APPROACHING IRAN: THE FLAWS OF IMPERIAL DIPLOMACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST

28 Jun

[Prefatory Note: This post consists of six segments devoted to relations of the West to Iran, centering on whether the United States post-Trump will attempt to reduce tensions with Iran or opt for continuity, and greater policy coordination with Israel’s new post-Netanyahu leadership. Naphtali Bennett, Israel’s new Prime Minister, has already made clear that he views Iran no differently than Netanyahu, opposes a return to the 2015 Nuclear Program Agreement (JCPOA) and seems to have authorized at unprovoked attack on the Karaj facility on June 23rd that produces centrifuges needed to obtain enriched uranium.

When the U.S. Government withdrew from the hard bargained Obama Era nuclear agreement in 2018 accompanied by a revamping of sanctions against Iran, tensions once again dangerously escalated. Biden pledged as a candidate for the American presidency to restore JCPOA, but has so far shown only a limited commitment to rejoin the earlier agreement, and seems to be insisting on a new agreement that is more restrictive of Iran’s nuclear program and even its regional political activity. The U.S. Government seems to forget that it was its actions that led to the breakdown of the agreement, and that Iran continued to comply for an entire year before embarking upon a more ambitious program of nuclear enrichment, accumulating three tons above the agreed limits, ten times the amount allowed by the lapsed agreement, yet still short of the level of enrichment need to produce nuclear weapons. Six rounds of negotiations have taken place during recent months in Vienna among the five remaining parties to the 2015 agreement (China, Russia, France, UK, Germany) and Iran, as well as indirect negotiations between Iran and the U.S. with the other governments serving as intermediaries.

Authoritative voices from Vienna tell us that an agreement is ‘within reach,’ whatever that may mean, yet they also say its restoration remains uncertain due to Israeli pressures, the recent election of a hardline Iranian President—Ebrahim Raisi, and the American insistence on a longer timeline for the agreement as well as a reported demand that Iran cease its support for ‘terrorist’ entities in the region and reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium.

The Western media fails to understand the relevance of Iranian grievances with respect to its nuclear program, seems totally insensitive to double standards in its reportage, and so the issue is portrayed to the public in an exceedingly misleading manner. Among Iranian grievances the following are especially important: Iran is portrayed as a supporter of terrorism in the region while there is virtually no mention of the blatant pattern of Israel ‘terrorism’ against Iran, and specifically against its nuclear program that has breached no international norms. In the period 2010-2012 four Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated by Israel: Masoud Alimohammedi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad, Mostafa Ahmed Roshan. As recently as November 2020 Iran’s leading nuclear scientist associated with Iran’s program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was killed by a Mossad operation while driving in a car near Tehran. The U.S. has done its share of state-sponsored terrorism: disabling 1,000 centrifuges by cyber Stuxnet attacks back in 2010 and assassinating a leading military and political figure, Qasem Soleimani on January 3, 2020 while he was on a diplomatic peace mission in Iraq. Israel also seems responsible for periodic attacks on the Natanz nuclears facility, as well.

For further contextualization it is well to recall that it was Trump who ruptured JCPOA when it was working well, which was confirmed by assessments of U.S. intelligence reports. Maybe even more important was the U.S. failure to object to such Israeli violation of Iranian sovereign rights, as well as aggressive acts that violated the basic norms of the UN Charter, as well as to curb its own recourse to overt and covert violations of Iran’s legal rights.

Despite this abusive pattern Iran refrained from challenging the existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal, or even coupling its commitment to refrain from acquiring the weapons or even the capability to produce the weaponry with a demand for a Middle East Nuclear Free Zone. This pattern should remind us that Western colonialism is largely dead, yet Western imperialism persists almost undetected by the normative radar by which international behavior should be judged. Antony Blinken’s ‘rules-governed’ international order has some gaping black holes, and Iran continues to be victimized in the process, while Blinken’s silence is totally overlooked.

Finally, two statements indicative of Israel’s rogue behavioral ethos toward Iran. The Defense Minister, and alternate opponent of Netanyahu, Benny Gantz speaking on June 24, 2021 put his view of Iran in direct language: “..a murderous and dangerous enemy, building arms of terror around the State of Israel, seeks to acquire a nuclear weapon to threaten Israel, and the stability of the entire region.” Iran’s ‘arms of terror’ presumably contrast with Israel’s ‘weapons of self-defense,’ such are the distortions of hegemonic political discourse. Allon Ben David writing in Ma’ariv on the same day as Gantz spoke was engagingly candid in masking Israeli embrace of terror as a peacetime tactic: “..the Mossad and IDF will contribute in their quiet way part of the effort to delay Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.” The word ‘quiet’ is code talk for ‘secret,’ and the quiet work consists of killing scientists and planting explosives in Iran’s nuclear facilities, or even sending drones on armed missions carried out in Iranian or Syrian territory.

Two interviews are also included that address Iranian leadership issues. It is almost comical that one hears shouts of indignation about an extremist leader being elected in Iran, whereas discussing Bennett’s extremist support of the unlawful encroachment of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian territories or refusal to support the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state is hardly mentioned, or set off against Biden’s endorsement of a two-state solution.]

APPROACHING IRAN: THE FLAWS OF IMPERIAL DIPLOMACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST

(1) Responses of Richard Falk to Interview Questions of journalist Niloofar Adibnia (19 April 2021)

What is your analysis of the Vienna meeting?

The so-called ‘indirect talks’ in Vienna likely have several distinct goals. (1) Holding the talks include the purpose of involving the four other P5 (Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and Germany) in the process of restoring American participation in and Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action, known as JCPOA, and also, as the ‘5 +1 Agreement’; the U.S. and Iran separately interact with representatives of these five governments, which in turn inform U.S. and Iran, which then in turn provide responses; it is a dialogue with intermediaries; (2) The indirectness of the process allows each side to make an assessment as to whether it is worth the risks of international failure and domestic backlash as a result of disagreements as to the respective expectations of the two sides in a high profile diplomatic effort at restoring JCPOA along the lines of its original character in 2015; (3) The Vienna process also should be helpful in identifying sticking points with respect to the removal of sanctions on Iran, the restraint of Iranian regional diplomacy in the Middle East, and any further adjustments such as reparations for ‘nuclear terrorism’ or agreed ceilings on uranium enrichment, allowing both countries to decide how serious these gaps are.

Will the Vienna Summit Lead to the Revival of the Nuclear Deal?

I think part of the purpose of the Vienna talks is to allow the parties to determine whether the timing is right at present for a renewal of JCPOA. The U.S. is under pressure from Israel, and some Arab states not to participate again within the JCPOA framework unless new burdensome conditions are imposed on Iran. On its side, Iran is likely unwilling to alter its enrichment levels without assurances that ‘nuclear terrorism’ will be treated as a criminal disruption in the future, and appropriate steps taken including reparations. Iran may also insist upon unconditional removal of sanctions in view of its experience during the Trump presidency. In opposition, Biden may insist on flexibility with respect to sanctions relief in the event that Iran enriches uranium beyond agreed levels.

Will the US lift sanctions?

