General Golan’s Holocaust Remembrance Day Speech

15 May

The Holocaust Remembrance Day Speech of Major General Yair Golan


There are many reasons to lose sleep over the kind of leadership that has risen to the surface in almost every important sovereign state, and this dark generalization pertains as much to democracies as to authoritarian polities. As an American confronting the almost certain presidential choice in November between Clinton and Trump, the issue has assumed an immediacy that is not limited to what happens to the country after Americans voters choose between evils. This election affects the entire world. It should not be overlooked that the United States is the first global state in history. As such, it projects military, diplomatic, cultural, and political power globally, and yet the people impacted, sometimes protected but often victimized, have no vote. Those several billion foreign residents are disenfranchised from an election that may be as important as votes cast within their homeland, and thus if America goes badly wrong in coming years the price will be paid globally.


The problem posed extends beyond the morbidity of declining empire, and beyond the alarming prospects of further global warming and even the nuclear catastrophe that has waited decades to happen. This global embrace of disastrous governmental leadership exhibits the unleashing of self-destructive passions of peoples throughout the world in the form of wild-eyed support for demagogues and aspiring autocrats. We seem to be experiencing a global nihilistic mood that is engulfing politics in our time, causing widespread despair and alarm. This political trend is abetted by massive displacements brought about by masses of people fleeing from war torn and drought-stricken countries, especially in the Middle East and Africa. For this reason alone when voices shout bravely into the winds of disorder and depravity, we should listen intently, and respond with expressions of solidarity and gratitude.


The anti-democratic trends and leadership failures cannot be associated with the United States alone. Similar negative tendencies toward the militarism, corruption, and the autocratic consolidation of power are evident in Russia, China, Brazil, India, Japan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and elsewhere. In effect, there is a looming crisis of legitimacy pertaining to governance throughout the entire world, as particularized by crises of legitimate political leadership and of democratic governance.


I write these words as background for an expression of appreciation for the Holocaust Remembrance Day Speech earlier this month of Major General Yair Golan, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Speaking at Tel Yitzak Kibbutz, where the Massuah Institute for Holocaust Studies is located, General Golan urged that this very special day of observance in Israel be treated as an occasion for soul-searching. He placed this call in an extraordinary context by suggesting that conditions in Israel were disturbing in ways relevant to the Holocaust, horror of horrors. In Golan’s words, “[i]t is scary to see horrifying developments that took place in Europe as a whole, and in Germany in particular, some 70, 80 and 90 years ago and finding evidence of those trends here among us, in 2016.” With obvious reference to the abuse of Palestinians the general observed: “It must bring us to some soul-searching as to responsibility of leadership and the quality of our society. It must lead us to fundamentally rethink how we, here and now, behave toward the other.” This barbed thought is reinforced with the observation, “[t]here is nothing easier than hating the stranger, nothing easier than to stir fears and intimidate.”


Golan concretized these abstractions calling for self-scrutiny through a reference to the recent incident in Hebron involving an IDF soldier, Elor Azarya, who shot in the head at point blank range a young Palestinian, Abd al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, who was lying helpless on the ground after having been already shot, allegedly in reaction to have attempted a stabbing. Even more disturbing than this extra-judicial execution itself, has been the upsurge of grassroots support for Azarya in Israel based on the claim that he did the right thing.


General Golan made clear in his speech that he was speaking as a loyal Israeli who was intent on reviving a sense of higher national purpose that he felt to be in jeapardy. As he put it, “[w]e believe in the justice of our cause but not everything we do is just.” And more grandiosely, “[m]ost of all, we should ask how is that we are to realize our purpose as a light unto the nations and a model for our own people.”


Despite these closing assertions General Golan was immediately slammed by prominent leaders and in the mainstream media, including by Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett, a rightest party leader and Minister of Education who was in the audience. Netanyahu called the remarks of General Yalon ‘outrageous’ with an effect that ‘cheapened’ the Holocaust. Miri Regev, Minister of Culture and Sport, insisted that Golan should resign his commission as it was unthinkable to have the “deputy chief of staff, a uniform-wearing officer, be a part of the delegitimation against Israel.”


It is important to acknowledge that up until now Israel remains enough of a democracy that a prominent military leader like Golan can raise serious concerns about deeply distressing national trends, specifically a failure to treat Palestinians with due regard for law and their dignity, and the uncomfortable reminder to the Jews of Israel that this was how the Nazis treated Jews in the period leading up to the Holocaust. Of course, such a comparison is obviously meant to be provocative, especially so I would suppose on the day of solemn remembrance set aside to recall Jewish suffering and victimization, as well as given the still raw memories of the grotesque behavior of Nazi Germany. General Golan’s basic ‘wrong’ was to invoke the wider resonance of such a past in the context of Israel’s own disregard of law and morality with respect to the Palestinian people, with particular emphasis on the victimization of those who have endured the draconian occupation for almost 50 years or have led wasted lives in refugee camps in neighboring countries.


It is encouraging to those of us that believe that the only tolerable future for both Israelis and Palestinians is a just peace that someone of General Golan’s profession and stature can engage so deeply in this treacherous work of self-scrutiny. The hostile reaction of Israeli leaders is to be expected given their extreme rightwing outlook. I found more disappointing and somewhat surprising the totally unconvincing statement of General Golan that his remarks never intended a comparison with Nazi Germany nor did he mean to criticize the current leadership of Israel. Considering the unmistakable meaning of his remarks, elaborated in ways that left no reasonable doubt in his audience as confirmed by the immediate high-level denunciations that his speech received. It is a great pity that pressures and critical reactions apparently led him to make this retreat. It is also surprising as the Haaretz columnist Chemi Shalev noted that General Golan would have spoken as he did without anticipating a hostile reaction. As Shalev put it, either Golan was “brave or stupid or possibly both.”


As often is the case, the original understanding and plain meaning of General Golan’s speech will generate debate and reflection, and his retraction will be properly discounted as backing down in the face of aggressive pushback by the powers that be In Israel. Those in Israel most angered by General Golan oppose the slightest undermining of the Israeli remembrance of the Holocaust as challenging the Zionist portrayal of the Jew as eternal victim. Any words of critical self-scrutiny are unacceptable, especially if made by the country’s second most important military officer.


The question presented is whether this kind of commentary on Israel should be viewed as some serious crack in the Israeli establishment, considering that

remarks of this nature have come from dissident Israeli intellectuals and journalists for some years, including those who have emigrated in despair such as Ilan Pappé and Daniel Levy. Other Israel military officers and retired intelligence chiefs have said harsh politically incorrect things in recent years.


And on the government side there have been many signs of rightest extremism Perhaps none is more relevant than the rise of the Ayelet Shaked to prominence by being named Minister of Justice in the Netanyahu cabinet. It was Shaked who endorsed, if not advocated, a genocidal approach to the Palesetinians in a long Facebook posting during the 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza, a notorious posture that received over a thousand ‘likes’ before being withdrawn. Shaked is also a staunch advocate of moving toward the formal designation of Israel as ‘a Jewish state,’ fostering ethnocracy at the expense of democracy through its disempowering of its 20% non-Jewish minorities.


What this pattern cumulatively expresses is the outcome of Israeli settler expansionism and prolonged occupation that has become calcified as an instance of apartheid, as well as severe and lengthy reliance on collective punishment in the aftermath of the 2005 disengagement from Gaza. The widely admitted collapse of Israeli-Palestine diplomacy, within the Oslo framework, is part of Israeli turn toward militarist unilateralism in addressing Palestinian claims. I would contextualize General Golan’s remarks as a desperate outburst of concern, perhaps not consciously intended, as to what has become of the Zionist project, and fright as to where Israel is heading given trends in the treatment of Palestinian and their rights. Regardless of intentions, this is a message worth heeding.


In contrast to General Golan’s call for self-scrutiny, was the display of the dominant Israeli mood conveyed by the remarks made by Netanyahu, also on Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem. As is his usual point of departure, Netanyahu insisting on Israeli identity as eternal victim. He went on to consider the recent rise of anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe. With typical hyperbole, Netanyahu compares current European anti-Semites to “Nazis who slandered Jews before destroying them.” Not content with such a frightening arousal of fear among Jews, Netanyahu lays the blame for this development on radical Islam without even a reference to the Christian neo-fascist resurgence in Europe, mainly reflecting nativist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic sentiments. Instead, Netanyahu, without naming the offenders, blames “British parliamentarians, senior Swedish officials, and opinion-makers in France” for entering into “odd pairings” with “barbaric fundamentalists, the persecutors of gays, destroyers of cultural treasures.” This is truly inflammatory rhetoric that exhibits total refusal to recognize the degree to which anti-Semitism, to the extent that it is genuinely increasing in Europe, derives not from radical Islam but from the perceived abuse of the Palestinian people and a denial of their rights. At the core of Netanyahu’s diatribe is an effort, now common among Zionist militants around the world, to act as if any serious criticism of Israeli policies and practices should be automatically treated as an embrace of anti-Semitism. Such an outlook has practical goals, especially to demonize the BDS campaign, and even to criminalize BDS and enact punitive measures against those that take part in this nonviolent transnational movement seeking justice and sustainable peace. It is shocking that United States politicians at the state and federal level are playing Netanyahu’s game, and thereby using the muscle of state power to weaken, if not destroy, the moral impulses of people of good will and active conscience who are seeking to oppose injustice and the denial of human rights by recourse to nonviolent initiatives.


There are two intertwined domains of radical concern: (1) the worldwide trend toward autocratic government in various forms, coupled with antipathy toward strangers and ‘others’; (2) the particularization of this trend as it is unfolding in the United States and Israel. There are nationalist variations that will be considered in future commentaries, as well as systemic explanations for why at a time of unprecedented global challenges, creative and progressive political energies are mainly in retreat, and being marginalized. It would seem that the kind of political imagination that would generate hope for the future of humanity is currently on life-support.



113 Responses to “General Golan’s Holocaust Remembrance Day Speech”

  1. Kata Fisher May 15, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

    Professor Falk,
    I think that antipathy toward strangers and others is rooted in Medievalism – medieval cities. I was told this while I was a kid in Germany – a very old lady told me that. She told me about her life experience as a young married woman that moved to the city and how the locals were antisocial toward newcomers – and she told me that it was medievalism.
    As a kid, I was eating ice cream at her restaurant, and she had all fun stories about the city and the locals. Her Name was Frau Sonne.

  2. ray032 May 16, 2016 at 6:52 am #

    Richard, this appears in Haaretz this morning.

    ‘Why Would That General Compare Israel to 1930s Germany? Hmm…’

    What was going through that anti-Semite general’s head when he compared the Chosen People to 1930s Europe? A few pointers.

    With all the festivals and days of sadness behind us, we can now return to the nagging question: What on earth was going through that anti-Semite general’s head when he dared hint that we, the Chosen People, commit abominable acts like those perpetrated by the gentiles? Really, what’s he talking about?

    OK, let’s start with the small details known to everyone. Maybe he was talking about:

    1. The rising number of calls proclaiming, “Death to the unchosen people!”

    2. The demands not to employ the “unchosen” ones, buy from them or rent or sell apartments to them, and drive them from the Holy Land (all sanctified by the Rabbinate and other kosher rabbis, naturally).

    3. The growing thuggishness that labels every “unchosen” person a legitimate target for insults, abuse, assaults, vilification and, if possible, manslaughter.

    4. A soccer team that swears its ranks will include only those of pure blood and religion, and whose fans’ most popular chant is “Death to the unchosen ones.”

    5. A society that produces pogrom-like actions and lynch mobs, church and mosque arsonists, and plenty of thugs and scoundrels.

    6. Elected officials encouraging extrajudicial killings on our streets.

    7. A lawmaker (and his wife) openly demanding racial segregation between the pure and impure in maternity wards.

    In short, no big deal – just routine matters that no longer excite folk. Consequently, we have no choice but to expand the list and include some other items that may have escaped the collective memory…

    8. Spiritual leaders who publish books that determine when it’s acceptable to kill gentiles and their children. These religious leaders still tend their flocks.

    9. A movement that defends the purity of the people and its blood, and persecutes lecherous “unchosen” ones who dare consort with daughters of the Chosen Ones in order to defile them. On his Facebook page, the head of this holy movement calls for the mass murder of the “unchosen ones,” knowing no harm will befall him.

    10. Tens, if not hundreds or thousands, of businesses boasting of their employees’ purity.

    11. The chief Sephardi peddler of religion who declared, “Goyim were created solely to serve the Chosen People.” His noble predecessors determined that only Slavic nations were created in order to serve the then-master race. Our religious pastor surpasses them: he deemed all nations our servants.

    12. The education and culture ministers, who work tirelessly to synchronize education, culture, the media and arts, so everyone speaks in unison about one people, one state, one Torah and one viewpoint.

    13. The brilliant legal sophistry that prohibits the “unchosen” ones from purchasing state lands. Only the Chosen People may do so.

    14. The hundreds of communities that meticulously ensure the purity of their chosen population. The “unchosen” may not enter their gates lest they cause contamination by their very presence. All of this is legal.

    15. The Absentee Property Law, which regulates the assets of “absentees” even when the “absentees” are clearly present and living a stone’s throw away. Only the laws of Chosen People have clauses relating to “absent-present” persons whose presence doesn’t detract from their status as “absentees.”

    16. The fact that the assets of the “chosen ones” remain theirs forever, even after thousands of years of abandonment that exceed any statute of limitations. In contrast, the assets of the “unchosen” – even when they’re still holding them – will be confiscated, stolen, expropriated and transferred to the Chosen People. Just as our magnanimous Lord in heaven decreed.

    17. A society that controls millions of “inferior” people who lack civil and human rights, downtrodden by a mechanism called the “Civil Administration” and headed by a general.

    18. A state that locks up a million and a half people in a gigantic enclosure, unsure whether to call it “Pale of Settlement” or the “Gaza Ghetto.”

    19. A regime that imposes a grotesque legal system upon millions, which doesn’t require evidence and shows no truth, justice or compassion. However, the system does have a “court” – a contemptible theater whose main purpose is to give a “legal” and “authorized” appearance to a military dictatorship.

    20. A justice minister who goes out of her way to crush the legal system, liberating the rulers at last from oppressive legal constraints.

    21. A government that rules an occupied people, and sometimes its own subjects, according to emergency regulations that give it limitless authority “for security reasons.” (Damn, I wish I could remember where I’ve heard of this trick being used before.)

    22. A state – unique among all the world’s democracies – in which there’s no legal way for a “chosen” person to marry an “unchosen” one.

    23. A government that wholeheartedly believes in the Chosen People’s right to continue expanding eastward. This space extends from Mesopotamia to Nuweiba.

    24. A state that insists it’s the “only democracy” in the Middle East, whereas it’s actually the only “military theocracy” in the entire world.

    25. A state that proves pop psychology is occasionally accurate in its diagnosis: an abused child can indeed become an abusive adult.

    And that’s pretty much it.

    Is it because of these piffling details that Obersturmbannführer Golan remembered what he did? Odd. Very odd. There’s no comparison, clearly.

    • Richard Falk May 16, 2016 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks, Ray, for posting this. I had also read it, and was thinking of doing so, but
      it is better coming from you! Richard

      • ray032 May 16, 2016 at 10:41 am #

        Now that the falkuncensored cabal has retreated to their mutual admiration base, in reviewing some of their comments, I see the darts and arrows directed at you throughout their comments were intended to harass, demoralize and undermine your credibility, integrity and decency in a vain attempt to silence you in your committed pursuit of Justice for the Palestinian people.

        You don’t have an official UN position anymore, but yours is a formidable voice still in many International conferences. Keep on keeping on.

        May Hashem grant you the strength, physically, mentally,and Spiritually, to continue to inspire the many of us who look to you for Leadership.


      • Richard Falk May 16, 2016 at 10:48 am #

        Ray: I greatly appreciate this supportive comment, which does encourage me to keep going, especially
        as the Zionist hard core the world over tries to demonize critics of Israel’s policies and practices,
        using the broad brush of anti-Semitism to accomplish this dirty work.

      • Laurie Knightly May 16, 2016 at 11:19 am #

        Some of us are strong advocates of Falkuncensured. A control of loose vowels such as a u for that o would be most welcome.

      • Kata Fisher May 16, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

        A courtesy note:

        Zionism does not seem to be some insane radical cult. It is integrating various people of Judaic religions/cults into the ancient Land of Israel.

        Zionism includes Messianic Jews – and that would not be just another cult.

        Zionism will be integrating Jews into the Land of Israel one way or other (peace/war) just because there are legally binding strains to that. Meaning, the Faith-rights. Zionism (as Project – as some call it) can also mean work of the Faith under spiritual attack – in dear need to preserve – regardless what is the cost. Natural loses may be nothing compared to the spiritual loses to the different tribes of Jews and strangers among them. But, I certainly do not understand all things and have all answers what exactly is going on (at this point in time).

        In fact, I know – if there is a Faith Movement and is hindered or restricted – this will not be without bad consequences.

        I am not a bit surprised that Professor has gotten himself into a serious trouble not discerning between Faith and Religion/cult-sects movement, all together. However, a practitioner of International Law should know difference due to exhausted bindings of legal terms to the Faith rights – and rights of religion (illegal) that are inseparable according to the terms of legal terms of civil laws.

        I think that most of the criticism he got it just because of that. However, this is my opinion, and although irrelevant to me personally because I only look at Church Law.

        Church Law does not recognize religion (illegal) among members.

        Non-members may or may not be allowed to illegal religion because spiritual excommunication and grave harm. Not-relevant to the Church what is done – or it is. If non-members (those who are spiritually excommunicated and non-members) apply religion (illegal) to the members of the Church – they are automatically under active penalties due to the Person and Work of Jesus Christ of Nazareth in the Church.

        I guess best for everyone to proofread and check for validity of the spirit in their laws / mind and see how living or dead it is.

        I personally do not even care what people hold for the truth or lies.

      • Richard Falk May 16, 2016 at 10:03 pm #

        I agree that Zionism should not be conceived of as a cult, but neither is it
        a religious movement; it seems to me to be somewhere between a political project
        and a global secular movement. As it evolved, it attracted various segments of
        Judaism, including those deeply faith-based. What Zionism is at the present time,
        considering that the Jewish homeland has been established, is not easy to specify.

      • Fred Skolnik May 17, 2016 at 8:46 am #

        Terrorism deserves neither – not a rationalization and not an explanation but an unequivocal condemnation. And it certainly doesn’t deserve comparison with the actions of the French and Dutch partisans.

