Israel’s Legalizes Settlement Options as a Prelude to the Netanyahu Visit to Trumpland

13 Feb

Responses to four questions posed by Rodrigo Craveiro, a journalist from the Brazilian newspaper Correio Braziliense


1- How do you see the decision of the Knesset taken last night about legalizing settlement outposts and what are the likely consequences of this legislative initiative? 

It is one more act of defiance by Israel that is both a repudiation of international law relating to settlements in Occupied Palestine and of the UNSC, which in December passed Resolution 2334 condemning settlement expansion and reaffirming their illegality. Whether Israel experiences adverse consequences depends especially on the reaction of European governments and of civil society. Israel expects that Trump’s presidency will insulate the country from any show of real pressure at the UN or via sanctions, but there are mixed signals as usual emanating from the White House. The Knesset’s provocative move of legalizing the 50 or so settlement ‘outposts’ that were previously illegal even under Israeli law, an internationally controversial move that may in due course be nullified by Israel’s judiciary. Actually, the move was not so radical as the Israel state had long accommodated the outposts by providing them with subsidies and security, and overlooking their formally unlawful status in domestic law.


2– Do you believe Israel is interested in annexing West Bank? Why?

Israel’s leadership and public seems split on this. The most vocal leaders of the settler movement and the extreme right in Israel favor annexation, and always have and always will. Netanyahu and the Israeli center right prefer to keep their true intentions ambiguous, that is, proceeding with de facto annexation while continuing to maintain an international diplomatic posture that claims a willingness to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority without preconditions implying an eventual willingness to accept at some point the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. Some in Israel favor annexation for historical/biblical reasons associated with their convictions that Israel should embrace the whole of ancient Palestine, with the West Bank known as Samaria and Judea. Other Israelis favor annexation as the fulfillment of the project of secular Zionism, and also contend that a greater Israel will enhance the security of the state of Israel. The President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, has long favored annexation of the entire West Bank to complete the Zionist project, and couples this forthright rejection of a two-state solution with a controversial commitment to treat Palestinians as fully equal citizens in such an expanded Jewish state, accepting even the possibility that Palestinians become at some point a demographic majority, and manage to achieve an electoral mandate for  a Palestinian political party to govern the country.


3– In what ways do you believe Netanyahu is taking advantage of the fact that Trump is in the presidency of US for taking polemical measures?

It would appear that Netanyahu is proceeding on the basis that whatever Israel chooses to do, even if in the Obama years it might have produced disapproval, will in the Trump presidency be fully supported. Netanyahu may be testing how far he can go with such an approach without generating a costly diplomatic backlash by Arab neighbors, a new cycle of violent resistance by Palestinians, and an escalation of global civil society pressures taking the form of a more robust Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign. In my view, Netanyahu is playing a dangerous game, and for the sake of Israeli expansionism and one-statism, maybe overstepping prudent limits. Perhaps, the biggest and most dangerous test of all is Netanyahu apparent desire to heighten tensions with Iran, leading possibly to the repudiation of P5 + 1 Nuclear Agreement negotiated by Obama presidency in 2014 and to a military confrontation. Trump called for the repudiation of the agreement during his campaign, but has been urged not to carry out the pledge by many, including senior former Israeli security experts and government officials. It will be of the greatest importance that this agreement with Iran maintained, and not undermined by any ratcheting up sanctions and an increased confrontational diplomacy.


4– Do you believe Trump could be seen as a source of influence in favor of Israel, due to his adherence to conservative positions that are the same as those favored by Netanyahu?

 There appears to be a natural affinity between these two leaders based both on their autocratic approach toward governance and reactionary substantive positions. I would not call their ideological outlook genuinely ‘conservative’ as it seeks to create ruptures with prior political, social, and cultural values. Although both leaders are demagogues and ideologues, they also act in opportunistic and impetuous ways. Both are swayed by considerations of expediency, and so their apparent marriage of convenience to one another could easily be broken. Perhaps, after their meeting this week, it will be clearer as to whether their personal chemistry is sufficiently positive to sustain their relationship over time. For the sake of peace and justice, I would hope that tension rather than harmony develops as they come to know each other better. It is certainly time for the US Government to realize how much damage its ‘special relationships’ with Israel and Saudi Arabia have contributed to the tensions and turmoil that currently beset the region.



