pays homage to the Rothschilds. This information is freely available for the asking on the internet and under different links as well. To me we are heading to a one world order under private ownership, which would be equal to the worst kind of slavery and tyranny the world has ever known.
    The printing of money is supposed to belong in the hands of the public on whose behalf it is supposed to be issued. That way, all interest paid on government loans by the different taxpayers to their governments would go into the coffers of that government and not into the hands of some private bankers.
    When I read articles like this one:
    then I can`t help but wonder, who is trying to fool whom? Or rather, who are the thieves and real terrorists. This link will really make you ask some very pertinent questions.

    • monalisa February 27, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

      to Albert:

      to answer the wondering: just follow-up where all the money went which had been confiscated (“frozen”) by order of USA and other Western States belonging to Libya and Irak?
      This was robbery/theft in grand style – as it had been done with certain banks. Is was not only one million or two, the “missing” (better to say stolen) money amounted in each case to more than twenty billions US$.
      At least, maybe even more.

      We have reached a time in history where some countries are openly robbing other countries in a new great style ….

      And: most of these countries are “Christian”-oriented …. so to speak ….
      which doesn’t me wonder at all if history is read.


  4. Kata Fiisher February 27, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    I was in a small group brainstorming, and Allen wrote this: “government — or governing?” on a random subject that had nothing to do with Syria.

    Still, that brought some things to my remembrance:

    What takes places in Syria if we regard the situation in Syria as an organizational situation? Apply organizational precepts to it?

    In order to solve Syria problem it could be necessary to approach Syria’s problem internaly/from internal problem perspective. In this way we can possibly look at Syria problem: “What to do with this organizational erosion that may, or may not be manageable? The need: governance – not a government?”

    Do they need government as a people — or governing to the people in this point in time?

    Government of Syria is not applicable. Governing of the people has to take place.

    How does this happen inside of a land (governing) in a war-time/chaos?

    People of Syria have to do governing for themselves (functional government is gone and they have to be that). They have to organize governmental governing (first with all that they already have, and then add to that which they have already).

    Also, when UN is no longer operational (as they may or may not be just be in some obligation-rituals that are in dead-end at times) the people of Syria can pick up where they have gone lost. UN may be operational to indicate why they have gone lost, as people of Syria.

    That what UN government does externally for Syria – Syria can do for them self’s? What needs to take place in Syria? They need to make an organizational undertaking that will put people together, strategically, and bring negotiations to the table, internally (with valid/legit external help/support).

    Management: Overlap of internal and external governing for the people.

    Attract; attain the best quality of the Leaders on all parts of conflicts (submitting them to one focus-resolution). That is: “What do they want to do for the people of Syria?” Or “ What did people of Syria want in the first place for themselves?” What was a cause and what was the work in effect? People of Syria were manipulated and mislead by idelogical void/fallacies.

    They need to be managed as people (internally/externally) so that they can lead and not end up in civil warfare for a decade, even longer than that. They need that civil warfare redirected into leadership warfare: action learning/productivity. In this point the Management has to take place; it is impossible to implement Leadership for them (regardless what they want to do in reference to their long-term objectives). They need to be brought together internaly to establish some short-term objectives.

    Who can organize them in a way that they will bear some fruit? US and West is not doing it, nor they can? In other hand, some Arab nations are just bystanders to all that is done, and really do not care? Why are these things so? Who shook the Syria ahead of a valid time and did all this damage?

    There has to be a credible management for Syria by valid UN-members.

    • Gene Schulman February 28, 2014 at 2:42 am #

      Dear Kata,

      I’m afraid your musings about a solution to the Syrian tragedy are rather idealistic. The only solution to this problem is that the US and its partners in crime cease supporting the rebellion and attacking this benighted country. Assad is no saint, but he is legitimately trying to defend his country from being taken over by ill meaning insurgents instigated by Western powers. Syria is a beautiful country and is an historic monument. Prior to the insurrection, although it had some divisions among its population, it was at peace and thrived. All this was upset by the West. Once the West abandons the foreign rebels, the legitimate government can regain its supremacy and, hopefully, return to normal life.

      Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening anytime soon, for various geopolitical reasons. Syria, for the West, is only a stepping stone to Iran, and eventually the conquest of Russia. The recent chaos in
      Ukraine is just one more part of that plan.

      • Gene Schulman February 28, 2014 at 4:31 am #

        The result of America’s actions is 140,000 dead. Assad didn’t kill anyone until the American instigated insurgency began. This is the last time I will respond to YOUR incredible nonsense.

      • Fred Skolnik February 28, 2014 at 4:37 am #

        No, Gene, the rest of the world, including America and the terror groups got involved long after Assad began massacring his own citizens.

      • Kata Fiisher February 28, 2014 at 7:38 am #

        We can note few things:

        American people should focus on their own “problem of massacre,” within the land: restless population that is highly inclined to commit crimes, everywhere.

        Most of people do not understand genocide within their own land (American people do not understand genocide in their Land). Still, it seems that Americans best understand the problems of others. It’s like that busy-body woman that will not rest without war-crimes.

        What Assad did is not for American peoples to sort out – but it is for Syrian people and UN to sort out what exactly Assad did to his population. Was it him – or was it planted?

        What Assad did to his population is exactly the same crime that American government is doing to the peoples in Pakistan, Afghanistan, has done in Iraq, and entire Middle East region, including their own! And getting away with it?

        America as country does and does not represent world-citizenship, rater a pagan-government. As a land they never overcame struggle against that spirit that was in the restless Europian tribes-ungrafted and just moved over to Northern Americas.

        There is no such thing as America haters, while there is such thing as pagan-culture hater that is overwhelming American peoples. Is the hate misdirected? We do ask that. American peoples are deceived when they believe that they are doing service to the nations. They are never set free in spirit from an English tribe that is in the world and is causing world-chaos!

        We know who designed Vietnam War in its ongoing war-crimes.

        What moves America in her war-crimes is not authentic Christianity; it is else what. Contemporarily, it is what Gene said, in fact.

        Also, we can note that in this point in time are more the 30.000 different denominations (30.000 different Gospels/different sprits) that are in protestant-Church. This, in fact reflects the nature of Catholic/Protestant Church split. We read about this is some writings by first generation of Christians.

        Fred Skolnik lacks the clarity of the day-light, in all. He is lay-people that should mind their own business, in fact.

  5. charlesdeslerarchitect February 28, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    why in god’s name is this any problem the USA can solve?

    We are a pluralist sectarian society with more in common with Russian than any of the goons in the Mid East including Israel…A Sectarian Shiite in Syria, a Mad Jew Fascist in a Theocratic nut ball Israel…why in the hell should we get involved with any of these fruitcakes?

    The Military is basically a “CAN DO” society…to expect truth from them is nonsense, except if they are the character of Steel such as Stilwell, Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur, Shinseki, Wesley Clarke and many others…

    General Weyand did tell Johnny Apple of the NYTimes and others in 66 or 67 that the damn war was a lost cause and we had better negotiate an end…but they could not use his name then, as he did not want to offend his friend, William Westmoreland…

    I was an Army Officer in the Central Highlands

    We have many friends, in Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Mexico, China, India and perhaps we should focus on those with whom we have something in common…rather than venturing into places where we have no common interests…and no absolutely nothing about…

  6. Rabbi Ira Youdovin February 28, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    Gene Schulman distorts history by portraying Syria as a peaceful place until the United States and Israel intervened to mess things up. In fact, bloody rivalries fired by religion, ethnicity, geography and economics have disfigured the Syrian landscape for centuries. In 1982, for example, Hafez al-Asad, Bashar’s father, massacred upwards of 20,000 of his fellow citizens in Hama, a city of conservative Sunni Muslims who opposed Assad’s brand of Arab nationalism and socialist policies. As Bashar is doing no more than following in his father’s footsteps, it’s bitterly ironic to hear Mr. Schulman, a self-proclaimed apostle of justice and love, urge that he be left alone so that his “legitimate government can regain its supremacy and return to normal life.”