        I am certainly aware that the Palestinians are suffering in Gaza. The reason they are suffering is because Hamas is using residential neighborhood as launching sites for rocket attacks on Israel’s civilian population. The greatest service you could have done them was to counsel Hamas to throw their rockets into the sea, You chose instead to help them build a brief against Israel. Where has it gotten them?

      • Fred Skolnik May 17, 2016 at 9:33 am #

        I notice that you removed my comment enumerating what expressions of Jew hatred actually consist of, namely,disparaging generalizations about Jewish history, origins, faith, character, morality, wealth, greed, power, influence, arrogance and even genetic makeup, such as are found on your site. Since you and your admirers are again claiming that your critics are covering up Israel’s sins by unjustifiably labeling critics of Israel antisemites, I think it is appropriate to define the difference between criticism and hatred, And wouldn;t you agree that the above generalizations anout Jews pretty much sum things up?

      • Richard Falk May 17, 2016 at 11:24 am #

        No, I don’t agree, and I do not want this website to be filled with recurrent allegations of ‘Jew hatred’
        that do not, in my judgment, correspond with the real attitudes of myself or those you persistently so label,
        and you apparently do not even consider what you persist in doing as defamatory and personally hurtful.

      • ray032 May 17, 2016 at 10:11 am #

        Fred, stop complaining. Richard deleted all my replies to you as well!

    • Kata Fisher May 20, 2016 at 9:27 am #


      I just read this, and reread it – it tells you about past/present woes

  3. Laurie Knightly May 16, 2016 at 10:58 am #

    My additions:

    26. Any state, religion, individual, or identity group anywhere that aids/sponsors/promotes these 25 ‘abominable acts’ .

    27. Any group, government, or individual[s] anywhere that maligns, slanders, libels those persons who are qualified to challenge these ‘abominable acts’ as persons of conscience.

    • Kata Fisher May 16, 2016 at 11:14 am #

      A Note:

      “Group think is difficult. You may have nothing to do with it.”

    • ray032 May 17, 2016 at 5:07 am #

      “one of the chief tasks of any dialogue with the Gentile world is to prove that the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is not a distinction at all,”
      Abba Eban – 1973
      Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister during the 1967 war

      This is the same Abba Eban who said after that war, “”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.”

      Because the Jews consider themselves ‘chosen,’ the brutal, total economic warfare Israel has waged against Gaza since 2007 does not fall into the same category since unchosen Palestinian life is not worth as much as Jewish life.

    • ray032 May 17, 2016 at 6:24 am #

      Again,Fred, you employ your old tactic for detraction. You should change tactice because we can see through it.

      Of course you would not recognize it Fred, but your Chosen, Superiority attitude shows, referring to me as a “creature”

      Believe it or not, I am being reformed by the God of Abraham into God’s Image Today. God chose me for these Times, and not only me.

      He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

      But as many as received him, to them he gave power TO BECOME the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

      Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
      John 1

    • ray032 May 17, 2016 at 7:15 am #

      Again, Fred, with your detraction!

      God Loves People Lovers, in Practice and Patience, Jews and Gentiles, every shade and language, everybody, every creature.

  4. rehmat1 May 16, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

    Dr. Falk as far as the dual between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is concerned, I agree with Philip Giraldi (December 22, 2015). “No matter who becomes US President, Israel wins.”

    As for Maj. Gen.Yair Golan’s lecture on Jewish tolerance is concerned – Miko Peled, son of Israel’s 1967 war hero, Lt. Gen. Peled called it “pinnacle of hypocrisy”.

    “General Golan began his mandatory military service in 1980, the same year as I. Interestingly, though I never met him, he served in the same unit as I, and later became its commander. But whereas I realized that Israel was committing crimes and engaged in destruction of another nation and I swore never to return to military service, he made it his career,” Miko Peled said.

    How hollow was Golan’s conscience? Well, the very next day he backtracked from his “moral” stand and apologized to Netanyahu regime and the Organized Jewry at large.

    Anyway, I find it very touchy for the pro-Israel goons to accept the fact that their Jewish ancestors did collaborate with Hitler and Nazis. On August 7, 1033, Haavara Agreement (moving house in Hebrew) was signed between the world Jewish Agency and Adolf Hitler.

    • walker percy May 18, 2016 at 6:22 am #

      they probably said they would not allow him to attend his son’s bar mitzvah. Just like Goldstone and other famous spineless recanters. Not Falk, though.

      • Kata Fisher May 18, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

        Walker! So glad that you are alive!

      • rehmat1 May 18, 2016 at 3:48 pm #

        Goldstone and Gen. Golan are two different kind of Zionist Jews. Goldstone is South African and is not a ‘war criminal’ – contrary to that Gen. Golan is born-Israel-Jewish settler, and 101% ‘war criminal’. If one study Israel’s society from an objective source, he will find out that Israel Zionist Jews love ‘war criminals. All top Israeli political and military leaders have been either born into European Jewish terrorist families, or themselves proved to be terrorist by their actions against Palestinians and Lebanese.

        Anyway, Gen. Golan did Teshuvah, but Miko Peled and his sister professor Nurit Peled-Elhanan didn’t when they said: “Israeli soldiers target Palestinian children”, or “Israel’s school textbooks teach hatred toward Palestinian and Arabs.”

  5. ray032 May 17, 2016 at 8:01 am #

    An interesting read came to my inbox this am which should prompt more discussion on this, Richard’s article.
    ‘The war over the meaning of the Holocaust between Netanyahu and General Golan’

    I agree with the opening paragraph. Moral armies don’t do things like that, especially an army whose leaders call the most moral army in the world.

    “For all the battles over “image and reality” in the Mideast you can not get a more unambiguous “story” than this video. An Israeli soldier, a medic no less, decided to execute a prone injured Palestinian on the ground in occupied Hebron on March 24. We viewers can’t be blamed in assuming that we have reached a point in history where all civilized societies agree you can’t just execute injured enemies on the ground because, say, the soldier got into a fight with his girlfriend that morning.”

    The Zionists repeat over and over again, the Palestinians teach their children to hate Jews only because they are Jews, and not because of a 48 year brutal Jewish Military Dictatorship dehumanizing Palestinians on a daily basis.

    Here I was going to post a YouTube video of Jewish Settlers in Hebron teaching their Jewish children to hate and kill Arabs. I can only imagine being a Palestinian in Hebrow where there are Jews only roads in the center of the city for Jewish settlers carrying guns.Unfortunately, the video, ‘Israeli Settlers in Hebron (Al Khalil) has been removed by YouTube on these grounds, “This video contains content from ARD, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.”

    Uploaded on Jan 28, 2012
    This is a documentary about the few hundred Israeli settlers who have chosen to live among the 100 000 Palestinians in the southern West Bank town of Hebron (Al Khalil). Apologies for the poor picture quality and the sound is slightly out of sync. VHS rip. Originally aired on SBS Australia in mid 1990s.

    Category: News & Politics
    License: Standard YouTube License

    It has nothing to do with being Palestinian or hating Jews. Being human in CanaDa, I can easily see and relate, how that visual reality on the ground for the Palestinians during the last 48 years of a brutal Israeli/Jewish Military Dictatorship would JUSTIFIABLY cause resentment for the occupation.

    • ray032 May 17, 2016 at 8:08 am #

      Netanyahu said (from Haaretz):
      “Questioning the IDF’s [Israeli Defense Force’s] morality is outrageous and unacceptable… IDF soldiers, our children, maintain a high moral standard when they deal with bloodthirsty murderers.” The army’s murder investigation must take into account the fact that “IDF soldiers deal with bloodthirsty murderers under difficult operational circumstances.”

      Education Minister Bennett said:
      “Talk of a murder charge against a combat soldier during a combat operation is a moral mistake that blurs the lines between good and evil. I expect his mistake to be mended.”

      Then three weeks later, Netanyahu issued a statement going even further:
      As the father of a soldier and as Prime Minister, I would like to reiterate: The IDF backs its soldiers…. Our soldiers are not murderers.
      They act against murderers and I hope that a way will be found to balance between the action and the overall context of the event.

      And, to finish the sequence of events: What is the meaning of General Yair Golan’s Holocaust speech that the Israeli media have interpreted as a reaction and even a rebuke to the official discourse around our murdering medic.

      Golan is deputy chief of staff for the IDF. The key quotes from his speech were these lines:

      “The Holocaust, in my opinion, must lead us to a deep reflection on the nature of the human, even when that human is ourselves; It must lead us to a deep reflection on the responsibilities of leadership, and on the quality of society. It must lead us to think thoroughly about how we – here and now – treat the foreigner, the widow and the orphan, and those similar to them.

      “The Holocaust must lead us to think about our public life, and even more so, it must lead all those who can – not just those who want – to bear public responsibility. Because If there is something that scares us about the memory of the Holocaust, it is identifying nauseating processes that occurred in Europe in general and Germany in particular, 70, 80 and 90 years ago, and finding evidence of their presence here among us, today, in 2016.”

      • rehmat1 May 17, 2016 at 9:44 am #

        According to Dr. Norman Finkelstein, Holocaust never appeared on American screens until 1965 – became Zionist Mafia’s whipping stick to silence the critics of the Zionist entity. There are nearly 8,000 Jews declared “Self-Hating Israel-Threatening (S.H.I.T) by the Israel Hasbara Committee so far.

        As Gild Atzmon beautifully described the label: “In the past anti-Semite were those who were hated by Christians in the West. Now, a person is antisemite who is hated by the Organized Jewry.

        The whining is so loud that even Barack Obama had to equate Holocaust with religions of Christianity and Islam.

        In September 2012, during his speech at the UN General Assembly, while commenting, indirectly, on the Israel-Jewish anti-Islam movie ‘Innocence of Muslims‘, Barack Obama said: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied“. Watch the video below.

  6. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 17, 2016 at 12:57 pm #


    This is a request for an explanation:

    You posted this comment from Walker Percy:

    “Jewish people… have decided to bring down human civilization (like Sampson [sic]) rather than admit their perfidy in establishing a new crusader state in Jerusalem”; “this conflict is simply an artifact of Jewish neurosis.”

    “It is this systematic indoctrination, the Jewish religion itself, which causes these problems, and probably always has”; “Israel itself is only the latest embodiment of this peculiarly Jewish neurosis, the mother of all self-fulfilling prophecies, and one of the greatest danger that human civilization has ever faced.”

    “The jewish religion is nothing but a vast, loathesome ponzi scheme of shaming and coercion, whose practitioners will eventually be forced to renounce it.”

    Fred Skolnik challenged this as anti-Semitism

    You responded:

    “We read this differently. I know Walker. In my view this is an attempt to overcome anti-Semitism through self-scrutiny, not to justify or rationalize it. You may disagree with these perceptions of his but they are widely believed, and self-scrutiny is always a healthy impulse for a vulnerable group or individual.”

    Richard, how can posting anti-Semitic statements be characterized, explained or rationalized as an attempt to overcome anti-Semitism?

    In your view, who engages in self-scrutiny? The anti-Semite who reads it and is appalled by his own bigotry. Or the Jews, who are dumbstruck by the revelation that this is the way people look of them, repent, mend their ways and overcome anti-Semitism by avoiding their nasty behavior?

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Richard Falk May 17, 2016 at 5:34 pm #


      I am not willing to justify each decision as to blocking and non blocking, and I acknowledge that my assessments
      might not always be consistent or perceived as fair. Also, you do not see the many comments hostile to Israel and
      Jews that I have blocked. There have been many objections to my failures to block comments of yours and others who
      criticize posts or react to the comments of others. I am more sympathetic with strong substantive arguments on both
      sides that do not demean via personal attacks. I do not consider contentions that Jewish role in history has either been
      negative or positive as expressions of anti-Semitism, nor do I consider contentions that Jews exercise too much power
      and influence on behalf of Israel as anti-Semitic, but as discussions of an empirical reality. The discrediting of
      Walt and Mearsheuner book on the Israel Lobby as unacceptable. I know both authors, and neither can be considered as
      anti-Semitic; their main concern was and is reforming American foreign policy.


      • Richard Falk May 18, 2016 at 10:15 am #

        Fred: I am not engaging in such a conversation with you. If you insist on pressing such
        points do not expect your comments to appear on this blogsite. RF

    • Walker Percy May 18, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

      Dear Rabbi,
      Your tragic perseverance in rehashing my comments from FOUR years ago fills me with….pride, and a renewed determination to continue the fight against zionism, which is making slow progress. We just have to continue gradually ramping up BDS and soon we will have the one-state solution, and the end of jewish rule in Israel. Yes, it’s true Ira: your grandkids will have to swim in the pool with the goyim. But, like in South Africa, after a few years of truth and reconciliation (and mucho reparations), Israel can rejoin the world community, albeit with that smirk wiped off its collective face. Slowly, the Middle East may heal, once the wicked influences of Israeli neo-con treachery is fully revealed, and begins to abate. We just have to worry about the last schmendrick in the velvet-lined Ark below the Knesset, with his finger on the button, launching the dolphins on Moscow, Berlin, London, DC, all the pre-programmed revenge sites. I’m sure there are nudniks in Hebron and rednecks in Witchita who dream about that….But the rest of us back here on planet earth need to talk you’all down, before things deteriorate too much further.

      Ira, I am puzzled by your fascination with my comments, did I hit some nail on the head? Are there other random anonymous commenters that you obsess over year after year? Please let me know what I am doing right. And, why do you want to republish my comments, if you are so offended by them?

      Looking forward to your reply,

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 18, 2016 at 6:03 pm #

        Dear Walker,

        So glad you’re back. It’s been too long since the blog conversation was enlivened by your straightforward, unvarnished remarks. There’s been too much of that politically correct namby-pamby,

        Now that you’re back, perhaps you can clear-up confusion as to what you meant by some of those long ago remarks. It was Fred Skolnik, not me, who asked Prof. Falk why he posted your views, which most folks see as anti-Semitic and which, if memory serves, are banned by most, perhaps all, other websites. Prof. Falk replied:

        “I know Walker. In my view this is an attempt to overcome anti-Semitism through self-scrutiny, not to justify or rationalize it. You may disagree with these perceptions of his but they are widely believed, and self-scrutiny is always a healthy impulse for a vulnerable group or individual.”

        I found this analysis confusing, and Prof. Falk declined to elaborate or clarify. So I’ll ask you directly: In your view, who engages in self-scrutiny? The anti-Semite who reads it and is appalled by his own bigotry. Or the Jews, who are dumbstruck by the revelation that this is the way people look of them, repent, mend their ways and overcome anti-Semitism by avoiding their nasty behavior?

        Or do you have another purpose?

        As regards your unfortunate personal snipe at me and my family. My grandkids live in a Boston suburb where they attend public schools and swim in the same pool as the other kids.

        (btw, we don’t call non-Jews goyyim, although you appear to take pleasure in doing so.)

        As for me, I live in the same Pacific Coast seaside community as Prof. Falk. I have membership in the local YMCA, are work out there daily. Earlier in my career, I served a term as president of Chicago’s Council of Religious Leaders, and received an award for leadership in building strong relationships among the city’s religious streams. So you’ll have to find another target for your vitriol.

        And finally, sorry to disappoint, I don’t lose sleep obsessing over you or anybody else posting blog comments, anonymous or not.

        But I’ll be grateful if you clear up the matter mentioned above.



      • Kata Fisher May 18, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

        “Settlers at Hebron are violent, dispossess them.”

      • Kata Fisher May 18, 2016 at 7:31 pm #

        “Settlers at Hebron are violent, disposes them.”

      • Walker Percy May 18, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

        Ira, you have asked me to explain my purpose in posting comments years ago that you feel crossed a red line. My purpose then, and now, is to use the power of the Internet to persuade as many Americans as possible to end our shameful support of Israel. I hope that my comments add to the growing consensus that Zionism is ethically wrong and obsolete, and it must end if we hope to avoid perpetual war.

        My beliefs echo those of Ken Livingstone: I think the creation of Israel was a catastrophe, and unless enough people speak out, terrible things will happen as a result. Jewish people (like me) count extra, because the other side claims that they speak in the name of all Jews, even those who are anti-Zionist. I have to break it to you, anti-semitism is not caused by an irrational hatred of jews. When I read the comments in JPost or Arutz Sheva from those low lifes, with their potty mouths, their crude expression of feelings of superiority (most recently) over Muslims, and their pathetic lies and transparent efforts at “public diplomacy” (that is, propaganda), I do feel hatred, but it is not irrational. If you want to label me an anti-semitic, feel free. I already lost my job over this, so I am fearless and highly motivated. You can’t and won’t get me to shut up.

        Please indulge me by participating in a little thought experiment: what if, as Livingstone said, all the holocaust survivors had been absorbed into USA and UK. You would not have to be engaging in this painful, futile attempt to convince others to keep shtum. It is time to face facts: Zionism is impossible in the 21st century, and it must be dismantled, carefully, so nothing blows up. The longer we wait to take action, the greater the hazard to our fragile, interconnected world. Zionists cannot continue acting with impunity forever, claiming divine permission to appropriate the property of others, and humiliating their neighbors by treating them like lesser beings.

        So, what looks to you like an inexplicable viral infection looks to others like freedom to think independently, to reach conclusions based on review of the historical record, and then to take necessary action. I hope this clarifies my position, but I doubt you will find my explanations very satisfying. Looking forward to your reply.

      • Kata Fisher May 19, 2016 at 5:33 am #

        To Fred Skolnik note:
        May 18, 2016 at 8:46 pm #


        “excusing satanic seals in bloodlines among Jews.”

        Which actually gives no room to understanding and progress (here) and it is far from (among ) Jews and Arabs.

        “But here Fred has accomplished the mission” (for the Jews)


        “Bad day.” “A Day without a bay” “Sail out.”
        “Sea travel will make you a bit sickly, and how d’ya!”
        “The Monster of the Sea – the Bear in my hair!”
        “It must be all his trouble’s!”

        Added: “excusing satanic seals in bloodlines among Jews.”

      • walker percy May 19, 2016 at 6:14 am #

        Dear Fred, even pathetic worms like me have a voice nowadays. I welcome your decision to haul out the big guns and compare my comments with those of Hitler. That is the surest sign that you got nothin’, just the usual mindless repetition of the mantra that, somehow, the end of a jewish majority in Israel is tantamount to a new holocaust. As in all democracies, grown ups in Israel have to accept that their crazy scheme to artificially maintain a 20% arab minority to provide to create the pretext of democracy, while maintaining millions in stateless impoverishment, cannot be sustained in an era of total information access. It is unfortunate that zionists have behaved so poorly for so many years, so the transition to actual democracy will be painful for them, but it must happen. I know that your rejoinder will be, “we offered them a state in ’48, but they refused”. But, Fred, if I make an offer for a used car from my neighbor, but he refuses to sell, I am not justified in simply taking his car. If Zionists had acted with less violence and dishonesty, perhaps their offers would not have been turned down. Now you have to sharpen your pencil and try again. You may not simply declare yourself the winner and take what you want. That is what will cause the next Hitler to emerge, not some pathetic worm like me pecking words into a laptop somewhere in America.

