How the United States Government Obstructs Peace for Israel/Palestine

23 Jul

[Prefatory Note: I am posting a foreword written a year ago encouraging readers to engage with this extremely well argued book, Obstacle to Peace by Jeremy Hammond, which advances an important double understanding: the controversial assertion that the United States Government has not only taken Israel’s side in diplomatic negotiation between Israel and Palestine, but has actively opposed all moves toward the establishment of an independent sovereign state for the Palestinian people (meaning that the American endorsement of the two-state mantra as the consensus formula for peace was a deliberate official lie) and secondly, if this obstacle were removed the prospects for peace between these two peoples would greatly improve. Jeremy Hammond’s indispensable book can be ordered from Amazon, having been recently published by Worldview Publications in Cross Village, Michigan. For some the position taken in the book will be controversial as it amounts to a radical rehabilitation of the two-state consensus at a time when many believe that the settlement dynamic has proceeded past the point of reversibility and the Israeli leadership is positioning itself step by step to embrace a Zionist version of a unilaterally imposed one-state solution to the conflict.  Even if this is so, Hammond’s book valuably clarifies the context of past diplomacy, and sets the conditions for any constructive reconstruction of a negotiated and mutually agreed settlement of the conflict in ways that give reasonable hopes of a sustainable peace.]

Foreword to Jeremy R. Hammond’s Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


There is a widening public recognition around the world that diplomacy as it has been practiced with respect to resolving the conflict between Israel and Palestine has failed despite being a major project of the United States Government for more than two decades. Actually, worse than failure, this stalled diplomacy has allowed Israel, by stealth and defiance, to pursue relentlessly its vision of a greater Israel under the unyielding protective cover of American support. During this period, the Palestinian territorial position has continuously worsened, and the humanitarian ordeal of the Palestinian people has become ever more acute.

An acknowledgement of this unsatisfactory status quo has led European governments belatedly to question their deference to American leadership in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It has also persuaded more and more social activists in civil society in this country and elsewhere to rely on nonviolent tactics of solidarity with Palestinian resistance, especially by way of the BDS Campaign that has been gathering momentum in the last year; and it is approaching a tipping point that seems to be making Israeli leaders noticeably nervous. Both of these challenges to the Oslo diplomatic approach are based on the belief that Israel has demonstrated its unwillingness to reach a political compromise with Palestine on the basis of a negotiated settlement even within a biased ‘peace process’ overseen by the US as partisan intermediary. In effect, there will not be solution to the conflict without the exertion of greatly increased international pressures on Israel to scale back its territorial ambitions. Such an outlook reflects the influential view that the time has come to resort to coercive means to induce Israeli leaders and Zionists everywhere to rethink their policy options along more enlightened lines. The implicit goal is that by means of this pressure from without, a “South African solution” will suddenly emerge as a result of an abrupt turnaround in Israeli policy.

Jeremy Hammond offers readers another approach, not incompatible with mounting pressure, and maybe complementary with it. In this meticulously researched, lucidly reasoned, and comprehensively narrated book, Hammond insists that not only has the Oslo style “peace process” turned out to be a bridge to nowhere, but that the United States Government, in criminal complicity with Israel, has actively and deliberately opposed any steps that could result in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Such an assessment poses a frontal challenge to the universally affirmed two-state supposed goal of these negotiations. Even Netanyahu has, at times, given lip service to an endorsement of a Palestinian state—although in the heat of an electoral campaign a few months ago he showed his true hand to the Israeli public by promising that no Palestinian state would come into being as long as he was prime minister. Netanyahu’s flight from hypocrisy was further reinforced by appointing Danny Danon, a longtime extremist opponent of Palestinian statehood, as the next Israeli ambassador to the UN, which can also be interpreted as another slap in Obama’s face. In this regard, it was the White House that did the heavy lifting to keep alive as long as possible the credibility of the flawed Oslo peace promise by insisting that this was the one and only path to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a refusal to adjust to this new Israeli posture, in Washington and at the UN, there is no departure from the consensus that a directly negotiated “two state solution” is the only path to peace, coupled with the totally fatuous tactical priority that what would alone be helpful is to persuade the parties to return to the negotiating table.  Recent American presidents are all on record as devoting their maximum effort to reach these discredited goals and treat all other tactics employed on behalf of the Palestinians as “obstacles” that set back the prospect of ending the conflict. The US Government joins with Israel in condemning all forms of international pressures to alter the status quo of the occupation, including Palestinian initiatives to be acknowledged as a full-fledged state within the UN System (a seemingly uncontroversial sequel to receiving diplomatic recognition as a state by more than 120 members of the UN) or to seek remedies for their grievance by recourse to the International Criminal Court. The United State has helped Israel use the Oslo peace process as a holding operation that gives Tel Aviv the time it needs to undermine once and for all Palestinian expectations of Israeli withdrawal and Palestinian sovereign rights. The whole Israeli idea is to make the accumulation of facts on the ground (that is, the unlawful settlement archipelago, its supportive Jews-only road network, and the unlawful separation wall) into “the new normal” that paves the way for a unilaterally imposed Israeli one-state solution combined with either Palestinian Bantuization or third class citizenship in an enlarged Israel.

It is against this background that Hammond’s book breaks new ground in ways that fundamentally alter our understanding of the conflict and how to resolve it. His abundantly documented major premise is that Israel could not proceed with its plans to take over the occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem without the benefits flowing from its “special relationship” with the United States. The perfidious reality that Hammond exposes beyond reasonable doubt is that the United States has been an essential collaborator in a grotesque double deception: falsely pretending to negotiate the establishment of a Palestinian state while doing everything within its power to ensure that Israel has the time it needs to make such an outcome a practical impossibility. This American role has included the geopolitical awkwardness of often standing alone in shielding Israel from all forms of UN censure for its flagrant violations of international law, which has included mounting evidence of an array of crimes against humanity.

As Hammond convincingly explains, the structures of government in the United States have been subverted to the extent that it is implausible to expect any alteration of this pattern of American unconditional support for Israel, at least in relation to the Palestinians, to come from within the government. Hammond also portrays the mainstream media as complementing this partisan governmental role, indicting particularly the New York Times as guilty of one-sided journalism that portrays the conflict in a manner that mostly accords with Israeli propaganda and sustains the malicious myth that the US is doing everything possible to achieve a solution in the face of stubborn Palestinian rejectionism. In this regard, Hammond informs readers in his preface that Obstacle to Peace is explicitly written to wake up the American people to these overriding realities with the intention of providing the tools needed by the public to challenge the special relationship on behalf of justice and the national interests and values of the American republic. Without making the argument overtly, Hammond is providing the public with the sorts of understanding denied to it by a coopted media. What Hammond does for the reader is to show in painstaking detail and on the basis of an impressive accumulation of evidence what an objective account of Israeli-Palestinian relations looks like, including by correcting the gross misreporting of the interactions in Gaza that have led to a series of wars waged by the totally dominant armed forces of Israel against the completely vulnerable civilian population of Gaza. In an illuminating sense, if the media was properly doing its job of objective reporting, Hammond’s book would be almost superfluous. Hammond’s democratic major premise is that if Americans know the truth about Israeli-Palestinian relations, there will result a mobilization of opposition that produces a new political climate in which elected leaders will be forced to heed the will of the people and do the right thing.

In a fundamental respect, Hammond is hopeful as well as brave, as he seems firmly convinced that Israel could not continue with its unjust and criminal policies if it truly loses the United States as its principal enabler. It is in this primary sense, as conveyed by book’s title, that the United States is the obstacle to peace; but if this obstacle could be removed, then the shift in the power balance would force Israel to face the new realities and presumably allow the Palestinians to obtain their fully sovereign state and, with it, reasonable prospects for a sustainable peace.  It needs to be appreciated that Hammond is writing as someone with a radical faith in the power of a properly informed citizenry to transform for the better the policies of the American republic, both with respect to the government and the media linkages that connect state and society with respect to the agenda of public policy.

In my view, Obstacle to Peace is the book we have long needed, utterly indispensable for a correct understanding of why the conflict has not been resolved up to this point, and further, why the path chosen makes a just and sustainable peace between Israel and Palestine a “mission impossible.”  Hammond goes further than this devastating exposure of past policy failures by offering guidelines for what he sensibly believes is the only viable way forward. Only the future will determine whether a grassroots movement can induce a repudiation of the dysfunctional special relationship, and if this should happen, whether it then leads Israel to act rationally to uphold its own security by finally agreeing to the formation of a Palestinian state. In Hammond’s view, ending the occupation and securing Palestinian statehood is the immediate goal of a reconstructed diplomacy, but not necessarily the end point of conflict resolution. He defers consideration of whether a unified secular state is the best overall solution until the Palestinians as a state are able to negotiate on the basis of equality with Israel, and then to be in a position to rely on diplomacy to finally fulfill their right of return, which has been deferred far too long.

In the end, Hammond’s extremely instructive book provides a fact-based overall account of the major facets of this complex relationship between Israel and Palestine and can be read as a plea to Americans to reclaim historical agency and act as citizens, not subjects. This plea is not primarily about the improper use of taxpayer revenues, but is concerned with activating the soul of American democracy in such a way that enables the country once more to act as a benevolent force in the world and, most concretely, to create the conditions that would bring peace with justice to the Palestinian people. 

With the greatest admiration for Hammond’s achievement in this book, I would point out finally that Obstacle to Peace is about more than the Israel-Palestine relationship and can be read beneficially with these larger concerns in mind. It is, above all, about the destruction of trust in the relationship between government and citizens, and about the disastrous failures of the media to serve as the vigilant guardian of truth and fact in carrying out its journalistic duties in a manner that befits a free society. Israel-Palestine is a powerfully reasoned and fully evidenced case study and critique of the systemic malady of contemporary American democracy that threatens the wellbeing of the country as never before.

