Tag: Richard Falk

TRUTH & FALSEHOOD: FROM RABIN’S LEGACY TO “JERUSALEM, ISRAEL”, TO MCGILL U. IN CANADA

On Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 5:00pm a candle lighting ceremony will take place at Israeli President Shimon Peres’ residence in Jerusalem, ushering in the 16th Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day. An official memorial service for Lea and Yitzhak Rabin, z”l, will be held Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 3:00pm at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.

 

STOP DISTORTING RABIN’S LEGACY
Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, November 7, 2011

As the nation commemorates the 16th anniversary of the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, I can vividly recollect—as though it was yesterday—the shock and anguish that we all experienced when we first heard the devastating news.

I was privileged to develop a warm rapport with Rabin who, on my frequent visits to Jerusalem before I made aliya, nearly always found quality time to talk to me. I had a great liking for him. He was a straightforward man whose frankness and impatience with small talk was refreshing.

Our discussions in the later stages were largely centered on the pros and cons of the Oslo Accords. Like many others, I felt that Rabin had been sandbagged by Shimon Peres, Yossi Beilin and their group into endorsing a policy that ran completely counter to his instincts and long-standing outlook.

As the process developed and he faced increasingly fierce criticism, he became impatient, inflexible and aggressive. I recall a particularly tense disagreement between us after he referred—in the media—to settlers, whom in the past he had frequently referred to as the salt of the earth.…

But contrary to what was frequently alleged, in all my private discussions with him he was never euphoric about Oslo, repeatedly describing it as a “gamble” which he felt obliged to put to the test. “If it fails,” he said, “we will take everything back,” although in retrospect, I doubt whether he really believed that was possible.

To achieve the necessary Knesset majority to endorse the Oslo Accords, Rabin cynically indulged in political corruption, bribing unsavory opposition members to defect by offering to make them government ministers. But notwithstanding this and contrary to many of his harshest critics, I remain convinced that Rabin always rationalized his actions as being in the national interest. To me, there is absolutely no question that he was a genuine Israeli patriot.

Despite his best intentions, however, the gamble failed. As a consequence of that disastrous initiative much Israeli blood was, and continues to be, shed.…

Today, as we continue to commemorate Rabin’s memory and the appalling crime of his assassination, we should feel outraged at the ruthless and cynical distortions employed by the far Left and others who invoke his memory to justify their initiatives and seek to portray him, falsely, as having shared their delusional political views.

The truth is that Rabin did not even bother to conceal his utter contempt for many of those who now have the gall to invoke his name. In fact, Rabin adamantly refused to make the concessions to the Palestinians and the Americans that were extended by our current “right wing” prime minister.

In his last Knesset speech on October 5, 1995, several weeks prior to his assassination, Rabin was adamant that “we will not return to the June 1967 lines.” Furthermore, in relation to the settlements, he said: “We committed ourselves before the Knesset not to uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim government and not to hinder building for natural growth.” He repeatedly vowed that he would never agree to divide Jerusalem.

Yet the left and much of the media now invoke Rabin as the leader who promoted “peace,” while condemning current Prime Minister Netanyahu, who ironically was willing to compromise on these issues.

That applies also to Rabin’s resistance to American pressure. Unlike Netanyahu, Rabin did not indulge in diplomatic niceties; when pressured he responded aggressively, reminding the Americans that Israel was a sovereign state and would not be dictated to by outside parties, even its ally the United States.

When we commemorate our assassinated prime minister, we should not concentrate on his failure in relation to Oslo. Instead, we should relate to him as one of the last of the great Labor Zionist leaders, who served his country with distinction both as a military commander and a dedicated leader.… His Yahrzeit should be commemorated in a manner designed to promote unity and harmony rather than being misrepresented to encourage division and rancor. That is how most Israelis would wish to honor the memory of Yitzhak Rabin.

THE MYTH OF ISRAEL’S RIGHTWARD TURN
Evelyn Gordon

Contentions, November 8, 2011

Tonight, as Israel’s memorial day for slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin begins, is a good time to debunk a myth that has recently gained great currency: that Israel’s population has become increasingly right-wing, constituting a major obstacle to peace. This myth was most famously propounded by former [US] President Bill Clinton, but it also crops up frequently in academic discourse. A study published by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies in September, for instance, declared that “Today Israel’s Jewish population is more nationalistic, religiously conservative, and hawkish on foreign policy and security affairs than that of even a generation ago, and it would be unrecognizable to Israel’s founders.”

