Interview on Israel, Palestine, and Peace

14 Sep

[Prefatory Note: The interview below, conducted by C.J. Polychroniou and Lily Sage (bios at the end of the interview) was published in TruthOut on Sept. 10, 2016. It is republished here with a few stylistic modifications, but substantively unchanged. It is relevant, I suppose,to report that subsequent to the interview the U.S. Government and Israel have signed a military assistance agreement promising Israel $38 billion over the next ten years, the largest such commitment ever made. Such an excessive underwriting of Israel’s policies and practices should be shocking to taxpaying Americans but it passes almost noticed below the radar. It is being explained as a step taken to ensure that Obama’s legacy is not diminished by claims that he acted detrimentally toward Israel, but it is, pathetically, one of the few instances of genuine bipartisanship in recent U.S. foreign policy. Again, we should grieve over the extent to which ‘reality’ and morality is sacrificed for the sake of the ‘special relationship’ while looking the other way whenever the Palestinian ordeal is mentioned.

The initial question pertaining to Turkey is explained by my presence in that turbulent country when the interview was conducted.]



“A Continuous War Mentality”: Richard Falk on Israel’s Human Rights Abuses

Polychroniou & Sage: Israel’s treatment of Palestinians mirrors the abominable system of apartheid in South Africa, but many members of the “international community” who fueled the gradual delegitimization and eventual collapse of South Africa’s apartheid regime are failing to apply similar pressure against Israel. In fact, many nations are even strengthening their ties with the Israeli government.


Even Greece has established close ties to Israel under the opportunistic Syriza government, while Sultan Erdogan in Turkey has also begun a process of kissing up to Israel after a few years of pursuing an “antagonistic” relation with the US’s closest ally under the pretext of expressing solidarity towards the Palestinian cause. Meanwhile, the increased militarization of Israeli society continues to intensify the oppression and subjugation of Palestinians.


The Israeli government has recently suggested that a “normalization” process is underway with the Palestinians, but in reality Israel’s construction of illegal settlements continues unabated, and the right-wing politicians inside Israel who portray Palestinians as an “inferior race” are gaining ground. This is exactly what “normalization” has always meant in Israeli political jargon: continuing to commit abominable human rights violations against Palestinians while the world looks away. Indeed, apartheid, annexation, mass displacement and collective punishment have become core policies of the state of Israel.



After years of intense antagonism, the Erdoğan regime has begun making overtures once again to Israel. Why now?

 The normalization agreement with Israel needs to be appreciated as part of a broader foreign policy reset that started well before the failed coup attempt of July 15th. The basic Turkish motivation appears to be an effort to ease bilateral tensions throughout the region, and as Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has expressed it, “make as many friends as possible, and as few enemies.” It is the second coming of what had earlier gained political traction for Turkey throughout the region in the first 10 years of AKP (Justice and Development Party) leadership with the slogan “zero problems with neighbors.”


The main reset by far is with Russia, which had become an adversary of Turkey in the context of the Syrian War, but Israel is a close second. [Israel’s relationship with Turkey] had been in freefall after Erdoğan harshly criticized Israel at the World Economic Forum in 2009, directly insulting the then-Israeli President Shimon Peres, who was present.


Then in 2010 came the Mavi Marmara incident, when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, and directly challenging the Israeli blockade together with a group of smaller boats filled with peace activists in an initiative known as the Freedom Flotilla. The Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara resulted in nine Turkish deaths among the peace activists on the ship and pushed the Israeli-Turkish relationship close to the brink of war. For the past year or so both sides have shown an interest in de-escalating tensions and restoring diplomatic normalcy. And Turkey, now more than ever, would like to avoid having adversary relations with Israel, which is being given precedence over Turkey’s support of the Palestinian national struggle.


Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu said recently that he cares more about the Palestinians than their own leaders. Do you wish to offer a comment on this statement?


Netanyahu has a gift for exaggerated, bombastic, and misleading, often outrageous political language. This is a clear instance. There are plenty of reasons to question the adequacy of the Palestinian Authority as the representative of the Palestinian people in advancing their national struggle. But to leap from such an unremarkable acknowledgement to the absurd claim that Netanyahu cares more about the Palestinian future than do Palestinians themselves represents a grotesque and arrogant leap into the political unknown. It is Netanyahu who led the country to launch massive attacks against Gaza first in 2012, and then again in 2014. It is Netanyahu who has pushed settler expansion and the Judaizing of East Jerusalem. For Netanyahu to speak in such a vein is to show his monumental insensitivity to the daily ordeal endured by every Palestinian and to the agonies associated with living for so long under occupation, in refugee camps, and in exile.