I think the sanctions will be lifted by stages if Iran agrees to return to the 2015 enrichment levels, and perhaps, agrees to transfer any stockpile of enriched uranium beyond these levels in the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal in 2018 to an international depository or placed in a depot subject to periodic inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The nuclear agreement is not likely to become again operative unless the U.S. sanctions are completely removed. It is assumed that Iran learned its lesson of relying on the U.S. commitment to lift sanctions when Obama was president, while experiencing their reinstatement in harsher form when Trump became president. Undoubtedly, this sequence partly explains the discrediting of the so-called ‘moderates’ in Iran and their replacement by the ‘hardline’ faction, making diplomatic de-escalation seem somewhat more problematic

Do you think the nuclear deal will be revived?

It seems as though there exists a political will on both sides to proceed cautiously in that direction, with the intention of reviving the 2015 arrangements regulating Iran’s nuclear program. Whether this political will is strong enough on both sides remains to be seen as does whether some of the issues turn out to be non-negotiable, and hence deal breakers. Such include enrichment ceilings, treatment of ‘nuclear terrorism. There is also some uncertainty arising from domestic politics in both countries. Will Biden give priority to satisfying Israeli concerns or to reaching a major diplomatic goal of reviving JCPOA? Will Iran insist on a clear pledge of unconditional irreversible removal of the sanctions?

Is there a determination to keep the nuclear deal alive?

I think there is a widespread desire on both sides to give renewed life and relevance to the nuclear agreement,
But there are competing forces on both sides that are more ambivalent about the agreement or are even opposed to its existence. At this point it is difficult to determine with any confidence whether the pro-agreement forces in both countries are strong enough to withstand pressures from anti-agreement forces. The impact of other issues may turn out to be decisive. Will the Natanz attack harden Iran’s demands or soften the U.S. diplomatic stance? So far the indications are not encouraging, and even less so after the Karaj attack on Iran centrifuge production facility. The American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has called Iran’s lifting of the enrichment ceiling from 20% to 60% as ‘provocative’ without putting forth the slightest gesture of criticism of its Natanz attack, widely presumed to have been carried out by Mossad operatives acting on Israel’s behalf.

Will Iran return to full implementation of its nuclear obligations in the nuclear deal?

I cannot imagine the revival of JCPOA unless Iran agrees to comply, and maintains compliance. The more important question is whether Iranian compliance requirements will be set by reference to the initial standards agreed upon in 2015 or whether there will be new standards reflecting intervening developments and to some extent negotiating demands accepted, and. going into effect when the agreement is again operative.

what is your analysis about sabotage on natanz? can it derail vienna negotiation?can it lead to war?

It would seem that Israel intended the attack on the Natanz underground facility as a provocation that would by inducing a major Iranian retaliation and make progress in the Vienna talks problematic. Some have thought that the attack was only designed to give Israel a seat at the Vienna table. The attack should be internationally condemned as a form of ‘nuclear terrorism’ as well as a serious violation of Iran’s sovereign rights. The relative international silence, including by the IAEA is disappointing, and the Blinken response referred to above is unacceptable.

I do not think this event will lead either to the breakdown of the Vienna indirect talks or to regional war, although both possibilities certainly exist. It may delay reaching an agreement in Vienna, and has already raised regional tensions. My view is that with tensions rising in relation to China and Russia, the U.S. will not irresponsibly escalate the conflict dimensions of its relations with Iran, but there are many surrounding complications that
make such speculation unreliable.

We can only hope that peace-oriented pressures on both sides hold sway, and JCPOA again becomes operative. Many will hail this as a diplomatic breakthrough if this happens, and when sanctions are removed, Iranian societal life will benefit greatly, improving the regional and international atmosphere.

(2) Responses of Richard Falk to Amir Mohadded Ismaeli Questions for Mehr News Agency (April 14, 2021)

Q1: Who’s behind Natanz sabotage?

At this point, we have only the uncontested reports that Israel is responsible, having virtually confessed as much. Apparently Israel used Mossad to carry out the attack on the Natanz underground nuclear enrichment facility on April 10, 2021. The attack came only a day after new more advanced cetrifuges began operating at Natanz. The attack took the form of a major explosion 65 meters below the ground. The explosives used are believed to have been smuggled past security guards by being sealed within a steel table and then detonated from a remote location. The complete destruction of the power distribution supply system used to make the centrifuges work has been confirmed as the main damage. It has been estimated by Israelis that it might take Iran as long as nine months to make the facility operational again.

The United States has officially declared that it had no role in this act of sabotage, but it is hard to believe that Washington did not have advance knowledge, and there is no evidence of any attempt to prevent the attack from being carried out or complaints after the fact. Israel leaders although evasive, seemed to justify the attack as part of the country’s defense against the controversial assumption that despite Tehran assurances, Iran is developing the capacity to produce nuclear warheads that could be attached to missiles or rockets, posing dire threats to Israeli security. Iran continues to deny that it is seeking a nuclear weapons capacity. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, has vowed unspecified ‘revenge’ for the attack on Natanz, but there is no indication that this is meant to signal a reversal of Iran’s policy toward the acquisition of the weaponry.

In the background, is the reality of Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal that seems to stay below the radar of proliferation concerns and overlooks Iran’s reasonable apprehension of what this could mean in the future for its own security.

Q2: In your view, what purposes are behind this sabotage?

On the basis of circumstantial evidence, contrary to the posture taken by Israel that the Natanz incident was directed at slowing Iran race to the nuclear weapons threshold, I believe the attack had as its primary purpose, a provocation designed to escalate tensions between Iran and Israel, and encourage the U.S. to stick with the Trump approach to relations with Iran. More immediately, the attack is sure to complicate current efforts in Vienna to create the conditions leading to the resumption of U.S. participation in JCPOA through direct negotiations. As is widely understood, Iran has been demanding that its compliance with JCPOA depends upon an American commitment to terminate the sanctions imposed during the Trump presidency in conjunction with its unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement in 2018.

This hypothesis of provocation is reinforced by the highly belligerent statements made by Netanyahu when asked about the Natanz attack. Instead of a denial or even a claim of Israeli worries, he chose to treat the relationship between the two countries as a relation between two enemies poised to destroy one another. He is quoted as claiming that the ‘fanatical regime’ governing Iran without doubt intends to acquire nuclear weapons so as to destroy Israel in pursuit of their ‘genocidal goal of eliminating Israel.” Netanyahu added that Israel would continue ‘to defend itself against Iran’s aggression and terrorism’ as if Iran was the provocateur. Such language offers an official indirect justification for what happened an Natanz, as well uses warlike language of implacable hostility.

I suspect that Israel by such high-profile sabotage and incendiary language is doing its best to tie the hands of the Biden presidency, agitate pro-Israeli sentiments in the U.S. Congress and Western media. The secondary objective is to obstruct the Iranian nuclear program, which is consistent with such past acts of aggression as the disabling of centrifuges through the insertion of the Stuxnet virus back in 2010 as well as through targeted assassination of leading nuclear scientists, including Iran’s leading nuclear specialist, Mohsen Fakhrizadez in November 2020. This pattern of covert violence has long violated Iran’s sovereign rights and has been understandably denounced by Iranian officials as ‘nuclear terrorism.’