Yet Rabin himself, the idol of those who propagate this myth, provides the best possible refutation of it. All you have to do is read his final speech to the Knesset, given one month before his death, to realize how far to the left Israel has traveled since then.

For instance, Rabin envisioned a final-status solution in which Israel lived alongside a Palestinian “entity which is less than a state.” Today, even the “right-wing” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly advocates a Palestinian state.

Rabin envisioned “united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev [two nearby settlements],” as “the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty.” Since then, two Israeli prime ministers have offered to give the Palestinians East Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and most of the Old City.

Rabin declared that Israel’s “security border…will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.” Since then, two Israeli premiers have offered to give the Palestinians almost all the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley; even the “right-wing” Netanyahu reportedly agreed to negotiate borders based on the 1967 lines.

Rabin listed Gaza’s Gush Katif as one of the settlement blocs Israel would retain. Since then, Israel has withdrawn from every inch of Gaza.

Rabin pledged “not to uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim agreement, and not to hinder building for natural growth.” Since then, Israel has uprooted 25 settlements (21 in Gaza and four in the West Bank) without a final-status agreement, while the “right-wing” Netanyahu instituted Israel’s first-ever moratorium on settlement construction (for 10 months), including “building for natural growth.”

Israeli public opinion has also moved dramatically leftward. Two decades ago, for instance, a Palestinian state was anathema to most Israelis; the idea was entertained only on the far-left fringe. Today, polls consistently show overwhelming support for a Palestinian state on almost all the West Bank and Gaza.

On only one issue have Israelis actually moved rightward: Far fewer now believe the “peace process” will ever produce peace. In April 1996, for instance, 47 percent expected Israeli-Palestinian peace to be achieved “in the coming years,” while 32 percent did not. In October 2011, only 32 percent foresaw peace being achieved anytime soon, while 66 percent did not. The latter results have been roughly consistent for years now.

That, however, has nothing to do with Israelis becoming more “nationalistic” or “religiously conservative” and everything to do with hard experience: Since 1993, Israel has evacuated Lebanon, Gaza and large chunks of the West Bank only to see all three become bases for murderous anti-Israel terror, while its Palestinian “peace partner” has steadfastly refused to recognize a Jewish state or cease demanding to destroy it through an influx of millions of Palestinian “refugees.”

If the world truly wants to see an Israeli-Palestinian peace, it must start addressing these very real problems. Blaming the impasse instead on a nonexistent Israeli turn rightward merely ensures that peace will remain an unachievable dream.

LETTING AN ANTI-SEMITIC TRUTHER SPEAK
IS A DISGRACE TO MCGILL
Hillel Neuer

National Post, November 8, 2011

John Humphrey, the McGill University law professor who drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, must be rolling in his grave. By a gross lapse in judgment, the McGill human rights centre that Humphrey inspired is about to lend its platform to Richard Falk, a lifelong apologist for terrorists and a major 9/11 conspiracy theorist.

Before inviting Falk to speak next week, on the subject of U.S. drone killings, did the university do its homework?

At first glance, the former Princeton professor of international law, prolific author and UN expert appears highly qualified.… Yet a brief review of Falk’s record shows him to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Fluent in the language of human rights, Falk’s twisted judgment, morality and sense of reality promote the very opposite. Examples abound.

First, Falk was an energetic campaigner for Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, both before and after the 1979 revolution. Days after the cleric arrived in Tehran to seize power, Falk reassured the world, in a New York Times op-ed titled “Trusting Khomeini,” that “the depiction of him as fanatical, reactionary and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false.” Khomeini’s entourage, wrote Falk, had “a notable record of concern for human rights.” Indeed, the ayatollah’s “new model of popular revolution” offered the world “a desperately-needed model of humane governance for a third-world country.…”

In world politics, folly carries a price, and legions of Iranians—brutalized, tortured and raped by the Islamic Republic—continue to pay it.

