Dreaming of the Next UN Secretary General

6 May



“I solemnly swear to exercise in all loyalty, discretion and conscience the functions entrusted to me as Secretary-General of the United Nations, to discharge these functions and regulate my conduct with the interests of the United Nations only in view, and not to seek or accept instructions in regard to the performance of my duties from any Government or other authority external to the Organisation.”

United Nations Secretary General’s Oath of Office


In 2006 Ramesh Thakur, one of the most perceptive and knowledgeable commentators on global issues, wrote a trustworthy account of what it takes to be selected as UN Secretary General, and then to be effective in the job. [Thakur, “In Selecting the New UN Secretary General,” Feb. 3, 2006, Daily Yomiuri] In many ways his assessment, although realistic, confirms the impression that the leadership potential of this titular position as head of the UN is structurally limited and inconsistent with the spirit of the oath of office. The reason for these low expectations, as Thakur points out, is that the “most important” requirement of the job is to be regarded when selected as acceptable to the five permanent members of the Security Council (the so-called P-5), and especially to the United States.


It is a tribute to the potential of the position of SG that the P-5 governments are exceedingly careful in vetting potential candidates, and have not yet ever been deeply disappointed by selecting a rogue SG, although once in office an individual may in some instances become somewhat more responsive to the oath of office than to the secondary wishes of his or her geopolitical masters. Such unresponsiveness, especially as it involved the United States, helps explain why Boutros Boutros-Ghali failed to obtain support for a customary second term in office back in 1996.


In practice, the selection process is ultra sensitive to this overriding need for a Secretary General to be someone that will be respectful of the geopolitical winds that blow at a given time in world politics regardless of the spirit and letter of the UN Charter. Appreciating this pattern makes it misleading to read the Charter as if it is intended to provide an authoritative framing designed to regulate the behavior of its 193 member states. It should be accepted for better and worse what it is, a constitutional framework of the UN that privileged the winners of World War II, and at the time of its founding opted for a state-centric international body that subordinated international law and the equality of sovereign states to the inequalities associated with international hierarchies of hard and soft power. In effect, the Charter itself embodies this tension between its geopolitical operating logic, as reinforced by the lack of independent funding, and the idealistic mandate of its Preamble, Purposes, and Principles. In effect, the tension can be understood as between the affirmation of juridical equality and the constitutional loophole ensuring geopolitical inequality. The UN was intended from the outset to be an Organization that enforced standards of accountability on the multiplicity of states to the best of its ability while deferring to the discretion of those deemed in 1945 to be most powerful, a status formalized by the vesting of this unrestricted right of veto in the P-5 bolstered by permanent membership in the Security Council.


The Charter is astonishingly silent about the qualifications that should guide the selection of a secretary general, but it is clear on the procedure: a recommendation must be made by the Security Council to the General Assembly for its approval. This means that the any one of the P-5 can use their veto to block a candidate. In this context, the veto has not been necessary as the P-5 have managed, even throughout the entire Cold War, to reach agreement on an acceptable candidate for SG by reliance on this method of secret backroom negotiations, which undoubtedly included much wrangling. The first eight secretaries general emerged from these dark shadows of great power bargaining, but this process gave rise to an increasing cascade of complaints from non-P-5 governments and from interested civil society organizations. These players objected to the secrecy and non-transparency of the way in which the SG was chosen.


In an accommodating response, the next secretary general is to be selected by a more seemingly democratic procedure: government nominations of multiple candidates, vision statements by the candidates, and give and take dialogues with civil society representatives. [For a helpful overview of the reformed selection process see Arabella Lang, “Selecting a New Secretary General,” UK House of Commons Library, Briefing Paper No. 7544, 3 March 2015] But we should not be misled. The decisive influence in the selection process remains the Security Council, and there the preferred candidate must still win the unanimous approval of the P-5. In the past, this has produced a race to the bottom, essentially a candidate that is not objectionable to any of these governments. As a result past SGs, with a few notable exceptions, have been ‘company men’ who have been careful not to use leverage of the position to shift the balance of world opinion on a geopolitically sensitive issues. What emerges over the year is that the SG is not expected to manifest a globalist orientation or engage in strong advocacy insisting on the universality of international law.


At the same time, the nature of the office requires that the occupant be held in reasonably high regard throughout the world and have a background of credible leadership such as to ensure confidence that the administrative and ceremonial demands of the position will be competently discharged. In other words, for the sake of the UN bureaucracy and for the morale of civil society, it has been accepted that a SG should be able to run the organization and grace ceremonial occasions with uplifting rhetoric. These secondary, but still crucial concerns, may explain why several secretaries generals have proved to be more than geopolitical placeholders, most notably Dag Hammarskjöld (1953-1961), U Thant (1961-1971), Boutros Boutros-Ghali (1992-1996), and Kofi Annan (1997-2006). Surely, some SGs have been better than others at upholding the dignity and appearance of political independence attached to the position. Kurt Waldheim and Ban Ki-moon have been embarrassments to the Organization because of their failures to project the kind of public leadership that lifts spirits without damaging structures.


Against this background, even with the welcome reforms of greater public vetting, transparency, and multiple candidacies, the end result is still likely to be the selection of someone who, above all else, can be expected not to rock the geopolitical boat. Symbolically these reforms seem a step in the right direction, especially if a woman is finally chosen, although the seeming adherence to the principle of regional rotation, which means that the chosen one seems destined to be an East European. This does not augur well for the Organization given the available pool of candidates from that region. If indeed it is to be a woman, then let it be Helen Clark of New Zealand (who has been nominated by her government) or Angela Merkel of Germany or Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile (these latter two seem qualified but are unlikely to be nominated, much less selected), each a proven and principled political leader, as well as being highly experienced in managing organizations. Yet even, as seems unlikely, Clark, Merkel, or Bachelet were to be selected, the best we can hope for is a performance that is graceful and competent but that would be less than what the world needs and what the peoples of the planet deserve. The geopolitical obstacles remain firmly in place and too strong, and even if somehow circumvented, a SG who transcended the demands of geopolitics would likely run the UN into the ground in short order.


Such a pronouncement is sad. There is a severe leadership deficit at the global level, and it centers on the absence of mechanisms to uphold the human interest, as distinct from national and geopolitical interests. This is why I must comfort myself by dreaming of rather than hoping that the selection of the next secretary general is a person, ideally a woman, that would think and act globally as representative of the species, and not to uphold the ways and means of the established order. We have witnessed for decades the sorry spectacle of the failure of the UN to tackle the challenges posed by the development of nuclear weaponry or by the dangers associated with global warming. Instead of serving the human interest by achieving nuclear disarmament, the world has ended up with the protection of hierarchical arrangements as embodied in the regime of nuclear nonproliferation, which allows for the development, possession, and possible use of these weapons by the most dangerous countries in the world while enforcing double standards by precluding the acquisition of these weapons by weaker states even when threatened with an overwhelming attack by stronger neighbors.


With climate change, the search for a solution involved broadening the diplomatic format to include all 193 member states, but with an end result that what was agreed upon was essentially an aggregation of national interests as well as voluntary, with what was agreed upon falling far below what the scientific consensus has determined to be necessary for the health and wellbeing of future generations.


In more flagrant disregard of the Charter itself, and signifying Western as well as P-5 hegemony, has been the reluctance of the Organization or its principal officer ever to challenge the United States and its friends when in the face of flagrant disregard of the UN Charter provisions limiting the use of force to instances of self-defense against a prior armed attack (e.g. Vietnam, after 1965, Iraq, after 2003).


What the world urgently needs at the UN is an unshackled guardian of the global public good who articulates human interests as these arose in international life, and had the institutional capabilities to take effective action. At present, we depend on a religious leader such as Pope Francis to fill this normative vacuum, and occasionally political figures such as Gandhi, Franklin Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King rise above their national identities to represent the human interest, but such figures lack any institutional capacity to carry their words into deeds. At present, we can only dream that such a figure would be selected as the next secretary general, but we should be aware that dreams often disclose deep aspirations and can offer necessary guidance, and thus should not be ignored.


The carnage around the world, as well as the massive migrations of desperate persons, underscores the growing need for a strong United Nations led by a person who above all is dedicated to the promotion of global and human interests, and has the will and mandate to disregard geopolitical pressures. Of course, this now a private pipedream that is politically irrelevant unless it becomes embodied in a global movement for peace, justice, ecological stewardship, and the survival of the species. We have experienced the integrative wonders of neoliberal globalization, with their attendant ravaging of human wellbeing and our natural surroundings. We have also seen the dawn of moral globalization in the rise of international human rights and the call for a global rule of law, but as yet there is not visible on the horizon an organized political undertaking capable of bringing into history these faint gropings toward humane governance of planetary proportions. We still sit around expecting the next SG to continue arranging the deck chairs on a sinking vessel. I feel we are entitled to hope that the ninth UN SG will have the awareness and courage to upset these settled expectations of business as usual.











