Richard Falk’s Imagination Gone Wild

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Richard Falk, Princeton University professor emeritus of international law and United Nations Human Rights Council special rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, is well-known for his hostility towards Israel. Indeed, this antagonism, and his high-profile involvement in any number of anti-Israel organizations, led to his expulsion from the country in 2008.

A recent lecture at Stanford Law School entitled, “Imagining Israeli-Palestinian Peace: Why International Law Matters,” provided a platform for more of the same vitriol. Approximately 100 people attended, about evenly split between students and local residents. One of the latter, when asking a question, described himself as an “activist” and an elderly couple sporting keffiyehs and political buttons sat in the front row, nodding enthusiastically in agreement throughout the lecture.

Falk’s solution for how to achieve “peace” in the Middle East was to “move from the domain of reason and analysis to the domain of imagination,” which, throughout his lecture, trumped facts, analysis, and history.

For instance, he suggested that policy makers “conceive of a region-wide solution, coupled with the establishment of a nuclear free zone for the Middle East,” which, against all evidence, he claimed Iran would fully support. In Falk’s view, Israel’s alleged nuclear capabilities threaten stability in the Middle East, whereas Iran’s push for nuclear armament, constant threats to annihilate Israel, and attempts to destabilize the region count for nothing.

Of the relationship between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and its effect on the “peace process,” Falk asserted that “Israel could not hope for softer Palestinian leadership” and disparaged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for making “Palestinians . . . choose between making peace with Hamas and making peace with [Israel].”

Imagination drifted to fantasy as he argued that, despite the Palestinians’ “extraordinary concessions . . . what Israel is willing to offer is much less than what [they] could afford to accept,” and that the “cycle of tension . . . keeps the region in pre-war conditions” that robs attention from the “ordeal of suffering imposed on Palestinians.”

Falk was encouraged, however, by what he called a “strong shift in tactical emphasis from armed resistance to popular resistance” and chalked up this alleged “shift to non-violent militancy” as the reason for increased global support for the Palestinian cause. He claimed that the public is beginning to see the conflict as “unfinished business from the colonial era” in which the Palestinians are victims who can no longer be consigned to this “intolerable ordeal.” And he lamented Israel’s “unlawful” settlement expansion in East Jerusalem, which he claimed amounted to “ethnic cleansing.”

During the question and answer period following the lecture, Joel Beinin—Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and professor of Middle East history at Stanford University—expressed his admiration for Falk’s work. Beinin, best known for his anti-American and anti-Israel pontificating, was heartened by Falk’s portrayal of the U.S. as a declining world power relative to China and India and asked whether this, “among all the other positive diplomatic and geo-strategic factors [Falk] mentioned, is also likely to change the balance of forces in favor of the Palestinian people?”  Falk said he was “grateful for the construction of the issue,” but was less optimistic, given what he sees as America’s ingrained, pro-Israel stance.

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  • DeShawn

    The only thing fro mideast peace to become a reality is the elimination of Israel and exiling all Zionist jews in America so taht they can't get us into war. We wouldn't be having all these problems with the Arabs if it weren't for the damn jews and their talmudic plan to take over the world, exterminate the white race, and continue to oppress the black man. The jews are the parasites of the human race.

    • Zionista

      to bad little shawny – we Jews and a STRONG Israel are here to stay – get used to it. Never again means just that.

    • stern

      Thanks DeShawn. A beautifully pithy way to show the true agenda of Falk and his ilk. They speak in polite language, but it takes someone of your brilliant wit to cut through the garbage and present the reality of what they want. Heck, if I didn't know better, I might even think you were one of them. But obviously, your purpose here is to demonstrate the true nature of anti-Semitic thought. By taking it to the extreme, you demonstrate just how hateful it is. I thank you.

    • UCSPanther

      I wager you will ally with the Islamic fundamentalists to attack Jews, and I wager they will turn on you when the going gets tough.

      You Neo-Nazi scum are all the same: Vile, racist, hypocritical, but yet all gas and no action.

    • Samuel

      This is a joke, right? A black white supremacist? I've read some of the threads on the website to which you link. You do realize that these people call for the extermination of not just Jews but blacks as well, right? Could you really be that stupid?

      • Jacob Grossman

        I wonder if this is DeShawn:

        Anyway, we, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel will be alive and thriving long after your Nazi corpse is rotting in the ground, DeShawn. Am Yisrael chai!

    • SpiritOf1683

      And the only thing for peace in the world is for the elimination of the workshy DeShawn antisemites.

    • Snorbk

      Get back in your box boy

  • Citizen of America

    I stand with Israel.

  • DeShawn

    I hate dem joos because my pecker is so tiny. Sieg Heil!!

    • guest

      So now the secret's out as to why DeFormed is a self hating troll – a case of "small in the junk department" ha-ha

  • Marty

    falk has no sense of reality and is delusional. He also lacks imagination. If he had any, falk would mention how the Israeli arab community is the only one in the region that has a thriving middle class. Its members freely practice their own faiths, send their children of both genders to college, regularly elect christian and muslim politicians to the Israeli parliament, and sit on the country's Supreme Court. Where else in the islamic world do religious minorities have those opportunities? Certainly not in the same places where churches are being burned, forced conversions to islam occur, and apostates from islam are murdered.

    • FriendofGaryCooper

      Thanks, Marty. Your post is very good, as usual. As for DeShawn, he'll wind up as a member of Obama's secret youth police; just like the Hitler youth of the 1930's.

  • Snorbk

    My 1st thought when I saw the title was, this will be good.
    A classic case of the irrational attempting to apply logic, Falk is a walking, breathing oxymoron!