Second, Falk is one of the figures responsible for turning the UN Human Rights Council…into a travesty. In 2008, shortly after Falk accused Israel of planning a “Palestinian Holocaust,” a bloc of dictatorships, including Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, installed him as the council’s expert on Palestine. The mission they gave him is so biased in its formulation, that Falk tries to obscure it. He calls himself the Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories,” implying a regional jurisdiction that objectively treats all actions and parties. Yet his actual mandate is to investigate “Israel’s violations.” Not Hamas, not Fatah, not Islamic Jihad—just Israel.…

Third, Falk uses his UN post to legitimize Hamas, systematically ignoring its open incitement to genocidal murder of Jews and the deliberate targeting of civilians. Falk takes pains to portray Hamas as “the elected government” of Gaza—never mind that that the group seized power by throwing opponents off rooftops and shooting them in hospital beds.… Falk’s support for the terrorist group is so extreme that even the Palestinian Authority—as revealed in a Wikleaks cable, and which Falk himself admits—has sought to remove him, on grounds that he is a “partisan of Hamas.”

Fourth, in July Falk published a cartoon showing a dog, with “USA” written on its body and wearing a skullcap marked with a Star of David, urinating on a depiction of justice while it devours a bloody skeleton. Falk was globally censured. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay found the posting “anti-Semitic” and “objectionable.…”

Fifth, Falk is one of the world’s most high-profile 9/11 conspiracy theorists, lending his name to those who accuse the U.S. government of orchestrating the destruction of the Twin Towers as a pretext to launch wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In particular, Falk actively promotes the writings of David Ray Griffin, a disciple and close friend, who has produced 12 books describing the World Trade Center attack as “an inside job.…” Even after his UN appointment, Falk penned a 2008 article entitled, “9/11: More Than Meets The Eye,” arguing that the crimes were committed by “the established elites of the American governmental structure.”

Falk has repeatedly appeared on the “TruthJihad.com” show of Kevin Barrett, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and Holocaust skeptic who rails against the “ethnic Jews” who (he says) run Washington and the media. Falk endorsed Barrett’s “good work,” while also praising Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In January, after Falk blogged more of the same, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took the floor of the Human Rights Council to issue an unprecedented condemnation of a UN official. Falk’s remarks, said Mr. Ban, were “preposterous” and “an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in that tragic terrorist attack.”

How can McGill now treat Falk as an authority on the war on terror? What message does this send?

U.S. ambassador Susan Rice, a strong defender of the UN, called Falk’s 9/11 remarks “despicable,” saying his “distasteful sideshow” harms the cause of human rights. She’s right. And someone who consistently contorts reality to fit a preconceived political agenda—one that always ends up excusing the preachers of hate and perpetrators of terror—has no place in an institution of learning premised on the principles of rational and empirical inquiry.

(Hillel Neuer graduated from the McGill Faculty of Law in 1997
and is now the executive director of
UN Watch.)

JERUSALEM AND THE FOUNDERS
Editorial

New York Sun, November 4, 2011

Many of us will be watching the Supreme Court of the United States Monday, [November 7, 2011] when the justices are scheduled to hear one of those only-in-America cases, where a child is challenging one of the most powerful of the government’s secretaries. The youngster in the case is a nine-year-old American boy, Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky. The secretary he is suing is Hillary Clinton. He is asking the court to order her to carry out a law requiring the state department accede to his request that the papers memorializing his birth state that, when he was born at Shaare Zedeck hospital in the western part Jerusalem, the country he was born in was Israel.

Mrs. Clinton actually voted for the law before she refused to carry it out. That was back in 2002, when she was a member of the Senate, which passed the law on a unanimous vote. Now she is claiming that it would infringe on the powers of the president to carry out the foreign policy of the United States. Mrs. Clinton is not alone. President George W. Bush issued a signing statement when he affixed his signature to the law, making the same dissent.…

The notion that the case has any impact on foreign policy is itself in dispute, however. Master Zivitofsky’s lawyer, Nathan Lewin, won a hearing at the Supreme Court precisely by arguing that all the handwringing by Mrs. Clinton over the impact of the case is, in effect, for naught and that the effect on foreign policy of the section of the law that gives the youngster the right to a birth certificate stating the country he was born in is “trivial.”

