Border Control: Blocking Uncivil Comments

11 Jul

On Blog Despair


Once again I feel deeply frustrated by the lack of civility in the flow of comments on this website, especially relating to Israel-Palestine, and the broader relations between Islam and Judaism. And again I feel that those who seem to have chosen as a vocation the validation of Israeli behavior however far it strays from international law and minimal ethical standards are determined to personalize the debate via the submission of defamatory and demonizing comments. There are also disingenuous attempts to engage me in senseless discussion where a cascade of questions will follow upon whatever responses I try to provide to the initial inquiry. I have been down that weary road before, and don’t intend to be so foolish as to attempt once more to explain what is self-evident to those committed to unconditionally justifying whatever Israel chooses to do or to claim. My interest is in dialogue, not argument or polemics. And I must say that the rabbi who often submits lengthy comments has no trouble finding severe fault with whatever I have to say, and manages to construe even posts far removed from the Israeli-Palestine battleground as evidence of my supposed ‘hatred’ of everything Israeli, alleging that I harbor an intention to destroy Israel. The only exception of any merit to such defaming allegations is that he encouraged me a while ago to write in detail and in the public sphere so to elaborate upon my mention in a post that it is time for Hamas to revise its Charter.


It seems that those who defend Israel to the outer limit are unable to refrain in their comments from repeatedly attacking me and others who hold similar views, or lecturing me as if I am their wayward pupil. I have been lax of late in blocking such comments, partly because there are often substantive issues also present, but I now re-commit myself to doing so, and also to those so deeply offended by such comments that they deliver their own insulting broadsides directed at those who seem so intent to attack my character and reputation. I appreciate this support, but do not wish it to take this form on this website.


I make no secret of my dislike of Israel’s policies and practices in relation to Palestine and its people. I believe these policies and practices are the root cause of decades of Palestinian suffering and of the failure to achieve sustainable peace. I take this opportunity to affirm my support for the growing global solidarity movement seeking the full realization of Palestinian rights. Israel’s disregard and defiance of international law has been so flagrant and persistent that the country stands shamefully alone in the world today.


Having said that, I remain comfortable with my Jewish identity, and always have. I believe that all ethnic identities touch the deepest wellsprings of our experience as human beings, and I regard them as all worthy of respect and even love, although sometimes tough love that interrogates and sharply criticizes to ensure conformity with ‘our better angels’ and in support of human wellbeing. After all, it is the tough love of the Old Testament prophets that makes this ancient biblical text live so vividly in our minds, hearts, and souls today.


As I have said often in the past, despite the disproportionate injustices done to the Palestinians for more than a century, I believe that the two peoples, along with other identities inhabiting the Holy Land, need to find ways to embody peace-with-justice in their modes of living together. Now they live together in the most wretched imaginable manner, essentially characterized by oppression, violence, and exploitation on one side and victimization and resistance on the other side. Regardless of ethnic identity if we align ourselves with the nonviolent quest for justice and dignity, we must given the lopsided relations between Israelis and Palestinians in my opinion side with the Palestinians. Also, bear in mind that what most Palestinians and their designated representatives have been willing to accept since the 1980s is moderate, modest, and reasonable, and what Israel has offered is the opposite, oblivious to Palestinian rights and scaled back expectations.


For those who reject this statement of unabashed political and spiritual faith on my part, I would urge them to abandon this website, and find a more congenial setting, especially if their assessment of the conflict rest on either or both of these two premises: (1) the Israelis are basically right, have sought a fair peace in the past, are victims of Palestinian terrorism, and do what any sovereign state will do to uphold its security; (2) both Israelis and Palestinians have prevented the end of the conflict, and are both essentially and more or less equally responsible for the present terrible circumstances. 


As I have long indicated, I welcome and believe in the give and take of substantive discussion so long as it is not accompanied by insulting language and nasty innuendo. Please relieve me of this odious role of acting as monitor and censor! I fully understand that my fiercest critics detest my views, and seem unable to disentangle their content from my authorship. The idea that I should be told by a comment writer to show my good faith by denouncing this or that is also unacceptable. This is a forum of opinion, not a political platform; I have neither power nor influence, and have no ambitions in these directions, and never have had. If dissatisfied, go elsewhere!


Again, I thank those who have found the posts of interest, and have remained loyal, despite the many (who like me) dislike the daily skirmishes. My hope remains to continue writing on a range of themes, and to invite dialogue pro and con, and in between, hoping to realize occasional moments of illumination, even aspiring to spiritual excess.


Let me end by observing that given the Israeli violence against besieged Gaza that has occurred in recent days, continuing the appalling orgy of collective punishment inflicted on the Palestinian people that has followed upon the terrible crime of kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli teenage boys on June 12, it feels almost indulgent to be concerned about blog civility. Yet I feel that harsh incivility in discourse wherever it occurs is not unrelated to the official and unofficial forms of Israeli incitement to violence that is taking place as I write, and that in some ways, the mentalities blend, producing tragic results, especially for those living under the heels of an oppressor.






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66 Responses to “Border Control: Blocking Uncivil Comments”

  1. Georgianne Matthews July 11, 2014 at 1:53 am #

    Dear Richard: from GEM

    [GazaArk] All of Gaza burns: Gaza’s Ark as well Gaza’s Ark To Gaza’s Ark  Jul 10 at 7:11 PM Français – Español – Italiano – Português – Deutsch – Dansk – Svenska – Norsk – ελληνικά – العربية – עברית  : 

    All of Gaza burns: Gaza’s Ark as well


    During an attack on the port of Gaza, the area came under fire from the Israeli Occupation forces. At about 2:00 am local time Gaza’s Ark caught fire. The sustained Israeli assault prevented the civil defense fire brigade from extinguishing the blaze until approximately 3:30 am.  When daylight comes to Gaza it may be possible to better evaluate the nature of the damage to the Ark and to nearby fishing boats.

    In the context of so many innocent civilian Palestinian deaths, the destruction of homes, hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure, the material damage to our project pales to insignificance. We are all thankful there was no loss of life in this particular attack, and we mourn with you all the senseless destruction and killings of Palestinians by the ongoing Israeli attacks.

    Together with the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, Gaza’s Ark campaign will not give up. Together with our Palestinian partners we will continue to challenge the blockade and press for freedom for all Palestinians.

    To unsubscribe from this list please send e-mail to: This message has been truncatedShow Full Message * 3 Attachments * View all * Download all * * * Reply, Reply All or Forward | More Click to reply all Send            

  2. Gene Schulman July 11, 2014 at 2:11 am #

    Having said that, I remain comfortable with my Jewish identity, and always have. I believe that all ethnic identities touch the deepest wellsprings of our experience as human beings, and I regard them as all worthy of respect and even love, although sometimes tough love that interrogates and sharply criticizes to ensure conformity with ‘our better angels’ and in support of human wellbeing. After all, it is the tough love of the Old Testament prophets that makes this ancient biblical text live so vividly in our minds, hearts, and souls today.

    Dear Richard,

    Having read the above paragraph in your most recent post puts me in mind of the book I have just finished reading: Mark Ellis’ “Future of the Prophetic: Israel’s Ancient Wisdom Re-presented.” This is one of the most devastating books about Israel and its ideology I have ever come across. At the same time, the author recalls the Old Prophets who have warned the biblical Israelites of their sins, and compares them to the prophets of today. I won’t name them here because some of them have been ostracized as you have been. But I would not hesitate to add your own name to a list of possible modern prophets.

    I recognize myself in your claim to remain comfortable with your Jewish identity. As you know, I have recently written a “Declaration of Independence” in which I renounce any recognition of Israel, as well as my own past Jewish identity. This, principally, because over the past years of my life any identification with Israel and/or Judaism has become anathema to my moral values.

    I take note of your request to refrain from retaliating to some of the negative commentary about you, especially from the Rabbi, and will henceforth ignore his and other comments of similar nature.

    Please do not become discouraged and continue your good work. Yours is a voice worthy of heeding.

    All best.

  3. wingsprd July 11, 2014 at 2:47 am #

    I fully endorse the words of the honourable Gene above and your honest, eloquent outline of your blog Richard. I cannot understand how anyone with any moral integrity can support this violent aggression against an oppressed and captive people. My quaker soul is appalled at the violence exacerbated day by day by powerful Israel.

  4. Fred Skolnik July 11, 2014 at 3:24 am #

    Prof. Falk.

    I will reply to you in an entirely civil manner.

    I take note of your wish that no one who disagrees with you about the Israel-Arab conflict should post comments on your site, not even those who believe that there is guilt on both sides. Since you describe the conflict as “essentially characterized by oppression, violence, and exploitation on one side and victimization and [no doubt legitimate] resistance on the other side,” it is hard for me to understand what kind of a “dialogue” you wish to engage in, for if only your admirers post comments, all you are going to get is more of the same, namely vilification of Israel. Why invite comments at all? Many bloggers don’t, finding it sufficient to have their say and leaving it at that.
    You concede that Rabbi Youdovin, just once, caused you to elaborate on the subject of the Hamas Charter and I also remember your conceding that the Jordan option might also be something to think about. But I would have thought that coming up against different views and having certain errors and misconceptions of yours pointed out to you would have been something you would welcome. I remember, for example, someone pointing out to you that you were sentimentalizing translated terrorist prison letters because you did not understand the conventions of literary Arabic, but you simply brushed that aside and went right on sentimentalizing such correspondence instead of admitting your error. It was also pointed out to you that as opposed to your assertions, Hamas was indeed firing and storing rockets in residential neighborhoods and it was noted, perhaps uncivilly, that any ten-year-old child could have found the incriminating aerial photographs on the Internet. You have also insisted on referring to the Palestinians as an indigenous population and “Palestine” as their ancient homeland. Here I confess, that I now understand your error, which I think is an honest one of perception as much as an effort to establish a prior claim for the Palestinians. The problem is that you look at the history of the Middle East from an American perspective, the perspective of a young country for which anything older than its own history is “ancient” and therefore the Arab Conquest of the seventh century seems remote enough in time to justify calling Arabs or Palestinians indigenous. I look at the history of the Middle East from a Jewish perspective, a perspective from which you seem consciously to have dissociated or alienated yourself. What is ancient to you is not ancient to me. For me the Arab Conquest was a usurpation just as the European conquest of the American Continent was a usurpation for the American Indians. I also realize that it is vital to your argument to separate European Jews from Eastern Jews and represent the former as a foreign colonial element. The Jews are one people with a unique history of dispersion for whom the Land of Israel has always been at the center of its national consciousness. The fact of forced dispersion does not delegitimize national aspirations. I’m sure you agree, for you are making the same argument for the Palestinians.