What is uncertain at this time is whether Israel will commit further provocations, how Iran will react, and whether the United States will take the bait, and either delay JCPOA negotiations or demand Iranian compliance with new conditions beyond the original agreement before it lifts or even eases the sanctions or resumes its own participation.

Q3: Do you think there is a coordination between the US and Israel for implementing the sabotage?

It is difficult to say. There is some reason to believe that if there was such coordination it would not be necessary for Israel to take the risks arising from such serious provocations. As with the Obama diplomacy that led to the agreement in 2015, there are differences between the U.S. interest in regional stability and the Israeli determination to keep destabilizing Iran so as to realize at some point its undisguised goal of regime change.

At the same time, with the COVID challenge uppermost as a policy priority for Biden, there may be some level of coordination, involving reassurances to Israel that it will not make things easy for Iran with respect to the sanctions or JCPOA. Biden seems eager to avoid diversionary issues in America that would allege that the U.S. is failing to uphold reasonable Israeli security demands.

As of now, resort to the ‘indirect talks’ in Vienna suggest that both sides are proceeding cautiously, keeping their options open. The next month or so will make clearer whether the U.S. will separate its search for normalization with Iran due to pressures arising from its special relationship with Israel or will pursue a diplomatic course in accord with its national interest. It will never be able to satisfy Israel and reach a negotiated agreement with Iran. It must choose, and hopefully opting for peace and diplomacy rather than coercion and hostility.

Q4: Some scholars believe that the International Atomic Energy Agency and JCPOA parties should clarify their stances and condemn this sabotage, as it’s been done while Iran has been trying to revive the agreement in Vienna. What do you think?

I do believe that if an investigation confirms Israeli responsibility for the Natanz attack it should be condemned by the International Atomic Energy Agency and by the parties to JCPOA (that is, the five Permanent Members of the Security Council and Germany). Such a step would be a major step toward depoliticization of regional tensions, and offer some hope that the current crisis atmosphere can be overcome. What is being called ‘the shadow war’ between Israel and Iran is dangerous and every effort should be made to end it. It also should be acknowledged as widely as possible that Israel has the main responsibility for recourse to this surge of war-mongering propaganda and acts of aggression that violate international law and the UN Charter. The UN should stop watching such dangerous and unlawful events in a spirit of silent detachment, and take its own Charter responsibilities seriously.

(3)Zahra Mirzafarjouyan interview questions, May 30, 2021, Mehr News Agency

1- An Israeli leader described Islamic revolution as “earthquake of century”. What have been the effects of the Imam Khomeini-lead revolution in the region that worried Israelis?

Imam Khomeini made clear his opposition to Israel and the Zionist Project of establishing a Jewish state inside the Islamic World, although he was also clear that he regarded Judaism as an authentic religion deserving respect. When I had a meeting with Imam Khomeini in Paris days before he returned to Iran, he said explicitly that so long as Jews were not active in supporting Israel, it would be ‘a tragedy for us if they left Iran after the revolution.’ His outlook was anti-Israeli, but not anti-Semitic.

I am not familiar with this quote although it makes sense. Israel had enjoyed positive relations with Iran during the period of the Shah’s rule. The Islamic Revolution was perceived as an immediate threat to Israel because it sought to reclaim political control for the ancestral peoples, long resident in the region under the auspices of a political movement espousing Islamic principles and opposed to all forms of secular and Western penetration, especially in the form of a settler colonial state. And such a movement had successfully challenged the Pahlavi regime in Iran, which had the most elaborate modernized internal security apparatus in the region. If it could in Iran, it was supposed that such revolutionary movements could and would succeed elsewhere in the region.

Whether ‘earthquake of the century’ is an overstatement can be discussed, and challenged. It competes with the Russian and Chinese Revolutions and the rise of Hitler, World Wars I & II as alternative candidates for such an assertion. Possibly, seen in the context of the Middle East, and from the perspective of Israel, it was seen as an extreme disruptive event, with an anti-Israeli mobilizing potential that would influence the peoples of the region, and at the same time deprived Israel of its most sympathetic support as centered previously in Iran.

2- What features of the Islamic Revolution have worried the western powers?

I suppose the most worrisome aspect of the Islamic Revolution from the perspective of the West was its resolve to eliminate all forms of Western influence—geopolitical, political, economic, and cultural. In this sense, the events in Iran could be interpreted as anti-imperial as well as anti-colonial, that is, not only opposing European colonialism but its sequel taking the form of the project of U.S. influence in strategic partnership with the hostile regimes and Israel.

A second source of concern was the rejection of Western ideas about governance and the place of religion in the life of society. Western ideas of political legitimacy rested on a premise of separating church and state, while the Islamic Revolution favored their organic connection, giving primacy to religious leadership, although accompanied by a political sphere that was legitimated by periodic free elections.

Other issues involved imposing religious traditions contrary to Western cultural ideas. This can be observed, especially, in relation to the dress and appearance of women, and with respect to education, social life, and entertainment.

The West celebrates ‘freedom’ by reference to social practices, including music, consumption of alcohol, pornography, and tolerance of anti-religious ideas. It perceived Iran after the Islamic Revolution as prohibiting what in the West were regarded as achievements of the Enlightenment and modernity.

In the end, the most fundamental opposition to the Islamic Revolution arose from the belief that political Islam would be resistant to Western penetration and hegemonic control after the collapse of European colonialism, and thus threatened crucial Western strategic interests, including access to energy, security of Israel, ideological anti-Marxist solidarity, and neoliberal globalization.

3- How do you see the role of Imam Khomeini in uniting the Muslim world?

I believe that Imam Khomeini had a major impact in demonstrating to the Muslim world
the mobilization of national populations could be effective in challenging corrupt and decadent forms of political leadership. It gave rise to Islamic activism and extremism, which in turn produced Islamophobic reactions in Europe and North America. Iran itself
opposed such Sunni extremism associated with ISIS and the Taliban as in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Imam Khomeini has so far failed in uniting the Muslim world, especially if measured by the outlook of governing elites. Indeed, it seems more reasonable to conclude that his
Influence has led to deeper divisions and a rise in sectarian rivalries, especially in the Middle East. Imam Khomeini was as opposed to the Gulf dynasties, especially Saudi Arabia, than he was about Israel, secularism, and Western influence. In turn, these conservative monarchies, although purporting to adhere to Islamic law and practices,
were severely threatened by populist advocacy of an Islamic orientation of government. It is no secret that Gulf monarchies, along with Israel, opposed the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood anywhere in the region, especially Egypt. Islam from below, as in Iran, was
consistently opposed by Sunni elites in the region.

4- Imam Khomeini always hated compromising with arrogant powers and Zionists and believed in resistance. How has the culture of resistance been able to change the balance of power in the region?