Richard Falk

Yalikavak, Turkey

August 2015 




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112 Responses to “How the United States Government Obstructs Peace for Israel/Palestine”

  1. Gene Schulman July 23, 2016 at 2:51 am #

    I’ve been reading this book since I received it several days ago. I read and reviewed the first chapter a couple of months ago, and now I’ve promised a full review to the author. Prof. Falk doesn’t leave much for me to say. It’s all in his forward to the book. Well, the book is 500 pages long, so maybe I’ll find something to add. For the moment, Falk’s assessment is good enough for me to recommend the book to you.

    Bravo, Richard!

  2. Fred Skolnik July 23, 2016 at 2:51 am #

    It is preposterous to suggest that someone with no direct knowledge of the Middle East, its history, its politics, its people, its languages, its cultures, its ethos and its religions, and who gets all his information from watching television and reading exclusively English-language sources, can see what no one else has seen and tell the “real” story of the conflict. Historians gather evidence objectively in order to arrive at impartial conclusions that have not been mapped out in advance. Mr. Hammond selectively gathers evidence to support a foregone conclusion and ignores whatever contradicts it.

    His premise, and yours, that Israel is intent on annexing the West Bank, or that Israel has an interest in “making war” against the people of Gaza, is false (simple logic should tell you that it is in Israel’s interest to have a quiet Gaza). It was certainly not true under Rabin, Olmert, and Barak, all of whom made sincere and reasonable offers to the Palestinians, and it is not even true under Netanyahu, who is perceived by the hardliners in his own party as leaning to what they perceive as the left. Certainly he is wary, we all are given the nature of Hamas, and certainly he will not dismantle settlements until he is absolutely certain that Hamas will not set up its rocket launchers 15 yards from Jewish Jerusalem, and admittedly that may take forever, for reasons that should be clear to anyone who has the slightest understanding of radical Islam. The Palestinians could have had a state within a month of the Six-Day War after Israel had been begging for peace for 20 years, and they can have one today if they give up the Big Dream of a great massacre on the shores of the Mediterranean and start thinking about the welfare of their own people.

    If you understood the nature of the conflict, which you certainly don’t, you would understand that the settlements are not the obstacle. Ideologically, the obstacle is the simple fact of Israel’s existence. Politically, if the ideological hurdle is gotten over, the obstacle is the refugee question, which no Palestinian leader has had the courage or standing to resolve.

    • Gene Schulman July 23, 2016 at 4:57 am #

      Talk about selectivity? Fred has been selectively spreading his hasbara on this blog for as long as it has existed.

      As for the West Bank, the Israelis have already annexed it, if not de jura, certainly de facto! And facts show they have no intention of ever returning it. And what chutzpah to accuse the Palestinians of not wanting to resolve the refugee question when Israel won’t even put it on the table.

      Fred seems to think he has a monopoly on knowledge of the Middle East, and that just because someone hasn’t lived there or speaks the language, that they can’t understand the problems. There are dozens of authors and experts one could cite that disproves this claim. Fred knows them all, so I won’t.

      • Fred Skolnik July 23, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

        Dear Gene

        As always, you are all windup and no delivery. Israel has certainly not annexed the West Bank, de jure, de facto, or in any other sense. I don’t know who you call an expert. A historian who doesn’t know the language of the country he is writing about would be laughed off the stage. Resolving the refugee problem means, for the Palestinians, accepting the fact that millions of descendants of the original refugees, born outside the country, are not going to flood the State of Israel. There is no legal or historical precedent for such a “return” and there is no moral justification for it, given the fact that an equal number of Jews were displaced from Arab countries in the war period, losing everything they had, in a war waged against Israel by the entire Arab world.

      • Gene Schulman July 24, 2016 at 5:00 am #

        Okay, I guess I’ll have to name a few that DO know the language, and know the ME and Israel a lot better than Fred does: Ilan Pappe, Shlomo Sand, Gilad Atzmon, Maxime Rodinson, Amos Elon, Uri Avnery, Jeff Halper, Avraham Burg, Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, Tom Segev, et al. That’s just off the top of my head. Then there are those of us who may not know the language, but have spent time in the ME and know well its history.

      • Richard Falk July 24, 2016 at 7:08 am #

        Gene: An impressive list to which I would have few additions, and know or have known, almost every one on your list.

      • Fred Skolnik July 24, 2016 at 7:59 am #

        I wouldn’t call this collection of jounalists, polemicists and politicians scholars or experts (Uri Avneri, Gideon Levi – are you joking?). Pappe perhaps qualifies but I really don’t see how you personally go about verifying or evaluating anything he writes. Benny Morris has said that not a single sentence of his can be relied upon because of the way he mistranslates and misrepresents archive material, so if you wish to have an informed opinion about his reliability you would have to look at the archive material yourself. I admit that I have not done so but I did check one of Morris’s examples against the source – Ben-Gurion’s war diary – something about blinding dogs in Israeli experiments – and saw what Morris means. On the other hand I have heard Pappe assert in an interview that the reason the Arab countries invaded Israel was because Israel had expelled Palestinians. This is complete nonsense. The Arabs themselves do not state this as a reason, They declared that they would invade and destroy any Jewish state that came into being and massacre its Jewish population before there was a single refugee and this is precisely what they tried to do. (I have already given you Azzam Pasha’s declaration, which was as mild as it got.)

      • Brewer July 30, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

        “The Arabs themselves do not state this as a reason”

        Here is the second clause of the Statement by the Arab League upon the Declaration of the State of Israel (May 15, 1948)

        Second: Security and order in Palestine have become disrupted. The Zionist aggression resulted in the exodus of more than a quarter of a million of its Arab inhabitants from their homes and in taking refuge in the neighbouring Arab countries. The events which have taken place in Palestine have unmasked the aggressive intentions and the imperialist designs of the Zionists, including the atrocities committed by them against the peace-loving Arab inhabitants, especially in Dayr Yasin, Tiberias and others. Nor have they respected the inviolability of consuls, as they have attacked the consulates of the Arab States in Jerusalem. After the termination of the British mandate over Palestine the British authorities are no longer responsible for security in the country, except to the degree affecting their withdrawing forces, and (only) in the areas in which these forces happen to be at the time of withdrawal as announced by (these authorities). This state of affairs would render Palestine without any governmental machinery capable of restoring order and the rule of law to the country, and of protecting the lives and properties of the inhabitants.

      • Fred Skolnik July 31, 2016 at 6:26 am #

        Dear Brewer

        I hadn’t noticed that you had slipped this in. so here is Azzam Pasha secretary of the Arab League, in Sept. 1947, before there was a single refugee:

        “The Arab world is not in a compromising mood. It’s likely, Mr. Horowitz that your plan is rational and logical, but the fate of nations is not decided by rational logic. Nations never concede; they fight. You won’t get anything by peaceful means or compromise. You can, perhaps, get something, but only by the force of your arms. We shall try to defeat you. I am not sure we’ll succeed, but we’ll try. We were able to drive out the Crusaders, but on the other hand we lost Spain and Persia. It may be that we shall lose Palestine. But it’s too late to talk of peaceful solutions.”

        And here are the Arabs themselves on the flight of the Palestinians
        (I can give you as much of this as you want: the documentation is endless):

        Report in Jaffa newspaper Ash Sha’ab, January 30, 1948.“The first of our fifth column consists of those who abandon their houses and businesses and go to live elsewhere…. At the first signs of trouble they take to their heels to escape sharing the burden of struggle.”

        Jamal Husseini, Acting Chairman of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee, speaking to the United Nations Security Council. Quoted in the UNSC Official Records (N. 62), April 23, 1948, p. 14.”The Arabs did not want to submit to a truce they rather preferred to abandon their homes, their belongings and everything they possessed in the world and leave the town. This is in fact what they did.”

        From a memorandum by The Arab National Committee in Haifa to the Arab League Governments. 27 April 1948. ”… when the delegation entered the conference room it proudly refused to sign the truce and asked that the evacuation of the Arab population and their transfer to neighboring Arab countries be facilitated.”

        Emile Ghoury, secretary of the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee, in an interview with the Beirut Telegraph, Sept. 6, 1948. ”The fact that there are these refugees is the direct consequence of the act of the Arab states in opposing partition and the Jewish state. The Arab states agree upon this policy unanimously and they must share in the solution of the problem.”

        Jordanian daily newspaper Falistin, Feb 19, 1949.”The Arab states which had encouraged the Palestinian Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies, have failed to keep their promise to help these refugees.”

      • Brewer July 31, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

        “I wouldn’t call this collection of jounalists, polemicists and politicians “….authoritative in any way. Anyone familiar with Historiography will tell you that “he said, she said” is not evidence. A range of opinion can be found on both sides of any dispute and is often expressed by those far removed from the scene of action.

        In this case we have documentary evidence that your assertion:
        “The Arabs themselves do not state this as a reason”
        …is false.

      • Fred Skolnik August 1, 2016 at 4:15 am #

        You are confusing a fictitious official justification for an invasion with its real resons, which Azzam stated very clearly, as did dozens of other Arab leaders and spokesmen. Hitler also had a fictitious official justification for his invasion of Poland (the so-called Gleiwitz incident and others)..

        To continue:

        Radio broadcast by the Near East Arabic Broadcasting Station, Cyprus. April 3 1949.”It must not be forgotten that the Arab Higher Committee encouraged the refugees’ flight from their homes in Jaffa, Haifa, and Jerusalem.”

        Statement by the Arab National Committee of Haifa in memorandum to the Arab States, April 27, 1950. Cited by Peter Dodd and Halim Barakat, “River Without Bridges. – A Study of the Exodus of the 1967Arab Palestinian Refugees”. Beirut 1969. p. 43.”The removal of the Arab inhabitants … was voluntary and was carried out at our request … The Arab delegation proudly asked for the evacuation of the Arabs and their removal to the neighboring Arab countries…. We are very glad to state that the Arabs guarded their honour and traditions with pride and greatness.”

