Website Civility Guidelines: Comments

7 May

With the May 1st end of the moratorium on Israel/Palestine posts, I find that the old issues return. Restating and refining guidelines, let me repeat the basic imperative that I hope will be respected: either be civil or go elsewhere. In this spirit here are the guidelines, which are sometimes loosely implemented due to other pressures or being temporarily out of contact with the Internet:

–no comments that contain personal insults directed at me or other comment authors;

–no comments that exhibit ethnic or religious hatred, although serious questioning of historical and religious claims is acceptable, even welcome and constructive;

–no serial comments or republishing of what others have written elsewhere; links are okay;

–no commercially orientated material.

Living in the blogosphere is a learning experience, and so it involves necessarily learning on the job. I appreciate all those who have been loyal and supportive, and welcome additional suggestions about how to make the website more useful, interesting, challenging.


17 Responses to “Website Civility Guidelines: Comments”

  1. Claudia May 7, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    What is the point of Incivility…it doesn’t further discussion or development of ideas, it doesn’t serve to convince anyone else of the arguments made so uncivilly. It really serves no purpose.

  2. Fred Skolnik May 8, 2014 at 1:14 am #

    I surmise from the fact that you removed my very civil comment that you do not wish to be reminded about your own incivility in likening Israelis to Nazis and certainly not about the fact that you habitually welcome and praise the authors of the most vicious characterizations of Jews and Judaism that are to be found this side of medieval Jew hatred and Nazi rantings. Perhaps you should get the ball rolling with a personal apology.

    • Richard Falk May 8, 2014 at 7:26 am #

      I never likened Israelis to Nazis except in an article written ten years ago in
      which I suggested that the mentality of collective punishment toward the Palestinians
      of Gaza resembled the mentality of German treatment of the Jews during the Nazi period.
      In retrospect, I think such a comparison was hurtful, susceptible to misunderstanding,
      and by my criteria would not be published on this website. I do not read Kata Fisher
      in these ways.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 8, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

        Prof Falk,

        I can appreciate your chagrin over being accused of likening Israelis to Nazis if you did it only once and that was ten years ago. But this past December, you said this in an interview with Russian television station:

        “When you target a group, an ethnic group, and inflict this kind of punishment upon them, you are in effect nurturing a kind of criminal intention that is genocidal.”

        The United States and Canada were so outraged by your remarks that they called for your ouster from UNHR .

        A tape of the interview is on You Tube.

        Math isn’t my strength, but I believe that December, 2013 is more recent than ten years ago.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 8, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

        Prof Falk,

        If you do not read Kata Fisher “in that way”, in what way do you read—also post and praise—her calling Jews the anti-Christ and that Jews have an “evil heart”? It’s not only Jews, she routinely characterizes churches other than her own as “vile”, “evil” and “false.”

        It’s taken many years and much hard interfaith work to cleanse a good deal of that naked bigotry from American discourse. There is much more to be done.

        But it is alive and well on this blog!

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Richard Falk May 8, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

        Rabbi Youdovin:

        You may be correct in your criticism. I would not knowingly contribute to
        such ethnically charged allegations, but as I have read Kata Fisher she has
        addressed these issues from the perspectives of a deeply felt and sometimes
        obscure sense of religious and theological understanding. I may have missed some
        of the allusions that you find offensive, and I will try to read more closely.
        I do believe that discussions of the Biblical massacres and of responsibility
        for the Crucifixion of Jesus are legitimate subjects of inquiry and reflection regardless of what religious institutions may have concluded.

      • Kata Fisher May 8, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

        I have a reflection:

        Unjustified force over ancient peoples/population can be first precursors to mass murders and foreshadows full blown acts of genocide, which took place in the region of Holy Land over decades.We can not look at amount of people killed at one time (not nesseserly at once, but over a period).

        We can look at this in another way: people in Germany were forced to starvation over time – this caused numbers of people to die at small and large numbers. There is more genocide in the world than what we can see.

