Israel’s New Cultural War of Aggression

5 May

A Small Battleground in a Large Culture War


A few weeks ago my book Palestine’s Horizon: Toward a Just Peace was published by Pluto in Britain. I was in London and Scotland at the time to do a series of university talks to help launch the book. Its appearance happened to coincide with the release of a jointly authored report commissioned by the UN Social and Economic Commission of West Asia, giving my appearances a prominence they would not otherwise have had. The report concluded that the evidence relating to Israeli practices toward the Palestinian people amounted to ‘apartheid,’ as defined in international law.


There was a strong pushback by Zionist militants threatening disruption. These threats were sufficiently intimidating to academic administrators, that my talks at the University of East London and at Middlesex University were cancelled on grounds of ‘health and security.’ Perhaps, these administrative decisions partly reflected the awareness that an earlier talk of mine at LSE had indeed been sufficiently disrupted during the discussion period that university security personnel had to remove two persons in the audience who shouted epithets, unfurled an Israeli flag, stood up and refused to sit down when politely asked by the moderator.


In all my years of speaking on various topics around the world, I had never previously had events cancelled, although quite frequently there was similar pressure exerted on university administrations, but usually threatening financial reprisals if I was allowed to speak. What happened in Britain is part of an increasingly nasty effort of pro-Israeli activists to shut down debate by engaging in disruptive behavior, threats to security, and by smearing speakers regarded as critics of Israel as ‘anti-Semites,’ and in my case as a ‘self-hating,’ even a self-loathing Jew.


Returning to the United States I encountered a new tactic. The very same persons who disrupted in London, evidently together with some likeminded comrades, wrote viciously derogatory reviews of my book on the Amazon website in the U.S. and UK, giving the book the lowest rate possible rating, This worried my publisher who indicated that how a book is rated on Amazon affects sales very directly. I wrote a message on my Facebook timeline that my book was being attacked in this way, and encouraged Facebook friends to submit reviews, which had the effect of temporarily elevating my ratings. In turn, the ultra-Zionists went back to work with one or two line screeds that made no effort whatsoever to engage the argument of the book. In this sense, there was a qualitative difference as the positive reviews were more thoughtful and substantive. This was a new kind of negative experience for me. Despite publishing many books over the course during this digital age I had never before had a book attacked in this online manner obviously seeking to discourage potential buyers and to demean me as an author. In effect, this campaign is an innovative version of digital book burning, and while not as vivid visually as a bonfire, its vindictive intentions are the same.


These two experiences, the London cancellations and the Amazon harassments, led me to reflect more broadly on what was going on. More significant, by far, than my experience are determined, well-financed efforts to punish the UN for its efforts to call attention to Israeli violations of human rights and international law, to criminalize participation in the BDS campaign, and to redefine and deploy anti-Semitism so that its disavowal and prevention extends to anti-Zionism and even to academic and analytic criticism of Israel’s policies and practices, which is how I am situated within this expanding zone of opprobrium. Israel has been acting against human rights NGOs within its own borders, denying entry to BDS supporters, and even virtually prohibiting foreign tourists from visiting the West Bank or Gaza. In a remarkable display of unity all 100 U.S. senators recently overcame the polarized atmosphere in Washington to join in sending an arrogant letter to the new UN Secretary General, António Guterres, demanding a more friendly, blue washing, approach to Israel at the UN and threatening financial consequences if their outrageous views were not heeded.


Israel’s most ardent and powerful backers are transforming the debate on Israel/Palestine policy into a cultural war of aggression. This new kind of war has been launched with the encouragement and backing of the Israeli government, given ideological support by such extremist pressure groups as UN Watch, GO Monitor, AIPAC, and a host of others. This cultural war is implemented at street levels by flame throwing militants that resort to symbolic forms of violence. The adverse consequences for academic freedom and freedom of thought in a democratic society should not be underestimated. A very negative precedent is being set in several Western countries. Leading governments are collaborating with extremists to shut down constructive debate on a sensitive policy issue affecting the lives and wellbeing of a long oppressed people.


There are two further dimensions of these developments worth pondering: (1) In recent years Israel has been losing the Legitimacy War being waged by the Palestinians, what Israeli think tanks call ‘the delegitimation project,’ and these UN bashing and personal smears are the desperate moves of a defeated adversary in relation to the moral and legal dimensions of the Palestinian struggle for rights. In effect, the Israeli government and its support groups have given up almost all efforts to respond substantively, and concentrate their remaining ammunition on wounding messengers who bear witness and doing their best to weaken the authority and capabilities of the UN so as to discredit substantive initiatives; (2) while this pathetic spectacle sucks the oxygen from responses of righteous indignation, attention is diverted from the prolonged ordeal of suffering that has long been imposed on the Palestinian people as a result of Israel’s unlawful practices and policies, as well as its crimes against humanity, in the form of apartheid, collective punishment, ethnic cleansing, and many others. The real institutional scandal is not that the UN is obsessed with Israel but rather that it is blocked from taking action that might exert sufficient pressure on Israel to induce the dismantling of apartheid structures relied upon to subjugate, displace, and dispossess the Palestinian people over the course of more than 70 years with no end in sight.

