Should Universities Take a Stand on Ukraine? UChicago is Facing That Question

It has become increasingly common for universities to take political positions in support of everything from Black Lives Matter to D.C. Statehood. As such positions increase, there is more and more pressure for official positions to be taken on other subjects. Now, the University of Chicago is being asked to affirm its support of Ukraine after controversial statements from Professor John Mearsheimer. (For full disclosure, I am a graduate of UChicago and Mearsheimer was one of faculty when I was doing strategic studies research at the department).While I knew Mearsheimer as a new young professor, he was already a rising star in academia. He became famous for his realist approach to international studies and now holds the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Chair at the school.Mearsheimer has long been a critic of policies on Ukraine and denounced the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych as a “coup.” He also believes that the fighting in the Donbas region is a “civil war” between Ukrainians. He has given speeches on those views and wrote a widely read article in 2014 in Foreign Affairs. He has criticized the United States policies as destabilizing and endangering Ukraine, a view shared by others.Even if one disagrees, Mearsheimer’s views are is well-researched and well-reasoned. They are precisely the type of profoundly engaging viewpoints that are the very embodiment of our academic discourse.Nevertheless, as reported on the site College Fix, students have objected and called upon President Paul Alivasatos to publicly “identify and condemn those who are actively engaged in the spread of Putinism.”

Mearsheimer has objected to the overthrow of what he viewed as a democratically elected president in Ukraine and American policies that were pushing that country toward an inevitable conflict with Russia. He has been largely supported in his predictions of how those tensions would explode with Russia. That does not make him a Putin apologist.

However, even if Mearsheimer did espouse pro-Russian or even pro-Putin views, he has every right to do so as an individual and as an academic. The question is whether UChicago should take an official position on this debate or remain neutral as a forum for research and debate.  Despite my support for Ukraine in this war, I am concerned about universities taking such official positions.

The students, Daryna Safarian, Edita Kuberka, Iryna Irkliyenko, Darya Kolesnichenko and Sergiy Kuchko, wrote that they were “pained” by Mearsheimer’s references to a “civil war” and his calling the 2014 removal of Yanukovych a “coup.” What was most notable is the assertion that his views are “not substantiated by any meaningful historical or scholarly evidence.”

One can certainly disagree with his conclusions but it is bizarre to claim that it is without meaningful scholarly or historical basis. It is a common attack on those with dissenting views to declare their views as devoid of intellectual value. We have discussed a crackdown on academics who offered opposing views on World War II, Black Lives Matter, reparations, indigenous land, diversity programs, and other subjects.

We have also seen Russian artists and athletes blackballed for failing to publicly denounce the invasion or Putin.

The students are demanding disclosures of the funding sources of Mearsheimer and a university statement to denounce “anti-Ukrainian ideology on campus.”

UChicago has long been a global leader in protecting free speech and academic freedom, even as peer schools yield to the pressure of conformity and orthodoxy. It should publicly decline such invitations to stand against what some views as “anti-Ukrainian ideology.”

The Mearsheimer controversy should not be difficult for the university. A more difficult question is how universities should address Ukraine. There is a difference between labeling viewpoints and research as unacceptable “ideology” and labeling this attack on Ukraine as a violation of international law.

The problem for the university is that it is a global institution that has a myriad contacts with both Russia and Ukraine. Some of those contacts could be assisting Russia in its attack on Ukraine, particularly in access to research and resources at UChicago.  As companies from Mastercard to McDonald’s have suspended dealings with Russia, universities face the same dilemma. I believe that it is appropriate to sever some of those ties.

Universities took such a stand against South Africa during apartheid, though calls to boycott Israel has led to deep and ongoing divisions on our campuses.

There is a distinction that can be drawn between intellectual discourse and institutional support vis-a-vis Russia. Students and faculty should feel entirely protected in espousing views supportive of the Russian position. However, universities should suspend programs in Russia and limit some research collaborations that may support this invasion. That includes grants and programs funded by the Russian government or its proxies.

Where to draw that line is obviously difficult. For example, there is a call from some like Rep. Eric Swalwell to expel Russian students and academics. That, however, would reduce exposure of students and their families to opposing viewpoints and unregulated news. They are the least likely to support this war. Moreover, American academics need to support our colleagues in Russia who oppose the invasion. Putin has long had problems with students and academics who oppose his blood-soaked rule. There is a reason why Putin has shutdown media and closed social media access. He is afraid of interactions with the outside world and access to alternative viewpoints.