      • Fred Skolnik May 19, 2016 at 6:34 am #

        Insofar as you are trying to reason, you are overlooking the fact that the Arabs did not own the Middle East, just as they did not own Spain and Persia. But we know where all this is coming from, long before you were reading the Jerusalem Post and long before Arutz Sheva even existed, You told us yourself.

      • Richard Falk May 19, 2016 at 8:33 am #

        Fred: I have indicated many times to you that drawing comparison with Hitler and Mein Kampf is unacceptably
        defamatory. I would have thought you would appreciate and respect this blog policy..

  7. Beau Oolayforos May 17, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,
    Bravo for General Golan – sentiments like his are all the more heartening, coming from such an unexpected source. I shall never forget my uncle, USMA class of 1950, who in the summer of 1968 shocked me by bluntly advocating withdrawal from Vietnam. He was on his way to becoming a general, and had mostly (of course) militarist opinions, but he at least could see the folly of that war.
    And now, the Baghdad bombings, along with the Pentagon denials, start to remind me of the Tet offensive – are we going to have to evacuate the US embassy rooftop, again? Or will we have the wisdom to acknowledge the criminal hubris of Wolfowitz & Co. and devote our efforts to peace and healing?
    If so, there will be a lot of work to do – your opening paragraphs echo Hamlet – “…’tis an unweeded garden – things rank and gross in nature possess it merely…”

    • Richard Falk May 17, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

      Thanks for a valuable comment that raises several crucial issues. When someone of General Golan’s speaks as he did,
      even with his questionable ‘clarification,’ makes people think in ways that can produce wider reactions of skepticism,
      which is a first step toward abandoning a failed and self-destructive policy.

      • ray032 May 19, 2016 at 7:41 am #

        Richard, the discussion continues not only here, but in Israel as well. We can only hope it is the 1st step toward abandoning a failed and self-destructive policy.

        This was in Haaretz Yesterday. It is the Generals calling for relief of repressive measures against the Palestinians in the occupation. The Civilians don’t fight the wars.

        The ‘Renegade Jews’ Running Israel’s Military

        The more the Israeli right struggles to smear them, the clearer it becomes that the warnings sounded by senior commanders are of enormously profound moral importance. What part of ‘Your house is on fire’ does Netanyahu not get?

        I am, by birth and temperament, an American. You know what that means. A person of volcanic anger who smiles a lot.

        And who doesn’t like to be told what to think. Even by other Americans.

        By Sheldon Adelson, for example, whose newspaper Israel Hayom spells out for Israelis exactly What To Think Today in red, white and blue banner headlines.

        Or by outspoken Donald Trump supporter David Horowitz, who this week branded his fellow prominent rightist media figure Bill Kristol a “renegade Jew” for opposing the Trump candidacy.

        Or by Caroline Glick.

        Last week, discussing policies and actions of the Israel Defense Forces, conservative columnist Glick wrote the following:

        “The General Staff is the Left’s representative, and has in recent months served as its surrogate government, taking steps that advance the Left’s agenda against the wishes of the government and the public that elected it.”

        Glick singled out for particular condemnation the words of IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan, who, she said in a colossal oversimplification, compared Israeli society to the Nazis on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

        Golan’s speech, read in full, is a passionate and moving plea to safeguard democracy in Israel, and to bolster standards of conduct governing the behavior of soldiers in the field.

        The Glick column joined a broad offensive by the right – orchestrated in part by the Prime Minister’s Office – to discredit and smear Golan and his superiors, army chief Gadi Eisenkot and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

        But that’s where the campaign begins to run aground. The more the right in Israel struggles to smear the three, the clearer it becomes that the message and the warnings of the leaders of the military are of enormously profound moral importance.

        A telling example was the calculated leak of the recording of a talk which Golan, then commander of the army’s primary division in the West Bank, gave 10 years ago to a group of young people prior to their induction into the army. The subject: limiting the use of military force toward a civilian population in a combat zone.

        Whether leaked, as some speculated, by the Prime Minister’s Office, or by others, the content of the Golan speech returned the focus to an incident at the core of the dispute, the March 24 killing by IDF medic Elor Azaria of a supine, wounded Palestinian assailant following the knifing of another soldier. Azaria is on trial for manslaughter.

        After initially supporting army leaders in their emphasis on stricter observance of rules of engagement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – sensing a groundswell of hard right support for the medic’s actions – has signaled repeatedly that his heart is with the soldier.

        The 2006 recording of Golan’s talk, as transcribed by Yedioth Ahronoth, begins:

        “Facing civilians, yes, we take risks upon ourselves, and rightly so. It’s unacceptable that, for the sake of avoiding danger, we should now decide to whack down apartment houses, killing women, children, and the uninvolved there. It is unbearable that we should take human lives without justification.”

        Asked by one of the youths whether he would give preference to civilians or to one of his soldiers, Golan replied without hesitation: “Civilians – you will not kill a 60-year-old woman, even if she is an Arab. Not in every combat situation is everyone immediately threatened, nor is a terrorist hiding behind every Arab woman.”

        Golan added that in some areas, use of firearms contrary to army orders has constituted “simply criminal behavior.”

        He cited a particularly grievous incident, in which four soldiers stationed at a checkpoint encountered an approaching Palestinian. “One of the soldiers was checking a Palestinian woman. It seems to me that it appeared to the Palestinian man that he [the soldier] was groping her.”

        The Palestinian man then charged the soldiers, Golan continued. “He ran toward them like a madman, to beat them. There are four soldiers standing there, facing one Palestinian. What do they do? They shoot him. Why take a life? What do they want – for us to justify that? Is that the nation in which you would want to live?”

        Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu has never truly examined and confronted the circumstances and consequences of the mounting IDF toll of Palestinian civilian casualties in war and unrest.

        Instead, far-right politicians and extremist activists have called for ever more killing, even of disarmed and wounded suspects.

        Last February, a month before the Hebron killing, Eisenkot ignited a firestorm on the right in a talk with high school students, similar to Golan’s a decade before.

        Defending stricter rules of engagement, Eisenkot declared “The IDF cannot speak in slogans, such as ‘if someone comes to kill you, arise to kill them first,’ or ‘everyone who carries scissors should be killed.'”

        Rather, troops can only open fire when there is a direct threat to life, he said, adding, in a reference to a police killing of a young Palestinian teen, “I don’t want a soldier to empty a [gun ammunition] magazine on a girl with scissors.”

        Rightist members of the government led by Transportation and Road Safety Minister Yisrael Katz and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely attacked Eisenkot for the statement. Netanyahu stayed mum, waiting for days and days and days before issuing a perfunctory and somewhat disengaged statement of support for his army chief.

        As friction has increased, Netanyahu has signaled time and again, in every speech, whether at a Moroccan Jewish Mimouna feast or at Holocaust Remembrance observances, that he is with “the soldiers, the soldiers” – including the medic who executed a disarmed assailant – and not the generals and the defense minister who are their superiors.

        The leak of Golan’s 2006 speech – intended to discredit him, but actually, in many quarters, achieving the opposite – was clearly designed to undermine a speech on Sunday by Ya’alon at the Defense Ministry.

        Ya’alon, whose wide-ranging address in favor of liberal and democratic values included support for the rights of gays and victims of sexual harassment, sparked Netanyahu’s ire by encouraging army officers to speak their minds – to see themselves as educators as well as military leaders – even if their views are at variance with the senior command and the country’s political leadership.

        This week, a new voice lent additional weight and breadth to the argument. In a closed-door Sunday briefing to reservist soldiers, Hebron Brigade Commander Col. Yariv Ben-Ezra severely criticized Azaria’s actions as “a serious failure” carried out at a time when there was no danger to those present, and that the shooting actually endangered the soldiers in the area.

        In the remarks, a recording of which led Israeli TV Channel 10’s Tuesday night news program, Ben-Ezra said that politicians and rabbis should not call for altered rules of engagement mandating the killing of all terrorists, thereby confusing troops in the field.

        Ben-Ezra was also heard to hint that in the absence of a strategic diplomatic initiative by the government, the current intifada would escalate in intensity.

        On Wednesday, Netanyahu delivered his comprehensive response to the moral positions of his senior military: The worst slap in the face he could think of. He let it be known that he would replace Ya’alon with Avigdor Lieberman, perhaps Israel’s foremost exponent of summary executions, anti-democratic legislation, and full-on anti-Arab racism.

        Mr. Prime Minister, what part of ‘Your house is on fire’ do you not get?

      • Fred Skolnik May 19, 2016 at 8:30 am #

        Cutting and pasting anti-establishment opinion pieces that take as gospel the remarks of one or two generals that give them what they want is not evidence or an argument. For your information Israeli soldiers do not shoot 60-year-old Arab women standing around minding their own business. If they did there wouldn’t be any 60-year-old women in the West Bank. Secondly, to be perfectly honest, I myself would shoot to kill an Arab running at me “like a madman,” as Golan put it, for the very simple reason that it takes just a second or two to run, say, thirty feet and in that time it is impossible to know what he is carrying, a knife, a gun, or a suicide belt, and no one on this earth could figure out in the space of one or two seconds that the Arab was running at them because he thought they were “groping” an Arab woman, as Golan surmises.

        So much for the substance of these assertions and I would be happy to debate them with any serious person, including the author, but not with someone like yourself who is out looking to stick it to Israel and the Jews and does not have the remotest possibility of evaluating or verifying what he reads.

        Since you yourself are adding nothing of substance to any discussion but cutting and pasting anything that makes Israel look bad, and since you have on numerous occasions let slip remarks about Jewish “venality” and “worship of the gods of gold and silver,” Jewish “arrogance and superiority complexes” and even the unfavorable genetic makeup of the Jews, that is, have repeated the classic calumnies of antisemites, you deserve to be exposed every time you open your filthy mouth. I realize that you are mentally unbalanced. Normal people don’t rant on streetcorners or have restraining orders issued against them. They also don’t go into a psuedo-prophetic mode at the drop of a hat or spend endless hours combing the Internet for incriminating evidence to use against Israel and the Jews. But that doesn’t excuse you. Ordinarily I’d suggest psychiatric help, but you’re probably beyond help, so I’ll just continue to expose you.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 21, 2016 at 8:24 am #


        I agree. The impact of Gen. Golan’s remarks has drawn attention to the existence of a large and potentially powerful peace movement among Jews in Israel and throughout the world. While Golan’s military rank and the timing of his remarks makes him unique, numerous other voices are heard opposing the Occupation, demanding full rights for Palestinians in Israel and the Territories, and advocating for an independent Palestinian stated in the context of Two States for Two Peoples.

        The influence of this camp was manifest a decade ago in the national referendum which supported Ariel Sharon’s plan to remove every Israeli civilian and soldier from Gaza, and again in Prime Minister Olmert’s 2008 proposal to President Abbas, which would have given the Palestinians all of Gaza and 95% of the West Bank (with the shortfall overcome by land transferred from inside the Green Line), and workable plans for relocating refugees and sharing Jerusalem. Even now, reliable opinion polls reveal that a majority of Israel’s Jewish citizens favor a just and equitable Two State solution, although a larger majority believe that the Palestinians will never allow that to happen.

        The obstacle is Hamas’ intransigence in refusing to recognize the State of Israel, and its commitment to its elimination, as unambiguously expressed in its National Covenant; its uninterrupted use of terrorism as evidenced by digging tunnels from Gaza for the purpose of attacking civilians inside Israel; and its continuing efforts to obtain rockets and mortar from Iran and Syria.

        Any significant Israeli step toward peace and reconciliation must include not only ending West Bank settlement expansion, but also removing some number of existing settlements. However, with Hamas maintaining its belligerency, abandoning settlements creates an opportunity for its terrorists to position artillery within easy striking distance of Israel’s heartland. Being justifiably unwilling to repeat what happened in Gaza—where Hamas evicted the Palestinian Authority after winning a bloody civil war against Fatah, and proceeded to use it as a launching pad for raining death and destruction on innocent men, women and children—Israelis now vote for right wing parties that emphasize security. A change in Palestinian attitudes toward Israel could likely reverse that pattern.

        For those who seek Israel’s destruction for ideological, theological or psychological reasons, a new perspective facilitated by Gen. Golan’s remarks will have no significance. But for those who propose some version of a One State solution or bi-national state, because they honestly see independent Palestinian statehood as being unattainable under a Likud/Netanyahu regime, this new awareness of a potentially powerful Israeli peace camp should suggest other and better approaches. Better for two reasons.

        First, while support for BDS may be increasing in some quarters, the prospect of its ever gaining sufficient clout to influence Israeli policy is somewhere between minimal and nil. Just this week, the United Methodist Church, which has a substantial anti-Israel component, defeated a pro-BDS resolution. The Presbyterian Church (USA) is likely to do the same when it meets next month, reversing a pro-BDS posture it adopted at its last General Assembly.

        Second, their current situation puts the Palestinians in a very precarious position within the Arab/Muslim world. The ills attributable to Israel need no repetition on this blog. But a greater danger lies in the fact that Hamas, which rules over a predominantly Sunni Muslim population, receives most of its support and virtually all of its weaponry from Iran and Syria. In the long term, should Hamas somehow defeat Israel, its Shiite masters in these two states are highly unlikely to allow Palestinian Sunni self-government. And in the short term, the new state would be almost certainly be a battleground for ISIS, Al Queda, et. al.

        Thus, I agree wholeheartedly that Gen. Golan’s remarks should be a stimulus
        toward “abandoning a failed and self-destructive policy”. Supporting Hamas intransigence and terrorism is detrimental, perhaps even fatal, to Palestinian self-interests. Another, far more promising, pathway is available for those who wish to take it.


      • Richard Falk May 21, 2016 at 8:49 am #


        This is a helpful and challenging statement of your view as to how peace may be best achieved, and an interesting
        way of responding to General Golan’s provocative remarks. From my perspective, I see the obstacles posed by the Netanyahu/
        Likud leadership and right-leaning, pro-settler coalition government as blocking constructive diplomacy to a far greater
        extent than the persistence of Hamas, which has a leadership that still seems amenable to a long-term hudna that could be transformed
        in time in the direction of permanent normalization.

  8. Kata Fisher May 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    A Note:

    “Bad day.” “A Day without a bay” “Sail out.”
    “Sea travel will make you a bit sickly, and how d’ya!”
    “The Monster of the Sea – the Bear in my hair!”
    “It must be all his trouble’s!”

  9. Richard Falk May 18, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

    As I indicated, I do not accept such inflammatory comparisons, torn from context, and without
    any evidence that the comments you object to are written by persons who somehow identify with
    Nazi ideology. These are libelous allegations on your part. Such extremism as you exhibit does
    not help defend Jews or Israel..except in relation to other zealots.

  10. ray032 May 18, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

    Labour to open re-education camps?

    The latest from Jonathan Cook reporting from Nazareth.

    The manufactured “anti-semitism crisis” in the British Labour party rumbles on into new realms of ideological insanity. The witch-hunt against commentary critical of Israel or Zionism has been in full flow, and now an internal party inquiry led by Jan Royall has reached its conclusions.

    Note that in this report by the Guardian newspaper, it appears to be a given both by Royall and the Guardian that Ken Livingstone and the others suspended from the party are guilty of anti-semitism rather than anti-Zionism. I have challenged that assumption in previous posts, such as here and here. I am therefore going to put quotation marks around the word “anti-semitism”, at least as used by Royall, because it is far from clear to me that most of those under investigation have said things that are anti-semitic.

    Royall’s first conclusion is that there should be no “statute of limitations” on “anti-semitism”. That’s a green light for every right-winger and Blairite to go trawling through Labour party members’ back catalogue of social media posts in search of anti-Zionist or anti-Israel utterances. Here’s a simple piece of advice to John Mann and the Blairite brigade: if you want to simplify your task, examine postings from winter 2008 and summer 2014, when Israel was killing hundreds of children in Gaza. I suspect you’ll find the “anti-semitism” you’re looking for in those periods.

    Royal also suggests that there may be a need for “more rigorous vetting procedures for national and local government candidates”. So the Blairites will be further encouraged to trawl through candidates’ social media postings on Israel in the knowledge that they can thereby ensure only people like themselves get to stand for election.

    Another of Royall’s conclusions is that a membership ban for “anti-semitism” should not be for life if there is “demonstrable” change by the offender. Re-education camps, anyone?

    So members may be allowed back into the Labour party if they can show that over a sustained period of time they have disavowed their criticisms of Israel. Presumably, to reassure the party that they are not likely to slip back into their former bad ways of thinking, they will need to enthusiastically embrace Zionism and support an ethnic Jewish state that oppresses Palestinians in the occupied territories and systematically discriminates against the fifth of its citizens who are Palestinian.

    In other words, these measures will have the practical effect of ensuring that the party is reserved for those of a Blairite persuasion.

    There are other disturbing conclusions reached by Royall. She is apparently recommending that an imminent external inquiry she will also sit on consider whether members should qualify for investigation simply because “the victim or any other person” has “perceived” a comment to be anti-semitic. In short, every Netanyahu-loving Zionist may soon be guaranteed the chance to force the suspension of any Labour member who offends them by criticising Israel.

    Royall suggests that the coming inquiry consider “swifter action to deal with antisemitism”, which is surprising given that the current suspensions have all been implemented summarily.

    And she prefers “a review of how online debate is conducted to make it welcoming and productive”. In other words, Labour members will be expected not to criticize Israel or Zionism in case it puts off hardcore Israel supporters.

    It is not hard to see where all this is leading, and was designed to lead by the Blairite faction trying to engineer a coup against leader Jeremy Corbyn. Polls show that Corbyn’s support has actually grown over the past year among ordinary members, despite the endless character assassination against him.

    So the Blairites who dominate the Labour parliamentary caucus are simply re-engineering the party more to their liking: terrify into submission a new generation of candidates who have been inspired by Corbyn to enter politics, and through a war of attrition demoralize the hundreds of thousands of new members who joined the party, in the hope they will leave.

    This is self-sabotage on a vast scale. The Blairites (and their cheerleaders in liberal media like the Guardian) would prefer to destroy the party than help Corbyn and his supporters mount a credible challenge to the Conservative government. And that insight tells you all you need to know about the true ideological sympathies of the Blairites, who were so ready to cosy up to the corporations and the Murdoch media.

