AIPAC and U.S. elections

Source

By Richard Anderson Falk

AIPAC is a strong lobbying group that is perceived by the political parties to exert great influence on large Jewish donors and Jewish voters generally. The leadership of both parties competes for AIPAC approval, although as an organization it refrains from political endorsements at national levels. It does have a record of opposing Congressional candidates deemed critical of Israel, making inflammatory accusations that candidates critical of Israel are by that fact alone anti-Semitic. Such a campaign has been launched with at least implicit AIPAC support to defeat the candidacy of Ilhan Omer who is running for reelection in urban Minneapolis.

Part of the effectiveness of AIPAC is due to money and tight organizational discipline, and part of its influence is due to the absence of countervailing Jewish organizations that speak for liberal Zionism and progressive Jews. J-Street has attempted to provide a voice for liberal Zionism in Washington, and has limited success at legislative levels, but not in relation to party platforms or the selection of national candidates. Jewish Voice for Peace is an admirably balanced NGO, but its influence is mainly felt in civil society, where it has created growing support for a just outcome of this struggle that has gone on for a century, which includes supported the realization of the Palestinian right of self-determination whether in the form of a viable separate sovereign state or a single state whose foundational principle is ethnic equality.

Throughout its existence, AIPAC has been and remains subservient to the priorities of the Israeli leadership and consistently supportive of maximal Zionist goals, and hence an adherent of antagonistic attitudes on international law, the UN, and international morality. In my judgment, AIPAC has harmed the role of the U.S. in West Asia and at the UN by pushing American foreign policy in belligerent and regime-changing directions, focusing on heightening the confrontation with Iran, and secondarily, with Turkey, which has intensified regional tensions and dangers of war. The recent sanctions debate in the UN Security Council manifested both U.S. belligerence and its defiance of the views of even its normally close European allies.

Richard Anderson Falk is an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967”.

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The Oslo process was a trap from which the Palestinians never escaped: ex-UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine

Source

By M.A. Saki

TEHRAN- Richard Anderson Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and former UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine, says “the Oslo process was a trap from which the Palestinians never escaped”.
“Indeed, the dynamics of this Oslo period from 1993 until the start of the Trump presidency in 2017 was to raise Israeli expectations with respect to its maximal territorial ambitions,” Falk tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.
Here is the full text of the exclusive interview:
Q: As a UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine your reports revealed many facts about the Israeli settlement policies, its apartheid approach, and so on. Your efforts in this regard are commendable. To what extent did these reports have a practical impact on Israeli policies?
A: My period as UN Special Rapporteur to Palestine was between 2008 and 2014. During that time Israel carried out massive attacks on Gaza in 2008-09, 2012, and 2014, while expanding the archipelago of its unlawful settlements on the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and blocking any realistic process of a political compromise in the context of the Oslo Peace Process. I mention these negative developments as background for responding to your question about whether my reports had any ‘practical impact on Israeli policies.’ I would have to acknowledge that I could not identify any positive impact on Israeli practices and policies, especially in relation to its efforts to pursue its expansionist ambitions with regard to the control of Palestinian territory and its non-Jewish inhabitants or its unabashed defiance of international law and UN authority.
A more promising Palestinian strategy, additional to continuing acts and displays of resistance, is to encourage pressures mounted by the global solidarity movement including at the UN. Such campaigns can gain inspiration from the South African worldwide anti-apartheid movement, which overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve an unexpected, mostly bloodless, victory over racism in the form of a nonviolent transition to multi-racial constitutional democracy.It seems that the heightening of criticism of Israel’s behavior by myself and others did encourage Israel’s new approach, which abandoned defending itself against allegations of unlawfulness and criminality, and instead mobilizing energy and devoting resources to defaming critics, and doing its best to discredit, and even criminalize support for the BDS Campaign and other global solidarity initiatives as the Free Gaza Campaign. This Israeli pushback culminated in the widespread adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism that deliberately conflated hatred of Jews as a people with criticism of Israel as the State of the Jewish people. It is ironic that this regressive move has been most influential in countries such as the U.S., UK, and Germany that pride themselves on being the most respected constitutional democracies the world has known since ancient Athens, and yet when it comes to Israel the right of free expression and nonviolent protest are violated with official approval.
I believe my reports did have some beneficial impact on the discourse within the UN itself (including civil society NGOs), and on the understanding of the diplomatic community, with respect to four distinct aspects of Israeli behavior: 1) Understanding the settler colonial character of Israel’s domination and dispossession of the Palestinian people; 2) The de facto annexationist aspects of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem carried out in violation of international humanitarian law; 3) The unsupportable character of prolonged belligerent occupation, the abusive nature of which is not addressed by international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions and Protocols; 4) The apartheid character of Israel’s Jewish State, not only in relation to the occupation of the territory acquired in the 1967 War but in relation to the Palestinian people as a whole, including refugees and involuntary exiles, the minority living in pre-1967 Israel, and those in Gaza after Israel’s ‘disengagement’ of 2005.
I gave particular attention in my reports to the daily injustices associated with prolonged occupation of Palestinian territories, which had not attracted much prior attention, although my successor as SR, Michael Lynk, has carried my arguments further and to their logical conclusion that the occupation must be ended by judicial and political action at the international level. The legally, morally, and politically problematic character of ‘prolonged occupation,’ especially as combined in this with a denial of all civil and political rights to the residents of the occupied Palestinian territories and subversive of underlying Palestinian sovereignty as evidenced by UN recognition of Palestine in 2012 as a non-voting member State in the UN.
I believe that my reports helped in small ways to change the discourse and perceptions of civil society activists as well as of many members of the diplomatic community who privately conveyed to me their agreement with my analysis. The reports also brought up to date the lawlessness of Israel’s behavior with respect to the settlements, the separation wall, and reliance on excessive force, most pronouncedly in Gaza, which figured in the way the media and public opinion understood the competing arguments being put forward by Israel and Palestine, and seemed of some use to governments in formulating their approach to the underlying conflict.
Q: One of your reports on Israel was removed from the UN website under pressure from the United States and Israel. What was the content of the report, and why was there so much sensitivity about it?
A: My report was temporarily removed from the UN website in either 2009 or 2010, but interestingly, not at the initiative of either Israel or the United States, but by the Palestinian Authority, which represents Palestine at the UN. Their sole objection to my text was its acknowledgment of Hamas as the administering authority of Gaza, ineffective control of the governing process, reflecting both through its electoral victory in the 2006 elections in Gaza and as a result of the expulsion of Fatah forces associated with the Palestinian Authority during the following year.
What is worse (during the Oslo process), the Palestinians went along with their own entrapment, somehow thinking that they would be rewarded by their cooperative attitudes.It was the mere mention of Hamas that disturbed and agitated the PA to the point of seeking my resignation as SR, especially after I criticized aspects of the PA administration of the West Bank and their surprising controversial support of Israeli and U.S demands that the UN disregard the recommendations of the Goldstone Report that had been critical of Israel’s violation of the Laws of War during Operation Cast Lead, its devastating military attack on Gaza that started at the end of 2008 and lasted for several weeks in January 2009. After failing to oust me from my position, the PA shifted its tone and posture, and for the remaining years of my mandate was cooperative, and did not subsequently object to my reports even when the role of Hamas was discussed.
Q: You have repeatedly criticized Israel’s policies and considered the peace process as a hoax. Why do you think this process is a hoax?
A: Maybe the word ‘hoax’ overstates my view, which was that the peace process as structured and implemented greatly favored Israel, discriminated against Palestine to such an extent that it was naïve to expect a sustainable and just peace to emerge from such one-sided diplomacy. This basic imbalance was evident in a number of respects. Above all, the framework for negotiations was seriously flawed by giving the United States, an overt and unconditional supporter of Israel, the inappropriate role of intermediary or ‘honest broker.’ This flaw exhibited itself by diplomats and staff representing the United States in the course of the Oslo process often being closely identified with the Zionist Movement, including being drawn from former employees of the pro-Israeli extremist lobbying group AIPAC. Such partisanship also explained the U.S. pressure on the Palestinian negotiating team not to object to settlement expansion or press other legal grievances as such objections would disrupt the peace process, insisting that such issues be left unresolved until ‘final status’ negotiations occurred at the last stage of the process, which was never reached. This pressure to mute international law objections to Israeli expansionism was perversely coupled with Washington’s acceptance of ‘facts on the ground’ as taking precedence over legal objections to the settlements, in effect, punishing Palestinians for following the advice to defer objections. This play of arguments reveals the entrapment of the Palestinians by the Oslo process—instead of insisting to Israel to freeze settlement activity to safeguard the diplomatic prospects, it exerted pressure on the Palestinians to suppress their objections to Israeli unlawful behavior, which by its nature, threatened reaching a two-state compromise. What is worse, the Palestinians went along with their own entrapment, somehow thinking that they would be rewarded by their cooperative attitudes.
The framework for negotiations was seriously flawed by giving the United States, an overt and unconditional supporter of Israel, the inappropriate role of intermediary or ‘honest broker.’The Oslo process was a trap from which the Palestinians never escaped, and ended up worsening Palestinian prospects as well as inflicting additional torments, including the frequency and viciousness of settler violence directed at Palestinian residents of the West Bank. Indeed, the dynamics of this Oslo period from 1993 until the start of the Trump presidency in 2017 was to raise Israeli expectations with respect to its maximal territorial ambitions, and to depress Palestinian hopes of reaching a political compromise in the form of the co-existence of separate sovereign states enjoying equal standing in international society. It became evident, as well, that Israeli internal politics drifted steadily to the right, partly reflecting the increasingly leverage of the settler movement. These developments made it increasingly clear that a two-state political compromise was no longer seen by the Israeli leadership as an expedient goal. In effect, it was no longer necessary to hide the Israeli belief that the West Bank, known in Israel by its biblical names of Judea and Samaria, was an integral element of the entitlement of the Jewish people to the land of Palestine as interpreted by mainstream Zionism as ‘the promised land.’ Some Zionists, attached to the ‘democratic’ claim attached to Israel’s political identity, worried that annexing the West Bank would explode a demographic bomb that would make it impossible to hide the apartheid nature of the Israeli state.
Q: U.S. President Donald Trump has now proposed a so-called Deal of the Century, and Israel is seeking to annex the West Bank. How do you evaluate this process?
A: As the occupation continued, and Israel’s annexationist moves met with only token international resistance, there was a noticeable shift in the outlook of Netanyahu, the dominant Israeli political figure of the period, from an international posture favoring political compromise to an outcome reached unilaterally in the form of an imposed Israeli one-state solution. When Trump arrived in the White House in early 2017 this shift for the first time enjoyed the explicit geopolitical support of the U.S. government, and need no longer be hidden from view. In this atmosphere Israel moved to affirm its claims to most of the promised land, and relinquished any attachment to ‘peace’ through negotiations, even negotiations biased in their favor.
The Trump Plan, whether known as ‘the deal of the century’ by its official name of ‘From Peace to Prosperity’ gives its seal of approval to the Israel vision of a one-state solution, slightly disguised by designating areas set aside for Palestinian administration as ‘a State,’ what was correctly associated with the Bantustans established by the apartheid regime in South Africa to hide the ugliest features of racist domination and exploitation.
The Trump Plan, whether known as ‘the deal of the century’ by its official name of ‘From Peace to Prosperity’ gives its seal of approval to the Israel vision of a one-state solution, slightly disguised by designating areas set aside for Palestinian administration as ‘a State,’ what was correctly associated with the Bantustans established by the apartheid regime in South Africa to hide the ugliest features of racist domination and exploitation. As is now known to the world, even the PA was unable to treat the Trump Plan as a serious negotiating proposal, correctly dismissing it as a blueprint for the Israeli one-state victory scenario. Israeli plans to annex a large portion of the West Bank by de jure enactment, on the basis of a green light from Washington, seems likely to be implemented in coming months, although opposed by some prominent security officials in Israel and even by maximalist Zionists on the grounds either of imperiling the Jewish demographic majority or provoking a surge of renewed Arab and international support for Palestinian grievances, and perhaps a trigger for a third intifada.
It should be internationally understood that the Trump Plan lacks any respectable international backing, and as such is in no way deserving of respect at the UN or elsewhere. It is an extremely partisan and arrogant set of proposals that are inconsistent with international law, the UN consensus, and elementary morality. Rather than being seriously considered, it should be summarily dismissed as an irrelevant geopolitical attempt to deny the Palestinian people of their inalienable right of self-determination.
Q: May 15 marked the 72nd anniversary of the establishment of Israel, and all through these years Israel has been supported by countries such as the United States and Britain. It is also noticeable that countries are consenting to Israel’s occupation. Please explain?
A: The core rationale of support for Israel over the years has changed. Back when Israel was established in 1948 the public mood was shaped by the experience of World War II, including an acute sense of guilt on the part of liberal democracies in the West as having done so little to oppose Nazi racism toward Jews. From the start of the Zionist Project in the late 19th century anti-Semitic governments in Europe oddly shared the goal of Zionists of inducing Jews to leave their countries, and were eager to encourage emigration to Palestine. These attitudes underlay the 1917 colonialist initiative of the UK, known to the world as the Balfour Declaration, by which Britain pledged to look with favor on the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine although the Jewish minority was less than 8% and the Arab majority was never consulted. The more politically active personalities in Palestine opposed the idea of a Jewish homeland in their midst from the beginning. In that sense, Western support rested on these rather weak moral foundations that were not even consistent with regional strategic interests such as access to (Persian) Gulf oil reserves, trade routes, and leverage in the post-Ottoman Arab world. Zionism in Palestine turned against its British backer when Arab unrest in the 1930s led to some limits being imposed on Jewish immigration to Palestine, and the more militant Zionist militias started an ‘anti-colonial’ war in Palestine despite themselves being colonists. Of course, this was not so unusual in the British experience, having their earlier memories of the American Revolutionary War waged by their own colonists to gain political independence.
This hostile propaganda (against Palestinians), popularized by Hollywood movies demonizing Arabs and glorifying Israelis, bestowed on Israel the political space to impose an apartheid structure of control over the Palestinian people as a whole, and to avoid any international accountability relating to its defiance of international law beyond token expressions of disapproval from European capitals and Washington whenever Israel’s provocations could not be entirely ignored.
In Palestine, as elsewhere, British divide and rule tactics during its administration of Palestine between the two world wars suggested to the UN that partition, again without consulting the smaller, yet still Arab majority, was the solution, which in turn sparked a series of regional wars, culminating in the 1967 War. In that war Israel demonstrated its military prowess, and was no longer regarded by American policymakers as a troublesome burden of conscience for the United States, but was seen as a reliable strategic ally in a turbulent region, and Israel has remained reliable over the course of the last fifty years. All in all, Israel made this unusual transition from being a burden of conscience to becoming a geopolitical junior, often not so junior, partner of the United States. In the process of a string of military defeats of the Arab countries by Israel, especially the 1973 War, there was a gradual weakening of regional support for the liberation of Palestine, and more of an Arab elite disposition to normalize the presence of Israel, and more recently join in an implicit coalition confronting Iran with the lead role being assumed by the U.S., a result of Trump’s tightening regional alignments with Israel and Saudi Arabia during the last four years. The Jewish diaspora also provided a major source of Zionist pro-Israeli leverage around the world, first, in the post-Holocaust context, and after 1967, in the course of celebrating Israel’s military successes and modernizing record of achievement.
Throughout the process, the native Palestinian population was Orientalized, denigrated as ‘backward’ and inclined toward ‘terrorism.’ This hostile propaganda, popularized by Hollywood movies demonizing Arabs and glorifying Israelis, bestowed on Israel the political space to impose an apartheid structure of control over the Palestinian people as a whole, and to avoid any international accountability relating to its defiance of international law beyond token expressions of disapproval from European capitals and Washington whenever Israel’s provocations could not be entirely ignored. Although Israel has benefitted over the decades from American aid and support and European less blatant support, Israeli leadership has always had a Plan B. Israel, sought by every means to be self-reliant with respect to its security, highlighted by its covert acquisition and development of a nuclear weapons arsenal. In this sense, unless there are important shifts in the outlook of Arab governments (although not among the captive populations), even the withdrawal of U.S. support, which seems highly unlikely, would not make Israel much more vulnerable to external pressures.
Q: Based on the realities on the ground, it seems that the only way for the Palestinian people to get their rights is to resist the Israeli occupation. What is your opinion?
A: In view of the considerations discussed above, the most opportune Palestinian strategy would be to give up hopes under present conditions for reaching a satisfactory solution through diplomacy or at the UN. A more promising Palestinian strategy, additional to continuing acts and displays of resistance, is to encourage pressures mounted by the global solidarity movement including at the UN. Such campaigns can gain inspiration from the South African worldwide anti-apartheid movement, which overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve an unexpected, mostly bloodless, victory over racism in the form of a nonviolent transition to multi-racial constitutional democracy.
The UN should not be forgotten. It remains a crucial site of struggle in waging what I have in the past referred to as ‘the legitimacy war’ fought to gain control of world public opinion, as well the high ground of public morality and international law. It should be appreciated that since 1945 the side that prevailed in the legitimacy war, rather than the side that controlled the battlefield, usually achieved political victory in the end. Gandhi appreciated the role of international public opinion in changing the balance of forces in India against the British Empire as did Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam in leading the defeat of overwhelmingly superior American military capabilities. Each conflict has unique characteristics, but the Palestinian struggle, despite present difficulties, can draw hope from the historical record of liberation and self-determination struggles of the past 75 years, and it is winning the legitimacy war, despite the Zionist defamatory pushback.