As a general matter, I prefer that universities focus on maintaining a fair and open forum for the discussion and research of such contemporary controversies. The invasion forces the hand of universities since they cannot support the violation of international law and the devastation of this sovereign nation. However, we should strive to protect not just access to our universities but the freedom to express dissenting viewpoints.

This position was laid out in the famous Kalven Committee Report at the University of Chicago. I have included it below. It stated in part that the university must protect its core intellectual mission and resist pressure to take political positions on contemporary controversies:

Since the university is a community only for these limited and distinctive purposes, it is a community which cannot take collective action on the issues of the day without endangering the conditions for its existence and effectiveness. There is no mechanism by which it can reach a collective position without inhibiting that full freedom of dissent on which it thrives. It cannot insist that all of its members favor a given view of social policy; if it takes collective action, therefore, it does so at the price of censuring any minority who do not agree with the view adopted. In brief, it is a community which cannot resort to majority vote to reach positions on public issues.

The neutrality of the university as an institution arises then not from a lack of courage nor out of indifference and insensitivity. It arises out of respect for free inquiry and the obligation to cherish a diversity of viewpoints. And this neutrality as an institution has its complement in the fullest freedom for its faculty and students as individuals to participate in political action and social protest. It finds its complement, too, in the obligation of the university to provide a forum for the most searching and candid discussion of public issues.

I understand the passion and sense of offense of these students. Indeed, I share their views on the invasion. They have every right to denounce Professor Mearsheimer, who I expect would be the first to defend that right. However, he also has a right to hold opposing views without being singled out by the university or officially denounced for what some view to be unacceptable “ideology.”

Kalven Report


140 thoughts on “Should Universities Take a Stand on Ukraine? UChicago is Facing That Question”

  1. @An Old Guy…

    No, I don’t read IR. (Day job takes up most of my life.)

    But I agree with your point of view.
    (Maybe because we’re both old guys.)

    Regardless of his stature as a tenured professor who is making a sound conclusion based research… at Universities today… the unruly mob of students will usually prevail.

    Its the radicalized teachers who are also in partnership with the students. Anyone who offers a sound alternative to their viewpoint is shouted down.


  2. Free Speech In The News:

    Judge Rules Smartmatic Lawsuit Can Proceed Against Fox News.

    Ironically Tucker Carlson Was Skeptical Of Conspiracy, As Noted by Judge.

    New York Supreme Court Judge David B. Cohen has now ruled that voting-machine company Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News and Rudolph W. Giuliani can proceed. The case involved numerous false and baseless claims made on Fox about voter fraud involving the company’s voting machines.

    The ruling repeatedly says Fox hosts, Giuliani and Powell made claims “without any evidence” and “without any basis.” It also says that claims made by Giuliani, Fox host Maria Bartiromo and now-former Fox Business host Lou Dobbs could meet the legal standard of claims being “so inherently improbable that only a reckless person would have put [them] in circulation.”

    But perhaps the ruling’s most biting — and also potentially legally important — section involves Tucker Carlson.

    That’s because Carlson, unlike the others, applied significant actual skepticism to the claims — and broadcast it.

    It’s an episode many might have forgotten in the long and sordid run-up to the Jan. 6. But Carlson said on Nov. 19 that Powell’s claims were serious, but he also noted that she had yet to substantiate them. Carlson said he had asked, over the course of a week, for the evidence and offered her his platform, but that she had declined.

    The episode alienated some Trump allies. But it also, in Cohen’s estimation, speaks to the possibility that Fox might meet the “actual malice” standard.

    The fact that Carlson seemed to see through the frivolity of Powell’s baseless voting-machine conspiracy theories is now more than just a Fox-vs.-Fox-and-Trump-allies story; it appears to be a potential legal liability.

    1. So?

      Are you so innocent that you don’t know suits occur all the time?

      The Washington Post and NYT both have been sued and lost.

      You take a claim and make it into a fact. You used the Steele Dossier as fact. It wasn’t. You were wrong, like you were with almost every significant discussion on this blog, even though you never bothered to apologize.