It may be, though, that the justices will want to delve more thoroughly into the question of which branch has the upper hand constitutionally in respect of foreign policy. If that happens, get set for a marvelous argument. The lawyers for Mrs. Clinton have tried to suggest that the historical record favors the upper hand in foreign affairs going to the executive. But Mr. Lewin has placed before the judges a memorable brief, featuring such figures as Geo. Washington, John Marshall, Alex. Hamilton, Thos. Jefferson, Jas. Monroe, Henry Clay, J. Q. Adams, Andrew Jackson, Zach’ry Taylor, and A’bram Lincoln. Writes the attorney for Master Zivitofsky:

“From the founding of the Republic through the Lincoln Administration there clearly was no consensus that the Constitution assigned recognition of foreign governments exclusively to the discretion of the Executive. President Monroe requested joint action from the Congress to accord recognition to new Latin American republics. President Jackson analogized the recognition power to the power to declare war, and he left to Congress the recognition of the independent Republic of Texas. President Taylor believed that he could only ‘recommend to Congress…the recognition of Hungary.’ And President Lincoln withheld dispatch of ministers to Haiti and Liberia until Congress authorized recognition of those countries—even though he could discern no reason why nations with black populations should not be recognized.”

Master Zivitofsky, therefore, asserts that it is, in his attorney’s words, “inaccurate to say”—as the government has suggested—“that ‘it has been commonly understood since the Washington Administration’ that the President has exclusive discretionary power to recognize foreign governments. At least through the administration of President Lincoln, Presidents who were confronted with controversial recognition issues acknowledged that action or approval by the Congress was necessary before a foreign government would be formally recognized. More recent assertions of exclusive Executive authority have been challenged by Congress, and no decision of this Court or any lower federal tribunal has, until now, determined whether the President has the totally plenary discretionary recognition power that is being asserted by the Solicitor General in this case.”

It’s not every day one gets a case that opens up these vistas into our constitutional and historical substructure.… It’s just the sort of situation in which it makes sense to seek one’s wisdom in history that the Founders gave us.

COMBATTING THE DELEGITIMATION OF ISRAEL, VI

The Canadian Institute for Jewish Research sincerely thanks all those, presenters and audience members, who participated in yesterday’s (Sunday, November 6, 2011) remarkable and highly successful International Conference, “Combatting the Delegitimation of Israel.”

 

The event brought together nine respected academics from a variety of fields to analyze, and devise strategies to overcome, the global propaganda “soft war” being perpetrated against the democratic Jewish state. An edited video of the Conference will be up shortly on CIJR’s website.

 

The following “Action Points” summarize the Conference’s themes and provide guidance to those now asking themselves: “What Can I Do to Help?”

 

Anti-Delegitimation Action Points

 

1. The existence of Israel-focused antisemitism is a reality, and all ideologies with an anti-Jewish or anti-Israel component must be systematically and carefully analyzed, without illusions.

 

2. We must combat the use of an inverted human-rights narrative that uses pseudo-liberal language stigmatizing Israel as an “apartheid,” “racist” state. Israel is in fact a thriving democracy governed by the rule of law, which bestows upon all its citizens, both Israelis and Arabs, Jewish and non-Jewish, equal rights and opportunities. We must seek out the liars, expose their lies, and convey the truth to the public, Jewish and non-Jewish.

 

3. We must oppose the insidious Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions (BDS) movement, through grassroots mechanisms—like purchasing goods at, precisely, boycotted stores—mobilizing both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens.

 

4. We must constructively critique the “fifth column” amongst us—those uninformed Jews who have internalized and promoted the false anti-Israel narrative. We must try to engage such individuals in discussion in order to communicate the facts to them, particularly as regards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

5. We must reaffirm our commitment to Jewish values, which foster Jewish pride. Placating the “other” at our own expense is not a legitimate strategy. We must redefine the meaning of “victory” over our enemies, seeking strong deterrence rather than passive appeasement.

 

 

CIJR again thanks Mme. Ginette Auger and Mr. Yves Archambault, owners of Montreal’s Le Marcheur shoestore, for their steadfast refusal to submit to the ongoing and vicious Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting their business, due to its sale of Israeli-made products. Below, please find the text of the presentation made to Mme. Auger and Mr. Archambault by CIJR “Israel Student-Advocacy Program” intern Sandro Angelo de Thomasis at yesterday’s Conference:

 

Prior to awarding the Golden Magen David Award, I would like to advise all present that the intention behind this symbolic gesture is by no means political.

 

To politicize this award would play into the hands of the extreme-left member of the Quebec National Assembly heading the boycott campaign against the award’s recipients. He is a man who promotes, on wholly specious political grounds, opposition to a 25-year-old business in his own borough because less than 2% of the shoes sold there come directly from Israel.

