Strange Regional Alignments in the Gaza Massacre

11 Aug

Neighborly Crimes of Complicity in Gaza


[Prefatory Note: my post below, an earlier version of which was published in AlJazeera English as an opinion piece. It was written before I had the opportunity to read an illuminating assessment of the regional and global turmoil that culminated for now in the massacre carried out by Israeli armed forces in Gaza. I highly recommend “The Tragedy of Great Power: The Massacre of Gaza and the Inevitable Failure of the Arab Spring” written by the learned Islamic jurist and scholar, Khaled Abou El Fadl, a distinguished professor at UCLA School of Law, with the link to the article below:

 What makes Professor El Fadl profound essay particularly valuable is his ability to fit the regional pieces together in a convincing manner, showing how and why governments that rule in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, encouraged the overthrow of Egypt’s elected government headed by Mohamed Morsi in mid-2013 and more recently encouraged Israel to destroy Hamas. He also shows that Hamas is not accurately perceived as a byproduct of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, but has its own “very distinct pedagogies, objectives and methodologies.” In depicting the forces of resistance and transformation as opposed to the geopolitics of counterrevolution as constituting the core struggle taking place throughout the region it becomes clear why the alignments in the Middle East are assuming their current configurations.

 It is telling and provocative for Professor El Fadl to situate the Palestinian Liberation Organization (and by implication, the Palestinian Authority) as de facto allies of Sisi’s Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE as well as being existential partners of the United States and Israel in subjugating the region to Western goals. What has developed further since the end of the Cold War rivalry that long dominated the region should be considered a geopolitical protection racket that gained political salience in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. The upheavals of 2011 shook the foundations of the old order, and led to renewals throughout the region of Faustian Bargains by which various authoritarian regimes receive protection, including help with the destruction of any political actor, whether Islamic or not, that dares to challenge this established order composed of ultra-rich native elites claiming dynastic privileges conferred by colonial powers then seeking native collaborators to manage exploited and oppressed populations. While these elites appease Israel, the masses in the same political space remain passionately and symbolically dedicated to the Palestinian struggle as became evident in the September 9, 2011 attack by several thousand Egyptians on the Israeli Embassy shortly while the heroic memories of the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak were still fresh.]


Of all the complexities surrounding the reaction of the world to the horrifying spectacle of Israel’s severe criminality in Gaza none is more perplexing than the complicity of most governments throughout the Arab world. What makes their political posture particularly bewildering is the degree of ethnic, religious, cultural, and historical commonality that creates such close ties of identity among the peoples of the region. And no single issue has been as unifying over the decades for these people than has their long intensely felt opposition to the injustice, suffering, and exploitation that the Palestinian people have endured for the past century as a result of the encroachments of the Zionist movement on their lands. It should be recalled that at earlier stages of the Palestinian ordeal, the governments of the neighboring Arab countries did exhibit strong, if ineffectual, solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. Several Arab states jointly attacked Israel, initially in 1948 to prevent the establishment of Israel, and later in the failed wars of 1967 and 1973 that challenged Israel’s existence. These defeats together with Egypt’s accommodation via the peace treaty of 1979 was a defining moment at which the Arab neighbors of Israel abandoned the Palestinians politically, but not yet diplomatically or economically. At this time any tangible form solidarity at the level of Arab governments is now a distant and ironic memory, and has been supplanted in the main by active hostility to Palestinian aspirations and implicit sympathy with, or at least acquiescence in Israel’s regional ambitions in conjunction with U.S. grand strategy in the region .


Some official formal hostility to Israel and sympathy for the Palestinian struggle persists at rhetorical levels, but rings hollow. It is true that many Arab countries to this day refuse entry to anyone with an Israeli entry or exit stamp in their passport. Anwar Sadat’s assassination in 1981 was widely interpreted at the time as a populist response in Egypt to his willingness to sign a peace treaty with Israel without simultaneously securing justice for the Palestinians, thereby crossing what was then a red line of betrayal. It was observed by the Western media that few Egyptians bothered to leave their apartments as a show of respect as Sadat’s funeral procession as it passed through the streets of Cairo because the slain leader was so reviled for shamelessly appeasing the enemy of the Palestinian people.


Above all, the ongoing struggle for Palestinian self-determination is understood by the peoples of the Middle East, and indeed the world over, as a struggle for the empowerment and liberation of the Palestinian people in the face of severe injustices done unto them over a long period of time, and involving such crimes against humanity as apartheid and massacre, verging on genocide. Increasingly, and never more than in reaction to this recent Gaza horror show, the Palestinian struggle will have to be waged not only against Israel, and its American and European allies, but also against the Arab collaborationist governments in the region that have betrayed their own larger religious and cultural identities, and more revealingly, the most fundamental ideas of justice and compassion associated with ideals of humanity and the ethical underpinnings of Islamic unity.


It is notable that only non-Arab Turkey and Qatar have acted responsibly in response to the Israeli attacks that commenced on July under the IDF code name of Protective Edge. The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has spoken movingly, without hiding his condemnation of Israeli behavior behind the euphemisms of diplomacy, in characterizing Israel’s behavior in Gaza as criminal. Even a group of distant Latin American countries, including Brazil and Chile, have at least shown the depth of their disapproval of Israel’s conduct by withdrawing their ambassadors from Israel. This symbolic expression of disapproval is something that not one government in Europe or North America, the self-proclaimed centers of world civilization, has yet done. The countries of the South have by and large also turned their backs to the Palestinians and the confrontation in Gaza, with the exception of South Africa.


Taken together these considerations make it morally distressing and politically mystifying to observe that almost every Arab governments has seemed either to be flashing a green light in Israel’s direction or pointedly looking away. Given the criminality of the Israeli attack and the tragic suffering inflicted on the Palestinian people, complicity by way of such diplomatic endorsements, or even stony silent acquiescence, is at the very least a breach in Arab and Islamic identity, and worse, seems to be an unimaginable case of aiding and abetting genocidal political violence directed at the Palestinian people. Such a diplomacy of indifference is especially notable as expressed toward Gaza, which is governed by a Moslem-oriented leadership. Israel’s persistence in a massacre mode despite the near universal calls for a responsibly negotiated ceasefire was widely attributed to the fact that the Netanyahu government was being encouraged behind the scenes by Egypt and Saudi Arabia ‘to finish the job,’ not of the tunnels and rockets that served as the security pretext, but of Hamas itself as ‘the head of the snake,’ the one Palestinian actor that continued to believe in a politics of resistance. For these Arab governments to act so opportunistically, particularly given the frequency and magnitude of Israeli atrocities is shocking to all but the most numbed of political imaginations.


To be sure, the behavior of these Arab governments as mystifying, legally and morally unacceptable, and politically self-destructive warrants condemnation, but it also needs to be understood and explained as clearly as possible. What quirks of political realism led these Arab regimes to so calculate their future?


The Enemy of my Enemy


The core explanation of Arab complicity (excepting Qatar) has to do with the Arab governments hating and fearing the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) far more than they resent Israel. This logic is then extended to Hamas, which is misleadingly treated as nothing other than a branch of this supposedly poisonous tree. This hostility to an Islamic movement authenticated from below overshadows Israel’s encroachment on their region, and even its appropriation and control of Muslim sacred places in Jerusalem. In effect what is going on in these top heavy monarchies is a passionate search for protection from possible uprisings by their own populations, which are feared as potential adversaries. Such an initial assessment pushes the question one step further but it does not give us any insight into why this should be so.


What are the sources of this hatred of the MB? The MB is perceived as the essential expression in the Arab world of bottom up political Islam that is viewed as toxic by the established order because of its grassroots legitimacy. This reality has induced panic among these Arab regimes that goes back at least as far as the explosive regional reverberations unleashed by the revolution that overthrew the Shah’s supposedly secure imperial rule in Iran (1979). This revolutionary process caused high intensity tremors, especially throughout the Arab world, and especially among the monarchies nurturing privileged and unscrupulous elites that have long kept their populations cruelly repressed and in backward conditions of mass misery. These regimes, generally aligned with the United States, remain obsessed with the maintaining stability of their own rule, and seem to feel that stifling all voices calling for change is a vital ingredient of their own survival.


Hamas as an active resistance movement is in this sense perceived as an acute threat to the kind of future that these Arab governments are intent of achieving no matter what the costs in lives and societal wellbeing. First of all, Has has historical ties to the Egyptian MB, the older organization of Muslim activists that has kept the flame of political Islam burning despite enduring harsh suppression dating back to decades before Israel came into existence. Secondly, Hamas demonstrated its legitimacy, and credibility as a voice of the Palestinians living in Gaza by its electoral victory in 2006, and more recently by its resilience (sumud) and resistance to Israeli tactics of aggression and massacre. Thirdly, Sunni Hamas crossed sectarian boundaries by having its closest political ties with Shiite Iran and Hezbollah, and the Alawite regime in Syria, and although these relationships have grown weaker as a result of recent regional developments, their very existence further alarms the Sunni supremacists in Riyadh whose second source of anxiety is associated with a sectarian/nationalist struggle that pits Saudi Arabia and its allies against Iran and its allies. The terrible carnage in Syria is one expression of this sectarian dimension of the regional struggle that complements efforts to crush any expression of political Islam with a strong societal base of support.


Egypt’s Betrayal


Of course, in the foreground is the experience of the Arab anti-authoritarian upheavals in 2011, especially the dislodging of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, followed by expressions of far greater popular electoral support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi candidates throughout Egypt than had been expected by the anti-Mubarak liberals and progressive youth who had earlier dominated the crowds in Tahrir Square. The Gulf countries made no secret of their disappointment with Washington’s refusal to do more to beat back this populist tide that swept over the Mubarak regime, who like the Shah in Iran 30 years earlier, had seemed to offer leaders of these Arab monarchies a model of invulnerability in relation to popular upheavals.


And so two years later in 2013 when the chance came, as it did during the faltering presidential term of Mohamed Morsi, it is no secret that the counterrevolutionary coup led by General Ahmed Fattah el-Sisi was most warmly welcomed by Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Sisi coup won immediate aid bestowed in huge quantities (at least $8 billion) from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, hoping that such a large infusion of cash would create a soft economic landing for the new regime, and set up a contrast with the economic failures of the Morsi government. It was hoped that a rapid economic recovery would reassure the majority of Egyptians that they were experiencing a change for the better even if there was little effort by the new leaders to hide the return to the methods and style of the previously despised Mubarak rule that had prompted the earlier upheaval. What is startling is that these Arab supporters never blinked in the face of the crimes of Sisi’s military leadership in Cairo, which featured a bloody crackdowns of anti-government demonstrations in Cario, including even the killing of many MB members while they were at prayer. Sisi proceeded to move against the MB as an organization, having it criminalized and defined legally as ‘a terrorist organization,’ encouraging judicial action that included imposing mass death sentences on many of its members, and generally engaging in state crime on a scale that far exceeded the abuses of the Mubarak period. Even Washington was embarrassed by these excesses, although it maintained a pragmatic silence that overlooked the tensions between its calls for democracy and its actual strategic goal of restoring the regionalstability of the pre-Arab Spring status quo.




Iran Explodes the Myth of Regional Stability


Until this pattern became evident I didn’t appreciate the relevance of some remarks made to me by Ayatollah Khomeini while in Paris just as he was about to return to Iran from exile to lead the new Islamic Republic in January 1979. This austere religious leader was very clear about rejecting the then prevailing idea that a national revolution was taking place in Iran. He said again and again during the meeting, “This is an Islamic revolution, not an Iranian revolution.” He went on to observe that the dynastic regime in Saudi Arabia was decadent and oriented toward the West. In his view it was as illegitimate a source of governance as was the Shah’s regime that had just been overthrown in Iran, and a justifiable target for further political initiatives by those societal forces that were infused with Islamic values.


The revolution in Iran, whether understood as a national or ideological phenomenon, was deeply threatening to political stability of the region. It was a political movement from below that shattered a monarchic power structure in Iran that was viewed in the region and by the West as invulnerable to internal challenge, once described by Kissinger “as that rarest of things, an unconditional ally.” In other words, it was not just that the foundations of the status quo gave way in Iran, but that their crumbling was brought about by populist tremors that enjoyed widespread cultural legitimacy. It was this cultural legitimacy that again surfaced in the immediate aftermath of the Arab upheavals in 2011, and sent tremors of fear throughout the region, and could not be dismissed on sectarian grounds.


The explosive emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) reinforces Ayatollah Khomeini’s central message. Its proclamation of a new caliphate is precisely in line with this type of thinking. The whole carving up of the Arab world into a series of sovereign states is seen from these perspectives as an imposition of European civilization, destroying and destabilizing the only true political community, that of the Islamic uma.


Israel’s Parallel Universe


Israeli strategists over the years have been divided about their regional priorities, but agreed on the general contour of principal goals. Israel’s preferred Middle East would consist of governments that were both friendly and stable, which made Iran a favorite until it unexpectedly fell apart in 1978-79. Next best, were governments that were formally cool, or even hostile, but remained mostly on the sidelines in relation to the conflict of with the Palestinians, such as King Hussein’s Jordan, Mubarak’s Egypt, and the Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia. If such stability was not attainable, then strife in a country that was politically hostile was viewed as next best, which is the story of Syria, and to a degree Iraq, in recent years. In other words, Israel could live with regional actors that were rhetorically hostile, as with passport exclusions or UN speeches, but not with states that were politically hostile, and perceived as allies of Palestinian resistance struggle. In that sense, Israel pushed behind the scenes for the American attack on Iraq after 2001 and has done its best to push the United States into a belligerent encounter with Iran in recent years.


When it comes to Gaza, and Hamas, the convergence of the Israeli approach and the Arab governmental consensus is an invaluable political blessing for Tel Aviv. It gives Israel unlimited space to push its militarist agenda, however great the carnage and devastation, and even if much the rest of the world may lament the assault upon international law and morality. Even the United States, and its ‘subaltern’ UN Secretary General, have felt the pressure to use their influence to establish a ceasefire, although without daring to lift a critical finger in Israel’s direction and following an Egyptian-oriented peremptory diplomacy that seems more concerned about PR dimensions than achieving an end to the violence. This skeptical reflection was confirmed by the initial ceasefire proposal that was presented to Hamas on a take it or leave it basis, and quite incredibly, that its leaders were informed about only through its media publication. The newer ceasefire approach, based on a sequence of 72 hour truces, follows the same pattern with Israeli and American negotiators refusing to sit at the same table as the representative of Hamas, and yet claiming to seek an agreement that would end the violence.


While Israel talks about rockets and tunnels, its massive military operation is being increasingly interpreted by knowledgeable commentators as punitive, and directed not only at Hamas but at Palestinians generally. Some Israeli leaders and their prominent supporters seem to believe that Gazans deserve to die because they voted for Hamas back in 2006, although many Gazans who are dying didn’t back Hamas then or now, and certainly not the Palestinian children who were not even born when Hamas won the elections. A second punitive motivation, and more explicitly endorsed, is a punishment directed at Palestinians in general for daring to form a unity government back in early June, thus challenging ever so slightly the illusion that Israelis had successfully crushed Palestinian political ambition to pursue self-determination by any means other than the futile charade of periodic spurts of diplomacy. Crushing Hamas is seen as a way to make Palestinians submit to the permanence of occupation, the annexation of most of the West Bank, the realities of apartheid administrative and detention policies, and the burial of any prospect of an independent Palestinian state. The Palestinian Authority had been awkwardly docile until it timidly went forward with the unity government, and now must be disciplined by Israel for getting out of line, being taught a lesson once and for all that if it has any future it is to collaborate with Israel, as it had done in the past, with the suppression of Palestinian resistance, above all Hamas, as a telltale sign of its political outlook.


A Concluding Word


More than anything else, these terrible happenings in Gaza should lead to a realization that the future of the Palestinian people and of the region as a whole depends on finding a just solution of the conflict. The abysmal failure of the Kerry induced talks showed definitively that Israel has lost all interest in a diplomacy that promises the Palestinians a viable and independent sovereign state at the end of the road. With a show of self-confidence the Knesset made clear its own rejection of the two-state diversion by choosing an ardent Likud one-stater, Reuven Rivlin, to replace Shimon Peres, as President of Israel. It is past time for the peoples of the world to wake up to the real nature of the challenge and support a more militant international campaign of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, and insist on boycott and divestment in all venues, working to support arms embargoes and sanctions on the part of as many governments as possible.

