Johan Galtung Replies to Prof. Ada Aharoni’s Critique

TRANSCEND News, 8 Feb 2016

Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

To Antonio, editor of TMS, and to Prof. Johan Galtung:

Thanks for posting my YEAR OF HOPE 2016 Poem. I hope it will soon become a reality. With your help, and the help of all peace-loving people of our Global Village, it indeed can become our reality soon if we all join our peace hands together.

However, there are two drawbacks that bother me in TRANSCEND and mars it from making it a true PEACE JOURNAL:

  1. Daesh – The Islamic State will not listen to any negotiations. Their goal is clear: kill all the people that oppose their Caliphate. They have brutally killed more Muslims than foreigners! The tragedy of emigration of millions from Syria and Iraq is their doing, and so much more inhuman and cruel barbarity… Daesh has to be eliminated, as they are the new Hitler.
  2. If TRANSCEND really wants to promote Peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and reach a Peace Treaty like between Egypt and Israel, and Jordan and Israel, stop pouring your hatred on Israel! To solve a conflict you have to deal with both sides of the Conflict and not only one side, as it only increases the conflict and does not solve it.  Prof. Johan Galtung, please go back to what you were, a real and objective Leader of Peace!

Prof. Ada Aharoni


Reply from Johan Galtung:

Dear Prof. Aharoni, thank you for expressing your concerns.

Daesh – You argue that, “Daesh has to be eliminated as they are the new Hitler“.  I do not think that is the approach, nor is it the impression I get from talking with them.  Yes, there are extremists like in many other places distorted by conflicts that they have been unable to solve; a strong argument for using the military defensively. Strong defense around threatened places would have saved many lives. The general Western approach of bombing-droning-SEAL sharp shooting does not work: in 2000, about 1,800 terrorist acts were registered, last year about 14,000. More than seven times over.

One threatened place is Israel.  Strong Chapter 6, not Chapter 7 UN peacekeeping forces around the legitimate Israel of 4 June 1967, on both sides of the border, might make sense.

Daesh insists on the same right to have a big state as Christian-secular Europe to have the EU; and the same right to restore a Caliphate destroyed by the West and Mustafa Kemal as Catholic Christians to have the Vatican.

The Organization of Islamic Conference has 57 state members, but 56 are old Western colonies (no. 57 is Iran).  They argue Daesh and the Caliphate as the successors, and seem to have the support of a clear majority in Saudi Arabia, also as custodians of the two sacred mosques. There are about 1,650 million Muslims (according to Princeton University) in the world. I repeat: negotiate the future, no easy task.

Israel – I have not the slightest hatred of Israel, am critical and constructive, standing for what I have stood for the last 45 years: a solution, with Palestine fully recognized, and then a 2-State solution inside a 6-State community inside a 20-State Organization for Security and Cooperation in West Asia. If anybody has a better formula, fine. Israel-Egypt and Israel-Jordan are not models for Israel-Palestine; the latter had been conquered and occupied, the others not.

Johan Galtung


Ada Aharoni is founder of The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace-IFLAC. She is an Egyptian-born Israeli poet, writer, lecturer and peace researcher.

Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment and rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He has published 164 books on peace and related issues, of which 41 have been translated into 35 languages, for a total of 135 book translations, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Feb 2016.

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15 Responses to “Johan Galtung Replies to Prof. Ada Aharoni’s Critique”

  1. Maria Pia Corpaci says:

    Maybe Ms Ada Aharoni thinks that criticising Israeli politics amounts to hatred against it, as many jewish people believe…

    • It is well past time for everyone to stop pointing fingers and accusing each other of favoritism or worse. Members of Transcend well understand the philosophy of reconciliation and peace behind the method and practice that Johan Galtung has espoused and promulgated throughout his lifetime. Those who know him personally understand this even more clearly. The difficulty exists with those who cannot hold two contradictory thoughts in their minds at the same time while understanding that inner peace transcended to the outer world is at the core of the difficult work in conflict transformation. Johan has demonstrated this countless times in his writings, public talks and in his personal being. We are entering an age of humility rather than accusation. Unless we understand this, humanity will surely pay for its egocentric, egregious mistakes.

    • Ahmed Mannouti says:


      Even critics of Israel need to reach out and understand the Israeli position and accept their lives and fears. Without that no peace will ever be possible. Too few understand this.