29 Responses to “Israel’s Legalizes Settlement Options as a Prelude to the Netanyahu Visit to Trumpland”

  1. Fred Skolnik February 14, 2017 at 12:04 am #

    As unwise as the Knesset vote was, and irrespective of the likelihood that the law will be struck down by Israel’s Supreme Court, the legislation is next to meaningless in terms of a final agreement between the two sides, which will be based on a trade-off of territory that will leave three-quarters of the settlements within Israel’s final borders and involve five percent of West Bank land. As for Netanyahu’s willingness to negotiate such a settlement, the Palestinians are so far from being ready (Hamas) or able (Abu Mazen) to live in peace with Israel that they can’t even bring themselves to test him by returning to the negotiating table.

    • Gene Schulman February 14, 2017 at 9:38 am #

      Oh dear, our friend wants us to believe there might be a ‘final agreement between the two sides’? Actually, for years there has only been one side. Israel (Netanyahu) does not negotiate, it (he) makes demands. Why should the Palestinians try to return to a negotiating table that was burned up a long time ago.

    • Fred Skolnik February 14, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

      To be serious, Gene, because I’m going to assume that the welfare of the Palestinians really is your main concern, which mean taking a practical and realistic approach instead of throwing around words like nazi-genocide-hasbara-troll.

      Israel will sit with the Palestinians the moment they are ready to resume negotiations, at which time both side will state their positions. The main issues will be final borders, refugees, Jerusalem and security. I have already summarized what Israel’s starting positions will most likely be. Such negotiations are bound to be protracted. I don’t know what the Palestinians will demand with regard to the refugees. They must know that millions are not going to return. Jerusalem is very problematic. Conceivably Israel would agree to calling the outlying Arab neighborhoods el-Quds as the capital of Palestine but the Old City will be a stumbling block so conceivably the two sides may put off discussing it and leaving the subject in abeyance while finalizing everything else.

      Israel – and especially a right-wing government under Netanyahu – will only agree to the dismantling of settlements if it believes that the Arabs are prepared to relinquish the Big Dream and live in real peace with Israel. That is a very big step for them. People like Prof. Falk should be encouraging them to take it instead of promoting the illusion that if they sit tight or fire some rockets or murder a few Israelis from time to time, left-wing “friends” will do the rest and cause Israel to vanish.

      • Gene Schulman February 16, 2017 at 4:48 am #

        Yes, let’s be serious, Fred. Sorry to have to refer you back to another Counterpunch article, but I think Baroud is a bit more reliable than your ‘hasbara’ nonsense:

      • Fred Skolnik February 16, 2017 at 10:29 am #

        You’re always hiding behind something. Why is Baroud reliable? He’s an advocate whose only interest is vilifying Israel. Other than that he is not saying anything that I haven’t already addressed.

      • ray032 February 18, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

        The issue is not a question of the Supreme Court in Israel reversing this pernicious, aggressive, provocative bill passed by the Knesset. It’s the reality of the mindset of those 60 Israelis Knesset Members who voted for the measure. They’re still there and you are an apologist for that mindset.

        Any you expect the Palestinians to love the Jews for passing such a criminal measure in addition to night raids, detentions without trial and and other repressive measures? Then you are more deluded than I thought. Not only that, but demolish Palestinian homes with impunity. to make way for Jewish settlement on the very land that is the purpose of Peace negotiations.

        Israel has a 50 year track record of conducting idle Peace Talks as they seize more and more Palestinian land for settlement expansion with not much the Palestinians can do about it in the face of Israeli Economic & Military dominance.

        You obviously didn’t see this line downstream,

        Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

  2. Beau Oolayforos February 14, 2017 at 9:09 am #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    Many of us would also be delighted if the current US “Precedent” came to despise Bibi as much as Obama did; but alas, from here they look like birds of a feather. “1984” got a sales bump lately; is it time for “Animal Farm”?

    • ray032 February 14, 2017 at 6:36 pm #

      It was on impulse after the 1984 Federal Election was called in CanaDa, I registered as an Independent Candidate for the Seat of Ottawa-Centre thinking of Orwell’s 1984.

      Barring a miracle, I knew I didn’t have a chance with no money, organization, or volunteers in an apathetic society, but I realized the Public Discourse was already in Orwell’s 1984 territory.

      Orwell was taking this 2600 year old view of Society as it was then, and extrapolating it to our contemporary systems.

      Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
      Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
      Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
      Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

      Therefore as the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust:

      For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

      The deception and imbalance is even greater these 2600 years later as the writer saw then, And Judgment is turned away backward, and Justice stands far off: for Truth is fallen in the street, and Equity cannot enter.