 

The anti-Zionist boycott demonstrations against Le Marcheur are conducted with the aim of both intimidating its clientele, and getting the media to pick up their delegitimation propaganda depicting Israel as an “apartheid” state.

 

The truly deserving recipients of this award, Ginette Auger and Yves Archambault, describe themselves as apolitical. Nevertheless, being apolitical does not necessarily mean being without principles. It is these very principles that we wish to honour here today. Mrs. Auger and Mr. Archambault did not let themselves be intimidated; they refused to bow down in the face of aggressive intimidation. Their courage and resiliency deserves recognition, and demonstrates that Quebecers will not cave to intimidation. And it forges a bond of common values with Quebec society, something of which all Quebecers should be proud.

 

I am therefore proud to present CIJR’s Golden Magen David Award to Ginette Auger and Yves Archambault.

 

CONFERENCE FEEDBACK:

 

Dear Fred Krantz,

Congratulations on a well conceived and well executed conference!

Prof. Ira Robinson, Montreal

 

Hi Fred, Baruch, Charles & Yvonne,

Again allow me to congratulate you and your team on the very interesting conference and the efforts you invested to make it happen. Yishar Koach.

Jack Kincler, Montreal

 

Dear CIJR,

Congratulations to all for a job well done!!!

Abigail Hirsch, CEO, AskAbigail Productions

 

Dear CIJR,

Mazel Tovto all those involved with organizing the conference and to the outstanding panelists. It was a success on all fronts. A special thank you to the very hard-working CIJR staff—and, of course, Fred!

Howard Bokser, Montreal

 

Dear Professor,

I commend you for your hard work in organizing today’s wonderful conference. CIJR seems to be the only organization in Montreal that is actually trying to do something to combat the delegitimation of Israel and educate the public, and you are to be congratulated. We were particularly impressed by your thoughtfulness in honouring the owners of Le Marcheur shoestore.

May you continue from strength to strength.

Peggy Bybelezer, Montreal

 

STEPHANE GENDRON, QUEBEC’S ISRAEL-HATER EN CHEF
Jonathan Kay
National Post, November 4, 2011

Gone are the days when Canada’s mainstream English-language media would casually spout slurs against Israel. Much of the credit for this lies with HonestReporting Canada (HRC)…whose mission is to ensure that Canadians get a balanced picture of the Middle East. Beginning in 2003, HRC started calling out the Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, CBC and other outlets on stories they believed were unfair. As a result, the English media landscape has been greatly improved.

Unfortunately, the French-language media still has its stubborn Israel-haters. One of them is Stephane Gendron, host of the V-network morning talk show Face à Face.

“The [Canadian] Minister of Foreign affairs, John Baird, decided not to make further contributions to UNESCO,” Mr. Gendron declared [last] Wednesday. “Why? Because the U.S. decided to cut its funding. Why? Because Palestine dared to be admitted to UNESCO. This is appalling! It is an affront to peace! Do you know what Israel did? In revenge for the admission of Palestine to UNESCO, they decided to build 2,000 homes in areas that do not belong to them, the occupied territories, so they are going to bulldoze people, kill people, they will give them five minutes to get out and then they’ll run people down with bulldozers. And Canada supports this.”

In the past, there have indeed been confrontations over disputed land involving bulldozer-equipped Israelis: This much is true. But the idea that Israel has a plan to “bulldoze people, kill people” is a vicious libel. (Mr. Gendron is no doubt thinking of one particular episode—the death of Rachel Corrie, a member of the militantly pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, in 2003. That accident occurred because Ms. Corrie intentionally stood in the way of the bulldozer, and was outside the driver’s field of vision.) It is of a piece with the other casual lies people tell about the Jewish state—such as the idea that Israeli soldiers intentionally slaughter Palestinian children, or that Israel committed a “massacre” in Jenin.

In the past, Mr. Gendron has accused the Jews of “invent[ing] terrorism,” and compared the Gaza Strip to the Warsaw Ghetto. He also has accused Israel of conducting a “genocide.” And he has described Israelis as “les Nazis des temps modernes.” Mr. Gendron’s views comprise a blot on Canada’s French-language media, and cast a shadow on those outlets that choose to air them.

 

Below is the email exchange between CIJRsupporter David M. Sherman (Toronto) and Diane Patenaude, Director of Communications for V Interactions, following Stephane Gendron’s anti-Israel tirade.