94 Responses to “Dreaming of the Next UN Secretary General”

  1. rehmat1 May 6, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    Dr. Falk, the said UN oath is as much fraud as the oath of the US President. With the exception of Dag Hammarskjöld all past UN secretary-generals have American poodles. They were picked-up by the former colonial powers to serve their future imperialism and destruction of all foreign regimes. Dag Hammarskjöld paid for his life for following his oath of office in 1961.

    I’m surprised you think that Clark, Merkel, or Bachelet have no chance to succeed USrael handler Ban Ki-moon. Both Merkel and Bachelet have long proved to be ‘kosher’ in the eyes of the Organized Jewry – but a great majority of NAM members have no respect for either of them. Helen Clark has long been declared ‘antisemite’ by the UN Watch for blasting Israel in 2004 for stealing New Zealand passports.

    Like Gilad Atzmon, I wish Iranian government had proposed Dr. Ahmadinejad’s name for the position – just kidding!!


    • Gene Schulman May 7, 2016 at 2:32 am #

      @ rehmat1,

      You needn’t have opened a new can of worms. Prof. Falk wrote an interesting assessment of the subject of choosing a new SG of the U.N. without a word about Zionism or Israel. Your post opened the door for all the hasbarists to return with their usual attacks. I’m sick of hearing from them, and after this, you!

      Carry on Richard. There is more to your thoughts than all the Zionist rhetoric this has turned into.

      Greetings from Djerba, Tunisia, where we find a thriving Jewish community living among the Arab indigenous peoples of this peaceful island.

      • rehmat1 May 8, 2016 at 4:42 am #

        Gene Schulman

        Who would know better than Dr. Falk what happens when someone tell the truth about Israel or Zionism. Ken Livingstone and MP Naz found that recently. And G-d knows how many other UK’s Labour party members would be forced to kicked out of the party before Jeremy Carbyn decide to handover his post to some Zionist Jew.

        Tunisia is not the only Muslim country with “thriving Jewish” community of 2,000 Jews. In fact Iran has far better “thriving Jewish” community of 30,000 Jews. But like Iranian native Jews, the Tunisian Jews, too, show no attention to immigrate to the Zionist entity.

        However, Rob Prince, a Jewish journalist and lecturer of International Studies at the University of Denver, claimed in January 2013 that Tunisian Jews were not happy. I debunked his lies about Tunisian Muslims – and he in response admitted that he wrote his crap based on information given to him by some Zionist Jew to demonize Muslims.


        Shalom and good dreaming – Rehmat.

  2. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 6, 2016 at 12:45 pm #


    While not everyone will agree with all of the points you make, you’ve written a thought provoking piece. Pitty that the first comment your receive is a trash-talking rant using iy as a platform for slandering Jews, the United States and Israel. This assuredly undermines your hopes for making your blog a forum for serious discussion. I know you place all blame on those unfriendly to your views. But repeatedly, your “friends” are your worst enemies.


    • rehmat1 May 6, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

      I know rabbi, Israeli propagandist have never felt shame for character assassination of the Truth-tellers including Dr. Falk.

      Let me introduce you to a far more educated Rabbi Dr. Mark R. Cohen (Princeton University), who claims that it’s Jews like you who create hatred towards Jews.

      “Jewish-Muslim relations are at a nadir today. But the mutual hatred and antisemitism on the Muslim side are relatively new phenomena, born out of political, rather than religious factors. When the Islamic Caliphs ruled large swaths of Asia and Africa, their Jewish subjects enjoyed a protected status their brethren in Christian Europe – victims of antisemitism – never thought possible. Islam and Judaism have much more in common than Judaism has with Christianity,” wrote Cohen.


      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 6, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

        Dear Rehmat:

        1. I wasn’t criticizing Prof. Falk in my comment, I was criticizing YOU.

        2. I know and respect Dr. Cohen’s work. You misrepresent his message. His issue is with folks who claim that Islam is inherently anti-Semitic. I’ve never said that. Besides, to the best of my knowledge, Prof, Falk, whose views I do criticize, is not a Muslim.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

  3. Harvey Epstein May 6, 2016 at 4:09 pm #


    Let me introduce you to http://www.iranpoliticsclub.net/Islam/index.htm.

    After that, you may wish to rethink on Dr. Cohen


    • Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 7, 2016 at 12:16 am #


      Good to hear from you. Hope all is well.

      The link you posted doesn’t open. If the text is not too long, perhaps you can post it.

      But I do know that Mark Cohen is a well-regarded scholar in both the academic and Jewish communities. His assertion that reports of consistent Muslim anti-Semitism and violent hostility toward Jews are overdrawn have offended some Jews, mostly right-wingers, but this hasn’t prevented his lecturing under the auspices of such mainstream Jewish organizations CLAL.

      But if possible, I’d like to read the article.



      • Harvey Epstein May 7, 2016 at 11:07 am #


        Regards. Visiting grandkids. Will get back to you with citation upon my return.
        Short comment: periods of relative calm does not equal freedom; peace only means lack of war; subjugation can be confused with acceptance and coexistence (think of modern Tibet as an example). The Quo’ran lays it all out and if one never actually has read and understood that Holy Book then one can not understand.

      • Harvey Epstein May 7, 2016 at 1:52 pm #


        Kids napping so I have a moment. I went into my iPad and am into site:


        Hope it works for you. I don’t buy into everything here but some of it is interesting. Mostly from ex-Muslims who can be a bit extreme in their views like some ex-of “what ever the former faith”.

        My view: read the Quo’ran and A’hadith for yourself and make up your own mind. But read them yourself and do not rely on what anyone else says, including me.

        Regards and Shalom

  4. Fred Skolnik May 6, 2016 at 10:04 pm #

    The tactic here seems to be to make an unfounded claim – in this case concerning the idyll of Jewish life in Muslim countries – let a few weeks pass after it explodes in your face and then make the claim again hoping everyone has forgotten the reply. So here again is the reply:

    The country that suffered from the worst series of massacres. In the 8th century whole communities were wiped out by Idris the First. In 1033, in the city of Fez, 6,000 Jews were murdered by a Muslim mob. The rise of the Almohad dynasty caused waves of mass murders. According to testimony from that time, 100,000 Jews were slaughtered in Fez and about 120,000 in Marrakesh (this testimony should be viewed with caution). In 1465, another massacre took place in Fez, which spread to other cities in Morocco.
    There were pogroms in Tetuan in 1790 and 1792, in which children were murdered, women were raped and property was looted. Between 1864 and 1880, there were a series of pogroms against the Jews of Marrakesh, in which hundreds were slaughtered. In 1903, there were pogroms in two cities, Taza and Settat, in which over 40 Jews were killed.
    In 1907, there was a pogrom in Casablanca in which 30 Jews were killed and many women were raped. In 1912, there was another massacre in Fez in which 60 Jews were killed and about 10,000 were left homeless. In 1948, another series of pogroms began against the Jews which led to the slaughter of 42 in the cities of Oujda and Jrada.

    A series of massacres occurred in 1805, 1815 and 1830. The situation of the Jews improved with the start of the French conquest in 1830, but that did nor prevent anti-Jewish outbursts in the 1880s. The situation deteriorated again with the rise of the Vichy government. Even before 1934, the country was permeated by Nazi influences, which led to the slaughter of 25 Jews in the city of Constantine. When it achieved independence in 1962, laws were passed against citizenship for anyone who was not a Muslim and their property was effectively confiscated. Most of the Jews left, usually completely penniless, together with the French (“pieds noirs”).

    In 1785, hundreds of Jews were murdered by Burza Pasha. Under Nazi influence, harassment of the Jews intensified. Jewish property in Benghazi was plundered, thousands were sent to camps and about 500 Jews were killed. In 1945, at the end of World War II, a program against the Jews began and the number of murdered reached 140. The New York Times reported the horrible scenes of babies and old people who had been beaten to death. In the riots that broke out in 1948, the Jews were more prepared, so only 14 were killed. Following the Six Day War, riots broke out once again and 17 Jews were slaughtered.

    a massacre occurred in Basra in 1776. The situation of the Jews improved under British rule in 1917, but this improvement ended with Iraq’s independence in 1932. German influences increased and reached a peak in 1941 in the pogrom known as Farhud, in which 182 Jews were slaughtered (according to historian Elie Kedourie, 600 people were actually murdered) and thousands of houses were pillaged.

    Those were the days of Haj Amin al Husseini, who preached violence against the Jews. After the establishment of the State of Israel, the Iraqi parliament acted according to the Arab League bill and in 1950 and froze the assets of Jews. Sanctions were imposed on those who remained in Iraq. The Farhud massacre and the harassment from 1946 to 1949 to all intents and purposes turned the Iraqi Jews into exiles and refugees. The few thousand who remained in Iraq suffered from harsh edicts. In 1967, 14 Iraqis were sentenced to death on trumped up charges of espionage. Among them were 11 Jews. Radio Iraq invited the masses to the hanging festivities.

