From the annals of an Israel hater: Richard Falk speaks

Fred Skolnik,

OpEds Fred Skolnik
Fred Skolnik
INN: FS

All of us are familiar with Richard Falk, professor of international law and self-styled "public intellectual," as the former UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights and author of a number of malicious reports slandering and defaming the State of Israel.

For what he is up to nowadays, the reader is invited to go to his blog and consider his 8 August entry: "Dreaming of Freedom: Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak" and the ensuing comments, including my own, though many were blocked by the Professor. Here is how the exchange ends:

Fred Skolnik, August 14, 2016 at 11:04 am #

As I wrote, Prof. Falk, the ploy of “depersonalizing” the most violent slander is unique to polemicists like yourself. No, you have not “replied in kind” to me, as you assert above, you have done much worse, because you do not seem to grasp that when you call Israelis Nazis and accuse them of genocide you are calling me a Nazi and accusing me of genocide. I served on active reserve duty in the Israeli army for nearly 20 years, searched Arab homes, arrested rock throwers, pursued terrorists, defended the country’s civilian population against barbaric attacks.

To suggest that any of this is Nazilike is simply repulsive and indicates that you, and certainly your admirers, have lost every modicum of restraint in venting your vindictive hatred of Israel. Exactly how do you expect someone you call a Nazi to respond to you?

Richard Falk, August 17, 2016 at 5:00 am #

I have never on this blog made any comparison between Israel and Nazism or Nazi behavior. How dare you pretend that you are dealing with such inflammatory accusations when in reality Israel is being accused of a variety of crimes by reference to international law. To exaggerate the allegation, and then complain about it, is to evade the substance of criticism. And you wonder why allegations of hasbara and troll flow in your direction.

And here are my replies, which Prof. Falk chose not to post:

You have made those inflammatory accusations outside this blog and the creatures whom you are continually praising have made them time and again on this blog and you yourself have thrown around the word genocide a few times too many, even featuring the word in your Categories, where you are constantly pushing Israel up against it. How dare you make such suggestions?

I doubt very much if you will have the courage to print this, that is, show the courage of your "convictions," but once again you are the one who has to live with yourself. Here are your own words:

From a BBC interview (2008):

“Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not. The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy.

“There were strong advance signals in 1994 of a genocide to come in Rwanda, and yet nothing was done to stop it; the UN and the world watched while the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of Bosnians took place, an incident that the World Court described as ‘genocide’ a few months ago; similarly, there have been repeated allegations of genocidal conduct in Darfur over the course of the last several years, and hardly an international finger has been raised, either to protect those threatened or to resolve the conflict in some manner that shares power and resources among the contending ethnic groups.

“But Gaza is morally far worse, although mass death has not yet resulted. It is far worse because the international community is watching the ugly spectacle unfold while some of its most influential members actively encourage and assist Israel in its approach to Gaza.”

From the BBC News (2008):

The next UN investigator into Israeli conduct in the occupied territories has stood by comments comparing Israeli actions in Gaza to those of the Nazis.

“If this kind of situation [Israel and Gaza] had existed for instance in the manner in which China was dealing with Tibet or the Sudanese government was dealing with Darfur, I think there would be no reluctance to make that comparison [with the Nazis].” (said on BBC)

IF! Well, Prof. Falk, you are saying that “the manner in which … the Sudanese government was dealing with Darfur,” which resulted in hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced, somehow didn’t measure up to the abominations of Israel and therefore was unworthy of any such comparison, unlike Israel. You are utterly shameless.

In fact what you said now is even worse: “a[n] [Israeli] mentality based on collective guilt that resembled how the Nazis viewed the Israelis [you mean how they viewed the Jews...confusing, isn't it?]." 

Collective “guilt” wasn’t precisely the issue. The Nazis viewed the Jews as subhuman and exterminated them in gas chambers. Are you sure you wish to stand by the comparison?:

And this too:

"The suggestion that this pattern of conduct [Israel and Gaza] is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy.”

What you are implying is that "although mass death has not yet resulted" the Israelis (or perhaps you mean Jews...) are capable of bringing it about, that is, doing to the Palestinian Arabs what the Nazis did to the Jews, and this does in fact imply something very unsavory about the moral character of Israelis and/or Jews (that Jews are potential Nazis if not Nazis already).

As I said, exactly how do you expect someone you call a Nazi to respond to you?

(Ed. note: click here for cartoon Falk removed from his blog after protests)

Post script:

For the continuation of this encounter with Prof. Falk, see the comments to his 20 Aug. blog post. Here is my blocked reply to his little diatribe toward the end:

Prof. Falk

You are also being disingenuous. With regard to my blocked response to you, I did not of course say that you made the references on your blog site but pointed out explicitly that you made them "outside the blog." And it is also clear from the BBC material that you made the comments before you became Rapporteur. Your readers can see for themselves exactly what it is you blocked.

/Articles/Article.aspx/19365

I did, however, point out that your admirers have made these comparisons between Israelis and Nazis numerous times, most recently Mr. Schulman on Aug. 8, not to mention the endless references to genocide by yourself and others. In the light of your assertions that such language is "inflammatory" I would at least expect you to condemn those who make such a comparison and at least offer a formal apology for your own use of the term and the rest of the unfortunate language in the 2008 BBC material.

As for the antisemitism, I have pointed to what in my view constitutes its language as "disparaging generalizations about Jewish history, origins, morality, faith, character, money, greed and even genetic makeup, among other things," all of which can be found in the comments on your website. If you disagree that this is the language of antisemitism, please say so.   

I of course do not consider Mr. Schulman an antisemite, however he characterizes himself, nor you for that matter. I have written about what I regard as the root of Israel hatred among Jews

and Mr. Schulman has described his own case himself (the preposterous sister's-boyfriend-fighting-in-Israel business).




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