  3. Kata Fisher February 15, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    Professor Falk,

    I proof read this — but somebody is messing with my computer — and is also rewriting things as I write. I also, consistently have browsers shutting down on me — all the time. Some hogs and dogs (in soft terms) are consistently interfering. I have to repost that once again, and try to submit what I actually intended.

    I do not need anyone manipulating things as I make civil-eccalistical stamens. I make them in a good conscience.

  4. Kata Fisher February 15, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    My actual Note:

    Bare Land ownership overtake/merge may only be legitimately suppressed after some 100 years have passed by without psychical occupancy of the areas/private lands — after some 100 years the Land most likely can not be reclaimed by individuals/private owners and/or communities. Local Municipalities Land (not necessarily a state Land) would be actual, legitimate owner/s. This — as a general rule. Otherwise the CIVIL-ECCALISTICAL curses, and guilt of blood.

    In General, every 100 years a Juridic Person may cease to exist and be legitimately suppressed/reestablished. To much has happened in Holy Land, and Israelis will be under the curse not keeping basic decency when comes to the Land ownership. Israeli-Jews and all who help them with their evil way — may behave as greedy hogs, otherwise — and put themselves under the CIVIL-ECCALISTICAL curses of herem. They will bring self-appointed CURSE upon themselves if they start ILLIGITIMETLY surprising things that are not to be suppressed. They will do it when they are just devil-directed. That is their reality — and they are extremely dumb to all of that and in all of that.

    This is what I understand about SPIRITUAL and Natural Condition in Holy Land:

    Death, Death, Death
    Guilt of Blood and Death

    I AM will pour out Guilt of Blood and Death upon children of iniquity, and they will be cut off by themselves

    I shall pour out the guilt of Blood and Death upon the bloodlines of the Death; they will cut of themselves and their bloodline in death.

    Their sin will never be forgiven, and they will never find peace.

    They will have children in the brood of vipers and with the brood of vipers, and they will always find death to themselves.

    I AM have cut off a house of Israel, in all — in justice, in peace, in blessings, in joy.” They will eat defilement of the bread of their doings and their children will forever be of the devil and in a devil.

    I AM will have compassion on Juda, and I will redeem that offspring. But Israel I AM will cut off.
    Let their Hope be in the brood of vipers and death.
    Let them be accursed according to their own way.

    They will be in self-destruction.
    I AM will put the curse of self-destruction upon them.
    “Their herems are revenged upon them with the curse of self-destruction.”
    I AM will put the curse of the self-destruction upon them, and they will be cut off from the Land.

    They have sinned against anoited Lines and God’s Spirit.

    They are in Wrath of Death — they are of the wrath of the devil and are of death — death shall be given to them and death shall come upon them.
    “House of Israel is in the blood of vipers and death of defilement — they are condemned by Spirit of God and are cut off.

    I AM told you the truth — do not be troubled or alarmed by anything which you are seeing.
    ” I have told you the truth about condemnation by the power of God’s Spirit.”
    I AM have not left HIMSELF without the witnesses.
    When they are in the perpetual judgement day — I AM will have a just condemnation against them.

    “I AM” …”I AM” ….”I AM.” …”I AM.” “I AM.” “I AM”

    • Richard Falk February 16, 2017 at 8:26 am #


      What is the relevance of this long comment? How should it be interpreted as a comment?

      • Kata Fisher February 16, 2017 at 11:08 am #

        Dear Professor Falk,

        Israel state and Church in Rome/Vatican (state) have signed things into the laws/agreements that should never have had — things that are concerning the conditions of Holy Land and Landmarks of Holy Land. Then, to make matters worse they — Church in Rome had to allow for recognition of civil-ecclesiastical illegal entity in Holy Land: The Palestine State.

        That means that laypeople (like myself in forced ordination by wickedly abused Apostolic Church Order by the heretics/abominable members that are counterfeit Charismatic Church) and like you and anyone else involved have to walk beyond an extra mile just to make up for their wicked civil-ecclesiastical ways toward each other and everyone else — just because they are plainly evil in their doings/implementations.

        I do not think or have a reflection that any other interpretation is publicly relevant. The spiritual exercises are difficult in practice, and even the legitimate explanation/interpretation is only possible by the Church (specifically authentically Charismatic) in the exactly same anointing of the Spirit/Gifts Spiritual.

        Instead, I decided to call it a “Poem about the Potter and the Potter Fields.”

        In addition to that – I had reflection about this pastor who has died but has been in one mind with I. His Teaching, and warnings are Authentic.

        I do not know that Christianity and Messianic Jews are not to correct their ways while thinking that they are doing all will of God out there — allowing religious chaos among their members and everyone else.