  11. Kata Fisher May 18, 2016 at 7:31 pm #

    Professor Falk,

    The poetry is gone. What happened to it?

  12. Kata Fisher May 19, 2016 at 9:10 am #

    A note: “Some use Psyhological warfare” … “Some use intelligence rethorics.” “Jews and Arabs Chose their past and current conditions.”

    • rehmat1 May 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

      Pity – The Jews were liberated from Christian slavery in Spain in 711 by Arabs, who educated them and provided them the opportunities to become country’s elites. But 13 centuries after – their ungrateful descendants turned their terror on the children of their benefactors.

  13. Fred Skolnik May 19, 2016 at 9:23 am #

    Prof. Falk

    As I said, you are going to have to block me if you are going to host a website that welcomes some the vilest expressions of antisemitism that one can find on the Internet. You are also coming very close to crossing the line of incitement by publishing Walker Percy’s comments about “taking action” and all the rest, so you are liable to find yoursef in a great deal of trouble if you don’t wake up.

  14. ray032 May 19, 2016 at 9:23 am #

    What trouble are you threatening the Professor with, Fred? Will you sic the ZioFascist Thought Police on him? Will you accuse him of being a greater self-hating Jew? In your Democracy is he guilty because of the thoughts and comments made by other people?

    As if Israelis are not guilty of incitement? Here’s another report from Haaretz about Israeli incitement against Palestinians.

    Logically, if that train of thought in Israel does not change, and soon, I the circumstances shaping up in OUR LIFETIMES, Israel might get to the point of using the ‘Samson Option’ the Jewish State of Israel’s FINAL SOLUTION, current version.

    ‘How an Incendiary Rapper Became a Symbol for Israel’s Angry Far Right’

    The Shadow is tapping into a rightward shift in Israel, and has gained a following among frustrated, anti-Arab citizens with his provocative calls to action.

    Hundreds of demonstrators – many of them wrapped in Israeli flags – Stars of David painted on their arms and faces – are streaming toward Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.

    One middle-aged woman holds aloft a two-sided homemade sign: “Too many terrorists in prison,” reads the front, written in thick green magic marker. “Kill them all,” reads the flip side.

    A journalist is shoved. An activist from the B’Tselem Israeli human rights organization, who has come to the event with a video camera, is escorted out of the square by police after a threatening crowd gathers around him, shouting abuse.

    Oren Hazan, a controversial Likud MK who recently suggested demolishing the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem to allow for the building of the Third Temple, is giving high fives in the VIP section. Baruch Marzel, a disciple of the late, hard-right MK Rabbi Meir Kahane, is clapping to the chant: “Hero! Hero!”

    A bevy of teenage girls – in ripped cut-off jeans and matching T-shirts reading: “Rise up and kill him first!” – a reference to the Talmudic saying that begins with: “If someone comes to kill you…” – are taking selfies.

    One person conspicuously absent is rapper Yoav Eliasi, or as he is commonly known, “Hatzel,” a stage name meaning “the Shadow.”

    Eliasi, 38, should have been here. He helped organize the event – a rally last month in support of 19-year-old Israeli soldier Elor Azaria, who shot and killed a Palestinian terrorist in Hebron in March, while the man lay, incapacitated and unarmed, on the ground.

    Eliasi helped publicize it too, sending out daily missives to his 226,310 Facebook followers, entreating them to stand proudly alongside the family of the soldier – the “Hero,” in question – who is being held in military confinement until the conclusion of legal proceedings, and was charged with manslaughter. Eliasi was originally meant to be one of the main entertainment acts of the evening too.

    But a day before the rally, other organizers – responding to concerns that the event was being hijacked by overly anti-establishment and dangerously radical voices – disinvited the outspoken rapper.

    “The Shadow is considered too extreme…,” explains one demonstrator, smoking a cigarette and sporting a black-and-yellow T-shirt – the colors of both the far-right Jewish Lehava organization, which rejects any relations, social or business, between Jews and non-Jews, and the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, known for its many anti-Arab fans. The smoker soon ends the interview when he realizes it is to be printed in Haaretz. “I wouldn’t want my name in a paper of Israel-haters,” he says.

    ‘Slapped with a label’

    “Yes I was hurt,” admitted Eliasi, in an interview with Army Radio a few days after the rally, when asked about being disinvited. “I have been slapped with the label ‘extremist,’ but what can I tell you – I don’t think I am extreme at all,” he told his interviewers. “I think the situation is extreme.”

    Born in Safed, Eliasi grew up in Tel Aviv, and started rapping while in high school, in the early 1990s, just as a hip hop was starting to become popular in Israel. After the army – where he either did or did not serve in a secret undercover unit, the details are unclear – Eliasi gained fame performing together with his childhood friend Kobi Shimoni, the “king of Israeli rap,” aka Subliminal.

    The timing was right. The peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in the late ‘90s had collapsed and with the second intifada raging, the two rappers – all bling bling Star of David jewelry, tattoos, hooded sweatshirts, baggy pants and baseball caps pulled down low – captured crowds with their own original Israeli version of hip hop: unapologetically right-wing Zionist, hyper-nationalistic, populist and very angry.

    Their 2002 album “The Light and the Shadow,” went double platinum, selling 100,000 copies, along the way turning the Star of David into a symbol of cool among the Israeli rap crowd. They performed up and down the country to packed audiences. One of the most popular tracks from that album was called “Biladi,” a reference to the official Palestinian Authority national anthem. The chorus of the song was in Arabic because, Shimoni explained, its message was directed “at those who understand that language.” The lines, straightforward enough, were: “This is my land. This is my country.”

    But, by the time Eliasi came out with his solo album: “Don’t Give a Fuck,” in 2008, the security situation in the country had improved, musical tastes had shifted, and interest in his message and style had waned. His record was not a big commercial success, and soon after Eliasi fell out with Shimoni, who – more commercially astute, and possibly more talented too – began experimenting with dance and electric music, started his own record company and clothes line and even started doing commercials.

    In 2011, after years of living large – he once told the Israeli website NRG that “If I did not [have sex] with four women a night in the bathroom of the club, I could not return home” – the Shadow declared bankruptcy.

    But his second act was still to come.

    With his concert calendar freed up, Eliasi seems to have had some extra time to hone his Facebook persona, and quickly realized he could still get the attention he was used to without ever leaving his living room.

    His amped up nationalistic message and his glorification of common soldiers — and this, along with his vitriolic rants against the left and the mainstream media, not to mention against the Arabs, garnered him a massive following, relative to this small country. With 226,000-plus official Facebook fans, Eliasi has zoomed way ahead of Aviv Geffen (95,614 Facebook fans), one of Israel’s biggest rock stars, who is associated with the left wing.

    Today, although he still performs, Eliasi is better known for his provocative posts and calls to action – and the vulgar, often violent responses they illicit – than for any new lyrics or tunes.

    Highlights of Eliasi’s Facebook posts over the last few years include a photo he put up in June 2014 – and later removed – of him holding a photo-shopped pair of testicles, with the words: “Revenge,” and the taunt: “Bibi [the nickname of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] I think you forget these!” writ large. The post, which went up soon after three Jewish teenagers were kidnapped by terrorists, came right after Eliasi popularized the tagline “We’re coming for yours” to go along with the “bringbackourboys” social media campaign. The teenagers were later found murdered.

    Last October, the Shadow posted a unique solution to the wave of terror that was sweeping the country – suggesting that emergency medical teams responding to the knifing and car-ramming attacks immediately “cut the organs” out of dead terrorists at the scene – and hand them over to the National Transplant Center. “What do terrorists really, really hate?” asked Eliasi. “The answer is easy: Jews. What do you think would happen if in every terrorist attack they saved 10 Jews?”

    Another suggestion involved castrating dead terrorists so as to put an end to any dreams would-be “martyrs” might harbor of cavorting with 72 virgins – as those who send them out on their missions promise.

    On various occasions, Eliasi has gone beyond such fantastical suggestions with calls for concrete action: In the summer of 2014, for example, during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip, upon hearing about an anti-war rally in Tel Aviv, he called on his followers – whom he began terming “the Shadow’s lions,” to mount a counter demonstration against, as he put it, “the real enemy among us: the radical left.”

    The hundreds that showed up alongside Eliasi – many of them shouting “Death to the Arabs” – attacked the left-wingers at the rally with clubs, beating them and sending at least one person to the hospital. No charges were filed.

    ‘An opportunist’

    “He’s an opportunist – because he’s not really someone who would be making headlines for music,” says Ami Pedahzur, a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, who researches the radical right wing in Israel. “He is tapping into a well-documented rightward shift that has taken place in the country.”

    “In the past, there would be condemnation across the board if a soldier committed a point-blank execution, as is the case with Azaria,” adds Pedahzur. “But today, we don’t hear condemnation from the right. The Shadow is more a symptom of the times than a problem.”

    “I don’t think he is on the fringe,” agrees Dani Filc, a professor in Ben-Gurion University’s department of politics and government, who has done research on the populist radical right in Israel. “He is expressing, in a more rhetorically violent way, the things considered mainstream by the right-wing political establishment today.”

    “The way he speaks about both Arabs and leftists has long been legitimized by the three main right-wing parties in Israel: Likud, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu,” says Filc. “The difference is mainly in the vulgarity of his expression and, of course, the phenomenon of social media.”

    Eliasi basically makes the same point the academics do: “The right wing always wants to show it is enlightened. They don’t like being called baboons, so they throw me to the wolves. That way they can be like: ‘We are legitimate right wing. But he is an extremist,” he said during the Army Radio interview about being disinvited to the rally last month. “But I am not going to soften my talk. I tell it like it is,” he says.

    Frequently hateful

    “The Shadow’s Facebook page is, consistently, one the places where we find the highest incidents of hate speech,” says Anat Rosilio, who runs the “hate speech index” compiled by the Berl Katznelson Foundation, an organization that promotes democracy education.

    Using a bank of some 200 hateful words or phrases – from “Nazi,” to “retard,” to “Death to Arabs” – and armed with a powerful computer program, the index combs through Hebrew-language Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and feedback pages on news sites, and maps cases of incitement and hate speech that are polluting the web. The program can scan over half-a-million online texts a day, Rosilio explains, and it can break down not only what is being posted, but who is being targeted: from Arabs and leftists, to right-wingers and settlers, to asylum seekers and members of local LGBT and ultra-Orthodox communities.

    “It’s crazy,” Rosilio says about the amount of incitement found on the Shadow’s Facebook page, primarily in the comments section. “The numbers we find there compete with numbers we see on far, far larger platforms – like on Ynet,” she adds, referring to Israel’s most widely read news portal.

    The point about the comments section is not trivial. “The Shadow’s posts walk a careful line,” explains Amir Fox, director of the Program for Protecting Democratic Values at the Israel Democracy Institute, an independent think tank. “They often border on hate speech – but just miss it.”

    What Eliasi’s posts do, though, explains Fox, is “set up the shot,” leaving the more extreme racist and violent talk to his followers. For example, a post Eliasi put up recently about a terror attack in Jerusalem goes like this: “This is the 60-year-old Jew who was just gravely wounded a few minutes ago by a knife-yielding wimp of a terrorist,” he writes, uploading a snapshot of an older man, bleeding on the ground. “The terrorist, who ran away, was just caught,” he concludes – and then adds in parenthesis “unfortunately.”

    “I want to hear slaughtered, not captured!” was the first inevitable comment – one of 2,700 responses and comments in a similar vein, all posted within an hour. “Me too! But our soldiers are being castrated. We give terrorists cushy jail time instead of bullets!” writes the next. “Gas. Only gas,” suggests a third, referencing, it seems, Nazi gas chambers.

    This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to prosecute Eliasi, says Fox.

    “The legal system can’t deal with comments – it would be endless,” he says. “Even when it comes to posts, only the ones that are most clear cut – with a real possibility of ending in a prosecution – are investigated.”

    ‘Piece of garbage’

    In the days immediately after the Rabin Square rally for Azaria, Eliasi, sulking and feeling unappreciated by his own camp, hinted he was planning to “retire” from his activism and social media efforts. But, after a few days, he clarified that he had only meant that he was temporarily “taking his foot off the gas pedal.”

    If anything, the mini media circus surrounding Eliasi’s almost-retirement – which provoked dismissive and mocking reports on at least two prime-time television news shows about what he would do next – seemed to give the Shadow a new lease on life.

    “Didn’t you retire, you piece of garbage?” a woman asked him on Facebook page. “Did anyone lose their bitch?” Eliasi responded, prompting the following comment, directed at the woman, from one of his followers: “Too bad Hitler passed you by,” it reads. “Go lick [Arab MK] Ahmed Tibi’s balls,” went the next gem.

    Eliasi declined an interview with Haaretz, explaining, politely – over Facebook messenger – that “he can’t be expected” to give an interview” to a paper he believes is filled with “anti Zionism propaganda,” and which routinely publishes stories “against” him.

    But it is not too hard to imagine what he might have wanted to convey, if he had spoken to this paper.

    “Sorry to ruin your party, lefties, but I am not going anywhere. I am going to remain a bone stuck in your throats for a long time to come,” Eliasi posted last week, together with a photograph of him with arms outstretched, giving the camera the finger with both hands. He has gold stars attached to his middle fingers. “You, the lefties, bring shame on our country,” he charged.

    “You thought: Yoav is a little vulnerable right now, let’s punch him when he is down,” he continues, referring to himself in the first person and going on to detail how some in the media called him names — from fat to stupid, fascist, racist and dyslexic – in their reports about his supposed retirement.

    “I hope you understand that the country is sick of this hatred and when everything blows up, and we can’t extinguish the flames – remember where all this hatred for you started and how we got to this point,” he rants. “Meet me at the next rally,” he tells his fans, signing off.

    The post received 10,000 likes.

    • ray032 May 19, 2016 at 9:29 am #

      Typo correction and emphasis;

      Logically, if that train of thought in Israel does not change, and soon, I SEE the circumstances shaping up in OUR LIFETIMES, Israel might get to the point of using the ‘Samson Option’ the Jewish State of Israel’s FINAL SOLUTION, current version.

      Before Prophets were on the scene, they were called SEERS.

      • ray032 May 20, 2016 at 5:58 am #

        The news Lieberman will be the new Israeli Defence Minister increases the possibility and probability of the ‘Samson option.’

      • Kata Fisher May 20, 2016 at 9:14 am #


        “Before Prophets were on the scene, they were called SEERS.”

        I do not fully grasp this. Can you explain it?

      • ray032 May 20, 2016 at 11:30 am #

        (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)
        1Samual 9:9

      • Kata Fisher May 20, 2016 at 12:19 pm #


        I think I do understand this now, but I am not sure.

        It is only in the Book of Samuel. There was change to the tradition(s) of the wording/calling of the prophets among folks. It seems that this is what added explanation in the Scripture means. Is this correct?

        Also, I am thinking this:

        Maybe that is where Rome got their wording for the Holy See (They were overseeing) in essence (the prophets) – as renamed themselves “the seers.” Why would the Church do that? I do wonder.

        I am just thinking on this, and really do not have an explanation in understanding about it. It seems to me that is so, however.

    • walker percy May 20, 2016 at 7:05 am #

      Ray, you wrote: “What trouble are you threatening the Professor with, Fred? Will you sic the ZioFascist Thought Police on him? Will you accuse him of being a greater self-hating Jew? In your Democracy is he guilty because of the thoughts and comments made by other people?”

      When Fred talks about “trouble”, it’s best to take him seriously. Fred is probably a paid government hasbarist, which means he works for the GoI, and so probably has contacts in Section 8200, with vast resources for inflicting “trouble” on any individual in the world at the push of a button. 8200 must have access to every NSA data stream, making all manner of retaliation easy. They think this makes them clever but it actually means they are very, very dumb. When truth and reconciliation happens, all will be revealed. Better start prepping the tar and feathers now, we are going to need a lot.

      • ray032 May 20, 2016 at 7:44 am #

        Walter, all of those resources you mention were probable employed when the SG of the UN, the American Ambassador and other world leaders were calling for Richard to be fired from his UN position. Seeing the ‘power’ opposing Richard and not knowing anything about him, mt 1st thought was he must be doing something right.

        Fred does not see the arrogance, hatred and false air of Superiority he conveys through his comments. He considers himself perfectly righteous in his own eyes. He can’t even see with his constant put downs to all who don’t see it his way, he will reap what he sows. As he tells the Rabbi he is being too polite with Richard, I will be firm with Fred, repudiating his false narrative without mincing my words.

        In one of his most absurd comments, he claims this site of the Professor is one of the worst on the Internet for it’s antisemitism. That is so far removed from reality, it suggests he is out to undermine and destroy Richard and not much more.

        He accuses me of constantly searching the Internet looking for any information to to cast Israel and Jews in an unfavourable light. Zionist Israel is doing a good job of that without my help.

        I rarely accept new ‘friends’ on my Public Face Book page. My news feed is for news, not changing profile pictures. I share only a small share of what comes in from online news sources. Fred, all this is sent to me, and I use only a small share of it.

        Fred would not like this in my latest article in my Blog, ‘IS THE END NEAR?

        NOTE: It does not smear ALL JEWS with the same stroke of a brush, so it is not anti-Semitic in letter, or in Spirit.

        The Revelation is happening when more and more people are waking up to see it. It’s like the difference between antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Fred is on the wrong side of History

        And to the angel of the Church in Philadelphia write; These things say he that is Holy, he that is True, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens;

        I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name.

        Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.

        Because you have kept the word of my Patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

        Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown.
        Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
        He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
        Revelation 3:7-13

      • Kata Fisher May 20, 2016 at 8:53 am #


        there is no such thing anymore.

        there is no such thing anymore

        Walker is giving reference to the feathering – (historically) it’s a form of a violent public humiliation.

        No such thing anymore tarring and feathering – but you should take a look at some historical references:

        I actually got all Church Doctrine about it: Anti-feathering lip pencil

      • Kata Fisher May 20, 2016 at 9:12 am #

        Additional Note to the previous post – it is stuck in memory somwhere:


        You should really look at the difference of the Churches, and understand it.

        Scripture in writing (contemporary interpretations) is hardly authentic – but is authoritative. In such conditions, it can be as equal as null and void. You really have to “speak it” along with reading it.

        You should know that. Otherwise, it is as equal as time waste.

      • Walker percy May 20, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

        Kara, thanks for the information about tar and feathering.I think we can resurrect this tradition method qin the case like of Naftali Bennett. That form of punishment seems so fitting for that clown, and it gives me great pleasure to contemplate the aftermath.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 20, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

        Walker, My Man

        Yes, Fred probably made a stupid overstatement when he threatened Prof. Falk with some unspecified “trouble”. But his flub gains some redeeming social importance as a prompt for one of your more hilarious comments. The GoI? Section 8200. Access to every NSA date stream? (Only Wikileaks has that!) C’mon Walker, you’re making this stuff up as you go along.