    Of the current round of fighting, I will only say that Israel is not attacking Hamas targets in Gaza because of the kidnapping but because Hamas opened intensive rocket fire on Israel’s civilian population. Leaving aside the general understanding that the Hamas attack is at bottom meant to bolster its prestige and standing in a problematic political situation, the immediate pretext for the attack was the arrest of some West Bank Hamas people. When there is a criminal act, the police naturally round up all known criminals, and in the case of the murder of the three Israeli teenagers, the known criminals were those who have associated themselves with West Bank Hamas, including those previously released from prison who violated the terms of their release. If Gaza Hamas and certain other parties think it is legitimate to retaliate by firing rockets at Israeli population centers, that is fine. In the end the Palestinians will suffer even more because Israel, like any other country, will not tolerate living under such a threat. “Arguments” aren’t going to improve the lot of the Palestinians. Only good advice will, and the best advice you can give them is to throw Hamas and its rockets into the sea. Parenthetically, I will conclude that whereas Israel’s aim is to minimize civilian caualties on the other side, even phoning local residents to warn them of impending attacks and giving them time to ecavuate the area, the aim of Hamas is of course to maximize civilian casualties, not only on the Israeli side but on their own side as well by ordering civilians not to leave their homes and even to go up on their roofs during attacks, no doubt to act as a deterrent but, failing that, to get themselves killed and get Hamas some “good” publicity.

    • Kata Fisher July 11, 2014 at 7:23 am #

      Dear Fred,

      About youth that was killed:

      These kids were yanked out of their daily lives and unmercifully shot many times to death.

      In this recent murder of young adolescence, you will note the extreme foul nature of growing up youth in Palestine, all together. There are reports of extremely violent/ foul nature of some youth in Israel, as well.

      These kids are hardly adults and are inheriting disaster and destruction in their inner being, already.

      There were reports that kids in Palestine are abused as they are given illicit drugs, as well. Who is, doing this? I do not know. What I know is this: what happened to Israeli youth was more a civil crime than a terrorist action. Why did not Palestinian and Israeli civil authority investigate what exactly took place, first?

      Israel blamed Hamas and had started security riots in the areas. Why the rioting, instead? They made a bad situation much worse, all together. They always do such things, all together.

      Gaza/Palestinian governing has no power over psychotic individuals among the population what do whatever they want. These psychotic individuals only come in the spirit of witchcraft and just induce the works of that. However, Gaza/Palestinian governing is accountable.

      In general, there is irrevocable stubbornness between Israel and Palestine/Gaza as they only continue in their civil war.

      Hamas Covenant is a grave harm to the People in Gaza and Palestine. It only gives legal power, and excuse to Israeli to do just as they are doing now—to do whatever they want and that without any of consequences.

      Hamas Covenant makes Gaza governing look their like rule more a rule of heretics then rule of terrorists – but Israeli is receiving legal power by Hamas Covenant to accuse Hamas and conduct their security policy and works against terrorist.

      Israeli is not dealing with terrorists, but is dealing with angry citizens that can be very psychotic as elsewhere. It is a harsh reality.

      What exactly is the purpose of Hamas Covenant? I know for sure that it has no eccalistical purpose to serve Islam Faith or Muslim faithful. In fact, Hamas Covenant is eccalisticaly illegal application of Secret texts, and it only adds to the grave harm to Palestinian and Gaza’s peoples; it only serves illegal crimes of Israel as a state. It has no other purpose.

      However, we do not have the power over freedom of religious expressions/values. However, their governing is just not right based on Hamas Covenant –I sraeli oppression and crimes are induced just by that.

      I understand that this is difficult to grasp.

    • Richard Falk July 11, 2014 at 8:59 am #

      I welcome disagreement, which I have said repeatedly. My main point was civility of discourse. My secondary point was that
      I saw little point of discussion if writers of comments held either of these two views as their point of departure. Such
      persons are welcome to comment, but it was my judgment that it will not lead to a useful exchange of views. Perhaps, I am wrong about this.

      On the latest phase of political violence, there are many observations that could be and being made, but to ignore the Israeli incitement after
      the kidnapping incident leading to a massive anti-Hamas campaign without evidence and in the face of the Hamas denial is to so structure the context
      as to make it appear that the only relevant issue is a response to the rockets, which have up to now inflicted not a single serious casualty while
      the Israeli attack is responsible for more than 88 dead (including 21 children, 11 women), hundred injured, and much damage.

      • Fred Skolnik July 11, 2014 at 9:39 am #

        The murderers were identified imediately as members of Hamas from traces of DNA left in their car. Israel understands that such an operation, whose aim was apparently to take the boys as hostages and negotiate for the release of terrorists but went wrong when one of them managed to call the Israeli 911, cannot be mounted without a serious suppot system . It was perfectly legitimate for Israel to make its desperate effort to tracjk down the kidnappers. This is not a “campaign.” It is how you go about trying to save the lives of kidnap victims.

        You are again trying to trivialize the indiscriminate firing of hundreds of rockets at Israeli population centers because Israel knows how to protect its population. Part of that protection lies precisely in attacking Hamas rocket launchers, command posts, tunnels and other military installations. You don’t seriously believe that Israel is going to allow itself to be attacked in this way. Around 100 Palestinians have been killed. Judging from the past, about half will be Hamas people. I have mentioned the measures Israel takes to reduce civilian casualties. No army in the world would take such measures. For you to characterize this as “an appalling orgy” is a perversion of language.

      • Oldguyincolorado July 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

        Israel seems to have known the source of the kidnapping and responded before the rest of the world got the facts. When that poor Palestinian boy was murdered, Israel immediately discovered who did it and arrested the wrongdoers. This shocked the world: Israel actually cared! It does. What have the Palestinians done about their killers: made them heroes?

        Your use of the word “incitement ” reflects how you seem to view the entire situation. I do not feel that such a term under these circumstances reflects the “civility” you crave. It only reflects partisanship.

      • Kata Fisher July 11, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

        Dear Oldguyincolorado,

        You are moving in the spirit of unjustified criticism.

        I believe that term “incitement” is used correctly, in this case.
        If Israeli did care to make their actions more checked in, and human — if so they would have made more responsible choices and specific cases-sonorous/instances for appropriate examination of acts of violence.

        What happened is not extraordinary action of Israel in order to serve the security of their population, but horrific crimes against civilians. Holy Land is trampled around by uncultivated Gentiles – we are not blind to the point in time.

        Violators were arrested – why then did they bomb civilians, and still do that as well? This is what happens when Irrational psychopaths hold power and military strength, and are accountable to no one what so ever.

        Military/Hamas targets were just their excuse, and not even priority of concern; it never was. When they say “member of Hamas” or “Hamas” what exactly are they referring to? People in Palestine/Gaza that are not authorized to have any means of self-defense?

        Israeli governing in power is irrational.

        They have to become more responsible and shift their armed warfare against civilians to public security/safety – this they do not have difficulty to do when they walk into Palestinian homes and arrest kids out of them, and place children into prisons –but even that is illegal. Not for them, as a lawless state?

        It is the time for Netanyahu to step down, and be replaced with someone that is rational in Holy Land/Israel. Netanyahu is a modern civil war criminal along with those who stood behind recent war-crimes against people in Palestine/Gaza.

        This is a reality grounded in substance but no one is willing to see.

        Dictating crowd should be forced to step down just as all other dictators against a specific population.

      • ray032 July 13, 2014 at 8:12 am #

        Fred, I didn’t know Hamas members have their own identifiable DNA found in a burned out car?.

        What I find curious and questionable is how could a kidnapped teen be sitting in the back seat of the car, with the kidnappers watching every move, and be able to even talk on his cell phone without the kidnappers seeing it? And it went on for 2 minutes? It’s illogical!

        With the tape released by Israeli authorities, why was there a 5 hour delay in informing the IDF stationed in Hebron about the kidnapping? This is not typical of usual Israeli efficiency?

        The world will soon wake up to see what Israel is doing to the prisoners in the Israeli controlled Gaza Ghetto is not “defensive” but a murderous, aggressive bombardment of a people thinking it will be the final Jewish version of “The Final Solution” to the Palestinian problem.

      • Fred Skolnik July 13, 2014 at 9:04 am #

        Just to set yout mind at ease, ray The Hamas kidnappers had been imprisoned in the past and therefore their DNA was on record. Getting traces out of a burned-out car is elementary. But I’m sure you know that, you just aren’t thinking things out to the end.

        The delay in relaying the call has become a national scandal, completely documented. In defense of the police it can only be said that about a third of the emergency calls they get are hoaxes.

        Apparently the kidnappers were sitting in the front, the Israelis in the back. In any case, the fact is that the call was made and the shots can be heard almost immediately along with one of the Arabs saying, “Shoot him! Shoot him!”

        I can see that you would like to build a 9/11 scenario. Be my guest. It won’t improve your credibility.

        Your last paragraph is a little hysterical. Final solution? Maybe 50 civilians have been killed in 6 days. The Allies killed maybe 100,000 in 2 days in Dresden. Maybe Israel isn’t as efficient as you think. Or maybe the leaflets and telephone calls from Israel are saving Palestinian lives.

    • Kata Fisher July 11, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Dear Fred:

      You write

      “Part of that protection lies precisely in attacking Hamas rocket launchers, command posts, tunnels and other military installations.”

      Why? Why can’t Hamas/Gaza have armed resources like Israel? In general, why does US and else who continuously fueling aid/cash for the guilt of blood into the areas of Holy Land when they know what happens with all of that.

      It is an “an appalling orgy” of a lawless state, as well as others who are lawless. Meaning, they do not know what action is lawless in one situation and which is not in another. They do not know altogether what is legal and illegal for them to do in Holy Land as state of Israel and /or Palestine and else who.

      Who can give them a constructive guideline? God of Holy Land? They do not fear the laws of man, and laws of God – they are in the spirit of lawlessness, just as are those who crafted Hamas Covenant. Likewise, just as those who crafted things that led to illegal substance (as I understand) illegal substance that created Palestine Mandate — now these things are bewildering Holy Land and inciting all lawless works.

      One can not be ignorant and not understand that civil population is caught and in grave harm betwixt all of that.

      What is taking place in Palestine and also in Israel?

      Please an outline, a list of that – lets look at all of that, right?

      Who can write down all of that?

  5. granty joseph July 11, 2014 at 4:19 am #

    i read every one of your posts Enjoy their healthy frank opinions Keep going

  6. Leslie July 11, 2014 at 4:21 am #

    I can’t tell you how much I sympathize with your reflections here, and am grateful for your continuing courage in speaking out in an unrepentantly balanced fashion. Thank you.

  7. imleif July 11, 2014 at 4:44 am #

    Dear Mr Falk,

    Another post about moderation. Nonetheless I appreciate your conscientiousness in this regard. I understand that it pains you to moderate comments, but uncivil comments should never be excused. Your moral arguments have always been very clear and consistent, and I can’t understand why someone needs to snipe at you.

    Even when the opposing views are not directly uncivil at a personal level, they still often are at a humanistic level. For example “collective punishment”, how can someone defend such a strategy? It’s like Lidice or North Korea. And how can someone pretend to take Israel’s intentions for peace seriously, when they have systematically expanded settlements for decades? However, it would probably be going too far to censor posts for being morally disgusting, even though it’s very tempting, especially when someone is posting a 1000 word monologue of such kind.

    I personally don’t even understand why Israel are even regarded as “friends”. Apart from their appalling actions, They are sitting on a stockpile of nuclear weapons and everybody should understand that this extremist country alone can blow up both the Middle East and Europe. They are simply criminals and hostage takers.

    A regional nuclear free zone should be on top of the agenda, hopefully the Snowden affair has ushered in a time where Europe will be more critical to American foreign policy and actions.