        Report by Habib Issa in Lebanese newspaper, Al Hoda, June 8, 1951.”The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, assured the Arab peoples that the occupation of Palestine and Tel Aviv would be as simple as a military promenade. He pointed out that they were already on the frontiers and that all the millions the Jews had spent on land and economic development would be easy booty, for it would be a simple matter to throw Jews into the Mediterranean.“Brotherly advice was given to the Arabs of Palestine to leave their land, homes and property and to stay temporarily in neighboring fraternal states, lest the guns of the invading Arab armies mow them down.”

        The Beirut Muslim weekly Kul-Shay, Aug. 19, 1951.”Who brought the Palestinians to Lebanon as refugees, suffering now from the malign attitude of newspapers and communal leaders, who have neither honor nor conscience? Who brought them over in dire straits and penniless, after they lost their honor? The Arab states, and Lebanon amongst them, did it.”

        Nimr el Hawari, the Commander of the Palestine Arab Youth Organization, in his book Sir Am Nakbah (The Secret Behind the Disaster, published in Nazareth in 1955), quoted the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Said as saying”We will smash the country with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews seek shelter in. The Arabs should conduct their wives and children to safe areas until the fighting has died down.”

        The Egyptian daily Akhbar El Yom, Oct 12, 1963.”The 15th May, 1948 arrived… on that day the Mufti of Jerusalem appealed to the Arabs of Palestine to leave the country, because the Arab countries were about to enter and fight in their stead.”

      • Richard Falk August 2, 2016 at 2:13 am #

        This may be true..that official justifications can be ‘fictitious’ or contrived, but so may official justifications
        hide or disguise real motivations. Assessment is necessarily provisional, arbitrary, and generally confirms our preexisting
        beliefs, whatever these may be.

    • Jeremy R. Hammond July 23, 2016 at 8:10 am #

      Fred, I document extensively in Obstacle to Peace the absolute falsity of your arguments.

      You really ought to read it.

      • Fred Skolnik July 23, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

        Dear Jeremy

        You have not documented anything. You have collected a hodgepodge of assertions that constitute the mantra of Israel haters. This includes the misrepresentation of Resolution 242, which I have discussed previously here.

      • Richard Falk July 24, 2016 at 2:44 am #

        A typical denial without even a pretense of nuanced reading..and yet you wonder why the word ‘hasbara’ is invoked..

      • Jeremy R. Hammond July 24, 2016 at 7:20 am #

        Fred, it’s rather bizarre for you to state I “have not documented anything” considering you haven’t read the book (which contains 1,900 endnotes).

        As for Resolution 242, the facts about it are as I’ve stated them, including the fact that it requires Israel to fully withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.

      • Fred Skolnik July 24, 2016 at 8:03 am #

        Prof. Falk

        I use the word preposterous advisedly with reference to Mr, Hammond. Dishonest writing doesn’t deserve “nuanced reading.” Or maybe Mr. Hammond doesn’t know any better. Or maybe he just picks up what looks good.

        Right at the outset he repeats the nonsensical assertion that the Jews owned 5% of the land in Mandatory Palestine and the Arabs 95%, that is, whatever wasn’t privately owned by Jews was privately owned by Arabs, which I have to assume includes, the desert, the dunes, the marshlands, the barren hilltops the rivers, the lakes, the roads, the streets, the squares. One has to wonder how the Jews managed to visit their neighbors, since the sidewalks must have been privately owned by the Arabs too.

        The truth is that the Jews owned (at most) 10% and the Arabs 20% of the land. The rest was Crown or State Land, mostly uninhabited arid or semi-arid territory, incuding the Negev, inherited originally by the Mandatory Government from Turkey. These lands had not been owned by Arab farmers—neither under the British Mandate nor under the Ottoman Turks.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond (@jeremyrhammond) July 24, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

        Here’s relevant part of what I actually wrote in the book, with regard to Fred’s comment concerning land ownership:


        An UNSCOP survey of land ownership cited 1943 statistics showing that of Palestine’s total land area (26,320,505 dunams), Arabs and other non-Jews owned nearly 94 percent (24,670,455 dunams). By contrast, the Jews owned only 5.8 percent (1,514,247 dunams).[13] Land ownership statistics for 1945 likewise showed that Arabs owned more land than Jews in every single district in Palestine. The district with the highest percentage of Jewish ownership was Jaffa, where 39 percent of the land was owned by Jews, compared to 47 percent owned by Arabs. Jews owned less than 5 percent of the land in eight out of the sixteen districts.[14] Even by the end of the Mandate in 1948, according to the Jewish National Fund (a quasi-governmental organization founded in 1901 to purchase land for Jewish settlement), the Jewish community had acquired only about 6.9 percent (1,820,000 dunams) of the total land area of Palestine.[15]

        As the UNSCOP report noted, “The Arab population, despite the strenuous efforts of Jews to acquire land in Palestine, at present remains in possession of approximately 85 percent of the land.”[16] And as the subcommittee report observed, “The bulk of the land in the Arab State, as well as in the proposed Jewish State, is owned and possessed by Arabs” (emphasis added).[17]

        [END EXCERPT]

        And here are the endnotes:


        [13] Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, A Survey of Palestine: Prepared in December 1945 and January 1946 for the information of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry (Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1991), Volume II, 566. The entire three-volume Survey of Palestine is available for purchase at and can also be viewed online at A dunam is 1,000 square meters, or about a quarter acre.

        [14] Report of Sub-Committee 2, 43-44; Appendix 5: “Palestine Land Ownership by Sub-Districts (1945).” A higher quality image of the map is available at Statistics were as follows (Arab/Jewish land ownership in percentages): Safad: 68/18; Acre: 87/3; Tiberias: 51/38; Haifa: 42/35; Nazareth: 52/28; Beisan: 44/34; Jenin: 84/1, Tulkarm: 78/17; Nablus: 87/1; Jaffa: 47/39; Ramle: 77/14; Ramallah: 99/less than 1; Jerusalem: 84/2; Gaza: 75/4; Hebron: 96/less than 1; Beersheeba: 15/less than 1.

        [15] Walid Khalidi, “Revisiting the UNGA Partition Resolution,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. XXVII, No. 1 (Autumn 1997). Khalidi writes that “Jewish-owned land on the eve of the partition resolution amounted, according to Jewish sources, to 1,820,000 dunams, or less than 7 percent of the total land area of the country” (13). This would be 6.9 percent, although Khalidi puts the total area of Palestine at the higher figure of 27 million dunams, which would put it at about 6.7 percent. His source cited is: Jewish National Fund, “Jewish Settlements in Palestine” (Jewish National Fund, Jerusalem, March 1948, Mimeographed), p. ii. See also Edward W. Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage Books Edition, 1992), 98. Said writes that, by the end of 1947, the Jewish community had legally acquired 1,734,000 dunams, or about 6.6 percent of the territory of Palestine. He cites a slightly different number of 26,323,000 dunams for the total land area of Palestine, which still rounds to 6.6 percent. Said also notes, “After 1940, when the mandatory authority restricted Jewish land ownership to specific zones inside Palestine, there continued to be illegal buying (and selling) within the 65 percent of the total area restricted to Arabs.” According to Abraham Granott, “The total area of land in Jewish possession at the end of June 1947 amounted to 1,850,000 dunams….” See: Abraham Granott, The Land System in Palestine (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode 1952), 278. This number would put the amount of land in Jewish possession at 7 percent. Israeli historian Ilan Pappé puts the figure lower, writing, “By the end of the Mandate in 1948, the Jewish community owned around 5.8% of the land in Palestine.” See: Ilan Pappé, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2006), Kindle Edition, Location 655. However, this is evidently an error; Pappé seems to have cited the statistic from 1943, which was no longer accurate by the end of the Mandate. Benny Morris likewise puts the amount of land owned by the Jewish community at “7 percent”. See: Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008), Kindle Edition, Location 957.

        [16] UNSCOP Report.

        [17] Report of Sub-Committee 2, 43.

      • Fred Skolnik July 24, 2016 at 11:06 pm #

        The point about the absurd 95% figure, wherever you got it from, Jeremy, is that you are endorsing it by presenting it is as part of your “case,” to prove that the partition was unjust. (UNSCOP nevertheless made the prime facie inequitable recommendation …) An honest scholar, which you are not, would have rejected the figure.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond (@jeremyrhammond) July 25, 2016 at 6:56 am #

        An honest scholar, which you are not, would have rejected the figure.

        Fred, I’ve given you my numerous sources, which you are welcome to check for yourself. You’ve given us none.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond July 25, 2016 at 6:59 am #

        Fred, regarding land ownership, I’ve given you my numerous sources, which you are welcome to check for yourself. You’ve given us none.

      • Fred Skolnik July 25, 2016 at 11:13 pm #

        Common sense is the source: deserts, dunes, marshlands, swamplands, barren hilltops, rivers, lakes, roads, streets, sidewalks, squares are not privately owned land.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond July 26, 2016 at 7:16 pm #

        Common sense is the source: deserts, dunes, marshlands, swamplands, barren hilltops, rivers, lakes, roads, streets, sidewalks, squares are not privately owned land.

        I didn’t argue otherwise. I merely observed the fact that the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry’s Survey of Palestine shows in a table on page page 566 that 24,670,455 dunams of land was owned by “Arabs & other non-Jews” out of 26,320,505 dunams of total land area.

        The Survey also notes that roads, railways, rivers and lakes amounted to 135,803 dunams of the 26,320,505 dunams of total land area in Palestine (0.5%), 1,514,247 dunams of which was owned by Jews in 1943 (5.8%, as already noted).

        But it’s a remarkable argument that the authors of the Survey of Palestine lacked common sense!