    Absent from Prof. Falk’s long and inconclusive postings on Syria is any note that the current crisis has its more immediate roots in the allies’ efforts after World War One to carve new nation states from the defeated Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. This entailed taking tribes and communities sharing decades of mutual hostility and mistrust and mashing them together as unwilling citizens of new political entities. These ill-advised arrangements endured for so long as strongmen—Tito in Yugoslavia, Asad in Syria—kept the lid on by ruthlessly employing political trickery and brutal terror. When Tito died, Yugoslavia unraveled into civil war. Bashar Asad was able to maintain his father’s legacy for a while, until the Arab Spring (NOT U.S. interference, Mr. Schulman) emboldened Syrian dissidents to rise up.

    The philosopher George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I raise this now because the One-State solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which Prof. Falk advocates, entails a mash-up of rivals similar to what was tried in Syria and the Balkans, with catastrophic consequences.

    The breathtaking thesis underlying the One-State format is that because mutually held long-standing mistrust and animosity preclude Israel and the Palestinians from finding ways to live apart, they must be pushed into a “bi-national state ruled by international law.”

    The flaws in this approach are too numerous and glaring to have escaped notice by an astute observer like Prof. Falk. So something else must be at work. My hunch is that his primary objective is eliminating Israel as a sovereign Jewish state, even if it means advocating a concept that most find unworkable, and which also defeats the Palestinian’s drive for independence and self-determination, which he claims to champion. N.b. A bi-national state is not a Palestinian state, while Israel frames the Two-State solution as “Two States for Two Peoples.”

    Please note that the previous paragraph is only conjecture on my part. To my knowledge, Prof. Falk has not shared his vision of what the bi-national state would look like, and how it might be achieved. I would welcome his using this blog as a vehicle for participating in this discussion.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Richard Falk March 1, 2014 at 8:07 am #

      Rabbi Youdovin:

      I may have supported the one-state solution some years back, but I have since then adopted the position that any agreement must reflect an acceptance by the two peoples, and should not be determined by outsiders.

      I also believe that a two-state solution was deliberately subverted by Israeli actions: the settlement phenomenon (as designed to alter the West Bank & East Jerusalem); the related network of roads, reserved areas, etc., the wall; such developments that encroach upon the ‘green line’ borders of 1967, which constitutes 22% of historic Palestine and less than half of what was allocated to Palestine in the UN 1947 Partition. Before Israel took these steps, the PLO in 1988 had accepted what I would call a genuine two-state solution, but Israel was never interested. Also to forget the refugees as possessed of rights of return is to overlook a major dimension of human rights and of Palestinian legitimate grievances. As well, to ignore the discriminatory realities confronting the Palestinian minority living within 1967 Israel is also to ignore fundamental issues of human rights.

      • Richard Falk March 2, 2014 at 7:40 am #

        Mr. Livni:

        I also do not allow serial comments as they tend to dominate the comments
        section. You are also abusive toward ‘Arabs’ and deny Palestinians their
        identity as ‘a people,’ which the entire international community and even
        Israel formally accepts.

      • Fred Skolnik March 2, 2014 at 8:25 am #

        I realize that it is convenient for you to ignore what is unanswerable, such as being called to account for your tolerance of the vicious anti-Jewish and anti-Israel assertions of some of your admirers, but that doesn’t exonerate you from responsibility, especially when you welcome and congratulate them, and this too is part of your public record, there for all to see, so you are not really escaping the censure you deserve. Your silence condemns you.

      • Kata Fiisher March 2, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

        Fred Skolnik:

        You are not a valid Jewish-person that is Jewish faithful-valid (meaning, contemporarily Jew in Faith valid).

        That is not anti-Semitism toward you; it is revelation to you that you have no a legal/legit claim to Jewish faith-community! I am not sure what sect/cult of false Judaism you do practice – but you do not walk in valid Faith of Judaism. Seek valid Faith of Judaism would be an excellent pursuit for you.

        Rather, you are unyielding person with a stubborn spirit – and the wisdom of God cannot nor will reach you?

        It is impossible for you to leave Professor Falk in peace (who is, and also stands perfectly righteous and blameless). He does not deserve your Anti-Semitic arguments against him, and his work.