    The first blood libel in a Muslim country occurred in 1840, and led to the kidnapping and torture of dozens of Jewish children, sometimes to the point of death, and a pogrom against the Jews. In 1986, the Syrian Minister of Defense, Mustafa Talas, published a book, “The Matzah of Zion,” in which he claims that the Jews did, indeed, use the blood of a Christian monk to bake matzah. Same old anti-Semitism, new edition. Other pogroms occurred in Aleppo in 1850 and in 1875, in Damascus in 1848 and in 1890, in Beirut in 1862 and in 1874, and in Dir al Kamar there was another blood libel which also led to a pogrom in 1847. That year, there was a pogrom against the Jews of Jerusalem, which was the result of that blood libel. In 1945, the Jews of Aleppo suffered severe pogroms. 75 Jews were murdered and the community was destroyed. There was a resurgence of the violence in 1947, which turned most of the Syrian Jews into refugees. Those who remained there lived for many years as hostages.

    There was a pogrom against the Jews of Mashhad in 1839. A mob was incited to attack Jews, and slaughtered almost 40. The rest were forced to convert. That is how the Marranos of Mashhad came into being. In 1910, there was a blood libel in Shiraz in which 30 Jews were murdered and all Jewish homes were pillaged.

    There were fluctuations in relations that ranged between tolerance and inferior subsistence, between harassment and pogroms. The Rambam’s Letter to Yemen was sent following a letter he received from the leader of the Yemeni Jews, describing edicts of forced conversion issued against the Jews (1173). There were further waves of apostasy edicts which cannot be detailed here for lack of space.

    One of the worst milestones was the Mawza exile. Three years after Imam Al Mahdi took power in 1676, he drove the Jews into one of the most arid districts of Yemen. According to various accounts, 60 — 75% of the Jews died as a result of the exile. Many and varied edicts were imposed on the Jews, differing only in severity. One of the harshest was the Orphans’ Edict, which ordered the forced conversion of orphaned children to Islam. In nearby Aden, which was under British rule, pogroms occurred in 1947 which took the lives of 82 Jews. 106 of the 170 shops that were owned by Jews were completely destroyed. Hundreds of houses and all the community’s buildings were burned down.

    As in the other Arab countries, the Jews of Egypt also suffered inferior status for hundreds of years. A significant improvement occurred when Muhammad Ali came to power in 1805. The testimony of French diplomat, Edmond Combes, leaves nothing in doubt: “To the Muslims, no race is more worthy of contempt than the Jewish race.” Another diplomat added, “The Muslims do not hate any other religion the way they hate that of the Jews.”
    Following the blood libel in Damascus, similar libels began to spread in Egypt as well and incited mobs to carry out a series of attacks: in Cairo in 1844, 1890, and in 1901-1902; and Alexandria in 1870, 1882 and in 1901-1907. Similar attacks also occurred in Port Said and in Damanhur.

    Later on, there were riots against the Jews at the end of World War II, in 1945, in which 10 were killed and hundreds were injured. In 1947, the Companies Law was passed, which severely damaged Jewish businesses and led to the confiscation of property. In 1948, following the UN resolution on partition, riots began in Cairo and Alexandria. The dead numbered between 80 and 180. Tens of thousands were forced to leave, many fleeing and abandoning their property. The lot of those who remained did not improve. In 1956, a law was passed in Egypt which effectively denied the Jews citizenship, forcing them to leave the country with no property. This was an act of pure expulsion and mass property confiscation.

    • Harvey Epstein May 7, 2016 at 11:43 am #


      It began in Medinah and with Kaybar in @ 628 CE or so. And the myths began. In some mosques they still laugh about it to this day. And I am talking about in Europe within the past 5 years. But then you already know all of this. If you wrote your entire list you would be into another multi-volume work.


      No matter how hard you try, those opposed to the very existence of Israel will always find a way to involve her even in the most benign of subjects. Their beliefs that Jews control everything is like the bell to Pavlovs dogs. It has become an involuntary reaction over which you have no control. And all you sought was a reasonable discourse.


    • rehmat1 May 8, 2016 at 4:47 am #

      I hate to burst you Zionist Jewish balloon boys – but in 2013, Israeli historian professor Yigal Bin-Nun (Bar-Ilan University), in a study exposed your lies about Jewish exodus from Morocco. Based on his study of Moroccan Jewish community, Bin-Nun has claimed that Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel, was behind the whole operation wherein about 160,000 Moroccan Jews left Morocco for the Zionist occupied Palestine….


      • Fred Skolnik May 8, 2016 at 5:10 am #

        Why shouldn’t Israel be behind the effort to save Moroccan Jews from bloodthirsty Arabs who had been massacring them for 1,000 years, darling?

      • rehmat1 May 8, 2016 at 8:26 am #

        Fred Skolnik, darling, or you excusing Yigal Bin-Nun being a bloodthirsty Muslim?

        But then there are hundreds of Zionist Jews in America who honored Moroccan ‘royals’ for saving Jews. I guess those American Jews from Arab and African Muslim countries must be “bloodthirsty Muslims” who want to throw Europe’a unwanted Jews inti the Dead Sea, right?


  5. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 7, 2016 at 12:20 am #


    If you have a moment, please explain how Rehmat’s calling me and others “Zionist idiots” passes your civility test for acceptance on this blog.



    • rehmat1 May 8, 2016 at 4:54 am #

      Very simple darling. Many Zionist creeps from ADL and UN Watch had call Dr. Falk worse than that. In fact US ambassador at UN, Samantha Power jumped in her Zionist husband lap over the news that Dr. Falk was finally retired from UN where he kept pulling Israeli pants down.

      “Dr. Falk’s publication of bizarre and insulting material has tarnished the U.N.’s reputation and undermined the effectiveness of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The United States welcomes Mr. Falk’s departure, which is long overdue,” Said Power.

      La, la, la, la …..


      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 8, 2016 at 8:26 am #


        I get it!

        Because Prof. Falk’s views have been harshly criticized—including by Samantha Power, who, as you note, arose from doing a lap dance on her Zionist husband to issue a strong statement on behalf on the United States government—you and others are free to post defamatory statements on this blog so long as they defame Jews, Israel and Zionists.

        Funny, that’s not what I understood when Prof. Falk’s announced his intention to drive incivility from this blog, which seemed to cover incivility from all sides. But as he accuses me of misrepresenting his views, I guess this is just another example of this deficiency in my cognition. So long as he leaves your comments untouched, I acknowledge that your understanding is right and mine is wrong.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Richard Falk May 8, 2016 at 8:34 am #


        Just for clarification. I did delete Rehmat’s comment after I responded earlier. I had missed
        it when originally posted. Also, you have no idea how many anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic comments
        I have deleted.


    • ray032 May 8, 2016 at 5:20 am #

      It’s like calling those who respect the Professor as his ‘lemmings’ and Fred calling us ‘debased’ individuals or lunatics. It goes both ways Ira.

      • ray032 May 8, 2016 at 5:59 am #

        You wouldn’t be here making gratuitous insults if you weren’t ‘Jewish.’ Saying that, I emphatically say there is nothing wrong with being Jewish.

        Your reply is just your typical way of detraction. In your arrogance, you freely insult others who don’t see it your way, but don’t dare insult me, I’m Jewish, and that’s Jew hate.

        Life doesn’t work that way Fred, and at your age, you should know that by now.

      • ray032 May 8, 2016 at 6:31 am #

        Fred, this is where you think too highly of yourself. My comments here are not addressed to Jews in general, but to you, individually.

        For your information, my landlord is Jewish and we socialize often. Renting his apartment for the last 9 years, he has never raised my rent, smashing the false stereotype about Jews.

        Knowing him and other friends in my life that are Jewish, I do recognize individuals and would never smear the whole group by the actions of 1 person from that group.

        For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
        Ephesians 6:12

        This being said, I will follow Richard’s advice and close this phase of our exchange here. Shalom, Fred Thank God we all have freedom of thought and belief.

        “Ray: I don’t want this web site to be dominated by arguments that lead no where.”

      • Harvey Epstein May 8, 2016 at 7:21 am #


        A “lemming” is a blind follower who fails to use independant thought and only believes everything which the piper says. I respect Richard; enough to spend my time discussing, in my poor way, some of the things he postulates. He respects me back by commenting, on occasion, on my views. We respectfully disagree on many things but that is not meant to demean one another. A lemming just allows the piper to do all of the thinking for him/her. Richard expresses himself on many issues. Do you always agree with absolutely everything he says?

        I disagree with some of the things my beloved wife says. Even on this Mothers Day. Do you agree with everything your wife/partner/best friend says? If you disagree, does that mean you disrespect that person?

        As to the Quo’ranic views on Jews in general, I refer you to that Holy Book. Should you wish to see what the Islamist says, see Sayyid Qut’b. To see what the apostate Muslim says, see if you have some success with the link I posted for Ira, as above. They all say pretty much the same thing about Jews as viewed by Islam: we are just a bunch of monkeys and apes and are destined for hell ( along with every other non- Muslim.

        Grand kids awake so I have to go now.

        Happy Mothers Day to all.

      • ray032 May 8, 2016 at 7:46 am #

        Obviously Harvey, with all your civility, you don’t recognize the gratuitous insult this is, “A “lemming” is a blind follower who fails to use independant thought and only believes everything which the piper says”

        In the Fascist article, didn’t you notice me disagreeing with Richard for deleting a post of Fred?. He deleted many of my posts. We all get notice of the deleted comments before they’re deleted in every case anyway.