        I did call a Emirates Bishop to all of this. I am sure that he will null any heresy coming from me.

      • Richard Falk February 16, 2017 at 5:17 pm #


        Your explanation is clarifying and helpful in making your understanding more transparent..

        Best, Richard

      • ray032 February 18, 2017 at 6:52 am #

        Kata, Christ Jesus was speaking to Jews before Christianity came to be as another Sect of Judaism.

        You hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
        This people draws close to me with their mouth, and honours me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
        In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

        These words are not addressed to Gentiles, Atheists, Infidels or unsaved Sinners, but to those who claim to have the Faith within Israel and without.

        Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.

        Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?

        And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

        You can be sure all those believers will have convinced themselves they they are “saved’ and “chosen,” the perfect human example of God’s Truth and Justice in Word and Deed. They will have a rude awakening when they realize “The Rapture” taught as Doctrine by men, is a false hope.

        Christ does not believe in a Rapture as the materialists teach it as evidenced by the Lord’s other prayer..

        I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil.
        John 17:15

        The Rapture is a man made doctrine teaching the good Christians will be ‘taken out of the world’ just before all hell breaks loose on Earth. They believe they would physically ascend into heaven like Elijah, Jesus and Muhammad.

        The Prophecy is ‘the good and the evil will grow side by side until the Harvest’ I am already working as a labourer in God’s Vineyard, reaping the Harvest while I live.

      • Kata Fisher February 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

        Dear Ray,

        I understand that well.

        Also, I understand Theologians confuse items of the Perpetual Church Doctrine.

        The Church knows what to expect because End-Time Prophecy about Resurrection of the Martyrs, the Saints — was/is already interpreted by the Apostles, the Apostolic Writers:

        a) in the Word
        b) in the Letters
        c) by the Spirit

        The Church — the Perpetual Church have preserved and will maintain — as all those authentic writings were written and re-written (for preservation) by and trough the Power of God’s Spirit. He Who has sustained the Perpetual Church, and the Teaching of the Perpetual Doctrine of the Church Perpetual even until Times that shall End.

        Contemporary, there is confusion about Resurrection of the Martyrs, Resurrection of the Body of the Martyrs/the Saints — who are/were killed throughout the same and/or different dispensations of the Church Age, and then the Judgement /Dispensations in Judgment.

        As I understood this far:

        We have Absolute Assurance that Body of the Martyrs, the Saints that were/are killed will also be resurrected, and the Living Church (in the natural body) that is on earth will also be simultaneously transformed — but they are not going anywhere. This Living that Perpetual Church will find itself in a transformed realm of Creation in times, then.

        A very important note: I only understand that concept of rapture has nothing to do with leaving the earth /natural sphere of the natural realm into the spare of heaven / supernatural realm — but rather a resurrection of the body of the of the saints, martyrs takes place, instead — which they contemporarily confuse with the Living Church that is transformed.

        In essence they confuse Transformation/Transfiguration of the Living Church with the Resurrection of the Body of the Martyrs, the Saints.

        With That:

        The Heaven is Coming Down to the Creation, as Creation is staying where it is — Just as Living Bread Came Forth From the Heaven, and was incarnated by the Power of the Holy Spirit in Perpetual Virgin’s uterus: begotten/born. All “in natural” stayed where exactly it was. In the Same Way, Perpetual, New Jerusalem is going to Come Down — at some point in times.

        First, the body of the Martyrs resurrected. ( The First Resurrection). Then simultaneously, the living Church would be transformed/transfigured into another essence, will be caught up between the realm of natural into supernatural / (Raptured) from one nature into another. We only know the Christ Jesus of Nazareth that is Coming to the Erth to Establish New Millennium as “The Next Coming of Christ” — but he will be with His resurrected Body of the Martyrs, the Saints / His Army. I do not know that Living Church is to expect anything else, nor it is going to meet.

        The resurrection of the Body of the Martyrs, the Saint and Transformation of the living Church into the same substance/essence with the Body of the Martyrs, the Saints — with Jesus Christ establishing Post-Church Era / New Millennium (1000 Years) — we can expect with Absolute Assurance.

        I do not know that Perpetual Church Doctrine — as written in the Scripture and Apostolic Writings does say/is witnessing much anything then that.
        Theology is not always the Doctrine of the Church given/received under valid and full Baptism in Spirit, and valid Corporate Gifts of the Spirit and/or Anointing in Spiritual Gifts.

