A Tale of Two Speeches: Marc Lamont Hill on Palestine and Martin Luther King on Vietnam

21 Jan

A Talel of Two Speeches:  Marc Lamont Hill on Palestine, Martin Luther King, Jr., on Vietnam


In my last post I criticized the news approach of CNN, and by indirection, that of the MSM. I complained that by being Trump-obsessed CNN ever since 2016  helps pacify the American political scene, making us view demagogic politics as nothing more serious than ‘a reality show.’ Beyond the obsession itself, is the inexplicable redundancy in which successive news programs cover the latest episode from virtually identical viewpoints, while ignoring the whole panorama of major developments elsewhere in the world.


It is an aspect of what the most perceptive commentators on the decline of democracy have begun with reason to call our post-political ‘democracy,’ which is the reverse side of the plutocracy coin. An insidious part of this post-political reality show is to reduce politics to ‘the bipartisan consensus’ established in the United States after 1945. In effect, the consensus imparts an apolitical stamp of permanent approval to global militarism and neoliberal capitalism.


Instead of weakening its grip on the national public imagination after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and with it the socialist alternative, the reverse effects occurred. By declaring geopolitical peace and acting accordingly, the governing elites went in the opposite direction: privileging capital accumulation at the expense of human wellbeing and equality; proclaiming a militarized unipolarity that overrides international law, UN authority, human rights, and international morality. It this reconfigured post Cold War ‘bipartisan consensus’ that has guided American public policy since the early 1990s. It is endorsed by both the deep state and the established leadership of both political parties, and is the presumed underpinning of CNN’s diversionary approach to news coverage. In effect, Trump must go, or at worst be tamed, so that the bipartisan consensus can flourish as the authoritative depiction of America’s global political identity.


The dismissal of Marc Lamont Hill is the toxic icing on this particular cake. Hill a professor at Temple University and a regular consultant to CNN was summarily dismissed as news consultant in deference to pressures mounted by Zionist organizations. Hill’s sole ‘wrong’ was to deliver a humane speech at the UN in support of Palestinian self-determination and other rights. No fair reading of what Hill said or his overall career would reach any conclusion other than that this was a call for justice for Palestine along a path in which both Jews and Arabs could coexist within the same contest territory in forms of their own choosing. Apparently, his closing line was enough to provoke Zionist watchdog to call for  Hill’s dismissal: “free Palestine, from the river to the sea.”


It remains murky, and probably will remain so, whether ripping this phrase from Hill’s text was a pretext to discredit and intimidate pro-Palestinian sentiments or an illuminating misunderstanding of his speech. Any careful reading of Hill’s text would reveal that the clear intention of the talk was to condemn anti-Semitism and to promote peace and justice for both peoples.


The only alternative reading that is plausible suggests that this single phrase was all that was read by those who ranted in reaction about an anti-Semitic screed delivered at the UN. I am reminded of my own experience two years ago when a UN report on Israel/Palestine of which I was co-author was viciously denounced with no indication of it having been read beyond the title that contained the word ‘apartheid.’ This word alone seemed enough of a red flag to cause Nikki Haley to become hysterical when voicing her demand that the UN denounce the report.


As Hill himself explained in a column published in the Philadelphia Inquirer [Dec. 1, 2018]: “Critics of this phrase have suggested that I was calling for violence against Jewish people. In all honesty, I was stunned, and saddened, that this was the response.” As Hill suggests that both Israelis and Palestinians have used that phrase over the years to describe their intentions, including for various forms of co-existence, especially either the two-state Oslo goal line or the secular binational one-state vision that Hill and many of us affirm as alone viable and desirable. To consider such a sentiment as anti-Semitic is to accpet a Zionist slur against someone whose life and scholarly work has been dedicated to social justice and opposition to all forms of ethnic hatred and intolerance. Given the recent troubles of Angela Davis and Alice Walker it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that African Americans are especially targeted if perceived by Zionist gatekeepers as overtly and effectively pro-Palestinian. The racist message being delivered: ‘Stay in your racist lane, or else suffer the consequences!” 

Surely, an irony is present. These African American cultural and intellectual figures are as a matter of racism told to limit their concerns and activism to their own grievances associated with the treatment of African American. The abuse of Palestinians is none of their business. The message to Jews is somewhat analogous, although interestingly different. If you speak in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle you are sure to be labeled ‘a self-hating Jew.’ Here the embedded assumption is that to be authentically Jewish is to be mum when it comes to Israeli crimes of abuse inflicted on the Palestinian people. 