        Further, Professor Falk is an educator and when he cannot teach you to move toward more excellent things that is not his fault – or a shortfall, rater it is your personal inability to receive facts and instruction that is valid.

        Nevertheless, he is perfectly content with his limitation (spiritually and personally). Who are you to tell him to step out of his appointed area and do something that is not applicable to him?

        When you do that – you tempt him. With that, keep your temptations to yourself, and do not impute them on others.

        Otherwise, we can and will impute things on to you according to your works and unrighteousness. But this is hurtful, in fact.

        You should leave a person in their personal peace if you would have a healthy conscience.

        Just respond to God’s Spirit and God will be faithful to care for your conscience.

        Will you repent by your will-power? I do ask you that.

      • Dan Livni March 2, 2014 at 11:13 am #

        Gene Schulman says, The result of America’s actions is 140,000 dead. Assad didn’t kill anyone until the American instigated insurgency began.

        Gene, America had nothing to do with Syrians protesting the Assad government.
        Syrians were upset at the police state Assad runs.
        You do realize the Assad’s have run Syria for 44 years with no opposition allowed.

      • Gene Schulman March 2, 2014 at 11:37 am #

        “America had nothing to do with Syrians protesting the Assad government.” Stop right there.

      • monalisa March 2, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

        to Dan Livni:

        how could you state something like this when even Hilary Clinton admitted officially at a press conference last year that USA “supported” the rebels in Syria by 25 million US$..

        This went all over our globe and our world community knows.


      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 2, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

        Prof. Falk,

        One shakes his head in disbelief when you claim that you don’t allow serial comments (because they dominate the conversation) when nearly half of the comments to this and the previous thread (34 of 72) were posted by two people? That a recurring pattern.

        And how can you claim to disallow abusive comments when Jews and other supporters of Israel are relentlessly abused on your blog? Gene Schulman calls us trolls. Monalisa insults our integrity by suggesting that we’re being paid by the Israel lobby. Walker Percy recycles material drawn from the playbook of the Third Reich. Kata Fisher routinely denounces religions other than her own as being “invalid”, dips back into the world of medieval blood-libel to accuse Jews of being the anti-Christ, and just today, accuses Fred Skolnik of not being “a valid Jewish-person.” Who is she to judge the validity of another person’s religious faith? Pope Francis asked rhetorically, “Who am I to judge?” Kata Fisher apparently feels she’s entitled.

        These comments and others don’t just “slip through the cracks.” The people who submit them are your base. You welcome and praise them. You even thanked Kata Fisher for inspiring you with her “enhanced Christian perspective. That’s a compliment better suited to the time of Galileo’s trial, or the Spanish Inquisition.

        I’m all for rules of decency. But when not applied even-handedly, they become a thin veil for defamation and character assassination.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Kata Fisher March 2, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

        Dear Rabbi Ira Youdovin: you are wrong to state this because it is an errors assumption & at a lack of understanding of my way:

        “Kata Fisher routinely denounces religions other than her own as being “invalid”, dips back into the world of medieval blood-libel to accuse Jews of being the anti-Christ, and just today, accuses Fred Skolnik of not being “a valid Jewish-person.” Who is she to judge the validity of another person’s religious faith? Pope Francis asked rhetorically, “Who am I to judge?” Kata Fisher apparently feels she’s entitled.”

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin:

        I fully accept valid Judaism, valid Islam, valid Christianity, and have deep Love for people of other faiths that are in healthy conscience and fulfill the Righteousness of the Law just by law of their conscience.

        I denounce “false religions” that is CULTS/SECTS whether false Church/Christian cults and/or false Judaism/invalid Jewish sects/cults.

        Likewise, I denounce false Islam. I do not accept religious lies.

        “Medieval blood-libel” prosecution of Jewish peoples came from HARLOT CHURCH/Christianity invalid that was and is of devil, always.
        That is: A VERY EVIL English tribe that church Charismatic gives indication as A NEVER GRAFTED IN “Pamper-bell-Jezebel” TRIBE, forever spiritually excommunicated!

        I know a lot about that ancient tribe that originated in Greco-Roman Corinth somewhat!

        I can judge validity of someone’s faith, and I can judge validity of one’s righteousness, as well.