 

David Sherman writes on November 4, 2011:

It has been reported that your host Stephane Gendron stated (translated): “The Minister of Foreign affairs, John Baird, decided not to make further contributions to UNESCO, why? Because the U.S. decided to cut its funding, why? Because Palestine dared to be admitted to UNESCO. This is appalling! It is an affront to peace! Do you know what Israel did? In revenge for the admission of Palestine to UNESCO, they decided to build 2000 homes in areas that do not belong to them, the occupied territories, so they are going to bulldoze people, kill people, they will give them 5 minutes to get out and then they?ll run people down with bulldozers. And Canada supports this.?

If this report is correct, it is a horrendous libel against Israel that has no place on Canadian airwaves, and I am utterly appalled. Israel does not “run people down with bulldozers”. Indeed, Israel has offered the Palestinians a state, but the Palestinians refuse to negotiate, because that would require accepting Israel’s existence, while the Palestinian leadership still seeks to destroy Israel.

You should not tolerate such false vitriol on your network.

Yours truly,

David M. Sherman, LLB, LLM

 

Diane Patenaude responded on November 7, 2011:

Mr. Sherman,

We received the e-mail you sent to Maxime Remillard last week concerning the opinions expressed by Stephane Gendron during the November 2nd broadcast of Face a Face on the V television network.

Face a Face is a public affairs show that touches on numerous topics of interest and aims to provoke debate and discussion. This program is neither a news telecast nor a news magazine, and its hosts are not journalists. The opinions expressed on the program are those of the individual hosts or their guests. As such, they do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the V television network or its management.

Following the broadcast of the November 2nd episode of Face a face, the management of V has spoken to the production team responsible for the program. In order to avoid repeating a similar occurrence in the future, we have reiterated the need for the program to adhere to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council’s guidelines.

We deeply regret if the comments expressed on one of our programs were offending to you.

Sincerely,

Diane Patenaude, Director of Communications for V Interactions

 

David Sherman wrote in response on November 7, 2011:

Ms. Patenaude:

Thank you for your email. If I understand your response correctly, if one of your hosts had said that all Black people are trash who should be deported from Canada, or that Homosexual people carry AIDS and shouldn’t be given medical care in Canada, you would respond with a simple disclaimer that “they do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the V television network or its management” and that you have “spoken to the production team”, and that’s it? No consequence for inflicting a horrendous libel against Israel and the Jewish people? No plan to broadcast a correction to explain that this statement was libellous, incorrect and inflammatory against Jews?

I am appalled.

David M. Sherman, LLB, LLM

WHY ARE JOHN MEARSHEIMER AND RICHARD FALK
ENDORSING A BLATANTLY ANTI-SEMITIC BOOK?
Alan Dershowitz

New Republic, November 4, 2011

As the discourse about Israel on university campuses continues to degenerate, there is growing concern that some of Israel’s most vocal detractors are crossing a red line between acceptable criticism of Israel and legitimizing anti-Semitism. The recent endorsements by several internationally prominent academics—including John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Richard Falk of Princeton—of an overtly anti-Semitic book written by a notorious Jew-hater illustrate this dangerous trend.

The book in question is entitled The Wandering Who? and was written by Gilad Atzmon, a British jazz musician. Lest there be any doubt about Atzmon’s anti-Semitic credentials, listen to his self-description in the book itself. He boasts about “drawing many of my insights from a man who…was an anti-Semite as well as a radical misogynist” and a hater of “almost everything that fails to be Aryan masculinity” (89-90). He declares himself a “proud, self-hating Jew” (54), writes with “contempt” of “the Jew in me” (94), and describes himself as “a strong opponent of…Jewish-ness” (186).…

Throughout his writings, Atzmon argues that Jews seek to control the world:  “[W]e must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously.” “American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ [sic] are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy.” Atzmon expands on this theme in The Wandering Who?, repeatedly conflating “the Jews” and “the Zionist”: He calls the recent credit crunch “the Zio-punch” (22) and says it was not “a Jewish conspiracy” because “it was all in the open” (30). Paul Wolfowitz, Rahm Emmanuel, and other members of “the Jewish elite” remain abroad instead of moving to “Zion” because they “have proved far more effective for the Zionist cause by staying where they are” (19). The American media “failed to warn the American people of the enemy within” because of money (27).