        To suggest I, and all others who see Richard’s genuine humanity and decency, respect his expertise in International Law, don’t have any independent thought, provides evidence of a “superiority” attitude.

      • Fred Skolnik May 8, 2016 at 9:01 am #

        Prof. Falk

        “You wouldn’t be here making gratuitous insults if you weren’t ‘Jewish.’ ”

        You are giving ray a little too much leeway and deleting the comments he is responding too:

        “I understand now that you also feel that making gratuitous insults is a Jewish trait in addition to all the rest. But how did you arrive at this general idea that Jews as such have a superiority complex or are arrogant or are greedy, as I believe you once mentioned? My theory is that you resent Jews deeply. I can’t figure out why, since you probably haven’t met too many, so my guess is that it has something to do with your Christian faith, which means that you are a typical antisemite. That is how we define antisemitism, by disparaging generalizations about Jews as such, just as we’d call someone a racist if he said African Americans are rapists.”

        You are protecting an antisemite. I would have thought you’d have had second thoughts about “thanking” for his “consistently humane commentary” a creature who refers to my or anyone else’s “arrogance and superiority” as “Jewish.” And you wonder why people question your judgment and perception.

        It is language of the kind that you tolerate on this website that is responsible for every act of violence that has ever been committed against Jews in the Christian world. Most Jews, however, are no longer prepared to put up with antisemitism and conveniently recede into the woodwork, and the existence of the State of Israel, along with the entire ethnic pride revolution in America, certainly had something to do with this. And as I have written, it is this, in my view, that lies behind the Israel hatred of a small minority of Jews in America: the implied demand that Israel makes on them to assert themselves as Jews, which they deeply resent for reasons best known to themselves.

      • ray032 May 8, 2016 at 9:45 am #

        You wouldn’t be here making gratuitous insults if you weren’t ‘Jewish.’

        Let me clarify and expand on that thought, Fred. Again, I am addressing my comments to you personally, as an Individual, and not to Jews in general. I don’t think you speak for all Jewry.

        If you were had not appointed yourself to defend the Jewish State of Israel from any criticism, justified or not, you, individually, would not be here commenting. if you were not Jewish. I meant it only in that sense, not in any disparaging way.

        I see now how you, not knowing my intent, could take offence, as I take offence being called a lemming.

  6. Myint Zan May 7, 2016 at 12:30 am #

    Thank you for this post. What Professor Falk has not mentioned is that basically the first three UN Secretaries-General (1) Trygve Lie (UNSG from February 1946 to April 1953), Dag Hammarskjold (UNSG from April 1953 to 18 September 1961) (3) U Thant UNSG from (3 November 1961- 31 December 1971) and fifth Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar ( UNSG from 1 January 1982 to 31 December 1991) did NOT -at least openly- ‘campaign’ for the Secretary-General ship, so to speak. Kurt Waldheim (UNSG from 1 January 1982 to 31 December 1971 unashamedly campaign for a second term and third term as UNSG (third term unsuccessfully due to the fact that China -rightly- vetoed his candidature sixteen times in 1981). Contrast this with U Thant and to a lesser extent Javier Perez de Cuellar who was asked (in case of U Thant both by USA, China and USSR and who consistently and categorically refused to serve a third term.

    Boutros-Ghal (openly) i, (covertly) Kofi Annan) and Ban Ki moon (openly) but one trusts not unashamedly as Kurt Waldheim also campaigned for the UN Secretart-General position.

    The ‘open’ campaign for a new UNSG has already begun

    The days or the previous decades where the office sought the UNSG (for Lie, Hammarskjold, Thant and Perez, to varying extents) are long gone and campaigning for the UNSG position is not only politically correct but perhaps become a (laudable?) requirement.

  7. Laurie Knightly May 7, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

    Lots of info circulating that Obama is seeking the SG appointment. Is it a rule or custom that the SG would not be from one of the P-5 countries? Many of the critiques are bogus, not surprisingly – like his connection to the Moslem Brotherhood.

    • Richard Falk May 7, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

      Laurie: Yes, there is a strong tradition, not likely to be broken, that P-5 nationals
      cannot become SG. To become a candidate Obama would have to be nominated by the US Government.
      Almost inconceivable while he is president.

      • Laurie Knightly May 7, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

        Thanks Richard, I wasn’t clear on that. It would be a most interesting contest to monitor. I don’t know if the comments attributed to Netanyahu are valid, but it hints of what’s ahead.

  8. rehmat1 May 8, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    @Harvey Epstein – I suggest you better study Talmud before quoting Holy Qur’an on your Mother Day – or rather look around how you Zionists treat your female members. For example Jewish women are discriminated 8-places in the Zionist entity by Jews.

    As for Holy Qur’an is concerned – it glorifies prophet Moses and Jesus mothers. It call followers of Moses Law (not the Talmudic racists) as “People of Book”, and to prove that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) married two Israelite widows.

    Learn some truth from your Jewish sister Tamam Kahn, American historian and author.


    • Harvey Epstein May 10, 2016 at 7:07 am #


      I normally ignore your comments, but you fail to state some other relevant things the Holy Quo’ran says about the mother of Jesus: Mohammed married the mother of Jesus when he got to paradise. I wonder what her husband had to say about that? He also married Mariam, the sister of Moses ( you surely recall that he had to change her name because originally he thought she was the same person as the mother of Jesus, so her name is different from that used in the Torah), wonder what her husband, Caleb, had to say about that marriage?

      Those two beautiful teenage Jewish widows Mohammed married became widows because their husbands were executed by Mohammed; as to at least Saffiyya, he married her on the day her husband was executed( after having first freed her from the slavery he just imposed upon her, he then told her she had a choice of marrying him or going back into slavery; at the same time, her beautiful younger sister was given to one of his companions, as a slave). The other very beautiful young Jewish woman he “married” chose to become a concubine of his and keep her Jewish faith rather than converting to Islam.

      I could go on with this, but I suggest that you would be far wiser by first actually reading what the Holy Quo’ran, the A’hadith and your own Muslim scholars have written about these subjects before you try to enlighten someone who has actually read some of the available literature.

      As to how Israeli women are treated, my grand nieces get pushed around by no one. Not here or there. As to how women are treated, and should you wish to do a comparison, I strongly urge that you first look into your own backyard before making any comparison. You obviously missed a prior posting of mine related to wife beating in Gaza and the West Bank, as reported on the now defunct Al Jazeera America TV station, first Sunday of March, 2015, at @ 4:25-4:28 p.m., Colorado time. The percentages for spousal abuse, past and present, for the West Bank was 37%, and for Gaza it was 51%, as reported by the female Palestinian woman who ran clinics for battered women in both locals. Of course she had to add that this spousal abuse was all the fault of the Jews. Guess she forgot the Quo’ranic verse which gives the husband the religious right to beat his wife if she does not do what he says.

      Rehmat1, I never say that Israel is always right. Look at some of my prior posts. I never say I know more than anyone else. I do not. But before you try to educate me, please be sure of your subject matter before you make the effort. Know before you try to teach.

      By the way, let me complement you on your English. It is oft times more correct than mine.

      Salam and Shalom. And please protect the Iranian Jews as I would protect my American Muslim acquaintances.

  9. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 8, 2016 at 9:14 am #


    Your second attempt at sending didn’t also didn’t take. My computer sometimes does that. As a psychologist might say: it doesn’t “play well with the other children”. Nevertheless, from your posted comments I think I get the gist of what the article says about Dr. Cohen’s views.

    Yes, the Koran says terrible things about acceptable behavior toward non-Muslims. But the Hebrew Bible says similar things about treating non-Israelites and ditto for the Christian Bible about non-Christians. These are ancient documents written in a different time for adherents who in many ways held values different from those that have evolved over many centuries. The key issue is not what the ancient texts say, but how these words are interpreted, modified, rejected or amplified by Christians, Muslims and Jews in the contemporary world.

    This evolutionary process entails examining traditional values from the perspective of insights and norms drawn from a variety of sources, including from the ancient texts themselves. For example, Laurie Knightly correctly notes that passages in the Hebrew Bible condone fascism and even genocide, and directs us to read the Book of Leviticus. So I did, and found in the Torah portion read this past week the following (Leviticus 19:18): “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Jewish fundamentalists justify territorial expansionism by citing biblical promises assuring Jews of perpetual and exclusive ownership of the entire Land of Israel, while Jewish moderates and liberals are motivated by the universalistic spirit of Leviticus 19.

    I envy your having your grandkids close by. Mine are a continent away.



    • Fred Skolnik May 8, 2016 at 10:06 am #

      Dear Ira

      Hope all is well. The problem is not what is written in the Bible but how it is cynically being used to vilify Jews in a way that “critics” of Israel would never in a million years think to use the Iliad and the Aeneid, for example, to dissect the character of and make disparaging remarks about modern-day Greeks and Italians.