        The point is that the Zionists had no legal claim to any of the land they conquered by ethnically cleansing Palestine of most of its Arab population in order to establish their “Jewish state”.

      • Fred Skolnik July 27, 2016 at 7:08 am #

        One last time, Jeremy. You endorsed the fiction that 95% of Mandatory Palestine land was privately owned by Arabs. You did this for no other reason than to create the impression that the partition percentages (45-55) were grossly unjust and would be taking away “Arab land.” (“UNSCOP nevertheless made the prime facie inequitable recommendation …”) This has nothing to do with legal claims or ethnic cleansing but with the basis of the partition plan, which of course preceded the war, the refugees, the conquered territory and all the rest. That is why you are dishonest.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond July 30, 2016 at 6:26 am #

        You endorsed the fiction that 95% of Mandatory Palestine land was privately owned by Arabs.

        That is a lie. I did not write that 95% of Palestine was privately owned by Arabs, and you know that.

        It’s highly instructive that you have to deliberately misrepresent what I wrote in order to try to make a case to support your own position.

        It’s also instructive that you support your charge of dishonesty on my part on the basis of this lie. That is extraordinary hypocrisy.

        You did this for no other reason than to create the impression that the partition percentages (45-55) were grossly unjust and would be taking away “Arab land.”

        The partition plan was grossly unjust, and it did call for land owned by Arabs to become part of the “Jewish state”. Once again, while the plan called for the minority Jewish population to have 55% of Palestine for their state, they actually owned only 7%, while Arabs owned more land than Jews in every single district.

        Moreover, again, the authors of the partition plan recognized how grossly unjust it was by virtue of their explicit rejection of the right of the majority Arab population to self-determination.

    • Gene Schulman July 23, 2016 at 9:30 am #

      Let’s let Mr. Hammond defend himself against Fred’s charges:

      • Fred Skolnik July 23, 2016 at 10:19 pm #

        Mr. Hammond is not defending himself against my charges, he is having a debate with an easy opponent. I will be more than happy to engage him here or anywhere else in a similar debate.

      • Richard Falk July 24, 2016 at 2:43 am #

        Read his book with as few of your predispositions as possible. It is devoted to American policy, and should not
        engage your pro-Israel apologetics except indirectly.

    • Brewer July 30, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

      “There is no legal or historical precedent for such a “return” and there is no moral justification for it”

      Anyone else find this amusing – coming from a Zionist?

      • Jeremy R. Hammond August 3, 2016 at 9:20 am #

        Indeed, the cognitive dissonance is staggering.

  3. Gene Schulman July 23, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    Wondering why no new comments have been posted, including two of my own from earlier this a.m.?

    Hope you’re safe, Richard.

    • Richard Falk July 24, 2016 at 2:45 am #

      Life here, Gene, is rather focused on events unfolding in Turkey, and so monitoring efforts have slowed to a halt..

      • Gene Schulman July 24, 2016 at 5:03 am #

        Yes, I guessed as much, Richard. Still, keep safe.

  4. Jeremy R. Hammond (@jeremyrhammond) July 24, 2016 at 7:26 am #

    Fred, the fact you proclaim I “haven’t documented anything” without having any knowledge of what’s in the book is highly instructive. For you to know would require you actually reading it. (It contains 1,900 endnotes, by the way.)

    The facts regarding Resolution 242 are as I’ve stated them, including the fact it requires Israel to fully withdraw from occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

    I’d be more than happy to debate you, Fred, but that would require you actually looking at what I’ve written and producing an actual argument, as opposed to blanket dismissals.

    (Richard, I’ve tried to make several posts, but to no avail. Not sure if they actually got through to await moderation or not, so please feel free to delete duplicates. Testing using a different account with this one in the hopes it will work…)

    • Richard Falk July 24, 2016 at 9:06 am #

      My apologies, Jeremy. My presence in Turkey during this period is a preoccupying experience. I hope this flurry of
      controversy interest people in your invaluable book! Greetings, Richard

      • Jeremy R. Hammond July 24, 2016 at 8:29 pm #

        Fred, how about we keep the discussion here, rather than in the review section at Amazon?

        It would have been nice had you actually read the book before posting a review at Amazon.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond (@jeremyrhammond) July 24, 2016 at 8:42 pm #

        No apology necessary! It’s not that you’re not moderating, but that my comments aren’t even being submitted for moderation in the first place. It’s a bug. Only occasionally when I click to submit does my comment actually go through (it shows me that the comment is awaiting moderation when it does go through, but most of the time it just reloads the page and shows nothing). See if this one works…

    • Fred Skolnik July 24, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

      But you are not stating facts, Jeremy. You are stating interpretations that are completely superfluous. You are misrepresenting the Resolution by claiming that one paragraph is not related to the other and that what is required of Israel is not dependent on what is required of the Arabs. Of course the Resolution calls on Israel to withdraw from “territories,” no more and no less, in just that language, but it also sets out what is expected from the Arabs.

      1. Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

      Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

      Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.

      BOTH. Not one before the other. Not one without the other. Not one instead of the other. BOTH. B-O-T-H. Do you see the word in the resolution? Look it up in the dictionary.

      “Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and ACKNOWLEDGEMENT of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in PEACE within secure and RECOGNIZED boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

      Khartoum: NO RECOGNITION!
      Khartoum: NO PEACE!

      “Requests the Secretary General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution.”

      Khartoum: NO NEGOTIATIONS!

      Now take a look at Resolution 338:

      “2) Calls upon ALL parties concerned to start immediately after the cease-fire the implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) IN ALL OF ITS PARTS” (my emphasis).

      If our argument is going to revolve around the meaning of plain English sentences, then it can only be resolved by a dictionary. I suggest that you look up the word “all” and then get back to us.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond (@jeremyrhammond) July 25, 2016 at 8:20 pm #


        What I provide in the book is not my own, but the UN Security Council’s interpretation of Resolution 242 — the only valid interpretation there is. As compared to you simply presenting Israel’s own unilateral interpretation of it, which has no validity.

        From Obstacle to Peace:

        As for the claim that the first sub-clause is conditional upon the second, as a simple point of fact, the extent of the withdrawal called for in sub-clause (i.) is not determined by sub-clause (ii.), but is rather determined independently from it by the words “from territories occupied”, which means the territories beyond the 1949 armistice lines that Israel occupied during the June war. The resolution states that “both” [B-O-T-H] withdrawal and secure and recognized boundaries are a requirement for peace, conditioning neither one upon the other.

        This is the problem when you try to dismiss a book without actually having read it.

      • Fred Skolnik July 25, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

        If you agree that Israel’s withdrawal from territories, in any shape or form, is conditional on the simultaneous fulfillment of all the stipulations in the Resolution, I stand corrected.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond July 26, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

        If you agree that Israel’s withdrawal from territories, in any shape or form, is conditional on the simultaneous fulfillment of all the stipulations in the Resolution, I stand corrected.

        Please reread this excerpt from Obstacle to Peace more carefully and try to comprehend it this time:

        As for the claim that the first sub-clause is conditional upon the second, as a simple point of fact, the extent of the withdrawal called for in sub-clause (i.) is not determined by sub-clause (ii.), but is rather determined independently from it by the words “from territories occupied”, which means the territories beyond the 1949 armistice lines that Israel occupied during the June war. The resolution states that “both” withdrawal and secure and recognized boundaries are a requirement for peace, conditioning neither one upon the other.

    • Fred Skolnik July 24, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

      Here then, Jeremy, is an actual argument:

      The Jews came from Judea. The Arabs came from Arabia. Both made a claim to sovereignty in the Land of Israel. When there are rival claims of this kind they can only be resolved through negotiation, mediation or war. The Jews accepted mediation in the absence of negotiation, that is, a UN resolution that gave them sovereignty in part of the Land of Israel. The acceptance of this resolution did not entail the displacement, replacement or expulsion of a single Arab. The Arabs chose war and attacked the State of Israel with the declared aim of destroying it. As a result of this war a de facto exchange of populations occurred. To a certain extent Jews expelled Arabs and to a certain extent Arabs expelled Jews. To a certain extent Jews fled from Arab countries and to a certain extent Arabs fled from the Jewish state. Each side took up positions behind armistice lines and remained there in an unresolved conflict and continuing state of war which had created new demographic realities. The Arabs then initiated a new war in 1967, as a result of which the West Bank was occupied, specifically after an unprovoked and indiscriminate attack on Israel by Jordan. There is not a word of the above that you will not find confirmed by the Arabs themselves, from their motives and intentions in 1948 to Hussein’s explanation of his attack in 1967.

      (Prof. Falk, if you are at all interested in seeing thses issues debated, if only to promote Mr. Hammond’s book, then you might consider deactivating your delaying or blocking device with reference to my comments so that I may reply in a timely fashion.)

      • Jeremy R. Hammond (@jeremyrhammond) July 25, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

        …that is, a UN resolution that gave them sovereignty in part of the Land of Israel.

        Had you bothered to actually read the book before trying to critique it, Fred, you would have learned that this claim is false.

        Resolution 181 neither created Israel nor conferred any legal authority to the Zionist leadership for their unilateral declaration of the existence of Israel on May 14, 1948.

        The Arabs chose war and attacked the State of Israel with the declared aim of destroying it.

        By the time the neighboring states managed to muster a military response, 300,000 Arabs had already been ethnically cleansed from Palestine.

        The Arabs then initiated a new war in 1967…

        The 1967 war was started by Israel on the morning of June 5 with a surprise attack on Egypt despite Israel’s own intelligence assessing that there was no imminent threat of an attack by Egypt, an assessment shared by the US intelligence community, which accurately predicted and informed President Johnson that a war was looming, but that it would be Israel that would start it.