Atzmon has written that Jews are evil and a menace to humanity: “With Fagin and Shylock in mind Israeli barbarism and organ trafficking seem to be just other events in an endless hellish continuum.” “The Homo Zionicus quickly became a mass murderer, detached from any recognised form of ethical thinking and engaged in a colossal crime against humanity.” Atzmon rehearses many of these ideas in The Wandering Who?: “[T]o be a Jew is a deep commitment that goes far beyond any legal or moral order” (20) and this commitment “pulls more and more Jews into an obscure, dangerous and unethical fellowship” (21). If Iran and Israel fight a nuclear war that kills tens of millions of people, “some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all’” (179).

Atzmon regularly urges his readers to doubt the Holocaust and to reject Jewish history: “It took me years to accept that the Holocaust narrative, in its current form, doesn’t make any historical sense.… If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein—free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?” “[E]ven if we accept the Holocaust as the new Anglo-American liberal-democratic religion, we must allow people to be atheists.” Atzmon reprises some of this language in The Wandering Who…?: “The Holocaust religion is probably as old as the Jews themselves” (153). The history of Jewish persecution is a myth, and if there was any persecution the Jews brought it on themselves (175, 182).…

Hard-core neo-Nazis, racists, anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers…have happily counted Atzmon as one of their own. David Duke, America’s premier white supremacist, has posted more than a dozen of Atzmon’s articles on his website over the past five years and recently praised Atzmon for “writ[ing] such fine articles exposing the evil of Zionism and Jewish supremacism.” Kevin MacDonald, a professor at Cal State Long Beach whose colleagues formally disassociated themselves from his “anti-Semitic and white ethnocentric views,” called Atzmon’s book “an invaluable account by someone who clearly understands the main symptoms of Jewish pathology.” Israel Shamir, a Holocaust denier (“We must deny the concept of Holocaust without doubt and hesitation”) who argues that Jews ritually murdered Christian children for their blood and that “The rule of the Elders of Zion is already upon us,” refers to Atzmon as a “good friend” and calls Atzmon one of “the shining stars of the battle” against “the Jewish alliance.”

Atzmon’s well-established reputation for anti-Semitism [and] the copious anti-Semitic filth that fills The Wandering Who? have also not deterred Professors John Mearsheimer and Richard Falk from actively endorsing Atzmon’s work. Mearsheimer, the Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, calls The Wandering Who? a “fascinating” book that “should be read widely by Jews and non-Jews alike.” Falk, Milibank Professor of International Law Emeritus at Princeton University and United Nations Special Rapporteur on “human rights in the Palestinian territories,” calls The Wandering Who? an “absorbing and moving” book that everyone who “care[s] about real peace” should “not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.” Falk’s endorsement appears prominently on the cover of Atzmon’s book. Mearsheimer’s endorsement is featured on its first page. These professors are not merely defending Atzmon’s right to publish such a book; they are endorsing its content.

These endorsements of Atzmon’s book are the best evidence yet that academic discourse is beginning to cross a red line, and that the crossing of this line must be exposed, rebutted, and rejected in the marketplace of ideas and in the academy. (Another evidence of this academic trend in Europe appeared recently on Atzmon’s website, where he brags that he has been invited to “give a talk on ethics at the Trondheim University” in Norway. This is the same university whose faculty refused to invite me to speak about the Arab-Israel conflict.)

Accordingly, I hereby challenge Professors Mearsheimer and Falk to a public debate about why they have endorsed and said such positive things about so hateful and anti-Semitic a book by so bigoted and dishonest a writer.

(Alan Dershowitz is a professor at Harvard Law School.)

THE UNESCO FOLLIES ARE BACK
John R. Bolton

Weekly Standard, November 14, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 09

The Palestinian Authority succeeded last Monday in becoming a member state in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The vote was 107 in favor, 14 opposed, and 52 abstaining, with France, Spain, Austria, and India among those supporting PA admission. Two of [the US’] closest allies, the United Kingdom and Japan, abstained. Because of a 1990 federal law, supplemented in 1994, the State Department announced a few hours after the vote that the United States was ceasing its contribution to UNESCO.