        “Who am I to judge? “ I am Church-ordained-Charismatic. (Yes, by accident-ordained…still, that did me no lasting spiritual harm – but has yielded harsh condemnation/jugment upon the wicked church in Satan). How about that?

        “Kata Fisher apparently feels she’s entitled.”

        I am entitled by Sprit of God: anointed/appointed to do whatever I can by Spirit of God! – And nothing else. I am entitled one!!!

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

        Rev. Fisher:

        I’m honored to be corresponding with a fellow clergyperson, but please tell me how your being a Church-ordained-Charismatic empowers you to make judgmental decisions about someone’s Jewish or Islamic faith?
        How much do you know about Judaism? How many Jewish books have you read? How many hours have you studied? Ditto for Islam.

        You write that you are “entitled by Sprit of God: anointed/appointed to do whatever I can by Spirit of God! – And nothing else. I am entitled one!!!” The historical landscape is littered by people who believe they have been anointed/appointed by God to go around denouncing others, accusing them of being the anti-Christ and instruments of Satan. They wind up burning people at the stake and throwing them into ovens. If you choose to identify with that tradition, so be it.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Kata Fisher March 4, 2014 at 8:48 am #

        Dear Rabbi Ira Youdovin,

        I am not a Rev.

        I was Roman-Catholic mom (a lay-person) with little kids when I was ministered by Evangelical charismatic church and their disorderly practices. I was relatively young and not mature in my faith to understand the nature of US-Evangelical Christianity/Church, and their church disorder that is mostly in sealed vile of devil. It is especially Baptist Church that is in a chaos.

        By the Church letters and tradition of the Church we know and understand that ordination of women is a Church-crime. Ordination of women that are forced take place with their disorderly church practices. In general, Churches commit church-crimes. In this point in time – the time itself is a clear witness to this, by the history itself and this day.

        I am not in evil tradition of false-Christianity and/or mare lay-people that practice forbidden for/to them Church-ministry/rituals. I myself was experiencing spiritual vandalizing and victimizing of theirs and not by the will of God. It was their evil-will at work (in their members-protestant, as in a church in corporate). They only have very few Churches and orders that are valid.

        I have significant understanding of the ‘church’ in satanic sprits and how they are a Church-excommunicated in Anti-Sprit of God; in a False-Christ/false Gospels in that spirit that is Anti-God and Anti-Christ.

        Church Letters that were written mainly by Paul Apostle give us enough to know and understand “Church in spirit of Revolt/spirit of Antichrist.”

        Vatican II contains heresy, as well. In addition to that, the Church-Catholic has become a cell for priesthood that is not ordained in a valid way but is sexually immoral and invalid priesthood, all together. Over the years these evil people/priests-leaders in the Church have established and shielded cults and their evil members within the Church. They stand in condemnation of hell, and no sainthood as they were/are in Anti-Sprit of God. They practice false ordinations and allow spiritually excommunicated tribes (people/priests) into practice of ministry.

        It is quite twisted with the Churches and their heresy/faith-practices.
        I do understand the condition of different Churches in another spirits and other Gospels.

        Also, I had opportunity to look and observe at Evangelical Community while at a University and have seen their Theology (arguments/works). Originally, I went there in October 2007 to study Psychology – what I intended did not take place, as I was redirected in my study. I ended up with a Religion degree that I no longer wanted to add on to it; it was worthless to me personally; I was appointed to hang out there for a while.

        Then, I wanted peace for myself and have just picked a random subject @ Webster for graduate school and did finish that during the last October. Now I am just enjoying peace & quiet.

        I did read and study Old Testament. I do understand that there are different branches of Judaism and splits within contemporarily Judaism. I have not study contemporarily Judaism as I have study Church issues in order to understand what exactly is going on within Jewish community.
        I understand this:

        All of the Scripture has to be interpreted in the exactly same way that was given: by Sprit of God, under prophetic anointing. This is the only way that will keep an interpretation of the Secret text authentic and with that keep Faith communities from heresies and /or invalid practice of Faith. Still, it can be in study of anointed and spiritually undefiled people, efficiently.