      The Pentateuch is an ahistorical work reflecting memories of tribal warfare in the Land of Israel. Even if its message is taken in its most extreme terms and the settlers are taken as its most extreme exponents, physical violence against Arabs in “the name of God” has been almost nonexistent in the past 50 years and vandalism also relatively rare for all the big headlines it gets.

      • Richard Falk May 8, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

        I am puzzled why the pro-Zionist group so upset by this blog that it vowed to abandon it forever has
        not only returned but chooses this website to exchange views with one another!

      • rehmat1 May 8, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

        Annette Herskovits, PhD, a Holocaust survivor and author, in an article, entitled, ‘Nazism, Zionism, and the Arab World‘ (Dissident Voice, May 21, 2012) debunked several of Israel Hasbara (propaganda) myths about Holocaust, Zionism, Israel and the Arab Muslims.

        “As someone whose mother and father were murdered in Auschwitz, and who herself survived the Nazis’ barbarous nationalism thanks to the courage of a group of Catholics, Protestants, Communists, and Jews, I find the idea that defending the “Jewish state” supersedes all other human obligations both immoral and senseless. Nothing, not even the Holocaust, justifies Israel’s treatment of Palestinians or the continuing efforts of pro-Israel zealots to show Arabs and Muslims as less than human. Israel and its unconditional supporters are on a path leading to catastrophe not only for Palestinians, but in the not very long run, for Israel itself,” wrote Annette.

      • Fred Skolnik May 8, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

        I am beginning to understand the principle by which you are selectively and gratuitously deleting my responses in the absence of anything there that can be called insulting: you are judging their merit! that is, whether they say something entirely new or just repeat what I’ve said before. That would be fine if you did the same for all comments, since I am only repeating myself because the “critics” are repeating themselves or intentionally or otherwise misconstruing what I have said. So once again you are applying a double standard and I can only repeat what I’ve said before: you simply don’t want to hear what I have to say, for reasons that do you little credit.

        Therefore when rehmat replies to me. “Darling, or you excusing [accusing] Yigal Bin-Nun being a bloodthirsty Muslim?” I reply that what I am saying is that for a thousand years and more Arab mobs have been carrying out massacres and pogroms against the Jews; and when ray declares that he meant me personally when he talked about “Jewish arrogance and superiority” I pointed out that this isn’t what “Jewish arrogance and superiority” means. If you are trying to save space you shouldn’t be starting with me.

      • Richard Falk May 8, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

        When you are substantive I do not delete. When you insult and write disparagingly I do, which you seem to do
        as a natural combative instinct. Your tendency is not to disagree respectfully but to tell me and others that we
        are wrong even when it comes to an interpretation of texts, and the like (e.g. SC 242 or motivation for negotiations).
        And indeed I have encountered among the Diasporic Jews I grew up with in Manhattan a near universal sense of superiority,
        which was generally linked to the ‘chosen people’ idea in either a religious or secular form. It may not have always been
        arrogantly expressed, but it was very common and generic, and when growing up I half believed it myself. I am aware that
        an appropriate rendering of what ‘chosen people’ meant in its biblical usage was to impose on Jews a special burden to
        act righteously in relation to God or Jahweh.

      • Fred Skolnik May 8, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

        Well, if you grew up in Manhattan among wealthy people it may be thay everyone, Jews and non-Jews, felt superior. I grew up in the Bronx and never in my life did I encounter any notion of superiority. I certainly don’t feel superior to anyone as a Jew and I have never met a secular Jew who felt “chosen” in any sense. If you are trying to whitewash antisemitic slurs, you have a lot more that “superiority” to deal with.

      • Richard Falk May 8, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

        I did not say that everyone felt superior. What I said was that it was a common trait among Jews, and not only
        among those with more privileged backgrounds.
        If you read carefully what I write I almost always indicate that I am giving my opinion, not necessarily the only
        correct view.
        And if you read my views on Israel, they are critical of policies and practices, but not nearly as hostile or
        critical as your views of Palestinians.

      • Fred Skolnik May 8, 2016 at 10:35 pm #

        My view of Palestinians is anything but hostile and I assure you that I have had far more contact with them than you have in the ordinary pursuits of everyday life. I am hostile to terrorists.

        If your notions about Jewish superiority are just an “opinion” it would be wiser to keep it to yourself, because it is precisely such opinions that fan the flames of antisemitism.

        I would be amazed if you ever encountered a secular Jew of your generation who felt superior as a “chosen” Jew. I haven’t. On the other hand, Jews had every cause to feel morally superior to the Christians who were murdering them in Europe.

  10. Harvey Epstein May 8, 2016 at 5:10 pm #


    Is my definition of a “lemming” not correct? If I am wrong, please correct me. Did I call you a “lemming” in my comment? I did not. If you read the last sentence of my first paragraph, do I not question if you agreed with everything Richard says? I don’t think I said you did and you, yourself say you do not! Did I say you don’t think on your own? Where did I do that? Do you not respect Richard even though you do disagree with him on occasion? I think you do and so do I. I point out that one can respectfully disagree and to do so is not demeaning. I get a sense that you are looking for an issue between us that certainly does not exist on my side. Again, I never called you, as an individual, a lemming. And you give Fred some “flack” over something neither said by me or intended by me as to you. Remember that in this post, you were the one to first raise the term “lemming” as if it apparently applied to you. Where have I said anything about my being ” superior” to anyone? I think not. We are all equal in our disparate views. Some of yours I do not agree with and highly likely you disagree with even more of mine. Is this being disrespectful or superior on my part? Sorry if you interpret it that way, but that is about as far as I intend to comment on it: sorry you got an impression not intended and a brushed ego over a non event that you interpreted as being directed to you, in particular.


    I tried an earlier post today which just did not go through. In it, I referred to the exact portion of Leviticus you also mentioned ( and which I read again last Tuesday – not that I keep up with the Torah every week like I should). I wanted to point out that this Golden Rule, while it appears in the Christian theology, is absent from Islam/ the Quo’ran ( except perhaps as to Muslims alone). I agree that Leviticus 19 is treated as universalistic by Christians and Jews (and I believe by Hindus, etc.). But the Quo’ran says something completely different. Just look at 9:29 for starters. I will stop here because I believe that this blog is not intended to be a discussion of comparative religious study.

    I absolutely agree that all three of the major texts contain horrific things which scholars have tried to explain away or draft major ” apologetic” arguments around (all in the effort of trying to be politically correct, or in an effort to obfuscate). The key to all of this is: how is each currently trying to implement their beliefs? This is crucial to any discussion. Each side has cause to complain. Each has a gored ox. Which party absolutely refuses to live with the other in equal dignity? Which party seems to be at war with the entire world (fighting words to some)? Which side dares to give an “inch” without fear (realistic or not) that it faces utter destruction if it makes a mistake? Which side says it is all about religion? Which side refuses to have another even exist, much less be a citizen in the land it seeks? You can certainly add to the list, but you get the idea.

    Are my questions partisan? Yes. Unjustified? Answer that one on your own.

    I believe that history ( ancient or not) plays a role. To deny this is to deny the nature of man. I will stop here with any philosophical comment as it serves no useful purpose to my immediate concern: as pressing as any two state solution is, can one be implemented at this time; or have wider issues and new players made such a solution, or any solution, somewhat moot at this point in time? Are we too late or too soon? Dare the parties directly involved wait or act? And frankly, just who are the parties?

    Shalom. Sorry your grandkids are so far away.

    • rehmat1 May 8, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

      “And frankly, just who are the parties?”

      One doesn’t need a PhD in History to understand that Puzzle.

      The parties are – Zionist Jews who collaborated with Hitler and Mussolini and their new ‘Jewish victims’, the Palestinian Muslims and Christians.

      “Most Israeli Jews prefer to live in self-denial,” Professor Daniel Bar-Tal (Tel Aviv University).


      • Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 3:56 am #

        The parties are bloodthirsty Arab mobs and barbaric terrorists who have been massacring non-Muslims, including your ancestors, for 1500 years.

        “Nations never concede; they fight. You won’t get anything by peaceful means or compromise,” Azzam Pasha (sorry, darling, not a professor, just the secretary-general of the Arab League).

      • ray032 May 9, 2016 at 4:16 am #

        “Nations never concede; they fight. You won’t get anything by peaceful means or compromise,”
        Official Israeli policy vis a vis Palestinians.

      • Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 4:24 am #

        No, an Arab said it.

      • rehmat1 May 9, 2016 at 7:08 am #

        Fred Skolnik – But darling it were the bloodthirsty Jews who poisoned 100,000 non- Ashkenazi Jew kids in the 1960 with high doses of uranium.


        Arab Muslims liberated Jew slaves (Serf) in Spain in 711 – educated them and raised them amongst the Country’s elites. Dr. Bernard Lewis has acknowledged this fact by calling Muslim Spain as the GOLDEN AGE of Jews.

      • Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 7:29 am #


        This kind of stupidity doesn’t deserve a reply, but here it is anyway:


  11. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 9, 2016 at 1:16 am #

    Prof. Falk:

    I’m afraid this comment reveals more about yourself than you intended.