Except for Iran itself, I do not see any shift in the balance of power in the region arising from Imam Khomeini’s support for a culture of resistance. It could be argued that the Arab uprising of 2010-11 reflected a certain influence of the Imam and the Iranian experience of revolutionary success inspired people to act collectively in mounting challenges to the status quo. Even if this is so it must be offset by counter-revolutionary moves that followed these uprisings, producing chaos in Yemen, Libya, Syria, and intensifications of the harsh rule of Arab monarchies. It may be correct that Western influence has somewhat declined, and is being now challenged by other extra-regional forces, China and Russia. These changes are affecting the role of global geopolitics in the Islamic world, but I don’t associate these developments with manifestations of a culture of resistance.

Iran’s foreign policy has enjoyed a measure of success in Lebanon, Palestine, and above all, Syria, but it seems premature to speak of a new balance of power in the region. The Palestinian resistance is the most impressive example of a culture of
resistance that is active in the region. Although the Palestinian struggle has been led for 20 years by Hamas, its movement of resistance seems remote from any direct influence by Imam Khomeini, whom I believe would be disappointed that his legacy has not extended beyond Iran.

(5) Responses of Richard Falk to Questions posed by Javad Arab Shirazi(May 9, 2021) (Press TV)
Q#1: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on Friday marked the International Quds Day, voicing confidence that the downward movement of the Zionist regime has already started and “it will never stop”. What do you think?
I agree with the Supreme Guide of the Islamic Republic of Iran that the Israeli apartheid state has suffered a series of defeats in the symbolic domain of politics in the first months of 2021: the preliminary decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that the Prosecutor possesses the legal authority to investigate allegations of Israel’s criminality in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem that occurred after 2015; influential reports by the Israeli NGO, B’Tselem and by the leading U.S. NGO, Human Rights Watch conclude that the practices and policies of Israel throughout Israel and occupied Palestine constitute the international crime of apartheid; and significant worldwide increases in global solidarity initiatives in support of the Palestinian struggle for basic rights, including the inalienable right of self-determination enjoyed by every people.

These symbolic advances suggest that Palestine is winning the Legitimacy War fought between Israel and Palestine over the relative legal, moral, and spiritual entitlements in their struggle. The record of the struggles against colonial rule since 1945 suggest that the side that prevails in a Legitimacy War eventually controls the political outcome. In this respect, the statement of Ayatollah Khamenei about a downward Israeli spiral accords with the flow of history.
At the same time Israel will not easily accept defeat. It has tried to deflect attention by accusing individuals and even institutions, such as the UN and ICC, of being ‘antisemitic.’ This is a display of ‘the politics of deflection.’ Such deflection attempts to wound the messenger rather than heed the message. Israel also enjoys the geopolitical backing of the United States and to a lesser extent, the European Union, and has benefitted from ‘the normalization agreements’ reached in 2020 with several Arab governments as encouraged by the Trump presidency during its last months. These factors suggest that it will be a difficult and likely prolonged struggle.
In the meantime, the Palestinian people are being severely subjugated in their own homeland, including ever since the Nakba in 1948 being victimized by ethnic cleansing on a massive scale. It is necessary to appreciate that symbolic successes do not translate immediately into substantive results, and often have the opposite short-term effects because the oppressor senses its vulnerability. Such an experience is currently the fate of the Palestinian people.

Q#2: The Leader said the policies of the oppressive and cruel capitalism “have driven a people out of their homes, their homeland and their ancestral roots and instead, it has installed a terrorist regime and has housed a foreign people therein.” What are your thoughts on this?
My response to the prior question addresses this language on the level of the existential suffering of the Palestinian people within and outside their homeland, including in refugee camps in neighboring countries and through the dispersion of Palestinians in involuntary exile around the world.
I think that the abuses of capitalism are not essential aspects of the basic crimes of displacement and oppression of the Palestinian people so as to enable the Zionist Project to succeed in establishing a Jewish state in the Palestinian homeland. These crimes are virtually acknowledged in Israel’s Basic Law of 2018. Capitalist patterns of exploitation of Palestinian labor and resources are part of this overall picture but incidental to the apartheid and colonial structures that exert comprehensive control over Palestinian activities.

Q#3: “Today, the situation in the world is not like those days. We should keep this reality within sight. Today, the balance of power has swung in favor of the world of Islam. Various political and social incidents in Europe and in the United States have laid bare the weaknesses and the deep structural, managerial and moral conflicts among westerners. The electoral events in the US and the notoriously scandalous failures of the hubristic and arrogant managers in that country, the unsuccessful one-year fight against the pandemic in the US and Europe and the embarrassing incidents that ensued, and also the recent political and social instabilities in the most important European countries are all signs of the downward movement of the western camp”, the Leader said. What do you think?

There is much evidence of Western decline as the quoted language of Ayatollah Khamanei suggests, but the world future remains obscure. Historical tendencies appear to favor the rise of Asia and a more multipolar world order. There are also indications of Western, particularly U.S. decline, as in its handling of the COVID pandemic and prolonged failure to update and improve the quality of its infrastructure, spending excessively on armaments instead of investing
in a sustainable and equitable future.

Yet there are some contradictions that prevent any assured image of the future. At present, there are prospects of a dangerous confrontation between China and the United States, which could confirm Chinese ascendency or lead to regional conflict, and possibly wider tensions in the form of a second cold war. It is also possible that prudence and humane judgment will lead to a geopolitics of accommodation, allowing proper attention being given to managing global challenges of unprecedented magnitude.

It is not clear to me that the Islamic world can escape from the constraining logic of statism, particularly in the Middle East where sectarian strains and regional rivalries appear stronger at present than religious and civilizational bonds.

There is also uncertainty arising from the novelty of global scale challenges amid many inequalities causing both impulses toward cooperation and withdrawals from internationalism in the form of exclusive forms of statism. The modern world system has never been challenged as a totality by anything like climate change in the past, and whether it has the flexibility and resilience to adapt remains to be seen, although the evidence to date is not encouraging. The failures to suspend sanctions during the pandemic in response to humanitarian appeals and the vaccine diplomacy emphasizing profits over people that accompanied the COVID suggest that the political elites have not caught up with history, and are ill-equipped to conceive of national wellbeing beneath the bluer skies of human wellbeing.

There is a need for forward-looking global leadership that is informed by a commitment to the global public good. It may be that this leadership could emerge from below, from a transnational movement animated by a struggle for ecological balance and species identity.
Instead of patriots of the nation or state, patriots of humanity; instead of entrepreneurs for profit, guardians of nature. New values and new identities to sustain a responsible anthropocentrism.

(5)Interview Questions from Javad Arabshirazi, Press TV on domain seizures (June 23, 2021)

Q#1: In what seems to be a coordinated action, a similar message has appeared on the websites of a series of Iranian and regional television networks that claims their domains have been “seized by the United States Government.” The notice, which appeared late Tuesday on the website of English-language television news network Press TV as well as a number of other Iranian and regional news channels, cited US sanctions laws for the seizure and was accompanied by the seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Department of Commerce. What is your take on this?