  8. ray032 July 11, 2014 at 4:57 am #

    “This article avoids acknowledging the elephant in the room, the 47 year Israeli Military Dictatorship in the Occupied Territories where the Palestinians have no Civil or Legal rights rights, contrary to the letter and the Spirit of the Balfour Declaration that is the basis for the recreation of Israel from the Bible after an absence of 3000 years. It is only by suppressing Palestinians in their own land, can Israelis live in their isolated Cantons of Democracy.

    With 40% unemployment among Palestinian youth, endless IDF and Border Police harassment, both verbal and physical, endless identity checks, more land confiscation and middle of the night raids and home demolitions, the Arab youth are naturally taking matters into their own hands since it is becoming more apparent the PLO Authority is only the proxy Police Force for Israel in the Occupied Territories. This is where the pent-up Israeli Arab rage is nurtured.”

    This comment was deleted from the discussion in The Jerusalem Post.

    • imleif July 11, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

      Ray’s example is part of a pattern I’ve noticed in the media to filter and primarily dumb down any substantial discussion. The rights and wrongs are simple, but are being obfuscated all the time.

  9. Gene Schulman July 11, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    Posting in to receive follow-up comments

  10. ray032 July 11, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    Richard, fyi, John Pilger referenced you in his latest article in Counterpunch,
    ‘The Return of George Orwell and Big Brother’s War’
    On Israel, Ukraine and Truth

    “Richard Falk, the respected authority on international law and the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, once described a “a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence”. It is “so widely accepted as to be virtually unchallengeable”.

  11. Maria Logrono July 11, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    Dear Richard,

    Thought of you last week while being interrogated and searched at Ben Gurion airport in that very humiliating manner that Israeli security apparatus knows so well. It was the day of the burial of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, so I put my sense of “humiliation” in perspective. That morning I had just left East Jerusalem with a complete sense of defeat that has not yet left me. I left just as military security had been escalated to “respond” to the revolts that were anticipated in light of the burial of the Palestinian teenager. By sheer coincidence, I also saw on the queue Maen Rashid Ariekat (PLO Chief Representative in Washington), whom I had met in a private lunch only few months ago. He did not recognize me, why should he! He was shining in his red Hugo Boss polo-shirt holding what I presume was an Israeli diplomatic passport (red, not blue) while crossing the security check with extremely polished manners. I confessed seeing him there in that way, made me angry.

    While waiting for the plane I sat and reflected on the pervasive nature of the “matrix of control.” I thought on how twelve years earlier I had been to the same airport and I had found a glimpse of humanity in one of the IDF young female soldiers who, when saw my Spanish passport, had talked to me in Spanish and told me how lucky I was because I could leave. She was from Argentina and had come to Israel in search of a living right after the financial disaster of “el corralito.” Last week, however, I saw none of it: I only saw an improved and more sophisticated machinery of control, worked by very young people convinced of their need to “search for suspicious terrorists.” I could not avoid thinking about Hannah Arendt and the “banality of evil”…

    I left that day for Venice, I guess I was lucky again. However, I have been reading incessantly the news since last week, as if I was somehow expecting to read about the complete annihilation of Palestinians in Gaza… Surely it will not happen as the “machine” needs to be fed. So I have come to the conclusion that the suffering of poor Palestinians will continue to take place in the midst of an ever-growing and alarming apathy in the region and in the world…

    I always find solace in your writing and reflections, so I came to your blog today and I am looking forward to reading you in the coming days: as a historian I am convinced you did take the right path, and I am very glad I had the opportunity to cross paths with you in Santa Barbara.

    My very warmest regards from Amman,

  12. Björn Lindgren July 12, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    Dear Richard,

    Thanks for your inspiring comments, deep knowledge, and brave pilgrimage.

    Keeping a decent, civilized discourse on the Palestine/Israel issue, is, indeed, very difficult. Many of the people who unfairly attack you need to consider a statement given by the resigning chairman of World Jewish Congress(?), thirty years ago,

    “After the Holocaust and the WWII, it was possible to make two [very different] conclusions: ‘this should never again happen to any Jew’, or ‘this should never again happen to any human being’. Unfortunately, all too many people have drawn the former conclusion.”

    Even though I don’t remember his name or exact wordings (the organization is also uncertain) my quote still catches the meaning and spirit of what this man said.

    During the past year, I have lost the friendship of three elder men. We deeply disagreed on the role, motives, agenda, and policy of United States of America. Reflecting on this, I’ve come to conclude that this happened due to their frozen or fosslized, naive view that the U.S. is the righteous protector and savior of democracy and freedom in the world.

    These men formed their weltanschauung when young during the 40s and 50s. Since then, however, historians have critically and radically rewritten the history of WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings included, and the Vietnam war. Add to this the overtly criminal wars against Afghanistan, Iraq.

    But good descriptions (hypothesis) of the world, exacting analysis, careful conclusions haven’t reached them in their encaged helpless state of ignorant arrogance. Neither have these men cultivated deep norms, values, goals, and perspectives, and have ended up as fallen prey to propaganda. What they cling to, is the last piece: ideology. Poor ideology or false consciousness.

    How sad.

    Björn Lindgren

    • Richard Falk July 12, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      Thanks, Bjorn, for your insightful comment, which I greatly appreciated.

      • david singer July 12, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

        Professor Falk

        I am surprised that you commend Bjorn for his “insightful comment” when he purports to quote the words of someone supposedly Jewish whose exact name he admits he does not remember, organisation he supposedly headed or the exact words he supposedly used.

        Perhaps you might contemplate on these words from Rabbi Shmuely Boteach made on 19 May 2014:

        “Recently I recounted how I traveled a month ago to Rwanda at the invitation of President Paul Kagame to speak at Amohoro National Stadium for the 20th commemoration of the genocide. A survivor took the microphone and, in a slow voice, recounted episodes from the slaughter of the country’s minority Tutsi population.

        The stadium was filled with the sounds of women quaking, men thundering, children shrieking. The trauma of those who were reliving the horrors as they were recounted.

        The secretary general of the UN, Ban Ki moon, got up and said that “Never Again” must mean just that. But even as he said it, children continued to be gassed in Syria. Women were being machine-gunned to death in South Sudan. Christians were being slaughtered in the Central African Republic. And why? Because the world has yet to embrace Jewish values.

        The Jews were the ones who taught the world that every human being – Jew, Christian, Muslim and atheist, white, black and every shade in between – were all created equally in the image of God. The Jews were the one who gave the world the Ten Commandments, with the fiery exhortation, “Thou Shalt not Murder.”

        And the Jews were the ones who alone declared in book of Leviticus, “Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.”

        Let my Christian brothers speak of loving one’s enemies.

        Let my Catholic friends tell me to turn the other cheek. When it comes to mass murder I cannot but reject both New Testament teachings and instead embrace Solomon’s proclamation in Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” I will embrace what King David proclaimed regarding the wicked: “I have hated them with a deep loathing. They are as enemies to me.”

        Because Lincoln hated the abomination of slavery he fought to stop it, as he said in 1854 in Peoria, “I can not but hate slavery. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself.”

        Because Churchill hated Hitler he inspired a nation to fight the beast. The French, who did not hate Hitler, collaborated with him instead.

        Loving victims might generate compassion for their suffering. But hating the perpetrators generates action to stop their orgy of murder. While innocence should evoke compassion, evil should evoke only contempt.”

  13. Rabbi Ira Youdovin July 12, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    A few parting words inspired by the baseless allegations Prof. Falk hurls at me and others….

    Conspicuously absent from Prof. Falk’s post is any self-awareness of his own major contribution to the toxicity that permeates this blog. Every commentator on earth has biases that, to a greater or lesser degree, shape his/her narrative. Prof. Falk’s are so one-sidedly anti-Israel as to preclude his saying anything positive about Israel or Zionism. I’m not exaggerating. Doubtful readers are invited to scroll through the nearly four years of posts accessible on the “Archives” section of this website to find evidence to the contrary. There isn’t any!

    The intent of Prof. Falk’s extremist approach is to demonize Israel and its supporters. There’s nothing good to say about them. They—I should say we— are slandered as the evil perpetrators of an enterprise that is totally without ethics or human compassion and dedicated to subjecting the Palestinian People to a holocaust. The incivility of Prof. Falk’s national, ethnic and religious character assassination is apparent. Yet. he is offended when it elicits harsh responses, (although interested readers scrolling through the blog will find that few are “defamatory and demonizing” as the professor charges.)

    More significantly—and also verifiable—is the fact that the overwhelming majority of uncivil comments on this blog are posted by Prof. Falk’s supporters, and they are defamatory and demonizing. We are routinely denounced as “trolls”, dismissed as being brainwashed, accused of being paid by the Israeli government and tarred with dozens of other epithets. To quote the most recent, from a gentleman in Switzerland named Gene Schulmann:

    “Rabbi Youdovin, your bile belies your title. Since there is no hook to hang your picture of nastiness, I’ll just it let lie on the dusty floor where it belongs.”

    This is no mere happenstance. The hostile irresponsibility of Prof. Falk’s posts is a signal that his blog is a free fire zone for like-minded folks whose vitriol oozes past his civility meter, and whose authors frequently receive his praise.

    Prof. Falk claims that I misconstrue his words. This puts me in the very good company of the UN Secretary General, the UN ambassadors of the USA, Canada and England, and his friends at Human Rights Watch who expelled him from their board and rejected his request for reinstatement at some later date—all of them accused by Prof. Falk of misconstruing his words. Indeed, he must be the most misunderstood human being on the planet. The truth is that he makes allegations that are prejudicial and unsupportable, and when caught, he cries foul and blames his accuser.

    Don’t take my word for it. Look at the record. In his brief against me, Prof. Falk denies that he “harbors an intention to destroy Israel,” as I believe he does. Where would I get such an absurd idea? Well…on June 25, 2015, he posted a message celebrating the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)’s decision to authorize divestment from three American companies that sell Israel material uses in maintaining the Occupation. He then went on the castigate PCUSA for also endorsing “Zombie Ideas.” Zombie Ideas—the term was coined by Princeton professor and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman for application in an entirely different context—have been “thoroughly discredited by evidence and the realities of the situation, but are somehow still affirmed because it serves useful political purposes.” Among these Zombie Ideas that should be abandoned is PCUSA’s affirmation of Israel’s right to exist and its commitment to the Two-State Solution. That pretty much reveals Prof. Falk’s position on Israel’s future.

    There are many other examples of Prof. Falk denying inconvenient truths. But I’ll cite just one, which is easily verifiable. Commenting on his post “On Jewish Identity,” (January 15, 2011) I noted that he had previously equated Israelis with Nazis. He responded, “I have never equated Israelis with Nazis, and find the accusation odious.” In fact, the article, written in 2007, was, and still is, available on line ( The same scenario transpired a few months ago. Prof. Falk acknowledged on the blog that he had compared Israelis to Nazis “a long time ago,” but not since. In fact, he had made the allegation a few weeks earlier during an interview on Russian televison. The tape was still available on You Tube line for all to see.

    Please note that I have never before publicly shared this information, and am not comfortable doing it now. But as my integrity has been attacked, I believe it is fair to give readers a more complete picture of the accuser. And note also that I’ve limited myself to easily verifiable items. A discussion of whether Prof. Falk really wants a free exchange of ideas is a matter of interpretation and judgment calls which I’ve avoided.