On The Current International Zionist Smear Campaign

truth will sets you free.jpg

 A Statement by Gilad Atzmon

“The criminalization of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the west.” Glenn Greenwald 19.7.2017

Together with veteran Pink Floyd star Roger Waters and many other artists and thinkers worldwide, I am being subjected to an international smear campaign, orchestrated and promoted by various Zionist institutions that attempt to silence every form of legitimate dissent of Zionism and Israeli politics.

Local councils, clubs and festivals that promote my music or my thoughts around the world are being subjected to a barrage of emails sent in a clear and malicious attempt to slander me. In these emails I am called an ‘anti-Semite’, ‘bigot’, ‘racist’, ‘Holocaust denier’, and so on.

This duplicitous campaign of fabrication is addressed by me here. I delve onto each of the false quotes attributed to me and provide my original words instead.

Obviously, there is no truth in any of this.  As a writer I have indeed criticised Israel and other manifestations of Jewish political exceptionalism, I critically analysed Zionism, Jewish politics, ideology and identity politics in general. I do believe that all states, ideologies and politics must be subject to criticism, but I have never criticized Jews (or anyone else for that matter) as people, as a race or as a biological entity. In fact, my work is deeply anti-racist and focuses only on the political and the cultural.

Update: 1. in January 2018 Gilad Atzmon was listed amongst ‘one hundred living peace and justice activists, advocates, models.’ 

Unfortunately, there are some who are engaged in relentless censorship and book burning and we must never permit them to succeed. Intellectual freedom and tolerance are precious Western values which we must defend at all odds. So in case you feel the need to address some of those hateful operatives, here are a few points you might wish to take into account.

1.    From its day of inception, my own musical group, the Orient House Ensemble (OHE) has been a melting pot for artists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, including Jewish, Black, Arab and Romani musicians – hardly a ‘bigoted’ setting.

2.    Despite increasingly tough ‘hate speech’ laws in the UK, Europe and the USA, I have never once been questioned by any law enforcement authority about any of my writings or public appearances. My views and thoughts are well within the strict boundaries of the law in the UK, EU and every other Western country.

3.    I have been accused of being a ‘Holocaust denier.’ This is clearly not the case. I do not deny the Holocaust, but I do insist that this chapter in our past should be treated not as a religion or dogma, but must, like all other events in the past, be subject to scrutiny and open discussion.  Despite Germany and Austria’s stringent Holocaust denial laws, my books and writing are translated and published in both countries and I perform and teach there regularly without ever being subjected to any legal issues.

4. My detractors currently spread an outrageous lie about me that I advocated synagogues burning. Needless to mention that this is a total fabrication that was initially attributed to me in a Guardian article back in 2005. However, the Guardian was very quick to correct its mistake and published my letter to clarify this misquote:

“Quote, misquote

Your quote (‘Boycott threat to Israeli colleges’, News, last week) of my saying ‘I’m not going to say whether it is right or not to burn down a synagogue, I can see that it is a rational act’ is inaccurate and taken out of context. By no means did I justify any form of violence against Jews, Jewish interests or any innocent people. In the School of Oriental and African Studies we were debating the question of rationality of anti-semitism. I claimed that since Israel presents itself as the ‘state of the Jewish people’, and bearing in mind the atrocities committed by the Jewish state against the Palestinians, any form of anti-Jewish activity may be seen as political retaliation. This does not make it right.
Gilad Atzmon
London NW2

5.    My work has been endorsed by some of the most respected humanists and scholars around. Here are just a few examples:

“A transformative story told with unflinching integrity that all (especially Jews) who care about real peace, as well as their own identity, should not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.” Professor Richard Falk
 United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Palestine

“Fascinating and provocative” Professor of Political Science, John J. Mearsheimer

 “Atzmon has the courage – so profoundly lacking among Western intellectuals” Professor of Sociology, James Petras

“Gilad’s book constitutes an excellent critique of Identity Politics in general and Jewish Identity Politics in particular from a humanistic perspective.” Professor of International Law, Francis A. Boyle

“Instead of King of the Jews. Perhaps Atzmon should be recognized as the prophet of old, At least in his self description and his outreach, this is the way he appears” Jewish theology Professor Marc Ellis

“A superb and necessary book that demystifies some “undeniable truths” about Jewish identity –
Gauden Sarasola, El Pais

  “Atzmon’s essential contribution to solidarity with Palestine is to help non-Jews realize that they are not always in the wrong when conflicts with Jewish organizations arise.” Science Professor Jean Bricmont

“Gilad Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who? is as witty and thought provoking as its title.  But it is also an important book, presenting conclusions about Jews, Jewishness and Judaism which some will find shocking but which are essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and the role they play on the world stage.” Publisher and Film Producer Karl Sabbagh

 “Gilad’s escape from spiritual claustrophobia towards a free and open humanitarianism is fearless” Legendary Musician Robert Wyatt

“It is excellent from beginning to end.  very well-organized and well-articulated arguments.” Revolutionary Songwriter David Rovics

“In his inimitable deadpan style, Atzmon identifies the abscess in the Jewish wisdom tooth – exilic tribalism – and pulls it out. Ouch!” Eric Walberg, Al Aharam Weekly 

 “A fascinating achievement” Law professor Oren Ben Dor,

“Gilad Atzmon is someone who encompasses what it means to be an intellectual.” Kim Petersen, Dissident Voice

Being In Time

Gilad Atzmon’s book Being In Time: A Post Political Manifesto is available now on: Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com and gilad.co.uk.   Donate

Imam Khomeini had a rather practical turn of mind: Falk

TEHRAN – Forty-one years have passed since Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, upon failure to attract popular support, fled Iran forever

January 17, 2020 – 13:2

Over the past decades, despite being faced with threats, provocations, harsh sanctions, and even a variety of covert interventions, Iran has been more stable than ever- a fact even acknowledged by Professor Richard Falk as the former UN Special Rapporteur.

Falk, who came to Tehran as a member of an American delegation in 1979, has an interesting narrative of Bakhtiar’s desperation on the day of Shah-Escape. 

As Iran marks 41th anniversary of Islamic revolution, we asked Professor Falk to share his experience from this historical trip and the visit he later had with the founder of Islamic republic of Iran Ayatollah Khomeini. 

Richard Anderson Falk is an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University. He is the author or co-author of 20 books and the editor or co-editor of another 20 volumes. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967.   

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: Before Iran’s Islamic revolution, as a member of an American delegation, you had a visit to Iran. What were the objectives of that trip?