      • Ada Aharoni says:

        Thank you very much for your thoughtful and wise comment above, dear Ahmed Mannouti. I hope that Prof. Johan Galtung and his followers will indeed soon understand what you so clearly explained, that: “Even critics of Israel need to reach out and understand the Israeli position and accept their lives and fears. Without that no peace will ever be possible. Too few understand this.”



  2. rosemerry says:

    Thanks to Johan Galtung. Ada Aharoni seems to be the one with hatred. Daesh has developed as a direct result of the West’s interference in the Islamic world, and the more “we” interfere, the worse the situation becomes. Claiming it can be destroyed by violence is playing into the hands of the warmongers. Surely she remembers the attempted destruction of Jews did not lead to their removal from the earth.

    As for Israel, any criticism is always counted as unfair. The illegal takeover of land, and destruction of houses, farms, olive groves, lives, futures of Palestinians has nothing to do with religion, but is political. Israel is encouraged in its intransigence by ill-informed Americans and their weak leaders, without whom the State would not survive while ignoring international laws with impunity.

  3. Arman Golosino says:

    Prof. Galtung and Prof. Aharoni are all working for peace but they have different perspectives and worldviews.

    Historical development may open our eyes to the reality that peace will prevail when justice is shared and lived. This is a long, long journey where reconciliation process of all warring parties are being made and all tools for war and greediness are broken down. That all, weak and strong or powerful nations are ready and open to destroy all their weapons and turning it to an instrument for food production.

  4. Britt Viren says:

    Johan Galtung

    You can hardly argue that your posts don’t contain hatred. Every time you mention e.g. the USA you manage to add a side kick against its history (do I really have to provide you with examples?), while you completely avoid it when it comes to other countries.

    It may be that your hatred is so ingrained that you don’t recognize it yourself? May I recommend a thing Try pretending that you write about Russia next time you actually write about the US and the other way around. The results may even surprise yourself.

    And it’s a pity as peace require a much more balanced and nuanced debate.

    • Rant Deldano says:

      Have you read: by said Galtung whom you claim hates the USA?

      I don’t know who is to blame here… you for not keeping up with Galtung or Galtung writing too much too often for you to keep up with.

      Anyway, READ the man’s papers yet think for yourself. That is what he is here for. If you can’t get past that, well, watch your bloodpressure.

  5. Ahmed Mannouti says:


    Johan Galtung has been very supportive of the Russian aggression towards Ukraine and the subsequent illegal annexation of Crimea. You can hardly expect him to deviate from that position….

    • Rant Deldano says:

      As the man above wrote: Can you hold two thoughts in your mind at the same time? Do you know what an Antinomy is? Do you know how it differs from a dichotomy? If not, it would do you some good to know that distinction before reading anything Galtung. If you cannot distinguish those two things and recognize them in social reality, you can not understand what Galtung writes. Sorry. It is that simple.

      • Ahmed Mannouti says:

        Dear Mr Deldano

        I’m not really sure what your point is. Do you disagree with the observation that Mr Galtung has been supportive of Russian aggression (“reticfying a historical wrong”) and that this is perfectly in line with his equally obvious anti-americanism?

        Whether Mr Galtung is able to hold two more more conflicting ideas in his mind, I don’t know. I’m only observing his writings and the fact that they – sadly – undermine what I assume are his objetives.


  6. Ada Aharoni says:

    Dear Prof. Johan Galtung,

    Thank you for your response to my two concerns mentioned above, your attitude and that of Transcend to Daiesh, and to Israel. Neither of your responses convinced me that you and Transcend today are objectively providing Solutions-Oriented Peace answers, attittudes or Journalism.


    I was astounded to read that you still condone Daiesh
    “The Islamic State”, after all their atrocities, burning innocent people alive trapped in cages, selling out Christian women and children, for sexual goals, killing thousands of Muslims and Christians, in Syria and Iraq, and being responsible for the cruel migration of half a miLlion poor and hungry immigrants who are swarmong Europe! You write: “Daesh insists on the same right to have a big state as Christian-secular Europe to have the EU; and the same right to restore a Caliphate destroyed by the West…!” However, you ignore that Daiesh clearly aims at including all Europe and the whole of our global village as part of its primitive Caliphate! This is not the wise and objective Peace leader Johan Galtung I used to admire!