What do you make of the “anti-normalization” campaign initiated by some Palestinian factions and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement?


I think the BDS campaign makes sense under present conditions. These conditions include the recognition that the Oslo “peace diplomacy” is a dead-end that for more than two decades gave Israel cover to expand settlements and the settler population. They also include the realization that geopolitical leverage of the United States at the UN blocks all efforts to exert meaningful political pressure on Israel to reach the sort of compromise on issues of land, refugees, borders, water, settlements and Jerusalem that is indispensable if sustainable peace arrangements are to be agreed upon by Israelis and Palestinians.


Against this background, it is important to recognize that civil society is presently “the only game in town,” and that BDS is the way this game is being played at present with the benefit of Palestinian civil society guidance and enthusiasm. Whether this campaign can exert enough pressure on Israel and the United States to change the political climate sufficiently to induce recalculations of national interest — only the future can tell. Until it happens, if it does, it will be deprecated by Israel and its Zionist supporters. While being dismissed as futile and destructive of genuine peace initiatives its participants will be attacked. A major effort is underway in the United States and Europe to discredit BDS, and adopt punitive measures to discourage participation.


Israel’s pushback by way of an insistence that BDS is seeking to destroy Israel and represents a new virulent form of anti-Semitism suggests that BDS now poses a greater threat to Israel’s concept of an established order than armed struggle or Palestinian resistance activities. Major Zionist efforts in the United States and elsewhere are branding BDS activists as anti-Semites.


It seems clear that nearly the entirety of the population of Israel and Palestine are in a constant trauma-reification cycle that began when Israel largely became inhabited by traumatized Jewish refugees, post-WWII. Do you think it is possible to overcome this, and would it be possible to find a peaceful resolution if this didn’t occur?


This is an insightful way of conceiving of the toxic interactions that have taken place over the years being harmful, in my view, to both people. However, unless the assertion is seriously qualified, it suffers from a tendency to create impressions of symmetry and balance, when the reality of relations from the outset, especially since the Nakba [the mass displacement of Palestinians from their homes and villages in 1948], has been one of oppressor and oppressed, invader and invaded, occupier and occupied. It is undoubtedly true that Israeli ideas about the use of force and security were reflections of their collective trauma and Holocaust memories, and Zionist ideology.


This Israeli narrative is further reinforced by biblical and ancient historical claims, but it is also the case that the Palestinians were invaded in their habitual place of residence, and then occupied, exploited, dispossessed and turned into refugees in their own country, while Israelis came to prosper, and to establish a regional military powerhouse that has enjoyed the geopolitical reinforcement of an unprecedented special relationship with United States. The early politics surrounding the establishment of Israel were also strongly influenced by the sense of guilt that existed in Western liberal democracies after World War II. Such guilt was epitomized by the shame associated with the refusal to use munitions to disrupt the Holocaust through air bombardment.


Under Netanyahu, Israel has moved dangerously closer to becoming a fundamentalist and neo-fascist state, although long-standing Israeli propaganda has it that “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.” In your view, what accounts for the transformation of Israel from a once-promising democracy to an apartheid-like state with no respect for international law and human rights?


I believe there always were major difficulties with Israel’s widely proclaimed and internationally endorsed early identity as a promising democracy guided by progressive ideals. This image overlooked the dispossession of several hundred thousand Palestinian residents, the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages, and the long-term discriminatory regime of military administration imposed on the remaining Palestinian minority that coincided with the establishment of the newly established Israeli state. What is important to appreciate is that this 20th-century process of state-creation took place in an era that was increasingly imbued with anticolonial activism that was at odds with the project to establish Israel from its international genesis and given a colonialist certificate of approval by way of the Balfour Declaration in 1917). Even taking into the Holocaust into account as the culminating historic tragedy of the Jewish people there is no way evading the conclusion that the establishment of Israel amounted to a European colonialist imposition on the Arab world and the latest instance of settler colonialism, although abetted by the Zionist mobilization of world Jewry on behalf of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine.