59 Responses to “Israel’s New Cultural War of Aggression”

  1. Fred Skolnik May 5, 2017 at 9:14 am #

    Israel’s efforts to undermine the anti-Israel activities of its declared enemies are no less legitimate than the effort of its enemies to undermine Israel’s economic and academic life, not to mention efforts to bring about its extinction.

    • Richard Falk May 5, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

      These are not equivalent activities:

      –I am expressing views on the basis of academic study, which is in the mainstream of discourse in a democratic society, even if
      the views are controversial;
      –BDS activists are protesting by nonviolent what they and most of the world consider to be unlawful and unjust policies and practices.

      Israel, the US Government, and its militant supporters, are interfering with academic freedom and nonviolent protest activities, by
      engaging in smear tactics, and even by threatening violent disruption. These two sets of behaviors are in no sense equivalent, and to
      treat them as if they are, is to be ‘heartless’ and ‘ignorant.’

    • Richard Falk May 7, 2017 at 9:00 am #

      Mr. Skolnik:

      I have no intention taking the bait of responding to a horrendous terrorist hypothetical, which avoids any consideration
      of the ethics of resistance. I could pose 100 analogous hypotheticals about the brutalization of the Palestinian people,
      which would in no way cast light on the ethics of Israel’s security claims. You play games designed to personalize our differences
      rather than confront the discriminatory and oppressive realities of Israel-Palestine relations. I will not take this bait..

      • Fred Skolnik May 7, 2017 at 11:21 am #

        Any way you cut it. Prof Falk, the fact remains that you are afraid of me and I am not afraid of you. You are afraid of me because there are so many holes in your thinking, knowledge and understanding and I expose them and you don’t know how to defend them other than by pleading personal insult or going into your empty rhetorical mode. I am not afraid of you because I am prepared to address any issue or allegation on a factual basis.

        To be honest with you, I even think that all these protestation and outcries of yours about the suffering of the Palestinians is just a little bit bogus. It is not really the Palestinians as victims that interests you but Israel (and America) as culprits. I am quite sure that if Israel was an Arab country and the Palestinians were indigenous non-Muslim Sudanese, let us say, and you had the same conflict and the same occupation and the same “ethnic cleansing,” we’d hardly be hearing a peep from you. Isn’t that so?

      • Richard Falk May 7, 2017 at 11:42 am #

        I am convinced, Mr. Skolnik, that you refuse to get my point, and thus respond by your usual tactic of insult. It is time that you stopped worrying about my integrity
        and motives, and started giving genuine attention to the reality of Israeli responsibility for Palestinian suffering.
        So long as you brush aside or photoshop this core reality by rationalizing Israeli cruelty as a response to ‘the barbarism’ of the Palestinians or
        their alleged refusal to make peace, you are engaging in the standard hasbara practice of shifting the conversation to the messenger
        and avoiding the message. And when you do pause to address the message it is done in such a dogmatic and one-sided manner as to lack
        any credibility. You seem to be looking in the mirror without seeing yourself.

      • Fred Skolnik May 7, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

        This is precisely what I mean about empty rhetoric. You are just throwing phrases into the air like “Palestinian suffering” and “Israeli responsibility,” which is no different in actual fact from saying “German suffering” and “Allied responsibility.” The Arabs initiated a war against Israel in 1967 and Israel defended itself as any other country would have. And insofar as the West Bank is concerned the specific and undeniablly guilty party was Jordan, by Hussein’s own admission The consequence of this war was the occupation of the West Bank and the consequence of refusing to make peace and choosing terrorism were Israel’s perfectly legitimate security measures, which continue to be in force to this day to the ectent that the terrorism continues. This is admittedly a one-sided representation of events, and that is because there was only one guilty party, but even if my “one-sidedness” were unjustified, you would hardly be the one to complain about it, given your own one-sidedness, so there is a bit of hypocrisy here too,

      • Richard Falk May 7, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

        Until you are able to acknowledge at least that ambiguity surrounds responsibility for the 1967 war
        we have no basis for dialogue or conversation. See such knowledgeable accounts as Peled, Quigley, and
        many others. To pretend that it was a simple case of Arab attack and Israeli defense is a falsification
        of historical complexity. I do not use the sort of dogmatic, either/or language that you rely upon. I
        can even appreciate your partisanship, but you link it to discrediting what you perceive to be the partisanship
        of your adversary, and in the process the reality of historical complexity is completely obscured.