    “And indeed I have encountered among the Diasporic Jews I grew up with in Manhattan a near universal sense of superiority, which was generally linked to the ‘chosen people’ idea in either a religious or secular form. It may not have always been arrogantly expressed, but it was very common and generic, and when growing up I half believed it myself.”

    Spreading slanderous stereotypes is a nasty business. And you assuredly give credence to suspicions of your being self-hating.

    You make it very clear as to why you respond to criticism from Jews with reflexive and intense hostility. I had thought that you found Jewish critics with a great deal of knowledge like Fred Sloltnik bothersome because they were able to discredit your one-sided views. But the cause apparently lies elsewhere. You mistakenly see our dissent not as merely as expressing disagreement with your views, in which we’re joined by many non-Jews, but as a manifestation of our arrogance and false sense of superiority, which you take as a personal affront. In your lexicon, you don’t have critics or dissenters. You have defamers and character assassins.

    It also explains your affection for obvious anti-Semites whose posts are welcomed on this blog, and why you maintain a double standard by turning a blind eye on comments that insult us as trolls and accuse us of being paid agents of the Israeli government. It’s not that you tolerate them. You agree with them. For after all, we Jews are no more than an arrogant lot with a “near universal sense of superiority”.

    Disclaimers in your follow-up to Fred Skolnik make things worse:

    “I did not say that everyone felt superior. What I said was that it was a common trait among Jews…”

    No, Profesor. What you said (and I quote) is that “Jews have a near universal sense of superiority, which was generally linked to the ‘chosen people’ idea in either a religious or secular form.” That’s pretty much like saying that “everyone felt superior, isn’t it.

    And when Fred suggested that the sense of superiority you felt might be motivated, at least in part, by the privileged socio-economic status enjoyed by you and your neighbors, Jewish and non-Jewish, you added that Jewish arrogance is present “not only among those with more privileged backgrounds.” In other words, you believe it’s “near universal” among the world’s 14,000,000 Jews.

    “If you read carefully what I write I almost always indicate that I am giving my opinion, not necessarily the only correct view.”

    This is the Mother of All Cop-Outs. You slander an entire people and then admit that you may not be right.

    “And if you read my views on Israel, they are critical of policies and practices, but not nearly as hostile or critical as your views of Palestinians.”

    This must be a joke. You often accuse me of misrepresenting your views. So I ask you, what is the plain meaning of your essay entitled, “Slouching Toward a Palestinian Holocaust”?

    One final word to Fred and Harvey. We now know that any hope of being treated fairly and with respect on this blog is delusionary. Gentlemen, it’s time to go.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • ray032 May 9, 2016 at 4:07 am #

      Want to see arrogance and a superiority attitude? Just read the comments in The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel concerning Palestinians. There’s no mistaking what it is.

      Surely Ira, as a Rabbi, you should be familiar with these Biblical traits David recognized in the chosen people of God over whom he ruled.

      “The arrogant cannot stand in your presence” (Psalm 5:5) or in God’s presence and “To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns” (Psalm 75:4).
      A wicked person will “pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers are full of boasting” (Psalm 94:4) but God will “rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed, those who stray from your commands” (Psalm 119:21).

      The psalmist also wrote “May the arrogant be put to shame” (Psalm 119:78). What will be the end of the arrogant? “The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:11) and “So people will be brought low and everyone humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled” (Isaiah 5:15).

      Take off your blinders Ira. “In your lexicon, you don’t have critics or dissenters. You have defamers and character assassins.”

      Isn’t that like Fred calling us who support Professor Falk “debased” individuals and me a lunatic?

      Your group can dish gratuitous insults but with a little push back, you are calling on your lemmings to follow you?

      • Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 4:20 am #

        Ray, you’re going off the deep end again. It wasn’y me who treated you like a lunatic, it was the Canadian authorities. And it isn’t people who support Prof. Falk wbo are debased, it is people like yourself who make disparaging generalizations about Jews. And you don’t get the JP, etc. comment business yet, do you? The people who make comments there are hate-filled individuals just like you, only in the opposite extreme.

      • ray032 May 9, 2016 at 5:11 am #

        First of all Fred, you have no idea what you’re talking about and you are grasping at straws. It is your own feeble attempt at ridicule.

        I was arrested for “shouting, causing a disturbance” standing up and speaking to a growing crowd of people who stopped to listen on The Sparks Street Mall. When the Police came to stop my speech, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN reported the crowd demanded the police leave me alone and let me continue speaking on the many occasions I did exercise my Democratic right.

        The authorities were so terrified the crowds were listening, when I had the trial, I was convicted, and put on probation with only one condition typed in at the bottom of the form, “not to attend on the Sparks Street Mall or any other Street in Ottawa for the purpose of SPEAKING or shouting.’ The false Democracy was exposed.

        You have no idea of the times the police officers who arrested me, came to me afterwards to apologize, saying they were only doing their job and they saw the people were with me. You have no idea how the RCMP protected me in certain situations after those Times.

        A Judge said in Court, “I wish the Police hadn’t arrested Cormier. It only gives him a platform.”

        In the following Public REcord, I did say the words, “I’m a nut” but that’s how newspapers sell, taking words out of context.

        What I actually said was, “some of you may think I’m a nut. Have you never read in the Bible ‘I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished’ I walk among the nuts”

        This was a parable prophecy saying this world is going nuts and this is proving to be true.

    • Harvey Epstein May 9, 2016 at 6:48 am #


      You are correct. Richard has laid out even more of his background. It explains so much. Actually, it has explained it all.

      • Richard Falk May 9, 2016 at 9:52 am #


        I am somewhat surprised, and disappointed, that you follow Ira’s hostile rendering of what I wrote.
        My comment was describing my experience, nothing more, nothing less. It is far from ‘slander,’ and
        to twist my meaning away from its intent does not illuminate, but only obscures, making constructive
        conversation impossible.

    • Richard Falk May 9, 2016 at 9:47 am #


      As usual, you twist my words beyond recognition, and always in a malicious direction! I was merely acknowledging
      my experience, and in a non-judgmental way. Most of these claims of ‘chosenness’ were coupled with adjustments to
      centuries of anti-semitism forcing Jews to excel in urban atmospheres, and the superiority manifested itself in
      proportion of Nobel prizes won, and cultural achievements.
      And if you don’t recognize the difference between claims based on ‘interpretation’ versus those based on ‘dogma’
      I begin to grasp your consistent nasty tone.
      And in your final word, by bonding with Fred, you undermine your own claim of being interested in a fair solution
      to the conflict. Fred is the most extreme, unnuanced apologist for Israel I have ever encountered, and yet you never
      find anything to disagree with him about!

      • Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 9:45 pm #

        Pride in national achievements is not arrogance. All nations are proud of their achievements and extoll what they perceive as their virtues. As I wrote, if your notions about Jewish superiority are just an “opinion” it would be wiser to keep it to yourself, because it is precisely such opinions that fan the flames of antisemitism.

      • Richard Falk May 10, 2016 at 7:44 am #

        Take a look at Netanyahu’s Holocaust Remembrance Day speech if you want a textbook example of arrogance of precisely
        the kind that gives rise to anti-Semitism. Compare it with the remarks of the Israeli President, Rivlin, and the Deputy
        Chief of Staff, Golan. It is not my experience or opinions that produces the current revival of anti-Semitism, but the behavior of Israel in relation
        to the Palestinian people.

      • Fred Skolnik May 10, 2016 at 8:46 am #

        Did you actually delete my challenge to you to cite a single sentence in Netanyahu’s speech that is arroganr by any definition of the word? Did you actually delete my comment that alleged Jewish sins are not the cause of antisemitism bur that Jew haters hate Jews first and then find the reasons to?

      • Richard Falk May 10, 2016 at 9:51 am #

        I felt at a loss if you did not find his speech exhibiting arrogance at every turn, for instance, the following:
        “..in recent years it [anti-Semitism of jihadists] has been joined by incitement no less poisonous from the Western
        world–British parliamentarians, Swedish officials, and opinion makers in France.” To put these Western critics of
        Israel’s behavior in the same camp as Islamic extremists, and indeed to conflate Islam with Islamic extremism, is
        arrogance of the first-order in my book. And if you see it differently, as apparently you do, we are on different
        Beyond this here on this website I will not be hospitable to smears of the sort that you deliver by branding those
        who disagree with you as ‘Jew haters.’

      • Fred Skolnik May 10, 2016 at 8:52 am #

        I also invited you to consider the following, since the subject of antisemitism figures prominently in this blog:


      • Richard Falk May 10, 2016 at 9:53 am #

        A clear explanation of why we disagree so profoundly about the nature of anti-Semitism.

      • Fred Skolnik May 10, 2016 at 10:08 am #

        If this is your example you are using the wrong word. All he said is that the incitement is as poisonous as the antisemitism of the jihadists.

        Arrogance: an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people (Merriam-Webster).

        I really can’t follow your reasoning.

        I do not brand people who disagree with me as Jew haters. I brand as Jew haters people who use the language of Jew hatred and I have made it clear what that language consists of: disparaging generalizations about Jewish history, origins, morality, faith, character, money, power, influence and even genetic makeup.