A: I was chair of a small committee in the United States with the name, “Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Iran,” which sponsored events with Iranian students and some prominent figures. It became active within university settings as the revolutionary movement gathered momentum in 1978.

The Committee had almost no funding, but had dedicated members, and achieved a certain visibility as there was so little attention being given to these historic developments in Iran unfolding as the months passed. The treatment of these issues in the mainstream media was not only mostly very pro-Shah but also quite uninformative, and even uniformed.

It was in this context that I received as chair of the Committee an invitation from Mehdi Bazargan to visit Iran in a delegation of three persons for a period of two weeks. The stated purpose of the visit was to convey to several Americans a better understanding of the revolution underway. I felt that it was important to accept this invitation precisely for the reasons given in the letter of invitation. Our objective, then, was to achieve this better understanding of the revolution movement in Iran, and do our best after returning to share the experience and our impressions as widely as possible, and this is what we did.

In this spirit I did my best to find two persons who would benefit from such a visit, possessed an open mind toward the challenge being posed to imperial rule in Iran, and had some access to media and influential audiences back in the United States. My first two choices both agreed to become members of the delegation along with myself. Ramsey Clark was my first choice. He had been prominent in government, having been Attorney General, was part of a well-known political family, and had previously been considered a possible candidate for the American presidency. Besides being extremely intelligence, Ramsey had a high profile that generated great media interest and had a reputation for telling unpleasant and inconvenient truths.

My second choice was Philip Luce, a prominent religious activist who achieved world fame by his public acts of opposition to the Vietnam War. He was a person of the highest integrity, and fearless in searching for the truth in controversial political settings.
The three of us made the trip without deep prior personal associations, but we got along very well throughout our time together in Iran, and subsequently. 

Q: How different was what you witnessed from the US media narratives of the Iranian revolution’s developments?

A: The differences were spectacular. The US media conveyed very little understanding of the character of the movement in Iran, and was perplexed by its strength and outlook. At the time, the Shah’s government was a close ally of the United States in the midst of the Cold War, and Iran’s strategic location with respect to the Soviet Union made it very important to Washington to keep the Shah’s regime in control of the country. As well, the US Government, having played an important role by way of covert intervention in the 1953 coup that restored the Shah to the Peacock Throne, there was a particularly strong commitment made in Washington to doing whatever was necessary to defeat this nonviolent mass movement led by a then still rather obscure religious figure. It was deemed unthinkable within the United States government that such a seemingly primitive movement of the Iranian people could produce the collapse of the Iranian government that had mighty military and police capabilities at its disposal, possessed a political will to use lethal ammunition against unarmed demonstrators, and gained the geopolitical benefits of a ‘special relationship’ with the most powerful state in the world deeply invested in upholding its regional interests. In such a setting the media reflected the propaganda and ideological outlook of the government, and was not a source of independent and objective journalism.

It was in such an atmosphere that we hoped that we could bring some more informed and realistic commentary on the unfolding revolutionary process in Iran, including identifying its special character as neither left nor right, seemingly led by a religious leader who remained virtually unknown in the West. It was even unclear to us at the time of our visit whether Ayatollah Khomeini was the real leader or only a figurehead, a temporary phenomenon. We hoped to provide some insight into such questions, as well as to understand whether the new political realities in Iran would produce confrontation or normalization. Was the United States prepared, as it was not in 1953, to live with the politics of self-determination as it operated in Iran or would it seek once more to intervene on behalf of its geopolitical agenda? 

Indeed, we did have some effect on the quality of Western media coverage of the developments in Iran. Ramsey Clark and myself were invited to do many interviews and asked for to describe our impressions by mainstream TV channels and print outlets. As a result, at least until the hostage crisis, discussion of Iran Politics became more informed and some useful political debate emerged, at least for a while.  

Q: You met the then Prime Minister of Iran Shapour Bakhtiar on the same day when Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left Iran. What was Bakhtiar’s assessment of the developments including Shah’s departure?

A: We had the impression from our meeting that the Prime Minister was uncertain about the situation and his own personal fate. Of course, we met with Mr. Bakhtiar at a tense time, only a very few hours after the Shah was reported as having left the country. Bakhtiar had a reputation. of being hostile to intrusions of religion in the domain of politics, and had a personal identity strongly influenced by French culture along with its very dogmatic version of secularism. When we met, the city of Tehran was in a kind of frenzied mood, with cars blowing their horns in celebration, and posters of Khomeini appearing everywhere. We had trouble maneuvering through the traffic so as to keep our appointment.

We found Mr. Bakhtiar cautious and non-committal, and possibly intimidated, not by us, of course, but by the dozen or so others in the room who were never introduced, and wore the clothes associated with security personnel. We assumed that at least some of these anonymous individuals were from the SAVAK, and maybe explained partly why Bakhtiar seemed so uncomfortable. When we asked his help in arranging a visit to prisoners confined in Evin Prison, he seemed unable to answer until he received guidance from one of these advisers present in the room. After a short, whispered instruction, the Prime Minister told us that a visit could be arranged on the following day to the political prisoners, but that we would not be allowed to enter the part of the prison reserved for common criminals. After being at the prison, we felt that the political prisoners were treated well, seen as possibly of a future ruling elite, while the ordinary criminals held no interest for past or present, and lived in crowded cells often with no windows.

Overall, we were left with not much clarity about how Bakhtiar viewed the future of his caretaker government. We had no real opinion on whether what he was saying to us with the others in the room was what they wanted him to say, or expressed his real views, or maybe reflected some sort of compromise. Would he be soon replaced, and his own role challenged as unlawful, or even criminal? We had the impression of a frightened bureaucrat lacking in leadership potential. Maybe our impressions were distorted by the reality that our visit took place at such a tense and difficult moment, which turned out to be transformative for the country and its people. As a result these impressions of a sad and entrapped individual may leave too negative a picture.  

Q: What was the Central Intelligence Agency’s assessment of the Iranian revolution’s developments? Did CIA have a lucid exact assessment of the revolutionary forces and Iran’s future political system?

A: We had no contact with the CIA, but did meet with the American ambassador to Iran at the time, William Sullivan, who had a counterinsurgency background with a militarist reputation. He gave us a briefing that was much more illuminating as to Iranian developments than was our meeting with the Prime Minister. Sullivan acknowledged that the U.S. was caught off guard by both the character and the strength of the movement, and was struggling to keep up with events. He told us that the Embassy had previously constructed no less than 26 scenarios of political developments that might threaten the Shah’s leadership, but not one was concerned about a threat to the established order mounted by Islamically oriented opposition. The American preoccupation, reflecting Cold War priorities, limited its concerns to containing the Marxist and Soviet-oriented left, and the belief that to the extent there was a political side to Islam it was aligned with the West in its anti-Communist agenda as evident in the setting of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. 

Somewhat to our surprise, Sullivan spoke of his acute frustrations in dealing with the Carter presidency, especially with the National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who he claimed to be unwilling to accept the finality of the Shah’s loss of power or of the outcome of the revolutionary movement. Sullivan advocated coming to terms with the emerging new realities as representing America’s national interests, but he spoke very clearly of the resistance to this view at the White House. Sullivan partly attributed this stubbornness to the influence of the Iranian ambassador on. Brzezinski, a view later supported by State Department officials. 

Q: What were the issues discussed at a meeting you had in Neauphle-le Chateau with the late Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini and how would you describe his personality?

A: We met for a long time, maybe three hours, and covered many issues. During the conversation, after some rather long introductions on our sides about our experience in. Iran, we listened and responded to concerns expressed by Ayatollah Khomeini. After that we posed a series of questions. I will mention here a few topics discussed that have a lasting interest. 

Ayatollah Khomeini’s first and understandable concern was whether the US Government would try to repeat the intervention of 1953 or live with the outcome of the revolution. Of course, we were not in a position to give a clear answer. We did think there was less disposition by the US to intervene than 25 years earlier, but we knew of the strategic importance attached to keeping Iran allied to the US in Cold War contexts and of the personal as well as ideological closeness between Carter and the Shah, especially after the Carter family spent New Year’s Eve in Tehran as the Shah’s guest in 1978, and Carter made his famous toast about the Shah being surrounded by the love of his people.

Ayatollah Khomeini was also concerned about whether the military contracts with the United States would be fulfilled now that there would be a change of government in Iran. This line of questioning gave us a sense that Ayatollah Khomeini had a rather practical turn of mind.
At the same time, he volunteered the view that he hoped that soon he would be able to resume his religious life, and explained taking up residence in Qom rather than Tehran seemed consistent with such an intention. Ayatollah Khomeini told us that he has reluctantly entered politics because in his words ‘there was a river of blood between the Shah and the people.’

When we asked for his hopes for the revolutionary government, this religious leader made clear that he viewed the revolution as an Islamic rather than an Iranian occurrence. He stressed this issue, but without any sectarian overtones. He did go on to say that he felt that the basic community for all people in the Islamic world was civilizational and religious, and not national and territorial. Ayatollah Khomeini explained in ways I subsequently heard from others, that territorial sovereign states built around national identity did not form a natural community in the Middle East the way it did in Europe.

Ayatollah Khomeini also made clear to us that he viewed the Saudi monarchy was as decadent and cruel as was the Shah, and deserved to face the same fate. He felt that dynastic rule had no legitimate role in Islamic societies.

We also asked about the fate of Jews and Bahais in the emergent Islamic Republic of Iran, aware of their close working relationships with the Shah’s governing structure. We found the response significant. He expressed the opinion that Judaism was ‘a genuine religion’ and if Jews do not get too involved in support for Israel, they would be fine in Iran. His words on this, as I recall them, were ‘it would be a tragedy for us if they left.’ He viewed Bahais differently because of their worship of a prophet after Mohammad, leading him to adopt the view that Bahais were members of ‘a sect’ and did not belong to ‘a true religion,’ and thus its adherents would not be welcome in the new Iran. Afterwards, I learned that Ayatollah Khomeini intervened to oppose and prevent genocidal moves being advocated in relation to the Bahai minority living in Iran, but I have no confirmation of this. 

Q: What was the last US Ambassador to Iran William Sullivan’s mission? He is known to be an anti-riot man. Did he give any intellectual help to Iran military or SAVAK (the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service in Iran during the reign of the Pahlavi)?

A: Of course, Sullivan never would tell us about his covert activities. He had the reputation of being ‘a counterinsurgency diplomat’ as he had served in Laos as an ambassador during the Vietnam War. It was at a time that the embassy was being used to take part in a Laotian internal war that included directing US bombing strikes against rebel forces.

With this knowledge, I was invited to testify in the U.S. Senate to oppose his confirmation. Unfortunately, my testimony did not prevent him from being confirmed as ambassador to Iran, although several senators at the time indicated to me privately their agreement with my testimony, but were unwilling to reject President Carter’s choice so early in his presidency. When in Iran I urged the meeting, and Ramsey Clark was skeptical at first, saying that he had had an unpleasant encounter with Sullivan some years earlier. I convinced Ramsey that the credibility of our trip would be compromised if we made no effort to get the viewpoint of the American Embassy. We did make an appointment, Sullivan’s first words as we entered were “I know Professor Falk thinks I am a war criminal..” Yet he welcomed us, and talked openly and at length about the situation and his efforts to get Washington to accept what had happened in Iran. In retrospect, I think he hoped we would be a vehicle for making his views more publicly known.

He made the point that there were no social forces ready to fight to keep the Shah in power. The business community, or national private sector, was alienated by the Shah’s reliance on international capital to fulfill his development plans. The armed forces were also not favorable enough to the throne to fight on its behalf, complaining that the Shah’s abiding fear of a coup mounted against him, created distrust of his own military commanders, and led him to frequently shuffle the leadership in the armed forces. This resulted in a low level of loyalty, and helps explain why the military watched the political transformation take place without showing any pronounced willingness to intervene, despite being nudged in an interventionary, especially in the context of a visit by an American NATO general at the height of the revolutionary ferment. The general was widely reported to be exploring whether it was plausible to encourage the Iranian military to defend the established order. 