        That is why we ask for Baptism in Spirit for all unbelievers in the Church and outside the Church — many fell off to the spirit of the Antichrist while they confuse and hate Authentic Church. In these last days, Baptism in Spirit by Free Fall, and full and authentic ordination in all gifts spiritual is crucial.

        The Church itself can not depend on anything else because there are so many delusions and members out there that are in satanic seals and in numerous blasphemies. It’s all in the dark/strong delusions of the darkness/delusions of End Times.

  5. Rabbi Ira Youdovin February 17, 2017 at 5:27 pm #

    Ramzy Baroud and others who write one-sided anti-Israel op-eds for one-sided anti-Israel publications like Counterpoint obviously believe they are helping the Palestinians. In fact, precisely the opposite is true.

    In the piece posted by Counterpoint devotee Gene Schulman, Ramzy presents the worst case scenario of what transpires following passage of Israel’s new “Regularization Bill”: annexation of the entire West Bank resulting in the imposition of Apartheid and/or ethnic cleansing. He proposes this horrific vision not merely as a possibility, or even a probability, but as a certainty, casually skipping over inconvenient details such as the bill needing to pass judicial review, which observers say is unlikely, or the fact that Israeli President Rivlin, whom Prof. Falk frequently cites as the poster boy for Israeli hardline territorial expansionists, said last week that Israel could not annex the West Bank without offering full citizenship, including franchise, to all inhabitants, Jewish and Palestinian. The Israeli political landscape can be confusing even to people who take time to study it. Those whose minds are made up in advance are clueless.

    But because his worst case scenario is a possibility, one would think that one who cares about the Palestinians would take the trouble of exploring ways of avoiding what would assuredly be a human tragedy. Ramzy is having none of that. He assigns that task to the “international community” which is like to physicians of yore abandoning a patient they no longer had the time or skill to help by saying “he’s now in God’s hands”.

    Fact is that lots can be done. I would list these in some detail but Fred Skolnik has already done so earlier in this thread. I commend his post to all who are interested in getting beyond the talking points, adding but one elaboration. Successfully negotiating a peaceful resolution requires that both sides are represented by leaders who speak for the majority of the community they represent and, most important, can deliver on the commitments they make. While Israel is divided into a diversity of opinions, it has a democratically elected government empowered to speak for the whole. In stark contradistinction, the Palestinians are divided into two mutually hostile camps: one, centered on Fatah, is willing to recognize Israel and negotiate a two state solution; the other, Hamas and some smaller rejectionist parties, rejects normalization, and offers no more than a temporary truce.

    Fatah could be a partner for peace were it not for Hamas’ military superiority, which makes any agreement Israel cuts with Fatah vulnerable to being undermined by Hamas terrorism. And as that agreement would, of necessity, entail Israeli territorial compromise, Hamas forces could overwhelm Fatah and occupy areas close to Israel’s population and industrial centers cedes by Israel. No government of Israel or any other state would put its citizens in that kind of jeopardy.

    The tragedy for Palestinians, especially those who seek peaceful coexistence with Israel in the context of a two state solution, is that Ramzy Baroud and others are so consumed with placing total blame on Israel that they are unwilling, or unable, to propose an essential course correction on the Palestinian side of the equation.

    As I wrote at the outset, they are not helping the Palestinians. In a real way, they are, albeit unintentionally, among the Palestinians’ worst enemies.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Gene Schulman February 18, 2017 at 12:00 am #

      Well here comes Ira with another pocket of two cents. If you won’t accept Ramzi because he’s too one-sided, how about Neve Gordon: I don’t think you can accuse him of being one-sided. Btw: the publication is Counterpunch, not Counterpoint. If you can’t keep little details straight, how can you be counted on to keep the big ones straight?

      Please don’t recommend me to read Fred again. He just repeats himself over and over and over again.

      PS – You can put me on record as being one of those who place total blame on Israel. It has done nothing, as long as I have been alive (longer than the Jewish State), to solve the problem between themselves and the Palestinians. Nothing, nothing, nothing. QED

      • Fred Skolnik February 18, 2017 at 8:04 am #

        If you are reading Neve Gordon without any sense of what his bias is, you have a serious problem understanding the written word. He is about as anti-Israel as a human being can be, as much as you are in fact.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin February 20, 2017 at 7:32 am #