    Finally, we have Prof. Falk’s take-home litmus test of who is welcome on his blog, and who is not. He lists two criteria for disqualification. Stay away if you believe that:

    1. the Israelis are basically right, have sought a fair peace in the past, are victims of Palestinian terrorism, and do what any sovereign state will do to uphold its security.

    2 both Israelis and Palestinians have prevented the end of the conflict, and are both essentially and more or less equally responsible for the present terrible circumstances.

    Regarding the first, I believe that both Israelis and Palestinians have legitimate national rights that must be included in any peace agreement that is just and equitable. I believe that Israel has at times sought a fair peace, but by no means always. Israelis are assuredly victims of Palestinian terrorism, but impose a form of state terrorism in the Occupied Territories. Much of what Israel does militarily is what any sovereign state would do to uphold its security. But some of it, such as settlement expansion for ideological purposes, is not.

    Regarding the second, I believe that both Israelis and Palestinians have been complicit in preventing an end to the conflict, but that the question of who is more responsible than the other is essentially irrelevant. What’s the point? Are we playing the Blame Game so that whoever scores the most “Gotchas” wins? In fact, that is precisely what happens on this blog. The dynamic is set in motion by Prof. Falk’s posts, which blame Israel for everything, and either ignore or whitewash Palestinian transgressions. (A primary example of this is Prof. Falk’s claim that the genocidal ambitions enshrined with great specificity in the Hamas Charter are only “vague aspirations”.) We dissidents justifiably claim that we’re only responding to false allegations. But in fact, we, too are playing a pointless game.

    I think I’ve flunked the test, so I’m out. I’ll be pleased to return to the blog at some future time, but only if its format changes from being an adversarial confrontation over the past to being a collaborative dialogue seeking a path toward a better future for Palestinians and Israelis.

    Meanwhile, to paraphrase an American president I did not like: Gene Schulmann won’t have Rabbi Youdovin to kick around anymore. Sorry about that, Gene.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Richard Falk July 13, 2014 at 1:26 am #

      Rabbi Youdovin:

      I regret that you have reacted as you do, and continue to misapprehend my intended views. I may be inept in expressing these views.
      Let me clarify all that I intended: disagreement is fine, pro-Israeli interpretations of developments are fine, criticism of Palestinian
      behavior is fine. What I am trying my best to avoid: personalization of comments via insults and innuendo; arguments that proceed from
      premises that are too divergent to produce useful dialogue. I agree that this sense of what is ‘useful’ is a matter of interpretation,
      and we clearly disagree, which is okay with me, but makes it almost impossible to have a meaningful dialogue as distinguished from a confrontation
      of opposing positions. I guess that what I am trying to say is that there needs to be a degree of likemindedness to permit such dialogue. That is
      why I have often urged those that do not share my general orientation toward these issues to find or start websites that will generate what
      they would find ‘constructive’ in accord with their outlook.

      • Richard Falk July 13, 2014 at 5:28 am #

        Rabbi Youdovin, Mr. Singer, and Mr. Skolnik:

        Let me add this note of acknowledgement. I accept that each of you has devoted energy, time, and effort to setting
        forth your reasons for thinking that my approach to the Israel/Palestine is deeply flawed, and I regard this as a
        matter of conscience and conviction on your parts, as well as an expression of your devotion to an ideal that you
        associated with Israel and Zionism. And I appreciate this, and your implicit assumption that follows seems to be
        that my views need to be discredited and countered in all possible ways. And I suppose that leads to questioning
        my motivation and good faith in ways that I find completely at odds with my own values and beliefs, and it is this
        gap that leads me to say that I am determined to do my best to promote civility of discourse on this website, which
        means for me not questioning person motives and good faith, and not stereotyping of any ethnic group. It does not
        mean exempting governments and other political actors from accountability in relation to law and morality. It also
        means for me justice, especially for the weak and vulnerable, regardless of their ethnic, national or religious identity,
        and independent of my own.

      • Fred Skolnik July 13, 2014 at 6:41 am #

        Prof. Falk

        Just a few words about motives and good faith, leaving aside the language used by your admirers to characterize whoever states Israel’s case. I have made a distinction between hatred of Israel and/or Jews and criticism of Israel on a number of occasions. You are determined not to make such a distinction, classifying all anti-Israel comments, no matter what language is used, as valid criticism, which is to assert, in so many words, that there is no such thing as Israel hatred and that all its critics are exercising objective judgment. The same rationale can of course be applied to Jew hatred, which may also be called legitimate criticism of the Jewish people, such as one finds in a number of your admirers and even among certain Jews, which is to assert, in so many words, that there is no such thing as antisemitism. But of course Israel hatred and Jew hatred always exposes itself by its language, just as people always give themselves away by the way they talk. Otherwise we would have no idea what people intended by what they said and would have to wait until they acted things out physically to know what they meant. The language of Jew hatred and Israel hatred is very clear and distinct and you would have to be a complete fool not to recognize it; either that, or not want to recognize it.

        When such hatred is apparent, the hater becomes the issue and not his “arguments.” Do you really expect anyone to “prove” that Israelis are not like Nazis or that Jews do not control America? I’m sure you understand that Jews are bound to be sensitive to such language, given what it has led to in the past. I say all this so that you will understand the response that such attacks elicit. Certainly there is no rational or justifiable explanation for the vehemence of the attacks on Israel in a world where populations are being massacred every other day with barely an eyebrow raised. It makes you wonder, at the very least.

      • Kata Fisher July 13, 2014 at 9:45 am #

        Dear Fred:

        With that – we look at Israel, and her works and say: “Look and see that which they do is not Judaism, but works in power of hell.” “It is works of Synagogue of Satan” –we say that.

        We know that Jews are not always Jews who obey by the Old Testament; instruction of the Scripture. As Church Charismatic, we only compare Judaism to Jews-valid and Gentile works to Gentiles – and / or defiled Jews / false Jews in invalid works and faith of Old Testament — the practices of illicit orgies that are strange to valid faith/practices of Judaism.

        I assure you that Church Charismatic can and will compare the spirit of Nazi to the spirit of Nazi (witchcraft spirit in contemporary appearance) – regardless to Jews or non-Jews.

        We only look that which is counterfeit and that which is not in a counterfeit spirit.

        Church-Charismatic arguments are not air floating in irrationality – but rather it has its substance from historical events and /or Scriptural reference and/or importance.

        We know by the Scripture when Gentiles are converted to Judaism and /or Christianity they are expected to fulfill the Law.

        To fulfill the Law –but what does that mean?

    • Gene Schulman July 13, 2014 at 5:31 am #


      I too am sorry to see you go. Perhaps the attached might make your retirement a bit more enlightened:

      • Fred Skolnik July 13, 2014 at 6:48 am #

        Gene, you are being a little sarcastic here in your farewell message to Rabbi Youdovin and you really don’t have the wit for it. Stick to “referencing.” It’s more your speed.

        As for your Declaration, you should have worked a little harder on it if you wanted it to be remembered for more than a day or two. Declarations of this kind should be pretty much free from fallacies and fictions. I had hoped, for example, that you would have understood by now that it is not belief but first and foremost birth that makes someone Jewish, just as it makes someone French or American. In fact, a Jew who converts to another religion (an apostate or “mumar,” “meshummad,” etc.) is still considered a Jew halakhically. The practical meaning of this, among other things, is that a child born to a Jewish woman who has converted to another religion will also be considered Jewish halakhically. The Jewish people are a nation, Gene. That is what you were born into, though you certainly may repudiate it. But I see that this is something you do not wish to understand.

        Nations are “forged,” as it is put, when related tribal groups attain a permanent territorial base and begin to build the institutions of a sovereign and common national life. That is what happened in Western Europe after the Gothic invasions and that is what happened with the Israelite tribes in the Land of Israel. The fact that the Jews were subjugated and dispersed did not diminish their sense of being a nation or people – a nation in exile in fact. Some found new national identities as assimilated Jews and some remained despised and stateless in hostile environments, but some also reclaimed their national identity in their ancient homeland and recreated the sovereign national life of the Jewish people. The result is the Jewish State of Israel, which is no less legitimate than any other national state and is recognized as such throughout the world. Standing on your head and screaming, “Not true! Not true!” or quoting a friend or neighbor or “referencing” anti-Israel blogs does not diminish Jewish nationhood in the Land of Israel in the least, it only exposes your desperate will to delegitimize the Jewish national experience.

        As for your reading of the history of the Arab-Israel conflict, you are just stringing together sentences that contain all the dirty words you know. Words like “Nazi” are always the giveaway. Your idea that “Israel and Judaism are the cause of much trouble in the world” and that Israel “claims hegemony over all the Middle East” places you in a very special category among the irrational.

      • ray032 July 13, 2014 at 8:53 am #

        Gene, I tried to post this comment in the link, but it did not take after several attempts:

        “I’ve always thought the notion of a “secular” Israel to be an oxymoron.

        How can the status quo be maintained by secular Israelis Today, who do not believe in God, but act on an ideology taken from a Book that says the God they don’t believe in, gave the land to their Zionist Ancestors 4000 years ago?

        That is the recipe for disaster and Armageddon.

        Armageddon was derived from Har Megiddo, located in Roman occupied Palestine 2000 years ago.

        Har Megiddo/Armageddon still exists as a physical reality, but is now located in temporal/secular Israel recreated from the Bible after an absence of 3000 years, and the resultant current version of the occupation of Palestine.”

        @ Fred

        You write, I had hoped, for example, that you would have understood by now that it is not belief but first and foremost birth that makes someone Jewish.

        God promised Abraham he would be the Father of many Nations, not only the Jewish people. After 4000 years, we can see God kept the promise with the facts and reality of the Christian and Islamic Nations and the Jewish State.

        The people God chose 4000 years ago are dead and gone. God is still choosing new people Today to life according to God’s ways since men’s ways in this world are so corrupt..

        In my Spiritual and religious reality, Christianity is a Sect of Judaism.
        I do not share your notion it is “birth” and not belief that makes one a Jew.

        And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if you be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall your seed be.
        And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

        This is what God said to Abraham in the Genesis. For God to keep that word, more than Jews exclusively are included.

        I know Christians did not exist when Christ Jesus walked among the people in occupied Judea and Samara. He reached out to Jews first and foremost.

        From the Christian perspective in Judaism, naturally, according to the flesh, these scriptures would conflict with your belief;

        That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world.
        He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
        He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

        But as many as received him, to them gave he power TO BECOME the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
        Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

        For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
        But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

        But the scripture has concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
        But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
        Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
        But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

        For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
        For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
        There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
        And if you be Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    • ray032 July 13, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      Rabbi, even though you did not reply to my comment addressed to you several articles ago, I too think you should reconsider your decision to leave. If one is never challenged in their beliefs, how can the Truth be known? Challenging goes both ways.

      It is alright for people to disagree as long as the discourse is civil and conducted with Good Will.

      And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
      Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

      Sadly Today, humanity seems far away from embodying the Spirit of the Angel’s greeting, and this world is more like the description in Genesis 6, just before the flood;
      The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
      And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
      And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

      This is totally consistent with the record at the end of the Book, in Revelation 11 & !2;
      And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth

      Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.