We also asked about what would happen to the surviving leaders from the Shah’s government who had been accused of crimes against the Iranian people. Ayatollah Khomeini responded by saying that he expected that what he called ‘Nuremberg Trials’ would be held to hold accountable leading figures from the fallen government, and some from bureaucratic backgrounds, including SAVAK officials. We wondered why this plan was not later followed, and why those from the Shah’s regime accused were often executed after summary, secret trials. We knew some of those who had led the revolution had received support from the CIA during their period as students overseas or even when serving as mosque officials, which would be damaging and confusing to make public at a time of such uncertainty. It is important to remember that until the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Western intelligence assumed that the anti-Marxist approach of those of devout Islamic faith would make all religiously oriented personalities strong allies of Western anti-Communism, a view that persisted to some extent until after the Afghanistan resistance to Soviet intervention which was headed by Islamic forces, and was only decisively shattered by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in the United States. 

Q: Why did the liberal–Islamist groups fail to secure the support of Ayatollah Khomeini at the end of the day?

A: It is difficult for an outsider like myself to comment on the internal politics in that revolutionary period. The situation in Iran was still fluid, and worries about a counterrevolutionary coup to bring the Shah back to his throne a second time were widespread. Added to this, the change in Iran came so quickly. Several secular personalities of liberal persuasion told us that ‘the revolution happened too quickly. We were not ready.’ 

Ayatollah Khomeini while still in Paris, seemed originally to believe that liberal Islamically oriented bureaucrats would be needed to run the government on a day to day basis. He may have envisioned a governing process relying on technical experts, especially to achieve good economic policies and results that he thought necessary to keep the support of the Iranian masses. Such expectations seem to be not entirely consistent with the vison of Islamic Government set forth in his published lectures, available to us in English, that were written while he was living as an exile in Iraq. His insistent theme in the lecture was that a government consistent with Islamic values could not be reliably established on democratic principles without being subject to unelected religious guidance as the source of highest authority.

We also were aware of several other explanations for this about face on the governing process. Some in Iran believed that Ayatollah Khomeini only discovered his political popularity after he returned to the country, and this made him believe he had a mandate to impose a system of government that reflected his ideas. Others offered the opinion that he became convinced by his entourage of advisors that the revolutionary spirit and agenda was being lost by the liberals, and hence were urging him to take direct and visible charge of the government. And finally, there arose the view that the liberals were given a chance, and their performance disappointed Ayatollah Khomeini, leading him to reenter politics and move to Tehran to lead the country. As far as I know, this story of transition from the Pahlavi Era to the Islamic Republic remains veiled in mystery.  Hopefully, before long the mystery will disappear with the appearance of more authoritative accounts of what transpired after the Ayatollah Khomeini returned to the country.

What we do know is that what was established in this transition period has survived for more than 40 years despite being faced with threats, provocations, harsh sanctions, and even a variety of covert interventions. Arguably, Iran has been as stable as any country in the region, and more stable than most. This is impressive, although it does not overcome some criticisms directed at violations of basic human rights of people in Iran.

The Irrelevance of Liberal Zionism

Global Justice in the 21st Century

 

Frustrated by Israeli settlement expansion, excessive violence, AIPAC maximalism, Netanyahu’s arrogance, Israel’s defiant disregard of international law, various Jewish responses claim to seek a middle ground. Israel is criticized by this loyal opposition, sometimes harshly, although so is the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and activists around the world. Both sides are deemed responsible in equal measure for the failure to end the conflict. With such a stance liberal Zionists seek to occupy the high moral ground without ceding political relevance. In contrast, those who believe as I do that Israel poses the main obstacle to achieving a sustainable peace are dismissed by liberal Zionists as either obstructive or unrealistic, and at worst, as anti-Israeli or even anti-Semitic.

 

Listen to the funding appeals of J Street or read such columnists in the NY Times as Roger Cohen and Thomas Friedman to grasp the approach of liberal Zionism. These views are…

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Renaming the 1948 War: Partition, Dispossession, and Fragmentation

Source

1948 War

Controlling the Discourse

Israel has been brilliant over the years in shaping and misdirecting the public discourse on the future of Palestine. Among its earliest achievement along these lines was the crucial propaganda victory by having the 1948 War known internationally as the ‘War of Independence.’ Such a designation erases the Palestinians from political consciousness, and distorts the deeper human and political consequences of the war. Language matters, especially in vital circumstances where there are winners and losers, a reality that applies above all to a war of displacement.

It took decades for the Palestinians to elevate their experience of the 1948 war to even the consciousness of those on an international level who supported the Palestinian national struggle for self-determination. Even now more than 50 years after the war, the ‘Nakba’ by which the 1948 war is known to Palestinians remains internationally obscure.

The word signifies ‘catastrophe,’ which is associated principally with the dispossession of at least 700,000 non-Jewish residents of Palestine, what became the state of Israel after 1948, and subsequently, with the denial by Israel of any right of return for those Palestinians who abandoned their homes and villages out of fear or as a result of Israeli coercion. This double process of dispossession and erasure was reinforced powerfully by the bulldozing and utter destruction of 400-600 Palestinian villages in the new state of Israel.

Even those who have this revisionist awareness rarely convey a sense of the Nakba as a process, not just a calamitous event. For those Palestinians dispossessed of home, property, community, employment, and dignity, their life, that of their families, and that of subsequent generations has been generally ‘a living hell’ as a consequence of either enduring the misery and humiliation of long-term residence in refugee camps or experiencing the various vulnerabilities and rootlessness of involuntary and permanent exile. In other words, the tragedy of the Nakba began and did not end with the traumas of dispossession, but rather continued in the ordeals that followed, which must be considered as inseparable from the originating catastrophe.

The UN Partition Resolution

For many reflective Palestinians, the decades since 1948 have intensified the ordeal that followed from the struggle for control of territory and elemental rights that followed from GA Resolution 181 adopted by a vote of 33-13 (with ten abstentions, one absent), in November 29, 1947. The Israeli mastery of the public international discourse was expressed by dramatizing the Zionist acceptance (as represented by the Jewish Agency for Palestine) of the proposed partition of historic Palestine while the Palestinians, their Arab neighbors, as well as India and Pakistan, rejected it declaring above all that partition without the consent of the inhabitants of Palestine was a flagrant violation of the UN Charter promise of the right of self-determination, entailing peoples choosing their own political destiny.

at least 700,000 non-Jewish residents of Palestine, what became the state of Israel after 1948, and subsequently, with the denial by Israel of any right of return for those Palestinians who abandoned their homes and villages out of fear or as a result of Israeli coercion.

This clash of attitudes was then interpreted in the West as demonstrating the reasonableness of the Zionist approach to the complexities associated with two contradictory claims of right regarding self-determination and territorial sovereignty. The Zionist/Israeli spin claimed a readiness to resolve the conflict by way of political compromise while contrasting and denigrating the Palestinian approach to the future of the country as exclusivist and rejectionist, even as genocidal, implying an alleged Arab resolve to throw Jews into the sea, a contention that naturally agitated an extremely sensitive post-Holocaust Western liberal political consciousness. A more objective rendering of the opposed viewpoints of the two sides supports a set of conclusions almost totally the opposite of what has been sold to the world by an Israeli narrative of the UN partition initiative and its aftermath that despite these contrary considerations remains dominant.

After an understandable initial Palestinian reflex to repel Jewish intruders intent on occupying and dividing their homeland of centuries, it has been the Palestinians, not the Israelis, who have been proposing a compressive compromise and it is the Israelis who, by and large, subscribe to the view that the Jewish ‘promised land’ incorporates the West Bank and the unified city of Jerusalem, and any dilution of these goals would be a fundamental betrayal of the Zionist project to restore fully a mythic ‘biblical Israel’ in the form of a sovereign state.

The more ideological Israelis, including Menachem Begin, (commander of the Zvai Leumi Irgun, 6th prime minister of Israel, 1977-83) were outspoken critics of partition in 1947, anticipating correctly that it would produce violence, and believing that Israel would only achieve its security and complete the Zionist Project by engaging in military operations with the object of territorial expansion. David Ben-Gurion, the master Zionist tactician and the first and foremost Israeli leader, shared Begin’s skepticism about partition, but favored it for pragmatic reasons as a step toward the fulfillment of the Zionist Project, but not the end of it. Partition was provisional, to be followed by seeking to complete the Zionist agenda, which is precisely what unfolded ever since 1947.

Partition was a familiar British colonial tactic that complemented their ‘divide and rule’ strategy of occupation was proposed for Palestine as early as 1937 in the report of the Peel Commission, but in view of the desire for Arab cooperation in World War II, the UK uncharacteristically backed away from their advocacy of partition for Palestine. In a later white paper the British declared partition to be ‘impractical’ as applied to Palestine, and somewhat surprisingly abstained from the vote on GA Res. 181.

Prolonging the Palestinian Ordeal

At least since the PLO decision in 1988 to accept Israel as a legitimate state and offer normalization of relations if Israel followed the prescriptive provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 242, that is, withdrawing to the 1967 green line borders and agreeing on arrangements for an effective resolution of the refugee issue. The Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 added regional inducements to the PLO offer of political compromise, and this too was met by Israeli silence and a lackluster response in the West.

The Oslo diplomacy was a one-sided failure. It never produced proposals on the disputed issues in ways that contained any reasonable prospect of bringing the conflict to a sustainable end while allowing Israel valuable time to keep expanding their network of unlawful settlements, a form of creeping annexation that served, as well, to make the two-state mantra more and more of a cruel chimera, useful to pacify international public opinion that sought a sustainable peace for both peoples and an end to the conflict..

More objectively considered, these dual reactions to the partition solution can be deconstructed. The Zionist movement at every stage took what it could get, and then went about creating conditions on the ground and diplomatically for getting more, by expanding their political demands and expectations, or as sometimes observed, ‘shifting the goalposts.’

Reliance on such ‘salami tactics’ can be traced back at least as far as the Balfour Declaration when Zionists accepted the terminology of ’national home’ despite their aspirations from the outset to establish a Jewish state that disregarded Palestinian moral, legal, and political rights. Recent archival research has made it increasingly clear that the real Zionist goal all along was the imagined Israel of biblical tradition, ‘the promised land’ that deemed to encompass all of the city of Jerusalem, as well as the area known internationally as ‘the West Bank’ and in Israel as ‘Judea and Samaria.’

And with respect to the Palestinian response, initially ardently supported by the entire Arab world, as well as most countries with majority Muslim populations, rejection of the UN approach was based on the extent to which partition bisected Palestine without any process of consent by, or even consultation with, the majority resident population.

It was an arrogant effort by the UN, then under Western control, to dictate a solution that was not sensitive to Palestinian concerns or in keeping with the spirit or letter of its own Charter. To treat Palestinian rejection of GA Res. 181 as indicative of anti-Semitism or even rejectionism is to accept an explanation of the disastrous legacy of partition that conforms to the Israeli narrative that misses the real dynamic at work that has kept the conflict alive all these decades. To this day Israel continues to create conditions that diminish Palestinian prospects while subtly depicting the Zionist Project as in reasonable pursuit of previously undisclosed ambitions with greater clarity.

This leads to the central question that also includes reasons why the Israelis did also not want partition, but felt correctly that its provisional and temporary acceptance was a way of gaining more political space both for maneuvering and for showing the world its reasonable face that included a commitment to peace. In contract, the Palestinians felt shut out and humiliated by the way the future of their society was treated by the UN and the West, and yet didn’t want to alienate the international community, especially Washington.

This kind of attitude meant lending credence to the 1993 Oslo Framework of Principles, and acting as if the ‘peace process’ had something to do with ‘peace.’ This accommodationist mode of diplomacy practiced by the Palestinian Authority over the course of the last 25 years while Israel annexed and Judaized East Jerusalem and penetrated more and deeply into the West Bank created the impression in many circles, including Palestinian and others, that the Palestinian Authority was not nearly rejectionist enough, and either naively playing a losing hand or completely failing to understand the real Zionist game plan.