The applicable statute, proposed in 1989 by Senator Bob Kasten, was a corollary to President George H.W. Bush’s efforts to prevent the Palestine Liberation Organization (predecessor of the PA) from joining U.N. agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNESCO. Back then, the PLO was trying to create “facts on the ground” in the Middle East peace process by working the U.N.’s corridors. Because only states are eligible for membership in the U.N. system, becoming a member of U.N. bodies, in the PLO/PA’s idiosyncratic view, would prove it was a state and therefore equivalent to Israel.

Europeans in particular were reluctant to oppose the PLO. In part, they dismissed as pro forma the Bush administration’s warnings that Congress would retaliate financially if the PLO joined WHO; they assumed this stance was purely for domestic consumption, to appease “the Jewish lobby,” which Europeans believed in even before professors Walt and Mearsheimer unearthed it.

Those of us in the administration working to block the PLO realized we needed to take much stronger steps. Accordingly, Secretary of State James Baker issued a statement that he would recommend to the president eliminating all U.S. contributions, assessed or voluntary, to any U.N. organization that granted the PLO full membership or changed its observer-state status. Everyone understood that Bush 41 would accept Baker’s suggestion.

The effect was dramatic. PLO membership was defeated in May 1989 during a boisterous WHO meeting in Geneva that saw Libyans, Cubans, and Nicaraguan Sandinistas stand on their chairs denouncing American imperialism. Immediately afterwards, I flew from Geneva to Paris to meet with UNESCO’s executive board. Ever since Ronald Reagan withdrew the United States from UNESCO in 1984 (along with Thatcher’s Britain and Singapore), U.S. contributions to UNESCO had been minimal, so defunding was irrelevant. Instead, I delivered an equally stark message: You can have us or the PLO. The United States will never rejoin if the PLO is admitted. Different words, same music, same effect.

Some people might call this the exercise of smart power. Twenty-plus years later, however, confronted with a resurrected Palestinian U.N. membership campaign, Team Obama stumbled badly. Initially, there was even speculation, since denied, that the president might not order a Security Council veto of a PA application to the United Nations. (Applications to U.N. agencies are decided individually by their respective governing bodies.)

In the context of the financial crises since 2008, there are often calls for governments to use a “big bazooka,” a really dramatic step to signal their willingness to take strong measures and thereby reassure global markets. Obama’s hesitancy, embarrassment, and unwillingness to fire up a big-bazooka defunding threat undoubtedly contributed to last week’s UNESCO defeat. Without question, the PA sensed this weakness and exploited it. Comments by State Department officials before and after the vote betrayed their displeasure with the statute, in effect blaming Congress for making them do something they didn’t really want to do. Had they enthusiastically endorsed turning off the U.S. spigot to UNESCO, they would likely have succeeded, as the Bush administration did in 1989.

The difference between Obama and Bush 41 is that Bush understood America had higher priorities than funding U.N. agencies. He and Baker were not afraid to order, over the usual cries of doom and gloom, strong diplomacy to achieve our objectives. And their muscular strategy prevailed. U.S. Middle East policy was not derailed by politically incontinent Palestinian leadership, and the U.N. system was not deprived of any funding. Under Obama, the opposite is happening on both counts.

George W. Bush decided to rejoin UNESCO in 2003 under the mistaken impression he could thereby stem criticism of his administration’s unilateralism. Predictably, however, the “international community” pocketed the U.S. return while continuing its unrelentingly hostile appraisal of Bush and his policies. For the privilege of continuing to be abused, Washington resumed payment of its assessed share of UNESCO’s annual budget; the U.S. share reached approximately $80,000,000 this fiscal year.

The State Department’s prompt announcement last week that it was cutting off funding to UNESCO was its savviest action in this affair to date. State thus followed the Bush 41 administration’s Plan B, namely, to cauterize the wound within the U.N. system caused by the PA’s victory. Our theory in 1989 was that, even had we failed to stop the PLO from joining WHO, the traumatic prospect of a system-wide funding cut-off would bring the rest of the U.N. entities to their senses, minimizing the damage.

We will now see whether the Obama administration, having failed to implement Plan A effectively, can handle Plan B.… One thing is certain after the administration cut-off of UNESCO funding: We are at least $80,000,000 closer to solving this year’s federal deficit problem. In fact, the entire episode provides strong arguments for moving toward voluntary funding, rather than assessed or mandatory contributions, across the entire U.N. system. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has introduced legislation, recently reported to the House floor, to do just that. Her timing couldn’t be better.