      Everyone can see the Nations are angry and getting angrier, but WHICH WRATH IS WHICH?

      Remember the story of Micaiah from Jewish history some 2750 years ago?

      It’s about about the Kings of Israel and Judah holding a Summit meeting to discuss going to war. All the prophets of God in the land of Israel were summoned to tell the Kings the word of the Lord, if God was with them or not?
      All four hundred prophets were of one voice. ´God is with you. Go to war.´

      Micaiah was singularly right. God was not with Israel and Judah in their war plans. He paid a heavy price for speaking the Truth of God at that Time.

  14. david singer July 12, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    Rabbi Youdovin

    I have enjoyed reading your posts although not always entirely in agreement with all your views.

    One example – A lot of what has happened in the past must be agreed on if we are going to find a path towards a better future for the Palestinian Arabs and the Jewish people.

    For example: Are the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter still binding in international law?

    These two documents have legally sanctioned the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in former Palestine for the last 92 years.

    The PLO understands this and that is why it maintains they are null and void.

    Vacating the field to that argument (which is frequently made on this web site) is not in the interests of both Jews and Arabs.

    Reconciling what we are told are two different narratives can only be achieved by dialogue – as difficult and time consuming as this might be.

    Professor Falk is right. It needs to be done in a civil and respectful tone and I welcome his attempts to do so.

    Please reconsider your decision to withdraw. Your contribution to the discussions has been of great value.

    • Richard Falk July 13, 2014 at 1:32 am #

      Mr. Singer

      Thanks for this constructive comment.

      I am afraid that we are too far apart on Article 80 to have a meaningful conversation about. I share the PLO view,
      which I interpret as saying that the Palestinian right of self-determination deserves legal, political, and moral
      precedence over colonial arrangements of which the Balfour Declaration is an almost pure example. International law
      adapts to changes in the makeup of international society, and an aspect of the decolonization process was to draw into
      question arrangements that were perfectly legal and legitimate when entered into force. At bottom we are addressing deep
      jurisprudential issues about the nature of international law, and its bearing on what are sometimes called inter-temporal
      disputes about conflicting interpretations of legal rights and duties.

      • David Singer July 13, 2014 at 3:42 am #

        Professor Falk

        We may indeed find ourselves to be far apart on article 80 but unfortunately you have not given any explanation as to why you consider it not relevant or capable of many interpretations.

        This kind of blanket dismissal is extremely unhelpful.

        I am more than happy to explore your point of view but until you advance reasons for it then that is impossible.

        The decision to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Mandatory Palestine was endorsed and unanimously agreed to by the League of Nations. To consider it resulted from “colonialist arrangements” is telling half the story.

        You can just as well argue that the Mandates for Mesopotamia and Syria and Lebanon are similarly flawed because they occurred at the same time leaving the Arabs with the right to self determination in 99.99% of the liberated Ottoman territories and the Jews with just 0.01%.

        International law certainly does not remain immutable but to believe it could now be made retrospective and affect rights previously granted 92 years ago under international law would be most unusual.

        Therefore I am very surprised that you should go even further and share the PLO view that the Mandate and article 80 are null and void.

        I respectfully suggest you are going down a dangerous path in expressing your agreement to that point of view – especially given your illustrious legal career.

        If anyone can simply declare any piece of international law as being null and void and act as though it never existed then we are all in far worse shape than we are now.

        The PLO is indeed a prime example of what happens when international law is treated with contempt.

        It is even more hypocritical when we hear the words ” illegal in international law” being mouthed daily by PLO representatives and with respect even by yourself.

        Supporting the PLO “null and void” viewpoint does indeed help explain why you are reluctant to discuss or consider as relevant the Mandate, article 80, the Peel Commission report, the UN Partition Resolution, and even the right of the Jews to their own State and self- determination in their legally sanctioned homeland.

        Thank you for being so frank.

      • ray032 July 14, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

        Richard, I was making a point similar to yours about International Law adapting to changes in CanaDa’s National Post yesterday.

        “Israel as a kingdom in this world ceased to exist some 3000 years before it was re-created from the Bible in 1948. The Dome of the Rock has stood on the Temple Mount for 1300 years, longer than both Jewish Temples.

        The British, Administering the Palestinian Mandate since the collapse of the 700 year Ottoman Empire after WWI, had finally recognized the trouble that lay ahead from their experience with the Jewish terrorists already in Palestine.

        The British rescinded the Balfour Declaration of 1917, imposing the Jewish State on the majority Arab population, in 1938.

        The White Paper of 1939 was a policy paper issued by the British government under Neville Chamberlain in which, among several key provisions, the idea of partitioning Palestine was abandoned. (It was also known as the MacDonald White Paper after Malcolm MacDonald, the British Colonial Secretary who presided over its creation).

        The paper also provided (as alternative to partition) for creating an independent Palestine to be governed by Palestinian Arabs and Jews in proportion to their numbers in the population by 1939 (section I).
        Further: a limit of 75,000 Jewish immigrants was set for the five-year
        period 1940-1944 (consisting of a regular yearly quota of 10,000 and a flexible supplementary quota of 25,000); after 1944 the further immigration of Jews to Palestine would depend on permission of the Arab majority (section II); and restrictions were placed on the rights of Jews to buy land from Arabs (section III).

        The White Paper was published as Cmd 6019. It was approved by the House of Commons on 23 May 1939 by 268 votes to 179.

        It was too late. The train had already left the station, and the minority Jews were given the majority of the land in the Partition.

        Naturally, any indigenous people anywhere, in all of human history, would resent outside powers imposing such a situation on them.

        This is especially True when those same powers, in the atmospheres just prior to, and after WWII, would not accept those same European Jews as Refugees in their own Countries.

        There is no question or dispute Jews have lived on the land as a minority since the Roman expulsion 2000 years ago, and generally had good relations with their Arab neighbours, until the State of Israel became a reality. The Jews started the subtle ethnic cleansing and marginalization of the Arabs already living on the land before the European Jewish invasion.

      • david singer July 15, 2014 at 6:41 am #

        Ray 032

        1. I find your post very misleading and deceptive – especially in relation to your failure to mention the Arab Revolt 1936-1939 which led to the 1939 White Paper and its recommendations.

        Perhaps you are ignorant of that revolt which led to the 1939 White Paper so I am setting out a summary for you to read and digest.

        “Arab revolt in Palestine to resist British support for a Jewish national home.
        The revolt in Palestine (1936 – 1939) was in many ways the decisive episode in the efforts of the Palestinian Arabs to resist the British mandate’s support for a Jewish national home in Palestine. Although it helped force a British policy reassessment, which led to the 1939 white paper curtailing Jewish immigration to Palestine, ultimately the revolt must be judged a failure. At its conclusion in 1939, the Palestinian Arabs were exhausted by more than three years of British repression. Perhaps 5,000 had been killed and 15,000 to 20,000 wounded; 5,600 of their leaders and fighters were in British detention; and most of the rest were scattered outside the country or dead. Such losses, in a population of about 1 million Palestinian Arabs in 1939, meant that more than 10 percent of the adult males were killed, wounded, or detained by the end of the revolt.
        Equally important, the Palestinians failed to benefit politically. Their already divided leadership was fragmented further by the events of 1936 to 1939; and with many of its leaders in exile from 1937 on, it was paralyzed by a division between those outside of Palestine and those inside it that persisted for decades thereafter. These divisions contributed to the failure of the Palestinians to capitalize on the potential advantages offered them in the 1939 white paper, which with its limits on immigration and promise of self-government within ten years, held out for the first time the prospect of Arab majority rule in Palestine. In any case, the government of Winston Churchill, which came into office soon after, was resolutely opposed to its implementation.”

        2. The Arab Revolt 1936-1939 makes your following statement a blatant lie:

        “There is no question or dispute Jews have lived on the land as a minority since the Roman expulsion 2000 years ago, and generally had good relations with their Arab neighbours, until the State of Israel became a reality.”

        One can also cite the Arab riots of 1920 and 1929 to expose your above statement as misleading and deceptive.

        3. You make this further incorrect statement:

        “Naturally, any indigenous people anywhere, in all of human history, would resent outside powers imposing such a situation on them.”

        There was no indigenous population in Palestine. The nearest to that description were the Jews who you acknowledged had been living there as a minority since the Roman expulsion.

        The Arabs did not conquer and occupy the land until the seventh century.AD.

        Point out one reference in the 1939 White Paper or the Mandate where an indigenous population was identified as being in existence at either time.

        4. One further matter in the White Paper you conveniently overlook is this statement:

        “In the recent discussions the Arab delegations have repeated the contention that Palestine was included within the area in which Sir Henry McMahon, on behalf of the British Government, in October, 1915, undertook to recognise and support Arab independence. The validity of this claim, based on the terms of the correspondence which passed between Sir Henry McMahon and the Sharif of Mecca, was thoroughly and carefully investigated by the British and Arab representatives during the recent conferences in London. Their report, which has been published, states that both the Arab and the British representatives endeavoured to understand the point of view of the other party but that they were unable to reach agreement upon an interpretation of the correspondence. There is no need to summarize here the arguments presented by each side. His Majesty’s Government regret the misunderstandings which have arisen as regards some of the phrases used. For their part they can only adhere, for the reasons given by their representatives in the Report, to the view that the whole of Palestine west of Jordan was excluded from Sir Henry McMahon’s pledge, and they therefore cannot agree that the McMahon correspondence forms a just basis for the claim that Palestine should be converted into an Arab State.”

        5. The White Paper’s proposals could not have been implemented without the consent of the League of Nations as this statement in the White Paper made clear:

        “The objective of His Majesty’s Government is the establishment within 10 years of an independent Palestine State in such treaty relations with the United Kingdom as will provide satisfactorily for the commercial and strategic requirements of both countries in the future. The proposal for the establishment of the independent State would involve consultation with the Council of the League of Nations with a view to the termination of the Mandate.”

        Yes – the Mandate still remained the definitive and binding document that Britain could not circumvent.

        6. Rabbi Youdovin – vacating Professor Falk’s blog will allow this kind of revisionist rubbish served up by ray 032 to be perpetuated as truth unless it is challenged.

        7. Professor Falk – given your knowledge of the conflict – how can you allow such a factually inaccurate and misleading and deceptive post to remain on your web site?

    • Kata Fisher July 13, 2014 at 10:10 am #

      I believe that Rabbi Youdovin needs to be here – or we have to find another one. I do no believe discussing issues in Holy Land when Jewish Rabbi is not present.

  15. Fahed July 13, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    Dear Mr Falk,

    How can I get in touch with you?

    WordPress has associated my email address with this comment. If you (or an assistant) could please contact me, I would deeply appreciate it.

    It is in connection with your article titled “Torment Gaza” in Aljazeera.

    Many thanks,


  16. Rabbi Ira Youdovin July 14, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    To: Fred Skolnik, David Singer, Oldguyincolorado, Dan Livni, et al:

    After several days away from this blog, I urge others who frequently dissent from Prof. Falk’s views to take his litmus test for acceptability, as I did/ If they flunk—i.e. if they don’t accept that Israel is totally, or almost totally responsible for the conflict—–they should withdraw, as I have. Otherwise, they’re wasting their time.