‘The Partition War’

To circle back to the contention that language is itself a site of struggle, it become desirable, even now, more than 70 years later, to call the 1948 War by a name that reveals more clearly its essential and flawed character, and this name is The Partition War.

Only by such a linguistic move can we begin to understand the extent to which the international community, as embodied in the UN, was guilty of original sin with respect to the Palestinian people, and their natural rights, as well as their legal entitlements and reasonable political expectations.

Endorsing the partition of Palestine was what I would describe as a ‘geopolitical crime.’

 

The Green(stein)-Eyed Monster

February 27, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Devon Nola

Tony Greenstein has been having a tough time, lately. He was recently expelled from the Labour Party for misbehaving. Actually, being antisemitic is what he was accused of. It’s ironic as I see him as one of the hardest working Jews to protect Jews. It’s his top priority. Or is it? At least equally important, if not more so, is over-indulging his clear obsession with jazz artist/philosopher, Gilad Atzmon. He credits Atzmon with the formation of his blog site so as to have a platform on which to display his, in my opinion, homoerotic sweet-tooth for Atzmon.

It’s Atzmon’s alleged anti-semitism that seems to get Greenstein’s knickers in a twist, but it’s worth emphasizing it is Greenstein who got the boot from the Labour Party, not Atzmon. Frankly, I don’t think Tony deserves it, either. As I said, it is the preservation of the Jewish reputation that drives Greenstein, so much so that he believes he gets to determine what is “real” antisemitism and he’s shifty enough to wrap it in a Palestinian flag. Tony likes to play the “good Jew”, but it is Atzmon who, for at least a decade, has been brave enough to dig deep into the nuances of Jewishness and what it means to be/identify as a Jew. Atzmon isn’t interested in protecting Jewishness. He is more about liberation and seeking truth. Atzmon has a horse in this race, after all. He was born in Israel and its only natural for truth-seekers to want to understand whence they came and how it relates to the world around them. Atzmon rarely, if ever draws conclusions or offers solutions. As a philosopher, he refines the questions. For some reason, Atzmon’s questions make Greenstein nervous as a long-tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

Greenstein’s latest meltdown has him hurling accusations of holocaust denial at Atzmon . Apparently, Greenstein doesn’t want the philosopher to pose questions about or defend anyone’s right to delve into this historical event. Like many others in his tribe, he wants the primacy of Jewish suffering never to be questioned. Is it possible he knows what should be concealed?. He has a lot of rules regarding what should and shouldn’t be discussed which is rather peculiar as he fancies himself a fighter against fascism.

I watched Greenstein’s interview with George Galloway and his hypocrisy was tangible (https://youtu.be/n1PTeqbSXLM). Galloway quoted the Jewish sage, Hillel, “that which you hate, do not do to others” to which Greenstein seems to be in full agreement with. In fact, this little profundity also graces the top of Greenstein’s Twitter page. Yet, he makes a career out of doing the opposite. His Twitter feed is one ugly tweet after another as he rabidly makes personal attacks on anyone he doesn’t like, calling them Zios (short for Zionist), anti-Semites, racists, or what appears to be the ultimate blow, an Atzmonite and then blocks them. I have a second a account which allows me to indulge a guilty pleasure of observing Tony come off the rails on a daily basis with the periodic “Free Palestine” thrown in for good measure. But none of these verbal abuses carry as much venom as those lobbed at Atzmon. See, Atzmon doesn’t follow Greenstein’s rules of (Jewish) engagement, which are to stick to the script of criticizing Israel and Israel, only. Zionism is fair game as well, but don’t dare make any connections between the Jewish state and Jewishness. That’s when he starts foaming at the mouth. It’s important to mention the full Hillel quote; “That which is hateful unto you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary. Go forth and study”. This is the big reveal, as it is my assessment Hillel’s quote was not a universal statement but rather instructions for how Jews should be treating other Jews. Who else reads the Torah? . If one lives within a cultural or religious ghetto, it is your own kind that are your neighbors. So, it seems somewhat fitting Greenstein favors this quote. However, he seems to have some difficulty staying within even the narrow parameters this quote provides. For Tony, it only applies to those he deems kosher, his fellow AZZ activists. Hillel also offers us this pearl of wisdom: “if I am not for myself, who is for me”. This isn’t a universal attitude, this is possibly the core philosophy of Judeo centricism. It seems to depict Israeli attitude toward Palestinians and African migrants. It also sheds light on the ugliness of JVP and the rest of the AZZ community, who favor going after genuine seekers of truth like Alison Weir, Richard Falk and of course, Gilad Atzmon. Sadly, Jewish voices for peace becomes Jewish voices for Jews.

It’s my belief he is envious of Atzmon, to a suffocating degree. No one really pays attention to Greenstein. Maybe he wants to be Atzmon or at least garner the accolades of Atzmon, but I don’t think this is possible. It takes some talent. He would have to leave the safety of his tribe, leave the ghetto, become an ordinary human and take a long hard look in the mirror. The evidence suggests he’s not wired to do this. As soon as the pathetic Labour kicked him out, he completely reverted to type. He became a Jewish victim, the rabbi’s son. He seems to use this line of defense every time he gets into trouble. So, instead, he will continue to devote a blog site to the man he secretly admires, lamenting over that which he cannot attain.

Prof’ Richard Falk on Trump and Being in Time

November 22, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

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In Taking Stock: One Year After Trump professor  Richard Falk dissects the universe in which we live in the light of Trump’s reign. Towards his conclusion, Falk writes the following paragraph on Being in Time – A Post Political Condition.  

“…as Gilad Atzmon persuasively argues in Being in Time, a politics of reason has been thrown disastrously off course by the impact of a liberal discourse infected by the taints of ‘political correctness’ and ‘identity politics,’ which substitutes conformity and allegiance for truth-seeking and acknowledgements of the impurities of social reality. Without a suitable discourse respectful of the contingencies and unevenness of reality we cannot find the pathways to humane political behavior. To be sure, the Mammonite discourse of the Trump brand of right-wing politics is certainly no better, offering a greed-saturated form of materialism that feeds the limitless appetite of the very richest among us while manipulating and repressing the rest of us. As Atzmon provocatively insists, this absence of a trustworthy discourse by which to express grievances and aspirations is why it clears the air to admit that our epoch has become ‘post-political,’ at least for now.” (https://richardfalk.wordpress.com)

I must admit that after what Falk went through following his endorsement of The Wandering Who? I expected him to stay away.  I was obviously wrong. Prof Falk. Is a man of courage who speaks out and tells the truth as he sees it.

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto,

Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and  here (gilad.co.uk).

‘International law clearly on the side of Palestinians’

Richard Falk: ‘International law clearly on the side of Palestinian

‘International law clearly on the side of Palestinians’

Ex-UN rapporteur Richard Falk, who co-wrote report accusing Israel of imposing ‘apartheid regime’, spoke in Istanbul

World Bulletin / News Desk

A former United Nations human rights investigator and emeritus professor of international law at Princeton University in the U.S. said it was “clear that [on] all the major issues international law is strongly on the side of Palestinians”.

“Looking at Israel-Palestine from the perspective of international law is interesting on its own independent of how one views the substantive issues,” Richard A. Falk said during a conference titled “Palestine, Apartheid and Future” at Istanbul Sebahattin Zaim University on Wednesday.

“It is interesting because on the one side it is clear that [on] all the major issues international law is strongly on the side of Palestinians whether it is a matter of the illegal settlement, the blockade of Gaza, the annexation of Jerusalem, the diversion of water, the use of excessive force, very important issue, the right of return of refugees,” Falk told a crowd of mostly students in Istanbul.

Israel occupied the Palestinian territories, along with Syria’s Golan Heights, after defeating Egypt, Jordan and Syria during the 1967 six-day war, later annexing East Jerusalem, claiming the entire city as its “eternal and undivided” capital.

Israel has since made peace with Jordan and Egypt — returning the captured Sinai Peninsula to the latter — and now boasts of improved ties with other Arab states, which have offered to recognize Israel in return for a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.

This proposal for a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, has long been demanded by the Palestinians and is generally accepted by the international community.

Numerous rounds of peace talks, however, have so far failed to make it a reality.

“Every important issue is rather clearly and decisively in favor of the Palestinian position. And that’s has been true for decades now for at least the 70 years that Israel has existed as a state and a member of the United Nations,” Falk said.

“And yet nothing has happened to implement the international law as it should be implemented if it is to be in force against the strong and weak equally,” he added.

According to the former UN human rights investigator this is a “precondition of any kind of real legal system”.

“Law is not really a law if it is not applied to all that are subject to its authority. So you have this sense that this international law favors the Palestinians but it does not make any difference,” he added.

“Their situation has gotten worse and worse over the years,” he said.

Falk added international law still remained “extremely important” for the Palestinians as an instrument for achieving their goals of self-determination and sustainable peace.

The former UN human rights rapporteur for the occupied territories, Falk is the co-writer of a UN report, which accused Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” on the Palestinian people — the first time a UN agency had leveled such an allegation.

The report commissioned by the Beirut-based UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) said Israel had “established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”. It said there was “overwhelming evidence” of Israel’s guilt of the “crime of apartheid”.

UN Under-Secretary-General Rima Khalaf resigned from her post after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres forced her to withdraw the report.

 

On The Current International Zionist Smear Campaign

July 24, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

A Statement by Gilad Atzmon

“The criminalisation of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the west.” Glenn Greenwald 19.7.2017

Together with veteran Pink Floyd star Roger Waters and many other artists and thinkers worldwide, I am being subjected to an international smear campaign, orchestrated and promoted by various Zionist institutions that attempt to silence every form of legitimate dissent of Zionism and Israeli politics.

Video:  https://youtu.be/kaWRu0nvEr8

Local councils, clubs and festivals that promote my music or my thoughts around the world are being subjected to a barrage of emails sent in a clear and malicious attempt to slander me. In these emails I am called an ‘anti-Semite’, ‘bigot’, ‘racist’, ‘Holocaust denier’, and so on.

Obviously, there is no truth in any of this.  As a writer I have indeed criticised Israel and other manifestations of Jewish political exceptionalism, I critically analysed Zionism, Jewish politics, ideology and identity politics in general. I do believe that all states, ideologies and politics must be subject to criticism, but I have never criticized Jews (or anyone else for that matter) as people, as a race or as a biological entity. In fact, my work is deeply anti-racist and focuses only on the political and the cultural.

Unfortunately, there are some who are engaged in relentless censorship and book burning and we must never permit them to succeed. Intellectual freedom and tolerance are precious Western values which we must defend at all odds. So in case you feel the need to address some of those hateful operatives, here are a few points you might wish to take into account.

1.    From its day of inception, my own musical group, the Orient House Ensemble (OHE) has been a melting pot for artists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, including Jewish, Black, Arab and Romani musicians – hardly a ‘bigoted’ setting.

2.    Despite increasingly tough ‘hate speech’ laws in the UK, Europe and the USA, I have never once been questioned by any law enforcement authority about any of my writings or public appearances. My views and thoughts are well within the strict boundaries of the law in the UK, EU and every other Western country.

3.    I have been accused of being a ‘Holocaust denier.’ This is clearly not the case. I do not deny the Holocaust, but I do insist that this chapter in our past should be treated not as a religion or dogma, but must, like all other events in the past, be subject to scrutiny and open discussion.  Despite Germany and Austria’s stringent Holocaust denial laws, my books and writing are translated and published in both countries and I perform and teach there regularly without ever being subjected to any legal issues.