        The main work behind ethnic cleansing/genocide is to remove/replace/displace people and/or kill in the area of desired territory and/or in the areas of desired natural resources.

        I understand that different terms can be difficult to accept/recognise, but those who understand genocide can plainly tell us appearance of it, and without error they will tell us about that.

        It is a genocide and spiritual disaster in the Holy Land. People have to be grafted in and are not – but we never considered obligating a Rabbi – and which one?  

      • Fred Skolnik May 8, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

        Prof. Falk, you really make my blood boil. Biblical massacres and Christ killing indeed. Leaving aside the historicity of biblical events, in both the Old and New Testaments, which you disingenuously seem to taking as a given, the only purpose of the discussion of such events, throughout history and in your blog, has been to villify Jews. Even in the worst case, Israelite tribes were acting in a world where war was a constant factor, I have yet to hear anyone condemn the Greeks for slaughtering the Trojans. As for the Christ killing, you should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Kata Fisher May 9, 2014 at 7:51 am #

        Fred Skolnik: I believe that you are taking this outside the context of the discussion. Contemporarily Jews are not responsible for historical crucifixion of Jesus. In fact, there is only small limited number of the ancient Hebrew Jews tribes that were present in Jerusalem when actual crucifixion took place. Most of the Diaspora Jews were not. With that their offspring, never was – those who have crucified Christ were in Jerusalem, and also became the Church/first Christians! – We learn this according to the words of Apostle Paul.

        The early Church that was mainly all Jewish were the one who prosecuted and crucified Christ– they were the one of 3000 and/or many others who were told to repent and be baptised. For sure there were some Jews that were present, ad did not repent of that act and most likely a tiny number (few).

        I am in a rush…However, I had to jot a note on that.

  3. Gene Schulman May 8, 2014 at 7:20 am #

    One suggestion I have to make this website more useful and interesting is to ban Mssrs. Skolnik and Livni from commenting in this space. They add nothing but vitriol and hatred, and succeed only in chasing other interested readers away. Of course, we know that is their purpose, but their hasbara does become boring.

    • Fred Skolnik May 8, 2014 at 7:39 am #

      Dear Gene

      There is very little hatred where I am coming from. I think I have more sympathy toward the Palestinians than you do and see them and interact with them as real human beings and not as a faceless mass with which to whip Israel. On the other hand, your own animosity toward Israel is monumental and totally inexplicable in view of the real nature of the Arab-Israel conflict.

    • Richard Falk May 8, 2014 at 8:15 am #

      I have been reluctant to ban persons as distinct from comments as it is a
      distasteful form of blacklisting, but if anyone persists in violating the
      guidelines I may have to rethink such a position.

      • Dan Livni May 11, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

        Question for Richard Falk?

        Can you find me one Palestinian to the question below?
        In search of Palestinians who are sickened by PA’s celebration of Sbarro bomber
        May 6, 2014

        Yesterday’s post [“5-May-14: The making of a martyr: it takes more than a village”] reported on the Palestinian state funeral given to the remaining body parts of a Palestinian human bomb named Izz Al-Din Al-Masr.

        The official government-controlled WAFA News Agency gave major prominence to the funeral of the Sbarro bomber “martyr” and to the messages of PA officials inciting to fresh acts of murder. Only in Arabic, naturally. [Via Google Translate]
        The official government-controlled WAFA News Agency gave major prominence to the funeral of the Sbarro bomber (“martyr”} and to the messages of PA officials inciting to fresh acts of murder. Only in Arabic, naturally.

        He exploded in August 2001 inside a [Sbarro] restaurant filled with Jews, and died a happy young man, perhaps even an ecstatic one. His life, in accordance with the insane religious dogmas that had been pumped into his head, had reached its point of fulfillment.
        Shahid poster for Sbarro bomber, Izz Al-Din Al-Masr.

        Aftermath of Sbarro bombing

        Our post made the point that representatives of the major segments of Palestinian Arab society took part in last week’s funeral.