    I became involved in Prof. Falk’s blog at the urging of a mutual friend, who insisted that he was far more moderate than his reputation indicated. I’ve since learned differently. The professor has maintained the same line for a long time, and is not likely to change. Everything is hardwired into place, including the denials, the evasions, the cries of being misconstrued and misrepresented. It’s a system which enables him to deny intentions of dismantling Israel while, at the same time, castigating pro-BDS Presbyterians for affirming Israel’s right to exist.

    You can’t beat, or even penetrate, that system, especially not when Prof. Falk controls what appears on the blog and what is censored; which comments “merit” a response and which are ignored, or dismissed as being arrogant, polemical or too distant from his views to be bridgeable. Guys, you’re kidding yourself if you think that you’re going to crack the defense mechanisms or initiate a constructive conversation…unless you embrace Prof. Falk’s view that Israel is totally, or almost totally responsible for the conflict. That iin no way misconstrues or misrepresents his words. It’s exactly as he posted it.

    I appreciate that our participation has been motivated by history’s harsh lessons of what can happen when Jews under attack remain silent. But consider this: the blog’s readership is exceedingly small and probably dominated by people who share Prof. Falk’s views. These are not likely to change in response to the objections of a few Jews who have been brainwashed, are being paid by Israel, and are incapable of feeling the pain they inflict on others. Indeed, according to Eugene Schulmann, Prof. Falk’s #1 enthusiast, each and every one of us, and anybody else who supports Israel, is an “enemy of peace.”

    Full disclosure: I have an ulterior motive in making this suggestion. Have you noticed that participation drops dramatically when Prof. Falk isn’t trashing Israel, and rises exponentially when we post objections that set off a firestorm of abusive reaction, all of which gets by the professor’s one-sided abuse meter? There’s a lesson to be learned from here. I suggest that we cease positioning ourselves as designated targets of this verbal blood sport, and watch silently from the sidelines as his ratings dwindle.

    I make this suggestion with mixed emotions. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and learned from them, even when I haven’t been in total agreement with your views. I regret never having met you and may not ever have the opportunity (although Fred, I think I know who/where you are, and plan to look you up on my next trip to Israel. In any event, I benefit from your superb editorial work almost every day. Thank you for that.)

    Finally, if some readers snarl that this is no more than a call for boycotting the blog, please remember that withdrawing is precisely what Prof. Falk told us to do.


    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • ray032 July 14, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

      Rabbi, Having my own WordPress Blog, I know I/Professor Falk/Rabbi Youdovin set the rules for all comments.
      There are only 2 choices:
      1. Comment must be manually approved
      2. Comment author must have a previously approved comment

      I can set it so I have to approve every comment by everyone every time, or I can set it so that once I approve the 1st comment by a new commentator, all subsequent comments from the same writer appear instantly, not requiring my approval. I have the option to delete after the fact.

      As you know, you and I do not always see eye to eye on everything, but I would hope you could see there was no personal animosity in stating my views different than your own with whatever degree of passion. I think that is the civility the people of this world need more than ever.

      It is distressing to have seen mob mentalities in both Jews and Arabs roaming the streets of Jerusalem, the City of God’s Peace, shouting Death to Arabs/Jews. No matter what angle I try to look at it, there is no good in this development.

      O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kills the prophets, and stones them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!
      Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
      For I say to you, You shall not see me henceforth, till you shall say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

      Ira, since you’re a Jewish Rabbi, and supposedly more Spiritually aware, in touch and in tune than the average person, and living in the same city as Professor Falk, why don’t you just initiate contact, phone him up, and propose a meeting face to face? I am sure your G_d as you see G_d to be, would be pleased with your initiative. I am 99.99% sure you will discover Richard is not the monster you imagine him to be.


    • Kata Fisher July 14, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      Dear Rabbi Ira Youdovin,

      I am sorry that your feelings have been hurt, and I first feel I should apologise if I contributed to any of that.

      My understanding is that is useless to go about things only to cut around them, but also to uproot them. Going about that what must be uprooted is harsh on sensitive human spirit, but not impossible thing to do, corporately, as you see in this setting.

      We go about things that are around the root in order to uproot the cause to a particular effect.

      This is difficult and harsh to go about and even more difficult to submit to the person of spiritual authority to be uprooting things – that what they should be doing, if they only understand their God-given appointing and ability.

      However, this we do consistently (the processes it depends on the strategy: move of the Spirit). I do hope not to go beyond that.

      I do not believe changing people or their views, at all because I believe that everyone should be in their appointed areas, and be in peace with that.

      It would be nice not to have lapses as we do her, but previously learned/less effective behavior and/or strategy is issue-specific consistent, so it is ongoing that we have these lapses, and it can be harsh to cope with that.

      I would not be here if I did not believe that God can restore Kingdom of Israel or sustainable peace at any given day, Dear Rabbi. All we have to do is ask for God’s help and guidance with issues that are taking place in Holy Land.

      With that, I have a solid hope, and I do hope that you will reconsider in hope what David has asked you.

      Nevertheless, we are not trying to tempt you against your conscience, and place you outside your spiritual well-being.

      Also, we may need more than one Rabbi here…maybe that is what is wrong, and we cannot break the cycle with things that are ongoing?

      Now I think if we were to have diversity of Rabbis go about these issues – they could solve things in this corporate setting?

      There is so much to clarify about past issues, and even present issues that are.

      • ray032 July 28, 2014 at 6:25 am #

        Sorry, David, for leaving out the link that shows the relevance of the last part of my comment.

        September 13, 1976, THE KANSAS CITY TIMES records for Posterity (that’s us):

        ¨There are 30 months before the fate of the world will be sealed with EITHER Destruction OR the Universal Brotherhood of Man,¨ he said. ¨The 30 month figure concerned a Treaty between Israel and Egypt.¨

        NOTE: This does not say Universal Brotherhood of Man or Destruction in 30 months.

        Not 29 or 31, but exactly 30 months later, in March 1979, history shows a Treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed. The Camp David Accord. History shows talks broke down on the 12th day and no Treaty was to be signed. Begin and Sadat were leaving. It was on the 13th Day, as in the date of the Article and the picture accompanying it, an unexpected window of opportunity appeared and opened the way for the Treaty to be signed.

        This signified the Universal Brotherhood part of the quote.
        The Destruction part is made possible with the unexpected Peaceful Iranian Revolution which also happened in the same 1979 time frame as the Camp David Accord.

        September 1, 2013

        Follow the link at the bottom of that article to see the earlier one with more information and video posted February 23, 2011
        ‘From the Revolutionary Spirit of ’76 to the Revolutionary Spirit of ’11’

    • Richard Falk July 14, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

      Dear Rabbi Youdovin:

      I am not sure why you are so insistent on misrepresenting my views. As you must know my objection to what
      you and your addressees write in comments is not about substantive views, but rather about the personalizing of
      objections and the questioning of motives that you do almost obsessively. I share the view of the others who
      prefer your participation, and I too have learned from the substantive content that you convey, but I do not
      believe the back and forth on whether I or others who comment have dark ulterior motives is helpful, and I find it
      hurtful. I did indicate my own substantive premises as to the conflict and related belief that I do not find
      it useful to argue with those who proceed from a very different understanding, and hence maybe it is not worth
      their effort to participate. I had in mind, especially, Mr. Singer who poses lots of questions from a perspective
      that presupposes a different understanding of how law and rights emerge and change in international life, as well
      as to what sorts of approaches would bring a sustainable peace to both peoples. As for choosing which comments to
      respond to, I do the best I can given a range of commitments, and my impression is that most writers of opinion
      pieces (which is essentially what my blog contains) rarely respond at all. In a small way the struggle to establish
      a civil discourse on these issues is a test as to whether dialogue is possible in relation to this inflamed subject-matter.

      • david singer July 17, 2014 at 3:56 am #

        Professor Falk

        Still you refuse to answer why article 80 of the United Nations Charter has no relevance.

      • Kata Fisher July 22, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

        David: I am starting to wonder about article 80 of the United Nations Charter now, too.

        What is the truth?

      • david singer July 22, 2014 at 8:07 pm #


        The truth is that the rights vested in the Jewish people under the Mandate for Palestine did not die with the demise of the League of Nations and the creation of the United Nations as a result of the inclusion of Article 80 in the UN Charter

        Jews have every right to close settlement in the West Bank and Gaza on state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes pursuant to their right to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in former Palestine under article 6 of the Mandate since these areas have never been under any internationally recognized sovereignty since Great Britain’s withdrawal as Mandatory in 1948.

        Professor Falk thinks otherwise but is not prepared to give his reasons – although asked to do so on several occasions. He needs to do better but apparently hasn’t got the time.

      • Kata Fisher July 23, 2014 at 9:05 am #

        Dear David,

        You write: “The truth is that the rights vested in the Jewish people under the Mandate for Palestine did not die with the demise of the League of Nations and the creation of the United Nations, as a result, of the inclusion of Article 80 in the UN Charter.”

        I do not disagree with you–you look at this based on natural realities.

        In addition to that, I understand this: Jewish people / Jewish exiles are perpetually in spiritual authority over the Holy Land, because they have spiritual authority over the Holy Land by the Old Testament Scripture and by God’s presence. They did not need mandate of a pagan-kingdom / British (these who never became valid Christianity and valid authority/rulers over anyone that is in Spiritual authority of God).

        They did not need mandate or approval of pagan-church either (those who were/are the false Church in/of Rome or US and elsewhere).

        What they did not do is this: They did not take spiritual authority of that what was perpetually Jewish / Jewish Kingdom. Perhaps, it was not even in their power as laypeople to do that.

        What they did is this as you said:

        “Jews have every right to close settlement in the West Bank and Gaza on state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes pursuant to their right to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in former Palestine under article 6 of the Mandate since these areas have never been under any internationally recognized sovereignty since Great Britain’s withdrawal as Mandatory in 1948.”

        To me this also means that Jewish settlers did start out their beginnings as strangers in the Land. That is exactly what British mandate provided for settling Jews in Holy Land.

        In addition to that British mandate provided a secular governing which was also not appropriate concerning this:

        as Gene notes July 3, 2014 at 6:13 am#

        “Forget all the nonsense about the UN, etc. Look at what the Israeli Declaration of Independence says and tell me they have kept their word:
        ‘The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions, and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.’

        The Jewish State of Israel cannot be a democracy – by definition it is a theocracy. That’s all you need to know.”

        David: “The State” has to be ecclesiastical in definition? How and what? What needs to be fixed to appease the wrath of God; it is a theocracy that does give no way to God. While at the same time figure out how to “be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations” — and really what would this mean?

        The State of Israel has done bad things and has also stashed up on bad things / laws to their governing. Everything has to be cleaned up.

        They have to reconstruct everything in order to get their validity in approach equal to that which is written in “Israeli Declaration of Independence.”

        I believe that one-minded none-of-female; only one-minded man equipped and qualified in Laws that are applicable prophets, and /or diplomats should go about that. Meaning look at each component of the structure what they have already done and make strategic changes based on valid ecclesiastical and civil laws. Implement additional things and what if so?