      • Fred Skolnik May 7, 2017 at 8:05 pm #

        Whether you wish to reply or not, your holding back my last comment, made in the same spirit as the previous comments, both yours and mine, leads me to think that you are acting in extremely bad faith.

      • Richard Falk May 8, 2017 at 7:54 am #

        I you would stop concentrating on my motives, and start addressing my
        assessments–for example, historical complexity surrounding the 1967 War
        making your kind of analysis without credibility, given the scholarly
        literature that you ignore, merely restating your dogmatic one-sided views.

    • carl hounshell May 13, 2017 at 9:34 pm #


      I find you devoid of logic.

  2. anisioluiz2008 May 5, 2017 at 9:18 am #

    Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.

  3. Artie Alfreds May 5, 2017 at 6:16 pm #

    I’m sorry, Richard. You’ve been a hero to me for a very long time, & continue to be so. You’re also a model for me, on how one should express oneself. You represent the best of our Jewish culture.

  4. Carlos May 6, 2017 at 12:46 am #

    Thank you Richard. Hopefully this may be
    the last throes of the Zionist project. People are not aware that the Jewish people are not
    represented by Netanyahu’s extreme violent
    inward looking apartheid government. There is no excuse for continued expropriation of Palestinian land and denial of their rights in international law. One hopes that colonialism could be relegated to the last century. It is sad that you as an honest and fair academic have been treated to this undeserved opprobrium.

  5. roberthstiver May 6, 2017 at 2:00 am #

    Professor/Doctor Falk, your reflection is essential to the discourse that seeks truth, justice, dignity, liberation and peace for the Palestinians. You have been my hero, and a hero to countless humanitarian- and academic-oriented folk across the globe, for many years. I’m in my mid-70s, and my continuing heartache is that the Palestinian people, whom I adopted as “mine” in 1964, will not experience justice delivered to them in my lifetime if ever (full genocide is but one “opportunistic moment” away, and the militant/political/economic Zionists constantly probe and scheme for that moment). Your scholarly academic and geopolitical toil and on-the-ground passion for humanity (e.g., your UN Special Rapporteurship) have been demonized and minimized by distractions and diversions carried out by an evil colonial ideology and its fellow travelers, and for that I feel the most intense empathy and pain for you, the proverbial “messenger.” Be well and stay strong, sir; you are my inspiration, my hero.

    • Richard Falk May 6, 2017 at 9:07 am #

      Robert Stiver:

      I greatly appreciate your supportive message and accompanying sentiments. I share the view that
      justice for the Palestinian people is testing the collective will of humanity, and that so far
      the response is deeply disappointing, and seems part of a broader picture of species decline in
      the face of global challenges. Again my thanks for your message. Best, Richard

  6. Beau Oolayforos May 6, 2017 at 9:54 am #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    I must disagree with you:) You call it “a remarkable display of unity”, when these are practically the same 100 august Senators who, almost 3 years ago, in Resolution 498, supported, not a book-burning, but a people-burning. It’s an established pattern.

    Small wonder that Ireland, as in your last blog piece, should be more receptive to the voices of the oppressed than the UK, whose officialdom tends to favor the oppressors, what with that unsavory history of pitchcapping, what Lord Byron immortalized with “for wider carnage taught to pant, transferred to gorge upon a sister shore…”

  7. Gene Schulman May 7, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    Dear Richard,

    All of this hullabaloo over your book and the resulting reactions on the tour only proves that you are right in your opinions and description of the Palestinian struggle against Israel. You should wear all those one-star reviews on your sleeve. I join those who praise you for your unique understanding and work to help the Palestinian cause.

    If your perfectly lucid book got this kind of reaction, I can only imagine what Gilad Atzmon’s new book, “Being in Time” will get. I’m glad he was at your side during the LSE appearance.

    Unfortunately, though the Israelis may be losing the legitimacy fight, they are still winning on the actual war front, and I don’t see how that will be addressed so long as they control the propaganda among the Western powers; USA, GB and France.

    Looking forward to seeing you again in Geneva next month for more discussion. Stay well!


  8. John May 8, 2017 at 6:50 am #

    I sat behind you at the Cork Conference and mentioned that I had lived in South Africa during the apartheid era for several years.
    I said then – and I say again now – that what is happening in Palestine is nothing like what happened in apartheid South Africa. The nationalists there were just as racist and just as supremacist as the zionists in Palestine but there were far fewer of them.
    In Israel, we now have a regime largely like the Nazis, with their global thugs engaging in global thuggery at events such as your book launch.
    Nazi rabble were deployed to shut everyone else up just like the zionist rabble are now.
    The means and the methods may have charged but their essential thuggish has not.
    How to defeat such thuggery?
    Well, it may take what it did to defeat the Nazis.
    That may well be the only way to gain Palestinian freedom.
    That or a real Civil War in Israel among Israelis – hard as that is to imagine.
    Even then, it is impossible to predict the outcome as being favourable or otherwise.