        If you were looking for moderates – say, the so-called moderates of the Mahmoud Abbas regime – they were indeed there but they were not moderating anything. When it comes to murder and incitement to murder of Israelis and of Jews, they are not moderate; they are enthusiastic. In last Wednesday’s funeral procession in Tubas, they participated, heart and soul, to ensure the strongest possible message of support, encouragement, adulation for acts of calculated murder like the one in which the dead human bomb had engaged, and that stole the life of our 15 year old daughter Malki. They amplified this message of hatred and jihad via the official Palestinian Arab state media, as did the Hamas regime in Gaza. They wanted everyone to know – at least, everyone who speaks Arabic.

        As for publishing the same news in other languages, they were much less interested. Try (just as one random example) finding any mention on the English-language, Bethlehem-based, high profile European-funded Maan News Agency website. But Maan’s Arabic side [here] has all the death-cult worship an Arabic reader with an interest in such things could want. Interesting, no?

        We received some feedback that suggested this characterization was unfair. They said there are voices in the Palestinian Arab world that are as sickened as people like us are by the unconcealed blood-lust of Hamas, of Islamic Jihad, of Fatah, of the Palestinian Authority and of Mahmoud Abbas.

        So here’s an invitation for anyone who has such evidence to send us public, published statements in the Arabic language, in which Palestinian Arab voices condemn what sickens the rest of the world: the process of turning psychopaths like the human bomb who murdered our daughter Malki into martyrs, heroes, figures to be emulated.

        Over to you.

        Send what you have to or add them to the comments below. We’ll publish what we receive here. (Remember – in Arabic. We’ll take care of the translating into English.)

      • Richard Falk May 13, 2014 at 10:06 am #

        This is not a dialogue I propose to enter. There are plenty of morally chilling assertions
        from both sides, as well as terroristic practices. You seem only interested in Palestinian extremism,
        and overlook the extremism of the Israeli occupier, its responsibility as a result of being in control,
        and the combination of state terror in administering the territory and settler terrorist tactics
        associated with price-tag violence; also, the blockade of Gaza, and numerous other practices. The side
        in control has the primary obligation to uphold standards of law and decency.

      • Fred Skolnik May 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

        Price tag violence is vandalism. Suicide bombing is murder. The former is condemned by the Israeli government and even Israel’s extreme right. The latter is celebrated at every level of Palestinian society. Are you seriously comparing the two?

        The blockade is perfectly legal and remains in place to prevent the importation of war materials to be used against Israel’s civilian population.There is nothing extreme or indecent in Israel’s measures to prevent terrorits acts.

      • Kata Fisher May 13, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

        Fred Skolnik:

        Pro-crusading and pro-settlement are terrorist acts against Palestinian population in Holy Land. Israeli contemporary practice self-destruction, as radical Muslims are. Israeli — they bring on warfare against Israeli citizens because they desire illegal territories in areas that they occupied/wish to steal & destroy. Muslims practice “self-destruction/ by wishing to be killed as all Jews- Jews they are in Holy Land, as contemporarily Muslims.” They miss- internet and misapply Holy Quran in the context of times…

        Now, is there any wisdom in all of that? Israeli and Palestinians are in a cycle of witchcraft that no one enjoys but those who practice and support that cycle of witchcraft/ tribes excommunicated-spiritualy that can not be grafted in! The Church Charismatic valid would have to graft them in. There is no hope for the Holy Land outside the Laws appointed. Meaning, International court of Law could sort out who does what…Moreover, how legally they can do that – or not.

        They peoples in the Holy Land should just sue each other – that perhaps would be best for them, as supposedly believes in Holy Land- who push some religious agenda.

        No one can laugh, but it is hilarious – not that is hilarious that people are killed and robbed in Holy Land and individual and corporate property of the body of believers/citizens is destroyed as they/unbelievers go on.

        Who can be ignorant?

  4. julieboswell63 May 12, 2014 at 7:27 am #

    Good post. (Sometimes anonymity or distance seems to lead people to forget we are all in this together. )

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