        Ray 032 puts total blame on Israel for its conflict with the Palestinians. Gene Schulman doubles down on the canard:
        “You can put me on record as being one of those who place total blame on Israel. It has done nothing, as long as I have been alive (longer than the Jewish State), to solve the problem between themselves and the Palestinians. Nothing, nothing, nothing. QED”
        Demonstrably false absolutist statements have become commonplace in public discourse these days: “largest electoral college victory since Reagan,” “largest presidential inaugural attendance ever,” “huge popular vote victory if illegal votes were disqualified.” So let’s do what the press and media do. Let’s do some fact-checking. Here are some REAL FACTS
        1. Almost immediately after the 1967 Six Day War ended, long before the first West Bank settlement was built, Israel offered to return the entire West Bank and Gaza in exchange for Arab recognition and normalization. Two months later, the Arab League Summit, meeting in Khartoum, replied with its infamous three “No”s: no negotiation with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no peace with Israel.
        2. Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak (2000) and Ehud Olmert (2008) offered increasingly expansive peace proposals. Among other things, Olmert’s gave the Palestinians total control of the Temple Mount, all of Gaza and approximately 95% of the West Bank, with compensation for the shortfall achieved by land swaps from inside Israel. These proposals were rejected for reasons that remain unclear.
        3. In 2005, the Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, removed every Israeli settler and soldier from Gaza, leaving behind only their green houses to give the Gazans a head start on continuing the region’s highly lucrative flower-growing industry. Hamas destroyed the green houses, and soon converted Gaza into a launching pad for rockets and mortar aimed at targets inside Israel.
        There are other examples, but these should suffice. In a recent post, Prof. Falk attaches the “Alternative Facts” label to Israeli statements. The appellation is relevant, but he puts it on the wrong side of the conversation. When ray032 dons the mantle of biblical prophecy to denounce Israel, and Gene Schulman bellows “never, never, never” to deny provable facts, we see that Alternative Facts are not limited to the Oval Office.
        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

  6. Fred Skolnik February 18, 2017 at 1:20 am #

    Dear Ira

    I did manage once to slip something past Counterpunch under by Fred Russell pen name:

    They of course didn’t realize that I was also talking about them when I wrote:

    “At the end of the day an extremely distorted picture of the world is obtained, put together by people who rarely understand the languages and consequently the culture, religion, history and politics of the countries they report from and comment on and also lack the perception to understand their own country.”

    But they of course woke up when I challnged them to publish this:

    Not too much integrity there when it comes to dissenting views.

    • ray032 February 18, 2017 at 11:00 pm #

      Fred, I read the article under your other name and I like it and agree with it.

      I also see the MSM as having abandoned their “raison d’être” of “Speaking Truth to Power” and have been commenting directly to CNN through their FaceBook page and direct email to CNN personalities.

      It’s the Deep State Neo-cons that unveiled the Pentagon plans in 2001 through the Bush Republicans, to change regimes in 7 ME Nations, starting with Iraq, Libya, Syria and finally Iran. Six of those Nations are in the Trump ban these 15 years later suggesting that 2001 Neo-con Deep State plan is still in operation. except Russia stopped it in Syria and the US_CIA_MILITARY is frustrated and mad, looking for revenge.

      It was the Obama Democrats that implemented the 2001 Republican plan in 2011, changing the stable Gaddafi regime in Libya into a terrorist failed State, Obama’s CIA running his weapons from their Station in Benghazi to their proxy regime change terrorist boots on the ground in Syria, next on the list of the 2001 Bush Republican Deep State war plans.

      Watching CNN from CanaDa free from the Rebublican-Democratic partisan pressures and fissures and not looking through a lens of wanting to control the world, they speak for the Deep State, inciting for war with Russia through subtle, slanted reporting, and like minded partisan experts.

      Obviously I explored you further and Israel IS BECOME the Israel you describe here:

      Rafi’s World is a hard-hitting novel that takes an unflinching look at the brutal realities of the Other Israel and its emerging criminal class. Set in the late 1980s as the country undergoes its final transformation into a Western-style consumer society, it tells the story of those left behind in the ruins of the Zionist dream. Rafi Cohen, a smalltime hood, moves through the mean streets of the urban jungle in an Israel rarely before seen. Driven by hatred and alienated from the world around him, he hurtles toward his inevitable end in a gripping story that illuminates the darker corners of Israeli society.

      Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau visited President Trump last Monday, and presented him with a beautifully framed photo of his father listening to Trump speaking at the Waldorf Astoria where Trudeau was getting an award in 1981.

      This was a perfect segue to post this comment in The Citizen in a story of the meeting:

      Naturally, it would be more interesting to me than anyone else in this world, to learn young Trudeau gave old Trump a photo of young Trump with old Trudeau from November 1981.