As Michelle Alexander recently reminded us in a forthright column, Martin Luther King, Jr., was rightly perceived as ‘brave’ when he spoke out against the Vietnam War in his famous speech of April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church. It was not considered a provocation by that stage in the war if white liberals publicly opposed the Vietnam War, and certainly did not warrant words like ‘brave’ or ‘courageous.’ For an African American leading figure, such as King, to do so was existentially different then, and now. It was rather widely viewed by liberal thought controllers as an imprudent and impudent assumption that a black man was fully enfranchised and had the same right to be a citizen of conscience when it came to issues outside the domain of race as did a white person. The ugly reality that King was assassinated in the following year, which either directly or indirectly served as a reminder that black folks, however distinguished and prominent, will be punished it they act as if they enjoy the same spectrum of rights and concerns as the rest of us.


For King to comment on the Vietnam War was to enter the main lane of political controversy and thus cast himself as an uppity black who offended even the colonized African American leaders who at the time lamented, or at regretted, his Vietnam stand as an unwelcome distraction from fighting for civil rights in America. The message delivered as a dog whistle by liberals, both black and white, was ‘let others worry about the Vietnamese people and American militarism. This is none of your business. Stick to race.”


We can take note of this subtle form of liberal racism as long pervading American political culture. To observe it so crudely resurfacing in relation to this dismissal of Hill by CNN suggests that despite liberal claims, little progress has been made in dissolving the structures of what might be called ‘deep racism.’ What is more for Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, and Don Lemon to remain silent in the face of the Hill dismissal by their employer exposes two lamentable features of how this ‘most trusted name in news’ operates: first, it bows to Zionist pressures to enforce the new anti-Semitism without even assessing whether the call for dismissal was; this action by CNN in effect equated such alleged severe criticism of Israel with hatred of Jews, which is a distinct malicious interference with freedom of expression. CNN went even further, as Hill’s talk fairly read was actually supportive of the existence of Israel, the wellbeing of Jews in Israel, and explicitly repudiated anti-Semitism as properly understood. Thus, what CNN exceeded even the contours of Zionist definitions of ‘new anti-Semitism’ as extended to Israel as well as to Jews. Further, these lead news journalists, who nightly claim to tread the high moral ground, have maintained their public silence in the face of this crippling encroachment on freedom of expression resulting from the dismissal of Hill.


Make no mistake, what befell Marc Lamont Hill is a warning to CNN itself as to the backlash it would face if it should venture outside the confines of its lane in the future. It is also a reminder to the rest of us that trusting CNN’s public face is a fool’s errand. The wider effect of Hill’s experience is to send an intimidating warning to anyone in the African American community that they had better watch their words and deeds, or be ready to receive, at the very least, to receive a rhetorical lynching, which would have a variety of seen and unseen harmful career effects.


Such an interpretation is not exaggerated. It was confirmed in relation to Hill by the response of his employer, an institution of higher learning supposedly dedicated to upholding academic freedom. Instead of doing the right thing, and supporting their faculty member, Hill was separately lynched by the president and chair of the board at Temple University in the harshest imaginable language. Various calls were made in the days after the CNN that he be stripped of his tenured position at Temple. Hill’s offense: Speaking out on a controversial issue at a UN conference in a manner completely in harmony with human rights and global justice.  


What is striking here is that the backlash against Hill was so extreme under the circumstances, including the UN auspices. Freedom of expression and academic freedom should be available to those who are less humane and careful in articulating their opinions than was Hill.


As Michelle Alexander makes us consider the question of whether Martin Luther King would today, on this holiday celebrating his extraordinary life, speak on Palestine just as he did speak in 1967 on Vietnam. From personal experience that it was far easier for me, a white Jew, to speak and act against the Vietnam War (although there were taunts—‘America, love her or leave her’) than it is to depict

the apartheid policies and practices of Israel. Instead of being blacklisted in the Vietnam context, even in the earlier phases when it was widely supported, I was widely invited to provide a dissident voice.