        What I am saying is this: Holy Land Territory has to be approached in lawful ways when it is while cleaning up everything in governing structure of Israel as a “state.”

        I am not sure if Vatican nuncio to Israel is qualified and equipped to oversee them when necessary, but I know that Fr. Carlo Maria Vigano is qualified and equipped, and I am sure that he can provide additional nuncio-diplomats that he is one minded and confident with.

        I believe that Professor Falk has to be able to be in Israel if and when such things take place, as well. He was restricted before, and that would have to be fully revoked because he may just have to be there. We do not know that.

      • david singer July 24, 2014 at 5:43 pm #


        You state:

        “The State of Israel has done bad things and has also stashed up on bad things / laws to their governing. Everything has to be cleaned up.

        They have to reconstruct everything in order to get their validity in approach equal to that which is written in “Israeli Declaration of Independence.”

        Can you give some specific examples on what has to be cleaned up to equal that which is written in the Declaration of Independence.

        You need to also appreciate that Israel is only 66 years old and is still a continuing work in progress as it struggles to maintain its very existence in the face of many wars and the opposition of many States and terrorist groups who desire to wipe it off the face of the earth.

        Israel is not perfect – but point out to me any states you believe have attained such a status.

      • Kata Fisher July 24, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

        Dear David,

        I just read this.

        Yes, you are right.

        Please, tell me what is not wrong with Kingdom of Israel?

        I will not go any further about anything else. Why is Israel (that should be the Kingdom) a state?

        That is the first example of what exactly is wrong.

      • david singer July 24, 2014 at 8:38 pm #


        I am not sure what you mean by the term “Kingdom of Israel”

        How will this Kingdom differ from the current “State of Israel” ?

      • Kata Fisher July 24, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

        David: “I want my Land Back.”
        Landmarks that are ancient – that has to be given back by other nations – all of them. Whenever. All of the ancient Holy Land has to be given back to Jews that are under Old Testament.

      • david singer July 24, 2014 at 10:50 pm #


        You should ask Professor Falk whether he agrees with your thoughts.

        He is in a far better position of influence with the UN and the Vatican than I.

      • Richard Falk July 25, 2014 at 12:25 am #

        To David Singer:

        I know you have been asking for my responses to your queries about Article 80 and the Balfour Declaration. I am not in a position
        to give a detailed response, and I have the impression that your views are so settled that whatever I might say by way of explanation
        would give rise to a cascade of further questions. This is not the sort of dialogue that I welcome, and I don’t think it helps either of us.

        Let me give my view of the Balfour Declaration as the historical source of validating Israel’s modern statehood claim:
        –if it taken as a valid framework, then its substance and spirit has been seriously undermined in several respects: the use of ‘homeland’
        rather than ‘state’ was deliberate, and minimally understood that no Jewish state was intended, and certainly not, until Jews constituted
        the majority in Palestine, which was not the case in 1947; furthermore, there is centrally vital language that the establishment of a
        Jewish homeland shall not be carried out in ways that diminish the situation of other ethnicities living in Palestine, and surely that
        kind of protective intention was never upheld with respect to the Arab or Palestinian presence, and was catastrophically repudiated by
        the nakba in 1948, including the deliberate destruction of several hundred Palestinian villages;
        –if the Balfour + narrative is repudiated as a product of colonial fiat that disregarded the will of the existing population in Palestine,
        then the issue remains what it should have been after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, a question of self-determination, which excludes
        residual and ancient claims of entitlement derived from religion or cultural tradition. I have articulated my views in the past on this, but I
        realize not at all to your satisfaction.
        It is my view that Article 80 has to be interpreted in light of these two clusters of considerations.
        And finally, I can only dream of having influence with either the UN or the Vatican!

      • david singer July 26, 2014 at 5:18 am #

        Professor Falk

        Thank you for at last explaining your position – which as you predicted I cannot agree with.

        Let me quote some of your pertinent remarks – and my responses as to why I believe your position cannot be justified.

        1. “the use of ‘homeland’ rather than ‘state’ was deliberate, and minimally understood that no Jewish state was intended, and certainly not, until Jews constituted the majority in Palestine, which was not the case in 1947”

        Your statement is not supported by the 1937 Peel Commission Report.

        ‘39. This definition of the National Home has sometimes been
        taken to preclude the establishment of a Jewish State. But,
        though the phraseology was clearly intended to conciliate, as
        far as might be, Arab antagonism to the National Home, there
        is nothing in it to prohibit the ultimate establishment of a Jewish
        State, and Mr. Churchill himself has told us in evidence that
        no such prohibition was intended. This view was naturally
        shared by the Zionist Organisation, whose Executive, after examining
        the Statement of Policy, declared that “ the activities
        of the Zionist Organisation wiil be conducted in conformity with
        the policy therein set forth “. One reason why no public allusion
        to a State was made in I922 was the same reason why no
        such allusion had been made in 1917. The National Home was
        still no more than an experiment. Some 16,000 Jews had entered
        Palestine in I920 and 1921. The Arab population was about
        600,000. It would be a very long time, it seemed, before the
        Jews could become a majority in the country. Indeed, as late
        as 1926, a leading Zionist stated that there was ” still little
        prospect of the Arabs being overtaken in a numerical sense
        within a measurable period of time ” ,* It was not till the great
        rise in the volume of Jewish immigration in the last few years,
        that the prospect of a Jewish State came within the horizon. In
        1922 it lay far beyond it.’

        * Mr. 2. Stein, in Survey of International Affairs, 1925, (Oxford, I927),
        Vol. I, p. 392, note 2.

        In 1947 the UN Partition Plan called for a Jewish State with a population of 498000 Jews and 325000 Arabs and an Arab State with 807000 Arabs and 10000 Jews. The Jews accepted the proposal. The Arabs rejected it.

        2. “furthermore, there is centrally vital language that the establishment of a
        Jewish homeland shall not be carried out in ways that diminish the situation of other ethnicities living in Palestine,”

        Your use of the term “other ethnicities” was not used at all. The “centrally vital language” used was “the existing non-Jewish communities”. There is a huge difference.

        3. ” if the Balfour + narrative is repudiated as a product of colonial fiat that disregarded the will of the existing population in Palestine, then the issue remains what it should have been after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire”

        I am not sure whether this is your view (I suspect it is) or whether you are expressing the viewpoint of others such as the PLO and Hamas for whom the Balfour declaration and everything that followed are “null and void”.

        In any event the Mandate for Palestine was not the “product of colonial fiat” but the unanimous expression of all 51 member states of the League of Nations – which was not compelled to endorse the decisions taken by France, Great Britain, Italy and Japan at the San Remo Conference and the Treaty of Sevres in 1920 setting up Mandates for Palestine, Mesopotamia and Syria and Lebanon..

        You cannot seriously claim that the League of Nations decision and article 80 of the UN Charter can be repudiated in 2014.

        You also fail to take into account that 76.9% of Mandatory Palestine promised to the Jews was excised in 1922 – which clearly indicates that the will of the existing non-Jewish population in Palestine had not been disregarded.

        The Peel Commission explains why this decision was made:

        “(3) The field in which the Jewish National Home was to be established was understood, at the time of the Balfour Declaration, to be the whole of historic Palestine, and the Zionists were seriously disappointed when Trans-Jordan was cut away from that field under Article 25. This was done, as has been seen, in obedience to the McMahon Pledge, which was antecedent to the Balfour Declaration”

        Yes Professor Falk – please not the words “historic Palestine” used by the Commission in 1937 to denote all of the land that is today called Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza.

        You and others like the PLO have hijacked that term in 2014 to exclude Jordan.

        Suggesting that well established international law be overturned for whatever reason except by its proper legal repeal cannot possibly be advocated or countenanced.

      • Richard Falk July 26, 2014 at 7:28 am #

        Mr. Singer: I don’t want to argue with you. These are interpretations that you are putting
        forward that are not widely accepted. To associate their rejection with the PLO is being tendentious.
        Your strong point has to do with Jordan, the rest is polemics. In my opinion I am not suggesting “that
        well established international law be overturned..” You will never win this argument, and I would not
        recommend insisting upon it. As I have said before the Jordan historical dimension of the Palestinian
        reality is your trump card, but it is unlikely to be persuasive given all the developments since then,
        including awarding the Jewish homeland a majority of the 1947 territory when it was a minority in that
        reconstituted reality of ‘historic Palestine.’

      • David Singer July 28, 2014 at 6:31 am #

        Professor Falk

        I am not being tendentious.

        The PLO does reject the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine and everything that follows as being “null and void” under article 20 of the PLO charter.

        “Article 20:

        The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.”

        That is irrefutable fact.

        I am however heartened to read that you state:

        “As I have said before the Jordan historical dimension of the Palestinian reality is your trump card, but it is unlikely to be persuasive given all the developments since then, including awarding the Jewish homeland a majority of the 1947 territory when it was a minority in that reconstituted reality of ‘historic Palestine.’

        Returning to Jordan the major part of the West Bank it lost in 1967 must surely be a very attractive option given the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza over the past three weeks and the closure of Ben Gurion Airport that has completely removed any hope of creating a Palestinian Arab State between Israel and Jordan.

        With respect the territory allocated to the Jewish State in 1947 was 56.47% – but 60% comprised the arid Negev desert which was thought to be uncultivatable. The other 43.53% was allocated for the Arab (not Palestinian) State.

        How “historic Palestine” that included Transjordan in 1922 can become a “reconstituted reality” that excludes Transjordan in 1947 is really attempting to gild the lily.

        You have not elaborated any other reasons for adopting the view that returning the major part of the West Bank to Jordan would be unlikely to be persuasive.

        Perhaps you would like to do so.

        Given the way things are now – every effort should be made to get Israel and Jordan to negotiate directly before the current conflict escalates out of control.

      • Kata Fisher July 25, 2014 at 10:22 am #

        David: I think and also believe that things such as this are appointed by Spirit of God and that not by anyone’s will-power but manifestation/move of God’s Spirit.

        When you along with our beloved Professor Falk are appointed to do that what has to be done—you just are.

      • Kata Fisher July 26, 2014 at 9:02 am #

        Dear David,

        You give reference to the McMahon Pledge.

        The context of that is unusual?

        Was it mulling? I am not sure how to interpret that reference that I came up with.

        What is the truth?

      • David Singer July 28, 2014 at 4:08 am #


        The truth is what McMahon himself wrote in a letter that was published in the London Times on 23 July 1937:

        “I feel it my duty to state, and I do so definitely and emphatically, that it was not intended by me in giving this pledge to King Hussein to include Palestine in the area in which Arab independence was promised. I also had every reason to believe at the time that the fact that Palestine was not included in my pledge was well understood by King Hussein.”

      • ray032 July 26, 2014 at 9:41 am #

        david, this is a particularly long thread, but this is my comment in ‘Gaza Interview- Truthout’ on the same issue concerning you here.