Against this background, Israel became embattled in various ways with internal Palestinian resistance and regional hostility that produced several wars. In that process, a series of developments moved Israel further and further toward the right. A continuous war mentality tends to erode democratic structures and values even under the best of circumstances. Military successes, especially after the 1967 War, created a triumphalist attitude that also solidified US geopolitical support and made it seem possible for Israel to achieve security while expanding its territorial reality (via settlements) at Palestinian expense. Israeli demographics over the years, involving large-scale immigration of Sephardic and Russian Jews and high fertility rates among Orthodox Jews, pushed the political compass ever further to the right. These key developments were reinforced by Israeli public opinion that came to believe that several proposals put forward by Israel to achieve a political compromise were irresponsibly rejected by the Palestinians. These negative outcomes were misleadingly interpreted as justifying the Israeli conclusion that they had no Palestinian partner for peace and that the Palestinians would settle for nothing less than the destruction of Israel as a state. These interpretations are gross misreadings of the Palestinian readiness to normalize relations with the Israel provided a sovereign Palestinian state were to be established within 1967 borders and some kind of arrangements were agreed upon for those displaced from their homes in 1948.


Additionally, the supposed need for Israel to remain aggressively vigilant after Gaza came under the control of Hamas in 2007 led Israelis to entrusting the government to rightest leadership and in the process, weakened the peace-oriented political constituencies remaining active in Israel. In part, here, memories of the Nazi experience were invoked to induce acute anxiety that Jews suffered such a horrible fate because they remained as a group too passive in face of mounting persecution, and failed to take Hitler at his word. Fear-mongering with respect to Iran accentuated Israeli security-consciousness, and undercut more moderate political approaches to the Palestinians.


Have you detected any changes in US foreign policy toward Israel under the Obama administration?


There has been no change of substance during the eight years of the Obama presidency. At the outset in 2009 it seemed that the US government under Obama’s leadership was ready to pursue a more balanced diplomacy toward Israel, at first insisting that Israel suspend settlement expansion to enable a restart of the Oslo peace process with a fresh cycle of negotiations. When Israel pushed back hard, abetted by the powerful Israeli lobby in the US, the Obama administration backed off, and never again, despite some diplomatic gestures, really challenged Israel, its policies and practices, and its overall unilateralism. It did call Israeli settlement moves “unhelpful” from time to time, but stopped objecting to such behavior as “unlawful.” Washington never seemed to question the relevance of a two-state solution, despite the realities of steady Israeli de facto annexation of prime land in the West Bank, making the prospect of a Palestinian state that was viable and truly sovereign less and less plausible. Although, for public relations credibility in the Middle East, the Obama presidency continued to claim it strongly backed “peace through negotiations,” it did nothing substantive to make Israel respect international law as applied to the occupation of Palestine, and consistently asserted that the Palestinians were as much to blame for the failure of past negotiations as were the Israelis, fostering a very distorted picture of the relative responsibility of the two sides, as well as who benefitted and who lost from the failure to resolve the conflict. Western media tended to accept this pro-Israeli picture, making it appear that both sides were equally unready to make the concessions necessary to achieve peace.


What could make Israel change course regarding its treatment toward Palestinians and the “Palestinian question?”


The easy answer to this question is a sea change in Israeli outlook as to its security, combined with an insistence by the US government that continued backing of Israel was contingent on its adherence to international law and its credible readiness to reach a fair political compromise, whether in the form of a two-state or one-state solution, but based on a recognition that sustainable peace depends on acknowledging Palestinian rights under international law and a concern for the equality of the two peoples when it comes to issues of security, resources, and sovereignty. Such a shift in Israeli elite opinion could conceivably come about through a reassessment of Israeli prospects in reaction to mounting international pressures and continued Palestinian resistance in various forms. This seems to have been what happened in South Africa, producing an abrupt and unexpected change of outlook by the governing white leadership in Pretoria that signaled a willingness to dismantle its apartheid regime and accept a constitutional order based on racial equality and procedural democracy. Such a development will be dismissed as irrelevant by Israeli leaders until it happens, if it ever does, so as to avoid encouraging those mounting the pressures.


You served for many years as special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Did that experience teach you anything about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that you were not aware of prior to this appointment?