    • Fred Skolnik May 8, 2017 at 10:47 pm #

      Largely like the Nazis means gassing and incinerating millions of people. Is that what you wish to say? And where were you when Arab terrorists were blowing apart Israeli women and children in buses and restaurants?

      • Richard Falk May 9, 2017 at 9:01 am #

        Stop lecturing me on how to administer this blog. You are participating of your own free will. If you
        so strongly disapprove, why bother? And I must say your approach to ‘historical complexity’ associated
        with the 1967 is, at best, simplistic, as is your dismissal of Quigley, whose archival research is very
        convincing on the various ambiguities associated with the various phases of that encounter. It is not a
        matter of avoiding your arguments because they are so well-evidenced and well reasoned, it is a sense that
        there is no point engaging with such extremist and self-serving constructions of the facts, relevant law,
        allocation of responsibility, and so forth.

      • John May 9, 2017 at 6:52 pm #

        What I was referring to was the thuggish behaviour of both the nazis and zionists.
        Where were you when the zionist thugs murdered thousands of largely innocent Gazans, including hundreds of children?
        No doubt lounging on a sofa overlooking Gaza and cheering on the bombers.
        Hasbara thugs like you have no place in decent civilised society.
        Just crawl back under the sewer cover you normally live under.

      • Richard Falk May 9, 2017 at 11:42 pm #

        I normally would block this comment as it steps across the civility line by mounting
        such an intense personal attack, but because you are clarifying an important point and responding to an attack I am
        making exception. I ask you in the future to limit comments to substantive disagreements.

      • John May 10, 2017 at 2:45 am #

        OK, Richard.
        Criticising thuggish behaviour can perhaps go a little too far?

      • Fred Skolnik May 10, 2017 at 4:08 am #

        Bravo! Yes, that is a clarification all right!

        “Largely” like the Nazis means a little more than thuggish behavior.

        To tell you the truth, John, I was in a shelter.

        Gazans were killed because Hamas fired 4,500 rockets at Israel’s civilian population from in and around schools, playgrounds, hospitals, clinics, mosques and residential buildings and did not even allow its own civilian population to evacuate these areas when Israel warned them of impending attacks via flyers, emails and phone calls..

        That is my clarification, Prof. Falk, without John’s sewer covers.

      • John May 10, 2017 at 10:27 am #

        You had the luxury of a shelter. The Gazans didn’t.
        That is why more than 2,000 of them died in 2014 while just 7 died in Israel.
        Bearing in mind – as ever – that Israel was the aggressor yet again, the actions of your government constitute clear war crimes but your thuggish leaders are unlikely ever to see the inside of a jail thanks to your vile and venal protectors in the USA.
        Personally, I thought Hamas were stupid in firing inaccurate short-range rockets into Israel.
        They caused little damage and very few casualties yet provoked a massive response.
        The “conflict” was utterly one-sided.
        It must be considered mass-organised and industrialised state murder by Israel.
        Does that seem familiar to you?
        I’ll give you a clue: think of a word starting with the letters Einsatz – and complete it.
        That is what your thuggish leaders have turned you and all Israelis into.

      • Sean Breathnach May 17, 2017 at 7:08 am #

        We don’t condone anybody blowing up civilians. Where were you Mr Skolnik when Israel jets, Israel warships, dropped bombs on the civilian population in Gaza?

      • talknic May 18, 2017 at 8:39 am #

        “Largely like the Nazis means gassing and incinerating millions of people. Is that what you wish to say?”

        No. That’s what you wished was said Fred. What John wished to say, he said.

    • Kata Fisher May 9, 2017 at 8:51 am #

      A Note:

      I just understood that civil war in Israel can become awful nuclear problem. They need to be nuclear disarmed as soon as possible.

      I am certain about this, and they have to give up all their nuclear items.

      Fuuuur Blush!

      • Use language skills and international experience to assist diplomats in problem-solving and troubleshooting cultural difficulties in the context of their official and nonofficial interactions.
      • Manage virtual group interactions directed by a diplomat with a U.N. mandate as a “special rapporteuuuuur” on human rights in the Middle East. Worked with up to 8,000 members in both small (3–23) and large (130) group interactions. HIGHLY DISAGREE
      • Manage perceptions by suggesting reflections and outlines to aid in interpretation of information in high-conflict situations. HIGHLY DISAGREE
      • Redirect destructive conflicts into constructive cohesiveness.
      • Apply basic conflict-management techniques and emphasize double-loop learner groups to redirect personal attacks. HIGHLY DISAGREE
      • Present reports of obser- vations, emphasizing early intervention. HIGHLY DISAGREE
      • Kept the focus on team norms while facilitating early interventions during problem solving. HIGHLY DISAGREE
      and solution development. HIGHLY DISAGREE
      • Remained neutral at all times in highly diverse, multicultural, religious, and civil settings. HIGHLY DISAGREE
      versial and coercive techniques required to restrict personal attacks and maintain group
      harmony. HIGHLY DISAGREE
      • Recognized as a friendly, supportive assistant with independent judgment, initiative, common
      sense, and the ability to connect with people easily. HIGHLY DISAGREE
      • Diplomatic professional with a proven history of building trust by providing sincere service. HIGHLY DISAGREE