138 Responses to “Strange Regional Alignments in the Gaza Massacre”

  1. Gene Schulman August 11, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Professor Falk will be crucified by the usual Zionist hasbara mongers for this, but I have seen no better assessment of the overall ME picture than he presents here.

  2. nickcayman August 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    Reblogged this on Nick Robson's Blog.

  3. Genocide in Gaza August 11, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    But what about the Israeli public, the great mass of Israeli Jews, who view themselves as morally above world public opinion despite a near-universal revulsion over Israel’s crimes? More than 90% of Israeli Jews gave unstinting support to the ongoing blood bath, knowing, indeed cheering daily from grandstands erected on hills overlooking Gaza, the criminal consequences of their support – they also are an essential part of this criminal enterprise. They celebrated the carnage and they violently attacked the few Israelis who openly questioned this ‘war’. Israelis have no claim to ‘innocent ignorance’; they cannot call this a “tragic conflict between two peoples”. No Israeli can absolve himself by claiming ignorance of the nature of the crimes committed in their name – nor do they want to claim ignorance! The majority of informed Israeli Jews demanded this war from the beginning, many joining racist marches with banners and chants demanding ‘Death to Arabs’! They wear their endorsement of the Gaza holocaust as a badge of honor. Ninety percent of the Jewish citizens in Israel rejected any humanitarian ceasefire: Newspaper columnists and the vast majority of letter writers in the daily press argued openly for extermination! Self-declared war criminals are feted as Israeli heroes by their overseas brethren who hasten to endorse or even join the slaughter.

    Turkey is a trojan horse in the service of Israel and US. Erdogan is a war criminal who fooled Arabs and Hammas. Now he has been exposed fully but not those who have political agenda and protect the zionist tribe’s interest.

    • Kata Fisher August 11, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

      A note to you:

      Well, you have to look at corporate conscience in Middle East, it is not just Israelis. You do not seem to be impartial. Should we say what Hamas does in Holy Land is Hamas’s problem, and what Israelis do in Holy Land it is their problem?

      It is a corporate conscience that is in irrevocable sins and/or spiritually excommunicated—this spiritual excommunication is permanent for Jews and Arabs of unruly will until they get their ways straight. Unruly will is not as same as evil will, not even close. Lay-people will have their way, but they must be tripped and mislead to behave in some rotten ecclesiastical & civil ways. Not necessarily, it is all of conscience; it is of the seared conscience that does not distinguish betwixt blessing and curse to others and themselves.

      The reason of a clear conscience does not excuse these who have none to begin with.

      With that, you will notice permanent spiritual excommunication around you; if you were to be attached to your environment and your conscience! You will be amazed by lost people that are clueless of their spiritual condition, and it does not bother any intent of their conscience.

      When you really do care then infuse anew conscience in their confused day – but be only confident when it is not in your own conscience…

      You look at things and are not objective—but you sure can be?

      • Richard Falk August 12, 2014 at 12:31 am #

        Dear Kata: I believe this comment is directed mainly at me. I welcome your reflections, and their orientation, although
        I do not always understand or agree.
        I ask what does it mean in a situation in which one side has its foot on the throat of the other for decades, will not lift
        it, and takes land and resources from the other in the process. Equality and objectivity depend on sensitivity to the actuality
        of the circumstances, not an abstract condemnation of the weak, oppressed, and intensely victimized side. If we look at the totality
        of what Hamas represents we get a better picture of their true reality than by just reading some inflammatory words from their Covenant
        that they should revise but are not consistent with what their leaders have done and said in recent years. I have struggled to perceive
        Hamas as they are, not as demonized by the Israelis..

      • Kata Fisher August 12, 2014 at 8:10 am #

        Dear Professor Falk,

        I only wrote as I was moved.

        This is the way I understand: Hamas covenant was written in a small percent of a conscience. It does not represent direct conscience of Hamas and/or as whole people group in Gaza, but they are as people legal bindings of that. It is not in clear conscience (legal bindings of that).

        Something anew has to be—they need clear conscience and no longer seared one. As long as they have Hamas covenant lay-people are unable to distinguish what Hamas represents as people of Gaza and will place the entire blame on Hamas.

        I do believe in people’s eccalistical self-realization and self-determination. However, when is not done in a clear conscience it becomes spiritual excommunication that is often permanent in essence (as we see in areas of Holy Land).

        When I look at Holy Land issues, I only see people’s eccalistical self-realization and self-determination grounded/anchored in spiritual excommunication and legal bindings of that.

        Automatically, this condition requires anew conscience that is active in the work/s (applied).

        Things that are applied in Holy Land are destruction’s, and nothing changes until something different takes place that is of legal bindings that are eccalistical in essence-in accordance to people’s eccalistical self-realization and self-determination.

        This is what I perceive. We do need to see Law & valid Faiths applied in order to annul injustice in Holy Land. This has its protective force.

        I do understand Hamas and their eccalistical rights that cannot be valid outside the Holy Quran, as a whole structure of the Book, in application within a society—if Hamas feels that they should be eccalistical.

        Likewise for Israel – I do not see the Law and Prophets in application to the Land. They are doing things on their own.

        Considering that people are in pursuit of eccalistical things for themselves.

        I usually have reflection / write systematic and not random in essence.

  4. A6er August 11, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  5. Fred Skolnik August 12, 2014 at 1:18 am #

    The term “criminality” that you are fond of using with reference to Israel pertains to crimes as defined by law and not as defined by yourself. Of these Hamas is guilty by any definition. Israel, on the other hand, acted in accordance with international law and the laws of war in defending itself against criminal attacks emanating from built-up areas in Gaza. The inevitable civilian causalities are the sole responsibility of Hamas, which turned residential areas into war zones, which is another of its war crimes.

    Therefore you are again using words in a meaningless rhetorical sense instead of a meaningful legal sense or even in their commonly understood sense. Though your writing is generally so twisted by bias that it is relatively simple to point out its fallacies, it is even simpler to expose these fallacies now that you have more or less given the game away, even admitting what you have always denied:

    “It should be recalled that at earlier stages of the Palestinian ordeal, the governments of the neighboring Arab countries did exhibit strong, if ineffectual, solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. Several Arab states jointly attacked Israel, initially in 1948 to prevent the establishment of Israel, and later in the failed wars of 1967 and 1973 that challenged Israel’s existence.”

    That attacks which challenge Israel’s existence should be regarded by you as praiseworthy is really indicative of your own malice toward Israel. The fiction that the Zionist movement “encroached” on Arab land during “the past century” is either a product of ignorance or of further malice. The Zionist movement did not of course encroach on anyone’s land. It purchased land from absentee Arab landowners without displacing a single Arab in a country with a population of around 500,000 and which now accommodates 8 million people and is still unsettled in large parts (the Negev and Galilee). You still fail to understand that the Arab-Israel conflict is about sovereignty and not about private property.

    It is almost comical to observe your misunderstanding of the Arab world. The “grass roots” that you think you have identified in support of the Muslim Brotherhood is precisely the breeding ground of Muslim fanaticism. Certainly conservative Arab leaders fear this fanaticism as a challenge to their power but in and of itself it is far more destructive than benign despotism of the Jordanian variety and even of a Mubarak or Sisi. It is incredible that your antagonism to the West has caused you to align yourself with the forces of darkness and societies that view the world from the perspective of the Middle Ages.

    It is not in the least bit surprising that all these anti-Israel boycott and divestment groups should be led and promoted by morally bankrupt people who had not a word to say when Israeli women and children were being blown to pieces in busses and restaurants by terrorist groups whom you dare to compare to the French partisans or when real genocides were taking place in Rwanda, Darfur and Syria. Your wild language has now come to resemble the language of your more extreme admirers, and if these are the people you wish to be identified with, that is fine. It is also exceedingly curious that while disparaging national or ethnic identities, especially with reference to Israel, you are vigorously promoting the national or ethnic identity of the “Palestinians” and affirming their right to self-determination as a national or ethnic entity, without even being aware of the contradiction in what you are saying.

    • Richard Falk August 12, 2014 at 1:27 am #

      Apparently, I fail to understand anything, and you understand everything. Such an outlook speaks for itself, claims
      of omniscience for yourself, and attributing malicious ignorance to views that view the Israeli narrative differently.
      I suppose from the point of view of your article this is ‘natural,’ but from the perspective of trying to have constructive
      dialogue it is a recipe for futility and frustration.

      • Fred Skolnik August 12, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

        I don’t know what genius invented the word “narrative,” but it is certainly a convenient way to pretend that all versions of history are equally valid and avoid examining facts.

        How on earth do you expect to have a constructive dialogue when the sole purpose of your blog is to criminalize Israel? You tell me what is constructive about calling Israel every name in the book.

        You will notice that not a single comment posted by your admirers has shown the slightest interest in any practical measures that might alleviate the suffering of Gaza’s population? All comments have focussed exclusively on the culpability of Israel. Doesn’t that make you wonder just a little bit?

        One would have expected that people who genuinely care about the Gazans and are the least bit balanced in their views would have been saying: The killing and destruction in Gaza are bad. Rocket fire against Israel’s population is bad. Let’s start by stopping both. But not a word, from the beginning of the fighting right up to the end, though five or six ceasefires were proposed.

        One would also have expected, at this stage, that people who care would be saying, The blockade is bad. The closed border is bad. The rockets are bad. Let’s eliminate all of them. No more blockade, no more closed border, no more rocket stockpiles. But not a word.

        You see why I have my doubts about your admirers.

      • Richard Falk August 13, 2014 at 2:25 am #

        Fred Skolnik:

        With minimum attention to what is being said by those critics of Israel’s behavior is to lift the blockade, which is the root
        cause of the tunnel network as well as the vulnerability of the people of Gaza to Israel’s tactics; it also is a repudiation of
        the Israeli line about periodically ‘mowing the lawn’ in Gaza to keep Gazans just above a subsistence levee. If you wish conversation
        at least listen to what your adversaries are saying without caricaturing their positions.

      • Fred Skolnik August 13, 2014 at 12:06 am #

        I note again your fixation on Rivlin. You are mistaken. Rivlin was elected for his personal qualities, not his political views, and received support from across the entire political spectrum while being opposed from behind the scenes by Netanyahu because of the personal friction between them. You do not have the slightest idea how Rivlin is perceived by Israelis, or by Knesset members, so why express an opinion about the meaning of his election?

      • Richard Falk August 13, 2014 at 2:21 am #

        You may be right, but only partially. I read several accounts in Israeli newspapers, as well as in the West,
        and they all stressed his ideological orientation. If I were a Palestinian I would certainly interpret the election
        of President as an important matter of ideology as well as a mere popularity contest. In any event, such perceptions
        on his outlook cannot be ignored, and will not be; how is he going to project a view of the future as Peres did in the
        presidential role. You seem to want outsiders not to see what such a selection represents, or may represent.

      • Richard Falk August 13, 2014 at 3:00 am #

        It is not a fixation, but it is a notable development that converges with others that point in the same direction.

        It would be encouraging if just once you were to admit that your interlocutor might have a point, even a partial point..

      • Fred Skolnik August 13, 2014 at 2:30 am #

        I’m sorry, Prof. Falk, you just don’t get it. In theory, Palestinians might very well have drawn your conclusions, if they hadn’t understand Israeli politics or society. But I think Abu Mazen and the Palestinian leadership understands Israel a little better than you do and knows that Rivlin’s election is politically meaningless.

      • Fred Skolnik August 13, 2014 at 2:43 am #

        Hamas was firing rockets into Israel before there was a blockade – 6,000 in the six years before 2007. The tunnels are there to kill Israeli civilians. I am not going to repeat my view of Hamas’s ideology and intentions. In any case, no one is mowing any lawns. I have pointed out that Hamas typically exploits only 25-50% of the tonnage capacity at the Israeli crossings and I have indicated why. I have also pointed out that food shipments can dock at Ashdod but not surprisingly none of the humanitarian organizations has thought to do so, I suggest that you yourself reread the comments of your admirers and see how much of them are devoted to the practical measures that I mentioned above and how much of them is devoted to the vilification of Israel.

      • Fred Skolnik August 13, 2014 at 3:17 am #

        In any case, here is Haaretz on Rivlin’s supporters: “some Arab MKs, some MKs from the far left of the political spectrum and the ultra-Orthodox MKs. Many of these have great ideological differences with Rivlin, and others have political scores to settle with Likud, Rivlin’s party. Nevertheless, when it came to choosing a president, they gave priority to the most relevant consideration, the candidate’s qualifications for this high office, the holder of which must represent all Israelis — Jew and Arab, religious and secular, of all political persuasions. They gave Rivlin the margin of victory. Chapeau! You have done the State of Israel a great service.”

      • Gene Schulman August 14, 2014 at 4:30 am #

        With all their propaganda and support of Israel, I hold people like Fred Skolnik and Ira Youdovin, and others of their ilk, complicit with Israel in all of its war crimes and murder of innocent civilians and children. May you all one day be brought to justice! (Yes, Fred, I have time to search the web for articles that support my position.)

      • ray032 August 13, 2014 at 6:33 am #

        The proof in your comment, Richard, is the fact Israel has had the military and economic might since the 1967 war Israel provoked, to the Camp David Accord in 1979, to improve the lives of the Palestinians within Israel’s Control, the West Bank and Gaza. IT has all been IDLE/IDOL talk with Israel controlling the narrative

        Israel has done not much other than to make the lives of Palestinians more uncomfortable in the hope they would “self-deport” while Jewish settlements are built and expand on Palestinian Land.

        With instantaneous Global communications, the world is watching.
        The nominally Christian Democratic [sic] Political Leaders, the self-proclaimed “International Community,” remained silent during Israel’s bloody assault in Lebanon in 2006, Gaza in 2008, 2012 and yet again. Even the UN Secretary-General, whose job it is to call for an immediate cease-fire whenever it’d member states go violent, remained silent until the masses of ordinary people from all over the world, felt a tinge of common humanity with the ordinary people of Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza the last 3 times, and raised their voices. It was onlt then, the political leaders got off their asses to do something and reign Israel in.

        Netanyahu is trying to convince Israelis this is 1938, and the world should not “appease” Iran.

        I see the TIME being 2014, and the TIME coming when the world will no longer “appease” Israel. With this latest murderous bombardment of the people in the Israeli controlled Gaza Ghetto in the 1938 mode, Israel has shot itself in the foot as the expression goes!

        Israelis Today hardly ever consider the words of their own Jewish Prophets, who Prophesied concerning the remnants of Israel long before there were Christians, and after the temporal kingdom of Israel has already disappeared from this world for hundreds of years.This generation of Israelis consider themselves more righteous than the original chosen people now long dead.

        Israelis are not waiting for God to “give” them the Promised Land. They are taking it by force.

        Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance.
        Wherefore say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD; You eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall you possess the land?
        You stand upon your sword, you work abomination, and you defile every one his neighbour’s wife: and shall you possess the land?
        Ezekiel 33

    • ray032 August 12, 2014 at 2:47 am #

      This header appeared in The Jerusalem Post yesterday. The article moved me to make this observation, the last comment in the discussion;

      ‘Mashaal can’t empathize, Ben Gurion University profiling shows’

      Ray Joseph Cormier • 21 hours ago

      Following very closely the comments in Israeli news media during the murderous bombardment of the children, women and other non-combatants in Gaza, the wording attributed to the Professor in describing the Hamas Leader, apply in General to 95% of the people of Israel according to Israeli news reports.

      “A man like Mashaal would not be “significantly affected” by injury to innocent citizens or the destruction of infrastructure, because he lacks the ability to empathize, according to the professor.

  6. john francis lee August 12, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    The US, Israeli, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt. Standing united each against their own respective populations and together against all the peoples of the Middle East.

    Surely they are all ‘delegitimated’ by now or will be shortly when all of this has had time to percolate through the soil to the grass roots. The sooner the better, and may the slate finally be wiped clean and life begin anew for all the ordinary, decent people of all these regions.

  7. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    This is an interesting post which affords an opportunity to address an issue rarely discussed in any depth on this blog: what is the best course for the Palestinians pursuing their legitimate national aspirations?