        It is most dangerous (spiritually) for people of faith to go about doctrine of disputes. However, sometimes even that has to take place.
        We will not argue too much about different doctrine/s because it will yield void arguments (unless in private and in many of same gifts-Spiritual to sort things out/explain in a valid way).

        I will note this about different doctrine/s:

        One small example of that is ongoing dispute over Holy Land and over the Landmark (as practice of Faith). In general, the current approach is null and void by the Scripture of Old Testament. It is slightly altered, and it is invalid. It is common that KEY-DOCTRINE will be just slightly altered/twisted, and with that add to enormous spiritual problems for the people of Faith. (We understand how this takes place – by a person (s) that is/are a host to any other spirit but the host to the Spirit of God). They confuse and deceive/mislead us all.

        It is necessary to have valid and active Spiritual gifts to guard Doctrine of Faith.

        When we go about Holy things, then we also have to have it all by the Scripture – that is the only way we pursue the territory of the Holy Land.
        Meaning, all of the Land, form all neighbors to give us the Land back- we ask that. We cannot ask the Land Back from Arab-Muslims/Palestine People in the Holy Land, who are descendants of ancient Jews/Hebrew-exiles – as they, too, have to be given their rightful inheritance back that was confiscated.

        But Jordan, Iran, Syria, Egypt can give us the Holy Land back. And we do not ask it for ourselves, but do ask for all of people in Holy Land, for exiles. (I think I gave reference to all lands contemporary that hold the Holy Land/Judah and Israel in this time).

        This would be a valid way to pursue Jewish/Hebrew Land a valid Holy Land for people in Holy Land. We cannot establish our own Landmarks in Holy Land, and to Holy Land. Still we can ask for the Land, and hope for free will of solidarity of those who hold the Landmark and the Land that is not theirs.

        Now, not because I care about rushing any false-fulfillments of the Scripture and creating chaos with that (as was done by English tribes and else-who with the current Landmarks), but rather because it is only valid Scriptural way to pursue teritory of the Holy Land.

        We have scientific evidence that Muslims contemporarily are ancient Jewish people, and are exiles-Jews in Holy Land, with Legitimate right to inheritance. The War in Holy Land has to be forced to an end and to be over. The people should be living in some type of stability that is valid, without ongoing civil warfare.

        If we cannot get it back by the Law of the Holy Book, then we have to do by the Law International.

        In this point in time the Jewish Homeland is not pursued in a valid and a Scriptural way. This has to change.

        What and where is point of start, spiritually?

        We know that Jewish Rabbi would have spiritual authority over the Old Testament Scripture and Holy Land Landmark. Jewish Rabbi would have a valid Spiritual authority over the Landmark, and they would appoint the Landmarks by the Scripture that are to be pursued in good will, and no war. They know well Old Testament Scripture and can tell us about Landmark.

        Otherwise, they will have to have by the Law international.

        Those are the things that I understand by Spirit of God.

        All I hope is spiritual and natural peace and prosperity for Holy People in the Holy Land and outside the Land.

        Also, I am responsible to aid all humanity by good will.

      • Kata Fisher March 2, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin:

        Another small reflection:
        Pope Francis is a priest; meaning, according to his calling and he is not in a full order of the Church-Charismatic-Catholic. How do I know that?

        Now, I can write a Church Theology about that – but I rather not.

      • monalisa March 3, 2014 at 2:31 am #

        to Rabbi Ira Youdovin:

        You would be much more seen as a real religious representative by our world community if you would just stick to the truth.

        And never forget we are living on a globe where Internet plays an important role and while some organizations and states work extremely hard to veil the truth at last the truth goes around our globe.


      • Dan Livni March 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

        monalisa, who killed Fafic Hariri in Lebanon in 05? Assad and his Iranian and Hezbollah allies.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 3, 2014 at 2:45 pm #


        This is not the first time you’ve accused me of not sticking to the truth. I’ll extend to you the same invitation I extended on those prior occasions: please cite specific examples to support your allegation so we can discuss them. Thus far, I’ve received no reply. Without one this time, one must conclude that you are long on accusations but short on facts.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • monalisa March 4, 2014 at 11:02 am #

        to Rabbi Ira Youdovin:

        Go back to some of your own postings here on this meeting place and read it.
        You distorted history, verified. Near history as well as ancient ones.


