Monthly Archives: December 2008

International law expert Richard Falk denied entry into Israel

Richard Falk explains his view on BBC\'s Hard Talk

Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton, may be able to make Aliyah in Israel should he choose to exercise his right to return as a Jew, but he can’t actually enter the country in his role as the UN’s special human rights rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories. BBC says this about the deportation of one of the world’s most respected experts in his field:

Mr Falk was stopped at Tel Aviv airport on Sunday and sent back to the United States on Monday morning.

An official accused him of following a distorted, anti-Israeli mandate.

“[He] does not try to advance human rights, but instead comes with his conclusions ready and those conclusions are of course extreme, methodic criticism of Israel and only of Israel,” said foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.

A spokeswoman for the interior ministry spokeswoman said the former Princeton University international law professor had been told he would be turned back if he flew to Israel.

Falk’s essay Slouching Toward a Palestinian Holocaust, has raised the ire of many who accuse him of comparing the Israelis to Nazis. Falk explained in an interview in The Nation earlier this summer:

The references to the Holocaust and to the Nazi policies were not meant to be literal comparisons but were intended to show that the policies being pursued, in Gaza in particular, had holocaustal implications if they were not changed. And the mind-set of holding an entire people responsible for opposition and resistance embodies a kind of collective punishment psychology that was very characteristic of the way the Nazis justified what they did to the Jewish people. But my intention was based on the feeling that you have to shout to be heard, and perhaps that was not the best way to make the argument. I would be quite prepared to abandon that terminology but not prepared to alter my concern about the character of the policies being pursued.

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Jimmy Carter should be “un-dissed” by the Obama Administration

Ralph Nader writes in Counterpunch that the censoring of Jimmy Carter at the Democratic National Convention was a mistake (reported here previously).   After much behind the scenes machinations, he and Rosalyn only got a walk-on part although former president Carter has tirelessly worked for peace in the region since his brokering of the Israeli-Egyptian Camp David agreement in 1979.  In 2006, his  book “Peace, Not Apartheid” caused a great deal of controversy by simply mentioning apartheid in the title while moderately talking about possible solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict.  Although causing a firestorm in the US, such discussions of apartheid have been occurring frequently in the Israeli press.  In the US, such words caused a former president of the US to not get a traditional speaking gig at the convention. Nader argues that Obama will need to get past such small-minded, narrow identity politics to achieve a stable peace in the region.

The Democrats Owe Jimmy Carter an Apology

Don’t Suppress Carter (or the Opportunities for Middle East Peace)

By RALPH NADER

Now that the season of electoral expediency is over, Barack Obama owes Jimmy Carter an apology.

At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, the Party denied Jimmy Carter the traditional invitation to speak that is accorded its former presidents.

According to The Jewish Daily Forward, “Carter’s controversial views on Israel cost him a place on the podium at the Democratic Party convention in late August, senior Democratic operatives acknowledged to the Forward.”

Silencing Carter, who negotiated the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement, involved behind the scenes tensions between supporters of the hard-line AIPAC lobby and those Democrats who argued both respect and free speech to let Carter join Bill Clinton on the stage and address a nationwide audience.

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