What happens when a critic of Israel raises his voice, no matter who he or she is, or the accuracy of what is disclosed, the backlash takes the form of smears rather than arguments. Both Jimmy Carter and Richard Goldstone, two totally different, yet moderate political personalities, found out. There is no reason to think that Martin Luther King would not experience a defamatory tsunami should he be with us,

and dare raise his voice.




17 Responses to “A Tale of Two Speeches: Marc Lamont Hill on Palestine and Martin Luther King on Vietnam”

  1. judith Deutsch January 21, 2019 at 7:34 pm #

    harles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities famously opens with the lines “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” Reflecting extremes in wealth and well-being, a number of current publications mirror Dickens: Andrew Levine’s “A Tale of Two Cities,” Mike Davis’ “A Tale of Two Wildfires,” James McAuley’s “A Tale of Two Killings,” Juan Gonzalez’ Reclaiming Gotham: Bill de Blasio and the Movement to End America’s Tale of Two Cities.

    • Richard Falk January 22, 2019 at 7:57 am #


      I was not aware of these other publications so using Dickens’ famous opening lines..Thanks
      for enlightening me..


      • judith Deutsch January 22, 2019 at 7:31 pm #

        There’s an additional article too: A Tale of Two Austerities.
        Not long ago there were many articles on various subjects using “Civilization and its Discontents” — starting with Joseph Stiglitz Globalization and its Discontents —
        helpful that people are using these insightful thinkers from the past.

  2. davidhillstrom January 21, 2019 at 8:03 pm #

    Richard, thank you for this article on Professor Hill. I wasn’t yet familiar with his work. It is encouraging to note that more voices of reason are coming forward to point out the obvious with regard to the situation in Palestine. And, I quite agree with your analogy between MLK and Prof Hill.

    I found his UN speech and watched it. I agree completely with your assessment. Prof Hill is a very impressive speaker as well. I shared the link to his speech over Twitter @CynicalNews.

  3. roberthstiver January 21, 2019 at 9:48 pm #

    Perfection. Thank you, sir.

  4. Gene Schulman January 22, 2019 at 5:10 am #

    In these days of corporate control of all, including education, it is no surprise that Hill’s university didn’t back him up. Must we be reminded that Israel is a major part of the elite that governs us today? To the point where it can even legislate against freedom of speech. Hill’s case is only the latest reminder of that.

    You, Richard, and the rest of us can complain all we want, but we’re just whistling in the wind. Game over!

    • expose the hands of criminal zionist Jewish mafia in the world January 23, 2019 at 10:13 am #

      Well said, but I don’t think prof. Falk is with you on this.

      [To the point where it can even legislate against freedom of speech. Hill’s case is only the latest reminder of that.]

      The police state is run by the Jewish Mafia and their stooges like Trump, and former slaves, including Obama and criminal Clinton family. All are war criminals and mass murderers. The hand of Jewish Mafia, where Putin is part of , must be cut off from all governments around the world. The criminal project ‘world government” and its supporters must be DESTROYED NOW.

      To all anti Zionists and imperialists:

      The Cambridge public library, a propaganda center, has invited another war criminal to form public opinion in support of Zionist criminal plan in the middle east. The speaker is the war monger, Zionist propagandist BERNARD- HENRI LEVY.


      This imposter who has taken many photos with the terrorists in Libya, Sudan, Syria and elsewhere has been invited to Cambridge public library in Massachusetts on February 20, 2018 to present more platforms to the Zionist baby killers who have captured majority of centers of powers in Europe including France and the United States including the CONGRESS, THE SENATE, THE WHITE HOUSE , THE media, TV and print, using their $$$$ money.

      BHL supported and promoted wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran and is promoting Oded Yinon criminal project for ‘greater Israel. Thus, he is one of the Zionists who is promoting wars, creating chaos, using the traitor kurds and the ISIS to PARTITION THE REGIONAL STATES in the Middle East for the Zionist interest. He is pushing for a second Israel in the region, ‘kurdistan’, to erect Jewish empire.

      This Zionist propagandist who is called A FRAUD in Europe and elsewhere, MUST BE STOPPED.


      Please Send your letter to Cambridge Public Library in Massachusetts to condemn their politically motivated action.


      Why doesn’t this Zionist promote the case of Catalan region in Spain? Why the west is so silent on Catalan and supports Spain brutal action, but are using their trained terrorists to kill Muslims, to create chaos to partition the Middle Eastern countries for the interest of a criminal tribe?
      They will take this wish into their graves.