        Keep it up. With the Trump candidacy hogging the headlines, the world needs a good laugh.

        An aside to Rehmat1: we already know that Trump is a cryptofacistsecretjewishzionistmossadmole, so there’s no need for you to expose this Israeli Black Flag Operation.


      • Kata Fisher May 20, 2016 at 8:31 pm #

        He is so ugly Walker; you can’t even look at him without laughing – he has incredible funny face – spiritual warfare face… I think!

        The Tooth Fairy forgot to wax his teeth. I am just kidding Walker.

        Guess what? – You can’t escape your purpose in partaking in the office of the Priest, the Prophet, and the King – By Faith and by Baptism in Spirit.

        The Rabbi only Teach and Teach. But not the Priest-King – by anointing and by the power of it / the anointing.

      • walker percy May 21, 2016 at 6:48 am #

        tell that to the iranian nuclear scientists.

      • walker percy May 21, 2016 at 6:54 am #

        Ira, tell that to the iranian nuclear physicists.

      • Kata Fisher May 21, 2016 at 9:39 am #


        I had to speak in another language for few minutes before I could snap out of just dazzling realities!

        Dear Walker,

        They (Iranian scientists) are already in the anointing that will not produce the satanic invention.

        At any time, I shall do so – and tell them what Ancient Rome hated / hates to hear from the Church: Good News of the Gospel…because it was/ is insult to their “good news”!

        However, I only speak one single Arabic word “dusman” which was wham in my deceased Father’s speech-lingo wich always meant “spiritual enemy.”
        Iranian scientists were killed

        As I told you all before any harm to Iran will result in destroying curse by Spirit in Church Roman-Catholic-Charismatic.

        I do not regret the Faith of the Church that saves me from the destruction of Devil and his children.

        I should tell you to abut slaying of Beloved Archbishop Oscar Romero from the San Salvador Archdiocese.
        Camp David and its Accord were always a total failure.

        Also, I should tell you about this:
        “Azusa Street charismatic disorder time relics: Nazi coins”satanic relics.”

        Also, there are Nazi era relic adored in Holy Land – will they be removed ever?

        If Jews and Arabs can catch tornado – they can achieve Peace among themselves – but you know that already, Dear Walker.

        Church is always fishing for authentic disciples, as you know.

  15. Richard Falk May 20, 2016 at 7:28 am #

    I would suggest a bit of self-scrutiny. You are adept at insulting and defaming, but not once consider the
    deep roots of your own anger and hostility directed at anyone who dares criticize Israel and the Zionist project.

  16. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 20, 2016 at 6:40 pm #


    You wrote “The news Lieberman will be the new Israeli Defence Minister increases the possibility and probability of the ‘Samson option.’

    Why? Please explain.


    • ray032 May 21, 2016 at 6:50 am #

      Ira, Fred doesn’t mind when he or Aaron copies and pastes, but when I do, it’s bad.

      Lieberman has been out of the International news cycle since his toxic time as Foreign Minister. There is no indication he has moderated his extreme positions vis a vis Palestinians. I can’t say it “ex-cathedra” but I’m beginning to view Liberman and his followers as being the Russian invasion described in Ezekiel 38 & 39.

      In 2002, following terrorist attacks on Israelis, Lieberman called for military attacks on Palestinian civilian and commercial targets, saying: “If it were up to me I would notify the Palestinian Authority tomorrow at ten in the morning we would bomb all their places of business in Ramallah, for example.”…“I would not hesitate to send the Israeli army into all of Area A [the area of the West Bank ostensibly under Palestinian Authority control] for 48 hours. Destroy the foundation of all the authority’s military infrastructure, all of the police buildings, the arsenals, all the posts of the security forces… not leave one stone on another. Destroy everything.”

      In 2003, following Sharon granting amnesty to 250 Palestinian prisoners, Lieberman called for mass executions, saying: “ It would be better to drown these prisoners in the Dead Sea if possible, since that’s the lowest point in the world.”

      In 2006, Lieberman called for the execution of Arab Knesset members who met with Hamas representatives, saying: “World War II ended with the Nurenberg trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset].”

      Also in 2006, Lieberman declared explicitly that Jewish and Zionist values trump all others, saying: “The vision I would like to see here is the entrenching of the Jewish and the Zionist state…I very much favour democracy, but when there is a contradiction between democratic and Jewish values, the Jewish and Zionist values are more important.”

      In early 2009, during the Israeli “Cast Lead” incursion into Gaza, Lieberman made the historical argument that total nuclear destruction of a state is more economical than occupation, saying: “We must continue to fight Hamas just like the United States did with the Japanese in World War II. Then, too, the occupation of the country was unnecessary.”

      In April of 2009, Lieberman called for Israel to disregard past peace efforts, namely the Annapolis peace talks initiated under Bush, saying: “There is one document that obligates us — and that’s not the Annapolis conference, it has no validity.”

      These are only a few of the provocative things Lieberman has said in the past. As Defence Minister?

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 22, 2016 at 10:39 am #


        The Samson Option is a fabrication some military analysts and authors have given to Israel’s deterrence strategy of massive retaliation with nuclear weapons as a “last resort” against a country whose military has destroyed much of Israel. It has never been Israeli government policy.

        Moreover, my question to you remains unanswered. Why does Lieberman’s becoming Defense Minister increase the possibility that this non-existent tactic will be used? The collection of Lieberman statements you quote, most of them from a decade ago and more, deal with the Palestinians. The Samson Option deals with external threats from hostile neighbors and their superpower patrons. This genre of threat doesn’t exist at this time, except from a nuclear Iran, which is a long way off. Ray, are you suggesting that Israel would use nuclear weapons against the Palestinians? If so, under what circumstances?

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Richard Falk May 22, 2016 at 11:26 am #


        To appoint ‘a loose cannon’ as Defense Minister in a volatile region of the world seems a dubious move on
        Netanyahu’s part. Also, it seems to reflect a Likud, or at least the Prime Minister’s decision, that it was
        preferable to build a coalition leaning further to the right than by opting for the Herzog alternative that
        would create some impression of ‘center-right’ orientation.

      • ray032 May 22, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

        It is unlikely Israel needs submarine launched nuclear missiles to use against Palestinians. Israeli might not have noticed the murderous bombardment of Gaza in Cast Lead, Pillar of Defence and Operation Protective Edge, but the people of the world finally recognized what it was before the UN and other governments called for a cease fire.

        As Defence Minister, I think Lieberman, at the urging of the growing fascist settler right wing in Israel, will be even more brutal in dealing with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and when the world speaks up to oppose the barbarity of it, within Israel it will be the same old refrain, ‘they hate us because we are Jews.’

      • walker percy May 23, 2016 at 6:25 am #

        The Samson Option is a fabrication like the Protocols are a forgery, right?

  17. ray032 May 21, 2016 at 9:52 am #

    It has started in Israel according to The Times of Israel.

    ‘Barak warns of ‘fascism’ in Israel’s government; Livni sees an ‘ethical crisis’
    Former PM Barak says Ya’alon was ‘purged’ by Netanyahu; ex-FM Livni protests the choice of Liberman, who ‘opposes army’s code of ethics’’

    Two prominent center-left Israeli politicians launched bitter protests against the hawkish trend of the Israeli government on Friday night. Former prime minister Ehud Barak warned of “seeds of fascism” in Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and current Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni said Netanyahu’s decision to appoint Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman as defense minister over Moshe Ya’alon marked a national “crisis of ethics.”

    “This isn’t merely a political event,” Livni told Channel 2’s nightly news broadcast. “This is a crisis — not only of leadership but of ethics.”

    Ya’alon quit political life Friday morning, citing his “lack of faith” in the prime minister, a former close ally. He did, he said, intend to make a comeback in the future.

    Netanyahu, Livni said, “had a choice between two ministers of defense, one who backed the army’s code of ethics and its top echelons and its commanders, and the second who went to demonstrate against them.” She was referring to Liberman’s appearance at the military courthouse where Elor Azaria, a soldier who recently shot dead a wounded Palestinian attacker in Hebron, was on trial for manslaughter. “Netanyahu made his choice,” Livni said mournfully…………………………………………………………………………

    • ray032 May 21, 2016 at 9:57 am #

      One comment on the article linked above exemplifying the division in Netanyahu’s Israel.

      “How country can survive this treason unless traitors – Yaalon, Golan, Barak, most of Haaretz filth, etc.- are executed with monstrous brutality, so that no one low life would dare to commit betrayal afterwards. Where are Israeli officers and soldiers who are compelled to fight these senseless winless wars because of their seditious leadership. Do you have any compassion to your fellow Jews. What a shame.”

  18. Laurie Knightly May 21, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

    Some notes:

    Reference was made in the essay that foreigners cannot vote in the US. Too bad – why should they? It’s perplexing that neither consideration nor concern is given to equally worthy persons seeking refuge in the US by legal means. ‘Undocumented’ foreigners would vote their own interest and that is glaringly shown by their spokespersons who speak of nothing else but their own validation.

    Golan suggested that people study the pre totalitarian periods in recent European history. One could argue with much justification about his choice of venue, but would his words have mattered as much if uttered elsewhere? This warning for me is reviewing again the collusion/aspirations between UK imperialism/aristocracy and Zionism. Neither had any concern [then or now] for the clearly identifiable population living for hundreds of years as a separate group with both a legal and cultural identity. They were of no use and simply in the way…. expel them…..
    Also, if a Jewish organization made a transfer agreement with Hitler in 1931, regardless of boycott, good for them. Would that they were able to free huge numbers more. It’s inconceivable that they could be criticized by a commenter for this – am I missing something here? Also, Germany was in the worst economic depression known and people will forego what ethics/decency exist when they are faced with basic survival. With the UK and France et al busy dividing huge parts of the world among them, where was the moral ground? Certainly not existent throughout Europe.

    It is a good thing, that some people are currently fearsome of a point of no return in the trend toward authoritarianism. May their numbers increase! May they speak freely!

    Absent in this discussion was the huge role that Christians play in the destruction of Palestine. The Christians United For Israel with their 2.5 million members have no regard whatsoever for the indigenous population. And there are millions more Christians, by far most of them, that support Israel unconditionally. When Rabbi Eric Yoffie warned Jews against CUFI, he was pilloried. Hagee’s comment that God worked with Hitler to create Israel offended some – including John McCain. But most Jews enthusiastically welcome Christian collusion in the establishment of a Jewish Eretz Israel. Some Evangelicals are modifying the Armageddon plan a bit so it will be somewhat more acceptable. Might not have to kill/convert all but a remnant as divinely planned. A few of the mainline churches are making some small objections by means of BDS but it’s of little note in the resistance. Christians, however, are overwhelmingly as heartless and bigoted as their Jewish counterparts on the issue of Palestine. The mote in their eye is all encompassing………

    • ray032 May 21, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

      Laurie, you think, “Reference was made in the essay that foreigners cannot vote in the US. Too bad – why should they?”

      If the President of the US, in the exercise of US power to conform the world to it’s image and interests, claims some “divine mandate” or some vague self-sense of it’s unique “exceptionalism,” as a Canadian, I should have a say and choice on who should be President, that’s why!

      • Laurie Knightly May 22, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

        Nine countries voted against Palestine non-member observer status at the UN – Canada, US, Israel, Czech Republic, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama. 193 countries said, yes. Canada swears unconditional loyalty to Israel – bleep the Palestinians. Not even observer status! Disgusting…Didn’t they make BDS a hate crime as well?

        Maybe you could see where voting in Canada gets you. What’s the difference?

        One can’t vote on a local school board without membership – and so it should be. However: We could bring in many millions of refugees from everywhere by ship, plane, whatever, and place them at the Mexican border. All those strong/clever/resourceful enough to sneak in and hide from the law for a decade, preferably parenting children, will be entitled to citizenship/voting. It’s not fair that those coming from a contiguous landmass have such an advantage. People should have an equal chance to violate the law. This idea should also be available to citizens as well – choose the laws that suit your needs/desires.

  19. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 22, 2016 at 11:04 am #


    You explain that your purpose in posting is to warn about the Jews who from time immemorial have plotted and schemed to bring humankind down in flames.

    That’s pretty serious charge, which you use to justify all manner of outrageous accusations, some general others very specific. Do you have evidence to support canards such as Israel having an arsenal of long range nuclear ballistic missiles mounted and ready to be fired at an array of foreign capitals all over the globe? Or are you making things up as you go along, or repeating things you have heard from other anti-Semites, because Jews happen to rub you the wrong way?

    You write that everything can be supported by reviewing the historical record. So start reviewing and let’s see what you come up with.


    • Kata Fisher May 22, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

      Dear Rabbi,

      You should not upset about Walker, as he is saying things in metaphors/symbolism/analogy. I happen to know this because of my brothers who had similar expressions that made everyone flip out!

      Furter, he is referring to Jewish unacceptable behavior/s because they just assume role/authority to which they are not anointed and authorized. In essence, they take power on outside anointing, which is very dangerous for a Jewish community, first and foremost – and now as things are it seems to be dangerous for the outside to Jewish community/s.

      But this is not to be attributed to Jews, but to all others who take power on outside anointingI hope this is helpful.

      Also, he has told you about religious abuses to the children due to the educational practices that are not acceptable for child plays (exposing one or particular number of kids to play/take a role of a bad personality.

      We only heard mock’s about it from others – which really indicates that grown-ups are harsh, unapologetic, and wreckless!

      I hope this is helpful.

    • Walker Percy May 27, 2016 at 9:42 am #

      Ira, you paraphrase my position thus: “Jews…from time immemorial have plotted and schemed to bring humankind down in flames.” That is not exactly correct. Rather, I have to come to see that Jewish religious and cultural practices pre-dispose practitioners to certain habits of mind that lead to pernicious behaviors that eventually result in confrontations with other ethic/religious groups.

      We condition ourselves (and especially children) by repetitive actions, especially when these rituals are combined with incentives such as parental approval, comfort food, group chanting in a private language, repetitive motions like dovining, disdainful rejection of the beliefs of others, and the cultivation of long-term, resolvable grudges that ultimately lead to mass death of jews and others, usually for no good reason. That is certainly true in Israel, and it was probably true in Weimar, we can assume that is was true for the French and Russian Revolutions, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and on and on into the earliest episodes of human history.

      As Netanyahu recently reminded us, Judaism invented the requirement of showing respect to ones mother and father. While this sounds innocuous, it is dangerous, because if each generation feels honor-bound to support the beliefs and repeat the practices of their elders, the cycle can never end. I don’t blame children who are indoctrinated this way, but I do blame adults who insist that these practices are beyond questioning, and that every jew must show respect by continuing these traditions, or at least not blowing the whistle.

      There are other aspects of Jewish religion that we can understand in the same way. For example, Jews are exhorted to always help another jew in need, but this implies that they are not equally responsible for supporting non-jews. How could this policy result in anything else but intergroup animosity, charges of nepotism, and accumulation of wealth in comparison with members of groups who do not have the same prohibitions and reward systems.

      It is only when we can openly discuss jewish religious and cultural practices that we can begin to address the problem. But as Kata says, speaking about this openly causes everybody to “flip out”. I would like someone to explain this reflex.

  20. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 22, 2016 at 12:38 pm #


    Thanks for your very helpful response to my comment. I’d like to continue our conversation.

    To my mind, the question of whether the Settlers’ or Hamas’ intransigence is the greater obstacle to peace is irrelevant. Both sides need to soften their hard line. There’s no point in Hamas seeing its way to accept Israel and renounce violence if the Settlers resist removing settlements. And vice versa.

    At present, leaders with neither vision nor courage on both sides take this model and turn it on its head to jujstify their refusal to even consider concessions that are requisite to a real peace process. What Aaron David Miller predicted five years ago in landmark piece in Foreign Policy (“The False Religion of Middle East Peace”) has come to pass. The key to breaking the impasse is motivating a substantial moderation of positions on both sides more-or-less simultaneously.

    Hamas offering a Hudna is not adequate so long as it refuses to revise its Covenant. I appreciate that your sources inside Hamas offer assurances that the Covenant’s commitment to eliminate Israel is no longer operative. Were that true! But until there is actual evidence of this, Israel cannot be faulted for refusing to hand over territory within easy firing distance of its heartland.

    As regards Israel, I never said that progress toward peace was possible under its current government. What I did—and do—say is that peace would be possible if Israelis elected a more moderate government. This almost happened a year ago when Netanyahu was re-elected by an eleventh hour surge of fear for national security under Booji Herzog. If Hamas would stop digging attack tunnels and stockpiling Iranian missiles, that fear would lessen. But in turn, Netanyahu’s election intensifies the Palestinians’ mindset that violent resistance is necessary

    With all due respect, I believe that your recommendation that the Palestinians resist negotiations now and waiting for BDS to have an impact is not good advice. For one thing, support for BDS in the USA may be ebbing as it becomes apparent that the intent of many of the movement’s core sponsors is not to end the Occupation but to delegitimize Israel’s very existence. As you know, a just a few days ago the United Methodist Church, which has a very strong anti-Israel cadre, unexpectedly defeated a pro-BDS resolution.

    Regarding political actors in the region and Europe, Yossi Alpher, the noted, and moderate, Israeli analyst writes:

    “Israel’s closest EU neighbors, Greece and Cyprus, where concerns regarding militant Islam emanating from neighboring Turkey’s Erdogan government and from chaos in nearby Syria have persuaded left-wing governments to enter into strategic cooperation with Israel rather than join a boycott movement spearheaded by the European left. Finally, there is the Arab core surrounding Israel: Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia do not feel free to pressure Israel regarding the Palestinian issue when they need close strategic cooperation against virtually all the militant Islamists in the region, from Gaza to southern Syria.

    “True, boycott threats have driven a few Israeli economic enterprises, such as Ahava cosmetics and Soda Stream, out of the West Bank. These firms have located nearby across the green line, where settler employees and here and there some Palestinian employees can still commute to work. Thus far, the damage in real financial terms appears easily absorbable. Accordingly, Netanyahu’s government can keep building settlements and swallowing up more and more of the West Bank. Its biggest problem with BDS seems to be rallying the spirits of concerned friends of Israel abroad.”

    Moral of the story: those who are truly interested in peace will give strong consideration to pressuring extremists on both sides to beat swords into plowshares.