  3. Mearsheimer is a ‘realist’ who predicted what is happening today in 2015 because he did his research and drew what appeared to him (as a ‘realist’) to be appropriate conclusions. He was, more or less, spot on (the coup d’etat in 2014, orchestrated by the West, led to Russia’s seizure of Crimea and the banning of Russian by the Rada led to the rebellions in Luhansk and Donetsk, which Moscow welcomed as a way to keep Ukraine weak and so out of both the EU and NATO). Nor was he the only one to see NATO expansion as dangerous (realists seek to understand the both sides, and see that while those in the West view NATO as benign, those in Russia do not do so, given that NATO was created to contain Russia). Kissinger, Kennnan, and others came to the same conclusion, and the West’s pursuit of regime change and nation building can only have confirmed the suspicisions in Moscow, Minsk, Beijing, and elsewhere that the liberal protestations of spreading democracy really cloak more nefarious intentions of destroying regimes, economies, and cultures. That is all that Mearsheimer is doing — trying to understand what the ‘other side’ is thinking.
    I suspect those who do not read the IR (International Relations) literature for fun or profit do not know that a struggle has gone on between realists and liberals in IR, the former hewing to an older tradition of seeing states as autonomous, rational actors who act in ways that they believe is in the interest of their state, the latter insisting that institutions and international law and various ‘instruments’ can be designed and put into force which will guarantee a ‘rule of law’ among nations. Here is a link to what one of the realists thinks the mess in Ukraine currently shows, and it is worth noting that for all the hyperventilating, a treaty really is only a piece of paper if nobody can enforce it, like the UN Charter or the US Constitution — defund the police and the rule of law evaporates. At the international level, of course, the police were never funded. The closest thing to a police force is an alliance, but they tend to compete.
    The students calling for Mearsheimer to be suspended are, well, students, and Mearsheimer is a full professor, a rank you attain after years of study and publishing. So he might actually know what he is talking about, while their opinion is about as valuable as that of anybody you might meet in a bar on any given night, entertaining and even profound after a few drinks, but nothing you would bother to think about the following day.

    1. An Old Guy is also Ralph, Giocon, Margo Ballhere, Mistress Addams, Feldman, Pblinca and many, many more.

      1. “Russian Orthodox Church alleges gay pride parades were part of the reason for Ukraine war”

        From CNNs Delia Gallagher in Rome

        “If we see violations of [God’s] law, we will never put up with those who destroy this law, blurring the line between holiness and sin, and even more so with those who promote sin as an example or as one of the models of human behavior,” Kirill said.

  4. I am not a University, or a Professor, or a Student….they are free to remain silent, they are even allowed to take a position that I do not agree with…..but folks….I stand against what is going on in Ukraine as it is pure evil.

    Killing unarmed civilians, women, children and infants while engaging is Aggressive War… what led to Nazi’s to be tried and convicted at the end of WWII….have we rejected those concepts of justice today?

    Today’s outrage by the Russians…..look at the photos and bodies being dumped into trenches and tell yourself you do. not have to take a stand and at least speak out against such barbaric acts of War.

    When I hear politicians speaking of “credible reports of War Crimes”… makes me sick to my Heart….that they do not have the moral courage to speak the truth and promise to see the guilty punished.

    Let’s just sit back and watch this happen….how many children and infants must die before the Western Powers take decisive action to bring Putin and his Killers to heel….and end this carnage?

  5. John Kirby announces that the DOD, Bidumb, President Susan Rice and Vice President Valerie Jarrett, per orders from His Highnass Obongo, have denied military planes to Ukraine, leaving it to suffer wholesale slaughter by Russia, Bidumb’s paying ally, as the dastardly JFK did at the Bay of Pigs.

    And Trump thought he could drain “the swamp” and defeat the global, communist, Deep Deep State.

  6. The Three R’s have been “fundamentally transformed” into Brainwashing, Propagandization and Indoctrination in order to expedite the conclusion of global communization.

  7. OT



    NY Times correspondent, Matthew Rosenberg Admits To Project Veritas.

    Project Veritas strikes again. Not only were they able to get a NYT reporter to admit the J6 crowd was littered with FBI agents and informers, but they got him to admit the mainstream media makes more out of it than it really was. He is heading for the unemployment line as we speak. NY Times National Security Correspondent, Matthew Rosenberg. Not only did he contradict his own reporting, but he admitted that the FBI was involved.

    Rosenberg said:

    “There were a ton of FBI informants amongst the people who attacked the Capitol.“

    It was like, me and two other colleagues who were there [January 6] outside and we were just having fun!”

    “I know I’m supposed to be traumatized, but like, all these colleagues who were in the [Capitol] building and are like ‘Oh my God it was so scary!’ I’m like, ‘f*ck off!’”