      • Gene Schulman January 24, 2019 at 12:31 am #

        I had hoped my above comment would not lead anyone to believe that I subscribe to the theory that there is a large conspiracy of Zionists out to control the world.I don’t.

        As for BHL, I do not agree with much of what he believes or says, but I ‘will defend his right to say it’! To do otherwise would be to play the same game this post complains about, the curtailment of freedom of speech.

  5. Beau Oolayforos January 22, 2019 at 7:04 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    The CNN pundits are afraid of losing their jobs; the Temple keepers, along with most of Congress, are afraid of losing their funding….what was Dylan’s line again? “Money doesn’t talk, it swears..”

  6. Kata Fisher January 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    All I could think was “Wow, wow, wow” What filthy religions have done and do to human existence is becoming more and more apocalyptical.

    It looks more and more what Jolly Minister Farrakhan has warned against in america … and almost similar what the Bishop of Rome back in the early 1900’s has assured to a Jewish state: Irrevocable curse.

    Further – if the zionist project has hijacked international governance, and in particularly in US … it is only because they are desperate to survive in the Middle East. That is a curse – and its one irrevocable curse. Then again, they should just make the best out of it! Entire world is well familiar with the plight of the Jewish state, as well as their own.

    It seems to me that the irrevocable curse has been upon the Jewish state, as well as all the nation – who took part in illegitimate civil-eccalistical implementations. With that, filthy religions have quite a bit on their hands to get clean civilly, as well as eccalisticaly.

    At first – I was thinking that Minister Farrakhan was one of the Evangelical mockers – but he was not. He had no false gospel on him, and he was well informed about both American as well as human condition.

    The professor was not dismissed from CNN due to his ecclesiastical praise for freedom and justice in holy land. He was dismissed because of his encounter with Minister Farrakhan – who was Muslim (and black person associated with black people movement for civil justice in America). To brake two is tough – but braking one is no problem, at all.

    Professor Falk, I just want to tell you that you should not be discouraged from facilitating dialog among subjugated and oppressors.

    Perhaps, that is the best what can happen to those who are in irrevocable curse – both in civil and ecclesiastical terms!

    Still the wicked will not feel accursed, but will feel ashamed instead and will try to cut off any dialogue with them – or others that they can. Thats why is academic and civil censoring left and right – and every American should fear that their nation will become like Stalin and his followers Nazi-Russia. That is what it was … (Cheeze)

  7. Richard Falk January 25, 2019 at 12:59 pm #

    Ira Youdovin
    10:27 AM (2 hours ago)

    to Richard

    Although I continue to believe that a two-state solution is the only way for both Israelis and Palestinians to achieve their legitimate national aspirations, and am not yet entirely resigned to its demise, I nevertheless agree with Richard that it’s time to give serious consideration to the challenge of what to do if a two-state solution proves to be unachievable.

    Richard’s strong preference is a bi-national state. This is an old concept that has little support among Palestinians or Israelis. Additionally it’s burdened by the abysmal record of failed bi-national states carved from the Ottoman Empire. These survived for several decades under dictatorial rulers before crashing in bloody conflicts, some of which are still raging today. Does the world need another Syria, Iraq or Yugoslavia? “Israelstine”, a mash-up of two populations harboring deep mutual hostility, would almost inevitably be unstable, a precarious situation in today’s Middle East. (n.b. As Richard knows this history, I’ve asked him to demonstrate how a bi-national state could be created, and how it could survive. Thus far, I’ve received no response.)

    Richard suggests that the only alternative is an “apartheid Israel”. This is certainly a danger. If Israel annexes the entire West Bank and maintains the current oppressive regime there, it would indeed be apartheid. There are powerful forces in Israel that are determined to make it happen. But there’s strong evidence that this is by no means inevitable. Israeli president Reuven Rubin has been absolutely clear in his demand that Israeli annexation of the entire West Bank must entail eliminating the current system of highly discriminatory rules and policies there, putting life for Palestinians living the West Bank on the same footing as life lived by Palestinians citizens of Israel (PCI).