4.    My work has been endorsed by some of the most respected humanists and scholars around. Here are just a few examples:
“A transformative story told with unflinching integrity that all (especially Jews) who care about real peace, as well as their own identity, should not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.” Professor Richard Falk United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Palestine

“Fascinating and provocative” Professor of Political Science, John J. Mearsheimer

“Atzmon has the courage – so profoundly lacking among Western intellectuals” Professor of Sociology, James Petras

“Gilad’s book constitutes an excellent critique of Identity Politics in general and Jewish Identity Politics in particular from a humanistic perspective.” Professor of International Law, Francis A. Boyle

Instead of King of the Jews. Perhaps Atzmon should be recognized as the prophet of old, At least in his self description and his outreach, this is the way he appears” Jewish theology Professor Marc Ellis

“A superb and necessary book that demystifies some “undeniable truths” about Jewish identity –
Gauden Sarasola, El Pais

“Atzmon’s essential contribution to solidarity with Palestine is to help non-Jews realize that they are not always in the wrong when conflicts with Jewish organizations arise.” Science Professor Jean Bricmont

“Gilad Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who? is as witty and thought provoking as its title.  But it is also an important book, presenting conclusions about Jews, Jewishness and Judaism which some will find shocking but which are essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and the role they play on the world stage.” Publisher and Film Producer Karl Sabbagh

“Gilad’s escape from spiritual claustrophobia towards a free and open humanitarianism is fearless” Legendary Musician Robert Wyatt

“It is excellent from beginning to end.  very well-organized and well-articulated arguments.” Revolutionary Songwriter David Rovics

“In his inimitable deadpan style, Atzmon identifies the abscess in the Jewish wisdom tooth – exilic tribalism – and pulls it out. Ouch!” Eric Walberg, Al Aharam Weekly

“A brilliant analysis that makes what appear to be contradictions in Jewish identity based political behavior not only comprehensible but predictable.” Jeff Blankfort, Jewish Solidarity Campaigner

“A fascinating achievement” Law professor Oren Ben Dor,

“Gilad Atzmon is someone who encompasses what it means to be an intellectual.” Kim Petersen, Dissident Voice

Gilad Atzmon’s book Being In Time: A Post Political Manifesto is available now on: Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com and gilad.co.uk.   

“Official” UK anti-Semitism definition gets two-finger salute from legal experts

April 03, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

By Stuart Littlewood

The enemies of free speech were having a whale of a time – until this week. Britain’s political parties, further education establishments and BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) groups had been bludgeoned into silence on Israel’s crimes by a bogus definition of anti-Semitism formally adopted and deployed by government, police and assorted pro-Israel pimps, stooges and creeps.

Their bully-boy tactics have now been upset by Free Speech on IsraelIndependent Jewish VoicesJews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who asked top legal experts for an opinion on this sinister farce.

Wilfully flawed definition

The root cause was been an exceptionally silly, non-legally binding working definition of anti-Semitism issued by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as follows:

Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee accepted the IHRA definition subject to the inclusion of two caveats:

  • It is not anti-Semitic to criticise the government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.
  • It is not anti-Semitic to hold the Israeli government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli Government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.

The Select Committee recommended this amended definition be “formally adopted by the UK government, law-enforcement agencies and all political parties, to assist them in determining whether or not an incident or discourse can be regarded as anti-Semitic”. The government agreed but dropped the caveats, saying they weren’t necessary.

Definition “too vague to be useful”

Eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC has sharply criticised the definition.

Firstly, it wasn’t a legally binding definition so didn’t have the force of a statutory one. And it couldn’t be considered a legal definition of anti-Semitism as it lacked clarity. Therefore, any conduct contrary to the IHRA definition couldn’t necessarily be ruled illegal.

Secondly, the language was far too vague to be useful as a tool, and it was “most unsatisfactory for the government to adopt a definition which lacks clarity and comprehensiveness”. In Tomlinson’s view, the government’s decision to adopt the IHRA definition was simply a freestanding statement of policy – a mere suggestion as to a definition of anti-Semitism that public bodies might wish to use. No public body was under an obligation to adopt or use it, or, given the unsatisfactory nature of the definition, should be criticised for refusing.

He warned that if a public authority did decide to adopt the definition then it must interpret it in a way that’s consistent with its statutory obligations. In particular, public authorities cannot behave in a manner inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Freedom of expression applies not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population”. Unless, of course, they amount to a call for violence or a justification of violence, hatred or intolerance.

A further obligation put on public authorities is “to create a favourable environment for participation in public debates for all concerned, allowing them to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”.

So, in Tomlinson’s opinion the IHRA Definition does not mean that calling Israel an apartheid state that practises settler colonialism, or advocating boycott, divestment or sanctions (BDS) against Israel, can properly be characterised as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, a public authority seeking to apply the IHRA definition to prohibit or punish such activities “would be acting unlawfully”.

Government’s “naive stance”

Retired Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley also weighed in with advice, criticising the IHRA working definition for lack of legal force. “At the same time, it is not neutral: it may well influence policy both domestically and internationally.”

He added that the right of free expression, now part of our domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act, “places both negative and positive obligations on the state which may be put at risk if the IHRA definition is unthinkingly followed”. Moreover, the 1986 Education Act established an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions “which cannot be cut back by governmental policies”.

According to Sedley, the IHRA definition is open to manipulation. In his view, “what is needed now is a principled retreat on the part of government from a stance which it has naively adopted in disregard of the sane advice given to it by the Home Affairs Select Committee”.

Many objections to this “official” anti-Semitism definition, and the way it is used, are underpinned by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which says:

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
  • The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Also, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights bestows on everyone “the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. All such rights, of course, are subject to the usual limitations required by law and respect for the rights of others.

Attempt to bury UN report on Israeli apartheid

Perhaps university vice-chancellors and party leaders will now find the backbone to resist the bluster and intimidation of the pro-Israel lobby, especially after the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) produced a report (on 15 March) establishing what most of us have known for donkey’s years: that Israel is a thoroughly nasty apartheid regime.

The report was authored by Richard Falk, Professor of International Law and Practice Emeritus at Princeton University and a former UN human rights rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, and Virginia Tilley, Professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University. It established on the “basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid”. Such was the fuss kicked up that it has been withdrawn from UN websites.

But don’t worry, you can read it in full here. If short of time skip to the Conclusions (page 52), which include:

The authors urge the United Nations to implement this finding by fulfilling its international responsibilities in relation to international law and the rights of the Palestinian people as a matter of urgency, for two reasons.

First, the situation addressed in the report is ongoing… In the case of Israel-Palestine, any delay compounds the crime by prolonging the subjugation of Palestinians to the active practice of apartheid by Israel. Prompt action is accordingly imperative to avert further human suffering and end a crime against humanity that is being committed now.

Secondly, the extreme gravity of the charge requires prompt action. Since the 1970s, when the international campaign to oppose apartheid in southern Africa gathered momentum, apartheid has been considered in the annals of the United Nations and world public opinion to be second only to genocide in the hierarchy of criminality.

This report accordingly recommends that the international community acts immediately, without waiting for a more formal pronouncement regarding the culpability of the state of Israel, its government and its officials for the commission of the crime of apartheid…

The authors of this report conclude that the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the contention that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people. The prohibition of apartheid is considered “jus cogens” in international customary law. States have a separate and collective duty (a) not to recognise an apartheid regime as lawful; (b) not to aid or assist a state in maintaining an apartheid regime; and (c) to cooperate with the United Nations and other states in bringing apartheid regimes to an end [my emphasis]. A state that fails to fulfil those duties could itself be held legally responsible for engaging in wrongful acts involving complicity with maintaining an apartheid regime.

Another excellent piece of work by Richard Falk, for which he’ll get no thanks. As many of you know, he is himself Jewish.

British Academia Faces Zionist Hooliganism (must watch)

March 31, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

With Jonathan Hoffman in the Train- An expose of Zionist hooliganism at the heart of British academia. What you are about to see is disturbing, it is violent, it is vile, it is totally foreign to Western culture. Beware…

 

History needs David Irvings

"History needs David Irvings" says LSE history professor Donald Cameron Watt

“History needs David Irvings” says LSE history professor Donald Cameron Watt

March 26, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

Introduction by Gilad Atzmon:

I learn from the Times of Israel that the LSE (London chool of Economics) is “investigating anti-Semitic comments at (Professor Richard) Falk’s event”.  The LSE will look into “alleged hate speech at an event they hosted on Monday night, when audience member Gilad Atzmon, told students to read the works of notorious Holocaust denier David Irving.”

I look forward to hearing from the LSE ‘investigating team’,  just so I can remind them that recommending human beings to read books is actually what universities are for.

But I will also mention to the LSE investigatory unit, that my views of Irving’s importance are actually identical to those of one of LSE best historians , Professor Donald Cameron Watt who, in 2000, claimed that “History needs David Irvings” and “The truth needs Irving’s challenges to keep it alive.”

Sooner or later, the LSE will have to decide whether it is an Athenian institute subscribing to Logos and free intellectual exchange, or whether it prefers to engage in Jerusalemite book-burning. It will have to choose whether it endorses Karl Popper’s vision of the ‘Open Society’ or whether it prefers  to switch sides and become simply the ‘Enemy’

What follows is Professor D.C. Watt’s article, as published by the London Evening Standard,  April 11, 2000

History needs David Irvings

 

By Donald Cameron Watt

The libel case brought by historical writer David Irving against Penguin Books and American academic Professor Deborah Lipstadt ends today. Professor Lipstadt had, so Mr Irving complained, accused him of being a “Holocaust denier”, in the words of her counsel, “not a historian but a falsifier of history”.

“Holocaust denial” is a clumsy term for those who deny that the Holocaust, Hitler’s deliberate attempt behind the cloak of total war to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe, happened, and alleges that the notorious “death camps”, Auschwitz, Birkenau, Theresienstadt and others, equipped with gas chambers and mass crematoria in which upwards of six million men, women and children were done to death, were inventions of Soviet or British intelligence or propaganda or both.

Eight months before the case came to court, The New York Times asked a number of leading American and British historians whether they regarded Irving as being a historian “of repute”. The large majority of those polled, ranging from the ultra-conservative Right to the ex-communist Left, answered yes. Only those who identify with the victims of the Holocaust disagreed. For them Irving’s views are blasphemous and put him on the same level of sin as advocates of paedophilia. In a number of countries “Holocaust denial” is a crime. In Britain and America pressure is brought on publishers not to print works embodying this version of history. Irving claimed the accusation to be a threat to his livelihood; he sought compensation; and he sought to silence his critics. Make no mistake, however. Both sides in this action were engaged in what that great historian R H Tawney once called “the gladiatorial school of historical controversy”.

Penguin was certainly out for blood. The firm has employed five historians, with two research assistants, for some considerable time to produce 750 pages of written testimony, querying and checking every document cited in Irving’s books on Hitler. Show me one historian who has not broken into a cold sweat at the thought of undergoing similar treatment.

For what it is worth, I admire some of Mr Irving’s work as a historian. Thirty-five years ago I collaborated with him in the publication of a lengthy German intelligence document on British policy in the 12 months before the British declaration of war on Germany in September 1939. Ten years ago he published, on his own in German, a revised version of the book. From every point of view it was a considerable advance on the work I had collaborated on. He had found a lot more documents and had identified and inter-viewed a number of officers of the organisation in question. In the American archives he had found a lengthy post-war American evaluation of the organisation, incorporating a British intelligence document, which will now, we hope, be released to the Public Record Office. Irving’s book, The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe, is still recommended by historians of the war in the air.

That is one side of Irving.

As a historian he betrays some of the characteristic faults of the self-taught. He refuses to look beyond the documentation. Like every victim of con-artistry he is beguiled rather than warned by evidence which seems to confirm his views. He can be seduced by the notion of conspiracies, to mislead, to cover up the misdeeds of the “good guys”. He has a flair for self-publicity. He has also an encyclopaedic knowledge of the truly enormous mass of German documentation which fell into the hands of the victors in 1945. Moreover, his first book, on the bombing of Dresden, opened to him private papers, diaries and so on, previously unknown, of “respectable” German officials who had gone along with the Nazis. No book of his has ever failed to come up with new evidence.

He has earned a considerable income from his books, especially since the first volume of his Hitler studies. He is translated into numerous languages. And he has taken up positions which have led to his being banned from entry into various countries. The defence made much of this in court. There are videos of him addressing neo-nationalist audiences in Germany – he speaks German fluently, having learned it as a steel worker before he began writing – in which he both looks and sounds uncannily like Hitler.