      Go and f*** your selfs! HIGHLY AGREE

      Its my Mathematical HR Joke

    • Fred Skolnik May 10, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

      Dear John

      I had the luxury of a shelter and the Gazans didn’t because Hamas invests 40% of its budget into digging its attack tunnels whose sole purpose is to murder a few Israeli civilians.

      You are reverting to your “largely like the Nazis” slander again. The Einsatzgruppen were the German killer units that followed the Wehrmacht into the Soviet Union, divided into Sonderkommando subunits. By the spring of 1943 they had exterminated 1.25 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of Russians. Is that you definition of “thuggish”?

      Yes, the war is unequal. So were the final phases of the Allied war against the Germans and so were German civilian casualties in war zones.

      Not shooting back at someone with bad aim taking potshots at your children until he kills a few of them may work for you. It doesn’t work for me.

      • Richard Falk May 10, 2017 at 11:25 pm #

        Although you misstate John’s point despite his clarification, and your response is typically nasty and dogmatic,
        with no feeling for the suffering inflicted on the Palestinians. Your analogy to the one-sidedness at the end of
        World War II is misleading for two reasons: –it was criminally excessive, especially the use of atomic bombs against
        undefended cities; –the Palestinians are not aggressors but a dispossessed people who are trying against all odds
        to maintain some kind of resistance against a prolonged and cruel regime of oppressive control.

      • Richard Falk May 11, 2017 at 10:40 pm #

        Mr. Skolnik:

        I have told you numerous times that I will not post comments of yours that are filled with insults
        and false charges. I make exceptions from time to time in light of interactions. What is your point. You
        are free to feel about me as you do, but why do you keep venting when I have told you repeatedly that on
        this website such behavior is unacceptable. If you spend time crafting these comments, why not put them
        in a form that will be read by others. You do not gain adherents by insulting me and others.

  9. Brewer May 12, 2017 at 2:47 am #

    Dear Richard. You are a Prince among men and your patience is legendary but it is probably time to simply ban Skolnik.
    Every good blog bans those who are not susceptible to reason.
    All have tried to reason with him and failed. He exhibits symptoms of psychosis – obsession with Nazis and the Holocaust, shivering in a shelter when, in Israel, the chances of winning Lotto are around 20 times better than dying from a Palestinian rocket, getting killed in a car accident about 200 times more likely. His perspective is so utterly skewed by Zionist myth and fable that fact no longer influences his reason. We should all be compassionate to those afflicted with psychosis but a blog aimed at non-partisan scholarly discussion about reconciliation is probably not an appropriate forum for that kind of thing.
    I for one would visit more frequently if he were gone.
    What do other readers think?

    • Richard Falk May 12, 2017 at 10:10 am #

      Thanks for this advice! I agree with your assessment of the situation. There is no evidence of good
      faith on Skolnik’s side. Whether or not he is sincere is almost beside the point, but his consistent
      intention has been to shift the conversation away from the tragic core reality of Palestinian suffering
      and Israeli oppressive control. Best, Richard

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovon May 12, 2017 at 11:29 am #


        I won’t weigh in on your angry exchange with Fred, but I do respectfully reply, or at least an acknowledgment of my polite inquiry into why you’ve censored my past three submissions. They do not engage in name-calling. One questions your allegation that Israel and its friends are engaging in a “War of Cultural Aggression”. This is a very serious charge for which you offer meager evidence. The other responds to your endorsing that Israel fired the first shot in the 1967 Six Day War without provocation. My focus is on the work of Prof. John Quigley and is based on his own description of his methodology.

        Am I to conclude from this that disagreement with your views, however politely it is expressed, is sufficient reason for exclusion from this blog?