    That’s my “bottom line” (so to speak). I’m eager to hear yours.


    p.s. I fully—or almost fully—agree with the assessment of the Lieberman appointment you posted a few minutes ago. I say “almost fully” because Israeli analysts, including some left-wingers writing for Haaretz and lefty websites, note that (a) the “real” Lieberman is far more complex and nuanced than the one projected in political sound bites, and (b) his record as Foreign Minister is fairly moderate. As always, my preference is that people, pro and con, withhold their critique until things actually transpire.

    • Richard Falk May 22, 2016 at 6:36 pm #


      There is much that I agree with in your analysis, but we are still fairly far apart on our understanding
      of what to expect from the two sides. Palestinians suffered asymmetrically from the failed and defective
      Oslo framework. A different approach to diplomacy is needed to create any reasonable grounds that the Palestinians
      are not being lured into another fruitless process that is compatible with Israeli expansionism in West Bank and
      On Hamas, I understand the preoccupation with the Covenant, but even when Hamas has shown a willingness to renounce
      armed struggle, Israel has not given the slightest encouragement.
      On extremists on both sides: there is almost no prospect that their outlook will be modified in the direction of
      moderation. As with Northern Ireland, what seems to work are two things: isolate the extremists, and treat the adversary
      as ‘a political actor,’ not as a terrorist organization.
      On Lieberman: as recently as 2015 he has been quoted as saying, “Those who are with us deserve everything, but those who
      are against us deserve to have their heads chopped off with an axe.”
      On overall approach: I think that the governing class in Israel must be persuaded that they more to gain by a fair compromise
      and a reasonable chance of sustainable peace than is presently the case. I am convinced that only nonviolent pressure can produce
      such a result. If it fails then the Palestinian struggle is a lost cause, but much is uncertain about the future in the region
      and even the U.S.
      So my bottom line is militant solidarity and nonviolent pressure.


  21. ray032 May 23, 2016 at 6:02 am #

    I see it as a positive sign, more Israelis are only now beginning to see the signs of a rising Fascism taking root in Israel.

    For the world, instead of seeing a Light Unto the Nations, sees astonishment with the Israeli mindset Palestinian Life to them is as worthless as Jewish Life was to the Nazis in another Age. It’s a common euphemism History repeats itself, and comes up with a new appearance for the New Times so it’s not immediately recognizable. The New Spirit of Nazism is appearing not only in Israel, but in the US and Europe as well. It is not entrenched- yet, but will be if more people do not wake up, and soon!

    This Israeli School Principal cancelled the mandatory school trip to the Holocaust Camps because in Israel they are used to manipulate the Israeli people through FEAR for short term political gain. He excoriate Israeli Education Minister Bennett as not being interested in educating Israeli youth, but to indoctrinate them into becoming fearful lemmings.

    I’m paraphrasing what I got out of the article, but see for yourselves, and discuss with Good Will. It’s been a long 2000 years, since the last Occupation of Judea and Samaria in Palestine.

    And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the Glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
    And the angel said to them, FEAR NOT: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of GREAT JOY, which shall be to ALL PEOPLE.
    For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
    And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
    And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
    GLORY TO GOD in the highest, and ON EARTH PEACE, GOOD WILL toward men.

    By any objective measure, this world appears to be going in the opposite direction to any sane and rational Peace Loving Person.

    Now to the Principal:
    ‘Minister Bennett uses education to indoctrinate kids with nationalist ideas’

    A Tel Aviv high school principal who slaughtered a sacred cow by canceling trips to death camps in Poland discusses fascism in Israeli society and accuses the education minister of tearing the country apart.

    Talking to: Dr. Zeev Degani, 65, principal of Gymnasia Herzliya high school in Tel Aviv; lives in Tel Aviv. Where: a Tel Aviv café. When: Wednesday, 8 A.M.

    Your statements and actions regularly stir public furors. The latest example is your decision that your school will no longer take part in trips to the death camps in Poland.

    I have been against the trips to Poland since I began to discern their covert aims. When I came to Gymnasia Herzliya, in 2008, and saw the situation, I said that I viewed the Poland trips as militant nationalist acts that link the Holocaust to the [Jewish nation’s] resurgence in a distorted way. Still, I don’t break traditions out of hand; I knew this was a weighty issue.

    Then why did you suddenly make the decision?

    It was hardly sudden: There was a process. To begin with, when I asked students who’d been on the trip for their impressions, they told me it was wonderful for social bonding. One girl told me emotionally: “I had my first kiss there.”

    Instoosh [a Hebrew nickname for Instagram] at Auschwitz.

    Yes. And there were others who took the trip very hard. The older, more sensitive students came back devastated. Clearly, the experience is too much for sensitive students, while others prefer to escape to places of alcohol, entertainment and shopping in Warsaw. The final straw was the revelation that the trip’s exorbitant price is due to the existence of a cartel of people who make millions off the memory of the Holocaust. I held a meeting with parents and students, and told them I thought it was time to call off the trips. No one took fright. There was clearly fertile ground for opposition [to the whole program].

    What do you mean by “covert aims”?

    They are no longer covert. I mean using the Holocaust to strengthen nationalism and isolationism: the connection between the Holocaust and “It will never happen to us” as a formative narrative of our existence. I don’t think it’s legitimate to ground the state’s existence in that horror. To connect our journey there to the idea of safeguarding what we have here, is a pathological approach.

    But as a veteran educator, you know that it’s always been like that here.

    True. Forty years ago there might have been a natural naivete in that regard. Education is a product of how reality is read, and reality changes. We’ve forgotten that we are occupying another people and also that after the Holocaust, in which we were the victims, there were more and more holocausts across the world. It’s impossible to talk only about one Holocaust, to isolate our Holocaust from the others. When you do that, you don’t understand that it’s an act perpetrated by human beings, by people who choose to hug their children in the morning and to burn other children in the evening.

    Be careful, or they’ll get on your case the way they did to [deputy chief of staff Gen. Yair] Golan for his remarks on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

    Let them. The generals in the field, who make decisions about the use of force, understand its danger far better than we do. In the past, the link between “It won’t happen to us” and “We are in danger of doing it to the ‘other’” wasn’t sufficiently clear. Today, regrettably, it is very clear. The concern that we are liable to do terrible deeds far outweighs any concern that another Holocaust will befall us.

    It’s unlikely that the general public sees it that way.

    For me it’s a concern. A hand – which is by no means hidden – is working very hard to foment separation and hatred within this society. I am deeply disturbed by that mechanism, and I try to work against it. I am fighting against all that is being entrenched here: divide and rule, scare tactics, societal rifts.

    Maybe that’s easier to do among the privileged population that attends your school.

    Not so. Gymnasia Herzliya may be considered an institution of [affluent areas such as] Savyon and north Tel Aviv, but in fact almost 50 percent of our students are from [disadvantaged] areas such as Hatikva, Jaffa, Tel Kabir. The leadership today relies on scare tactics, because they generate hatred, and fear and hatred know no bounds. People who hate others and are afraid of them extend that attitude to everyone. That’s how we’re made to forget that we have occupied another people for many years. The concealment and denials are found in the textbooks, too.

    I don’t want to collaborate with that. My school signed a “peace agreement” with a school in East Jerusalem. We met without blurring our differences, one day in our school and another day in their school, and we formulated principles of a peace agreement that would cover all the issues: territories, refugees, prisoners. Personal ties were formed between the children. They meet and talk and discover that the other side doesn’t have horns. We are also careful not to forget the residues; we want to process the dissonance into rapprochement.

    Do you talk to your students about fascism?

    Certainly. I introduced a class in critical thinking, which is taught by a teacher who’s a historian. Some of the other teachers didn’t like that. In contrast to me, they think the history and civics textbooks are good. They asked me to tone down the oppositional voice. I told them it’s a duty. I hear children telling that teacher [of critical thought]: “You are making us better people.” The other teachers, who don’t get told that, simply can’t accommodate the situation. They also have a hard time with what she says. Do you know that it’s prohibited to even say the word “Nakba”? Gideon Sa’ar, when he was education minister, banned quite a few terms from the curriculum. To say “Nakba” is almost to break the law.

    You also invited representatives from the Breaking the Silence organization to speak.

    Yes, and after the meeting, some female students got up and said that we have to kill all the Arabs and all the leftists, and them too.

    How did you feel about that?

    That there is work to be done. As a principal, I am obliged to accommodate all the students – especially those who think differently from me. But I cannot forgo my credo. My critical voice says that there is fascism here, and I want to be the voice that speaks out against that. When Education Minister Naftali Bennett fired the official who devised a program against racism, I said to my teachers that this revealed a fascist tendency.

    Have you ever met Bennett?

    No. He doesn’t meet with school principals.

    Would you like to meet with him?


    What would you say to him?

    I would tell him that he is a dangerous minister. That in the short run he may be getting what he wants, his “pound” of rule, but in the long run he is breaking us apart as a country and as a society.

    How so?

    He has no interest in education. He is using it only as a platform to promote nationalist political ideas. He is firing or removing all the people who think and express themselves differently – and there aren’t many of them to begin with, because everyone there is afraid of him – and bringing in others who serve his ideology. His timing is deliberate: When he changes the civics curriculum he delays publication of the new text until the summer vacation, in order to mute criticism. And what message is he sending by diverting the budget to mathematics, above all? That the other topics aren’t important: humanism and combating racism and ignorance.

    When I send a child to the Israeli education system, assuming that there is no other significant education going on in the home, what am I getting?

    We are in trouble, because the voices arising from every school and from every home are those of politicians.

    Politics always dominated the Education Ministry – Bennett didn’t even want to be education minister.

    True, but he has since discovered that it is a tremendous power mechanism. Education is the true security. It’s for the long term. To inject indoctrination, to implant views that become the bon ton, trains people to support the same goals that brought him into the government.

    You know, no other principal joined me in my decision about the trips to Poland. The executive committee of principals on WhatsApp deals with minor issues, such as whether there will be a winter date for matriculation exams. Only one principal in the group even reacted to the issue of the trips to Poland.

    They’re afraid.

    Of course. They are angry at Bennett for not talking to them, but they are his captive audience.

    You were attacked fiercely, including threats to your life. Did you understand why the response was so extreme?

    Because it’s holy. The Holocaust is holy. The army is holy. I am touching their objects of sanctity. That is not what I hold sacred. I am questioning a formula that has been guiding us for a very long time. But I feel obliged to ask myself these questions, to cast doubt.

    The feeling is that the very act of raising a question is illegitimate.

    I think that for many years, it was clear that “there are things we don’t talk about.” The occupation. The Holocaust. The army. The ruling power.

    A few minutes ago, a woman came up to you here in the café and said she saluted you for having the courage to cancel the trips to Poland. I want to understand how that became an act of courage.

    I agree with you. It’s absurd.

    On the basis of your mandate as a principal, you made a decision that is valid for your school alone. What is the courage in that?

    Not everyone sees it as an act of courage. The majority think it’s courageous to kill a person who is lying on the ground, half dead, or that a soldier shows courage when he shoots a 12-year-old girl. Courage is in the eye of the beholder. For most people here, what I say is treason, not courage.

    You are the voice of a camp that is so weak, dying in fact, that just to express that opinion is a heroic act.

    You’re right. I am one of the last gasps of a dying species. I understand that. What pains me is that I feel I am a bridge in places where people want only to create divisions, and that even though I am always speaking out and volunteering and taking action – excuse me for tooting my own horn – I am still a leftist traitor, and that casts a shadow over everything I do. Because I am a leftist traitor.

    And you’ll never escape that slot of traitor, even though you are a bereaved brother, a new immigrant, second generation of the Holocaust.

    Yes. I am a leftist traitor and I am also a second generation [survivor]. In my home, as in many others, my parents did not tell us [what happened]. We immigrated from Ukraine when I was 10. We lived on a kibbutz and then we moved to Lod. My father found his brother there, through the missing relatives bureau. He was the only other one from our whole family who survived. In Lod, I lived among immigrant children from all over – Morocco, Yemen, Bulgaria, Poland. At night we heard the screams of survivors who had lost their minds.

    Today’s youth are often branded apathetic. Is that your observation?

    If you mean indifference, lack of interest, noninvolvement – those traits exist. They are dictated from above. The idea is to turn us into a non-rebellious, uncritical, unquestioning herd, and that approach trickles down and works. We adults have a great influence on children. I believe that, and those who are out to do bad also believe it and make use of it. The result, in a regime like ours today, is a problematic control mechanism.

    That’s very vague.

    I will explain. When the chief scientist of the Education Ministry develops a program to combat racism, and the education minister fires him, he is making a very clear statement. He is saying that racism is not a subject he wants to put on the agenda, that there is no racism in Israel, just as there is no occupation. When no one speaks and no one asks questions, the issue does not exist. It’s an approach that also forestalls activism and opposition movements, because there is nothing to oppose.

    By the same token, the recent high-school students’ strike wasn’t exactly over an issue of morality.

    True. What are they fighting for? Driving tests and annual school outings. Look at what the students in France are fighting for: infringement of workers’ rights. The strike here reflects impotence, it’s only a technical act of imitating the grown-ups. It looks like activism, but it’s an act of apathy, because it has no ideological underpinning.

    I’ll ask you the traditional question for leftists: Are you in despair?

    I fluctuate from total pessimism to incomprehensible optimism. Internal dissonance. Because, after all, one gets up in the morning to meet children and talk to them and love them and believe in them. That doesn’t jibe with my statements that all is lost here. Though the truth is that all the warning lights are signaling that we are moving in a very gloomy direction.

    There are pictures and other column quotes here:

  22. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 24, 2016 at 7:08 am #


    I call your attention to a recent comment posted on this blog.

    “In the Israeli mindset, Palestinian Life to them is as worthless as Jewish Life was to the Nazis in another Age.”

    Whoever wrote this is either a bigot. Or an ignoramus. Or both.

    Do you recognize it, Ray?

    You’ve taken a liking to the biblical prophets, so I’ll answer by paraphrasing what the Prophet Nathan said to the adulterous and murderous King David: “YOU ARE THE MAN!”

    Ray, do you have any idea of what the Nazis did? They committed genocide. They murdered masses of people: Six million Jews. Five million Roma, political dissidents and others. They sent motorized death squads through Jewish villages and machine gunned everyone they saw. They murdered more than 30,000 Jews in a park near Kiev during two days of massacre. They rounded up Jews in small villages, packed them into ghettos that make Gaza look like a vacation retreat, they then herded them into cattle cars for transport to camps like Auschwitz where they gassed them and incinerated their bodies.

    That’s not what’s happening in Israel/Palestine. Nor did it ever happen. There’s much to be faulted in Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. But to equate this record with the Nazis…to allege that Israelis regard Palestinian life as being worthless is, as I said, either ignorant or bigoted.

    Worthless? Have a look at any Israeli hospital where Palestinian patients, from inside Israel and the Occupied Territories, receive equal treatment from the same doctors who treat Israelis and on the same treatment schedules. You will also find Palestinian doctors and nurses treating Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinian students earn degrees in Israeli universities, studying alongside Jewish counter parts. If you believe this mirrors Nazi Germany, you know nothing about what happened there. Look on the streets of Israel’s cities, where Palestinians are free to walk and shop. Look at Jerusalem’s parks or Tel Aviv’s beaches, where Palestinians play. There are no demeaning badges like the Yellow Stars Jews were forced to wear. The list goes on.

    No, the economic, social or political status of Palestinian citizens of Israel is not equal to Jewish citizens’. And yes, the Occupation must end. But this doe not Nazi values or ideology. Only an ignoramus or a bigot would say it does.

    You fancy yourself as acting in the model of the biblical prophets: Nathan rebuking King David, Elijah speaking truth to the power of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. But you’re not in their league. Not by a long shot. The prophets spoke truth and were prepared to support their accusations with evidence. But when challenged for specifics, you change the subject.

    And neither are you the informed political analyst you posture, sensing mega-trends in the Israeli mindset. Your knowledge of Israel comes from reading two English language newspapers and the Book of Revelations.

    And when you quote Israeli newspapers as warning that traces of fascism are creeping into Israeli society, it totally escapes you that what you’re quoting testifies to the freedom and power of Israel’s press, which is a strong safeguard against the dangers it exposes and denounces.

    False prophets have always blighted the landscape. Sadly, you follow in this ignoble tradition.


    • ray032 May 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

      Yes, I do recognize it, Ira. I wrote it. I looked for it to review the context, but I think I made it clear I was not talking “ex-Cathedra” It was my personal opinion.

      In the Israeli mindset, i.e. the so called Democratic majority reflecting the Israeli mindset to government, they don’t want to know about the occupation or the misery in Gaza. Palestinian Life has no value to them. I say again, this is more True than your version. I told you what I see as Israel’s version of “The Final Solution” in our Times. Obviously that has not happened yet, and I pray God forbid that it does!

      No Ira, The Military Dictatorship ruling in The West Bank has not gone as far as the Nazi Final Solution, but it does humiliate and dehumanize Palestinians on a daily basis, like the Nazis did to the Jews for years before the Nazi Final Solution.

      Not all Israelis have that mindset. That Democratic majority Netanyahu and his cronies claim to reflect, have no regard for the Palestinians at all. Nor do they have regard for the minority of Israeli Jews that favour Peace and Reconciliation with Palestinians. Those Jews are threatened with violence by their fellow right wing Jews. It’s the beginnings of Fascism.

      With the addition of Liberman’s people, the government will reflect the Settlers wishes even moreso, unless BDS takes off and becomes as effective as the 9 years of extreme BDS, total economic warfare Israel has waged all around Gaza.

      Again Jews, are not the only group of people that faced massacres in the violent history of humankind.

      Well over 1,000,000 Iraqi Civilians have died since the US started bombing in 2003. Jewish Life is not worth more than those lives. But who cares?

      The Book established Jesus did not want to be crucified and physically tortured by the Romans. He prayed to God that cup should pass from him, but in God’s long term plan reaching to Today, it had to be done in Jerusalem.

      And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
      Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

  23. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 25, 2016 at 6:00 am #


    Thanks for clarifying that you were not speaking ex-Cathedra. I had been thinking that you were speaking with the authority of some high church office, like the Pope.

    There’s no point in my repeating what I wrote in previous posts. Your mind is made up so I won’t try to confuse you with the facts. Your knowledge of what Israelis are thinking and feeling is overwhelming. It is also grievously misinformed: You write: “In the Israeli mindset, i.e. the so called Democratic majority reflecting the Israeli mindset to government, they don’t want to know about the occupation or the misery in Gaza. Palestinian Life has no value to them.” How can you claim to read Haaretz and Jerusalem Post every day and fail to miss the floodtide of opinion pieces and news reports documenting that Israelis are very concerned about what Israel is doing in the Occupied Territories?!