        All this Zionist hasbara you are parroting is addressed at length in the book. We see once again the problem of trying to criticize a book without actually bothering to read it…

      • Fred Skolnik July 25, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

        The UN is not a body that confers legality in its resolutions. As in the case of all countries achieving independence, diplomatic recognition and membership in the UN confirms a country’s status as a sovereign state.

        The surrounding Arab states did not “muster a response,” they attacked Israel the day after the British left just as they declared they would before the partition vote.

        I’ve already commented on the flight and expulsion of Arabs and Jews. Most of the documented expulsions (about 100,000 from Ramle, Lod and in Operation Hiram) took place after the Arab invasion. How many Arabs were expelled as opposed to fleeing cannot really be calculated.

        The closure of the Straits of Tiran by Egypt was an act of war and in itself justified military action on Israel’s part. The movement of six infantry divisions (100,000 men) and 1,000 tanks toward Israel’s southern border by Egypt, coupled with Nasser’s explicit threats, also warranted military action on Israel’s part. When your neighbor has been threatening for twenty years to burn your house down and murder your family and then crosses the street and advances on your house with a gang of armed men, you would have to be crazy not to shoot first. You can be a hero with your own children, not mine.

        As for Jordan, Hussein has explained his attack in his book on the war.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond July 26, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

        Once again, the international community’s subsequent acceptance of the Zionists’ territorial gains by war as a fait accompli and diplomatic recognition of Israel as a state did not constitute ex post facto legitimization of their unilateral May 14 declaration or justify the means by which the “Jewish state” came into being: the ethnic cleansing of 700,000 Arabs from Palestine.

        Once again, by the time the neighboring states managed to muster a military response, 300,000 Arabs had already been ethnically cleansed in what Israeli historian Benny Morris has described as the Zionists’ “war of conquest” to establish their “Jewish state” by using force to expel the Arab population and take their land, wiping hundreds of their villages off the map to build Jewish villages in their place.

        Many fled out of fear of massacres like the one at Deir Yassin, many others were expelled by Zionist forces; none were allowed to return to their homes. The fact that you are trying to justify this is highly instructive.

        As for the 1967 war, Israel had peaceful means available to it to seek remedy for its grievance against Egypt for its closure of the straits to Israeli shipping. The simple fact of the matter is that Egypt did not attack Israel; Israel, rather, launched a war of aggression against Egypt on the morning of June 5 despite its own intelligence assessing that there was no imminent threat of an Egyptian attack on Israel — an assessement with which the US intelligence community concurred, the CIA having presciently informed President Johnson that a war was looming, but that it would be Israel, not Egypt, that would start it.

  5. Jeremy R. Hammond (@jeremyrhammond) July 24, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

    Fred, how about we keep the discussion here, rather than also at Amazon?

    It would have been nice had you actually read the book before leaving a review at Amazon.

    • Fred Skolnik July 24, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

      I would be happy to oblige but that depends on Prof. Falk, who does not allow my comments to appear in a timely fashion but has them automatically delayed (or attempts to block them) so that they only appear when someone else comments, probably despite his efforts to block them.

      • Richard Falk July 24, 2016 at 11:19 pm #

        I can block any comment, and delay is my way of expressing discomfort with your style of accompanying your
        invariable substantive support of Israeli policies with insults directed at those who disagree with you. This
        style runs counter to my wishes, but at the same time I am reluctant to block altogether your efforts to debate
        critics of Israel’s policies and practices.

      • Fred Skolnik July 24, 2016 at 11:35 pm #

        If you are interested in this kind of debate, and specifically with Mr. Hammond, you will have to release the hold button so that it can be carried out in a timely fashion instead of with delays of a day or two before my comments appear.

      • Richard Falk July 25, 2016 at 1:14 am #

        When you stop insulting me and others, your requests will be taken seriously. Until then, either
        participate on my terms or abandon the blog once more.

      • Fred Skolnik July 24, 2016 at 11:40 pm #

        Also, since you seem to think there is something reprehensible about my “invariable” support of Israel, you might consider the “invariable” attacks on Israel by yourself and others in the same spirit. Doesn’t the latter also merit your censure?

      • Richard Falk July 25, 2016 at 1:17 am #

        If you were to read rather than rant you would observe that I often support
        Israel’s right to exist as a state however wrongly it was established and I often
        criticize the behavior of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and the absence of
        a widely acknowledged legitimate representation of Palestinian interests on a
        global level.

      • Fred Skolnik July 25, 2016 at 1:33 am #

        Given Prof. Falk’s reply, Jeremy, I will continue to comment on Amazon as long as you continue to engage me there.

    • Brewer July 30, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

      The use of the term “Arabs” to describe the indigenous population of Palestine is not only incorrect, it is tacitly acknowledging hasbara.
      It is no longer controversial that the vast majority of Palestinians are the descendants of the neolithic inhabitants of the land whose religious, cultural and political identities have run the gamut over the centuries. Mizrahim and Palestinians are virtually indistinguishable.
      We propose that the Y chromosomes in Palestinian Arabs and Bedouin represent, to a large extent, early lineages derived from the Neolithic inhabitants of the area and additional lineages from more-recent population movements. The early lineages are part of the common chromosome pool shared with Jews (Nebel et al. 2000) – See more at:

      Ashkenazim, on the other hand, are not so close:
      Eran Elhaik, a geneticist at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, thinks so. In a recently published study in Genome Biology Evolution (Elhaik 2012), he is calling for a rewrite of commonly held assumptions about Jewish ancestry. Instead of being primarily the descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel, present-day Jewish populations are, finds Elhaik, primarily the children of a Turkish people who lived in what is now Russia, north of Georgia, east of Ukraine.

      • Fred Skolnik July 31, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

        This is so crazy that I hesitate to reply, though I vaguely remember having this discussion with you and pointing out its fallacies.

        The Khazarian myth is nonsensical. There is no historical evidence of any significant westward movement of Khazarian or Turkish Jews and no traces of a Khazarian (Turkic) language in East European Jewish communities. (One or two of these pseudo-historians have actually claimed that Yiddish is a Turkic language!)

        On the other hand, there is full and extensive historical and linguistic documentation for the movement of the Jews from the Land of Israel into Southern Europe and from Southern Europe into Northern, Western and Eastern Europe. What is more, the origins and subsequent histories of every one of the 6,000+ historical Jewish communities of Eastern and Western Europe are also fully documented, via the Pinkasei Kehillot (Jewish communal registers), which are of much greater scope than parish records or the British Domesday Book. If anyone is interested he can begin his research with the Yale Collection and then go on to Yad Vashem’s 30+ Hebrew volumes covering the histories of all these communities, or a 3-vol. English abridgment called “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities Before and During the Holocaust” (NYU Press). which I myself helped edit and translate.

        The genetic debate yields a broad range of conflicting findings that only a biologist can evaluate. But given the historical record, Jews do not require genetic evidence to know where they came from.
        When I first heard the claim that the Palestinians were the original Canaanites, I jokingly remarked that the next thing we will hear is that their origins in the Land of Israel are Neolithic, and here we have Mr. Brewer taking this seriously, no doubt on the basis of his own biological and ethnological studies. Calling Palestinians anything other than Arabs makes as much sense as calling a Spanish Conquistador an Aztec or Inca by virtue of the fact that he raped an Indian woman. Indigenousness is not transferable from a conquered to a conquering population.

        Today’s Palestinian Arabs are part of the Arab nation by their own definition and have absolutely nothing in common with the indigenous populations they conquered and whose national identities they destroyed, not in terms of origins, history, historical memory, culture, religion or language. At best you can call them a medieval population but even as such you have to take into account Arab migration to the Land of Israel in the 19th century, so that, according to the 1931 census, over 20 different languages were in use by Muslims, and non-Jews in Palestine listed as their birthplaces at least 24 different countries (Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Morocco, Bosnia, the Caucasus, Turkmenistan, Kurdistan, India, Afghanistan, Balochistan, etc.) while the Arab population of Haifa rose from 6,000 in 1880 to 80,000 in 1919 as a result of workforce migration.

  6. Gene Schulman July 25, 2016 at 1:31 am #

    Allow me to add my two cents once again:

    Fred should be ashamed for having posted his screed on Amazon as a book review. And Amazon for posting it. However, the first comment following it, put Fred correctly in his place. Do check it out.

    • Rabbi Ira Youdovin July 25, 2016 at 9:15 am #


      In your Counterpunch article linked to this post, you allege that:

      1. Israel is attempting to divide the Middle East into a splintering of failed states.

      2. The US has used Israel as the raison d’être for its own bellicosity in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

      Would you be good enough to cite evidence, preferably documentation, to support these views.

      With thanks in advance.


      • Richard Falk July 25, 2016 at 10:19 am #


        I have not seen the Counterpunch article, but on your point (1) reference is often made to an essay by Oded Yinon, “A Strategy for Israel
        in the 1980s,” which has been updated and discussed by a variety of authors in subsequent decades.

        On (2) I think it is difficult to connect the dots, although Israel did press hard for the attack on Iraq in 2003 and has sought to push
        the U.S. in a more belligerent direction vis-a-vis Iran. Further, without needing to protect Israel’s nuclear arsenal, the U.S. for obvious
        reasons would likely have promoted the tension-reducing idea of a nuclear free zone for the entire Middle East.

        Best, Richard

      • Gene Schulman July 25, 2016 at 11:53 am #

        Oh dear, Ira is back.

        What kind of evidence do you want? All you have to do is look at the state of the Middle East today. Who did all that but Israel and its American and NATO allies? No, I’m not going to do your research for you, but there is plenty of evidence all over the internet. Look for it. But I’m sure you won’t find any in the MSM.

        Israel’s hand prints are on every aggression committed in the last twenty years, including Georgia and Ukraine.

      • Gene Schulman July 26, 2016 at 9:28 am #

        Just in case Ira is not familiar with the Yinon strategy:

        Thanks for stepping in, Richard.