    “They were making too big a deal. They were making this an organized thing that it wasn’t.”

    – USSA News

      1. “How would Rosenberg know how many FBI informants were there?”

        Via the same sources that, as a national security writer for the NYT (and Pulitzer Prize winner), he (and his two co-authors) used to write this article:

        “Revisionist histories of Jan. 6 have warped beliefs about what happened.”

        In that article, the Times authors lied about the presence of FBI informants. And Rosenberg just caught in that lie.

        1. He says elsewhere in the Veritas tape that none of his sources are FBI employees, so no, there’s no reason to think that his sources have an accurate count of how many FBI informants were in the crowd.

          1. But their sources were reliable when they wrote their original article claiming (falsely) that FBI informants were not present?

            Either they had reliable sources or they didn’t. If they didn’t, then their original NYT article was fabricated. If they did, then he (and the NYT) lied.

            And the issue is not “accurate count.” That’s another of your semantic, sophistical deflections.

            1. Excellent. ATS always chooses a personal semantic, sophistical deflection. He is also a shallow thinker. They may not have been FBI employees but could have been FBI informants. ATS will now say informants are FBI employees, though ATS used his semantic, sophistical deflection to say they aren’t informants in prior discussions.

              The weasel shifts what he says, so the evidence matches his conclusions. He is not credible.

              1. “ATS will now say informants are FBI employees”

                As usual, Meyer the Troll, you lie and insult. I’ve said nothing of the sort, and your insults describe you, not me.

                Sam claimed “In that article, the Times authors lied about the presence of FBI informants” and “their original article claiming (falsely) that FBI informants were not present.” I’ll ask you the same thing I asked Sam: quote where you think the article says that. I think you and Sam won’t be able to, and the question is whether you’ll be honest enough to admit that you cannot. Sam might be honest enough to admit that he misinterpreted what the article said, but I doubt you will.

                1. “I’ve said nothing of the sort,”

                  You didn’t even understand what the comment said. I was talking about a future comment because that is what you typically do.

                  ATS, I refer you to the Project Veritas report and video. Where politics is involved, the NYT is political spin. The headline will say something that is not true. Then the NYT will present its argument (not news), leaving out the news of arguments to the contrary. Following that, the NYT will produce a lot of fluff telling people they don’t have much more to say. Afterward, when everyone is bored and quits reading in a standard article, somewhere around paragraph 18, they will weakly provide a few counterarguments. Finally, they will conclude with a reiteration of what they said in the first few paragraphs.

                  The NYT counts on people not reading past the headlines and, if they do, not reading past their spin. If people are still reading, they bore them with fluff to stop them from reading. They intend to spin weak minds like yours into believing they are the purveyor of truth when that is the opposite of what they are.

                  P.S. You are a weak mind that utilizes semantic, sophistical deflection.

            2. I never claimed that his sources were accurate. I seldom cite the NYT and don’t know whether I’ve ever cited anything by Rosenberg.

              As for “If they did, then he (and the NYT) lied” and your earlier claim that “In that article, the Times authors lied about the presence of FBI informants,” please quote the statement in that article that you’re saying was a lie. I just skimmed the article, and I don’t see any reference to FBI informants. For example, if you’re referring to the statement about “FBI agents,” then you’re confusing informants and agents, despite those being very different groups of people. Do you understand the difference between FBI agents and FBI informants?

              “the issue is not “accurate count.””

              The issue is whether “There were a ton of FBI informants amongst the people who attacked the Capitol” is accurate. We know that Rosenberg claimed this, but right now, I don’t know whether or not it’s accurate.

              1. “I seldom cite the NYT “

                No you provide links that believe everything the NYT spins and then make the reporting even worse.

            3. BTW, Sam, your claim that “Either they had reliable sources or they didn’t” is a false dichotomy. It’s entirely possible to have some sources who are reliable and other sources who aren’t. It’s also possible for a single source to be a reliable source for some kinds of information and not a reliable source for other kinds of information.

              But all of that is besides the point right now, as it seems that you misread the article and interpreted “FBI agents” to mean “FBI informants,” even though those two groups are really different (in fact, the intersection of those two sets is empty). If I’m wrong about that, and they made a statement somewhere in that article about FBI informants, just quote it.

  8. “he also has a right to hold opposing views without being singled out by the university or officially denounced for what some view to be unacceptable “ideology.””