A#1: It is important to recall that a similar seizure of Iran-related news sites occurred on October 7, 2020. It was justified at the time as the implementation of U.S. sanctions and directed at preventing alleged dissemination of ‘disinformation.’ It was further claimed that the step was taken in response to threatss to U.S. national security and its ‘democratic process.’ Significantly, the identification of the seized website domains was a result of cooperation between the U.S. Government and the high tech giants Twitter, Google, and Facebook. Such a move was seen in 2020 as an effort to increase pressure on Iran by way of improper interference with its sovereign rights, an intensifying of coercive pressures.

The rationale of this latest phase of domain seizures repeats the earlier pattern of justification, again with accusations that these supposed Iranian news outlets were disguised governmental operations that used their media platforms to subvert democratic procedures in the United States. Again this time the seizures were presented as implementations of the U.S. sanctions procedures. The timing is suspicious, coming a few days after a new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected and just prior to the resumption of a seventh round of talks in Vienna to negotiate indirectly the restoration of U.S. participation in the Iran Nuclear Program deal of 2016 coupled with a phasing out of the sanctions.

These developments raise crucial questions about motivation and goals: does it reflect Israeli influence designed to prevent restoring U.S. participation in and Iranian compliance with the JCPOA, the technical name of the nuclear deal? Or is it a reaction to the outcome of the Iranian presidential election, which resulted in a landslide victory for a candidate presented as hostile to the West, and particularly to Israel and the United States? Perhaps, the best answer is to postulate a combination of factors. It should be noted that an American spokesperson for the government in Washington claims that the election of Ayatollah Raisi is not relevant to the Vienna diplomacy as whoever was president of Iran, it was asserted, the final decision on such issues of vital policy would be made not by an elected official but by the Supreme Guide, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Q#2: Do you believe that the move shows Washington’s selective view towards freedom of speech and democracy?

A#2: If the seizures turn out to be official acts of the U.S. Government, it would express a serious moral hypocrisy and double standards, and unlawful encroachment on sovereign rights. The U.S. seeks to control the public discourse on matters of international concern, especially if part of the background is conflict and strife as here. There are also in the U.S. ongoing struggles behind the scene between moderate and hardline attitudes toward Iran, which also reflects degrees of direct and indirect Israeli influence. The more aggressive tendencies opposes moves toward normalization, favoring high tensions. Having one-sided presentations of conflictual situations tends to inhibit compromise and normalization of relations among states, producing an atmosphere of might makes right.

Q#3: The US is in possession of the mainstream media and can easily change and distort narratives around the world. What has irked the US government? Why do you think a TV network like Press TV should be seized by the US government?

Control of the political narrative is an important dimension of geopolitics in the digital age. Fake news and manipulation of reality are coercive means if deployed in uncontested political settings. By shutting down Press TV the US is attempting to deprive Iran of its capacity to challenge hostile propaganda, and put forth its own counter-narrative of controversial events, and more generally of peace, justice, and democratic governance. In effect, being able to exercise monopoly control of media platforms is a crucial representation of power, as important in some settings as guns and missiles. Underneath this manipulation of information is an extremely dangerous tendency to substitute one-sides propaganda for truth and dialogue.

23 Responses to “APPROACHING IRAN: THE FLAWS OF IMPERIAL DIPLOMACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST”

  1. Kata Fisher June 30, 2021 at 12:35 am #

    Dear Professor Falk, Pathological liars believe in their lies – that is why they cause troubles for everyone, and can’t be in peace with anybody. It only takes one pathological lier to start something horrible. Leaders of Iran just have to press on with truth – that’s the only way. They have done good things for their citizens – saved them from wicked hell for this long. There was a lot of sacrifices that that had to go trough because of that. This world accursed is truly wicked hell. Iranian revolution was a great thing for the human race, and human race will depend on it. A note: Hello pathological liars – find the Church that is valid, and not in fewer of hell and in satanic seals! There is such thing as communion in devils. How about “Abuse of Church Order,” and how about “Hot Weather?” I swear by Holy Altar and All things on it – just to make sure I shall not put a deception out there. They will have deep consequences for the wicked because that’s just how it is. It’s true fact that Church that is valid will just watch on and will curse them in the Name of Jesus Christ if Nazareth. That is how it is and always it was and will be since the Transfiguration, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I do not believe to any of the Pathological liars. K.F.

  2. Beau Oolayforos June 30, 2021 at 10:23 pm #

    The shutting down of Iranian websites is a clumsy, ineffective move. The intent seems to be a ‘walling-off’ of inconvenient viewpoints, but the wall is very leaky. The internet is certainly alive if not well within Iran, Russia, China; and that troublesome info is bound to leak through. The feds only make things worse.

  3. Biden is a zionist July 13, 2021 at 2:03 pm #

    [In the period 2010-2012 four Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated by Israel: Masoud Alimohammedi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad, Mostafa Ahmed Roshan. As recently as November 2020 Iran’s leading nuclear scientist associated with Iran’s program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was killed by a Mossad operation while driving in a car near Tehran]

    Thank you Mr. Falk for your attention to Iran capitulation by the West and especially by the zionist mafia where controls the media, think thanks, banking ,TREASURY,and
    the Western politicians including the self proclaimed zionist, Biden.

    There is no difference between Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump or Biden. All are reading from the same script which is written by the Mafia think thanks, directed by Tel Aviv and
    now the Biden regime is packed with the Jewish mafia pro Israel Neocons headed by Anthony Blinken and associates.
    The Biden regime is packed with zionist neocons, many from Blinken’s consulting Firm, WestExec founded 3 years ago in 2017. The cofounder of WestEDxec is a warmonger
    by the name of Michele Flournoy, who was nominated for the secrectary of WAR,
    where fifth column pro Israel almost succeeded but at the last minutes, the Black camp who put Biden in office brought their own candidate and Biden could not refuse since without black camp he would have not gone to black house. No one wanted a zionist warmonger responsible for Iraq war and its soft partition for the interest of ‘greater Israel’.

    Biden still is pushing for more wars but with different style. He is as criminal as Trump and people before him. He cannot be trusted. He like trump, says something in public to look ‘peaceful’, but in fact he is very violent like his advisors and associates from WestEdxec. All are in the business of Regime change. No one should give these criminals a chance and should expose them all over the world.

    Less than six months into the Biden regime, more than 15 consultants from the firm WestExec Advisors have fanned out across the White House, its foreign policy apparatus, and its law enforcement institutions. Five, some of whom already have jobs with the administration, have been nominated for high-ranking posts, and four others served on the Biden-Harris transition team.

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/consulting-firm-staffing-biden-administration/5749698

    Biden and his regime, like Trump before him, are supporting the terrorist Organization of MEK, a terror group who are responsible for majority of the assassination of Iranian scientists ordered by Israel and Netanyahu where recently killed many Palestinians in their own land including 70 children. Yet these criminals including Blinken repeated the zionist line, Israel has a right to defend itself. In fact Israel has no right to exist in occupied land and can go somewhere else to defend its criminal act.

    Tony Blinken, a Neocon, send his associate Michele Flournoy to MEK 2021 summit along with Bolton, Pompeo, Menendez and many more criminals like these traitors.

    One of the these criminals who spoke at the summit was the warmonger Michele Flournoy, who thinks in order to advance oneself the person must be a staunch supporter of the zionist crimes against humanity and state of Israel with numerous war crimes against humanity and genocite.