      Just 3 months later, this photo of me and Trudeau Sr. made the front page of this Ottawa Citizen. It’s even in the same spirit and context of the discussion of the Economy between old Trump and young Trudeau these 36 years later.

      Prime Minister Trudeau Sr. and the Provincial Premiers were meeting in the Confederation Centre to discuss the Economy. For the last 7 years he was Prime Minister, I was in the position to stand face to face with him and hand him a letter without any intermediaries from Time to Time as he entered or left the House of Commons.

      More than any other Canadian, I was surprised when he quit his job 2 weeks after RCMP VIP Security questioned me at length on my attitude toward him. It was an even greater surprise to me when he left the House of Commons and moved into the Cormier House in Montreal.

      I was right there at the curb as his limousine pulled up. I’m glad The Citizen photographer was there too, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this.

      As he stepped on the curb I said, “Prime Minister! Look at my sign. I had it made for you and the Premiers.”
      That’s me with the smile holding the sign on a pole standing between the other photographer and the PM. It was beautifully done in calligraphy and read, “Woe to those who judge for hire and profit, but not for Justice and Truth.”

      • Fred Skolnik February 19, 2017 at 8:51 am #

        How would you know what Israeli society has become, as you’ve never been there? Don’t take my word for it, or Neve Gordon’s or Jonathan Cook’s or Uri Avnery’s or Mondoweiss’s. That isn’t how serious people reach conclusions, unless they’re just looking for writers who give them what they want. And all societies have dark corners and internal conflicts. What does that have to do with the Arab-Israel conflict?

        As for the two-state solution, you are misinformed at the most basic level. Israel hasn’t built a new settlement in the West Bank since the early 1990s. Almost all building has been within existing boundaries. It is also unwise to use an expression like bantuland without the slightest concept of West Bank geography.

        Israel is not going to annex the West Bank but it is liable to lose its patience in the face of Palestinian intransigence and annex around 5% of it with three-quarters of the settlements and then there will be no apartheid and no demographic problem and no Palestinian state and no hope and no relief for a people whose leaders have used them as pawns without any regard for their well-being but a continued occupation until the Palestinians wake up and let go of the Big Dream of a great massacre on the shores of the Mediterranean.

  7. Fred Skolnik February 18, 2017 at 1:21 am #

    Dear Ira

    I did manage once to slip something past Counterpunch under my Fred Russell pen name:

    They of course didn’t realize that I was also talking about them when I wrote:

    “At the end of the day an extremely distorted picture of the world is obtained, put together by people who rarely understand the languages and consequently the culture, religion, history and politics of the countries they report from and comment on and also lack the perception to understand their own country.”

    But they of course woke up when I challnged them to publish this:

    Not too much integrity there when it comes to dissenting views.

  8. ray032 February 18, 2017 at 6:26 am #

    Fred and Ira are still using smoke and mirrors in their specious arguments.

    The two state solution has been dead for years – killed by Israel’s policy of massive settlement building in the heart of what could have been a Palestinian state. Much as I detest Trump, the previous policy of ‘let’s pretend’ was a thily veiled policy of allowing Israel to use its military power to do whatever it liked. Nothing Trump can do is going to make that worse.

    Israel, and its supporters, will just have to face the alternatives they have created. They can have a single, secular state with equal rights for all people regardless of ethnicity or religion. Or they can have an apartheid state with Palestinian bantulands, until they lack the political and military power to maintain it.

    everything else is just spin, smoke and mirrors. And if, as seems likely, Israel and its suporters go with the Apartheid approach, they had best pray for someone of Nelson Mandela to be in charge when that corrupt option dissolves – as it inevitably will.

  9. Rabbi Ira Youdovin February 18, 2017 at 5:24 pm #


    I apologize for calling CounterPunch CounterPOINT. Perhaps it was a Freudian slip, as I much prefer conversation between opposing views, even radically opposing views, to slugging it out with one another. But I do agree with your point that as I can’t get the little things straight, why should anyone listen to my opinions on the big things.

    However, I did click onto your link to a piece by Neve Gordon and read it. (Actually, I had to read it several times through thick weeds of rhetoric and sophistry to see where he was going. ) His initial focus on resolving the West Bank issue (1967) somehow widens to propose returning to pre-1947, before the UN created the State of Israel, and turning the entire area, encompassing BOTH the West Bank and Israel, into a single bi-national state.

    If nothing else, this proves that even leftwing Israeli Jews can have bad—make that TERRIBLE—ideas. The notion isn’t new. It’s been kicked around since the League of Nations carved the British Mandate for Palestine from land that had been part of the Ottoman Empire. One of the few things on which Israelis and Palestinians have consistently agreed over the years is that neither side likes it.