    No, actually, he does NOT have a right not to be denounced by the university. The university has its own speech rights, and if Turley were truly the free speech absolutist that he often claims to be, then he’d say that the university has a right to denounce Mearsheimer if it wishes to do so.

    Turley is so anxious to condemn universities that he makes inconsistent arguments.

  9. Time to stop “forcing” entities to take a stand! Individuals are free to take a stand. Diverse university, especially PUBLIC Funded University(which currently is ALL OF THEM) should be REQUIRED to stay out of politics! Just like Public Unions should be required to stay out of politics….as they are FUNDED by Everyone! Else they start to BRIBE Democrats for their outrageous request!

    1. You cannot legally require universities “stay out of politics,” no matter how much you wish you could.

  10. Bored students at American colleges should get some guns and go Dave Ukraine.

  11. University should be a place where all things could/should be discussed, all participants should be able to offer their position. No student or campus group should be able stop or yell down anyone who offers opposing positions. Any student or campus group who attempts to stop anyone from speaking should be sent packing and not allowed to return to campus.

    If you’re position is strongest it will speak for itself.

  12. Roosevelt was right.
    You should only fear your fear because it causes inaction that, in the long run, is more deadly than action.

  13. We have the highest gas prices in American history and we’re on the verge of WW3, all because of a STOLEN ELECTION

    Let Us Go Bran Den!

    1. The election wasn’t stolen.

      If you adjust for inflation, the current gas prices aren’t the highest in US history.

      We are not on the verge of WW3.

      Let’s try to agree on something: will you join me in condemning Putin for his unwarranted war on Ukraine?

      1. Please stop, you have no idea what you are talking about regarding the average cost of Gasoline today or bygone eras.
        As examples: Gasoline in 1978 had an average price of $0.65 per gallon and accounting for inflation today would be $2.80 per gallon. In 1990 gasoline averages $1.12 which today would be $2.41. In 2000 gasoline averaged $1.56 equaling today $2.55. In 2010 gasoline averaged $2.87 equaling today $3.70. Finally in 2020 gasoline averaged $2.24 equaling today $2.43. Even if went back to 1913 it’s still more expensive today as average costs were $0.17 per gallon or in today’s dollar $4.83 per gallon.

          1. Uhm…did you back-out gas prices themselves from your analysis???

        1. I bought “regular” gas at a Costco in Albuquerque NM on 2 days, so I know why the price per gallon rose 59% since between those 2 days.
          On President Trump’s last day in office and immediately before biden/haris’ flurry of executive orders, Costco customers paid $1.99 per gallon. On February 24, 2022, as Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, the price of that gas was $3.16 per gallon. Up 59% thanks to biden/harris’ attack on affordable gas needed by American consumers and businesses! Within the last month, it was reported that USA imports of oil from Russia – often described as dirty” oil – about doubled since biden/harris began its attack on USA-produced gas and oil.

          1. No matter what your personal experience with gas prices is, when adjusted for inflation, the current price still doesn’t reach the high from 2008.

            As for your claim that “USA imports of oil from Russia … about doubled since” Biden was inaugurated, it doubled last summer, and then it dropped back to what it was when Trump left office, and now it will drop to 0. There was no “attack on USA-produced gas and oil.” Gulf oil production reduced last summer because of hurricanes and then went back up.

            1. “There was no ‘attack on USA-produced gas and oil.’”

              Yet another big lie.

              Since Biden’s Green New Deal zealots took command of the energy industry, they have:

              — Killed pipelines

              — Criminalized exploration and production (e.g., in ANWR)

              — Erected regulations and rules that throttle existing energy production (e.g., by making such production economically impossible)

              — Discouraged financial markets from financing energy projects

              *Before* the election, Biden’s anti-energy coalition said openly that their goal was to kill the fossil fuel industry. Why, now, is anyone surprised that they are doing just that?

              Biden’s energy destroyers have made Americans far poorer. And not just at the pump.

              The ultimate indignity is that Biden is now begging, hat in hand, a theocracy (Iran) and a dictatorship (Venezuela) to sell us oil.

              It is hard to fathom the evil of a country’s political leaders destroying its own energy production.

                1. ATS, this is not a credible argument. Numbers go up and down based on need. The proof is that Biden is seeking oil from disreputable nations because Brandon’s policies have prevented the US marketplace from producing more oil.

                  Your spin is tiresome and should be recognizable to everyone on the list by now.

      2. Thank you, Comrade General Secretary Xi Jinping.

        We will obey your orders faithfully when your global subsumption is complete.