    This shows that Tony Blinken cannot be a neutral secretary of state. He does not protect the interest of American people, rather he and his close associates are there to protect and advance the interest of the apartheid entity, Israel NOT American people.

    When the public attacked Tony Blinken close associate’s participating in the Terrorist MEK summit, she said the following stupid statement:

    [Michele Flournoy claims she was ‘unaware’ her hosts are part of a well-known former terrorist organization]

    Do you think is it possible someone like Tony Blinken and Flournoy no knowing who are MEK terrorist Org. in the service of Israel?

    Mek name was on US terrorist list for years and only through work of number of criminal Jewish mafia lawyers in US and Canada, Dershwitz and Irwin Cotler and their servants Payam Akhavan and Kaveh Shahrooz, MEK name was removed from the Terrorist list in 2012 to continue working for Israel and assassinate more Iranian scientists and politicians funded by Saudi Arabi. Only those who run the US foreign policy in the middle east can do that and that is Israel firsters in large numbers, in US and Canada, a criminal organization.
    She participated in MEK conference, Israel/US terrorist, to collect more than $50000 to buy more make-up to cover wrinkles on her ugly face so to promote ‘regime change’

    These zionist necon pro Israel are filling their pockets with money given by a terrorist state of Saudi Arabia and they have no complain and shame about it, because Saudi Arabia is in the service of the apartheid entity. The reason these terrorist zionists hate Iran is because they cannot mold Iran into a second Saudi Arabia to MILL its oil money for the interest of Jewish mafia and Rothschild family. Biden is a servant of Israel and Jewish mafia and no one with more than 2 brain cells should trust him. He is there to advance and protect Jewish State NOT American interest.

    All these terrorists are traitors where majority of the countries in the world, including US,execute traitors.

    https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/07/11/662015/Michele-Flournoy-shilling-for-MEK-terror-cult

  4. Deepika Shankar July 25, 2021 at 6:17 am #

    Appreciate it

  5. Beau Oolayforos August 3, 2021 at 12:49 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    Just one weird little sidelight: “The Tanker Crisis” is today’s front-page news in the US MSM, all about how Israel, according to their new premier, is “ready to act alone” against Iran, and Blinken affirming (veiled threats, as usual) that there will be a “co-ordinated reasonse” from the US, the UK, and the Jewish State.

    Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera, much closer to the alleged drone attack, has NOT ONE SYLLABLE about this allegedly dire situation. It is bound to remind more folks than just me of the recent “popular uprising” against the Cuban government, a product, it would seem, of that same corporate MSM, sucking up to the US propaganda machine – shades of Iraq 2003.

  6. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 11, 2021 at 8:35 am #

    Prof. Falk’s wordy whitewash of Iran’s nuclear and hegemonic ambitions continues a pattern of apologetics that began in 1979 when he spoke with Ayatollah Khomeini prior to his return from exile and wrote an op ed assuring readers that America and the West had nothing to fear from the new regime. A few months later, mobs of young Khomeini-inspired rioters stormed the U.S. embassy and held its occupants captive for 444 days. The immediate cause cited was Washington’s willingness to allow the deposed Shah, ailing with cancer, entry for treatment at an American hospital. But knowing observers say it was a dramatic demonstration of a long-standing plan to break from the previous regime’s good relations with the U.S. and establish a confrontational relationship with its former ally—-something Prof. Falk totally missed.

    Most analysts would prefer that a miscalculation of this magnitude be forgotten, and get on with their lives. But Prof. Falk refuses to change. More than four decades later—during which the mullahs in Teheran have imposed a brutal regime on their own people and wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East—he is still on his soapbox complaining that Iran is getting a bum rap from hostile outsiders goaded by Israel.

    Before getting into specifics, I’ll acknowledge that the U.S. was a party to the JCPOA and that states should honor their commitments even when their governments change. But let’s look at the agreement, itself, and understand why Israel, and many others, find it dangerous. The primary concern is what diplomats call its “sunset clause”. When the JCPOA’s key provisions lapse in 2030, there will be no limits on the size of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, the number or types of centrifuges it can run, or even the amount of weapons-grade fissile material it may possess or produce. By 2023, just two years from now, there will be no limits on Iran’s ballistic missiles, very effective delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons.

    Why does this concern Israel? Because the mullahs have consistently called for Israel’s destruction, and have pursued blatantly anti-Semitic behavior such as sponsoring conferences to promote Holocaust denial. Israel has much to fear from a nuclear Iran, especially with the ascension of its new hardline Iranian president. Typically, Prof. Falk ignores this factor.

    Instead, he bases his position on two bogus analogies. The first is equating Israel’s nuclear program with Iran’s. Israel has had nuclear weapons for a long time, probably since the 1960’s. While never officially admitting to their existence, Jerusalem has made it clear that these are purely for defensive reasons, a deterrent to attack by surrounding Arab states with a total population vastly larger than its own, and that Israel would not be the first to use nuclear weapons in the region. A half century of fidelity to this commitment is a pretty good track record.

    Besides, Israel has never threatened the existence of any other state. Which brings us to the second bogus analogy. Prof. Falk pivots from the reality of Iran’s genocidal designs against Israel by accusing Israel and the United States of committing state terrorism against Iran by cyberattacks and killing scientists working on its nuclear program.

    I suppose it’s case of “guilty as charged, but with an explanation”. Doesn’t Israel have the right to defend itself? When one puts aside the avalanche of legalism Prof. Falk uses to demonize Israel and ask what is Israel to do, it becomes apparent that Israel’s approach, while problematic, is the lesser of various bad choices. Thus far, it’s avoided available military options such as dropping blockbuster bombs on Iranian nuclear facilities which would cause numerous civilian casualties and probably start a shooting war. And would Israel’s dismantling its nuclear arsenal inspire Iran to do the same? And if it didn’t, would Prof. Falk rail against the mullahs or concoct a faux justification for Iranian non-compliance? This patent double standard marks his approach to Gaza. He accuses Israel of violating international law by dropping bombs that harm civilians, but is silent on Hamas’ violation of international law by positions rocket and missile launchers in close proximity in residential areas adjacent to hospitals and schools.

    And it’s more than a little ironic to see Prof. Falk, who chairs the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, arguing for the right of state ruled by an authoritarian, irredentist and bellicose regime to develop nuclear weapons.

    As regards apologetics, consider this: “Biden…seems to be insisting on a new agreement that is more restrictive of Iran’s nuclear program and even its regional political activity. Political activity???? Does Prof. Falk mean the Iranian forces fighting in Syria? Or Iran’s supporting forces that have virtually destroyed Lebanon and turned southern Lebanon into an Iranian enclave. Or supplying Hamas with increasingly sophisticated missiles and rockets to fire at Israeli citizens in their homes? Or Iran’s never-ending hostilities with Iraq?

    Iranian hegemonic ambition threatens the entire region, so much so that the Sunni states have found it necessary to counter it by banding together and even including Israel. Prof. Falk’s shopworn cry against colonialism is irrelevant. The threat irredentist Shiite Iran poses to the Sunni states in the region is entirely home grown, dating back to the very inception of Islam.