    You also wrote that Israel is treating Palestinians the way Nazis treated Jews for many years before killing six million of them. There’s a factual error here that’s more than a technicality. The Nazis began promulgating anti-Jewish laws less than a decade before launching the Final Solution. Israel has occupied the West Bank and Gaza for nearly a half century and there’s been no Palestinian Holocaust. Nor are there signs there will be.

    To repeat, I’m not defending the Occupation. But there’s a world of difference between it and the Nazi Holocaust.

    I question both the accuracy and relevance of this:
    “Jews, are not the only group of people that faced massacres in the violent history of humankind. Well over 1,000,000 Iraqi Civilians have died since the US started bombing in 2003. Jewish Life is not worth more than those lives. But who cares?”
    The actual number of Iraqi civilians killed since 2003 is estimated at less than 200,000. That’s a horrible toll, but it’s not “well over 1,000,000.” You must be including the masses of Syrians and others massacred by Assad, ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organizations. But what does that have to do with Israel?
    Moreover, I never claimed that Jews are the only people in history to face massacres, or that the value of Jewish lives are worth more than any other lives.
    Ray, I do salute your opposition to violence and support for human rights. But these admirable commitments are distorted by your animus toward Jews and Israel which, in light of your frequent biblical references, I must conclude stems from a religious bias usually identified as theologically based anti-Semitism. Not all criticism of Israel, even harsh criticism, reflects anti-Semitism. Most arguably does not. But not all critics of Israel cite the New Testament. You do. Frequently!


    • Laurie Knightly May 25, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

      Ray, The death toll from US involvement in Iraq goes back to 1990- first Gulf War, Sanctions, Iraq Liberation Act, No Fly Zone and 2003 invasion… This may be where your figure came from and it’s probably even higher. The US had no interest in computing a civilian death toll but human rights groups attempted to do so.
      The violence has not ceased during these years. The sanctions alone were reported to have caused about 500,000 deaths – worth it according to Albright. And the reason to include this is because the essay is about authoritarian reflection in general as is described in first paragraph. If this is a numbers competition, however, the Russians must be the winners. And 60 million people died in WW2. Painlessly, I suppose……

  24. walker percy May 25, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

    richard, everyone is scratching their heads about why Hillary is so unpopular (see D. Brooks in NYT). My pet theory is that everyone is secretly disgusted by her stance on Israel compared to sanders or trump, but they afraid to talk it. It will be interesting to see how Israel support figures into the remainder of the democratic nomination and the general election. It seems that sander is beginning to “go there”, forcing the issue. Watch D. Wasserman Schulz.

    • Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 26, 2016 at 7:11 am #


      If this is your pet theory, I suggest you get a goldfish.

      Whoever becomes president will pursue more-or-less the same policy as his/her predecessors. Even Sanders will face the reality that the Palestinians, severely divided and dominated by intransigent and violence-prone Hamas, have yet to demonstrate that they are capable of self-government and peaceful co-existence with Israel. Moreover, Hamas and Hizbollah are clients of Iran and Syria, No US president will give these two Shiite bad actors a foothold in a heavily Sunni section of the region.

      Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Richard Falk May 26, 2016 at 7:31 am #


        Although I disagree with the tone and much of the substance of your comment, especially putting the burden
        of peace persuasion on occupied and victimized Palestine, I will limit myself to pointing out that Hamas
        is Sunni, and generally associated with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.


      • ray032 May 28, 2016 at 6:19 am #

        Ira, you forget in 2006, Hamas won the majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislature in a Democratic election all external monitors certified as “Free and Fair.”

        Israel was furious with the Hamas Democratic win at the Ballot box, just like it is with any talk of a Fatah-Hamas Unity government for all Palestinians.

        All the BS about Israel being ready to negotiate without any preconditions, that is no more than verbal diarrhea on the Israeli side. With the Hamas Democratic win at the ballot box, it was the perfect time to use whatever back channels were available at that time, to start negotiations without ANY PRECONDITIONS, offering help and economic support to reinforce Democratic practices. With the Hamas win at the Ballot Box, Israel could no longer claim to be the only Democratic Elected Government in the Middle East.

        No. Israel stopped the money transfers to the Palestinian Authority they knew in advance would cause trouble on the Palestinian streets in the West Bank. The Israeli policy was to cause conflict between Fatah and Hamas.

        The US and Israel caused Abbas to un-Democratically dissolve the Palestinian Legislature, denying Hamas the legitimate Democratic win at the Ballot box. What message was that saying to Hamas? Democracy is only an manipulative practice. Bullets are the only other viable alternative!

        There is even more in this Jewish source of information:

        If you’ve been anywhere near the American Jewish community over the past few weeks, you’ve heard the following morality tale: Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005, hoping the newly independent country would become the Singapore of the Middle East. Instead, Hamas seized power, ransacked greenhouses, threw its opponents off rooftops and began launching thousands of rockets at Israel.

        American Jewish leaders use this narrative to justify their skepticism of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. But in crucial ways, it’s wrong. And without understanding why it’s wrong, you can’t understand why this war is wrong too.

        Let’s take the claims in turn.

        Israel Left Gaza

        It’s true that in 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew Israel’s more than 8,000 settlers from Gaza. (At America’s urging, he also dismantled four small settlements in the West Bank). But at no point did Gaza become its own country. Had Gaza become its own country, it would have gained control over its borders. It never did. As the Israeli human rights group Gisha has detailed, even before the election of Hamas, Israel controlled whether Gazans could enter or exit the Strip (In conjunction with Egypt, which controlled the Rafah checkpoint in Gaza’s south). Israel controlled the population registry through which Gazans were issued identification cards. Upon evacuating its settlers and soldiers from Gaza, Israel even created a security perimeter inside the Strip from which Gazans were barred from entry. (Unfortunately for Gazans, this perimeter included some of the Strip’s best farmland).

        “Pro-Israel” commentators claim Israel had legitimate security reasons for all this. But that concedes the point. A necessary occupation is still an occupation. That’s why it’s silly to analogize Hamas’ rockets—repugnant as they are—to Mexico or Canada attacking the United States. The United States is not occupying Mexico or Canada. Israel — according to the United States government — has been occupying Gaza without interruption since 1967.

        To grasp the perversity of using Gaza as an explanation for why Israel can’t risk a Palestinian state, it helps to realize that Sharon withdrew Gaza’s settlers in large measure because he didn’t want a Palestinian state. By 2004, when Sharon announced the Gaza withdrawal, the Road Map for Peace that he had signed with Mahmoud Abbas was going nowhere. Into the void came two international proposals for a two state solution. The first was the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, in which every member of the Arab League offered to recognize Israel if it returned to the 1967 lines and found a “just” and “agreed upon” solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees. The second was the 2003 Geneva Initiative, in which former Israeli and Palestinian negotiators publicly agreed upon the details of a two state plan. As the political scientists Jonathan Rynhold and Dov Waxman have detailed, Sharon feared the United States would get behind one or both plans, and pressure Israel to accept a Palestinian state near the 1967 lines. “Only an Israeli initiative,” Sharon argued, “will keep us from being dragged into dangerous initiatives like the Geneva and Saudi initiatives.”

        Sharon saw several advantages to withdrawing settlers from Gaza. First, it would save money, since in Gaza Israel was deploying a disproportionately high number of soldiers to protect a relatively small number of settlers. Second, by (supposedly) ridding Israel of its responsibility for millions of Palestinians, the withdrawal would leave Israel and the West Bank with a larger Jewish majority. Third, the withdrawal would prevent the administration of George W. Bush from embracing the Saudi or Geneva plans, and pushing hard—as Bill Clinton had done—for a Palestinian state. Sharon’s chief of staff, Dov Weisglass, put it bluntly: “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”

        It’s no surprise, therefore, that the Gaza withdrawal did not meet minimal Palestinian demands. Not even the most moderate Palestinian leader would have accepted a long-term arrangement in which Israel withdrew its settlers from Gaza while maintaining control of the Strip’s borders and deepening Israeli control of the West Bank. (Even in the 2005, the year Sharon withdrew from Gaza, the overall settler population rose, in part because some Gazan settlers relocated to the West Bank).

        In fact, Sharon’s advisors did not expect withdrawing Gaza’s settlers to satisfy the Palestinians. Nor did not they expect it to end Palestinian terrorism. Ehud Olmert, a key figure in the disengagement plan (and someone who himself later embraced Palestinian statehood), acknowledged that “terror will continue” after the removal of Gaza’s settlers. The key word is “continue.” Contrary to the American Jewish narrative, militants in Gaza didn’t start launching rockets at Israel after the settlers left. They began a half-decade earlier, at the start of the second intifada. The Gaza disengagement did not stop this rocket fire. But it did not cause it either.

        Hamas Seized Power

        I can already hear the objections. Even if withdrawing settlers from Gaza didn’t give the Palestinians a state, it might have made Israelis more willing to support one in the future – if only Hamas had not seized power and turned Gaza into a citadel of terror.

        But Hamas didn’t seize power. It won an election. In January 2006, four months after the last settlers left, Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem chose representatives to the Palestinian Authority’s parliament. (The previous year, they had separately elected Abbas to be the Palestinian Authority’s President). Hamas won a plurality of the vote – forty-five percent – but because of the PA’s voting system, and Fatah’s idiotic decision to run more than one candidate in several districts, Hamas garnered 58 percent of the seats in parliament.

        To the extent American Jewish leaders acknowledge that Hamas won an election (as opposed to taking power by force), they usually chalk its victory up to Palestinian enthusiasm for the organization’s 1988 charter, which calls for Israel’s destruction (The president of the New York board of rabbis said recently that anyone who voted for Hamas should be considered a combatant, not a civilian). But that’s almost certainly not the reason Hamas won. For starters, Hamas didn’t make Israel’s destruction a major theme of its election campaign. In its 2006 campaign manifesto, the group actually fudged the question by saying only that it wanted an “independent state whose capital is Jerusalem” plus fulfillment of the right of return.

        Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that by 2006 Hamas had embraced the two state solution. Only that Hamas recognized that running against the two state solution was not the best way to win Palestinian votes. The polling bears this out. According to exit polls conducted by the prominent Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki, 75 percent of Palestinian voters—and a remarkable 60 percent of Hamas voters—said they supported a Palestinian unity government dedicated to achieving a two state solution.

        So why did Hamas win? Because, according to Shikaki, only fifteen percent of voters called the peace process their most important issue. A full two-thirds cited either corruption or law and order. It’s vital to remember that 2006 was the first Palestinian election in more than ten years. During the previous decade, Palestinians had grown increasingly frustrated by Fatah’s unaccountable, lawless and incompetent rule. According to exit polls, 85 percent of voters called Fatah corrupt. Hamas, by contrast, because it had never wielded power and because its charitable arm effectively delivered social services, enjoyed a reputation for competence and honesty.

        Hamas won, in other words, 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.

        So yes, members of Hamas did throw their Fatah opponents off rooftops. Some of that may have been payback because Dahlan was widely believed to have overseen the torture of Hamas members in the 1990s. Regardless, in winning the battle for Gaza, Hamas—which had already shed much Israeli blood – shed Palestinian blood too.

        But to suggest that Hamas “seized power” – as American Jewish leaders often do – ignores the fact that Hamas’ brutal takeover occurred in response to an attempted Fatah coup backed by the United States and Israel. In the words of David Wurmser, who resigned as Dick Cheney’s Middle East advisor a month after Hamas’ takeover, “what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen.”

        The Greenhouses

        Israel responded to Hamas’ election victory by further restricting access in and out of Gaza. As it happens, these restrictions played a key role in explaining why Gaza’s greenhouses did not help it become Singapore. American Jewish leaders usually tell the story this way: When the settlers left, Israel handed over their greenhouses to the Palestinians, hoping they would use them to create jobs. Instead, Palestinians tore them down in an anti-Jewish rage.

        But one person who does not endorse that narrative is the prime mover behind the greenhouse deal, Australian-Jewish businessman James Wolfensohn, who served as the Quartet’s Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement. In his memoir, Wolfensohn notes that “some damage was done to the greenhouses [as the result of post-disengagement looting] but they came through essentially intact” and were subsequently guarded by Palestinian Authority police. What really doomed the greenhouse initiative, Wolfensohn argues, were Israeli restrictions on Gazan exports. “In early December [2005], he writes, “the much-awaited first harvest of quality cash crops—strawberries, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers and flowers—began. These crops were intended for export via Israel for Europe. But their success relied upon the Karni crossing [between Gaza and Israel], which, beginning in mid-January 2006, was closed more than not. The Palestine Economic Development Corporation, which was managing the greenhouses taken over from the settlers, said that it was experiencing losses in excess of $120,000 per day…It was excruciating. This lost harvest was the most recognizable sign of Gaza’s declining fortunes and the biggest personal disappointment during my mandate.”

        The point of dredging up this history is not to suggest that Israel deserves all the blame for its long and bitter conflict with Hamas. It does not. Hamas bears the blame for every rocket it fires, and those rockets have not only left Israelis scarred and disillusioned. They have also badly undermined the Palestinian cause.

        The point is to show—contrary to the establishment American Jewish narrative—that Israel has repeatedly played into Hamas’ hands by not strengthening those Palestinians willing to pursue statehood through nonviolence and mutual recognition. Israel played into Hamas’ hands when Sharon refused to seriously entertain the Arab and Geneva peace plans. Israel played into Hamas’ hands when it refused to support a Palestinian unity government that could have given Abbas the democratic legitimacy that would have strengthened his ability to cut a two state deal. And Israel played into Hamas’ hands when it responded to the group’s takeover of Gaza with a blockade that—although it has some legitimate security features—has destroyed Gaza’s economy, breeding the hatred and despair on which Hamas thrives.

        In the ten years since Jewish settlers left, Israeli policy toward Gaza has been as militarily resourceful as it has been politically blind. Tragically, that remains the case during this war. Yet tragically, the American Jewish establishment keeps cheering Israel on.

    • Richard Falk May 26, 2016 at 7:34 am #


      Wait for the Democratic Convention. I am counting on Cornel West appointed by Sanders to the Platform Committee
      seems ready to push the issue. He was my colleague and friend at Princeton.


      • Walker percy May 26, 2016 at 11:15 am #

        Richard, I agree the Democratic national committee should be very interesting. Sanders had done something amazing, we should all be grateful for his efforts to speak truth to power, in a way that can’t be dismissed or suppressed. Cornell west is excellent, I can’t wait!

  25. Brewer May 26, 2016 at 12:57 am #

    “Israel’s ex-prime minister has warned that his country is “infected by the seeds of fascism.”

    Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister and defense minister, said in an interview on Israeli TV on Friday night that fascistic, extreme right-wing politics are on the rise in his country, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

    “What has happened is a hostile takeover of the Israeli government by dangerous elements,” he cautioned. “And it’s just the beginning.” ”

    Rabbi Ira. This:
    do you have any idea of what the Nazis did? They committed genocide. They murdered masses of people: Six million Jews. Five million Roma, political dissidents and others. They sent motorized death squads through Jewish villages and machine gunned everyone they saw. They murdered more than 30,000 Jews in a park near Kiev during two days of massacre. They rounded up Jews in small villages, packed them into ghettos that make Gaza look like a vacation retreat, they then herded them into cattle cars for transport to camps like Auschwitz where they gassed them and incinerated their bodies.
    ….is decorated with numbers, as if somehow, the greater the numbers excuse perpetrators less ambitious. All of Europe was in conflict – some 60-70 million deaths as a direct result of that War on three Continents. The conquest of Palestine was a small regional conflict yet the following occurred at the hands of a, mostly illegal, immigrant population (all from Israeli Historian Benny Morris):
    “In Acre four soldiers raped a girl and murdered her and her father. In Jaffa, soldiers of the Kiryati Brigade raped one girl and tried to rape several more. At Hunin, which is in the Galilee, two girls were raped and then murdered. There were one or two cases of rape at Tantura, south of Haifa. There was one case of rape at Qula, in the center of the country. At the village of Abu Shusha, near Kibbutz Gezer [in the Ramle area] there were four female prisoners, one of whom was raped a number of times. And there were other cases. Usually more than one soldier was involved. Usually there were one or two Palestinian girls. In a large proportion of the cases the event ended with murder. Because neither the victims nor the rapists liked to report these events, we have to assume that the dozen cases of rape that were reported, which I found, are not the whole story. They are just the tip of the iceberg.”

    “(Massacres) “Twenty-four. In some cases four or five people were executed, in others the numbers were 70, 80, 100. There was also a great deal of arbitrary killing. Two old men are spotted walking in a field – they are shot. A woman is found in an abandoned village – she is shot. There are cases such as the village of Dawayima [in the Hebron region], in which a column entered the village with all guns blazing and killed anything that moved.

    “The worst cases were Saliha (70-80 killed), Deir Yassin (100-110), Lod (250), Dawayima (hundreds) and perhaps Abu Shusha (70). There is no unequivocal proof of a large-scale massacre at Tantura, but war crimes were perpetrated there. At Jaffa there was a massacre about which nothing had been known until now. The same at Arab al Muwassi, in the north. About half of the acts of massacre were part of Operation Hiram [in the north, in October 1948]: at Safsaf, Saliha, Jish, Eilaboun, Arab al Muwasi, Deir al Asad, Majdal Krum, Sasa. In Operation Hiram there was a unusually high concentration of executions of people against a wall or next to a well in an orderly fashion.

    “That can’t be chance. It’s a pattern. Apparently, various officers who took part in the operation understood that the expulsion order they received permitted them to do these deeds in order to encourage the population to take to the roads. The fact is that no one was punished for these acts of murder. Ben-Gurion silenced the matter. He covered up for the officers who did the massacres.”
    read more:
    Add to that the indisputable 700,000 driven from their homes at gunpoint (no cattle cars provided).

    Now the point I wish to make here is not that there is an equivalence (though it is very clear that there was an equivalent mind-set at work among the individual perpetrators, including BG). No, what I find incredible is that Israeli apologists such as yourself, debate as if none of this happened, as if that ideology does not exist among a significant bloc in Israel. Ehud Barak seems more realistic.

  26. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 26, 2016 at 3:38 pm #


    I never said that Hamas is Shiite. I said it’s a client of the Shiite Iran which supplies its arms, an arrangement that puts the Palestinians in a very precarious situation. In the light of Iran’s determination to establish Shiite hegemony in the region, it’s inconceivable that it would facilitate the emergence of a Sunni state in its center. Hamas functions as Iran’s proxy in its effort to destroy Israel. In the highly unlikely event of this happening, Iranian troops would immediately enter the theater, overwhelm Hamas and impose Iranian Shiite rule on the population, thus terminating its independence before it begins and returning Palestine to what it was under the Ottomans a century ago: a province in region ruled by non-Arab outsiders, but this time with less religious freedom.