In many ways, it was a fascinating experience, in almost equal measure dispiriting and inspiring. UN Watch, acting as an Israeli surrogate within the UN, repeatedly targeted me with vicious contentions that I was an anti-Semite and a proponent of a variety of extremist and irresponsible views that didn’t represent my actual views. UN Watch, along with other pro-Israeli NGOs, organized a variety of protests with the purpose of canceling my speaking invitations throughout the world, and threatening institutions with adverse funding implications if they went ahead with the events. Although no speaking invitation was withdrawn or event canceled, it shifted the conversation at the event and in the media — often from the substance of my presentation to whether or not the personal attacks were accurate. Also, I know of several invitations that were not issued because of these institutional concerns with controversy.


I also learned in ways that I only suspected prior to my six years as Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for Palestine, what a highly politicized atmosphere prevails at the UN, and how much leverage is exercised by the United States and Israel to impair UN effectiveness in relation to Israel/Palestine. At the same time, I realized that from the perspective of strengthening the legitimacy and awareness of Palestinian claims and grievances, the UN provided crucial venues that functioned as sites of struggle.


Are there Israeli organizations working on behalf of Palestinians and their ordeal, and, if so, what can we do from abroad to assist their efforts?


There are many Israeli and Palestinian NGOs within Israel and in Occupied Palestine that are working bravely to protect Palestinians from the worst abuses of the Israeli state, both in Occupied Palestine and in Israel (as defined by the 1949 “green line”). On the Israeli side, these initiatives, although having no present political relevance so far as elections and governing policy is concerned, are important ways of maintaining in Israel a certain kind of moral awareness.


If the political climate changes in Israel due to outside pressure and a general recognition that Israel needs to make peace to survive, then those that kept the flame of justice and peace flickering despite internal harassment will be regarded, if not revered, with long overdue appreciation as the custodians of Jewish collective dignity. In the meantime, it is a lonely battle, but one that we on the outside should strongly support.

It is also important to lend support to the various Palestinian efforts along the same lines and to the few initiatives that brings together Jews and Palestinians, such as the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, of which scholar-activist Jeff Halper was a cofounder and remains a leader. There are many Palestinian initiatives under the most difficult conditions, such as Human Rights Defenders working courageously in and around Hebron, and of course, in Gaza.


There is an unfortunate tendency by liberal Zionists to fill the moral space in the West by considering only the efforts of admirable Israeli organizations, such as B’Tselem or Peace Now, when presenting information on human rights resistance to Israeli oppressive policies and practices. This indirectly marginalizes the Palestinians as the subject of their own struggle and in my view unwittingly denigrates Palestinian national character.


What’s the best way to explain the conversion of an oppressed group of people into oppressors themselves, which is what today’s Israeli Jews have structurally become?


This role reversal is part of the tragedy that Zionist maximalism has produced for the Jewish people living in Israel, and to some extent, for Jews worldwide. It has made the Nakba into a continuing process rather than an historical event that could have been addressed in a humane manner from the perspective of restorative justice as depicted so vividly and insistently by Edward Said, including in his influential 1993 book Culture and Imperialism. What has ensued has been a geopolitically conditioned unbalanced diplomacy that has served as a shield behind which Israel has been creating conditions for an imposed, unilateralist solution.


Israeli leaders, especially those on the right, have used the memories of the Holocaust, not as an occasion for empathy toward the Palestinians, but as a reminder that the well-being of Jews is based on strength and control, that Hitler succeed because Jewry was weak and passive. Further, that even the liberal West refused to lift a finger to protect Jews when threatened with genocidal persecution, which underscores the central Zionist message of Jewish self-reliance as an ethical and political imperative.


Psychologically, this general way of thinking is further reinforced by supposing that only the Israeli Defense Forces keeps Israel from befalling the fate of deadly Palestinian maximalism, a political delusion reinforced by images of a second Holocaust initiated by Iran or generated by the terrorist tactics attributed to Hamas. In effect, Israeli oppressiveness is swept under the rug of security, while the settlements expand, Gaza is squeezed harder, and the regional developments give Israel the political space to attempt an Israeli one-state solution.