    Phrased in the current context: why should Israelis, who have paid with their toil, treasure and blood of their children for more than a century to build a Jewish State now agree to having it torn down? And why should Palestinians, who have paid the same price to achieve an independent Palestine now abandon their pursuit?

    The concept defies simple logic by proposing that two parties who are so mutually antagonistic that they can’t agree on terms for a divorce will somehow find a way to live together in peace. When Prof. Falk proposed a bi-national state, I asked him for his thoughts on the process through which it could be created and how it might function. With admirable candor, he responded that he didn’t know.

    Indeed, if you’re seeking examples of what happens to states created from a mash-up of two communities that share nothing but geography and mutual hostility, look no further that Syria and Iraq. Sorry Gene, I appreciate that you like to prospect of eliminating Israel. But the cost to both Palestinians and Israelis is too high

    I present this case in some detail because it is typical of the schemes proposed to help the Palestinians, but which draw their attention from taking the one pathway that could lead to achieving their legitimate national aspirations. And quickly. Gene, you ask, why the Palestinians should return to the negotiating table when thus far negotiations have failed? Because if they come prepared to accept the terms of UN resolutions 242 and 338, which link return of territory with mutual recognition of all parties involved—which they have always resisted—the results are likely to be very different.

    And although you asked me not to, I again refer you to an earlier post by Fred Skolnik that fills in some of the detail supporting this suggestion. Yes, Fred repeats himself. As do I. As do you. That’s because exchanges on this blog almost always begin with a familiar condemnation of Israel, followed by the same responses, et al. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to move away from being fixated on why there can’t be a Palestinian-Israeli peace, to doing some innovative and creative thinking on how peace might be achieved.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Gene Schulman February 21, 2017 at 12:13 am #

      Not Counterpunch this time, rather Truthdig:

      Seems pretty creative and innovative to me. As usual, shot down by Israeli intransigence.

      • Fred Skolnik February 21, 2017 at 7:49 am #

        There is no as usual. Among the elements missing in the unconfirmed report is the Palestinian Authority as a negotiating partner. Peace will not be achieved unless the two sides settle their differences face to face. This Abu Mazen refuses to do.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin February 21, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

        Sorry, Gene. There’s nothing new nor surprising here, except perhaps for Juan Cole’s fanciful and inaccurate description of how the Israeli Knesset works.

        Some months ago, with time running out on the Obama administration, Secretary of State Kerry made a last ditch attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It may have been well intentioned, but it was ill-conceived and ill-timed. You’ll note that the only Arab parties attending the secret meeting were Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab states that already have diplomatic relations with Israel. Absent were Fatah and Hamas, as well as any other Arab state, none of which recognize Israel. And, as the AP article stated, there was no indication that any of the absentees would be willing to enter an agreement at that time. In other words, there was none of the advance work that’s prerequisite for success at a meeting of this genre. Besides, even under the nest of circumstances, the Obama people would be leaving office before they could finish their work on an agreement.

        While details of the proposal have not been fully revealed, it’s said that it afforded Israel full recognition as a Jewish state and Jerusalem as joint capital of Israel and Palestine, with peace treaties with a much wider array of Arab countries, and an end to Palestinian demands for the right of return to the homes in Israel from which the Zionists expelled them in 1948. In return Israel would have to withdraw from the West Bank, which makes the plan a non-starter, not for ideological reasons but because the cost, logistics and dislocation of nearly a half million men, women and children makes it unreasonable for a state numbering eight million citizens, 20 percent of them Palestinians.

        The plan presented by Kerry was essentially the same as the one proposed by the Arab League in 2002 and rejected by Israel for the reason stated above. The approach is called “outside in”: recognition of Israel begins with the Arab states as an incentive for the Palestinians to follow. This is a reversal of the long standing assumption that recognition by the Palestinians would come first, setting an example for the others (called “inside out”). We may be hearing a lot about “outside in” during the coming months. It has been suggested by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as a way of breaking the impasse in bi-lateral negotiations with the Palestinians, especially now that Israel has come a long was toward being a partner with the Sunni Arab states in opposing Iranian irredentism in the region. Many Israelis and their overseas supporters, including this one, regret that Israel didn’t take a closer look at the 2002 Arab League proposal, exploring ways to compensate and resettle Arab refugees without creating a Jewish refugee problem of nearly equal magnitude.

        Let’s hope and pray for success this time.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

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