    It makes me wonder why anyone who supports the Palestinian liberation movement and Palestinian statehood would support Hamas’ suicidal program?

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Richard Falk May 26, 2016 at 4:45 pm #


      Thanks for the clarification. I still think the last sentence of your comment can only be understood as treating Hamas
      as a Shiite political actor. Also, you are attributing a fanatical sectarian outlook to Iran, which seems to exceed what
      even Saudi Arabia believes. I find no evidence at all for your scenario of an Iranian takeover of Gaza. Hamas ties with Iran
      seem loose and shaped mainly by the goal of providing Gaza some means of resisting periodic Israeli massive attacks. I think
      your suggestion that Hamas is pursuing a ‘suicidal program’ is far from reality. They sought to abandon armed struggle when urged
      to participate in the 2006 elections by the US, and then ever since, in view of their success and subsequent conflict with Fatah,
      have been treated as ‘a terrorist actor’ without a political identity. My whole perception of their tactics and strategy is
      relatively optimistic about the potential of their reliable participation in a genuine peace process.


    • Laurie Knightly May 27, 2016 at 11:59 am #

      Henry Cattan, international lawyer, writer, professor Jerusalem Law School, expert on Palestine by League of Arab States and UN, differs with Ira on issue of life pre occupation by UK in 1917. “Palestine formed an integral part of Turkey, a sovereign and independent state. Its inhabitants – Moslems, Christians, Jews, all Arabic speaking peoples – were then Turkish citizens, and enjoyed equal civil and political rights with the Turks”. Palestine, and other Arab nations, detached de facto from Turkey, and incurred their wrath, when defecting and seeking independence, sovereignty, better quality of life etc, as was recognized by the League of Nations. Palestinians were demanding and entitled to more than the privilege of purchasing health care, moving about some streets and to gain limited co-mingling in universities, stated above as largesse by their overlords. It was not Turkey that eventually destroyed them. The published works of John Quigley, Francis Boyle, Richard Falk, and others are noteworthy study materials; however law/justice/morality have long since been removed from the overpowering precedence of politics therein.

      Using Ira’s frame of moral reference, fate forbid, if Iran took over all of historic Palestine, it should be acceptable to Jews because the regime would not exceed the horrific crimes of Nazi Germany. If conditions could be much worse, one should accept the lesser tyranny and be grateful. Oh yes, Israel has made some mistakes – nobody is perfect. If Zionists are criticized, its anti-Semitism but when critics are called ‘little Hitlers’, it’s just a ‘flub’. Palestinians from the beginning and forever more can be scapegoated for the injustices of others and those who disagree are to maligned, threatened, ruined – whatever. The Moslem world hinders the work of Palestinian advocates, however, with abysmal human rights records and unacceptable religious fanaticism.

      Also, sub-sects in Islamic groupings affect definition. Saudis, Kurds, and Saddam might be Sunnis but tribalism would still decide. As Moslems are reputed to be 85% Sunni, it doesn’t seem to mean much. They have never been able to establish unity and their claims to divine preference exceed all other considerations.

      BTW, Godwin has currently modified his law. He has decreed that certain politicians can now be labeled as Nazis. I still plan to hold back on this albeit Lieberman poses a supreme test to one’s will. We need some fresh pulverizing epithets specific to the situation.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 28, 2016 at 7:02 am #


        You cite this statement by Harry Cattan to dispute my view of Palestinian life prior to the British Mandate:

        ““Palestine formed an integral part of Turkey, a sovereign and independent state. Its inhabitants – Moslems, Christians, Jews, all Arabic speaking peoples – were then Turkish citizens, and enjoyed equal civil and political rights with the Turks.”

        Except for the final clause about Palestinian-Turkish equality, there’s little or no difference between Cattan’s view and my own. Your perception of disagreement may stem from the ambiguous placement of a comma : Turkey, not Palestine, is the sovereign and independent state. This reading is immediately confirmed by Cattan’s note that Turkish citizens. Being is citizen of Turkey is not the fulfillment of Palestinian national aspirations.

        I simply don’t know whether the Palestinians enjoyed equal civil and political rights with the Turks, but would question whether any occupying power treats its occupied people as equals.

        I frankly don’t understand the other points you make. I don’t denounce every critic as a Nazi, but some are. Besides, not everyone who uses Nazi terminology is a Nazi.


      • Laurie Knightly May 29, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

        Ira: I did respond but my comment disappeared before I quite finished – has happened a couple of times for some reason – maybe I’m under surveillance. Hope so……

        Anyway, my impression is doubtful about human rights records anywhere in the global past. What I witnessed in this country during my lifetime was bad enough. Maybe the nobility had a somewhat equal status in Ottoman Empire. Like landed white males in the US at one time……… but I do believe that it was considerably better than what Palestinians experience currently in Israel/Palestine, their own nation under foreign domination. There are pending demolition orders for 11,000 structures right now in the W Bank. And that’s a small part of the destructive whole.

  27. ray032 May 27, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    I admire President Obama’s speeches. They are usually very idealistic, ringing with Truth and Realism people should follow and try to implement in practical ways.

    Unfortunately, the Obama Administration action on the International stage does not always follow it own ideals, and I am convinced it is US power that is provoking Russia, trying to contain it in a box, that could lead to the very bad places Obama warns about in this speech.

    I followed every word, and I hope you all do too. The speech starts at the 2:40 mark, after the wreath laying.

    • ray032 May 28, 2016 at 5:18 am #

      After posting this yesterday, it is interesting reading this article from John Pilger this morning. We are on the same page as he puts meat on the bone.

      ‘Silencing the United States as It Prepares for War’

      John Pilger takes apart the liberal commentariat and points to the need for a genuinely anti-imperialist analysis of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and yes — Bernie Sanders.

      By John Pilger

      May 27, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “teleSur” – Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him. It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention. The great counter revolution had begun.

      The first to be assassinated that year, Martin Luther King, had dared link the suffering of African-Americans and the people of Vietnam. When Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, she spoke perhaps unconsciously for millions of America’s victims in faraway places.

      “We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom. Now don’t you forget it.” So said a National Parks Service guide as I filmed last week at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. He was addressing a school party of young teenagers in bright orange T-shirts. As if by rote, he inverted the truth about Vietnam into an unchallenged lie.

      The millions of Vietnamese who died and were maimed and poisoned and dispossessed by the American invasion have no historical place in young minds, not to mention the estimated 60,000 veterans who took their own lives. A friend of mine, a marine who became a paraplegic in Vietnam, was often asked, “Which side did you fight on?”

      A few years ago, I attended a popular exhibition called “The Price of Freedom” at the venerable Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The lines of ordinary people, mostly children shuffling through a Santa’s grotto of revisionism, were dispensed a variety of lies: the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved “a million lives”; Iraq was “liberated [by] air strikes of unprecedented precision”. The theme was unerringly heroic: only Americans pay the price of freedom.

      The 2016 election campaign is remarkable not only for the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders but also for the resilience of an enduring silence about a murderous self-bestowed divinity. A third of the members of the United Nations have felt Washington’s boot, overturning governments, subverting democracy, imposing blockades and boycotts. Most of the presidents responsible have been liberal – Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.

      The breathtaking record of perfidy is so mutated in the public mind, wrote the late Harold Pinter, that it “never happened …Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. It didn’t matter … “. Pinter expressed a mock admiration for what he called “a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

      Take Obama. As he prepares to leave office, the fawning has begun all over again. He is “cool”. One of the more violent presidents, Obama gave full reign to the Pentagon war-making apparatus of his discredited predecessor. He prosecuted more whistleblowers – truth-tellers – than any president. He pronounced Chelsea Manning guilty before she was tried. Today, Obama runs an unprecedented worldwide campaign of terrorism and murder by drone.

      In 2009, Obama promised to help “rid the world of nuclear weapons” and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. No American president has built more nuclear warheads than Obama. He is “modernizing” America’s doomsday arsenal, including a new “mini” nuclear weapon, whose size and “smart” technology, says a leading general, ensure its use is “no longer unthinkable”…………………………………………………..

  28. Laurie Knightly May 27, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    And from Gush Shalom:

    Tomorrow, Saturday, May 28 @ 8pm, we will march from the Allenby-King George corner in Tel Aviv – with the call to build up an opposition, stop racism and incitement, prevent the next war, and offer new hope for this country.

  29. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 31, 2016 at 7:18 am #


    Thanks for the clarification. Sorry about your having trouble posting. (Gene Shulman will probably tell you it’s a Mossad black flag operation.) I’ve had the same trouble here and elsewhere. So whenever I have a post of more than a few sentences, I write it on Word and then shadow copy it in.

    Playing “what if” games proves nothing. “What if” the Palestinians had accepted the 1947 UN Partition Plan, as the Zionists did so that the two independent states proceeded to build their societies? Things would have been far better for the Palestinians today.

    One significant correction: There was no political entity called Palestine under Ottoman rule. The people living in what is now Palestine were occupied by the invading Turks, living under foreign domination. Even a cursory glance at today’s news from the Middle East demonstrates that there’s no such thing as a united Arab nation or united Muslim nation.

    As regards alleged demolition orders for 11,000 West Bank structures, would you be good enough to cite your source. It seems terribly inflated.


    • Laurie Knightly June 1, 2016 at 12:06 pm #


      Re: 1. History of Palestine
      2. Current demolition orders

      I am familiar with this technique for destroying a blog. Turn them into semantic contests, personal insults, and bogus arguments till your victim tires and gives up. If you have no knowledge of Palestine, however, nor how to verify data, it must be tough trying to assert claims of territorial entitlement – however fictitious. But, of course, you do know………

  30. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 31, 2016 at 8:36 am #


    I never said that Hamas is a Shiite political actor. What I said is that in the unlikely event of Hamas defeating Israel, Iran would not allow a Sunni state to emerge Hamas is Sunni. This puts the Palestinians in a lose-lose situation, which they, and their supporters, ignore or deny only to their own detriment.

    Their problem isn’t only “down the raod.” By accepting Iranian arms in its campaign to eliminate Israel, Hamas has made itself an Iranian proxy, thus alienating itself from Sunni states in the region, and undermining efforts by their own moderates to renounce, or at least modify, the genocidal objectives stated in its National Covenant which serve Iranian hegemonic aims, and echo what Iranian leaders avow. The situation is aptly described in words lyricist Oscar Hammerstein puts into the mouth of the King of Siam in the great musical, “The King and I.” “If my allies have the power to protect me, might they not protect me out of all I own?!”

    Your denial of Iranian hegemonic objectives is rejected by most observers and all the Sunni states, and is puzzling in light of both history and current events. In negotiating Sykes-Picot, Britain took the resource-poor wasteland that is now Israel/Palestine and Jordan, leaving the more attractive Levant to France, because the area subsequently covered by the British Mandate lies in the center of the region. It’s the land bridge over which armies from time immemorial crossed, north to south and vice versa, to attack one another. This location is especially important to Iran, a non-Arab state with no friends in the region (except what remains of Syria).

    Seeing “no evidence” of Iranian hegemonic objectives entails turning a blind eye on what’s happened in southern Lebanon, where a co-opted Hizbollah has created an Iranian mini-state. Conquering Israel/Palestine would be a second piece of the puzzle, with Jordan being easy pickings as the third and final piece. This is no “fanatical sectarian outlook to Iran”, as you dismissively characterize it. It’s a fact revealed in the daily media.

    I agree with you that Hamas could play a significant, perhaps essential, role in achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace. But this can’t happen unless and until its leaders separate themselves from Iran, renounce terrorism, accept the reality and permanence of Israel, and enable its own moderates to set policy. Until that happens, Hamas will continue to be identified by its terrorism and sit precariously on the edge of the Sunni-Shiite conflict erupting throughout the Middle East.

    Encouraging Hamas to continue on its current path is poor advice.


    • Richard Falk May 31, 2016 at 10:49 am #


      Your characterizations of Iran policies and ambitions is inconsistent with all that I know about the region. The notion that
      it would even try to prevent a Sunni dominated state from emerging in Gaza is particularly far-fetched. Also, the idea that
      Hezbollah established an Iranian mini-state in southern Lebanon is equally strained. Hezbollah has been in broad support of
      the Palestinian struggle against Israel, but mainly a defensive actor in southern Lebanon that was particularly active in inducing
      Israel to withdraw its forces some years after the 1982 Lebanon War. Also your prescriptions for Hamas are, in effect, seeking
      to eliminate all means of resistance. If you look carefully and objectively at the violence between Gaza and Israel since 2006
      it will become apparent that either there is co-responsibility or that Israel is mainly responsible, as some Israeli critics of
      Netanyahu maintain and as relative casualty figures confirm. When the Palestinians give up resistance tactics, as has been the
      case with the PA, there is no greater willingness shown by Israel to seek accommodation, but on the contrary an acceleration of
      expansionist policies. I think it is you that are proposing bad advice unless your mission is to consolidate Zionist maximalism,
      that is, the incorporation of all or most of historic or biblical Palestine into Israel and then declare the conflict resolved.


  31. ray032 June 1, 2016 at 7:20 am #

    Along the lines of rising Fascism in Israel and elsewhere, this is an interesting read that arrived in my inbox this am.

    ‘Yehuda Glick’s meteoric rise from messianic margins to Israeli parliament’

    “Extremist and dangerous forces have taken over Israel and the Likud movement,” Moshe Ya’alon remarked at a press conference following his ouster as defense minister.

    The focus of attention was on Netanyahu’s imminent appointment of Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home) party leader Avigdor Lieberman to the defense ministry, overlooking Ya’alon’s replacement in Likud: US-born settler and face of the Temple Movement Yehuda Glick.

    The Temple Movement aims to build a third Jewish temple on Haram al-Sharif as part of a vision to replace Israel’s ethnocratic parliamentary system with a monarchy based on halacha (Jewish law) throughout Eretz Yisrael (the biblical Land of Israel including Palestine and beyond). While Lieberman’s appointment signifies a success for Israel’s secular right wing, Glick’s entrance to the parliament is a major step forward in the Religious Zionist takeover of Israel.

    This is the last paragraph in the article, “With Glick in the parliament, Lieberman running the defense ministry and Netanyahu at the helm, Israel has the recipe to escalate violence to unprecedented levels and exacerbate its religious component.

    I was already familiar with much of the substance in the article which reinforces my views in the article posted to my Blog September 13, 2014, titled, ‘TEMPLE MOUNT AND THE BATTLE OF THE GREAT DAY OF GOD ALMIGHTY’

    This Israeli government funds The Temple Institute Glick directed. He wants to move Israel backwards, not forward, in wanting to build a 3rd Temple with animal blood sacrifice for the atonement of Sin. So called Christian Zionists who support this movement in Israel are denying Christ, and that will stop.

    They don’t even believe their own Jewish Prophets.

    Hear the word of the Lord, O rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law of our God, O people of Gomorrah!
    Of what use are your many sacrifices to Me? says the Lord. I am sated with the burnt-offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle; and the blood of bulls and sheep and hegoats I do not want.
    When you come to appear before Me, who requested this of you, to trample My courts?
    You shall no longer bring vain meal-offerings, it is smoke of abomination to Me; New Moons and Sabbaths, calling convocations, I cannot [bear] iniquity with assembly.

    Above is the opening vision of Isaiah. This is the closing vision in his book.
    So says the Lord, “The heavens are My throne, and the earth is My footstool; which is the house that you will build for Me, and which is the place of My rest?
    Whoever slaughters an ox has slain a man; he who slaughters a lamb is as though he beheads a dog; he who offers up a meal-offering is [like] swine blood; he who burns frankincense brings a gift of violence; they, too, chose their ways, and their soul desired their abominations.
    I, too, will choose their mockeries, and their fears I will bring to them, since I called and no one answered, I spoke and they did not hearken, and they did what was evil in My eyes, and what I did not wish they chose.

    “Son of man, the dwellers of these ruins on the soil of Israel speak, saying: Abraham was one, and he inherited the land, and we are many-the land has [surely] been given to us for an inheritance.
    Therefore, say to them: So said the Lord God, You eat on the blood and you raise your eyes to your pagan deities, and you shed blood-and you should inherit the land?
    You stood on your sword, you committed abominations, and you contaminated each man his neighbor’s wife, and you should inherit the land?
    Ezekiel 33:24-26

    The Messianic Settlers, their spiritual leaders and advisors, who have taken over Likud and the government, ignore the words of the Prophets at Israel’s peril.

  32. Rabbi Ira Youdovin June 1, 2016 at 6:51 pm #


    You again accuse me of supporting Israeli territorial maximalism despite my nearly half century of documented opposition to the Occupation. This appears to be your default response to those who dissent from your views on Israel-Palestine. It’s also a tactic that shields you from the burden of responding to facts that contradict your theories, which is what you accuse critics of doing when they call you an anti-Semite.

    The “see no evil” approach to Iran you have pursued since the ascendance of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 is particularly implausible in the current situation. The Middle East is churning with violence, much of it flaming from the Shiite-Sunni conflict dating back to the very early days of Islam. It’s literally absurd to think that Iran, which is at the center of the Shiites, is spending lavishly on arming Hamas in order to facilitate the emergence of a new Sunni state in the region’s heartland. But that’s your position, based on “everything you know about the Middle East.” In fact, most observers and all the Sunni states in the region disagree with you; witness their strong opposition to Iran obtaining nuclear weapons with which they would seek to create Shiite regional hegemony.

    I’ll address the issue of Hamas’ violent resistance—what many observers call terrorism—in a subsequent post.


    • Richard Falk June 2, 2016 at 7:25 am #


      Again I wonder whether you are interested in an exchange of views or are basically motivated by an effort to discredit
      me and those who share my outlook or along the lines of Laurie’s comment want to do your best to wreck the blog.
      In brief, if you advocate a two-state solution without pointing out the consequences of Israeli expansionism during
      the period of a supposed ‘peace process,’ regardless of your purported support for a two-state solution, your view are
      indirectly supportive of Israeli territorial maximalism.
      On Iran, there is much to criticize, but not along the lines you adopt. Iran has been subject to every kind of destabilization
      effort since its revolution in 1979, including US-backed Iraqi invasion in 1980, and numerous covert operations by Israel and
      the US, including assassinations of its scientists. Its initiatives are mainly defensive or directed at protecting Palestinians
      from Israeli abuses as in Gaza. Your views are farfetched, and not in accord with the perception of most regional experts.



  1. Richard Falk: General Golan’s Holocaust Remembrance Day Speech - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics - May 17, 2016

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

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