      • Brewer July 30, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

        Further evidence is contained in the document A Clean Break:
        A New Strategy for Securing the Realm
        by The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies.
        The writers include Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser – Project for the New American Century alumni.

  7. NO god exist to distribute land July 26, 2016 at 12:24 am #

    {Would you be good enough to cite evidence, preferably documentation, to support these views.}

    The Zionists must give credible documentation that you have lived in Palestine. There is NO god, therefore you can not throw you “god given’ nonsense to anyone.
    Your fake history is known to the world and no one supports you. You have NO CONNECTION to the land of Palestine and our region. Go back to where you came from, the black sea area. The world is sick and tired of your crimes against humanity.

    Why US is obstacle to peace? The criminal tribe controls US brutal regimes at the WH. Clinton is their puppet, so Obama.
    Rothschild’s control of British empire made it possible to steal Palestine.
    Read “the strategy of Israel in the 1980” to understand the reason behind all these wars and policies that the criminal tribe is pushing, using their servants, including the criminal hillary to carry them out.

  8. Rabbi Ira Youdovin July 26, 2016 at 9:43 am #


    You disappoint me.

    Several weeks ago, you posted a complaint about the absence of informed discussion on this blog, which you claimed was caused by the theological messages of Kata Fisher and Ray driving off serious thinkers.

    I assume you see yourself as a serious thinker. So when you posted a comment alleging that Israel was responsible for much of the disorder in the Middle East and throughout the world, I respectfully requested evidence to support your claim. Certainly, this is a matter for serious discussion.

    But you refuse to engage.

    Some folks might suggest that your non-response reveals that you have no evidence to offer, so that your “look at the Middle East as it is today” flows from a uninformed and highly prejudiced mindset that holds Israel, the Jews and the United States responsible for all evils of the world.

    Ray and Kata may not add anything substantial to the discussion. But it is your genre of racist driven ignorance that is responsible for the low estate of discussion on this blog.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Gene Schulman July 26, 2016 at 11:23 pm #

      Like all hasbarists, Ira is quick to accuse dissidents from the Zionist ideology of racism. The purpose of my review posted on this blog was to encourage readers to turn to Jeremy Hammond’s book, “Obstacle to Peace”. But like Fred, instead of going to that book, he attacks the reviewer: That book is where you will find the evidence to support my claims.

      • Gene Schulman July 27, 2016 at 1:50 am #

        PS- If anyone would like to follow Fred and Jeremy’s ongoing debate, I suggest they check it out at, where my review was also published. It is interesting that Fred’s review of the book has received zero favorable comments, and his hasbara arguments are not helping him in the debate with Jeremy.

      • Laurie Knightly August 5, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

        Gene: Because I have considerable respect for your ethics/judgment/intellect, I must inquire:

        Why would anyone want to check Amazon for the ‘debate’? We reviewed earlier the Ottoman usufruct land system – now Israeli Land Administration [currently managing 93% of Israel] plus Jewish National Fund. This is how the Palestinian people were dispossessed – aka screwed. All that was necessary was to declare null and void any British/Ottoman/UN et al land claims. See how simple that is? Your long history in the world of international finance should have given you enough knowledge of predatory land/money/power grabs. You are definitely biased towards fairness and that’s a tough position on blogs. My condolences……..

  9. Gene Schulman July 27, 2016 at 1:05 pm #


    I picked up a copy of your new book today: “Power Shift”. I didn’t know it had been published yet. Looks interesting. I promise not to review it!

    Hope all is calm for you.

    Warm greetings,


    • Richard Falk July 27, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

      Gene: Please review it, even negatively if that is your reading, especially for Amazon. I knew from others that
      it had appeared, but being in Yalikavak means being somewhat cut off from the world, which
      is mostly a good thing..Greetings, Richard

  10. Laurie Knightly July 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

    Ira’s questioning is most questionable and predictably formulaic. If one does a search for the fragmenting or Balkanization of the MidEast, the info is plentiful. Of course, Ira knows this -ie Yanon Plan to the Ya’alon Strategy. This is aptly described as an Israeli strategy plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. The proposed map is drawn by Lt Col Ralph Peters – US War Academy, Armed Forces Journal 2006. This ‘New Middle East’ included in a Biden Plan, Condi Rice, Kissinger, and many others, is easily available. A new Sykes-Picot to fit the new imperialists. Too bad that Moslems don’t wise up and stop doing the job for them. It will be a very long time, if ever, before the region is restored.

    The strategy part is described by, among others, Ralph Schoenman in The Hidden History of Zionism. Each individual piece of the plan is a research project in itself with US, UK and Israel working in harmony for hegemony in the region. Some documents less available are Israel’s attempts at attaining political and economic goals in sub-Saharan Africa.

    The questions posed by Ira have one objective and that is to insult, discredit, and inflame. One poses a couple of seemingly innocent and valid questions – info readily available and a package of hasbara ready to unload – hopefully to destroy the blog and grossly insult the participants. I’m guessing that the specific package here would be how altruistic/humane/philanthropic Israel is by assisting the struggling ME with humanitarian projects and with no political/strategic aims. At least the US would admit its interest in oil etc. Dividing the world in US Command Centers, for instance, is without ulterior motives??????

    In an earlier essay, a reference was made to the Talmud and I commented that there was more than one. Ira said that I ‘shot myself in the foot’ when saying this – a cutsey way of calling someone stupid. I did not respond about there being a Jerusalem and a
    Babylonian Talmud and controversy regarding the difference – plus volumes of explanations. The original reference by me was about some of the problems of citing religious scripture as law/history/validation etc. I might very well have been in error on the Talmuds, and an honorable person would just let me know. My foot looks fine in this case. The Israel Project types encourage a swerve from any indefensible Israeli actions. This was an example. Don’t fall for it. Urine streaming is the ruination of comment sections.

    The debate between Hammond/Skolnik is easier to locate using tag – The Dishonest Zionist: Debating an Apologist for the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. You could also watch the 2016 Dem/Repub Conventions – or perhaps just beat yourself with cold towels. I couldn’t imagine what Jeremy could reveal that was not known and ignored/distorted/denied about the issue. But I’m in accord and have signed in. The entire book does not seem to be available in book stores yet so I assume that it must be mail order.

    So – persons who defend the Palestinian people are racist and ignorant? Tis revealed to be the converse… Anyone in accord with the atrocities being committed in excess of 70 years on that indigenous and recognized people is a supreme challenge to civil discourse. This is a right? WRONG!

    • Gene Schulman July 27, 2016 at 11:54 pm #

      Thank goodness for Laurie, who not only knows her beans, but also where to place them on the board. This is probably the best essay to appear since the original by Richard.

      The book is available at Amazon, obviously. I ordered my copy through my local bookshop. I’m sure Powells good get you one, Laurie, in a couple of days.

    • Richard Falk July 28, 2016 at 1:15 am #

      Laurie, as usual, clarifying, informed, illuminating, and rather conclusive except for those with the closed minds
      of ideologues. Greetings from Turkey, Richard

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin July 28, 2016 at 10:38 am #


        As you repeatedly castigate Fred for alleged incivility, might it not be possible for you to allow that even persons with open minds might disagree with Laurie Knightly’s views


      • Richard Falk July 29, 2016 at 12:13 am #

        Of course, disagreement is welcome, particularly if not mixed with innuendo and insult, but Fred
        repeatedly crosses the line contending that those who disagree with his views are ignorant, stupid,
        Jew-haters and the like.

    • Fred Skolnik July 28, 2016 at 1:50 am #

      It’s really hard to make heads or tails of the above “take” on Israel’s regional intentions. It reveals complete ignorance about Israeli thinking. Israel quite simply does not have regional ambitions other than to become integrated into the region (the Peres and left-wing vision) or to make enough friends to ensure that the Arabs do not succeed in isolating it and setting it up for the Great Massacre, or on the right to annex the West Bank, which is the very farthest it goes. It is a shame that none of you has any direct experience of the Israeli ethos and not the slightest concept of what Israelis really want. which happens to be peace.

      • Richard Falk July 28, 2016 at 5:05 am #

        Your response is totally unconvincing. You ‘essentialize’ Israel’s intentions as they can be reduced to one set of ideas and practices.
        It has seemed clear that Israel looks with disfavor at the emergence of any strong state in the region almost regardless of its current
        political orientation.

      • Fred Skolnik July 29, 2016 at 12:24 am #

        And what is Laurie’s “Dishonest Zionist” with reference to myself, and countless other personal attacks by your admirers? You are employing a double standard. And you are of course not blocking my last two remarks because they insult anyone but because they are unanswerable. You only seem to respond to me when you think you have a winning argument but vanish when you don’t.

      • Richard Falk July 29, 2016 at 12:27 am #

        This comment perfectly illustrates my objections to your style of participation. Other regular
        comment writers may stray across the civility line from time to time, but you do so invariably,
        perhaps even unwittingly.

  11. Fred Skolnik July 28, 2016 at 2:13 am #

    To make things perfectly clear, the last thing the Israeli right wants, by definition, insofar as it is religious, is hegemony or involvement in the region. It wants separation from the region, closed in upon itself within the country’s ancient boundaries, up to the Jordan River, and no more. Isn’t that what the haters are always accusing Jews of – exclusiveness and chosenness?

    • Richard Falk July 28, 2016 at 5:02 am #

      Not so. It is reasonable to question whether the Yinon Strategy or ‘Clean Break’ have shaped Israeli policies
      in recent years, but it is unreasonable to suppose that Israel does not have strong views about the kind of
      regional political neighborhood it would like to see emerge, and would help to achieve.