      • Richard Falk May 12, 2017 at 3:36 pm #


        I have tried over the course of years to make myself clear, especially to you and Fred, but neither of you seem willing
        to refrain from framing your comments in demeaning personal language that is questioning my motivation, character, competence.
        I find it demeaning even to have to point this out repeatedly. I could only find one blocked comment of yours where you begin
        by referring to the unnamed Princeton colleague as questioning my reputation and judgment. There is of course your right to do
        so, but not on this website. I have blocked numerous angry emails from Fred in recent weeks that are invariably insulting,
        dogmatic, and so far the reality I perceive as to be useless for me to challenge. Also, I have blocked many other comments from
        those who are anti-Semitic in my understanding of such attitudes, which is not far from that of JVP and other progressive Jews and
        NGOs. Please make an effort to understand my point of view, which is above all motivated by an attempt not to shift attention from
        the substance to the personalities of those who hold contending positions. Admittedly, also I am offended by your style, relying on
        innuendo and indirect ways of casting doubt on my integrity, balance, etc., and that is why I find your invocation of this Princeton
        colleague as particularly emblematic of your approach, and by the way, I do not doubt for a moment that your report of what was said
        is accurate. All sorts of things that struck me as strange are said by ultra Zionist. Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the US
        who has a PhD from Princeton described the atmosphere as anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist, which struck me and many others as absurd. After
        all is was the academic home of Bernard Lewis and several acolytes who dominated the study of the Middle East in general, and Israel/
        Palestine in particular. I do not expect you to agree with me, but I hope at least I have made myself clear.


    • roberthstiver May 12, 2017 at 10:24 am #

      Thank you so much, Brewer; my sentiments precisely. It’s quite evident that Skolnik’s tactics (I regularly term the entire militant/political/economic Zionist ideology and its adherents “psychotic” and “criminal”) are to divert Prof./Dr. Falk, in particular, from pursuit of other intellectual and geopolitical endeavors…a time-worn Zionist tack of diversion, distraction, manipulation et al so as to marginalize dissenters, confuse the issue (Palestine Is Still THE Issue!), etc. Skolnick manages to enwrap all of us in his nefarious designs, and, as you point out so well, enough is enough. Out, damned spot!

  10. Laurie Knightly May 12, 2017 at 11:07 pm #

    Prime Minister Begin when speaking to the Pentagon’ Army War College in 1982:

    “In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

    And Israel captures the Golan Heights, Sinai Peninsula, West Bank, and Gaza Strip. Thus 250,000 Palestinians are removed and a another million rightful owners of the land are placed under occupation.

    None of this could happen without those dedicated followers of Jesus in collaboration.

    • Fred Skolnik May 13, 2017 at 8:11 am #

      Why should Israel have waited for proofs? It waited in 1973 and got 3,000 dead Israelis in return. Egypt had already committed an act of aggression by closing the Straits of Tiran. As I’ve said more than once, when a neighbor who has been threatening to burn your house down and murder your family for 20 years marches up to your door with a gang of armed men, you’d have to be crazy not to shoot first. And Jordan did of course attack first.

      • Richard Falk May 13, 2017 at 10:15 am #

        Fred Skolnik:

        On the basis of comments from others and my own judgment, the time has come to block you from participating
        in the comments section of this blog. It is not only your tendency to insult and demean, it is also your continuous
        restatement of views that are so far from the way I and others comprehend the facts and relative responsibility of
        the parties as to be beyond the bounds of constructive dialogue. If you wish, you can have ‘a farewell post’ that
        expresses your disgust with this decision. I have tried to be patient and rely on persuasion, but nothing seems to have changed.

      • talknic May 18, 2017 at 8:45 am #

        Fred Skolnik ” And Jordan did of course attack first.”

        UNSC Resolution 228 of 25 November 1966
        The Security Council,

        Having heard the statements of the representatives of Jordan and Israel concerning the grave Israel military action which took place in the southern Hebron area on 13 November 1966,

        Having noted the information provided by the Secretary-General concerning this military action in his statement of 16 November 1/ and also in his report of 18 November 1966,2/

        Observing that this incident constituted a large-scale and carefully planned military action on the territory of Jordan by the armed forces of Israel,

        Reaffirming the previous resolutions of the Security Council condemning past incidents of reprisal in breach of the General Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan and of the United Nations Charter,

        Recalling the repeated resolutions of the Security Council asking for the cessation of violent incidents across the demarcation line, and not overlooking past incidents of this nature,

        Reaffirming the necessity for strict adherence to the General Armistice Agreement,

        1. Deplores the loss of life and heavy damage to property resulting from the action of the Government of Israel on 13 November 1966;

        2. Censures Israel for this large-scale military action in violation of the United Nations Charter and of the General Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan;

        3. Emphasizes to Israel that actions of military reprisal cannot be tolerated and that, if they are repeated, the Security Council will have to consider further and more effective steps as envisaged in the Charter to ensure against the repetition of such acts;

    • Gene Schulman May 13, 2017 at 9:48 am #

      To Laurie Rightly. Thank you, but how many times must we prove with facts the lies and false allegations of the Freds and Iras of this world? They have their work to do and will not deviate. I agree with Brewer and Robert (above) that it is time for outright banishment. They are the foot soldiers of the cultural war on aggression of Richard’s title.