    Prof. Falk is correct that the Palestinians have been abandoned by most Arab leaderS. While this could not have been predicted, in retrospect it should not be have be surprising. Their brother Arabs have never given the Palestinians more than lip support, and even that was more intended to help themselves than help the Palestinians.

    Prof. Falk correctly notes that the Arabs initiated three wars aimed at annihilating Israel (1948, 1967, 1973). But he’s wrong in suggesting that these were fought on behalf of the Palestinians. This is verified by the historic record. When the 1948 War ended, the land remaining in Arab hands was not given to the Palestinians, as the 1947 UN Partition Resolution intended, but to Jordan which occupied it for 19 years. After the 1967 War, the Arab League rejected Israel’s offer to return the entire West Bank and Gaza in exchange for normalized relations (Arab League Khartoum Declaration of August, 1967), thus denying the Palestinians an opportunity to begin the process of state building. A decade later, Anwar Sadat sought to make peace with Israel in exchange for getting back Sinai. When he saw that attempts to include the Palestinian issue could jeopardize this, he and Menahem Begin kicked the can down the road by fashioning a face saving but transparently empty plan to satisfy Palestinian demands. It was never implemented.

    Meanwhile, the Palestinians destabilized Lebanon by launching attacks on Israel from Lebanese soil. Israel’s 1982 and 2006 incursions into Lebanon were not directed at the Lebanese but at PLO and Hizbolla fighters who had infiltrated into Lebanon, which provoked anger and suspicion among neighboring Arabs. Ariel Sharon may have been indirectly responsible for the infamous 1982 massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by not moving to prevent it. But the actual killing was done by Lebanese, mostly Christian Phalangists, in retaliation for the murder of the newly elected Lebanese president Bashir Gemayel.

    In fact, the Arab leaders were perfectly content with the Palestinians’ plight. They did virtually nothing to ease the refugees’ suffering be integrating them into their societies. Instead, they kept them locked up in UN refugee camps where they became the focal point of crocodile tears and rallying cries of solidarity intended to do nothing but distract the Arab street from their own problems living under cruel and corrupt regimes.

    The Arab Spring and its tragic aftermath changed all of that. Israel was almost totally absent from the demands made by protesters in Tahrir and other public squares throughout the Middle East. The folks in the street were not risking their lives for Palestine, but for improved economic and social conditions at home. The 2011 attack on Israel’s embassy in Cairo, organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and cited by Prof. Falk, is significant not because it occurred, but because it was the only one. The “bottom line” is not that Arab solidarity with the suffering Palestinians has waned. It’s that anti-Israel rhetoric is no longer an effective weapon in the Arab world. I’m not sure Prof. Falk understands this.

    A second outcome of the Arab Spring is even more critical to assessing current trends. The departure of traditional strongmen—Mubarak, Assad, Qadaffi and Hussein—removed the lid that had kept internal Arab/Muslim conflicts simmering for centuries in the regional caldron from boiling over. This led to the fragmentation of Syria and Iraq, and also to the rapid spread of radical Islamic Fundamentalism with Sunnis and Shiites engaged in bloody conflict for regional hegemony. The alliance of Arab states with Israel and their turning against Hamas, which apparently puzzles Prof. Falk, is really easy to explain. He writes:

    “What makes their political posture particularly bewildering is the degree of ethnic, religious, cultural, and historical commonality that creates such close ties of identity among the peoples of the region. And no single issue has been as unifying over the decades for these people than has their long intensely felt opposition to the injustice, suffering, and exploitation that the Palestinian people have endured for the past century as a result of the encroachments of the Zionist movement on their lands.”

    The source of Prof. Falk’s self-confessed bewilderment is his believing misleading rhetoric—his own and the Arabs’—about a Muslim unity and commitment to Palestine that never existed, except as it served the Arab states’ self-interest. And now that the growth of violent Islamic Fundamentalism threatens them, they regard Israel, which is threatened by the same forces, as a strong ally. While Hamas, which functions as a militia, represents an anathema to their interests. The fragility of Hamas’ position can be measured by the fact that its only sure allies are Turkey, a Muslim but not Arab state located outside the region; and Qatar, with a population about the size as Gaza’s, most of them expatriates from elsewhere. Qatar is often described as a family-owned oil company, albeit a very successful one with the highest per capita income on the planet and enough money to entice the 2022 World Cup, support Al Jazeera and lure in several overseas campuses on prestigious American campuses. It can buy a whole lot of things. But its political clout remains to be seen and its military potency is virtually non-existent.

    Please note that except for a few factual items, I haven’t challenged Prof. Falk’s narrative. I take exception with much of it, but don’t want to become involved in pitting my views against his in a dialogue of the deaf of a kind that run rampant on this and other blogs. Nor will I challenge his opinion of what’s good and what’s bad for the Middle East and the world. He’s entitled to his opinion and I’m entitled the mine.

    However, I do challenge his urging the Palestinians to become involved in a regional and global conflict they don’t need, and which could very well boil their aspirations, as well as their children, in the roiling waters of intra-Arab/Muslim animosity:

    “…the Palestinian struggle will have to be waged not only against Israel, and its American and European allies, but also against the Arab collaborationist governments in the region that have betrayed their own larger religious and cultural identities, and more revealingly, the most fundamental ideas of justice and compassion associated with ideals of humanity and the ethical underpinnings of Islamic unity.”

    I don’t question Prof. Falk’s dedication to the Palestinian people. But I do believe that he’s co-opted their needs into his dream of a huge Islamic revolution, a dream inspired by conversations with Ayatollah Khumeini thirty-five years ago, which he stills recalls as an exciting turning point in his life. Any balanced assessment of what the Ayatollah’s vision ignited should inspire caution about recommending a journey down the same path. And the thought that the Palestinians will thrive, or even survive, by opposing their Arab neighbors is likely suicidal.

    In the aftermath of Gaza, Hamas faces a decision that may very well determine the Palestinian future: whether to continue a strategy of militant resistance, as Prof. Falk apparently favors, or enter negotiations. The EU, in conjunction with Egypt, have offered a proposal which includes easing the blockade and giving Hamas a place at the negotiation table in exchange for de-militarizing Gaza. Israel has accepted the proposal.

    This is not an easy decision for Hamas. While it began with a diverse agenda that included a network of social services, its agenda has increasingly narrowed to the point where it’s generally recognized for its armed resistance. The path it chooses in this instance will indicate its agenda for the future. Its National Charter, adopted in 1988, includes unambiguous commitments to genocide and ethnic cleansing. Prof. Falk has characterized these as “vague aspirations,” and recently reported meeting Hamas leaders he characterized as “intelligent” who understood the situation. I believe him. There likely are people in Hamas’ leadership echelons who are prepared to moderate its long-standing belligerency. Whether or not Hamas accepts the offer in exchange for achieving two precious goals will reveal whether the moderates or hardliners are in control.

    I’m very much aware that reasons can be cited to justify Hamas not trusting Israel’s sincerity in negotiations. It made a fiasco of the last round of talks by announcing plans to expand settlements while claiming to be negotiating concessions. The government coalition is deeply divided, with some important members advocating expansion and even total annexation. Prof. Falk vastly overstates the importance of the Knesset (parliament) electing expansion advocate Reuven Rivlin as president. (Israel’s presidency is largely a ceremonial position with no political power). But it’s likely that many Palestinians share the same misperception, as they may also share Prof. Falk’s totally mistaken view that total annexation of the entire West Bank is the aim of the “Zionist Program.” I have several times challenged him to produce evidence in support of his claim. I do so again, not really expecting that he’ll be more forthcoming this time.

    Prof. Falk and others may continue to scoff at Israel’s sincerity. And, truth be told, some of the things the current Israeli government says and does gives rise to skepticism. But the fact that the Palestinians have never come to negotiations with a united delegation prepared to recognize Israel and bringing a single list of demands means that Israel’s sincerity in advocating “two states for two people” has never been tested. A PA delegation meeting these criteria would mark the first time Israel’s stated commitment to a two-state solution would be tested in real time. If Israel reneges, the Palestinians will have the whole world in their corner, including the United States.

    The path I’m suggesting is not without risk. What in the Middle East is? But as Maurice Chevalier remarked in a somewhat different context, “It’s not so bad when you consider the alternative.” What Prof. Falk is recommending entails making the Palestinians the centerpiece of a multi-year, multi-faceted international campaign whose ultimate aim is changing the political landscape of entire Middle East, and perhaps the world.

    “It is past time for the peoples of the world to wake up to the real nature of the challenge and support a more militant international campaign of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, and insist on boycott and divestment in all venues, working to support arms embargoes and sanctions on the part of as many governments as possible.”

    Even if results to date augured for eventual success—and they don’t; it took ten years for activists in the Presbyterian Church (USA) to win passage of a resolution endorsing BDS, which explicitly disassociated itself from global BDS—the program is too grand, too time consuming and too fraught with peril for a small community seeking only to get out from under an oppressive occupation and bring their refugees back to their historic homeland.

    I wasn’t planning to conclude on a personal note, so I’ll say this as one septuagenarian living in the lovely seaside community of Santa Barbara, CA speaking to an octogenarian living in the lovely seaside community of Santa Barbara, CA: Richard, your vision may change the world. But as a prescription for a small population who have suffered much over a long period of time, isn’t it best not to entice them into world revolution when there are far simpler ways for them to achieve a better life?

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    P.S. Sorry about the length, but Prof. Falk gave me a lot to think and write about

    • Gene Schulman August 13, 2014 at 12:45 am #

      Ira, I have to give you credit. You sure enjoy writing novel-length essays. The only problem is that they say nothing and have no truth in them. You make up facts that have no basis except in your own wandering, wishful thinking imagination. If it weren’t so long, I would be happy to render your arguments and insults to Prof. Falk to shreds. But no matter how many contradicting truths I put in front of you, you would only return with more obfuscating fiction. Frankly, this is the most disingenuous piece of crap I have encountered in a long time. You’re even beginning to out-do Fred Skolnik.

      • Fred Skolnik August 13, 2014 at 1:00 am #

        You are truly pathetic, Gene, always threatening to tear arguments to pieces but never delivering. You really are an empty shell.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 13, 2014 at 10:42 am #


        It’s always good to hear from you, although your most recent post disturbs me. As a rule, when someone writes that he can shred my arguments but finds an excuse for not doing so, I assume he really has nothing to say and vents his frustration by hurling insults. But that can’t be you, Gene. You wouldn’t call something “the most disingenuous piece of crap” you’ve have encountered in a long time without having a lengthy bill of particulars to back you up. That’s not your style!

        You’re correct, my post is long—probably not a novel but assuredly a novella. And I appreciate that you’re a very busy man. But it would be helpful—to me and to other readers who look to you for guidance—if you could cite just a few instances of “facts that have no basis except in my wandering, wishful thinking imagination”; of statements that “have no truths in them”; and so forth. What you’ve written are insults without substance. You don’t want people thinking that you’re a troll, do you?

        Btw, to disagree with someone is not the same as insulting him, although you seem to lash out at any disagreement with Prof. Falk’s views as a form of heresy. Apropos, please cite an instance or two where I’ve insulted Prof. Falk.

        Finally, while I’m honored that you put me in the same league as Fred Skolnik, or maybe even a little ahead of him, I cannot accept the praise. Fred is editor-in-chief of a major scholarly work and winner of a very prestigious literary prize. He’s way ahead of me.


        Your Friend Ira

      • Gene Schulman August 13, 2014 at 11:08 am #

        Ah, Ira. You’re back from Torah study I see. Is this what they teach you there? I will cite only one of the many instances where you are incorrect (and Richard, too): That the Arabs began the wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973. The only one they started was 1973. No need to refer to all the “New Historians”, just Benny Morris will do.

        Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with the following (with apologies to Fred for “referencing”):


        PS – Yes, I am much too busy to spend my time parsing your evident errors.

      • Gene Schulman August 13, 2014 at 11:35 am #

        PPS – Yes, I bow to Fred’s scholarly work and prestigious literary prize. But not to his views on contemporary history of Israel/Palestine. BTW: I notice that his novel didn’t get even one review at Amazon, so I doubt if that’s worth reading.

      • Fred Skolnik August 13, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

        Saying “Benny Morris” isn’t good enough, Gene. You have to read him too. You are forgetting that he stopped being a “new historian” after he studied the new archive material that had become available in the meantime.

        “What I discovered in the documentation relating to the war, at least from the Arab side, was that the war had a religious character, that the central element in the war was an imperative to launch jihad. There were other imperatives of course, political and others—but the most important from the enemy’s perspective was the element of the infidels who had the nerve to take control over sacred Muslim lands and the need to uproot them from there. The decisive majority in the Arab world saw the war first and foremost as a holy war, but until today historians have not examined the documentation that proves this. In my view, they have also ignored Arab rhetoric of the day, which universally included religious hatred against the Jews, because they thought the Arabs adopted this as normal speech that did not emanate from deep mental resources. They thought this was something superficial, that everyone talked like this. But I am positive the Arab spokesmen in 1948 did go beyond this and clearly and explicitly talked about jihad.

        What I can say is that the war caused the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem; and to the same degree, the war also caused the flight of the Jewish communities from their homes in Arab countries. Their property was also confiscated, and the numbers are relatively similar. Israeli politicians from that period, like [Israel’s second prime minister, Moshe] Sharett, for example, said in 1949 that this was an exchange of populations. But this was not planned. This is what history created.

        There is logic in this. But also a contrast. The problem of the Jewish refugees was solved, and they were absorbed in Israel and other places while the Arabs never absorbed their refugees, and the problem has remained an open sore.”

        By the way, apparently you are not “too busy” to read every anti-Israel blog on the Internet. How on earth do you find them? And really, Gene, how do you have the time?

      • Fred Skolnik August 14, 2014 at 6:25 am #

        Dear Ira

        Somwhere above you’ll find Mr. Schulman putting us up as war crime candidtates. I’m afraid I drove him off the deep end. I didn’t realize he was that fragile.

    • ray032 August 14, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

      Dear Rabbi et al,

      READ THE COMMENTS with so many more thumbs up about these modest suggestions in finding the way to accommodate the hopes and aspirations of both Arab and Jew destined to live together on the same land.

      AS I read them coming from the Jewish-Israeli side, I can so easily imagine the Nazis making the same comments with a clear conscience about the Jews in the 30s. I find the parallels so tragic and dangerous for our Common Future World, I cannot remain silent.

      Broader vision for Gaza
      08/10/2014 21:28

      • Fred Skolnik August 14, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

        You don’t seem to realize, ray, that these comments are written by people like yourself, people who are a little stressed and a little fanatical, people who get arrested for disturbing the peace.

  8. ray032 August 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Rabbi, I expect Professor Falk will answer many of the specifics you raise in this temperate commentary, but I find this sentence to be disingenuous, “But the fact that the Palestinians have never come to negotiations with a united delegation”

    Did you forget already Netanyahu went ballistic when Fatah and Hamas announced a Unity deal to face Israel with a united delegation in negotiating a Good Faith Peace agreement?

    Do you deny Israel in fact declared war on Hamas in the West Bank, reneging on the prisoner deal, detaining Hamas members without charge, killing Palestinians, destroying their homes even though Shin bet knew Hamas in Gaza was not behind the kidnapping? Israel’s Operation Brother’s Keeper was intended to provoke Hamas into reacting. All the information indicated Hamas was not firing rockets into Israel until this Israeli provocation.

    They were having a hard time controlling other splinter groups in Gaza firing rockets into Israel because of the 7 year continuous act of war the economic blockade of Gaza is.

    • Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 13, 2014 at 10:06 am #


      Why is it that you can’t write a comment without hurling an accusation or five? What is disingenuous about my saying that the Palestinians have never come to the negotiating table with a delegation representing all their factions? It happens to be true. Since you play the comments game looking to pounce on things to criticize, you automatically assumed I was blaming the Palestinians. I wasn’t. My point was that the post-Gaza process affords them an opportunity to do so.

      Besides, your point is not well taken. The Hamas-Fatah merger was announced near the end of the nine month period for negotiations at a time when they were concluding. And it wasn’t at all clear that the two parties had agreed to negotiate as a single entity. If they had, it was highly unlikely that they agreed on a united position. That effort will take weeks or months and may not succeed.