    It’s easy to blame Israel, America and the western press for the dangerous situation in the Middle East. But it’s also false and unhelpful in finding a real solution to the problem.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Richard Falk August 11, 2021 at 10:38 pm #

      Ira: you have such an obvious disrespect for me as a person and for my understanding of issues that concern you deeply, that I
      am led to wonder why you continue to invest your time and energy in such diatribes. I long ago stopped trying to convince you, limiting my responses to what I came to realize were vain attempts to explain myself. Your sense of ‘a real solution’ is for me part of the problem as is your typically insulting language that regards my ‘shopworn cry against colonialism’ as ‘ irrelevant.’ Irrelevant for whom?
      Richard

      • Kata Fisher August 12, 2021 at 12:16 am #

        Dear Professor Falk, I am so sorry – I am spiritually sorry that you have to go trough this. It’s also distressing to me that a Jewish Rabbi would not concern himself with False Christianity that is in satanic seals. That’s real and true threat to the Jewish existence, and coexistence in Middle East. Iran is nation of Faith, and juradistic order that is governed by courts, and laws. What’s new and shall be new in Iran, and to Iran? What’s new in your neighborhood? Do the wicked know that? When will obnoxious lay-people obnoxiousness and their falsehood just stop. What diversity is interpreting it for you? Get for real. You do not mess with Apostolic Church Order and ordain women in Roman Catholic Church. You do not Abuse Apostolic Church Order without TRUE CONSEQUENCE. Somebody will be accursed in the Name of the Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This is reality to the WICKED. They can not and will not do something evil to the people, and Leaders of Iran without true consequence. That’s by the oat to the Holy Altar and all things on it. Remember we try well. K.F.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 12, 2021 at 5:19 am #

        Richard, Once again you take umbrage behind a perceived personal insult to avoiod having to address the issues I raise. How about trying to engage in some real dialogue for a change?! Ira

      • Richard Falk August 12, 2021 at 9:57 pm #

        Ira: I suggest that you ask a trusted friend with no special interest in Israel or Palestine to read your last message, or indeed your
        last several message, to get an opinion to whether or not your message was insulting and caricaturing my actual views. Putting
        the issue generously from my vantage point, our difference of interpretation or worldview is too far apart to find enough common ground to enable dialogue. I have may quote to you before a Chinese saying: “Two men sleep in the same bed but they have different
        dreams.”

    • Beau Oolayforos August 16, 2021 at 7:08 pm #

      Hmmm…”nuclear and hegemonic ambitions?” Look in the mirror, at a state which has had nukes it won’t admit to for decades, and has run roughshod over Palestine. Oh, and they even help the US out in the oppression of CENTRAL AMERICA.

      Yes, and it looks as if Prof. Falk “totally missed” the fact that the Iranian revolution had other plans than to behave like the US puppet who was installed by CIA/MIA in place of a democratically elected leader. The summum bonum, of course, is to get cozy with Washington DC.

      We are also charmed with the Jewish State’s benign restraint with its nukes, even though they always like to say that “all options are on the table’, and threaten, as you do, with the blockbuster-bomb capability. The clandestine murder of scientists seems to be legitimate self-defense in some people’s minds.

      Poor Lebanon – so beset, as you say, by Iran, while Israel has hardly hurt them at all. Sabrah & Shatilla are probably a myth, n’est-ce pas??

      • Richard Falk August 16, 2021 at 8:36 pm #

        An effective ironic rebuttal..

      • Kata Fisher August 16, 2021 at 9:41 pm #

        Dear Professor Falk,

        God talked me all Day long.

        This is About Scientists, what I understood (in summery):
        The Scientist can not be killed, and scientist can not be killed – not even in the active war time.

        Iranian Scientist will help them get out of this Nuclear Mess ups.

        Human Resources means human development and progress.

        Non-human resources mean satanic development and progress.

        They (this contemporarily humanity) have it nowhere, except by satanic knowledge existence of nuclearism. It is not from God. God did not give them anointing to do that. Its satanic seals that did it. This is all because the Charismatic-satanic disorder in Church history (recently one late 1980’s and early 1900’s).

        I know this because God told me this.

        They want to kill scientist. They will have to get for real – they can not and CAN NOT DO THAT WITHOUT GOD REALY SMACKING THEM over their head.

        Further,
        Satanic-Charismatic Disorders – They are not recent phenomenon to America and Church history – the settlers were all up into it.

        Tarring and feathering – that is just one of those in satanic-seal ideas. Actual humans, in natural revelation and conscience – they just do not have in them self’s to do something like that.

      • Kata Fisher August 29, 2021 at 10:34 pm #

        Dear Professor Falk,

        There was something that happened Today.

        I was open for business today, and my daughter and the another young lady switched theirs days, and she went for her brake time.

        I was left alone, very busy, and I have not noticed that there was a lady that walked in, and shortly after has put a stack of notes into our work-area.

        I find this sticky yellow office post-it notes 3×3 inch ones written in German – so I ask young lady that was working with me. Ms. “…” are this your study notes? She said, “ No, they are not.” Then, I was thinking “Is this from one of my girls – but how at once there, and not before?” – and the handwriting did not match.” So, I was “What is this and who has put this here?” I asked Ms. “…” : “Did you see who has put this here? (By then I got a glance of the content from one of the notes). She said “No.”

        I started reading them. All of them, trying to put it all together.

        I was telling to Ms. “…” If this is a prank – I will be really mad!!”

        I called number that was on the notes – no answer.

        The lady that left the notes left her phone #, her name, her address on the notes. And requests. What happened whats going on – but I was still in the dark about what really was going on – the time and the happening.

        I did not know what to do. I only asked God. God said noting except this:” Peace be with you – everything will be just fine.”

        When I got into the car to go home – I could not. I just sat there.

        Then I got on the phone, but could not find the phone number for the lady that I knew before and that I thought I have to just tell about this, and she would need to call German Embassy.

        Then I texted another lady for the phone number that I needed / started texting, sent the picture of the notes that I took, and that what could understand from the entire notes / the context.

        She called German Embassy, they/ German Embassy have sent her to police – she went to police. They opened a case and the Embassy will work on it.

        What I could understand it was a claim of human trafficking, (at certain age). Who did this? (no clue). Can someone be victim of human trafficking while married? If so, how?

        The claims of medical abuse by Americans, that she has been denied right kind of medical care and/or not lawful human experiments on her, missing child – that she was investigated – but she was not believed about anything she said. She claimed that she had/has a husband and has a child – but child was gone. “Where?” did the child go? – she asks.

        But WHAT AND WHEN ALL THIS HAPPENED?
        She said that she is not believed when she tells this.

        What happened to this women, and why did she left the notes and not just tell me all this?

        What? – no-one ever believed her?
        What happened and how?

        Was this all just her imagination, was it human trafficking, all that abuse, and perhaps just all that and all this that happened to her and her family:

        I have psychical notes that she left. I can get the footage of left notes, too. Who want to see the pictures and evidence of her claims?