    Richard has co-authored a scholarly paper asserting that Israel imposes apartheid on Palestinians everywhere, including inside Israel. (Rebuttals are available for those interested, including one by Fred Skolnik Richard generously posted on this blog.). To be sure, PCI) not enjoy economic or social equality with Jewish Israelis. This is a situation typical of minority communities living in ethnocracies. But inequality is not necessarily apartheid.

    PCI enjoy the same right of franchise as their Jewish counterparts: one person=one vote! Moreover, the Israeli system of proportional representation precludes Gerrymandering, the American system in which electoral districts are dawn with an eye toward minimizing the voting strength of minorities. In Israel, every voter—Jew and non-Jew— receives the same ballot listing slates of candidates nominated by the competing parties, including Palestinian parties. The number of seats each party wins in parliament (Heb: Knesset) is determined by the percentage of the total vote it receives nationwide. As PCI constitute twenty percent of the Israel population, their political parties should be able to elect twenty percent of the 120- seat Knesset (24 seats), which is equal to the number of seats won by Zionist Union, the leading opposition party, in the most recent elections, and only six fewer than Likud’s thirty. As no party has won a majority in more than seventy years of Israeli elections, every Israeli government since its inception has been a coalition formed by the plurality party attracting enough partners by offering ministerial positions and committing to support their legislative initiatives. With 24 seats to offer, Palestinian parties would be in a strong negotiating position, affording PCI the full participation Richard seeks.

    Regrettably, this is not likely to happen. PCI do not vote in the same proportion as Jewish Israelis. In the most recent national elections (2015), the Arab Joint List won only thirteen seats, severely reducing its potential clout as a coalition partner. The reason for this shortfall provides an insight into the complexities of being a PCI. While Israelis by citizenship, PCI belong to a Palestinian nation that has never had. a working consensus for accepting Israel’s existence and living peacefully with Jewish Israelis. Participating in Israeli elections, even to support Palestinian candidates, is considered by many to be an act of disloyalty to the Palestinian cause.

    It’s true that in 1988, the PLO voted to accept Israel. But the PLO was, and is, a loosely connected group of organizations that put their individual agendas above the collective’s. The Palestinian political landscape has always been dominated by often small but powerful irredentist forces whose terrorism upsets possible progress toward peaceful coexistence in any form. A primary example occurred in the wake of Prime Minister Rabin’s assassination at the hands of a Jewish extremist (1995). Polls taken shortly before elections for Rabin’s successor predicted a landslide victory for Shimon Peres, whose liberal views were seen as a necessary correction to the wave of Jewish extremism that had led to the assassination. Peres strongly advocated making major concessions to achieve peace. But this never happened. Shortly before the elections, Palestinians committed four acts of bloody terrorism in nine days, all of them in Jewish population centers inside the Green Line, driving a frightened Israeli electorate into the arms of Benyamin Netanyahu, who promised security.

    This situation continues today. Moderates like Fatah are prepared to accept peaceful co-existence, but the scene is dominated by Hamas which stockpiles increasingly sophisticated and powerful weapons supplied by Iran. Despite assurances that Hamas wants peace, its recently “revised” national covenant, issued with much hoopla after three years of internal negotiation, reiterates its intention of destroying Israel.

    The ambiguity of PCI loyalties also contributes to the economic and social discrimination they suffer. It’s difficult for even liberal Jewish Israelis to think of PCI as “fellow citizens” when powerful factions of the Palestinian nation to which they belong tolerate (and encourage!) acts of terrorism and have yet to renounce their lethal intentions. No form of peaceful coexistence—-in either a single or bi-national state—is possible until the Palestinian nation renounces its genocidal intentions and works effectively to isolate the terrorists.

    But what about the numbers? Wouldn’t granting Israeli citizenship to Palestinians living in an enlarged Israel create a Palestinian majority? This fear would be at least partially allayed if the enlarged Israeli state encompasses only Israel, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Gaza would become an independent entity responsible for its own self-government. De-militarization would enable Israel to ease its blockade in incremental stages. There would also be significant financial assistance from Israel, US, EU and, hopefully, oil-rich Arab countries.