        1. In other words, when asked “will you join me in condemning Putin for his unwarranted war on Ukraine?,” your answer is “No.”

  14. Russia doesn’t get to decide whether there is nuclear war or not.
    We shouldn’t resign ourselves to the idea that it does.
    When you fear that something might happen, but it doesn’t happen,
    that means you had nothing to fear all along.
    Russia is afraid of nuclear war, too.
    Putin doesn’t want to die.
    How is he supposed to enjoy his billions of dollars if he is injured or killed?

  15. When you write about things you never experienced, it’s just an abstract, meaningless word salad, an echochamber of one abstract word bouncing off another in a random fashion, that in the end does not amount to a hill of beans, and does not produce anything good or worthwhile in the real, concrete world.

  16. The university setting must remain an enriched and safe environment wherein academics and students alike remain free to explore a deeper understanding of differing and academically researched perspectives.

    Foreign policy is complex. I would love to see a closed book, 25 question pop quiz given to university students and academics alike on the geography and history of this part of the world, the events leading to the invasion and the implications of the world’s reaction.

    I condemn the invasion and the atrocities of war. But it is never as simple as it seems. There are always consequences to myopic foreign policies. There are always deeper issues that lead to war.

    How we got here is one conversation. What to do next is another. The world is so intimately connected that the consequences of a single decision will impact many people for a very long time.

  17. “Universities took such a stand against South Africa during apartheid,”

    Another Turley rewrite of history. Many major universities backed and were heavily (secretly) invested in South Africa’s apartheid government and were forced to divest by their students kicking and screaming.

    I picked Harvard as an example to look up, multiply this times a hundred or more colleges and universities across the nation.

    1. Liberals under Trump: Stop saying Wuhan flu! It is racist and causing violence!

      Liberals under Biden: Boycott Russian-named liquors! Cancel Russian musicians! Stop playing Tchaikovsky!

      1. Neither “liberals” nor Biden ever told anyone to boycott vodka, or to “cancel” Russian musicians. These things were done by people on their own. So, whatever alt-right source you got this from, which is trying to teach you to hate Joe Biden and/or “liberals”, they are LYING to you. Bars in my home city are dumping Russian vodka, and liquor stores and retail outlets have removed it from their shelves. all voluntary, as a symbolic rejection of Russia due to the premeditated murder of Ukrainians. No one told them to do this. And, SARS CoVD-19 virus was never called “Wuhan flu”–that was just some of Trump’s lying bluster. Scientists give viruses their names according to the genetic group to which it belongs, not for political posturing.

        1. Natacha, you go from one subject to another, repeating yourself without the slightest indication you listened to anyone who responded to you or read about all those things you talked about in the past that turned out not to be true.

          Recently you made your typical comments about Israel and the Palestinians that were wrong. Did you bother to think about what you said? No. You continued to let the marbles rattle in your head while producing the same ideas unchanged despite the facts.

          I will post one of the links to the discussion. Tell me what is wrong or ask for a link to a law or an agreement. I can provide that for you, but you don’t care about the truth. You don’t want that rattle in your brain to disappear.

          1. I was responding to Benj’s attacks on “Liberals”, which included complaints about boycotts of Russan liquor, books and music. When did Democrats, Liberals or Biden tell people to boycott Russian vodka, Russian music or Russian authors? They didt–such boycotts are self-generated. I also responded to Trump’s effort to re-name COVID as the “Wuhan Virus”. That’s not jumping from one subject to another: it’s responding to the contents of Benf’s rant.

            What do my past “comments about Israel and Palestine” have to do with this, and what about these comments have been proven “wrong”, according to you? And, who the hell are you to chide me about not “bothering to think about what I said” or having “marbles in my head” and ignoring “facts”? It’s people like you who not only don’t care about the truth, you’re immune to it, and just like the role model you follow, you attack people with whom you disagree.

            1. i just reviewed my comments to the link you provided. Now, tell me, please, where my comments about the Abraham Accords were proven wrong. Cite me some proof that this agreement resolved some hot conflict in the Middle East, or that Trump was the one who was involved instead of Jared Kushner. Cite me some proof that the Abraham Accords were something more than just formalization of trading that was already happening between Israel, UAE and Bahrain. Were the Palestinians signatory to the agreement, and what were the terms of the agreement? Do you even know? Where did you get your information about the Abraham Accords, and why do people like you who worship Trump believe that this was some kind of miracle that solved the “Palestinian question” and that Trump should take credit for working a miracle? Do you even know what the “Palestinian Question” is, or why there is conflict between the israelis and the Palestinian people, or are you, like most Trumpsters, willing to believe the drivel put out by alt-right news sources. You claim that things I have posted have “turned out not to be true”. So, you’re calling me a liar. Well, I’m demanding proof, and posting a link to a Turley article doesn’t cut it.