  12. Fred Skolnik July 28, 2016 at 6:50 am #

    The point in all this is that Israel has no ulterior motive other than its own security. I have never in 50 years heard anyone, publicly or privately, express a territorial ambition or desire for influence as such beyond the Jordan River. This is simply not part of public or private discourse or anyone’s thinking. It would make no sense from Israel’s point of view.

    • Richard Falk July 29, 2016 at 12:19 am #


      Have you followed the views of your current prime minister over the years, including the study
      he was instrumental in organizing with the participation of prominent American neocons, including
      my former student, Richard Perle, published and widely read under the title of ‘Clean Break’;
      also, destabilization efforts and assassination of scientists in Iran..


      • Fred Skolnik July 29, 2016 at 12:39 am #

        The assassinations of scientists in Iran, if such they were, can only be tied to the understanding that they were working on nuclear weapons. Israel’s involvement in the region is tied to its security and nothing else. There was a continuing public debate in Israel about whether Assad or the rebels would be better for Israel, and opinion was pretty much divided. Israel has not had a hand in anything that is going on there other than responding to what it perceives as a threat: arms going to Hizbollah, shelling on the Golan. Are you seriously suggesting that Israel has the kind of political ambitions that the Russians and Americans have and wishes to expand its sphere of influence to exalt itself as a world power? I have the feeling that among people who believe this there is a definite spillover from the insane idea that Jews wish to rule or control the world.

      • Richard Falk July 29, 2016 at 1:54 am #

        As far as I can tell, Israel does not have great power geopolitical ambitions, especially beyond the Middle East.
        Israel is mainly an amoral and pragmatic political actor when it comes to arms sales and diplomatic relations. It is
        a different story within the Middle East when it validates its disproportionate uses of force, not to mention its insistence
        on being the only nuclear power in the region and its refusal to allow the Palestinians to exercise their right of self-
        determination over the decades. There is room, of course, for differing interpretations of Israel’s behavior, but to contend
        that it is totally justified by genuine security needs is deeply misleading and self-serving.

      • Fred Skolnik July 29, 2016 at 2:20 am #

        I beg to differ. What, in your view, does Israel want beyond the Jordan River other than to ensure its security in the face of nearly 70 years of unremitting threats to destroy it?

      • Richard Falk July 29, 2016 at 9:05 am #

        When you say ‘Israel’ you essentialize a pluralistic reality. I may not speak Hebrew
        or live in Israel but I know that Israeli speak with many voices on these issues, which
        is basically a positive national characteristic. When you reduce ‘Israel’ to your own
        views I think you are being misleading.

      • Fred Skolnik July 29, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

        I have already outlined the three basic (pluralistic) ambitions that find expression in Israel’s political life (regional integration, security, West Bank annexation). Do you know of a fourth one that is of any relevance? If so, what does it consist of and who are its political advocates.

      • Richard Falk July 29, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

        These three ambitions are each subject to wildly diverse lines of interpretation and implementation.
        For instance, is Israel’s security promoted or diminished by possessing nuclear weapons coupled with
        policies to prevent others in the region from acquiring nuclear weapons? Long-term, short-term?

      • Fred Skolnik July 29, 2016 at 11:41 pm #

        Interpretation is irrelevant at the level of government. It is the domain of historians and pundits. Governments have policies, arrived at after all concerned parties have their say. Israel’s policy has been one of nontransparency with regard to its own nuclear capabilities and vigorous opposition to the idea that a country that believes Israel should cease to exist should be allowed to arm itself with nuclear weapons. All this falls into the category of security.

        As I wrote, the idea that Israel harbors nefarious regional designs such as Laurie contends and which you were a little too quick to endorse seems to me to be a definite spillover from the malicious idea that Jews wish to rule or control the world. It is after all Laurie’s belief, as expressed in another of her “takes,” that “the ingathering of Jews is vital to each of the Jewish and Christian plans for the destruction of others and religious/ethnic triumph of themselves.” Do you endorse this too as “clarifying, informed, illuminating, and rather conclusive except for those with the closed minds of ideologues”?

  13. Fred Skolnik July 30, 2016 at 9:30 am #

    I am wondering why you are blocking my reply to you, which may be critical but is certainly not insulting. You are creating the impression that your real criterion for blocking a comment is whether or not you have a winning reply:

    “Interpretation is irrelevant at the level of government. It is the domain of historians and pundits. Governments have policies, arrived at after all concerned parties have their say. Israel’s policy has been one of nontransparency with regard to its own nuclear capabilities and vigorous opposition to the idea that a country that believes Israel should cease to exist should be allowed to arm itself with nuclear weapons. All this falls into the category of security.

    “As I wrote, the idea that Israel harbors nefarious regional designs such as Laurie contends and which you were a little too quick to endorse seems to me to be a definite spillover from the malicious idea that Jews wish to rule or control the world. It is after all Laurie’s belief, as expressed in another of her ‘takes,’ that “the ingathering of Jews is vital to each of the Jewish and Christian plans for the destruction of others and religious/ethnic triumph of themselves. ‘Do you endorse this too as “clarifying, informed, illuminating, and rather conclusive except for those with the closed minds of ideologues’?”

    In any case. the question we have been discussing is whether Israel has aims beyond the three I have mentioned. You seem to have backtracked from this and are now focussing on whether Israel’s actions within the context of its security needs are just or warranted. That is an entirely different subject, and I have addressed it more than once.

    • Gene Schulman July 31, 2016 at 11:44 am #

      Heute Palestine, morgen, die ganze welt!

      Sorry if that sounds malicious to Fred, but it looks suspicious to me.

  14. Fred Skolnik August 1, 2016 at 3:15 am #

    As for Oded Yanon, which certain people are holding on to for dear life, here is a more sober assessment:

    “Oded Yinon was not a member of the Israeli government, but worked as a journalist, a research assistant and a lecturer. Using his work as a representative of an Israeli strategy would be like circulating an article written 30 years ago by some Arab journalist and representing it as the official strategy of the Palestinian Authority. Never mind that Hamas and the Iranian government openly state their desire to destroy Israel; they don’t need conspiracy theories to convince people of that, but the annoying detail is that people don’t seem to care as much, or not to take them seriously as they would an idea stated by an Israeli journalist 33 years ago. Yet Yinon’s Plan for “Greater Israel” has been invoked as if Yinon traveled in a time machine and had the ear of Mr. Herzl himself. All of the turmoil and dissolution in the Middle East is part of a Zionist plot, to which one could imagine many bewildered Jews replying, ‘If only the world didn’t have so much faith in us’.”

    Try reading the entire article below:

  15. Gene Schulman August 1, 2016 at 9:23 am #

    Two can play Fred’s game. As a matter of fact, Yinon was a high official in the Israeli government before he retired into journalism.

    Fred’s source is rather dubious. Let me offer another which, of course, will send him up the wall. ;-))

    • Fred Skolnik August 1, 2016 at 9:50 pm #

      But it isn’t a game. Yinon wasn’t writing in the name of the Israeli government and there is no evidence that Israel had or has plans for this kind of dominance, which contradicts its way of thinking at every level and in every sector of Israeli life, Gilad Atzmon doesn’t send anyone up the wall because his assertions have no substance and he never ceases to wear a monumental personal resentment of Israel on his sleeve. I heard him in a radio interview once, expecting a very fluid performance, but he seemed very unsure of himself, not articulate at all, and I suspect that this was because when he actually heard the words coming out of his mouth, even he realized how crazy they were.

    • Fred Skolnik August 1, 2016 at 10:04 pm #

      And by the way, Gene, Yinon certainly wasn’t a “high official” in the Israeli government. He was an editor in the information departments of two ministries in 1974/5. I won’t accuse you of lying because this is probably the fiction that is being circulated, but you shouldn’t use the word “fact” unless you know what you’re talking about.

      • Richard Falk August 2, 2016 at 2:08 am #


        It is precisely because Yinon was not a high official that his contrarian assessment of Israeli grand strategy
        carries enough weight to be tested against developments on the ground. Revelations of government policy that casts an unfavorable light on official policy are almost never made by
        those at the top of a governmental pyramid. It is such dissident voices and whistleblowers that give us some possibility of grasping the realities that explain government behavior.

  16. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 2, 2016 at 12:48 am #

    The controversy over Oded Yinon’s essay, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” vividly demonstrates how a bogus case against Israel is built on this blog and similar venues.

    Earlier in this thread, Gene Schulman posted a link to his article in Counterpunch in which he alleged that Israel (a) is attempting to divide the Middle East into a splintering of failed states; and (b) that the US has used Israel as the raison d’être for its own bellicosity in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

    As this is a very expansive indictment, even for this blog, I respectfully requested
    Gene to cite evidence, preferably documentation, support these views. He couldn’t, but managed to castigate me for having the temerity to ask, as did Laurie Knightly. But Prof. Falk gave it a try by pointing to the Yinon essay.

    Oded Yinon was journalist who had previous held a middle rank position in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, published the essay in 1982 in “Kivunim”, an obscure Hebrew language journal with minimal academic or strategic standing, dedicated to presenting a broad spectrum of opinion, including extremist views. In it, Yivon proposes an extreme right wing strategy, asserting that Israel can survive only if becomes an imperial power with borders expanded to cover a substantial portion of the Middle East and covert intervention to destabilize Arab and Muslim states.

    The key point is that the essay is neither a description nor analysis of existing or planned Israeli strategy. It is the extremist scheme, some would say fantasy, of a lone individual with no connections, official or unofficial, to the Israeli army, Mossad, Shin Bet or any other internal or external agency in a position to make and/or implement policy. Its few footnotes contain virtually nothing that links what he wrote to what was being discussed in significant government or non-governmental circles.

    The essay received scant notice in Israel, where folks have become all-too-familiar with crackpot theories. But it did draw the attention of Israel Shahak, a liberal secular political thinker, author, and civil rights activist who had gained notoriety for his harsh criticism of the Likud government. He translated the essay into English and arranged to have it published by the Association of Arab-American University Graduates.. But Shahak, a professor of chemistry, had no credentials as a political, military or strategic analysis. (Indeed, his self-promoting publicity emphasized that he was a Holocaust survivor as a bogus means of shoring up his credibility.)