The Interviewers


Lily Sage is a Montessori pedagogue who is interested in questions of symbiosis, intersectional feminism and anti-racist/fascist praxis. She has studied in the fields of herbalism, visual/performance art, anthropology and political theory in Germany, Mongolia and the US.



C.J. Polychroniou is a political economist/political scientist who has taught and worked in universities and research centers in Europe and the United States. His main research interests are in European economic integration, globalization, the political economy of the United States and the deconstruction of neoliberalism’s politico-economic project. He is a regular contributor to Truthout as well as a member of Truthout’s Public Intellectual Project. He has published several books and his articles have appeared in a variety of journals, magazines, newspapers and popular news websites. Many of his publications have been translated into several foreign languages, including Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish.



22 Responses to “Interview on Israel, Palestine, and Peace”

  1. Gene Schulman September 14, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

    Here is an example of Obama’s more balanced attitude toward the Palestinian crisis:

    That will certainly help polish his legacy as he leaves office.

  2. Fred Skolnik September 14, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

    I am glad to see that you are using the phrase “habitual place of residence” with regard to the Arab presence in the Land of Israel, and not terms like indigenous, native and ancient; but that may be because you had just used the phrase “ancient historical claims” with regard to the Jews.

    The Arabs are a conquering people, like the Mongols in the Middle Ages, and what they found when they arrived in the Land of Israel after their rampage of rape, massacre and forced conversion was indeed a native population, which included the Jews.

    I have the feeling, Prof. Falk, that if the American Indians or Native Americans, any time in the last 60 or 70 years, had begun agitating for a state of their own out West, say in New Mexico, where they constitute 10% of the population, you would have been among the first to support them. And if the UN had proposed a partition of New Mexico, you would have supported that too. And if the Indians had proclaimed a state and the United States had invaded it after declaring that it would destroy it and massacre its population, you would have been screaming bloody murder, as the saying goes, and doing your interviews on their behalf.

    Tell us that this isn’t true.

    I note also that you use the phrase “terrorist tactics attributed to Hamas.” Attributed! How would you define blowing up women and children in buses and restaurants?

    You shouldn’t be calling the above an interview. It is a set-up inviting you to vilify Israel. I should think one would want an interview to be just a little bit challenging. I would be happy to interview you, and if you acquit yourself well, I’m sure that TruthOut would publish that too.

    • Richard Falk September 15, 2016 at 8:18 am #

      Mr. Skolnik:

      Yes, I would align myself with native Americans as you suggest in their quest for a state of their own, but
      in a manner sensitive to present realities.

      I would never agree to an interview with you, not because of your views (I have done many interviews with those
      who share your outlook), but because you employ defamatory tactics as in your line “a set-up to vilify Israel.”
      There are many types of interviews, and one is providing an opportunity to clarify views on the basis of recent
      developments. I tend to dislike the ‘gotcha’ type interview, which is what I assume you would attempt.

  3. Carlos September 15, 2016 at 12:35 am #

    Dear Richard. I read the report of your interview with grief and anger. The Palestinians want their natural right. , to be equal, and to be treated fairly. You say Israel needs to make peace to survive. Why would they not? They hold all the cards, the poor Jews are depicted in art, music, icons, films, so much cultural capital. Such a lot to get past. Besides the media is owned and controlled by zionists. The US is strategically dependent on Israel for resources, bases. Those Arab hordes are a threat! But heard of Dimona? It is US aim of global control.
    Interested in your words ‘highly politicised atmosphere prevailing in the UN. We knew that but surely that is contrary to its stated aims , intentions when set up. Maybe it can some day function as a site of struggle. We hope!
    After seeing the bombing of Gaza, I weep. And those generals deliberately ordered that when the schools came out. Zionists are evil, so much more I could say, but thanks Richard for your continued enlightenment.

  4. Carlos September 15, 2016 at 4:19 am #

    Dear Richard, I read the report of the interview in grief and anger. Some points: you say Israel needs to make peace to survive’ .. Why would they not survive, they hold all the cards. The ‘poor Jews’ are imbedded in our culture, art, music, icons, films, going back to Hollywood Zionist owned and controlled. The ME is a strategic area of resources wanted by Israel and America in their bid for global control. You did not mention Dimona and Israel’s attempts to obfuscate. Your drawing attention to the highly politicised atmosphere prevailing at the UN, we had noted with reluctance, surely contrary to its original intent. Yet you say it may function as sites of struggle. We can only hope! Maybe not in my lifetime! But I am grateful for your past and continuing advocacy for the beleaguered Palestinians. Thanks Richard.