        This is from the 1939 British White paper clarifying the Balfour Declaration:

        Section I. “The Constitution”

        It has been urged that the expression “a national home for the Jewish people” offered a prospect that Palestine might in due course become a Jewish State or Commonwealth. His Majesty’s Government do not wish to contest the view, which was expressed by the Royal Commission, that the Zionist leaders at the time of the issue of the Balfour Declaration recognised that an ultimate Jewish State was not precluded by the terms of the Declaration. But, with the Royal Commission, His Majesty’s Government believe that the framers of the Mandate in which the Balfour Declaration was embodied could not have intended that Palestine should be converted into a Jewish State against the will of the Arab population of the country. That Palestine was not to be converted into a Jewish State might be held to be implied in the passage from the Command Paper of 1922 which reads as follows…………………..

        Even in 1939 the British did not think their Empire had reached it’s limits and could not impose this development in Palestine. The Imperial Mantle was transferred to the US. The American Empire has already reached it’s limits, in a fraction of the time when the British Empire could impose it’s will in this world.

        On September 13, 1976, page 3A, THE KANSAS CITY TIMES records this:
        “He came to town for the Republican National Convention and will stay until the election in November to do God’s bidding: To tell the world, from Kansas City, this country has been found wanting and its days are numbered […] He gestured toward a gleaming church dome. “The gold dome is the symbol of Babylon,” he said.”

        These are the first two parts of the three part Writing On The Wall recorded in Daniel 5 during the Captivity of Babylon some 2600 years ago.

        It was not until 9/11 and 7 years later, with the Global Financial Meltdown-Economic Pearl Harbor-Tsunami in the Fall of 2008, the whole world was able to see the Writing on the Wall for the 1st Time, at the same Time. The world has ignored it, still thinking it is a money-things problem, when it is a Spiritual problem.

        The third part of the 2600 year old Writing on the Wall Bible story from the Book of Daniel, speaks of the decline of the world’s dominant economic-military Imperial Power, and a rising Persia/Iran. The Iranian Revolution also happened in 1979,

        The World couldn’t see that possibility in 1976, but the World can see it now.

        God IS Great!

      • David Singer July 28, 2014 at 5:03 am #

        Ray 032

        The 1939 White Paper merely confirmed what Churchill had said in 1922 – namely that the words ” in Palestine” where used in the Mandate for Palestine did not mean ” all of Palestine”.

        The next two paragraphs in the White paper that you did not set out confirm the above statement and say the following:

        “”Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that `Palestine is to become as Jewish as England is English.’ His Majesty’s Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated …. the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the (Balfour) Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded IN PALESTINE.”

        But this statement has not removed doubts, and His Majesty’s Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State. They would indeed regard it as contrary to their obligations to the Arabs under the Mandate, as well as to the assurances which have been given to the Arab people in the past, that the Arab population of Palestine should be made the subjects of a Jewish State against their will.”

        Churchill’s change of mind was influenced by events in Transjordan in 1921. As a result of Abdullah’s arrival there Britain excised Transjordan from being subject to the Jewish national home provisions of the Mandate and created an Emirate to keep Abdullah from going to Syria to help his brother Feisal fight the French who wanted him out of there.

        Transjordan comprised 76.9% of the land promised to the Jews before Abdullah reached Transjordan.

        Transjordan was still part of the Mandate for Palestine in 1939 and was not to become independent until 1946.

        Both Churchill in his 1922 White Paper and the White Paper in 1939 were making it clear that Jewish aspirations in Palestine did not and were not intended to extend into Transjordan. The Jews had reluctantly accepted that position. They were really in no position to challenge it despite opposition from people like Jabotinsky.

        The groundwork had been laid for the eventual creation of an exclusively Arabs only State in 76.9% of Mandatory Palestine – today called Jordan – which is indeed the reality in 2014.

        I have no idea of the relevance of the latter part of your post so am unable to respond to it.

      • ray032 July 28, 2014 at 6:29 am #

        @ David,

        This is such a long thread, my reply to your comment about not understanding the relevance of the last part of my comment was posted upstream clicking on the wrong reply link.

      • Kata Fisher July 28, 2014 at 10:28 am #

        Dear David,

        I have read this:

        “The truth is what McMahon himself wrote in a letter that was published in the London Times on 23 July 1937:.”
        “’ I feel it my duty to state,, and I do so definitely and emphatically that it was not intended by me in giving this pledge to King Hussein to include Palestine in the area in which Arab independence was promised. I also had every reason to believe at the time that the fact that Palestine was not included in my pledge was well understood by King Hussein.’ ”

        What do these things mean, then?

        Did McMahon’s pledge become revoked by McMahon? Was it misunderstood,in fact, or was denied by a cheat deliberately by Brutish or Sharif Husayn ibn Ali of Mecca (as well as else who?) in accordance to their allies and needs?

        Assumption, possibility — all? Let us reflect and reconsider all these things?

        How can one miss and /or misunderstand an intended exclusion of the Palestine, and why? Yes, why would an intended exclusion of the Palestine be misunderstood? Can we wonder?

        What are the documents and what do they say? In fact, how do you interpret that what McMahon himself wrote? All that was written by them- how do you interpret that?

        Was it a double edged writing betwixt McMahon Sharif Husayn ibn Ali of Mecca? Where are those documents – do you have access to them, and can you interpret /see if there is a double edged writing betwixt them?

        Meaning, what does the “Spirit” say — and not them have had said by other “spirit/s” and their own ideas — so to say.

        Meaning, regardless what they have thought that they were writing down. Meaning, how do we interpret it.

        Also, consider cultural differences of British and Middle Eastern when they view territories?

        I am thinking this and nothing further about it.

        Also, why are we here today discussing these things in this very context? Can we even have a clear thought, and not just an idea about it?

        Is the Spirit confirming now exactly that what McMahon himself has revoked/has said? Is this possible?

      • david singer July 28, 2014 at 10:07 pm #


        We have to deal with the here and now.

        Mc Mahon made his position perfectly clear in 1937. If Husayn misunderstood him or felt he was cheated by McMahon does that provide the excuse to dismantle the State of Israel now?

        The 1937 Palestine Royal Commission had this to say about the McMahon Pledge:

        “We have not considered that our terms of reference required us to undertake the detailed and lengthy research among the documents of 20 years ago which would be needed for a full re-examination of this issue. We think it sufficient for the purposes of this Report to state that the British Government have never accepted the Arab case. When it was first formally presented by the Arab Delegation in London in 1922, the Secretary
        of State for the Colonies (Mr. Churchill) replied as follows : –

        ” That Ietter Sir H. McMahon’s letter of the 24th October,1915 is quoted as conveying the promise to the Sherif of Mecca to recognize and support the independence of the Arabs within the territories proposed by him. But this promise was given subject to a reservation
        made in the same letter, which excluded from its scope, among,other territories, the portions of Syria lying to the west of the district of Damascus. This reservation has always been regarded by His Majesty’s Government as covering the vilayet of Beirut and the
        independent Sanjak of Jerusalem. The whole of Palestine west of the Jordan was thus excluded from Sir H. McMahon’s pledge.”

        Do you want me to go back and show you how Churchill actually betrayed the Jewish people denying to them the right to reconstitute the Jewish national Home in 76.9% of Palestine – now called Jordan – promised to them in 1920 by the San Remo Conference and the Treaty of Sevres – but excised because of Article 25 being inserted in the Mandate for Palestine 1922?

        Does that mean Israel should go in now and take over Jordan?

        We cannot turn back the clock and undo the past.

        The Arabs of Palestine ended up with 76.9% of Palestine in which not one Jew lives today.. This has never been enough for them. They have always wanted 100% – free of any Jews.

        Until they get over their Jew-hatred – the prospects for peace are very slim.

        As Professor Falk indicates – Jordan could be the trump card to end the conflict.

        Until the world starts to focus on promoting direct negotiations between Jordan and Israel to redraw the existing boundary between their two sovereign states – the 130 years old conflict between Jews and Arabs is set to continue with the distressing results we are all witnessing at this very moment.

      • Kata Fisher July 29, 2014 at 8:24 am #

        Dear David,

        It would be interesting to see these documents, and this is why: we here are in a curious setting– if this is not a hassle for you.

        David: you understand grave issues. I do not know what else to tell you about that what Arab-Israelites (contemporarily Muslims) have done in the past along with Israelites and nations world-wide. They were excitingly deceitful and confused, along with the Church in Rome toward spiritual authority of Old Testament and descendants of David that are lost/unkown to us somewhere during the Church age.

        You are right when you state this “We have to deal with the here and now.” Meaning, it stops here and now –or it does not. It just can’t be let go on, and on, and on.

        What they did not understand is this: they were going about a holy thing that belongs to descendants of David, who is a Jew under spiritual authority of Old Testament, in Holy Land –or just somewhere else.

        When you state this:” Until they get over their Jew-hatred – the prospects for peace are very slim” you are absolutely right.

        I am amazed (negatively amazed) just astonished about games in hinder-spirit that Arab-Israelites/Jordanians and elsewhere) have demonstrated & played against Jews in Holy Land. (I am referring to the video-link that you had as a reference).

        Jew’s requested what belongs to descendant/s of David, and they had a right as Jews to settle in Holy Land as lay-people. Why are we here today? “I want my land back”! Mening, Arabs: give the Land back that is not in your spiritual authority — that is just like that.

        The Land has to be given back to the spiritual authority of Old Testament, descendant/s of David and YAHWEH as it was given to Moses–as we know (YHWH).

        Dismantling state of Israel would be acceptable in order to place the Landmark of Kingdom of Israel where it should be. Jews have to understand the spiritual consequences to their approach because they are under spiritual authority and consequence of Old Testament.

        Jews cannot accept just any territory–or any landmark, only that what is ancient Landmark it is. This is why: by the Old Testament they cannot – again, we will have spiritually excommunicated everyone. And again, for how many of generations will they be given over to Satan & also to jihadist that are in anti-Islam Faith (Jews and non-Jews).

        David: I understand that spiritual excommunication/s over the Faith/s has to be revoked by valid works of Faith/s.

        The Churches are almost entirely spiritually excommunicated because of generational things against spiritual authority of Old Testament, in Holy Land…and Jews are spiritually excommunicated because they are not in a valid approach to the Landmarks. I do not even have to mention spiritual plights over Muslims that are faithfull, at all. All of that has to be managed.

        People can go on and be religiously obnoxious, but not without spiritual consequence beacuse they will not hog over things that are not in their spiritual authority – or are to be doing things in a wrong ways.

        Muslims (ancient Israelites) have the spiritual right to be in Holy Land and can live in Holy Land – but they will be under spiritual authority of Old Testament in Holy Land.

        You write this: “Until the world starts to focus on promoting direct negotiations between Jordan and Israel to redraw the existing boundary between their two sovereign states – the 130 years old conflict between Jews and Arabs is set to continue with the distressing results we are all witnessing at this very moment.”

        You are absolutely right, and this is why: as long as they do not do that which is spiritually right toward Old Testament and descendent of King David regardles where he may be their faith and /or religious approach when comes to the Landmarks of Israel/Holy Land is as good as in the trash can.

        I know that this is very disrespectful – but that is the truth that is objective and applicable.

        They have all providence but will they do that which is right?

        You are right David when you state this: ”We cannot turn back the clock and undo the past.” I also know that God has placed by Him cultivated people, strategically, in some wild places in order to correct that what was done in the past.

        Still, they have to do that which is absolutely right (in natural realities) and spiritually valid.They can’t just do what ever they want because of the spiritual realities.

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