    Interestingly, Shahak introduces the essay as “representing, in my opinion, the accurate and detailed plan of the present Zionist regime (of Sharon and Eitan) for the Middle East….” In other words, he acknowledges that Yinon’s essay is not a documented description or analysis of policy, but one man’s opinion.

    Gene Schulman continues this hyper-inflation of “credentials” to in a vain attempt to give the essay a patina of authenticity. When Fred Skolnik noted that Yinon was not a member of the Israeli government, Gene shot back that Yinon was “in fact, a high official in the Israeli government, and provided a link to an article by Gilad Atzmon as supportive documentation. Leaving aside the fact that Atzmon, who characterizes himself as a “proud self-hating Jew”, has zero credibility outside a small circle of anti-Israel forces, what’s fascinating about Gene’s citation is that Atzmon describes Yinon as “an Israeli journalist formerly attached to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.” Full stop. That’s a far cry from being a “high official in the Israeli government.” But the Yinon essay, in its entirety, is a far cry from what Gene, Laurie and Richard claim it to be.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Richard Falk August 2, 2016 at 2:04 am #


      The Yinon essay is primarily of interest because of the degree to which the regional turmoil of the last five years seems also
      to have improved Israel’s diplomatic relations in the region with such crucial former adversaries as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and now
      even Turkey. It also is reinforced by a pro-Israeli American specialist on war and security, Edward Luttwak, who wrote in the NYT or
      maybe WP that Israel is best served by keeping alive the civil strife in Syria, making sure that neither side prevails. Governments
      do not reveal controversial security plans in public documents. We learned about American security thinking in the Vietnam Era due
      to the release of the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg, also a mid-level consultant at the time, and by making inferences from behavior.
      You and Fred may be right to discount Yinon or the ‘Clean Break’ study that American neocons produced at the behest of Netanyahu, but
      I regard such rare insights into the plans and perspectives of ‘the deep state’ as providing invaluable hints as to the true nature of
      government policies hidden or disguised. To accept government pronouncements as the authoritative source for understanding what Israel or
      the US are doing seems to me partly naive, partly accepting as true what one hopes to be true.


    • Gene Schulman August 2, 2016 at 2:50 am #

      Just because Ira believes the Yinon Plan is not an official policy document, doesn’t mean that it is not being acted upon. From observation over years, including neocon writings and activities, it seems to me that their’s and the Yinon Plan are indeed being carried out. All one has to do is look at Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Turkey; all being torn apart by civil wars stirred up Israel, the US, and their backing of fundamentalist insurgent groups like ISIS.

      Ira, do you not have eyes to see? Do you not have ears to hear?

      • Fred Skolnik August 2, 2016 at 5:18 am #

        The idea that Israel is backing ISIS or any fundamentalist group is crazy, as is the idea that Israel has a hand in the unrest stirred up by the so-called Arab Spring. I’m aware that the Internet allows people with no other way to express themselves to say whatever comes into their heads but when you make an assertion you should be able to back it up with something other than your twisted logic. As with your “high official” Yinon, don’t use the word “fact” unless you know what you’re talking about.

      • Richard Falk August 2, 2016 at 5:21 am #

        Gene: Connecting these dots cannot be presumed, but there is what lawyers call ‘a presumption’ created
        by a series of developments that are congruent with Yinaon’s analysis. Richard

      • Fred Skolnik August 2, 2016 at 5:46 am #

        But the events are also congruent with other analyses and this one is being chosen by certain people not because it is more convincing than the others but because it puts Israel in the worst possible light.

      • Gene Schulman August 2, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

        I haven’t seen Fred or Ira come up with any facts that contradict my allegations. Only denials. That’s what hasbarists do, deny everything, and make up just- so-stories about how innocent and victimized Israel is.

  17. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 2, 2016 at 12:54 am #

    Mr. Hammond,

    I haven’t read your book so I have no opinion to offer either pro or con. But I do have a question. In the book, do you envisage the shape of a just and equitable resolution to the conflict, and recommend steps that might facilitate progress toward that goal?

    With thanks in advance.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

  18. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 2, 2016 at 10:54 pm #


    I can’t tell whether you’re being devious, playing games with me and Fred, or simply unversed in basic rules of argumentation and logic most kids learn in grade school.

    You’ve depicted Oded Yinon as a high ranking official in Israel’s Foreign Ministry, citing—actually misquoting Gilad Atzmon–as your source. No credible evidence exists to support your claim. So you’re asking us to prove a negative, which not even us fervent hasbarists can do. It’s your job to prove your case, not ours’ to disprove it.

    Similarly, you allege that Israel is to blame for all the disorder in the Middle East and throughout the world, especially in Russia and Ukraine. But you can’t cite any evidence to support the allegation. Prof. Falk rises to your defense. But the best he can do is labeling it a “presumption’ created by a series of developments that are congruent with Yinaon’s analysis.” But as Fred points out, the developments at hand are congruent with a host of other narratives. You choose this one because it puts Israel in a bad light. But for us to maintain that Israel isn’t guilty as you charge is impossible, because one can’t prove a negative. The burden of proof is on you.

    Sorry, Gene. But you seem to have missed that class in Freshman Logic 101.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Richard Falk August 2, 2016 at 11:16 pm #


      Putting aside your usual indulgence in discrediting personal innuendo, you do raise issues worthy of discussion quite apart
      from Yinon and Israel’s geopolitical approach to regional order, which may turn out to be somewhere in-between what we suggest
      as worthy of serious inquiry and what you and Fred seem to believe. In a world where states keep security policies beneath layers
      of secrecy, there is much benefit in viewing policies through an optic of suspicion, especially when reinforced by scattered revelations
      of geopolitical thinking. I have mentioned the ‘Clean Break’ report commissioned by Netanyahu that was written by a neocon group headed
      by my former student, Richard Perle, and advocated the political restructuring of the region through interventionary means, changing the
      neighboring climate in ways more compatible with Israel’s long-term security. In fact, the aftermath of the Arab Spring has unfolded differently,
      but achieving what appears to be a political environment quite favorable for Israel..and this includes the breakdown of order in states previously
      hostile. This does not establish any causal responsibility, but it is of interest! For more systematic thinking along these lines I suggest
      Peter Dale Scott’s writing on ‘the deep state’ as it operates in the American experience, validating what I describe as an ethics and politics
      of suspicion, which I believe to be an indispensable attribute of conscientious citizenship in the 21st century. To discredit such thinking
      as you & Fred do by implying ‘Jew hatred’ and the like is a way to smear those who dare raise awkward questions.


      • Fred Skolnik August 2, 2016 at 11:49 pm #

        No one is raising awkward questions. They are making unfounded allegations and that is the reason that the thinking is being discredited. It is also valid to suggest that the allegations of a will to dominance outside the context of Israel’s security concerns might not have arisen had their not been a tradition of accusing Jews of a desire to rule or dominate the world.

        You yourself have given us the key to all this when you say that the weakening of Israel’s enemies as a result of the chaotic events in their countries “does not establish any causal responsibility” on Israel’s part, but you go on and on hedging all this by intimating that it might, without a shred of evidence.

      • Richard Falk August 3, 2016 at 1:32 am #

        No country, including Israel, deserves a presumption of innocence, especially a county
        that prides itself on military prowess, practices arms sales diplomacy, and the like. This
        does achieve closure as to correlations between interests and outcomes, but it does make
        assumptions or assertions of innocence ideological evasions. If you would exhibit some
        nuance in your responses, a more fruitful conversation could begin, but you seem to want
        to dismiss views like mine as mere expressions of ‘Jew hatred’ and that makes life easy
        for you, and more subtly, for Ira.

      • Gene Schulman August 3, 2016 at 12:09 am #


        Ira’s attempt to belittle my allegations by accusing me of missing ‘grade school argumentation’ is classic denial. All one has to do, as I’ve suggested above, is look at the facts on the ground. But those go ignored. Neither Ira nor Fred can deny that Israel’s hand prints are all over Georgia and Ukraine. I don’t have to prove it, it has even been exhaustively reported in the MSM over the years.

      • Fred Skolnik August 3, 2016 at 1:57 am #

        I’ve lost you completely and I fear that you have lost the thread as well. “Assertions of innocence” are “ideological evasions”? What on earth are you talking about? Either Israel is or is not stirring up trouble all around the world, What does nuance have to do with this? If you believe it is, you will have too provide acceptable evidence. Can anything be clearer? I would have thought that you would take yourself a little more seriously than to make damning accusations against a country without a shred of real evidence to support them. For what? For the sake of argument?

        You are again blocking my replies for no reason whatsoever. You accuse Rabbi Youdovin of “discrediting personal innuendo” butapparently do not wish to be asked if Mr. Schulman;s “That’s what hasbarists do” is not also “discrediting personal innuendo.”

      • Richard Falk August 3, 2016 at 6:43 am #

        I am afraid our ways of thinking are very far apart. I am not claiming to be right, but I do believe
        the situation justifies an ethos of suspicion with respect to Israeli claims of clean hands. Your either/or
        reasoning leaves me cold, and creates what I find to be a unproductive response to uncertainty and contradiction.

      • Fred Skolnik August 3, 2016 at 11:55 pm #

        By the way, smugly calling Israel “amoral” when it comes to arms sales when you would never in a million years think to use such a term with reference to such clients of yours as Russia and Iran is the height of chutzpah and exposes you for what you are. Block this too, my dishonest friend.

      • Richard Falk August 4, 2016 at 12:20 am #

        It would be a favor to you to block such intemperate nastiness that reveals more about you
        than about me. But this time I will not protect you from yourself!

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