              1. “There was no war “in the area” for which your hero “brought peace”.

                Natacha, peace is the ABSENCE of war. Take note of how the absence of war occurred under Trump. Take note of how quickly Hamas attacked with 1,200 missiles under Biden in 2 days sent to civilian targets. (As I said, peace is the ABSENCE of war.)

                “Palestinians, refusing to allow them a voice,”

                They run their cities in Judea and Samaria, and we see Arabs in the Knesset and on the Supreme Court. No Jew in Arab lands has ever been offered anything close. In fact, the Jews were expelled from Arab lands, and the Arabs took their property away. Those were the lucky ones. They killed the unlucky ones.

                “There were no warring parties that Trump, or, more correctly, Jared Kushner, brought together. ”

                I can’t help it if you don’t read ‘real’ news. The Arab nations lined up against Israel. Under Trump, many united with Israel both militarily and economically.

                “The trading between Israel and UAE and Bahrain was happening before Trump ever took office. ”

                Trading always occurred. Recognition is the key to peace, and 4 Arab nations were added to the list under Trump, with others ready to go along.

                You say Trump had nothing to do with all of this, but he did. That is why there was no war, and peace moved forward. As soon as Biden came in, peace ended. What you consider a nothing burger was an achievement no President in 75 years could obtain.

                Let’s get things straight. Judea and Samaria are legally part of Israel. Many of the Arabs didn’t even originate from the area. You can tell by their names that many came from Egypt and other countries.

                Jordan is the home to what you call the Palestinian. Jordan killed Palestinians and threw them out, but you know nothing about that or much of anything.

                “You claim that things I have posted have “turned out not to be true”.

                Yes, show me how Israel is the aggressor. Show me how the Palestinians have a legal right to the land. Tell me why Arabs who came from Egypt have more of a right than the Israeli who provides that job. No, you don’t know very much of anything about the Middle East. I will repost a bit of history for you. Tell me why that history is wrong. It isn’t.

              2. Natacha, many of your questions do not make sense, so that I will enclose a brief legal history of the boundaries under dispute. This history should answer most of your questions or make them invalid. Israel was supposed to have all of the British mandate. Britain split the mandate into Israel and Jordan. Wars broke out, and Instead of Israel being erased from the map, Israel retracted to a much smaller area behind the green line.

                None of that was good enough for the Arabs who had sided with the Nazis. They intended to kill all the Jews. To you, that is fair. The Arab nations attacked Israel repeatedly, which led to Israel regaining control over Judea and Samaria, which was their legal right. That would never have happened had the Arab nations accepted Israeli boundaries at the green line.

                Though you don’t know it, there never was peace, so a peace agreement is a big deal. You don’t know much about peace and how it is maintained. You seem to be parroting sites that cannot present a legitimate history. Tell us how the history is different than what follows.

                *The history before the British Mandate and the law:

                Jordan illegally occupied Judea/Samaria for 19 years. They did not have the backing of international law, but the world accepted the occupation.

                Israel cannot possibly be an occupier, for what would they be occupying? They would be occupying land that is legally theirs.

                How can that be? The international community created laws to protect the borders of all nations after the first world war.

                Those laws gave Israel sovereignty over the entire area of Israel, Judea and Samaria that I will detail later.

                But, there is history even before that. The Jewish people lived in that land for over 3,000 years, including the Jewish Kingdom that ruled over Judea and Samaria. That history and continuity make Israel’s claim far greater than any other, especially since no Arab, Palestinian state, or kingdom existed in that territory mandated to Israel.

                *How are borders decided?

                That takes us to 1917 and the subsequent creation of treaties to establish the legal basis for a sovereign nation’s border. The defeat of the Ottoman Empire and other countries created this need. How does one divide up the lands that the Ottoman Empire and other nations had conquered?

                Following WW1, the victors created The League of Nations in 1920. The world needed to oversee a system where nation-building took place in those lands that were former colonies of the defeated nations. The idea was that the victorious powers would not grab political power but create new nation-states overseeing those areas while they were being built.