    • Fred Skolnik September 15, 2016 at 8:45 am #

      I can see, Carlos, that you resent Jews quite deeply. What is that “poor Jews” supposed to mean? Are you making fun of us because we just won’t shut up about the Holocaust and all the other massacres and pogroms? And of the tens if not hundreds of thousands of films made in “Zionist owned and controlled” Hollywood, there are just a handful that anyone would think to call pro-Israel. You’d expect thousands, no? And did you also weep when Arab terrorists were blowing up Jewish women and children in buses and restaurants?

      • Gene Schulman September 17, 2016 at 8:57 am #

        Ah, poor Fred shows his ignorance once again. I grew up and came of age in Hollywood, and I can assure him that Jews control it. All the major studios were founded and are still run by Jews. 90% of the agencies are Jewish, too. I could reel off a list of pro- Jewish/Israeli films, but I won’t do his homework for him. All he has to do is a Google search to find such films as ‘Holocaust’, ‘The Chosen’, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, and more, ad nauseam. It all began with ‘The Jazz Singer’ and my yiddishe momma!

        And he is wrong to accuse us of not weeping for women and children being murdered in terrorist attacks against Israel, just as we
        weep for Palestinian women and children, or Syrian women and children, being slaughtered or displaced by Israeli or American bombings. At least their was some desperate justification for the first. There is NONE for the latter.

        Fred’s hasbara is really getting tiresome. I had promised not to reply to him again. But this is not to him, it is to others, about him. I just couldn’t resist setting the record straight about Hollywood.

        If he would spend less time with his head in the Torah teaching his grand children mythology, and more learning about current events, he might have a better understanding of what’s going on in the world.

      • Richard Falk September 17, 2016 at 9:34 am #


        I entirely agree with your comment on Fred Skolnik’s persistent line of comments, and this
        impression you have would have been even stronger if I had not blocked his many uncivil comments.
        I don’t like to play this monitoring role, but he leaves me little choice.

      • Gene Schulman September 18, 2016 at 6:24 am #


        I don’t see why you just don’t block all of Fred’s comments. None of them contribute to the discussions you raise here. He only appears when the subject is about Jews or Israel, and then is only negative and insulting. He has nothing positive or educational to offer. I think letting him appear here is destructive to your purpose of the blog, which is to inform. I understand your wish to be fair, but fair is fair, and Fred is not.

    • Fred Skolnik September 15, 2016 at 11:09 am #

      Are you protecting Carlos too now, Prof. Falk? Don’t you think that referring to us sarcastically as “poor Jews” deserves a response in the light of what the Jews have endured? Don’t you think that someone who purports to “weep” for the Palestinians should be asked whether he also wept for the Jewish women and children blown apart in buses and restaurants by Arab terrorists? Don’t you think it should be pointed out that “Zionist-controlled” Hollywood doesn’t make Zionist movies. Yes, the Jews have “Exodus” but the Arabs have “Lawrence of Arabia,” also produced by a Jew. How does our Carlos wish to explain that? The least I would expect from you would be that when your admirers start talking about Jews controlling the media and Hollywood, you would set them straight.

      Why is it, Prof. Falk, that you are continuously attracting these types who have recourse to all the classical antisemitic stereotypes of Jews?

      As for so-called “gotcha” interviews, you wouldn’t have to be afraid of them if you didn’t make so many ill-advised remarks. I certainly wouldn’t be afraid of a hostile interviewer out to get me or the State of Israel.

      • Richard Falk September 15, 2016 at 11:24 am #

        As much as you would like to believe otherwise, it is not fear. My unwillingness from the unproductive and unpleasant prospect of interacting with someone holding
        such dogmatic and one-sided views that are so far from my perceptions of the relevant reality. There would be no point to such an interview except to indulge in
        a masochistic exploration, which doesn’t interest me.

        And as for ‘poor Jews,’ the comment should be read in the context of the current oppressive reality
        being imposed on the Palestinian people with neither mercy nor respect for elemental rights under
        international law.