    As regards the refugees, some would be re-located in Israel. Most would not. There are simply too many of them to be absorbed under any peace plan, including a bi-national state. Besides, one must question the wisdom and fairness of bringing masses of people into a technologically advanced society where they, through no fault of their own, are ill equipped to prosper or even survive. A few might make it. But most would become part of a permanent underclass. Besides, most never lived in Palestine/Israel. And almost all of those who did have only vague memories from early childhood. While stories of refugees carrying in their pocket keys to their family’s home in pre-Israel Palestine are undoubtedly true, a recent survey taken by the reliable Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (Khalil Shikaki) revealed that only a small percentage of the refugees actually wanted to “return home”.

    The refugees are assuredly entitled to a better life after years of suffering in “temporary” camps. But the surest path toward that objective is a massive multi-national effort to develop and re-build sections of the Arab world, and to include the Palestinian refugees in its plans. This program, admittedly ambitious, would help the Palestinian refugees while also eliminating many of the factors that contribute to regional instability.

    Finally, I must acknowledge that what I present does not give the Palesinians political independence (except, perhaps, in Gaza.). But neither does a bi-national state. That train may have departed the station depart with the death of the Two State solution. In this regard, it must be stated that while Israel bears much of the blame for first allowing and then encouraging Israeli settlement in the occupied territories, the Palestinians also bear responsibility for not seizing opportunities when they were available to them. Annexing all of biblical Israel was not an objective from the inception of Zionism. Those who claim it was cherry pick suggestions and musings by individuals to document their case, ignoring that these notions were rejected by authoritative Zionist bodies. To cite one example among many: in the immediate wake of the Six Day War, Israel officially offered to return most of the land taken it now occupied in exchange for peace and normalization. This was rejected. Things could have been very different.

    At the same time, it should be noted that Palestinian communities in Israel are free to pursue a Palestinian lifestyle. They have their own school system, shops are closed on Fridays not Saturdays. Palestinian flags fly everywhere. One sees the potential for a better Palestinian future in an enlarged Israel by looking at what’s happening in Zone A of the West Bank which enjoys peace and prosperity with no Israeli military or civilian presence while still under Israeli sovereignty.

    If Richard will forgive my taking using his own words against the position he advocates (by which I mean no disrespect!), it’s time to abandon the Zombie notion of reversing Nakba by eliminating Israel as a Jewish ethnocracy, turning instead to seeking an available resolution based on the Palestinians’ human needs.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Richard Falk January 28, 2019 at 11:05 am #


      I appreciate the careful and comprehensive depiction of your views relating both to what I have proposed
      and what you believe to be best available practical solution given the reality of the circumstances as these
      have evolved. As comes as no surprise, our views are far apart on most of these issues. I apologize, due to the
      weight of converging deadlines, that I am unable to offer a point by point response, but only a few generalizations
      to identify the most salient points of disagreement.

      For many reasons, I view the apartheid nature of the Israeli state as a present reality not a future danger. Its emergence
      is almost an inevitable outcome of the Zionist project being carried out in an era of decolonization and deWesternizating nationalisms. Remembering that the
      Jewish population of Palestine was only 5-7% of the total in 1917, at the time of the Balfour Declaration, we can grasp the
      magnitude of the challenge of creating a Jewish state that was also pledged to be democratic. Of course, subsidized immigration and the search for a sanctuary during
      and after Nazi rule increased the Jewish proportion of the population, but even at the time of partition in 1947 it was only
      slightly over 30%, making the goals of an ethnic and democratic state difficult to achieve accept by continuous ethnic cleansing and
      coercive forms of governance. In my view, however laudable in some respects the Zionist vision, its fundamental flaw was to seek to establish a
      Jewish state in what had become for generations a non-Jewish society. From this flaw has emerged Palestinian resistance in a variety of
      forms and Israeli responses with the overriding imperative of imposing order and maintaining a sizable Jewish majority. It is this interaction
      that has generated reliance on apartheid in its central meaning of maintaining dominance by one ethnicity over another by discriminatory forms of control that
      produce the victimization of the subordinated ethnicity. This understanding is backed up by an academic analysis of Israeli policies and practices
      in our ESCWA UN report published in March 2017. In the report w argue that the nature of the Israeli apartheid structure is directed at the Palestinian people as a
      whole, and not only at those living under occupation.

      Further, I view the experience of Palestinians living under Israeli rule far less favorably than you do, pretty much in all aspects. I think the recent Knesset Basic Law
      of the Nation-State of the Jewish people makes this ethnic hierarchy explicit as far as the Palestinian minority living in Israel is concerned.