    I agree with your initial comment: “One threatened place is Israel…. Chapter 6 UN peacekeeping forces around the legitimate Israel of 4 June 1967, on both sides of the border, might make sense.” You should explain this especially to Palestinian HAMAS. What they have in their Charter, Clauses: 7 etc. is the destruction of Israel and of all the Jews!
    Your second argument is totally false, Israel was a legally founded State by the majority of the UN, and did not “invade” Palestine. With statements like these, you encourage the Palestinian terrorists, often as young as 12 years old, to continue to stab innocent Israelis, everyday! Your attitude and your innaccurate statements does not encourage them to make Peace with Israel, which would be a WIN-WIN situation to both sides, but to go on with their hatred and violence that will lead to an additional war! Enough of rivers of human blood, Johan, please be responsible with your attitudes and with your words!
    Encourage PEACE not TERROR and WAR!

    Please be again the responsible PEACE LEADER whom I met in Australia at the IPRA Conference, and who encouraged me to found IFLAC: THE INTERNATIONAL FORUM FOR THE LITERATURE AND CULTURE OF PEACE.

    WE ARE ALSO REGRET AND ARE SURPRISED BY YOUR FALSE STATEMENTS AND INACCURACIES. FOR EXAMPLE, You write above: that Daesh “has the support of a clear majority in Saudi Arabia.” The exact opposite is THE FACTUAL TRUTH: Saudi Arabia has declared this week that it is sending land troops to eliminate Daesh in Syria and Iraq! Prof. Galtung, PLEASE BE ACCURATE in your statements and support Peace not TERROR and savagery like we see at Daesh. We are horrified by your support and condoning of Daesh, that all the free world is strongly condemning.

    As to your attitude toward Israel and the Palestinians,
    PLEASE SUPPORT PEACE TALKS between them, that can lead to the creation of a free, flourishing and peaceful Palestinian State by the side of its neighbor Israel. IFLAC strongly supports the TWO STATES solution, and it suggests that you Prof. Galtung, condemn the HAMAS Charter that aims at the destruction of Israels and the killing of all the Jews!
    This Charter of hatred and violence is taught in Palestinian schools with dire results of Children becoming terrorists and killing innocent Israeli people. As a Peace Leader, you should tell Hamas to write a new Charter of Peace and Reconciliation between the two people: Palestinians and Israelis.


  8. Rant Deldano says:

    A singularly unconvincing way to make your point Dr. Rosenberg. I won’t even begin to analyze how you write. Any way: Good luck with your approach to stopping the violence between Israel and Palestine by posting diatribes against social scientists on websites. Weird stuff really.

  9. John Cabral says:

    That someone with credible peace activist credentials such as Prof. Aharoni should call for the elimination of a hated enemy…is a shock for me.

    The pain and despair and fear and the hatred in the Israeli people must be enormous, if these peace activists are speaking in this way.

    After all, Israelis live a mere fifty or hundred miles from areas in the former Syria occupied by fighters similar to Islamic State or by IS itself.

    This fear and hatred is so great that it leads these peace activists, stunningly, to believe that Professor Galtung actually CONDONES (accepts? likes? agrees with? supports?) Islamic State and other radical fighters in Syria/Iraq and, to boot, condones Russian aggression in the Ukraine, is in favor of Hamas, etc. etc. etc.

    Professor Aharoni needs to be fully heard. Not for the purpose of changing her or moving her from her positions, but for dialogue. Using Professor Galtung’s methods for dialogue that I am reading about now in his A Theory of Conflict.

    Until she and other Israelis are heard, they will have zero openness to hear my proposals, my positions.

    I say take Galtung’s teachings all the way right now: the Islamic State group must be INVITED to participate in any cease-fire and peace talks. At the same time force is used to stop their depredations. Force can be used to defend against them and other fighters. Only defensively, not to “eliminate” them.

    They own half or a third of that entire region: they need to be included in talks.

    And, despite their temporary insanity, matching everybody else’s temporary insanity in the war-torn region, they are human beings, and they are trying to get human needs met, albeit using tragic and murderous methods.

    If you exclude fighters and forces that have tortured, killed, and beheaded, you would exclude the government of Bashar al Asad, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, Iran, the United States, Israel, France…..

    Involve everybody. No exclusions. Hamas. Hizbollah. Likud. Everybody who is part of this horrible conflict.

    John Cabral