      • Fred Skolnik May 10, 2016 at 10:13 am #

        Re the antisemitism essay, it is a thesis and I will be happy to hear what specific statements or general arguments you disagree with. Please point a finger and say: this is wrong.

  12. Gene Schulman May 9, 2016 at 2:05 am #

    All of the above, how SAD!

    • Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 2:16 am #

      Behold! the empty shell has spoken. Nothing on Counterpunch today?

      • ray032 May 9, 2016 at 4:10 am #

        One more gratuitous insult from Fred!

      • Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 4:13 am #

        Not gratuitous, Gene. Payback for your snide little sarcasm, as lame as it was.

      • rehmat1 May 9, 2016 at 7:11 am #

        Nope – there is something far interesting…..

        On Friday, Greek Jewish lobby leaders in a letter protested to country’s National Tourism Agency after its website and brochures listed the Easter practice of Judas burning as a recommended folk attraction.

        “This custom perpetuates antisemitic feelings and it is characteristic that in other European countries it has almost vanished,” said the letter.


  13. Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 5:10 am #

    Prof. Falk

    Before you push the delete button, please take note of how these exchanges develop. Rabbi Youdovin addresses a remark to you and Mr. Schulman jumps in with his snide little sarcasm, to which I respond in kind. Ray get worked up again and begins lashing out at every Jew in sight. (“Want to see arrogance and a superiority attitude?”) I suppose he does think that arrogance and superiority are Jewish traits after all, perhaps encouraged by the license you have given him to vilify Jews, depite retracting the remark earlier and assuring us that he only meant me individually and not Jews in general. Then he quotes the Bible to “prove” that Jews are arrogant. I am waiting for him to quote the Illiad to prove that Greeks are – what? And I gave him the answer he deserves because this manner of “sticking it” to the Jews at every opportunity is unacceptable. And of course rehmet with his malice. Do you really believe that the venemous remarks of these people are constructive?

    It has taken Ira’s comment to make me see how despicable your comment about “Jewish arrogance and superiority” really is. This is the type of thing that generally comes out of the filthy mouths of hate-filled antisemites and here you are blandly confirming it for them. Shame on you!

    • Harvey Epstein May 9, 2016 at 7:33 am #


      As Sayyid Qut’b points out, constantly, in his work, it is the Qur’ran and its followers who are superior to everyone and everything. This forms part of 9:29. This is not just the ancient view and goal of Islam, but the modern view of the Muslim Brotherhood and all of their ilk and followers. This is what is being played out across the world scene, as you know far better than I.

      The site I tried to direct Ira to is one which expresses views from across the spectrum. It includes writings from Hindus, apostate Muslims, etc. -the authors have mostly middle eastern names. I have yet to identify a single Jew in the crowd ( although one or more may exist).

      I must differ with you on one point: the problems confronted by Israel come from far more than just “Arabs”, and the problems confronting the “Arabs” come from many of their co-religionists as well as ” others”. This is why I wondered if the time was “right” for a solution; too soon or too late?

      Rays headline quotation about himself: “I am a nut” speaks volumes. Being a “defender of freedom” is laudatory, but a “nut” should not lead that charge. Trying to reason with a self proclaimed “nut” just reinforces Ira’s comments: time to go.

      • ray032 May 9, 2016 at 8:09 am #

        Harvey, It also records, ‘Ray Cormier tells it like it is’ But you only want to see what you want to see.
        All non conformists to rigid ideologies were considered nuts throughout history.

        The Jewish religious leadership was painting Christ as Beelzebub, the Devil himself. What! me worry?

        For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’
        The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at this glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and of sinners!’ But wisdom is vindicated by her actions.

  14. ray032 May 9, 2016 at 5:20 am #

    Accelerated Settlement Activity Casts Doubt on Israel’s Commitment to Two-State Solution, Secretary-General Tells Security Council

    This caused a furor in Israel when the UN Secretray-General said it. There was so much push back, like Judge Goldstone, he had to back peddle.

    This appears in Today’s Haaretz newspaper in Israel.
    ‘Israel Seized Palestinian Family’s East Jerusalem Land Behind Its Back, Gave It to Settler NGO’

    Documents reveal that the state used strenuous bureaucratic acrobatics to deliver land that didn’t belong to it.
    Israel expropriated land from an East Jerusalem Palestinian family without a tender and against the rules, then handed it over to Amana, an organization that works to establish settlements and outposts, Haaretz has learned.

    Some months ago Amana began building a large office building on the land for its headquarters. Documents submitted for an administrative petition against the land transfer reveals that the state used strenuous bureaucratic acrobatics to deliver land that didn’t belong to it.

    The plan was prepared and approved without the family knowing of the expropriation. The property map was redrawn to legitimize the expropriations, and related documents were hidden from the owners. The Jerusalem District Court rejected the Palestinian family’s petition, which is being appealed to the Supreme Court.

    Amana, founded by the Gush Emunim religious settlement movement in 1979, is the most important private body for establishing and expanding West Bank settlements. The company made headlines last month after two of its executives, secretary general Zeev Hever and treasurer Moshe Yogev, were investigated over alleged corruption. The company owns Al-Watan, which has been repeatedly involved in deals buying land from Palestinian owners that turned out to be forged.

    The affair dates back to 1968, when the state expropriated 4,000 dunams (1,000 acres) north of Jerusalem’s the Old City in Sheikh Jarrah “for public needs.” This land became French Hill, Ramat Eshkol and a government compound. Palestinian landowners vainly challenged expropriation moves for years. The expropriations were carried out according to a state plan.

    These areas included much land belonging to the Abu Ta’ah family, a Palestinian family from Lifta that now resides throughout East Jerusalem. However, one triangular, three-dunam plot bordering Israel Police headquarters was never included in any plan through the 1990s. It was in the original area that was expropriated, but not in the plan the city prepared in agreement with the state. Thus, the land was never expropriated……


    • Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 5:36 am #

      I have the feeling that you don’t understand what you are reading. How does an affair “dating back to 1968” and a 3/4 acre plot of land on which an office building is being constructed represent the “accelerated settlement activity” that the Secretary-General is talking about? And in any event the case is on appeal.

      • ray032 May 9, 2016 at 6:28 am #

        Obviously Fred, with your blind attitude the Jewish State of Israel is faultless and blameless in anything having to do with instilling Palestinian angst, you just cannot see or understand what you are reading.

        >>>Israel Seized Palestinian Family’s East Jerusalem Land Behind Its Back, Gave It to Settler NGO<<<

        This should not of happened to start with. The Jews in Germany didn't like it one bit when the "Authorities" started pulling tricks like this against them.

        A Palestinian, being equally fully human to Jews, don't like it one bit either when Jewish Authorities do it to them. This has been going on for almost 50 years as Palestinians are being dehumanized in the eyes of ordinary Israelis incited by the principality and power over them. This is fundamental! No one sees themselves as others see them, and while Israelis may not see that dynamic manipulating them. the rest of the world is beginning to see and recognize it for what it is, even if those in high places of power can't see it.

        This is typical of the slow ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Arab East Jerusalem. This is only the latest incident published Today. Reading The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and other Israeli news sources daily, this kind of nefarious, deceitful, surreptitious Israeli dealings with the Palestinians is not uncommon as I have read over many years and taken note.

        The Jubilee Year of Israel's occupation of Judea and Samaria in Palestine happens in just 2 years. If the conditions of the Declared Jubliee Year the God of the Jews set for the Jews to live in Peace with their neighbours are not met. 'The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord' mentioned in the Jewish Tanach, and carried over to Christian & Islamic Scriptures, will be upon this world sooner than many dare think and expect.

      • Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 7:01 am #

        ray, since you never opened your mouth when Israeli women and children were being blown to pieces by Arab terrorists in restaurants and buses I can’t believe that you really care about anyone. The West Bank was occupied because Jordan started and lost a war. If you really want to know why King Hussein bombarded Jewish Jerusalem read his book about the war and then come back and we’ll talk it about it.

      • ray032 May 9, 2016 at 7:32 am #

        I wasn’t online when those events were happening. I am against State Terrorism and individual terrorism and violence.

        Over 1,500,000 Iraqi civilians have died since the US started bombing Iraq that was no real threat to the US homeland.

        I think this material world has come full circle and is at this point again, according to the Jewish record.

        The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
        And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
        And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

        I see the great powers flirting with Holocaust II – Nuclear version, these days. There will be no distinction between civilian and military.

        Again, what you spin constantly is false. No matter how often you spin it, the Facts are Israel provoked the sequence of events leading to the ’67 war on April 7.

        It was Israel that started the military hostilities on June 5, starting the ’67 war.

        It was Israel the broke the 6 month unofficial Truce with Hamas, to provoke a Hamas response, rationalizing the murderous Israeli bombardment of Gaza in Operation Cast Lead.

        It was Israel that provoked Hamas to respond, that led to Operation Pillar of Defence.

        You may think of yourself as a king Midas, but you cannot change the facts of history to suit your rigid ideological thinking.

      • ray032 May 9, 2016 at 7:38 am #

        And btw Fred, I just got an email from this Canadian Authority this morning.