      Regarding your third paragraph, I find it inappropriate. My post didn’t address any of the issues you raise. Ironically, one of the reasons I didn’t address them was to avoid harangues like the one you sent. Some days, you can’t win for the losing. If you sincerely want to consider my perspective, and I’m sure you don’t, I’ll be happy to give it to you. But not in response to a rant.

      Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • oldguyincolorado August 13, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

        Rebbe, you are a lion being attacked by a bunch of fleas. You use facts, logic and reason. They use slogans, fabrication and red herrings (Prof. Falk should understand that term). They dream and you think. They misinterpret to make their arguments – one need only see what they are doing in this blog alone (in spite of the fact that you point this out to them).

        Frankly, you are in the midst of a cabal; lemmings following a piper and all headed over a cliff. Unfortunately, some non-thinking folks seem to want to hear the tune and will listen to no other. Better you should have your own blog where the facts can be discussed in an atmosphere where there is room for fair debate. Here there is none. Only cronyism, back slapping and “my way or the highway”.

        Israel is not always right, nor is she always wrong. On serious reflection, only a fool would deny that many of the wounds suffered by the folks known as the Palestinians are self inflicted. But do they seriously reflect, blame themselves for anything and try and consider the views and merits of the “other side of the story”? Nowhere. At least not with their leadership. They are only the victims. It is always the fault of someone else. In part, it is that type of thinking which keeps them in a prison of their own making and sadly, it is only they who have the key.

        No response from you is expected.

      • ray032 August 13, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

        Now Ira, calm down. I started off my comment describing yours as temperate commentary in the sense of ’emotionally calm and controlled’ which it is for the most part.

        I think you skimmed over Palestine in the 400 year Ottoman Empire, before England and France created the current Arab states out of that defunct Islamic Caliphate, The Arabs living on the land were smarting under British Colonialism, depriving them their Nationalist Aspirations even before Israeli Colonialism took over.

        “Prof. Falk and others may continue to scoff at Israel’s sincerity. And, truth be told, some of the things the current Israeli government says and does gives rise to skepticism. But the fact that the Palestinians have never come to negotiations with a united delegation prepared to recognize Israel and bringing a single list of demands means that Israel’s sincerity in advocating “two states for two people” has never been tested. A PA delegation meeting these criteria would mark the first time Israel’s stated commitment to a two-state solution would be tested in real time. If Israel reneges, the Palestinians will have the whole world in their corner, including the United States.”

        The Wall was not even built along the 1967 lines, but divided Palestinian Villages from their fields and from each other. Settlements are preconditions on the ground, the very ground that is the purpose of Peace negotiations. This is what I think is disingenuous in your otherwise emotionally calm dissertation; Israel’s sincerity in advocating “two states for two people” has never been tested.

        When Hamas agreed to seek unity with Fatah and Abbas as the senior player, Netanyahu went ballistic and provoked this latest war, Death and Destruction in Gaza as far as I see.

        [Hamas won the 2006 Democratic election for the same reason voters all across the world boot out parties that have grown unresponsive and self-interested after years in power. That’s not just Shikaki’s judgment. It’s also Bill Clinton’s. As Clinton explained in 2009, “a lot of Palestinians were upset that they [Fatah] were not delivering the services. They didn’t think it [Fatah] was an entirely honest operation and a lot of people were going to vote for Hamas not because they wanted terrorist tactics…but because they thought they might get better service, better government…They [also] won because Fatah carelessly and foolishly ran both its slates in too many parliamentary seats.”

        This doesn’t change the fact that Hamas’ election confronted Israel and the United States with a serious problem. After its victory, Hamas called for a national unity government with Fatah “for the purpose of ending the occupation and settlements and achieving a complete withdrawal from the lands occupied [by Israel] in 1967, including Jerusalem, so that the region enjoys calm and stability during this phase.” But those final words—“this phase”—made Israelis understandably skeptical that Hamas had changed its long-term goals. The organization still refused to recognize Israel, and given that Israel had refused to talk to the PLO until it formally accepted Israel’s right to exist in 1993, it’s not surprising that Israel demanded Hamas meet the same standard.

        Still, Israel and the U.S. would have been wiser to follow the counsel of former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, who called for Sharon to try to forge a long-term truce with Hamas. Israel could also have pushed Hamas to pledge that if Abbas—who remained PA president—negotiated a deal with Israel, Hamas would accept the will of the Palestinian people as expressed in a referendum, something the group’s leaders have subsequently promised to do.

        Instead, the Bush administration—suddenly less enamored of Middle Eastern democracy–pressured Abbas to dissolve the Palestinian parliament and rule by emergency decree. Israel, which also wanted Abbas to defy the election results, withheld the tax and customs revenue it had collected on the Palestinian Authority’s behalf. Knowing Hamas would resist Abbas’ efforts to annul the election, especially in Gaza, where it was strong on the ground, the Bushies also began urging Abbas’ former national security advisor, a Gazan named Mohammed Dahlan, to seize power in the Strip by force. As David Rose later detailed in an extraordinary article in Vanity Fair, Condoleezza Rice pushed Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to buy weapons for Dahlan, and for Israel to allow them to enter Gaza. As General Mark Dayton, US security coordinator for the Palestinians, told Dahlan in November 2006, “We also need you to build up your forces in order to take on Hamas.”

        Unfortunately for the Bush administration, Dahlan’s forces were weaker than they looked. And when the battle for Gaza began, Hamas won it easily, and brutally. In response, Abbas declared emergency rule in the West Bank.]

  9. What is Barbaric? August 12, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Let her voice be heard.

    • Kata Fisher August 13, 2014 at 6:50 am #

      Jacob is trickster and always was…

      Her voice or yours? – your intention is to place the blame of blames…I believe. Her intention is to stop/stamp-out a certain action…I believe.
      She is discussing barbarism in current terms, only.

      True Barbarism comes in different forms/manifestation in/of the past, present, and future. The patterns and works and intentions end up in barbaric consequence.

      Not that I am saying that she is wrong, but her argument is just a fraction of all that was and is going on — you are not objective. Blames of blames are not objective, in essence.

      People in Holy Land can seek just solution or continue in their cycles of works, and blames of blames—blames of blames will not lead them to just solutions…

      If they find just ways & solutions they will benefit, and if they do not their enemies will benefit. There is nothing in betwixt.

      Holy Land peoples need to learn a sense of acceptance and existence with strange tribes (each other). During times of the Prophets, they had no problem coexisting and indulged with strange tribes. Why not now—why is so that now there is no acceptance and existence with strange tribes?

      Well, now it is not about indulging and creating illegitimate children and works illegitimate (they are in bad-works illegitimate, already), and they cannot accept each other’s children — accepting that what is of God and has potential to be so. That what is spiritual and is of spiritual potential is unacceptable in the Holy Land? Can’t they live well next to each other in the Land?

      Now, I know, I know – we not in agreement that Palestinians should not have a “Palestinians state” and be clenched betwixt Jordan and Israel. It takes some deep pruning now in order to achieve some fruit in future point in time.

      I have no doubt that Palestinians are unable to foresee what is best for them as people of Jordan in Holy Land. We cannot add to unjust ways of others, and certainly can’t help them in that…”generational sins are upon us” — what else can we say?

      If any just solutions, you or anyone else may or may not perfect them…to be clenching a Palestine state betwixt Jordan and Israel is unjust and destructive toward Palestinians; it can be allowed now with future consequences ahead. But why? — this is why: “………….”

      In the end, the works are judged, and no one will be justified or excused by his or her own works: regardless if good or bad! The works have to be one in line and will of God in order to have force that justify and/or excuse one.

      • Mohammad a. Nawawi August 13, 2014 at 11:59 am #

        Professor Falk,

        The extreme enmity by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States toward political Islam you touch upon above needs sharper emphasis. The deemphasis of the social-political dimension of Islam has been the consensus theological dogma throughout the greater part of Islamic history, until toward the end of the 19th century when anti-colonialism necessitated its rediscovery. Since then, the conflict between the advocates of political Islam and the defenders of the old dogma has slowly become clearer and more consequential. It is now increasingly becoming the central issue in the Muslim-majority countries everywhere. I think the rise of political Islam to parity with, if not dominance over, the defenders of the old order is irresistable. It will also create, however, a new, highly volatile source of conflict, between the proponents of the “modernist”, more democratic Islamic politics and their more “fundamentalist” adversaries. Given the relative lack of development of modern Islamic social and political thought, the radical fundamentalist orientation will, in the short run, have the upper hand. In the long run, the stability and progress in the Muslim-majority countries will depend on the victory of the modernists. Only then Islamic politics would accomodate and work within pluralism.

  10. Sergey August 12, 2014 at 11:58 pm #

    Dear Dr. Falk,

    I could not agree more with your conclusion. It is time for the world to wake to the reality of the occupation and dispossession of Palestine and its people. This injustice must not be tolerated!

  11. rehmat1 August 13, 2014 at 5:57 am #

    Saudi ‘royal’ and most of other Arab dictators and ‘Sheikhs’ are doing what Ben Gurion called “first Israeli defense line” against the Islamic revival in the region. Some of these rulers have even offered PA financial help while supporting “Israel’s right to defend its occupation” – or preferably kept their mouth shut.

    The Palestinian people, as expected, ended up with the only “loyal allies” (Iran, Hizbullah, Iraq and Syria), which are all hated by the Zionist controlled West and their poodle in the Middle East.

    The so-called “Sunni Arab” (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, UAE, etc.) have all abandoned their “Sunni Gazas”. They’re all on the side of Netanyahu, directly or via the United States.

    • ray032 August 13, 2014 at 6:52 am #

      I see there is something wrong with the picture of Israeli Cantons of Democracy in the Jewish Settlements predicated on maintaining a 47 year Israeli Military Dictatorship in the Palestinian occupied territories, depriving the people of the most basic Civil and Democratic rights contrary to the letter and the spirit of the 2017 Balfour Declaration, working with the most repressive Egyptian Military Dictatorship the US refused to call a Military Coup. I suppose the Generals from both Dictatorships speak the same language from their respective privileged estates.

  12. ray032 August 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    My latest Blog article just posted

    August 13, 2014

  13. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 14, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    Hi Fred,

    I don’t want to deny you your victory in claiming to have driven Gene Schuman into silence, but running away is his standard operating procedure. To use a bissle Momaloshen (a little Yiddish) in this alien environment, like I.B. Snger’s Nobel Laureate address in Stockholm, he’s hokhing a chinik (making a loud noise by hitting an empty tea kettle). He’s the chinik making a loud noise, but he’s still an empty vessel with nothing to say beyond one-liner cheap shots and abusive personal comments.

    But he’ll be back. Empty kettles that make loud noises usually do.



    • Gene Schulman August 14, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

      Ah, Ira.

      At the risk of breaking Prof. Falk’s rule of airing personal remarks on his blog, I have to say your metaphor is apt. Apparently, my “hokhing a chinik” has hit its target; the empty kettle that you represent. I promise to be back often, but not to respond to the likes of you. To use another yiddihism: Ver drai mir nicht mein kopf.

  14. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 14, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    Dear Old Guy (if I may call you by your first name),

    You wrote that you didn’t expect a response, but I do want to thank you, both for your encouraging words and for posting comments that are consistently accurate and filled with humor and wisdom.

    I’m not much bothered by the Blog Faithful. Your description of them resonates with truth. Reading the blog is like watching an endless loop with each of them saying the same things over and over again. If you’re really an Old Guy, you’re old enough to remember the old Fred Allen radio show—Sunday evenings following Jack Benny. Allen had a cadre of stock characters living on what he called “Allen’s Alley”. Each week he spent a few minutes with each of them listening to their whacky opinions and bizarre experiences. Same thing as the Blog Faithful. But Allen’s people were intentionally funny. The Blog Faithful are not. But neither are they dangerous. I don’t know who else reads this blog, but those who post don’t strike me as influentials. As you note, they’re sounding off for themselves and to rile up one another.

    Thanks for suggesting that I start my own blog, but no thanks. I’ve spent many years engaged in rational discussions/debates with folks representing a variety of opinions on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. I’m still involved in that and plan to continue. The Falk blog is sort of a Saturday Night Live caricature of real discussion in which all rules of civil exchange are violated under protection of its moderator, knowledge of the facts is not a prerequisite for participating and allegations hurled without a stitch of supportive evidence are welcomed and praised—so long as they seek to damage Israel, Jews and the United States.


    • ray032 August 14, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

      Rabbi Ira, your reply to the oldguy confirms there’s nothing like preaching to the converted!

      Let’s get back to your opening sentence of this string, “This is an interesting post which affords an opportunity to address an issue rarely discussed in any depth on this blog: what is the best course for the Palestinians pursuing their legitimate national aspirations?”

      In that spirit, I await your reply to my comment upstream addressed to you et al?

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 14, 2014 at 11:57 pm #


        This is the third time I haven’t responded to something you posted because I didn’t want to make you look like an idiot and you’ve badgered me to respond. So reluctantly, here goes.

        The Jerusalem Post, Israel’s most influential English language newspaper, publishes an editorial endorsing Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s proposal for not only easing the Gaza blockade but also rebuilding its infrastructure, and repairing its economic and social structure. This draws approximately twenty on-line comments, many of them criticizing the proposal and editorial endorsement claiming that one cannot trust a Palestinian, Hamas, et.

        So you do your prophetic robes and proclaim:
        “I can so easily imagine the Nazis making the same comments with a clear conscience about the Jews in the 30s. I find the parallels so tragic and dangerous for our Common Future World, I cannot remain silent.”
        Let’s do a little math. There are 7 million Israel Jews. 12 or 13 of them denounce a visionary proposal by Israel’s Minister or Justice endorsed by Israel’s leading English language newspaper and you see in this a wave of Israeli Nazism that threatens the world. Good Lord, Ray, get a grip!
        There are serious issues to be discussed relating to Gaza. These must be discussed by serious people. Sorry Ray, you don’t qualify.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • ray032 August 15, 2014 at 3:49 am #

        Rabbi, Why is it that you can’t write a comment without hurling an accusation or five?

        Maybe you don’t read the Jerusalem Post daily as I do. The tone and substance of the comments are not particular to this one story only, but common to all articles in the JP concerning Arabs.

        Despite writing this, “what is the best course for the Palestinians pursuing their legitimate national aspirations?” it seems you are not really interested in objectively discussing the Livini proposals. Are you serious, or are you just an Agent Provocateur?

        No, did you? How many Times?

    • Richard Falk August 14, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

      Rabbi Youdovin:

      To be so condescending and self-congratulatory is simply stunning, but it is also
      strongly against the grain of what I believe to be the greatest of true religious
      virtues–humility, respect for others.

      • Fred Skolnik August 15, 2014 at 12:04 am #

        No one who suggests that Jews act like Nazis is going to win respect from anyone other than people just like them. People who liken Jews to Nazis deserve to be called idiots, and worse. Have you counted how many times, and in how many contexts, this word had been used on your website?

      • Gene Schulman August 15, 2014 at 12:52 am #


        I do not find Ira’s (nor Fred’s) condescension stunning at all. They are classic arrogant Zionists for whom any criticism of their actions or beliefs is anathema. To cite the Jerusalem Post as Israel’s leading English language newspaper is akin to citing Der Stürmer as Germany’s leading liberal newspaper. Ira would probably call Haaretz the equivalent of Pravda. Referring to the leadership of present day Israel as Nazi-like is not new, and has many precedents. All one has to do is read Lenni Brenner’s “Zionism in the Age of the Dictators” (and other sources), which convincingly establishes that the European Zionsts willingly collaborated with the Nazis leading up to and during WWII, as well as Italy’s fascists. And of course, no one could have been more Nazi-like (or HAMAS, if you will) than the Stern Gang (Irgun). Murderers all. Today’s equivalent would of course be the IDF and the Likudnicks. I wonder if Fred has referenced any of this in his award winning encyclopaedia?

        It is quite common these days, and quite appropriate, to refer to the suffering in Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto. That alone justifies comparisons to Nazism.

      • Fred Skolnik August 15, 2014 at 1:26 am #

        Gene, you are ranting again, but I will commit one more war crime by saying that quoting or citing people who think or talk like yourself, which is all that you are capable of doing (and occasionally put your foot in your mouth, as in the case of Benny Morris), does not establish the truth of anything. Brenner’s anti-Zionist book falsifies the meaning of the contacts between Lehi and the Nazis, whose aim was to get the Jews out of Germany. As for your characterizations of everything else under the Israeli sun, words are just a lot of talk, to paraphrase Ionescu.