      Greetings to all from Tunisia

      • Richard Falk May 13, 2017 at 10:19 am #

        I am following your suggestion at least with respect to Fred, although I did grant him the option of contributing
        ‘a farewell comment.’ I am less inclined to follow the same path at this time with Ira as I remain eager to keep
        the website open for constructive criticism. My problem with Ira’s comments is mainly their tendency to couple substance
        with demeaning personalization.
        BTW, we will be in Geneva for a week starting on June 25th. Wishing you the best version of ‘a Tunisian holiday’!!!!

      • John May 13, 2017 at 10:41 am #

        It is also true that Israel turned down the proposal to station peacekeeping UN forces inside their border between Egypt and Israel because – as became apparent through the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty – Israel had already decided to launch aggressive attacks against Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
        In committing this war crime, Israel not only severely destabilised the whole of the Middle East region but also triggered the response from OPEC that led to a quadrupling in oil prices and the onset of the global economic phenomena known as stagflation, which effectively undermined the social democratic consensus under which large parts of Europe and North America had enjoyed growth and prosperity in the post-1945 period.
        Zionist aggression still has a lot to answer for even after all this time.
        Without their actions, neo-liberalism and monetarism would never have come into being.
        Just think what a better world we would all be living in if it were not for zionist aggression.

      • Richard Falk May 13, 2017 at 11:12 am #


        The substance of what you say in the message is important and relevant, but I would encourage you to avoid
        terminology like ‘Zionist aggression.’ Zionism is a project and an ideology, it is not an actor. Israel is
        the actor. This use ‘Zionist’ is unnecessarily inflammatory.


      • John May 14, 2017 at 5:19 am #

        I use the term zionist and zionism because they do represent an ideology.
        Israel – on the other hand – is a de facto state used to exercise a monopoly of violence.
        It is ideology which determines state actions – rarely the other way round.
        The zionists control the Israel state. Always did, do now, and presumably always will.
        As you know, Netanyahu’s father worked as Jabotinsky’s secretary for some time.
        It seems apparent to me that Netanyahu today is largely motivated by revisionist zionism.
        His “wall of steel” – or bayonets – is just as conceived by Jabotinsky in his fascist camps.
        Opponents of gun control have a point when they say “Guns don’t kill people; people do”.
        Equally, states don’t kill or exploit people; people (zionists in the case) do.

  11. Brewer May 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

    Thank you Richard. I hope the debate can remain open to all who are capable of reason.
    This age of rapid communication and universal access has brought about a sea-change in the way History is now written/perceived and has made a big impact on the narratives promoted by the Fred’s and Ira’s of this World. Whether or not they sincerely believe those narratives is an interesting question but not all that important. Most informed students of International affairs fully comprehend that all Nations and entities allocate resources to the manipulation of the public perception in order to serve their own needs, regardless of truth. Israel is not alone in this. Truth is indeed the first casualty of War.
    The History of the Peloponnesian War is still debated among scholars after two and a half millennia and new insights gained. These days we have much more data, much more rapidly available on which to rely.
    Appeals to individual human emotions such as “hatred”, “revenge” etc and analogies with interpersonal disputes are not useful guides to motive in matters of War. They have been used since since time began to persuade the populace to participate but in truth, much more practical motives prevail – political, territorial and strategic.
    When, in 1967, I cheered the gallant Israelis swift and devastating retaliation against the villainous attack by Nasser, I was guided by the former childish emotion and logic for, as a young man is inclined to, I had bought the whole cloth.
    In those days I might have been persuaded by Fred’s “Why should Israel have waited for proofs? It waited in 1973 and got 3,000 dead Israelis in return.”…….
    …….were it possible for such a statement to be made but it wasn’t because 1973 was six years in the future. To cite a future event as cassus belli involves time travel, something I don’t think even the clever Israelis have yet mastered. (This sort of argument is also used to justify the Nakba – “Jews were ousted from Arab lands” which, though not equivalent in any way, did not occur in any form before the Palestinian expulsion).*

    Would I have supported Israel in 1967 had I known that:
    a). Israel had been founded on the massacre and expulsion of an indigenous population (which was ongoing in the DMZs in 1967) ?
    b) That Israel had colluded with the British in a blatant attack on Egypt in 1956?
    c) That Israeli firebombed public institutions in Egypt that year in order to provoke the U.S into joining in that shameful “Suez Crisis” ?
    d) That the U.N peacekeepers occupied positions vital to Egypt’s defense causing Nasser to request them to move to the Israeli side (which Israel refused). He certainly did not expel them in order to make aggressive war possible, he had been warned of Israel’s planned attack by the Soviets.
    e) That Egypt’s most potent forces were otherwise occupied in Yemen at the time?
    f) That Israel’s attack had been planned well in advance?