Professional historians have been left uneasy by the whole business. Many distinguished British historians in the past, from Edward Gibbon’s caricatures of early Christianity to AJP Taylor, are open to the accusation that they allowed their political agenda and views to influence their professional practice in the selection and interpretation of historical evidence.

As for conspiracy theorists, I see that yet another book on “the Hess conspiracy” and yet another allegingthat President Roosevelt had prior knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are about to appear. There are prominent American academics whose careers suffered no setback despite their denying the scale and scope of Stalin’s purges. All “round objects”, of course, but I have not noticed any books attacking the perpetrators of such twaddle.

The worst outcome of this case could be to drive the Holocaust denial school back into the depths from which Irving “outed it”. The process has begun already with the circulation of a private newsletter soliciting support. This is how it used to be, with privately printed pamphlets arriving on one’s desk in plain brown envelopes. There are always those who believe that what “they” won’t let one read must be true. A lot of them work in the media. And any criminal nonsense can be defended by calling it “controversial”.

I know the Holocaust happened. I grew up among those who were fortunate to escape it. But what happens when the witnesses are all dead, if the reality has not been thrashed out? The truth needs an Irving’s challenges to keep it alive.

Moral Failure at the United Nations

By Lawrence Davidson

March 24, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  On 15 March 2017 the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published a report on Israeli practices and policies toward the Palestinians. Using international law as its comparative criterion, the report came to a “definitive conclusion” that “Israel is guilty of Apartheid practices.” The term Apartheid was not used in the report merely in a “pejorative” way. It was used as a descriptor of fact based on the evidence and the accepted legal meaning of the term.

Such was the immediate uproar from the United States and Israel that U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in a moment of moral failure, ordered the report’s withdrawal. The head of ESCWA, the Jordanian diplomat Rima Khalaf, decided that she could not, in good conscience, do so and so tendered her resigation.

Reportage

The initial New York Times coverage of the incident paid little attention to the accuracy of the report, an approach which, if pursued, would have at least educated the Times’ readers as to the real conditions of Palestinians under Israeli domination. Instead it called the report, and those involved in producing it, into question. For instance, the NYT told us that “the report provoked outrage from Israel and the United States.” The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, was quoted as declaring that, “when someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the U.N. it is appropriate that the person resign.” At no point in the NYT story was it noted that Ms Haley’s charge that the report was false, was itself false. Other coverage by the NYT improved only slightly.

The NYT did pay attention to the fact that, among the authors of the report, was former U.N. human rights investigator Richard Falk. Falk served six years as U.N. Spacial Rapporteur for the Occupied Territories. According to the NYT, his presence had to “gall[ed] many Israeli supporters who regard him as an anti-Semite.” There is something troubling about a newspaper that claims to represent the epitome of professional journalism reporting such slurs without properly evaluating them. Richard Falk, who is Jewish, has an impeccable record of both academic achievement and public service. His reputation for honesty and dedication to the cause of human rights exemplifies the best practice of Jewish values. Thus, he has every right to say that “I have been smeared in this effort to discredit the report” – a study which “tries its best to look at the evidence and analyze the applicable law in a professional manner.”

Israel’s Behavior

An objective consideration of Israel’s behavior makes it hard to escape the brutal reality of its officially condoned practices.

On 17 March 2017, at the same time as the forced withdrawal of the ESCWA report, the U.S. State Department released a report on “grave violations against Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation.” This was part of the department’s annual “country reports on human rights practices.” Among the problems cited were Israel’s practice of unlawful detention, coerced confessions and excessive use of force, including torture and killings.

Usually these annual human rights reports are made public by the Secretary of State. This year Rex Tillerson, who presently holds the office, was nowhere in sight. And, of course, President Trump failed to issue any of his characteristic tweets in reference to the Israel’s barbaric behavior.

Earlier, on 8 February 2017, it was reported that “Israel has banned anesthesia gas from entering the Gaza Strip.” There is a current backlog of some 200 patients in Gaza requiring surgical care, and some will die due to Israel’s ban.

A week later, on 14 February 2017, it was reported that Israeli officials were blackmailing Palestinian patients seeking permission to enter Israel for necessary medical treatment. A 17-year-old Gazan boy who suffered from congenital heart disease and needed a heart valve replacement “was explicitly told that in order to [leave the Gaza Strip and] have his operation, he would have to cooperate with the security forces and spy for Israel.” He refused and subsequently died. This is not a new or unusual tactic for the Israelis.

Blackmail All Around

The moral failure at the U.N., represented by the withdrawal of the ESCWA report, is the result of Secretary General Guterres’s decision to acquiesce in a denial of reality – the reality of Israel’s practice of Apartheid.

On the other hand, it probably also stems from Guterres’s acceptance of the reality of U.S. financial leverage along with the apparent threat to bankrupt the United Nations. This is, of course, a form of blackmail. Significantly, U.S. use of its financial clout at the U.N. mimics the same practice by the Zionist lobby in the halls of Congress.

Obviously the United Nations, to say nothing of U.S. politicians, needs alternate sources of income. My wife Janet once suggested that the UN be awarded the right to exploit and profit from all undersea resources. Not a bad idea. Likewise, U.S. politicians should agree to, or be forced to rely upon, government-based campaign funding rather than be pressed into putting themselves up for sale.

However, such changes do not appear imminent. As it stands now, reality in Palestine is what the Americans and Israelis say it is because politicians and international leaders literally can’t afford to challenge their corrupted views.

Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history. http://www.tothepointanalyses.com

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

Gilad Atzmon

Jewish history is a chain of disasters: inquisitions, holocausts and pogroms. Time after time, throughout their history, Jews find themselves discriminated against, persecuted and expelled and, to most Jews, this continuum of tragedy is largely a mystery. Yet one would expect that Jews, clever people for sure, would peer into their past, understand it and take whatever measures necessary to change their fate.

I was born and raised in Israel and it was many years before I realised that Israel was Palestine. When I was a young Israeli boy, the Holocaust and Jewish suffering were somehow foreign to me and my peers. It was the history of a different people, namely the diaspora Jews and we young Israelis didn’t much like their Jewish past. We didn’t want to associate ourselves with those people, so hated by so many, so often and in so many different places. Erasing two thousand years of imaginary ‘exile’, we saw ourselves as the sons and daughters of our Biblical ‘ancestors.’ We were proud youngsters and we were disgusted by victimhood.

So Jewish suffering has, in many ways, been a riddle to me. But yesterday, at the London School of Economics (LSE), I witnessed a spectacle of Jewish bad behaviour, so incredible, that much that hitherto had been unclear, suddenly became all too clear.

Yesterday, at a talk given by one of the greatest humanists of our generation, Professor. Richard Falk, it took Israel-advocate Jonathan Hoffman just sixty minutes of intensive hooliganism to cause him to be ejected from the hall.  As Hoffman and his associate were thrown out of the building, the entire room expressed their feelings by shouting “Out, out, out”

Hoffman wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill thug. Waving his Jewish nationalist symbols, he was acting openly as a Jewish-ethnic activist. Later I learned that he is associated with many Jewish and Zionist institutions: BOD, Zionist Federation and so on.

Behaving as he did with total disrespect to an academic institution, did Hoffman think that the LSE was some kind of yeshiva or perhaps just his local synagogue? I guess not. My guess is he just assumed that, like so many spaces in our country today, the LSE was simply ‘occupied’. It seems that merely the presence in a room of just one Zionist is enough to transform that room into occupied territory.

Never in my life have I seen an entire room so united in its outrage and if anyone within the Jewish community believes that hooliganism a la Hoffman & co is going to make Jews popular, they are wrong. Judging by the reaction I witnessed in the LSE yesterday, there is now total fatigue with Zionist thought control, book burning and brutality.

But I would also like to use this opportunity to issue a sincere apology. In Falk’s book launch yesterday, I suggested to a Palestinian supporter that, rather than reading Jewish historian David Cesarani on the Holocaust, he may like to give David Irving a try. Some Jewish students were outraged by my comment so I would like here to correct my statement, to make it more inclusive and categorical. Don’t just read David Irving. If you genuinely want to understand the world around you, make sure you hear every voice these people want to suppress and read every text these people try to burn.

If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

Once you’ve read it, you decide whether the text should make it to your bookshelves – or to the pyre.

So to Jewish thought-controllers and book burners, both Zionist and ‘anti’: You have clearly launched a war against academic freedom. You are engaged in thought-control and book burning. You have begun a fight with core Western values: openness, scholarship, tolerance. All those things associated, not with Jerusalem, but with Athens. I have no doubt that in this war you may win some battles, you may manage to cancel a talk here and there, you may even manage to burn a book or two.  But you will lose the war. Freedom will prevail, for the yearning  for freedom is engraved in the human soul.

I urge Jews and Jewish institutions to consider carefully whether their behaviour really serves Jewish interests. As the author of the most read book on Jewish identity politics, I can see in the making, a disaster.

Beware.

Jews on ‘Jewishness and Zionism’

Rehmat

The Jewish-controlled media rarely mentions the ‘self-hating Jews’ who claim that Jewish religion has nothing to do with Zionism or state of Israel. I can count many of them including Hajo Meyer, Shlomo Sand, Gilad Atzmon, Richard Falk, Israel Shamir, Medea Benjamin, and Paul Eisen. Hajo Meyer addressed Never Again for Anyone conference in Toronto (Canada) on January 31, 2011 (Listen below).

There are many Jewish organizations and on-line news sites which pretends to be anti-Zionism but support the so-called ‘Jewish uniqueness’ such as Jewish Voices for Peace, Jewish Witness for Peace and Friends, Mondoweiss,Jews San Frontiers, etc.

Jewish writer G. Neuburger explains the difference between Judaism and Zionism (here).

On July 30, 2016, Canadian journalist and author Eric Walberg posted an article on his blog, entitled, Renouncing Jewishness: Shlomo Sand and Gilad Atzmon. In case some reader may not know, Dr. Shlomo Sand is an apologetic Zionist Jew while Gilad Atzmon is a rebellious Jew.

The (Jew) exile legend is a myth. Shlomo Sand is a historian and couldn’t find any texts supporting it. The Romans did not exile peoples. “Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled.” Jews continued to live in the Holy Land through thick and thin, freer under Muslim rule than Christian, but even the latter never “ethnically cleansed” them. Most converted to Christianity or Islam. Voila! The (Christian, Muslim) Palestinians. However, a tiny core stuck stubbornly to the original monotheism, nurtured by the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BC (the only bona fide exile, the earlier Egyptian exile legend being crafted much later, when the Torah was written down and collected in the 3rd century BC),” says Walberg.

Jews are not a race but rather a collective of many ethnic groups who were hijacked by a late 19th century ‘national’ movement. There is no racial or ethnic basis for being Jewish any more than there is for being Christian or Muslim. The great majority of those who today consider themselves Jewish are descended from converts in Central Asia, eastern Europe and north Africa, not from ancient Hebrews expelled from the Holy Land by the Romans. They are not ethnic “Semites”, of near eastern origin, or ethnic anything else,” adds Walberg.

Ali Abunimah and the Zionist Narrative

Ali Abunimah and the Zionist Narrative


Ali Abunimah has been speaking to pro-Palestine groups in Australasia and last week was in Wellington, New Zealand, as a guest of the Wellington Palestine Group.

Abunimah has a profile as a pro-Palestinian activist and as a founder and editor of the blog Electronic Intifada. He is also known to be at the forefront of the campaign to purge from the pro-Palestine movement those who are not deemed to be sufficiently opposed to antisemitism. He has accordingly been described by his critics as a ‘gatekeeper on the payroll of his Jewish Zionist friends’, a ‘soft Zionist’, a ‘sabbos goy’ and many other things less printable.

My reading on Abunimah before the meeting revealed that he is associated with campaigns to vilify and exclude from the Palestine movement a considerable number of pro-Palestinian activists, including many of Jewish ancestry, like Richard Falk, John J. Mearsheimer, Gilad Atzmon, Paul Eisen, Jonathan Azaziah, and Israel Shamir, or Palestinian backgrounds, such as Samir Abed-Rabbo, Ramzy Baroud, Nahida Izaat, Sammi Ibrahim, Sameh Habib and Jonathan Azaziah.