      Finally, my preference is for a secular democratic state, not really a bi-national state, although it might at first have this appearance. In such a state there
      could be set aside protections for Jewish and Palestinian homelands, international peacekeeping presences, and a robust regime of human rights.I agree that Netanyahu’s vision of Israel is not the only one to take seriously, but current trends in Israel, the region, and the world suggest that we are living at a time of increasingly illiberal democracies. It is my impression that Netanyahu’s main adversaries are to the right of him. Also, I believe you understate the malign influence of the settler movement that has increasing leverage over government policy as well as the effects of the fertility gap between orthodox and secular Jews.

      With respect and appreciation,


      • Fred Skolnik January 29, 2019 at 3:43 am #

        My apologies for not resisting the temptation to point out the fallacies in your basic argument.

        Zionism is not a colonial enterprise. It is a return to an ancient homeland which was conquered by foreign nations, including the Arabs. The colonial or imperial power in this period were the Ottoman Turks.

        Whatever the percentages are, the fact is that at the start of Zionist settlement in the Land of Israel there were around 450,000 Arabs inhabiting a territory that today accommodates over 10 million people, half of which (alotted to the Jews) was an uninhabitable desert (the Negev), and the local Arabs had no sovereign aspirations. It is a further fact that the partition plan left a Jewish majority in the territory earmarked for the Jewish state.

        Had a minority of American Indians claimed sovereignty in a piece of the territory conquered by European invaders who now constituted a majority, I am sure you would be among the first to support them.

        The insistence on referring to Israel as an ethnic state in order to diminish and delegitimize it when it is no less a national state than Turkey, Spain or France can only be termed malevolent. The insistence on referring to the Jews as an “ethnicity” when they are no less a nation or people than the Turks, Spanish or French – and as such have always regarded themselves and as such were also regarded in the ancient world – is also malevolent.

        The use of the term “apartheid” to descrbe a military occupation or the status of Israeli Arabs is nothing less than a perversion of language, as I have shown in considerable detail in my response to your Report.

      • Richard Falk January 29, 2019 at 10:57 am #

        With all due respect, what you call ‘fallacies’ are adverse ‘interpretations’
        of complex events. By making such a use of language you are adopting a.dogmatic
        tone suggesting that you are right and those who disagree are wrong. This is a
        polemical epistemology that I find leads only to confrontation.

        To deny any colonial element given the pivotal role of Britain in furthering
        the Zionist movement seems to me foolish. How else can one reasonably understand
        the weight of authority lent to the Balfour Declaration?

        Same with Israel’s increasingly strident claims of being a Jewish state in which
        the Jewish people along possess a right of self-determination. It may not be unique,
        but it is a rather extreme claim, and it implies both that there is no other people
        in Israel, and if so, it has an inferior claim to self-determination.

        In my view, you do no service to the Israel/Zionist cause by overstating its narrative.

      • Fred Skolnik January 29, 2019 at 11:56 am #

        With the same respect, I really don’t understand what you’re saying. England may have been a colonial power and its practical political interest may have been to make sure the former Ottoman Empire was permanently carved up into little pieces but this had absolutely nothing to do with the legitimate Jewish aspirations that predated the Declaration. The partition plan was put forward to allow both people to realize the right to self-determination, in their own states. Israeli Arabs constitute a national minority, with all this entails, just as any Jews who remained in the Palestinian state would have constituted a national minority. As such their status is no different from the status of national minoriies in other countries, meaning first that their own national identity is not identical to the national identity of the country they are living in, unlike ethnic minorities (like Italian and Irish Americans, for example), and second, that the national symbols of the country they live in will not be their own. All of this has very little to do with interpretation but reflects simple reality. To call the self-evident assertion that Israel is a Jewish state, just as Turkey is a Turkish state and Spain is a Spanish state and Palestine would be a Palestinian state, “strident” or “extreme” belies a species of hostility that is incomprehensible to me..

      • Richard Falk January 29, 2019 at 3:25 pm #

        My basic response to your earlier message was by dubbing my views as ‘fallacies’ rather than ‘interpretations’
        with which you disagree, you make productive conversation difficult if not impossible.

      • Fred Skolnik January 30, 2019 at 6:27 am #

        Where do you find a “productive” conversation on this site? All you are doing here is vilifying Israel and praising whoever joins you in the attack.

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