      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm #


        I know what I’ve written and see no distortions of history. You claim that you do. As I’ve asked repeatedly in the past, please specify a few instances so I can understand views and perhaps discuss them. Your failure to do this confirms that you have no evidence to support your accusations.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Richard Falk March 1, 2014 at 8:14 am #

      Rabbi Youdovin:

      A further point that I forgot to include: it is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to determine the contours and realities of a solution, not up to Washington or those on the sidelines. We can hope for a solution or give our opinions on what international law has to offer, but the specifics of a solution need to be addressed by the two sides, and their legitimate representatives. Representation is also an issue so long as it excludes Hamas and some presence at the table for the Palestinian minority in Israel. These issues make me highly skeptical of the value under present circumstances of the negotiations between the parties that have been initiated due to pressures from Washington. At present, the conditions for constructive diplomacy do not exist in my judgment.

  7. monalisa March 1, 2014 at 12:28 am #

    Dear Richard,

    I hope you are well.

    I am always wondering how less some writers of posts here in your blog know from history being their own state (USA or other states).

    Some are just writing without knowing any historic, geographical and ethnical/demographic structures of the country/place discussed and a few are just changing history, truth and facts of demographic structures to fill their own purpose (or for paid purpose, who knows?).
    The latter ones have – in my opinion – hope or assume that posters in your blog have no basic knowledge of history in a broader sense and/or other countries demographic structures.
    Which means in short: those who are changing facts and demographic structures of a state in order to discredit a state/people etc. assume that reading and/or writing individuals in your blog are just dummies.

    I think those who change facts and truth underestimate the acclamation of your audience as well as of your integrity for peace.

    Take care of yourself,


    • Richard Falk March 1, 2014 at 8:19 am #

      Dear monalisa:

      Of course, I agree, but it is beyond my competence and energies to address such historical, geographical, geopolitical issues as they emerge. Hopefully, others will help, and the more extreme distortions will be easily identified and ignored, or dismissed. I think that I should have given some attention to the degree to which the troubles of Syria owe their intensity to the legacies of Ottoman and European imperialism.

      I hope you are enjoying life!

  8. Gene Schulman March 2, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    “America had nothing to do with Syrians protesting the Assad government.” Stop right there.

  9. Kata Fisher March 5, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    Fred Skolnik:
    You continue to tempt Professor Falk.

    To people of conscience it is clear to know and understand that your ongoing stubbornness demonstrates a specific nature of your mind-essence that is not receptive to any reason and comprehension. Not natural, and not spiritual.

    We can indicate, without doubt that there are unforgivable generational/personal sins attributed to you.

    I have seen this many times among bewitched and false Christianity, and I know and understand the nature and appearance of it.

    But what is she talking about a bewitched “wizard” will say…? They never understand – a “blind death” don’t not they can.

    Still, you are way to wise in your eyes to continue beyond your limitations in wildly spirited inclinations: ‘evil-spirit-directed’. Not appointed to do good, but evil toward another.

    God id impartial and Church Charismatic do not care who you are to tell you this: “you just a doomed person.”

    A person of conscience can see and understand when they are shown things what is invisible to them.

  10. Kata Fisher March 5, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    Dan Livni,

    I will note this to you as I have one reflection about your approach:

    Your arguments are one sided, and have no valid base for a grounded reason. This is common condition that we will find people in US. It will take some growth for you to be able to perceive and understand from Professors Flak perceptive, which is mainly diplomatic and mature in reason and application.

    What I am saying is this: you are battling your personal prejudices, and with that you have ineffective judgments.

    When you apply “Q And A” – you are more effective. Meaning, you ask questions, and then you are trained by mature folks!


  1. Richard Falk: What To Do Now in Syria - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics - February 28, 2014

    […] By Richard Falk By arrangement with Richard Falk […]

  2. TRANSCEND MEDIA SERVICE » Syria: What to Do Now - March 3, 2014

    […] Go to Original – […]

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