      • Fred Skolnik September 15, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

        The degree of oppression is in direct proportion to the violence of the resistance. If you understand the Native American analogy, try understanding how the Allies would have responded if the Germans had proclaimed “no peace, no negotiations, no recognition” after the occupation, had engaged from the outset in acts of terror against Allied civilians inside and outside Germany, and had refused to disavow their Nazi leaders. As for the thinking and intentions of the various parties, I have given you my views often enough, so there is no point in my repeating them.

      • Richard Falk September 16, 2016 at 8:07 am #

        You seem to forget that the occupying Israel pushed hundreds of thousands out of their own country and
        Palestine never started a massive war of aggression or were guilty of atrocities. The analogy is so self-serving
        as to be absurd.

      • Fred Skolnik September 16, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

        Prof. Falk

        You made a statement and I replied to you, and I can’t see why you are not posting my reply in a timely fashion, unless you find it unanswerable and do not wish your readers to see it, which is unworthy of you,

      • Richard Falk September 16, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

        It is such a fanout polemical comment that I find it unacceptable and misleading.

        It is not that it is ‘unanswerable’ but not worth answering, having been explained over and over
        again by objective commentary. For instance, read John Quigley’s book on the 1967 War published by CUP.

        As you must know, the departure of Jews from Arabs countries accorded with Zionist efforts to persuade
        these Jews to move to Israel, again a story told many times, and for you to equate this dynamic with the
        Israeli dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, deny their right of return, and destroy
        hundreds of Palestinian villages is totally bewildering unless you are the troll that some allege.

      • Richard Falk September 16, 2016 at 6:05 pm #

        In further reply:

        As long as you consistently add insults to your comments I feel no obligation to publish. And if you have such pride
        as to suppose it is because I am ‘cowardly’ that is your phantasy to enjoy. I am more frequently criticized as ‘reckless’
        for exposing myself to the sorts of slings and arrows that you and your comrades toss in my direction. If you are willing to be civil you
        are welcome, if not, then not. Your self-appointed role as an Israeli moral policeman is also not acceptable.

  5. ray032 September 15, 2016 at 5:59 am #

    When I read of Jewish voices saying there is no Palestine, when the Balfour Declaration speaks for a home for the Jewish People in Palestine, it reads to me like a denial of Reality or Delusion.

    When Israeli settlers are displacing Palestinians in Palestine but Netanyahu accuses Palestinians of ethnic cleansing of Jews in the illegally occupied territories, like the Star of David, this world is turned upside-down.

    I read this this morning: ‘There’s no occupation’
    “A few days ago, a video interview with Alan Baker, Israel’s former ambassador to Canada (as well as military prosecutor and senior legal adviser in the Israeli army’s international law division), was released, under the title: “International Law Expert: Israel Is Not an “Occupier.”
    In the interview, released by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Baker makes the essential claim that Israel is not an occupier, because he says that international law defines occupation as “one power occupying the lands of a foreign sovereign”. But Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations (HR) states that a “territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army,” and according to their common Article 2, the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 apply to any territory occupied during international hostilities. Baker calls the West Bank “disputed territory,” as does Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu……………………………….”

    The article refers a lot to the Bible justifying what Israel does in Palestine. The Truth is, there is NOTHING humans do Today that is not already mentioned in the Bible somewhere. That includes politics, war, peace and the economy.

    People accuse Muslims about being selective in citing the Quran. That is also True for Christians and Jews, if there is any respect left for Truth.

    Israel, obviously, does not consider these words of the Prophet, also written in the Bible:

    Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
    Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance.

    Wherefore say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD; You eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall you possess the land?
    You stand upon your sword, you work abomination, and you defile every one his neighbour’s wife: and shall you possess the land?

    You say thus unto them, Thus says the Lord GOD; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence.
    For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.

    Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.

    The State of Israel did not exist when the Prophet saw this vision of the Future.

    Posted the latest article to my Blog Tuesday.


    It is 40 years ago TODAY, The Kansas City Times published this report, the 1st of 2 in the Spirit of ’76, as Americans were celebrating the 200th Anniversary of their Revolution.

  6. Sue September 19, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    Appreciated your article very much. If you have time and have not already seen it, you might want to read the article in Independent Catholic News regarding the whole Israel/Palestinian problem. The article can be found at: It’s titled, “Jerusalem: NCC/WCC Consultation of Holy Land.


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