        And when you set up equivalencies, Gene, you have to be logical. Calling the Jerusalem post the leading English-language newspaper in Israel, which it is, is not like calling Der Sturmer the leading liberal newspaper in Germany, which it was not. If Rabbi Youdovin had called the Jerusalem Post the leading liberal newspaper in Israel, your analogy would at least have been linguistically logical. Do you understand what I’m saying? “English-language” does parallel “liberal.” You have set up a faulty analogy. Since you’re getting a little obsessed by my “prize,” I can only say that you are not going to win any until you learn how to write.

      • Gene Schulman August 15, 2014 at 1:44 am #

        I know I’m drawing blood and panning gold when the likes of Fred keep bouncing back to deny the truth. According to Brenner’s book, the purpose of dealing with the Nazis was not to help the Jews get out of Germany On the contrary, it was to keep them there in exchange for the Nazis help in establishing Palestine as a Zionist homeland. Perhaps Fred should actually read the book before he pans it.

        I am not obsessed by Fred’s prize. Given the source of it, it’s probably as justified as Begin’s or Obama’s Peace Prize.

      • Fred Skolnik August 15, 2014 at 1:56 am #

        That is what Brenner says. That doesn’t make it true. You are too easy a mark. You will believe anything that discredits Israel but you are totally unequiped to verify or evaluate anything you read.

      • Gene Schulman August 15, 2014 at 2:37 am #

        Israel discredits itself. It doesn’t need me.

      • Fred Skolnik August 15, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

        I didn’t say you discredit Israel, Gene. You’re not equipped to. I said you you believe anything that does. You have a reading problem as well, I see.

  15. ray032 August 15, 2014 at 5:41 am #

    Fred, I’m glad for the email notice of new comments or I might have missed this one;
    “You don’t seem to realize, ray, that these comments are written by people like yourself, people who are a little stressed and a little fanatical, people who get arrested for disturbing the peace.”

    People like myself, “stressed” etc. You can sit wherever you are and judge me, but I know only G_d is the Judge of each and every soul, including yours, mine, Richards and the Rabbi’s. I would not presume to sit in God’s Judgment Seat as you feel you can do so easily.

    I have definite evidence to prove you wrong in your judgment of me.

    This selfie was taken February 1st, in this year of the LORD 2014, posting the article to my Blog, ‘I AM THAT I AM.’ You and the Rabbi should know where that comes from?

    My physical body is 70, but I was ‘born again’ February 1, 1975, coming alive to Faith in the Living Spirit of God, so I’m going on 40 earth years in my limited knowledge in the Spirit of The Eternal ONE, but growing exponentially, and with that, comes a PEACE that passes all understanding, as it is written in the Book.

    Obviously G_d has been Gracious to me these 39 years, as I begin to appreciate my share in the Inheritance of Abraham.

    Let ALL those who seek You, Rejoice and be Glad in You. Let SUCH who LOVE Your Salvation say continually, The LORD be Magnified!

  16. What is Barbaric? August 15, 2014 at 6:29 am #

    Author Joe McElhaney, Fritz Lang biographer, exposes the truth behind “anti Nazi” films made by Fritz Lang!

  17. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 15, 2014 at 6:49 pm #


    Sure I’m interested in the Livni proposals. What are your thoughts on them?


    • ray032 August 16, 2014 at 2:38 am #

      It’s a start and generally following along the lines I’ve considered for years. Treat the Palestinians like full human beings equal with Jews.

      Israel has ruled the Palestinians by Military Dictatorship in the occupied territories for 47 years. It will be the Jubilee Year in just 3 more years. God set the conditions. If the Jews obeyed and implemented those conditions, many of the obstacles and roadblocks to Peace would be removed.

      • Richard Falk August 16, 2014 at 5:35 am #

        Ray: not only ruled, but ignored SC Res. 242 on withdrawal to 1967 borders and encroached via settlements, roads,
        separation wall as to make the situation irreversible. This was a plan, it did not just happen. Also it continues
        to happen in defiance of international law. And the Knesset elected Reuven as the President of Israel despite his
        overt advocacy of a single Jewish state exercising sovereignty over the whole of historic Palestine. The military
        rule is just the logical consequence of these other factors.

      • Fred Skolnik August 16, 2014 at 8:40 am #

        Prof. Falk

        You are again falsifying the Middle East conflict. Israel did not ignore UN Resolution 242, which affirmed the principles on which a negotiated settlement should be based, including withdrawal from “territories” and “termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” The Arab reply was the three famous Noes of the Khartoum Conference: no peace, no negotiations, no recognition. You do remember that, don’t you? What I remember in the days and months following the war was the atmosphere of optimism in Israel, the feeling that real peace was just around the corner. No talk of settlements then, no roadblocks, no walls, This was a plan? Permit me for being rude: you don’t know what you are talking about. And for the next 25 years the Arabs couldn’t even bring themselves to pronounce Israel’s name. The “military rule.” Prof. Falk, is a logical consequence of a military occupation. I’m sure you remember the Allied occupation of Germany after World War II. That’s how things work when you start and lose a war. Rabbi Youdovin is perfectly right. Your only real interest in the Arab-Israel conflict is to establish Israel’s culpability.

      • Richard Falk August 17, 2014 at 12:48 am #

        Mr. Skolnik:

        Why you are so obsessively insulting and personally abusive is a bit of a mystery. Your tone is so self-assured
        and dogmatic as to reject any effort at dialogue or reconciliation as if only you know ‘the truth’ about complicated
        and contested realities that take historians decades to interpret, and then often without closure as to the correct
        reading of what actually happened. Could it be that psychologically you find it easier to attack
        the messenger than to address the message as if had at least some truth contained in it? Your reading of SC Resolution 242 is so strained and
        partisan as to be off the charts of responsible commentary. There is not a word about negotiations
        as a precondition for Israeli withdrawal, and certainly no authority whatsoever for Israel to incorporate
        territories by the de facto annexation associated with the settlement blocs.

  18. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 16, 2014 at 7:04 am #


    You see what happens on this blog. You write that Israel has imposed a military dictatorship on the Occupied Territories for 47 years, and Prof. Falk takes you to task for not repeating his entire litany of condemning Israel. This is the same man who trashed me for not respecting your thinking (btw, I do apologize for the harshness of me remarks.)

    There is a profound difference between you and Prof. Falk. You’re a proud Born Again Christian who wants to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians before the Jubilee. So you see the Livni proposal as a possible first step in that direction. Prof. Falk’s objective is punishing Israel, so he ignores what your appreciation of Livni and imposes his own views on yours. You’re not really welcome on this blog unless you follow the party line 100% like Gene Schulman does.

    Ray, I agree with your assessment of Livni, and hope the Knesset agrees. But it takes two to make peace. The Hamas National Charter cites its radical interpretation of Koranic law as mandating that infidels—especially Jews but also Christians—be killed or driven out of the Middle East.

    Let’s continue our conversation. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on what the Palestinians need to do to establish peace.


    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Gene Schulman August 16, 2014 at 9:24 am #

      Whoopee! Now we’ve got a born again rabbi. Will wonders never cease?

      • Fred Skolnik August 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

        Are you drunk, Gene? Or have you regressed into a second childhood?

    • ray032 August 16, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

      Rabbi, you, Fred and Dan Livni have always had free access here, so I don’t understand your complaint?.

      I don’t share your opinion of the Professor. I believe he is a man of Integrity and devoted to his Profession, International Law, and is objective in applying it.

      No one likes to have their dirty laundry exposed in public, and from his expertise, he understands the conflict. Don’t shoot the Messenger!

      The Rules of International Law and the Geneva Conventions came into force after a long bloody human history of thousands of years. Better late than never. They also came into force at about the same Time Israel was recreated from the Bible. They were not codified to single out Israel.

      If Israel and the US are supposed to be the highest example of moral conduct to the other Nations, but violate International Law with impunity, while demanding other Nations follow it at the same time, that is the way to confusion, conflict and chaos.

      And I’m sick and tired of Israel trying to deflect by saying look at the other regimes that are worse than ours. The People of God are supposed to be better than that, not venial like others, filled with hate and worshipping the gods of gold, silver, brass, wood, iron, etc..There seems to be a trend in thinking – everyone is stealing, so I’m gonna do it too! It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s personal choice!

      Richard, I still want to see that article listing Israeli violations of International Law, and hopefully accompanied why, in your esteemed, Professorial opinion, you think they are violations.

      Or, knowing my email address, just send me the information?


      • Fred Skolnik August 16, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

        Dear Ira

        I am always surprised when ray writes something that is sober and even halfway rational. From what he has written one might conclude that he has a very high opinion of Jews and feels let down by us because of our awful transgressions. But since he has detected what he considers ample evidence of Jewish barbarity in the Bible, it is hard to figure what it is about the Jews that gave him such high hopes. My conclusion is that he doesn’t really have a high opinion of us but in fact resents us deeply, as he has explicitly stated numerous times when he contemptuously throws that Chosen People thing in our faces or tells us, in what strikes me as an embittered voice, that we think we are “better than everyone else,” which is of course one of the “complaints” of antisemites all around the world, to which he now adds the classic accusation of “venality” and “worshipping the gods of gold, silver,” etc. I think I have “referenced” a little essay that discusses the roots of Christian hatred and resentment of Jews but I will offer it to him again.

        Jews of course do not feel superior to anyone, unless it was to the Christians who tormented them and beat them to death. Who wouldn’t feel morally superior to such debased people? I think, Ira, you have explained what the concept of chosenness means to religious Jews. I can certainly vouch for the fact that Israelis do not feel superior to other people as such and even at a disadvantage and somewhat provincial vis-à-vis people in the West, for example. In America, secular Jews think and act like everyone else, and this is the case in other countries as well.

        Ray is also “sick and tired of Israel trying to deflect by saying look at the other regimes that are worse than ours.” As Prof. Falk has also misunderstood what we are saying, I can forgive ray for his own misunderstanding. Defenders of Israel are of course not saying that because the Syrians killed 170,000 of their own people and the Sudanese 500,000 and the Rwandans as many as a million, it is all right for Israel to kill a few thousand. What defenders of Israel are saying, parenthetically, is that anyone who had not a word to say about these genocides or about the Israeli women and children blown up in busses and restaurants and murdered in their homes by the terrorists, is a hypocrite and a fake.

        Of course, one can be a hypocrite and still be right. That brings us to the substance of the arguments, which it is pointless to repeat. Those who incessantly attack Israel build their cases almost entirely on the basis of biased second- and third-hand sources lifted from the Internet without the remotest possibility of verifying or evaluating what they read. In ray’s case the information comes from watching television and reading online English-language Israeli newspapers that he very often misunderstands. I would get into trouble too, I confess, if I tried to build a case against China sitting in front of a computer or television set and not speaking a word of Chinese. I would get into even bigger trouble if someone sent me there to “investigate” the country’s sins. Israel’s detractors want to believe the worst about Israel. I have pointed out why.

        I have also outlined what I think is an accurate representation of Israel’s opening position in peace negotiations and what the difficulties would be from Israel’s point of view. Since none of Prof. Falk’s admirers is really interested in the practicalities of a peace settlement but only in Israel’s culpability, it is also pointless to repeat the essentials of this position. What we can look forward to as Prof. Falk continues to devote all his rhetorical skills to the task of criminalizing Israel and calling into question its right to exist as a Jewish state is a chorus of blind assent and worshipful praise.

      • Kata Fisher August 17, 2014 at 12:37 am #

        I have a reflection about this:

        We do not look at people’s sins, especially; we do not look when they are not directly attributed to them by their own violation of their own conscience/way and conscience/way of others (individually and corporately).

        I do not believe that contemporary Jews are Barbarians of Gaul in Holy Land. However, I do believe that Barbarians of Gaul have made beyond an adverse impact in Holy Land (in present times).

        Existence of state of Israel has to be in substance; laws valid and useful by simplicity in application of approaches to the territory of Holy Land.

        We do, and we do not look at behavioral patterns. Meaning, we do and do not care what people do, in general, as long as they do not cause grave harm to others – we do and do not care about their spiritual condition, although not ignorant to it –we can and can’t’ see the sins and condemn it. It is possible to see just as it is.

        Grafting in spiritually excommunicated tribes is difficult, and leaders are just awfully ignorant and not established to give each other break over that.

        They have to look at their conflicts from entirely different perspective.

        What can one say to them? They are in frustrated ways:

        Two key-words:

    • Richard Falk August 17, 2014 at 12:41 am #

      Briefly, Rabbi Youdovin, if you are not welcome on this blog why do you keep writing these long argumentative
      comments? and if I insist on 100% adherence to my views, why on earth do I not block your contributions?
      And to keep repeating the mantra that I seek to do everything possible to harm Israel, which is far from
      the reality of my posts, suggests your ill will at best. Or along with Fred Skolnik an obsessive focus on the
      messenger because the message is not easily refuted, at least for those who are not dedicated Zionists.

      • Fred Skolnik August 17, 2014 at 1:05 am #

        Prof. Falk

        You are again speaking about dialogue and reconciliation. I have already asked you what is conciliatory or constructive about calling Israel every name in the book. But of course the issue is not reconciliation between advocates but between nations, and while I have outlined the practicalities of a negotiated peace and the end of hostilities in Gaza, you and certainly your admirers remain solely concerned with establishing Israel’s guilt.

        As for Resolution 242, there is nothing “strained and partisan” in pointing out the Arab response to it or that the Security Council expected the parties to negotiate a peace settlement and for that purpose, to aid the parties in such negotiations, sent a Special Representative to the Middle East “in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution.” Nowhere is Israeli withdrawal called for without reference to all the other principles laid out in the resolution.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 17, 2014 at 7:31 am #

        Prof. Falk,

        You claim that harming Israel is “far from the reality of my posts.” If so, please reconcile this claim with your recent (June 21, 2014) post criticizing the Presbyterian Church’s pro-divestment resolution for advocating “Zombie ideas…that have been thoroughly discredited by evidence and the realities of the situation.” You go on to advocate that Israel be transformed into a bi-national state.

        Isn’t dismantling a state something like harming it?

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Gene Schulman August 17, 2014 at 8:51 am #

        Transformation does not mean dismantling. In Prof. Falk’s case, it means improvement to a fair and just society. Something Zionists are not yet prepared to recognize. Never have and never will.

      • ray032 August 17, 2014 at 7:48 am #

        Now Ira, I’m getting concerned about you? Why bother writing this, “Isn’t dismantling a state something like harming it?” accusing the Professor of wanting to harm Israel?

        One State or Two State solution? This is the crux of the matter for purposes of discussion these days.

        With the Wall, checkpoints, Settlement construction and expansion, Israel is not leaving enough Palestinian Land left over for Palestinians to create a contiguous State. What is left is One State Solution which the 1939 British White Paper finally advocated in place of partition.

      • Kata Fisher August 17, 2014 at 7:50 am #

        Dear Professor Falk,

        I like to say something.

        Your views and approach are perfect. This is why: it is the cornerstone that others can choose to build on or not.

        Those who are in Holy Land, and are in pursuit of Spiritual things would achieve those things if they adhered to International Law. However, they are not spiritual and are in pursuit of spiritual things, end up in dead-end lawlessness.

        We expect people in Holy Land and leaders to be Spiritual and focus on well-being of the people in Holy Land–what is restricting them? I do wonder.

        Now, I am not writing this to upset Rabbi – or anyone else. If Rabbi would not oversee this, it would be not appropriate for me to be here, and going about these things. I do understand Rabbi, and difficult position that he is in because he, as a Rabbi, is accountable to seek best for lay-people over which he is appointed. No one is perfect, and as Rabbi he falls under spiritual attacks, as well (all clergy that is valid does).

        I just feel moved to write a note for you and thank you for your teaching from a solid perspective.