        From: xxxxxxx@international.gc.ca
        Sent:May-09-16 1:47:44 PM
        To: rayxxxx@sympatico.ca

        Dear Ray Cormier:

        Thank you for your email of January 31, 2016, concerning the ongoing situation in Syria. I regret the delay in replying to you………..

        Thank you for writing.
        The Honourable Stéphane Dion, P.C., M.P.
        Minister of Foreign Affairs

      • Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 7:39 am #

        Saying something doesn’t make it true. Since you are too lazy to read a book I will help you out:

        There is no uncertainty with regard to the specific sequence of events that led to the specific war between Jordan and Israel. Hussein himself has acknowledged that Jordan attacked Israel (in his book on the war and on other occasions), explaining himself in various ways, viz. that Nasser deceived him by claiming that Egypt had destroyed 75% of Israel’s air force and inviting him to join in, that his radar picked up planes on the way to Israel from Egypt, seeming to confirm the Egyptian attack whereas they were in fact Israeli planes returning to their bases, that Israel’s guarantees reached him too late to call off his attack on Israel, and even something about “Arab manhood” that prevented him from remaining on the sidelines.

  15. Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 7:15 am #

    While you are reading Hussein’s book, I’ll fill you in on East Jerusalem. In the 1948 war Arab mobs surrounded and attacked the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jeruselem while the Arab Legion bombarded it from Mount Zion and Egyptian artillery lobbed shells at the Jewish civilian population from near Bethlehem. The Jewish residents of the Old City barely escaped with their lives after which the Arabs proceeded to destroy all 27 synagogues in the Jewish Quarter, defile every cemetery, and move into Jewish homes. Many of these home and properties are being reclaimed by Jews. All parties have access to the courts to state their claims. When you finish reading Hussein’s book you can start reading the protocols of the hearings and then you can come back and talk about that too.

  16. Gene Schulman May 9, 2016 at 7:21 am #

    Plenty on Counterpunch, but it be wasted on Fred and his ilk. As Vonnegut so aptly would say; “And so it goes…..”

  17. rehmat1 May 9, 2016 at 7:23 am #

    Fred Skolnik – You and your “Jewish Jerusalem”! How moronic one can be.

    “The 2nd Caliph of Islam Omar entered Jerusalem mounted on a white camel, escorted by the magistrate of the city, the Greek Patriarch Sophronius. The Caliph asked to be taken immediately to the Soleyman Temple (Temple Mount) and there he knelt in prayer on the spot where his friend Mohammed (pbuh) had made his Night Journey. The Patriarch watched in horror. Next Omar asked to see the Christian shrines and, while he was in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the time for Muslim prayer came round. Courteously the Patriarch invited him to pray where he was, but Omar as courteously refused. If he knelt to pray in the church, he explained, the Muslims would want to commemorate the event by erecting a mosque there, and that would mean that they would have to demolish the Holy Sepulchre. Instead Omar went to pray at a little distance from the church, and, sure enough, directly opposite the Holy Sepulchre there is still a small mosque dedicated to the Caliph Omar.

    The other great mosque of Omar was erected on the Temple Mount to mark the Muslim conquest, together with the mosque al-Aqsa which commemorates Mohammed’s Night Journey. For years, the Christians had used the site of the ruined Jewish Temple as the city rubbish dump. The Caliph helped his Arab Muslim fighters to clear the garbage with his own hands and there Muslims raised their two shrines to establish Islam in the third most holy city in the Islamic world. (Karen Armstrong, Holy War, MacMillan, London, 1988, pp. 30-31).

    Before, WWI, the Jews made only 5% of the city population and owned less than 2.5% of city property.

    • Fred Skolnik May 9, 2016 at 7:36 am #

      What does the Caliph of Omar have to do with an hysterical mob of 20,000 Arabs attacking the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in 1948? And what were the Caliph of Omar and the rest of the Arabs doing in Jerusalem in the 7th century anyway when their home was the Arabian Desert?

    • Harvey Epstein May 10, 2016 at 7:30 am #


      Please tell me where you got the statics on the population percentages. Everything I have ever read states that by the mid 1800s, Jews were a plurality and by the late 1800s, the majority in Jerusalem.


      • ray032 May 10, 2016 at 11:00 am #

        Who to believe in this deceptive material world?

        It took only a few minutes to find information that conflicts with your belief about the Jewish population in Jerusalem by the late 1880s.

        The information I found states there were 544,000 Muslims, 196,000 Christians and 71,000 Jews living in Jerusalem and Hebron in the late 1880s.

        By 1914 there were 703,000 Muslims, 325,000 Christians and 182,000 Jews.

        In 1922, the Jewish population almost doubled to 343,000 while Muslims declined to 648,000 and Christians declined to 316,000.


        There is a huge discrepancy with Jewish sources.

      • Fred Skolnik May 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

        Your information for Jerusalem is incorrect even according to wikipedia, which I imagine is one of your primary sources (we are talking about jerusalem here, aren’t we?):

        Year Jews Muslims Christians Total

        1882 9,000 7,000 5,000 21,000

        1885 15,000 6,000 14,000 35,000

        1893 >50% ? ? ~40,000

        1896 28,112 8,560 8,748 45,420

        You;re mixing everything up again. Here are the figures for ALL of Palestine in 1890:

        1890 43,000 432,000 57,000 532,000

  18. Adam Knight May 9, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    The link below is to an article that provides a practice focussed commentary on the UN SG issue: http://cac.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/04/13/0010836715574916

    • Richard Falk May 9, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

      Thanks for this relevant reference that does move beyond the diplomacy described in my post

      • Kata Fisher May 9, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

        Another Note:

        John noted:

        All – a in a direct quote: (*SEE JLewisDickerson May 8, 2016 at 11:43 am)

        Students explain why they protested Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat at San Francisco State University

        JLewisDickerson May 8, 2016 at 11:43 am

        RE: “On April 7th, president Wong sent an email to the university titled ‘Civil Discourse’ calling for an investigation of the protesters (PDF)”. – Mondoweiss Editors

        • “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.” ~ Whitney v. California, 1927
        • “No danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is an opportunity for full discussion. Only an emergency can justify repression.”

        • “Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.”

        • “The constitutional right of free speech has been declared to be the same in peace and war. In peace, too, men may differ widely as to what loyalty to our country demands, and an intolerant majority, swayed by passion or by fear, may be prone in the future, as it has been in the past, to stamp as disloyal opinions with which it disagrees.”

        SOURCE – link to quotes.liberty-tree.ca

        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/jlewisdickerson/#sthash.aaRmB4bd.dpuf

      • Kata Fisher May 9, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

        Another Important Note:


        CHAPTER III.


        Can. 1339 §1. An ordinary, personally or through another, can warn a person who is in the proximate occasion of committing a delict or upon whom, after investigation, grave suspicion of having committed a delict has fallen.

        §2. He can also rebuke a person whose behavior causes scandal or a grave disturbance of order, in a manner accommodated to the special conditions of the person and the deed.

        §3. The warning or rebuke must always be established at least by some document which is to be kept in the secret archive of the curia.

        Can. 1340 §1. A penance, which can be imposed in the external forum, is the performance of some work of religion, piety, or charity.

        §2. A public penance is never to be imposed for an occult transgression.

        §3. According to his own prudent judgment, an ordinary can add penances to the penal remedy of warning or rebuke.

        Most relevant to this setting imposed in the external forum is OCCULT:

        §2. A public penance is never to be imposed for an occult transgression.

        Rabbi Ira and his Watchmen:

        Scandal, Scandal! They are scandal to themeless – opposing OCCULT, all together!

  19. Kata Fisher May 9, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

    Fun Note:

  20. Kata Fisher May 9, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

    Irrelevant to the subject, and it is important note:


    “Critics are liars”

    • Harvey Epstein May 10, 2016 at 8:32 am #


      Responding to your 5/09 comment to me regarding my agreeing with Ira on your 5/08 @ 5:14 p.m. posting: a near universal sense of superiority being a common trait among a geographical segment of a particular racial or religious group, no matter what their economic circumstances are – is the same as if I said that it is a near universal common trait, among the black population in Watts, California, to engage in illegal conduct (or pick some other anti social or improper behavior of your choice). Tie that together with: this is just my opinion, but I could be wrong – and what do you get? I do not like the answer I get.

      I know any such statements by me about the black population of Watts would be untrue; I have met and represented far too many to ever make such a statement. Yes, they have a high rate of crime, but that is not who they almost universally are. Far from it.

      You had a point to make. You had an opinion. Your syntax and word choices obviously left some of us with what you considered to be a wrong impression, or so I would hope that it was all that it was. But I now have other, unspoken questions.

      Ira is right and I should never have come back.

      Please remove me from your posting list. My reading your blog and posting on it have served no useful purpose. And I need to spend my time completing my book for my grandchildren.

  21. Kata Fisher May 10, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    Important Cheer up note:

  22. Richard Falk May 11, 2016 at 9:52 am #

    I must delete these messages that seem irrelevant to the themes being discussed here.
    You must connect the dots if you send such messages.

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