    Most certainly not. Furthermore, if I had Fred’s prescient abilities and was, in 1967, able to foresee future events I would have been dissuaded by Matti Peled’s 3 June 1972 statement:
    “To pretend that the Egyptian forces concentrated on our borders were capable of threatening Israel’s existence does not only insult the intelligence of any person capable of analysing this kind of situation, but is primarily an insult to the Israeli army.” ….and Begin’s of 1982:
    “In June 1967 we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us, We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
    ……and many more since come to light.

    * Manipulation of the timeline produces remarkable results. It can, quite literally, turn night into day. If one’s narrative begins on 15th May 1948 and ignores previous events, it becomes almost believable that “5 Arab Armies attacked”. In the light of the well documented massacres and expulsions that took place prior to that date however, “attack” becomes a highly inappropriate term for the actions taken by the Arab League. This was well understood at the time, hence there were no U.N. resolutions condemning the League who had declared their intentions to that body in anticipation of its support.

    • Richard Falk May 13, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

      Thanks for this perceptive and illuminating comment..richard

      • roberthstiver May 13, 2017 at 10:40 pm #

        To Brewer, I add my thanks — a powerful and unassailable overview. (I became educated to the Palestinians’ torment in 1964-65, so I knew viscerally that 1967 [including the USS Liberty massacre] was a continuation of the Zionist agenda.)

  12. Gene Schulman May 14, 2017 at 7:50 am #

    @Fred and Ira:

    • Richard Falk May 14, 2017 at 5:22 pm #


      A link without some indication of relevance is not a suitable comment for posting. I make an exception
      this time because you have been such a veteran contributor to this website.

      • Kata Fisher May 15, 2017 at 10:32 am #

        Professor Falk,

        I had reflection while reading, and I wanted to look at the definition of that Biblical Term, and for some reason while not using tools for the Study of the Scripture. I just plainly, and randomly looked what definition “eternal damnation” means.

        I am afraid that these issues with Holy Land are binding folks left and right (everywhere) to “eternal damnation”.

        Also, just this morning, I was in the chapel, and I was reading some footnotes. It happens so that I understood that issues with boundary lines (moving) / appointing, replacing, and so forth can be causing enormous turmoil.

        It can also be a case of utter alienation of temporal order and social justice. It can be form of national and international threat / security.

        Folks may think that adding new borders may keep them safer, and actually would not but completely decay entire system of order and justice.

        From all that I understand neutralising boundary may only be safe. That means, no adding of the additional one and no major altering.

        I am not suggesting that anyone is to Belive any part of Historical Context and happenings. However, things that happen historically and are described in the Scripture, as taking place are incredibly eternal in existence. Now they are, in existence.

        I belive that folks in Holy Land, all involved, need to be sincerely stirred/moved in carefully examined, and in good will direction. If that does not start happening, folks are at risk decay entire system /s of valid courts and constitutions.

      • Sean Breathnach May 17, 2017 at 7:52 am #

        I have been following the Israel/Palestine situation for a few years now, mainly by looking at youtube videos of debates by Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappe, Noam Chomsky, Miko Pelid etc.

        Recently I looked at a Tarig Ali interview with you, Richard and I must say that I was very impressed with your analysis of the Israel/Palestine, middle east situation. I am just sorry that you did not come up on my radar sooner. Now that I have discovered your blog, I am in Heaven. Many thanks for defending the weakest in our society and thanks too for attending the recent conference on the banks of the Lee.

        Last Saturday I visited the Hodges Figgis bookstore on Dawson St in Dublin, to purchase your new book. They did not have the book stocked, so I ordered a copy. They are probably the largest bookstore in Dublin, so perhaps a memo to your publisher would push them along.


  13. Gene Schulman May 16, 2017 at 2:16 am #

    Identity politics (and training). Hasbarists, pay attention!

    Two must books to read: Richard Falk’s “Palestine’s Horizons” and Gilad Atzmon’s “Being in Time”

  14. Laurie Knightly May 20, 2017 at 6:04 pm #

    A few points:

    The Council for Peace and Security [200 Israeli colonels and generals] reported that extended boundaries in 1967 made them less secure. This was a long planned land grab. They opposed this en masse.This is described in a book called A Compassionate Peace published by the American Friends Service Committee.

    Christian Zionism bears primary blame for this injustice. ‘One in four American Christians surveyed recently by Christianity Today said that they believe it is their Biblical responsibility to support the nation of Israel.’
    Christian Zionism: The Heresy that Undermines Middle East Peace by Rev Dr Stephen Sizer. This author has also paid a price for his candor and ethical perspective.

    ‘Zionist aggression’ is a problematic description [per John]? How so? ‘Cultural aggression’ differs? Zionist aggression is a very generous and mild term for the destruction of a people.

    The epithet ‘self hating Jew’ keeps appearing as a description of notables and others who deviate from hasbarafia. Thus far I have found persons so described to be among the most honorable persons that I have ever met/heard/read. I am privileged to know them.


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