                *The solution to the modern state:

                The solution was the mandate system. Palestine was one of those areas that had to be overseen while a modern nation-state was being created. This nation-state was made in the same fashion as others in the middle east and was considered the least problematic. There was very little value and no oil in the lands Mandated to Israel.

                Like everywhere else, the world under The League of Nations made a decision. In the case of the British Mandate, Palestine should be a home for the Jewish people.

                Why? As mentioned before, there were 3,000 years of continuous presence and connection to the land that no other group had. Therefore, the Jews had a legitimate right to ‘reconstitute’ a national home.

                If one argues against this decision, then one has to do the same against all the decisions that created the Middle East countries (along with countries all over the world.)

                Article 25 permitted, for convenience sake, a Mandate to be split into parts which the British immediately exercised. The British created Jordan, which lay west of the Jordan River. Has anyone questioned Jordan’s right to exist? The other part was left for the Jewish people. That part contained Judea/Samaria, later known as the West Bank, and all of Jerusalem.

                The British Mandate expired in 1948, and Israel declared its independence.

                *The aftermath:

                Upon Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948, the Arab states attacked the new nation. Judea/Samaria and all of Jerusalem were part of the sovereign territory of Israel. Fighting ceased, based on an armistice agreement where this half of the Mandate was divided again with a green marker pen. The fighting men of both sides agreed to withdraw to their sides of the green line.

                Jordan was now occupying additional land that was sovereign Israeli territory obtained through an act of war. That act of war never changed the legal boundaries constituting the border of Israel. Jordan was an illegal occupying force but was accepted the same way Russia illegally occupies Crimea today, against international law.

                *Enter the League of Nations and International agreements

                Israel’s territorial rights were guaranteed by treaties and agreements between the nations of the world and the League of Nations, as enumerated and partially explained in an earlier prior response.

                One has to ask themselves why those so prejudiced against Israel do not challenge the existence of Jordan? Wasn’t Jordan created under the same set of rules?

                Jordan was guilty of occupying the West Bank also based on those rules. Why weren’t they called illegal occupiers? Prejudice and antisemitism are two explanations. Of course, there are others, such as oil and personal power. Come WW2, and we see the entrance of the Nazis and Arabs like the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, all that wanted to exterminate the Jews.

                *Enter the UN

                There is so much history and duplicity that I haven’t written about and won’t at this time, but one has to cover just a bit about the claims based on actions occurring in the UN.

                The UN’s only binding powers involve the adoption of its budgets. They do not have international law-making abilities. One could say their abilities are similar to the American House passing a law but then following rules to make what they say legal (Senate and Presidential acceptance). To make things simple, that means the UN resolutions have no practical legality. They require the consent of the parties involved.

                However, some assume otherwise even though they will not apply the same rules to other nations. Why? Could prejudice and antisemitism be a reason?

                Rules are supposed to be applied the same to all nations. I wish some of those who hate Israel with such intensity understood what the Rule of Law means. Without that, despotism prevails.

                *One last point:

                Previously, I mentioned “uti posseditis juris.” What does that Latin phrase mean in the context of this discussion?

                According to international law, when a new country is created, its borders are the borders of the last geopolitical administrative unit in that area. That includes countries that are emerging from colonialism. The borders are those of the former colony. Though this might be arbitrary, it nonetheless reflects international law. The alternative would be that everything would be up for the taking, creating a volatile world environment. That is why this rule is applied in every other Mandate.

                *Just one more point. What are settlements?

                What are called settlements are Jewish civilian presence in an area previously illegally occupied by Jordan.

                Some people interpret Article 49 of the Geneva convention wrongfully and use that against Israeli families relocating to parts of Israel inside of Israel’s territorial boundaries. Since such relocation is within Israeli territory, there should be no complaint. Article 49 was written to prevent hostile nations (Germany in the 1930s) from sending large numbers of people into territory outside their territorial boundaries while moving those indigenous to the area elsewhere.

                Israeli citizens are moving individually from one legal place in Israel to another. This act is nothing more than Israeli citizens (Arab, Jew and Christian) moving from one city to another.

                1. S. Meyer has summarized my understanding of the legalities quite nicely.

  18. This viper pit makes me feel like Jesus in the temple. I guess I’ll make my ascension now.

    1. Remember Jesus descended into hell before he ascended to heaven. Viper pits don’t qualify for hell. They are only a means of getting to hell if you don’t get quick treatment

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