      • Richard Falk August 18, 2014 at 2:53 am #

        Thanks, Kata. I would never myself make a claim to be ‘perfect,’ even as I know you use the word metaphorically.
        I worry about those who claim to have
        the right answers to the various contested perspectives as several of those who defend Israel
        no matter what death and devastation it inflicts on the vulnerable Palestinian people. I understand your reliance on
        spiritual authority in the Holy Land, but worry when secular political leaders invoke such authority
        or base their action by reference to more modern sources (e.g. international law, UN, political consensus), it
        creates lethal patterns of conflict. Humility is absent in tone and substance as exhibited in the hostile
        and demeaning language used by comment writers when addressing each other. You have tried admirably to
        be a reconciling presence, and that kind of pastoral healing is indeed the work of those genuinely guided
        by emanations from the spiritual realm.

      • Fred Skolnik August 17, 2014 at 9:02 am #

        Re historians, Prof. Falk, and the truth about “contested realities” and the “decades” to “interpret” them, you are misconstruing historical method, which seeks first and foremost to establish facts and then processes, and this is the reality that historians strive to present. It is only in polemics that reality is contested in the way that you are suggesting and only with regard to partisan issues that interpretation becomes predominant when the facts are not to one’s liking, and you are certainly engaged in interpretation to a far greater extent than in gathering evidence and establishing facts in accordance with any accepted historical or judicial criterion or method, though what you call interpretation strikes me more as rationalization or “contextualization,” as you like to put it. I, on the other hand, do not find it necessary to interpret anything. I am presenting a few simple facts that are either true or not true. For each of these facts you do not offer different facts but an “interpretation.”

        The first fact in the Arab-Israel conflict is that the Arabs came out of the desert in the 7th century and conquered the Middle East. This is embarrassing so the argument becomes that this is long enough ago to establish them as an indigenous people and the Land of Israel as their “ancient” homeland, disregarding the fact that the Jews had already been there for at least 2000 years. If this argument does not work, there is a back-up argument, namely that numbers trump precedence and that the moment there were more Arabs than Jews in the Land of Israel, even if this came about through massacre, rape and forced conversion, they obtained sovereign rights over all of it.

        The second fact is that the Zionists did not in any way displace Arabs when they settled in the Land of Israel but legitimately and legally purchased private land under Ottoman and British rule. To this there really isn’t any counterargument so it is simply repeated that the Jews displaced the Arabs, without any real understanding of how the Jewish presence affected fellahin day laborers, which is after all the issue when it comes to land (the answer being: negligibly).

        The third and fourth facts are that the Arabs invaded the State of Israel in 1948 and committed acts of war against Israel in 1967. You know the rationalizations and “interpretations” as well as I do, so I won’t repeat them. As far as the refugees are concerned, that too requires very little interpretation: some fled, some were encouraged to leave by their leaders, and some were expelled. It is impossible to know how many there were in each category, and though Benny Morris claims that the minority were in the last category, and may be right, since he did examine the archive material, I wouldn’t necessarily bet on it and can’t verify it one way or the other. In any case, this is apt to happen in war, and set against these diplacements are the displacements of Jews from Arab countries, in pretty much equal numbers, and the circumstances of each Jewish community is fully documented and available for all to see, including the Jewish property that was confiscated.

        And so on and so forth. There are in fact very few basic facts but an awful lot of rhetoric to get around them. The one salient fact that trumps all the others is that the Arabs have not been able to reconcile themselves to the presence of a sovereign non-Muslim country in the Middle East. That is the core of their hostility to the State of Israel and the core of the conflict. To understand this you either have to be an impartial observer or very well versed in Arab thinking. I am afraid that you are neither. I am not trying to insult you. I even think you will agree with me. Otherwise you wouldn’t find it necessary to do so much interpreting. Very little is hidden in the Middle East, especially if you live here.

      • Kata Fisher August 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

        Professor Falk,

        I am in the same understanding as you are, and this is how I view these things:

        Spiritual things have a place, but it cannot be misplaced. Spiritual works in application cannot be of a twilit light (half-light).

        Things can be explained by the Church and /or Clergy, at most. It has to be overseen and discerned, as well. Spiritual things/works cannot be applied / implemented, unless they are 100% in a valid decrement. Otherwise, people get to be spiritually excommunicated and given over to destruction.

        International Law, (in this point in time) is appointed over the spiritual issues and International Lawhas substance to regulate spiritual issues.

        This is why: nothing in the world-natural can be accomplished (such as plan of God) outside the appointed times of God for that. No one can do more than what is appointed. God will allow many dead-end plans over the time for those who are inclined to do whatever they like.

        When secular clergy (so to say) goes about their own way so to establish some spiritual realities – this can be allowed. The Law of the Spirit will dead-end them in their ways. The Law of the Spirit will meet them at their dead ends, and that publicly — by the manifestation of same gifts (prophetic anointing) that are corporately manifested in the work. So that works of all violators of Ecclesiastical things can be seen by those who are appointed in Laws that are violated.

        Cornerstone to anything is perfect. When one is inflexible in his or her expert ability (as you are) that is work-perfected in something that is anchored in a strong substance.

        I agree with you that there was/is pastoral anointing manifested (and I, too, believe that is authentic). However, I did view this ordination as ” a cross of anti-Christ” (in a harsh sense of reality), and still understand that it was without any lasting consequence for me.

        In general, Church things can be very bizarre, just plainly bizarre things, and God allows some awkward things when some awkward things are going on.

    • ray032 August 17, 2014 at 7:26 am #

      Fred, I read the link to your article in Israel National News. I suggest you read Leviticus Chapter 26. All the things you attribute to anti-semitism in Christian thought, started there long before Christians and Muslims existed.

      I find this interesting; “But while this may explain why the Christians hated the Romans, or the rich and the powerful in general, it still does not explain why they hated the Jews or any other spiritual rivals, namely, why they hated those who were as weak as themselves. In fact, even when the Church became strong, the resentment did not abate, for, especially in its strength, it continued to attract the weak.”

      This is precisely the problem I see with Israel as it has turned out to be. After experiencing the violation of their human rights, being marginalized and treated as inferior humans being in Nazi Germany, and not having the weapons to fight back, now that Israel is highly militarized to the max, the Jews dominate, repress, and suppress the weaker Palestinians. apparently not learning anything from that dark episode in Jewish and world history.

      • Fred Skolnik August 17, 2014 at 8:03 am #

        I have no idea what you think you’re reading in Lev. 26 and how you go about understanding the Hebrew Bible or biblical history so let’s put that to the side. As for the Palestinians, I have explained to you more than once that Israel is not at war with the Palestinian people but with the terrorist organizations who had the weapons to murder 1200 Israeli civilians in the last 15 years. You can defend your family in any way you like but don’t dare tell us how to defend ours.

      • Gene Schulman August 17, 2014 at 8:58 am #

        Of course Israel is not at war with the Palestinian people. It is merely raping them. Further, Israel is not defending its family, it is robbing its neighbor’s family.

      • Fred Skolnik August 17, 2014 at 9:28 am #

        You’re talking nonsense again. I realize that by lowering the standards of discourse the Internet has given people like yourself the opportunity to say whatever comes into their heads and some would argue that this a good thing, giving people with no other outlets the opportunity to let off steam. I, on the other hand, think it’s a bad thing because when you don’t hold people to any kind of standard you are in effect robbing them of the incentive to think rigorously and this is bad for the entire race. You can continue to feed off Counterpunch all you like, but even you must understand that it isn’t going to help the Palestinians in the least bit, and that’s the point of all these fulminations, isn’t it?

  19. ceylan August 17, 2014 at 2:43 am #

    Dear Richard,

    “Strange regional alignments” indeed!

    Maybe latest “Hornet’s Nest leaks” (!) on ISIS nee ID will shed some insight on some of those biased perspectives/comments.

  20. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 17, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Kata and Ray,

    A quick response to your posts while awaiting Prof. Falk’s response to mine.

    Kata, Prof. Falk’s proposal of a single-state solution may be “perfect,” were it not for the inconvenient truth that it won’t work. Creating a state by mashing up two or more peoples who share a geographical area but also share a long history of mutual distrust and often violent hostility begets catastrophes like Yugoslavia, Syria and Iraq that hold together so long as a dictator keeps the lid on, often with violence, but inevitably implode into a bloody human tragedy. That’s exactly what the Allies did in carving up the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires following WW 1. The philosopher Santayana warned that “Those who ignore the past, are doomed to repeat it.

    Besides, putting the Palestinians, who through no fault of their own, are technologically backward, into the same competitive industrial-commercial arena as the Israelis makes them a permanent underclass. Prof. Falk notes this in his analysis of five possible solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but then disregards his own caveat.

    Ray, how do you know that a two-state solution is impossible? Have you looked at the maps David Makovsky prepared for the Washington institute? Have you studied the demographics of the region?

    Israel is on public record in affirming that the Palestinians will receive territory not one square centimeter less than what was taken from them. Assuredly, there is opposition to this in Israel, including from some leaders. But repeated opinion polls report that 70% of the Israel’s Jewish population favor making substantial concessions as the price for peace.

    Hamas now has an opportunity to test the sincerity of Israel’s offer in real time. Israel is offering to lift the Gaza blockade in exchange for de-militarizing Gaza, and to use the end of violence in Gaza as a platform for building an end to the entire conflict. Let’s see how Hamas responds.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • ray032 August 17, 2014 at 11:08 am #

      Rabbi, concerning this, ” the Palestinians, who through no fault of their own, are technologically backward, into the same competitive industrial-commercial arena as the Israelis makes them a permanent underclass.”

      Obviously, you have not read this re Israeli Arabs gaining position and stature within the Israeli economy causing resentment among Jews who think Palestinians should aspire to more than being cheap labour to serve Jews.

      Israel has F-16 jet fighters, Apache helicopter gun ships, tanks and other artillery they used without much restraint in killing mostly civilians in Gaza. Gaza is already de-militarized except for token resistance via small arms and home made rockets that can do nothing near the damage caused by Israeli 1000 lb. bombs and missiles.

      • Fred Skolnik August 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

        This is a pretty nutty understanding of the friction between Arabs and Jews in Israel. That Israeli Arabs are “gaining stature” in an “apatheid” society is a contradiction in terms that should give even you pause. As someone who lives here, I can tell you that the rare physical attacks on Arabs by Jewish hooligans has very little to do with Arab doctors and engineers but is directed against Arabs of their own age and economic class whom they come into contact with in the street. As for right wing vandalism and abuse, that is ideologically and not economically grounded and while it may get headlines it is also very rare. Israel is a country of 8 million people with something like 500,000 police complaints handled every year and very few of them have to do with the friction between Jews and Arabs. Why, ray, do you quote what you can’t verify about a country you’ve never seen that speaks a language you don’t understand? If you answer that question for me, I’ll be happy to continue this dialogue with you. If you run away from it, I won’t.

        And once again, ray, we really don’t need you to tell us that 3,000 rockets fired at our civilian population is nothing to get excited about. You can play the hero with your own family. And the fact is that with all the bombs dropped, Hamas still kept firing their rockets, so obviously they weren’t enough. If you really care about civilian deaths you should be screaming and cursing on the al-Jazeera and other I Hate Israel websites about why Hamas is building, storing and firing rockets in residential neighborhoods and endangering its civilian population.

        Rabbi Youdovin gave you an opportunity to say something positive about what can be done by the Palestinians as well as the Jews to achieve peace and all you can think of doing is to feverishly search the Internet for something negative to say about Israel, and that is why I think you are a fake who cares very little about the Palestinians as victims but gets great pleasure out of vilifying Jews and Israel.

      • ray032 August 17, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

        Fred, why do you add things that are not there?

        The only quote in my comment is quoting Ira in English. As to the 927mag link, it is also in English but I have read other reports in The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz alluding to the same kind of incidents since Netanyahu incited for this war.

    • Kata Fisher August 17, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

      Dear Rabbi,

      It is best to secure Holy Land with Holy Land Landmarks, nations around have gypped Household of David, and Jews in Holy Land are entitled to all territory of Holy Land under Spiritual authority of Household of David and by the Spiritual authority of Old Testament that never expires for Jews and Non-Jews, and are entitled to that what nations around have gypped Household of David. Jews by the Old Testament cannot accept any other Landmarks /borders for themselves and God, except, Holy Land Landmarks.

      Spiritual excommunication has to be revoked for Jews in Holy Land and outside the Holy Land by the spiritual authority Old Testament spiritual authority.

      Hamas is entitled to Gaza territory that is not part of Holy Land and Egypt, and Palestinians are entitled to that part of Gaza and their state – if they want one in Holy Land as former Jordanians.

      Jordan is entitled to spiritual authority and security over their people in Holy Land, along with Egypt.

      Perhaps, it is an acceptable time to negotiate Holy Landmarks with Gaza. Hamas has to withdraw from Holy Land Territory with their Charter.

      Jews can be generous and allow for the state that Palestinians are requesting for themselves; however, they have to make clear as Jews that Jews have nothing to do with setting any Landmarks in Holy Land, except Holy Landmark itself. This is why: Jews as people under Spiritual Authority of Old Testament do not need to attain legal strongholds that are binding them against their Faith.

      This has nothing to do with nationalism and apartheid, as such that was seen in former Yugoslavia. It has to do with a solid fact that Jews under spiritual authority of Old Testament are threatened in their existence, unless, they as Faith minority establish security for themselves by the authority of Old Testament and pursuit of Landmarks of Holy Land by direct negotiations with nations that hold those Landmarks captive in direct enmity to descendants of King David. This is a Scriptural fact.

      Church Charismatic can look at anything; any given detail, and totally is neutral in the approach and will.
      I was moved to write this, and I cannot write anything further.

      • Stolen Land of Palestine August 18, 2014 at 5:09 am #

        {Jews can be generous and allow for the state that Palestinians are requesting for themselves; }

        This is Typital of the arrogant Christian ZIONIST murderers insulting Palestinians and the world by saying such a foolish statement. Palestinians are not ‘requesting” land zionist. This is THEIR LAND AND YOU ARE A COLONIST AND MURDER. They are trying to get their land back which is stolen by YOU zionists. Paletinians have been living in their land for 21 centuries continually. Hebrews, not the colonists from the turkic tribe around the black sea, AshkeNAZIS, have stolen their land by the help of christians zionists like you. We liberate Palestinian’s land and force you the colonists out of our region.

      • Kata Fisher August 19, 2014 at 7:38 am #

        “Stolen Land of Palestine” — you are irrational.

        Palestinian are former Jordanians who decided to play games in order to get rid of the Jews that were immigrating / ethnically separate the areas of Holy Land..

        You are irrational, at best with your claim. It has no substance. Nothing is “our’s” /”your’s”! All things are God’s and are in His Spiritual authority — you cannot make claims that you do — that is witchcraft what you are saying.

        You sound like a woman void of understanding…

        You write:

        “We liberate Palestinian’s land and force you the colonists out of our region.”

        It sounds as same as contemporarily US-racism that is anti-foreigner & contemporarily world-wide Nazism that wants to keep immigrants out (Jews are immigrants in this point in time).

        World-wide Nazism that wants to keep immigrants out and /or killed…and tripped and abused so to tear them up as well as their families to keep apart (Jews are immigrants in this point in time in Holy Land). Accept it.

        I do not like Nazi-spirit /witchcraft-spirit with vast levels of strength and verity of appearance …

        In this point in time, (21 centuries) Descendant of King David is only indigenous in Holy Land – all other lay people have the opportunity to coexists in peace and security- or enjoy the everlasting Sheol on earth as it is in hell. However, this is not only for Holy Land.

        I am ordained Church-Charismatic, and I cannot help you with your bewitchment – you believe a lie about my reason. Believing the lie keeps you in a doomed existence. I do not expect lay-people to understand me (as you are) because I am Church Charismatic and you are not. In addition to that — you are lay-person.

        You are best off to be sorry for your sins against Church Charismatic and God’s Spirit in it, and do penance. Then, you will be kind to any other person beside you own race/ tribe regardless if they are lost people or not.
        The time of 21 century: exists and be cheerful along with other’s when you are righteous and when you can.