        Anyone likes to see them? Anyone? Can they be posted here? Anywhere?

        I really, really want to know how German Embassy and local police will solve her case.

        Or will they just make a basked case out of her.

        Usually, is that is what they do?

        Who know what is done?

        I would love to find out.

        I would be demnd if I don’t find out?

        Thank you, K.F.

  7. Rabbi Ira Youdovin August 13, 2021 at 4:22 am #

    Richard,

    Our trusted mutual friend and I don’t talk about you, and neither of us wants to change that. Nor do I want to be drawn into a victimization Olympics competition with you over whose remarks are the more insulting. Suffice to say, I believe your umbrage serves as an excuse for not addressing legitimate criticism of your views. Besides, my harsh tone, which is uncharacteristic for me, reflects the angry tone that prevails on this blog. After all, you’re the one who defined a Zionist as “one who does not feel the pain of Palestinians” (I and many, many of us do), and who rarely shows respect for opinions that differ from yours, and for those holding those opinions.

    Apropos your Chinese proverb about men having different dreams: Richard, what are your dreams? You consistently accuse me of “caricaturing your actual views”. What are your actual views?

    My dream is of two states, Israel and Palestine, each one representing the fulfillment of its citizens’ national aspirations, living side by side in peaceful co-existence and cooperating in addressing issues that affect the space they share (water, air rights, etc.) I firmly believe that this goal is attainable if moderates on both sides overcome the extremists (on both sides) who thus far are driving both sides in the wrong direction.

    From what you’ve written, it appears that your dream is a single bi-national state covering all of biblical Palestine with a small Palestinian majority achieved by returning millions of refugees. Without getting into the ethics of that proposal (where we may have a legitimate difference of opinion), I’ve asked you how that goal could be attained, and how would the state function? Most analysts—Palestinians, Israeli and others—are convinced that it cannot work. The record of post-Ottoman bi-national states in the Middle East is drenched in blood, Without a clear vision of how a functioning bi-national state can be achieved, the concept is nothing more than a ploy for dismantling Israel. IF THIS CONCLUSION DISTORTS YOUR ACTUAL VIEWS, PLEASE TELL ME HOW AND WHY.

    Ira

    • Richard Falk August 13, 2021 at 7:37 am #

      Ira: on not seeking mediation by our mutual friend, we absolutely agree. I meant someone you trusted and yet would give you a
      truthful response. I believe I am not being defensive, but ever since the cartoon, which was absolutely innocent mistake as soon as
      pointed out, your comments have contained all sorts of insinuations about my true motives that I found both untrue and unconvincing. As you can imagine, I have interacted with many people on various issues who disagree, but have never had this experience as I have had with you. Even your accusation of ‘evasion’ on my part is an insult as if I do not have the intelligence or understanding to put forward a coherent view. I have published this year a long memoir covering these kinds of issues, and among the many reactions not one has accused me of evasion. Even your solidarity with Fred Skolnik I regard as hostile, as he is openly hostile to me, which is at least
      forthright. On my dreams for ‘a solution’ it is not along your lines for two reasons: 1) by claiming the settlements and expanding the boundaries and claiming the whole of Jerusalem Israel long ago indicated its rejection of a genuine two state solution even when the Palestinians with formal backing of the PLO and Arafat in 1988 indicated a willingness to settle for 22% of Palestine as compared to the 45% in GA Res. 181;; 2) it is up to the two ‘peoples’ to decide and agree upon their own future in accord with the ethics and politics of self-determination; externally proposed and implemented solutions I believe to be non-sustainable. We certainly differ, however, in my
      viewing Israel as guilty of policies and practices toward the Palestinian people as a whole so as to ensure Jewish dominance of statehood (cf Basic Law 2018) that constitute apartheid, and no genuine peace can be possible without the prior repudiation of such a security structure.
      The difference in our styles is that you characterize my positions in hostile or insulting language, and I refrain from doing so. Without that kind of mutual civility persons who disagree will waste each other’s time and never close the gaps that separates their positions.
      I am truly sorry to disappoint you, but I am not imaginative enough to find any way to have a constructive conversations on these issues.
      Richard

  8. Kata Fisher August 13, 2021 at 7:32 pm #

    Rabbi – about the views … Give them something to be ordained about. To start with. Dear Professor Falk, It seems to me that you and Rabbi can commit to a intelligent outcome – by managing your relation in these nasty circumstances. I know, in fact, that I do not, and would never serve any nasty circumstances – nor I am willing to do this ever. No one in their right mind does it or is willing to do it. However, everyone must do something – to figure out who should, and could do what … could lead to intelligent outcome. It is possible for two of you to set a grow ups a example – and at least commit to your relationships management, and intelligent outcome. Otherwise, everyone Including two of you remains in circumstantial abuse, and trauma while dealing with all nastiness of these circumstances. If you two can tell me that you are not willing to commit to a intelligent outcome, should I laugh about it? K.F.

    • Richard Falk August 13, 2021 at 10:35 pm #

      Kata: you are wise in your own special way, dispensing healing advice. RF

      • Kata Fisher August 14, 2021 at 5:10 am #

        Dear Professor Falk, Pope is in subpoena circumstances, and he is grounded. But, they have not accomplished anything because this New Pope thinks that he can decide when investigations on crimes can take place. He can not do that. Therefore, subpoena is active upon all of the Popes, and they will have to hand over all of it – not just bits of peaces there, and there. All of it. How do I know this? I was told this by devil-or Supreme I AM … “forget about your person, you are grounded, and I am taking over.” The law in Rome is outdated, and I am only guessing that they are trying to update it. It is a joke. They do not have a Pope in Juridical person, and they can’t do that. Do you want to know about liberty to do evil? I know about all of that. It is that is specific to the law of this land and another subject on sects and cults here in satanic seals. It’s was not and is not in their liberty to ordain me. They are in Lawlessness – just as Popes of Rome are. Seriously, like I am under theirs strict orders? I do not thinks so, maybe them – but not me. I am not interested interested dealing with them under this ordination – but Supreme I AM must be. And He has no low or highs … he is like a kid that just takes off … I am like,”I can’t do this, what about my person?” I fuss, and we fight – kinda like fight … and we make up. I am never happy when he is active outside of me … it just weary’s me, and I am not called to do that. I am like,”may well be done.” What else my attitude shall be? Watch the hell and evil be multiply? I can accept that to this world in this exsistance. My existence exists just like everybody else’s existence exist. And, I do not accept to be called bipolar and delusional – or whatever. They may call me whatever they want – but they may get whatever curse upon themself, too. It is really a lot that a grave offense. K.F.

  9. Kata Fisher September 6, 2021 at 11:00 pm #

    Professor Falk, this is what God has told me: God has told me to shut them down, and has told me to shut down those who advocate for their return to ministry, and to shut down those who allow their return to the ministry. I am a girl – and naturally by spiritual laws would not have a spiritual authority to do that. I guess that would be just a circumstantial will of God – for me. I have no other explanation why God will allow me to say and do something like that. With that – I have to shut them down – just as God has said. I certainly myself will do nothing – but it shall be done. Thank you. K.F.

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