He is also complicit in the attempt to ostracise the highly regarded Alison Weir of the Not in My Name campaign, which led to the resignation of the Free Palestine Movement from the US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation.

Perhaps the most famous, or infamous, example of Abunimah’s exclusion campaign is his statement calling for the disavowal of the ‘racism, antisemitism of Gilad Atmon’, signed by 22 Palestinian activists.

At the meeting in Wellington Abunimah gave a good speech about the current situation in Palestine, and then focused on the BDS campaign, though without addressing long-term solutions, eg whether there should be one or two states. He also mentioned the Palestinian killed by an Israeli soldier in Hebron recently.

I wanted to address the issue of Abunmah’s opposition to other activists, and began by referring to Gideon Levi’s article about the Hebron murder, quoting as follows:

‘Never have so many cheered such a vile murderer. …This combination of racism and thirst for blood is not only repulsive, it’s also volatile and dangerous… it’s doubtful there’s another Western society whose racism is accompanied by such bloodlust.’

I pointed out that while Levi’s target audience was the people of Israel, there are people whose focus is outside of Israel, aiming to change the mindset of individuals or communities, Jewish and/or non-Jewish, who support ethnic cleansing and land theft in Palestine. However Abunimah has worked to exclude many of these people from the movement such as Gilad Atzmon, Paul Eisen, Alison Weir …

At this point Abunimah interjected, declaring that it was not in his power to purge anyone. These people were all bigots and white supremacists. Abunimah was not going to debate with someone who supported racist bigots.

Based on my reading I had rather expected Abunimah would respond with a personal attack, and I wasn’t surprised that he should be less that honest about his involvement in shutting people out of the Palestine movement, though I would have liked to ask exactly why these people were ‘bigots’.

In the unlikely event I was allowed to continue, I had hoped to focus on the ‘disavowal’ of Atzmon. There have been some excellent responses to this statement (see below). Some concentrate on defending the various accusations levelled at Atzmon, while Nahida Izaat picks up on the Talmudic nature of the language used – she associates, for example, the word ‘disavowal’ with the Judaic concept of Herem, the ban imposed on an individual to separate from the rest of the community (Izaat’s findings were echoed by Atzmon, who commented that ‘we aren’t just dealing with a cult discourse, … we are actually dealing with a rabbinical operation that exercises the most repulsive Judaic excommunication tactics’).

I myself planned to address Abunimah regarding the narrative he espouses.

‘We reaffirm that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form with any conspiracy theories, far-right, orientalist, and racist arguments, associations and entities. Challenging Zionism … must never become an attack on Jewish identities, nor the demeaning and denial of Jewish histories in all their diversity. ‘

It is clear from this statement that, leaving aside the Palestine issue proper, Abunimah’s language and priorities are identical to that of the most extreme Zionist: the focus on antisemitism, conspiracy theories, and above all holocaust denial. These are the three main strategies for the Zionist activist.

Firstly, to keep the conversation fixed on antisemitism, to keep Palestinian activists tip-toeing round Jewish sensibilities in order to neutralise criticism. Hence the huge campaign against Gilad Atzmon, who calls out the Jewish community for their support for Israel.

Secondly, to carry out personalised and derogatory attacks against anyone who asks awkward questions. In her video presentation on how the CIA influences the media Sharyl Atkinson listed a few words which alert people to what she calls astroturfing, one of them being ‘conspiracy’ (‘astroturfers seek to controversialise those who disagree with them’). ‘Conspiracy theorist’ and ‘truther’ are terms commonly applied to those who investigate 9/11, though I have been called a ‘truther’ by Ahmad Idrees, when I produced evidence from MIT that the Syrian government can’t have been responsible for the Gouta sarin attack.

Most important for any Zionist is to protect the holocaust cult. So successful have Zionists been with regard to control of the holocaust narrative, that Germany, Austria and France are prepared to compromise themselves morally and intellectually by criminalising the dissemination of serious research into the holocaust. Anyone active on social media who has any contact with the subject knows that the very people who are totally callous when it comes to the abuses inflicted on Palestinians scream ‘Jew hate’ if one so much as defends someone who questions any aspect of the holocaust.

It is extraordinary that a pro-Palestinian activist should package up and present these three major Zionist strategies as fundamental to the Palestinian cause, that the sensibilities of those who support the most racist country in the developed world, arguably on the whole planet, should matter so much more to him than the Palestinian cause itself.

‘Contrary to the understanding and lopsided logic of Mr Ali Abunimah and his cohorts, discussing and criticising the ideologies, the politics, the aims, and the motivations of some Jewish Zionists or anti-Zionist persons or groups, is NOT anti-Semitic. Such criticism does not occur “simply because they are Jews”:

‘We criticise their obfuscation of truth, by acting as filterers of information, attempting to prevent people from learning about issues, vital to understanding the Palestinian catastrophe;

‘We criticise the hysterical manner in which they react against people who attempt to examine and understand the global and powerful Jewish-Zionist networks and lobby, their unrelenting support of “Israel” and it’s ramification on Palestine and the Palestinian cause’ (Nahida Izaat)

It is also consistent with Abunimah’s ‘soft Zionist’ viewpoint that, like all Zionists, he promotes the NATO discourse on the war on Syria, exemplified above all by his writings on the Yamouk refugee camp.

Abunimah is a strong advocate for BDS, which is supported by most Palestine activists. However, to return to the Wellington meeting, someone present asked how effective BDS can be if the US will always underwrite Israel – and we know that as things stand it will do just that. BDS should be combined with strong attacks on the communities that back Israel and on American acquiescence towards the power of AIPAC, and furthermore with questioning of the Zionist narrative and the motivations behind it. If Abunimah cannot be part of this, or at least back those who are, his usefulness to the Palestinian cause is questionable.

Bibliography

Ali Abunimah: Palestinian writers, activists, disavow racism, anti-Semitism of Gilad Atzmon
https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/palestinian-writers-activists-disavow-racism-anti-semitism-gilad-atzmon

A large number of activists, Jews, Palestinians and others, have replied to this, most being referenced after Roger Tucker’s article:

Yarmouk Refugee Camp

Abunimah has written several articles on Yarmouk, e.g. https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/dont-forget-us-here-photos-reveal-devastation-syrias-yarmouk-camp

Speakers Examine the Power of the Israeli Lobby in America

Last Friday a conference focusing on the power of the pro-Israel lobby in America was held in Washington. Organized by IRmep and the Washington Report on Mideast Affairs, the conference was entitled “The Israel Lobby: Is It Good for the US? Is It Good for Israel?” Speakers included Grant Smith, founder and director of IRmep; Richard Falk, professor emeritus at Princeton University and former UN special rapporteur for Palestine; former Congressman Paul Findley; Huwaida Arrraf, a Palestinian-American lawyer and human rights advocate; radio host Jeffrey Blankfort, and quite a number of others–some twenty speakers in all.

The above video is one of six that have been uploaded. You can go here to see a YouTube playlist, with links to all six videos, and here to see profiles of all the speakers. Panel topics included:

  • What is the Israel Lobby and How Does It Work?
  • Is Freedom of Speech Encouraged on American Campuses?
  • Is the Lobby Good for Israel?
  • How Does the Lobby Influence Congress?
  • Is There an Iraq-Iran Continuum?

I realize that a good many of the readers of this blog would most likely not be terribly excited over topic number three–my own personal view is that a peaceful dismantling of the Jewish state is the only hope for humanity–but I think the goal of the conference organizers, of course, was to reach out to as wide an audience as possible.

Suffice to say, however, that not everything you will hear expressed in all six videos are views you will agree with. But that is the way that these things go. Still, I think overall, an important conference–and of course it got no attention in the mainstream media.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Cambridge University: Israel is a ‘Rogue State’

On March 5, 2015, one of UK’s prestigious University of Cambridge voted overwhelmingly in favor of the motion, “This House Believes Israel is a ‘Rogue State’,” at the Cambridge Union Society. The motion was proposed by British journalist Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of Tony Blair, ex-prime minister of UK. She converted to Islam in 2010. Listen the debate below.

The Cambridge Union Society was founded in 1815. Its most notable past speakers included UK’s prime minister Winston Churchill, US president and Hollywood star Ronald Reagan, Buddhist spiritual leader Dalai Lama and Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.

In a packed debating chamber 51% students voted in favor of the motion, 19% voted against it while 30% abstained.

The proposition team included American academic professor Norman Finkelstein, author of one the best book on HolocaustThe Holocaust Industry; Palestinian academic professor Ghada Karmi (University of Exeter) and Jewish human rights activist Ben White.

The opposition team was lead by Vivian Wineman, president of UK’s powerful Jewish Lobby, the Board of Deputies of British Jews. She was assisted by Hannah Weisfelt, director of Israel lobby Jewish group Yachad and Davis Lewin, deputy director of another Israeli advocacy Jewish group, Henry Jackson Society.

Ben White’s views of the pathetic rants made by Wineman, Weisfelt and Lewin can be read here.

American academic and former special envoy of UNHRC in Palestine Richard Falk (Jewish), Talmiz Ahmad, former Indian diplomat, Gregory Shupak, lecturer at University of Guelph-Humber, Toronto, and Israeli academic professor IIan Pappe (University of Exeter, UK) have all called Israel Rogue State.

On December 4, 2013, American Jewish scholar, Dr. Noam Chomsky, called both the US and the Zionist entity Rogue Statefor their double standards over Iran’s nuclear program.

There are in fact two rogue states operating in the region, resorting to aggression and terror and violating international law at will: the United States and its Israeli client. Iran has indeed carried out an act of aggression: conquering three Arab islands under the US-backed Shah. But any terror credibly attributed to Iran pales in comparison with that of the rogue states,” Chomsky said.

Stephen Lendman, an American Jewish writer, called Israel rogue state on December 23, 2013.

Israel is no democracy. It never was. For sure it’s not now. Its current government is its worse ever. It’s dominated by right-wing (fanatic Zionist Jews),” he said.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

UN Expert Accuses Israel of Ethnic Cleansing, Apartheid

Local Editor A UN rights expert who probes the Zionist entity’s conduct towards Palestinians accused Israel on Friday of a campaign of ethnic cleansing and apartheid policies. “The realities on the ground are worsening from the point of view of both international law and from the point of view of the Palestinian people,” Richard Falk, an 82-year-old American who is an emeritus law professor at Princeton University, told reporters. UN expert Richard Falk Falk is due to step down this month as the UN Human Rights Council’s monitor for the Palestinian territories taken over by occupation enemy in 1967 — the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East al-Quds (Jerusalem). Since he was appointed in 2008, he said, Israel has built more settlements in Palestinian territories, imposed collective punishment on Gaza, demolished homes and repeatedly deployed excessive force. He also accused Israel of a “systematic and continued effort to change the ethnic composition of East Jerusalem” by voiding Palestinians’ residence permits, confiscating property and allowing unlawful Israeli settlements there. “This is systematic discrimination on the basis of ethnic identity, with the objective of creating a different demographic in Jerusalem,” he said, calling it a form of “ethnic cleansing”. “All of these features that are objectionable from the point of view of international law have continued and intensified during my six years,” he said. “What is called occupation is now more widely understood to be a form of annexation, the embodiment of apartheid in the sense that there’s a discriminatory dual system of law, giving legal protection to the Israeli settlers and subjecting the Palestinian population under occupation to a continuing existence without rights,” he added. Falk has repeatedly locked horns with Israel, the United States, Canada and some human rights groups for positions including labeling Israel’s 2008 offensive against Gaza a war crime, and urging a boycott of companies helping Israel’s settlement drive in the Palestinian territories. Washington has said he “should quit” his UN role, which like other rights monitors at the world body he holds on an unpaid, voluntary basis. Falk has brushed off the criticism. “Anyone who is 10 percent objective would come to similar conclusions about international law and international morality to the conclusions I’ve reached on the main issues that are in contention,” he said.

Source: AFP
21-03-2014 – 15:22 Last updated 21-03-2014

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