        … accept other’s when you are righteous and when you can. You may not know who all you are accepting – or rejecting…

  21. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 17, 2014 at 1:46 pm #


    1. Several weeks ago, Prof. Falk alleged that Palestinian citizens of Israel were enduring the worst kind of second class citizenship. Now you submit an article by Ron Gerlitz, co-executive director (with Palestinian Israeli) Jabir Asaqla of Sikkuy, a joint Israeli-Palestinian NGO that fights for Palestinian rights, that challenges Prof. Falk’s allegation:

    “Despite systematic discrimination by the government and profound racism (which of course is nothing new), Arab society in Israel, in cooperation with various factors in Jewish society, including in several government ministries, has been able to effect a significant improvement in its socioeconomic status, to somewhat reduce the inequality, to challenge state institutions and to enjoy substantial and authentic political representation in the Knesset. As Arab society has become stronger in recent years, we have witnessed the first signs of its integration into the centers of power, economy and society in Israel.”

    One of these assessments has to be wrong. I’ll leave it to you to sort things out.

    Or perhaps this is another example of Prof. Falk distorting the truth in order to build an exaggerated case against Israel.

    As regards discrimination and racism in Israel, they assuredly do exist. But if you read past the initial allegation, you read about a steady improvement fostered by Israeli and Diaspora Jewish NGO’s and also Israeli government ministries and the judiciary. Progress is slower than one might hope. But that judgment must be tempered by the fact that while Palestinian Israelis are Israeli by citizenship, they are also members of the Palestinian People, some of whom commit acts of terrorism.

    Btw, when I said that technologically-challenged Palestinians would be a permanent underclass in a one-state solution (agreeing with Prof. Falk), I was thinking of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories and re-locating from refugee camps elsewhere in the region. Palestinians educated in Israel will more than hold their own, especially those who have earned degrees in Israel’s leading universities.

    2. Hamas, together with a few other groups like Islamic Jihad, fired approximately 3000 rockets and missiles into Israel during Operation Protective Edge. Prior to the war, it had amassed some 10,000 missiles. Estimates are that 3000 remain. Some are homemade Qassam rockets. Others are far more sophisticated weapons smuggled in from Iran and Syria.

    Please show me a dictionary or any other reference that would classify Gaza as de-militarized.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • ray032 August 17, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

      Rabbi, Palestinians living under the 47 year Israeli Military Dictatorship in occupied Palestine have no rights. Israeli-Palestinian Citizens in Israel have Democratic rights, if not full equality with Jews. That difference has always been recognized in discussions by most participants in this Blog.

      I also want to acknowledge you acknowledging Israel does have some faults in your lengthy comment of August 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm upstream, unlike Fred, who seems to think Israel is sinless, faultless and unblemished in it’s dealings with Palestinians.

      Btw, there has never been any personal animus on my part toward you, Fred and the oldguy in our differences of perception concerning the status quo in Israel-Palestine.

      • Fred Skolnik August 17, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

        Your personal animus is not the issue. The issue is your general animus. Anyone who uses classic antisemitic terms like “venality” and “worshiping the gods of gold” with reference to Jews is exposing himself for what he is.

      • ray032 August 18, 2014 at 3:59 am #

        Classic antisemitic terms like venality, and worshipping the gods of gold? Never heard of those terms applied to Jews exclusivity.

        You need to take a break, Fred!

      • Fred Skolnik August 18, 2014 at 4:15 am #

        But you are applying them to Jews, ray. That is what antisemitism is, the application of terms of opprobrium to Jews collectively. But why deny what you are? I’m sure you’re not ashamed of it. And what does venality and the worship of gold have to do with the fighting in Gaza? You just can’t resist sticking it to the Jews, can you? Maybe you’re so used to talking this way about Jews that you think it’s acceptable and perfectly normal. I understand where you’re coming from.

      • ray032 August 18, 2014 at 4:26 am #

        Fred, your mind is so fixed, rigid, defensive, seeing things that are nowhere except in your imagination, you could be on the verge of a breakdown.

        This is exactly what I wrote:

        The PEOPLE OF GOD are supposed to be better than that, not venial like others, filled with hate and worshipping the gods of gold, silver, brass, wood, iron, etc.

        Jews are NOT the only People of God!

      • Fred Skolnik August 18, 2014 at 4:33 am #

        But you are talking about the Jews, ray. That’s pretty much all you talk about. And what does venality and worshiping gold have to do with Gaza? You’re running away from the question. And as far as mental health is concerned, just remember that I’m not the one who got arrested for ranting and raving on streetcorners.

      • ray032 August 18, 2014 at 5:30 am #

        No Fred, I applied the words to the PEOPLE OF GOD. In your own Jewish History GOD told Abraham to look up and count the stars in the heavens if he could, and that many will be of the seed of Abraham. That’s so many more than just Jews in Israel and the Diaspora, Fred. They could be Christian, Muslim and even Atheist if they do the works God commands his people do.

        The record is clear. God knows there are many people who praise Him with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from God. God knows each and every one of them.

        Bty, congratulations on getting the Dartmouth Prize for your Jewish Encyclopedia, but your animus is showing just in the slant of this characterization: “just remember that I’m not the one who got arrested for ranting and raving on streetcorners”

        You must have some mild form of dyslexia since you read the public record wrong. The record clearly shows the Public gathered on the Sparks Street Mall in Ottawa listening to my speeches, were on my side, telling the Police to leave me alone to speak.

        February 27, 2011

  22. ray032 August 17, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Richard, I just read your interview with Counterpunch.

    Israel refused to cooperate with Judge Goldstone after Operation Cast Lead and says it will not cooperate with the UN investigation headed by Canadian international-law professor, William Schabas,

    • Fred Skolnik August 17, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

      Why should Israel cooperate with Schabas? The Schabas Commission, cooked up by the discredited black sheep of the UN, the Human Rights Council with its criminal membership, is naturally stacked against Israel. Schabas himself is a harsh critic who should have recused himself for past statements, including the opinion that Netanyahu should be tried for war crimes on the basis of the Godstone report, forgetting that Netanyahu was in the opposition at the time (Olmert was prime minister and Barak defense minister!). Furthermore, neither he nor the other two members of the Commission has a background in the laws of war, not that this matters since it is a kangaroo court. Schabas in fact thought that Goldstone should receive a Nobel Prize, until the latter caught on to how he had been led around by the nose by Hamas, as had been the case with many another visitor to Gaza. I imagine that Israel will provide documents but that will be the extent of its cooperation. But since Israel did in fact extensively document its operations against military targets and Hamas’s war crimes, supported by the accounts and documentation of intimidated reporters now slipping past Hamas to get out of Gaza with their incriminating evidence, this would normally be enough to exonerate Israel but of course it will not.

    • Fred Skolnik August 18, 2014 at 3:44 am #

      I too have now read this disgraceful interview, and with Prof, Falk’s indulgence, in the name of fairness, I will reply (in square brackets) to just three of the questions he was asked, including his shameless answers.

      KK: Has the aerial bombardment campaign adopted by Israel done anything to decrease the rocket fire coming from Gaza?

      RF: There’s no evidence that it has. It certainly has caused some damage and some deaths to those involved in either making and deploying and firing the rockets. But there’s no discernable effect in stopping Hamas’ and other militias’—its not only Hamas, there are other militias, some of which Hamas doesn’t control—that have engaged in this kind of rocket fire. The only alternative to using these rockets for defenseless people like those living in Gaza is to absolutely do nothing—to be completely passive. They have no military capability to resist Israel on the ground or in the air or from the sea. So it’s a very one-sided war; and one-sided wars are, in my view, by their very nature, unlawful and constitute crimes against humanity.

      [FS: RF is saying that it is legitimate to attack a civilian population with the express intent of killing innocent people if you have no other means to defend yourself. This, from a professor of law, is simply insane. Leaving aside the justification for murder that he is providing to terrorist groups, he is forgetting that if the Palestinians (meaning Hamas) “did nothing,” no one would attack them and they wouldn’t have to defend themselves. His assertion that one-sided wars are unlawful and a crime against humanity simply means that any country that wins a war decisively is committing a crime against humanity, such as the Allies in their final campaigns against the Germans. It is also worth noting that if Israel’s bombardments did not decrease Hamas’s rocket fire, then they certainly did not constitute a disproportione use of force but rather an inadequate use of force.]

      KK: Could you talk about the legality of the siege of Gaza?

      RF: The siege of Gaza is clearly a form of collective punishment that is prohibited by Article 33 of the 4th Geneva Convention that unconditionally prohibits any recourse to collective punishment. A blockade that has been maintained since the middle of 2007 is directed at the entire civilian population of Gaza. It includes many items that are needed for health, subsistence, and minimum requirements of a decent life. So in my view, Israel as the occupying power under international law of Gaza, is supposed to protect the civilian population rather than to subject it to a punitive blockade of the sort that’s been existing these past 7 years.

      [FS: The siege of Gaza is not a form of collective punishment. If it were, all blockades would be defined that way. It is an embargo against war materials. I have pointed out that Hamas typically exploits only 25-50% of the tonnage capacity at the Israeli crossings for civilian supplies and I have indicated why. I have also pointed out that shipments can dock at Ashdod but not surprisingly none of the humanitarian organizations has thought to do so. Israel, for example, allows the passage of all medicines and medical equipment purchased by the Palestinian Authority. There are no Israeli restrictions on the amount or type of medications transferred to Gaza. There is a lack of medicine, but it is not due to Israeli restrictions. The reason for this is the inadequate health care budget of the Palestinian Authority.]

      KK: Under the Arms Control Act of 1976, governments that receive weapons from the US are required to use them for legitimate self-defense. Does the US’ arms aid to Israel violate that law?

      RF: Yes, definitely. From everything I’ve been saying, there’s no legal, political or moral argument that would uphold the claim that Israel is acting in legitimate self-defense. There’s been no armed attack by Hamas or Gaza; in any event, Gaza from an international law point of view, is not a foreign state but an occupied territory. It’s not clear that you can exercise self-defense in relation to a territory that you are responsible for administer in accordance with international humanitarian law.

      [FS: This is black comedy right out of “Catch-22.” It is not legitimate to defend yourself (legally, politically or morally) if you are attacked from an occupied territory by a group, army or organization that is not a foreign state. And in any case “there has been no armed attack by Hamas or Gaza.” Prof. Falk has clearly been on vacation on the moon for the past month and missed out on the spectacle of 3,000 rockets fired at Israeli population centers.]

      • Gene Schulman August 18, 2014 at 5:34 am #

        Those who take exception to Prof. Falk’s interview might wish to read the following, in which the author rather confirms all of the Professor’s points, plus!

      • Fred Skolnik August 18, 2014 at 5:40 am #

        Jeff Halper confirms? Why not Gene Schulman confirms? Why not Gideon Levi confirms? Why not Norman Finkelstein confirms?

      • Gene Schulman August 18, 2014 at 6:02 am #

        They all do! And many, many more names could be added to this confirmation list. Fred seems to belong to a dwindling minority and, except for Ira, will soon find himself alone in defending Israel’s war crimes. But of course that’s his job. He can’t really believe what he says. He seems to get all his talking points directly out of Robert Wistrich’s “A Lethal Obsession.” A tome of over 1,000 pages of pure hasbara. Alas, enough to keep him going for a long time.

      • Fred Skolnik August 18, 2014 at 6:16 am #

        They of course all don’t. How could they? And how could you when you know as much about the Middle East as you know about China. You don’t seem to realize that you belong to a lunatic fringe of Israel haters. You jump around the Internet from one I Hate Israel site to another and you think that’s all there is. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people in the world who understand what Hamas is, even if you don’t. If you really think the numbers are with you, and that’s the argument, take a look at the polls, even after the horror pictures that have been running all month.

  23. ray032 August 17, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    IF anyone is interested, I made this comment in The Jerusalem Post Today;

    I was thrilled to see PM Netanyahu on Canadian TV news reporting on his speech addressing an arena of Jews in Toronto in May 2010. I may be paraphrasing, but as I heard the news clip, he said, “May the Truth reign Supreme” Even though I was alone, with the physical gesture, I gave my personal, two “thumbs up!”

    In revisiting his speech just now (the video can be found easily in a Google search), it was interesting to hear him say Israel’s Dept. of Antiquities loaned him a signet ring and seal that he claims is older than Jerusalem. It bears the name ‘Netanyahu’ on it, which he shows to Presidents, Prime Ministers and other Potentates visiting him. I’m sure they’re impressed! Could that ring/seal possibly give him a Messiah Complex in his own mind?

    Whatever he was dreaming or imagining in the adulation of the crowd, the next morning, he woke up to the nightmare of the Mavi Mamara, and had to cut short his visit to CanaDa to return to Israel.

    I start my Day reading this Jerusalem Post believing Armageddon starts with the ongoing Israel-Palestinian war. I want to know what’s developing Day by Day.

    I distinctly recall the early reports on the Mavi Marmara in this Jerusalem Post. Initially, Israel claimed the only guns fired were paint-ball guns, which is a strange claim in itself.

    Then I read the JP quoting a Commando who was repelling down the ropes say they were firing warning shots, and dropping stun grenades onto the deck of the ship in this sudden attack in the middle of the night.

    The JP report also said 1 Commando all by himself shot 6 of the 9 dead, and then the paint-ball guns made sense. Someone else repelling down the ropes identified those marked for death with the paint ball, and the other Commando was the executioner. You can be sure Mossad had the list of everyone boarding the Mavi Mamara before it set sail.

    I regret now, I didn’t copy and paste the report at the time instead of saving just the link since it disappeared a few days later. That’s what I admire about the press that still has some Freedom in Israel, more so than in most Countries as far as I can see, including Canada’s.

    Getting to the point, the Official Israeli internal investigation into the Mavi Mamara incident, the Turkel Commission, was a whitewash in my opinion.

    Only General Staff Officers were questioned. None of the Commandos who actually took part in the raid were questioned to get at the Real Truth.

    It’s like the security camera was not working the day the Palestinian Jordanian Judge was killed by Israeli force trying to re-visit his family in the West Bank after many years.

    I expect more of the same with these investigations, unfortunately, unless the Israeli Free Press lets the Truth be known.

  24. rehmat1 August 17, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    On August 8, over 100,000 South African Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists and Jews marched in support of Palestinian resistance to parliament in Cape Town. It was the largest ever rally since the release of Nelson Mandela after severing 28 years in jail as “terrorist” on February 11, 1990.

    Bishop Desmond Tutu who fought against South African apartheid regime for years, addressed the rally. He asked the crowd to chant: “We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. We are opposed to the indignity meted out to Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks. We are opposed to violence perpetrated by all parties. But we are not opposed to Jews.”

    The very next day, Cape Town organized Jewry held a pro-Israel rally under tight police security, which attracted not more than 3,000 people. The rally was organized by the South African Jewish Board of deputies and S.A Zionist Federation, two very powerful pro-Israel lobby groups under the White Apartheid rule. Every time Israel attacks its neighboring countries, these two group create a Jewish “siege mentally” by propagating lies about S.A. leaders who dare to criticize the Zionist regime.

    Wendy Kahn, the national director of the S.A. Jewish Board of Deputies, whined that country’s Jewish community is under threat as result of the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict, for which she accused Hamas. She claimed the heightened security during the rally was “due to global threats against Jewish people, which have resulted in physical assaults against Jews in Belgium, France, UK and Australia. Incidentally all these countries are ruled by pro-Israel governments which makes very easy to create “anti-Semitic” hoaxes.

    The Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) reported on August 15, 2014 that the S.A. Jewish Board of Deputies has threatened to sue Tony Ehrenreich, provincial secretary of trade union umbrella body COSTUU for posting a quote from his Bible on his Facebook page.

    “The time has come say very clearly that if a woman or child is killed in Gaza, then the Jewish Board of Deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of people of S.A. with the old age biblical teaching of an “eye for an eye”. The time has come for the conflict to be waged everywhere the Zionist supporters fund and condone the killing machine of Israel,” Ehrenreich wrote.

    On August 14, Tony Ehrenreich refused to fall on his knees as David Cameron does in front of UK Jewish Board of Deputies. In a statement he said that he will stand by his “eye for an eye” comment, which is a biblical commandment and has nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

    Earlier this week, Bishop Tutu called for the suspension of Israel from the International Union of Architects, which was meeting in South Africa. He called upon the Israeli delegate attending the meeting to take this message home: “Liberation of Palestine will liberate Israel, too.”

    Professor Steven Friedman (University of Johannesburg) , on the other hand, laughed off Jews as paranoid, which he said is “absolutely central to the community”. Listen to his speech below.

    “The ways in which the Israeli government ensures support around the world is to create an atmosphere of fear. Jews over centuries were persecuted in many European countries. It has become a part of Jewish memory,” said Friedman.

    Let us not forget, Jews are not the only paranoid people in South Africa. The “Israeli allies” in the past, the supremacist White Africans community is also in the same boat. Read a satire posted by Ray Charlston at Diversity Chronicle on August 12, 2014.

  25. rehmat1 August 18, 2014 at 5:47 am #

    A must read article by one of Dr. Falk’s friends, USCB professor William Robinson, published on August 17, 2014.

  26. ray032 August 18, 2014 at 6:14 am #

    During the Israeli Operation Brother’s Keeper, in some other article on this Blog, I mentioned the bad sign it was to see Jews and Arabs caught up in a mob mentality, roaming the streets of Jerusalem, shouting Death to each other!

    This latest article in +927 Magazine confirms that mob mentality is spreading among the 2 generations of Palestinians who have had enough of the 47 year Israeli Military Dictatorship controlling their lives, abusing and marginalizing them.

    ‘The West Bank may be on the verge of exploding’

    Armed men roam the streets, enlisting people to the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, Fatah officials call for the end to security coordination with Israel and Mahmoud Abbas is seen as the enemy of the people. Is the explosion closer than we think?
    By Gershon Baskin

    Have we passed the point of no return?

  27. Fred Skolnik August 18, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    This has been an overlong exchange, Prof. Falk, and you have responded to my comments, if at all, by complaining that I am dogmatic and unyielding in my defense of Israel without perhaps realizing that you are just as dogmatic and unyielding in your attacks on Israel. Well, Prof. Falk, I would like to put a cap on it by saying that I will believe in your good faith if you tell me that you would allow someone, say in the middle of nowhere, who is hiding behind his children and who shoots very wildly, to take potshots at your children without firing back in order to disable him at the risk of hitting one of his children. This is a moral dilemma and I would like to know how you would act. You can ignore the question if you prefer not to think about these things or you can give me an honest answer.

    • Richard Falk August 18, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

      Mr. Skolnik:

      With all due respect, your hypothetical illustrates the problematics of dialogue between us. You forget to include in your hypothetical that the
      person is shooting because repeatedly shot at by those with a vast array of lethal weapons to choose from, administering unrelenting terror that has
      traumatized the children, and lacks an alternative means to defend and protect. This does not justify using ‘human shields,’ but without the context the ethical landscape
      is tilted unacceptably. Looking at the realities associated with the issues: Israel is also accused, the evidence against Hamas’ use is not very
      convincing. My ‘honest answer’ is that of course I would condemn the hypothetical as an abstract reality, but if used to pin blame on Hamas or exonerate
      the conduct of Israel in Gaza I would reject such implications for the reasons I explain.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 18, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

        Prof. Falk,

        Fred Skolnik has already posted a cogent critique of your assertion that “one-sided wars are…by their very nature, unlawful and constitute crimes against humanity.” This is a radical, and to my mind, dangerous departure from long-established just war theory which upholds a nation’s right to self-defense, even if the attacking party is of inferior strength and/or expertise and thus suffers a one-sided defeat.

        Moreover, there is reason to challenge your view that Gaza is a one-sided war. Insofar as I can tell, your judgment is based solely on the asymmetry of lives lost and damaged suffered. Admittedly, this is the way that most people see it. However, in recent years, scholars working to keep the list of criteria for defining jus in bello apace with changes in modern warfare have come to realize that the old criteria, such as the ones you use, do not address the proliferating number of conflicts, waged by militias and other terrorist groups, whose immediate objective is something other than overrunning or destroying an enemy, which is usually an established state with a standing army. Therefore, no judgment can be made as to whether the Gaza war is one-sided without consideration of Hamas’ objectives.

        Certainly, Hamas could not have hoped to defeat Israel’s larger and better equipped army in battle. Instead, their strategists followed what has become standard operating procedure for terrorist groups: random attacks designed to disrupt individual and communal life, thus undermining their enemy’s self-confidence, making him more malleable and willing to accede to their demands until ultimately, his societal fabric unravels.

        Hamas fired an estimated 3000 rockets and missiles during the war, virtually all of them at civilian venues. Past experience with the locally made Qassams indicated that they would do little or no damage, and the immediate success of the Iron Dome demonstrated that few if any of the more sophisticated imports would reach their targets. But these failures were irrelevant to Hamas’ leaders. Every launched rocket set off sirens in Israel, forcing Israelis to interrupt the normal routine of their lives and rush to shelters where they nervously awaited the all clear signal. In this regard, it’s important to note that despite their limited range and accuracy, the Qassams were not fired as kind of a fireworks display to make the Hamas rank and file feel proud that they were doing something. Their targets were small towns in southern Israel that are not protected by the Iron Dome. Several years of more-or-less constant shelling have traumatized people living in the town of Sederot and nearby kibbutzim.

        A second objective was scoring points in the on-going propaganda war by trapping Israel in a position where it would inevitably be perceived as a ruthless aggressor. This entailed positioning their guns and rocket launchers in residential venues, including schools and hospitals, so as to insure a large number of civilian casualties when Israel returned fire.

        Trying to Identify who started the war is a futile endeavor. Two-way rocket fire and ground skirmishes make every response also a provocation, and vice versa. It all depends on where along the timeline one sticks the pin, which usually depends on which side one favors. It’s clear, however, that Hamas wanted this war, or at least couldn’t resist the temptation of the advantages it offered. Early on, before the period of rapid escalation, Hamas rejected Netanyahu’s offer of “quiet for quiet”, and then repeatedly rejected or violated ceasefires, including ones it had called for. And they got the kind of war they wanted, which is why they continued to fire rockets long after they had proven to be ineffectual. What they wanted were images of Gazan death and destruction to be shown on television and in newspapers throughout the world.

        Can a war be called one-sided when the apparent victim is achieving all of his objectives? It’s a question worth pondering.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Gene Schulman August 19, 2014 at 2:14 am #

        While you’re pondering that question, Ira, please don’t insult the intelligence of the rest of us.

      • Fred Skolnik August 18, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

        But I am not talking about Gaza. I am talking about a situation where all things are equal. That is the best place to start when you consider moral issues, You can add the qualifications in the next stage, I realize that you think I am trying to set a trap for you but I really am curious about how you would respond in such a situation at this basic level and certainly do not intend to say, “You see!” or respond in any other way. Not a word from me.

      • Fred Skolnik August 19, 2014 at 2:33 am #

        Gene, you are pretty much like those two old men on the Muppet Show with a witless aside for everything. Despite making a fool of yourself every time you open your mouth, you keep coming back for more, and that might be admirable in some scrappy little ballplayer who doesn’t have what it takes to make the Majors, but it is a little pathetic in someone who can’t write ot think but wants to have his say. Maybe that’s why you do all that “referencing.” But you can’t hide behind other people forever.

      • Gene Schulman August 19, 2014 at 2:50 am #

        Fred, just what is it about me that seems to get your goat? Perhaps the truth of what I say, aphoristic as it is?

        As I told Ira, I am a busy man and don’t have time to waste writing long rebuttals to your “scholarly” essays. Happy to let the Muppets do that for me, since they seem to be the level of your intellect.

      • Gene Schulman August 19, 2014 at 3:01 am #

        Now you’re flailing out with insults again, Fred. Apparently you have nothing of substance to say, so I’ll just ignore you from here on. Don’t bother riposting.

      • Fred Skolnik August 19, 2014 at 2:54 am #

        Yes, you certainly give the impression of being a busy man. I guess the “dwindling minority” bit didn’t work out for you. Time to move on to Plan B. Do you have a Plan B? People like you should always have one because your Plan A usually explodes in your face. I’ll even try to help you out. You can call us the brainwashed majority. But where is your brain, Gene? You haven’t shown us very much of it. You’ve only threatened us with it. Could it be that there’s nothing there?

  28. Down with ICC, the brothel house August 18, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    The United States and some other Western countries are reportedly exerting significant pressure on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prevent an investigation into Israel’s war crimes in the besieged Gaza Strip.

    According to The Guardian on Monday, Palestinians had demanded that the court in The Hague examine Israel’s war crimes based on a Palestinian request in 2009. However, The Guardian reported that due to US pressure, the ICC is divided on whether it should launch an investigation.

  29. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 19, 2014 at 8:37 am #


    Why do you bother with Gene the Insult Machine? He wants attention and he wants to wriggle under your skin. Why feed his appetite?

    Should he post something germane to the topic under discussion, you might consider responding as a means for continuing the conversation. But so long as his métier is flatulent self indulgence, we trolls who are the targets of his vitriol should remember that the best way to handle a toothless bully is to ignore him.



    • Gene Schulman August 19, 2014 at 9:04 am #

      Nice to see you admit you are trolls. Here only to spread your hasbara and discredit everything anyone else has to say.

      You bet you’re the targets of my vitriol, and will continue to be so long as you keep spreading your lies and insults at people who do have a real interest in the subjects posted on this blog, and benefiting from the wisdom and experience of Professor Falk.

    • Fred Skolnik August 19, 2014 at 9:22 am #

      You are of course right, Ira. There is nothing there but the hatred. He makes ray and rehmet look like intellectual giants.

    • Gene Schulman August 19, 2014 at 9:23 am #

      Thought you and Fred might wish to see a rather different opinion from your troll work. Apologies to Fred for “referencing” again:

  30. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 19, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    Earlier today, several hours before the cease fire was scheduled to expire, rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, thus renewing the violence. Although negotiations had already collapsed, Israel had declared unequivocally that it would not fire the first shot, and was willing to hold its fire indefinitely to maintain an environment in which back-channel talks might lead to a resumption of formal negotiations.

    The cease fire proposal had been prepared by Egypt, presumably in conjunction with the Arab League. It was accepted by Israel and also by Fatah and the PLO, both of whom sent leaders to Cairo to urge Hamas to drop its opposition. Essentially, the plan called for easing the blockade in exchange de-militarizing Gaza. At day’s end, Hamas elected to hold onto its guns and missiles while the people of Gaza continue to suffer under a blockade, Israel was willing to ease. Worse, by resuming its attack on Israeli civilians, leaving Israel no alternative to returning fire in self defense, Hamas renewed the lethal scenario of Gazan civilians dying as innocent victims,

    The incontrovertible facts are that Hamas, which purports to be the victim of Israeli war crimes, rejected a cease fire while Israel, the alleged criminal, agreed to accept a cease fire and ease the blockade. This reality will no doubt be distorted in the days and weeks ahead, as Hamas spin doctors and their accomplice apologists outside the region go about the cynical business of revising history.

    The reason for linking de-militarization with easing the blockade is apparent to anyone willing to take an honest look at the situation. Open gates would enable Hamas to bring in weapons which, in the absence of de-militarization, would be used against Israel. Anyone denying or even questioning this assessment has conveniently forgotten that Hamas dug some forty sophisticated tunnels through which it planned to attack Israeli towns and kibbutzim. No sane government of Israel or anywhere else would agree to putting its citizens in this kind of peril.

    Why did Hamas reject a cease fire? Two explanations (among many) seem most plausible. One is that Hamas needs to maintain a posture of bellicosity toward Israel in its internal power struggle with Fatah. Prior to the war, Hamas was so weak that it agreed to reunification with Fatah under terms dictated by Fatah. The war strengthened Hamas’ position on the Arab Street to the point where it is resuming violence over the objections of Fatah and the PLO, operating as kind of a renegade militia.

    The second, which I noted in an earlier post, is that images of Gazan death and destruction appearing on television screens and in newspapers throughout the world fuel anti-Israel sentiment.

    This is a sad day for those who hope and pray for a speedy end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a happy one for those who condemn Fatah as collaborationists, and champion Hamas as it resumes its bellicosity.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

  31. Fred Skolnik August 19, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    Dear Ira

    I was actually just awakened by sirens in Jerusalem and came downstairs to find out what was going on, so I read your very sensible comment above and now expect an “interpretation” of events to be produced by Prof. Falk, either as a reply to you or, if the rocket fire continues over the next day or two, as a new post rationalizing Hamas’s new series of war crimes and what it is again subjecting the Gaza population to. The basic problem could have been solved in five minutes flat: no rockets, no siege; demilitarization = open borders. But then the existence of Hamas as a militant organization terrorizing the Gaza population as well as Israel would have no raison d’être. No sane person would think to justify what they are now doing.

    • Gene Schulman August 19, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

      I’ll wait until tomorrow (Wed, Aug 20) to get the facts about who broke the cease-fire rather than rely on Fred and Ira’s version. According to Gilad Atzmon in his latest post on his web site, it was Israel who broke it in order to avoid the threat of having to answer to the Hague court.

      Of course that paragon of honest reporting, the NYT, claims it was Hamas.

      • Richard Falk August 20, 2014 at 2:02 am #

        I completely agree, Gene. There is more to determine than who fired first, and whether
        it was Hamas or a dissident militia. After such devastation, a negotiated ceasefire is
        not to be reduced to ending the violence, especially when Israeli participants refuse to
        meet face to face with their Palestinian counterparts, a game Israel has played ever since

      • Gene Schulman August 20, 2014 at 2:14 am #

        Yes. And it’s interesting that there have been no further reports so far in the MSM, as of 11:00 am Geneva time, other than the talks have failed again and bombing has resumed.

      • Gene Schulman August 20, 2014 at 6:51 am #

        This is more likely the reason for the failure of the talks: Israeli intransigence about lifting the siege. Now, back to square one.

      • ray032 August 20, 2014 at 8:11 am #

        Israel provoked Hamas into firing rockets in 2008, 2012 and with this latest murderous bombardment of Civilians in the Israeli controlled Gaza ghetto. Every time it was over the blockade.

        Israel was quick to accept the July 15 Egyptian truce terms that were the same as the terms that ended the 2012 escalation.

        This included vague Israeli promises of relief from the blockade preventing Gaza from having any kind of economic system providing for the lives of it’s Citizens.

        Israel did nothing then, and since Israel once again, precipitated this war with Hamas, it would have been foolish for Hamas to accept the same ceasefire terms without “concrete” (no pun intended) commitments to lifting the blockade. The People of Gaza have nothing left to lose.

        “Wars are not always begun by shots. They are often begun by action and the action which really created the state of war in an acute sense was the imposition of the blockade. To try to murder somebody by strangulation is just as much attempted murder as if you tried to murder him by a shot, and therefore the act of strangulation was the first violent, physical act which had its part in the sequence.”
        Abba Eban, Israeli Foreign Minister, June 14, 1967

        Palestinians are people too, just like Jews, and this crushing economic warfarew Israel has continued for the last 7 years against Gaza, is the reason new fighters, not under the control of Hamas, are springing up and launching rockets into Israel.

      • Gene Schulman August 20, 2014 at 8:33 am #

        Right on, Ray.

      • ray032 August 20, 2014 at 11:19 am #

        Watching over the years, I’ve seen so many IDF released videos showing the Israeli capability of pinpoint assassination of Hamas Leaders, where only the motorcycle or car they were in was blown up.

        Just before the last Israeli murderous bombardment of the Israeli controlled Gaza ghetto in Operation Pillar of Defence in 2012, there were intense negotiations, using a back channel, with Ahmed Jabari, then Head of the Hamas Military Wing, to negotiate a long term Truce between Hamas and Israel. The talks looked like they might be successful, when Israel assaniated Ahmed Jabari, the Hamas military leader before this one.

        It was only after this Israeli assassination, did Hamas begin to fire rockets into Israel again. Israel was successful in convincing the world it was Hamas that started it as it has done so often in the past, even though it was Israel that broke the truce in 2012 and 2008.

        Here is the IDF video showing the killing of the Hamas Military leader! So precise a hit!

        IDF Pinpoint Strike on Ahmed Jabari, Head of Hamas Military Wing

        Israeli 1000 lb. bombs are designed to kill all the civilians in the area, not just to take out a pick up truck firing a rocket despite all Israeli denials they target Civilians. We can see the proof with our own eyes.

  32. Iakovos Alhadeff October 13, 2014 at 3:00 am #

    The Israel-Lebanon War of 2006 and the Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline

    The Israel-Jordan-Egypt Natural Gas Agreement and the Gaza War of 2014

    Why Saudi Arabia Blamed Hamas While Qatar Blamed Israel in the 2014 Gaza War


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