Critics of Israel regularly explain that the very creation of Israel was in fact immoral, as it was founded on stolen land and its native inhabitants were all expelled. The Jews should have created their state in accordance with their neighbors. "You cannot come to a country where your ancestors lived three thousand years ago and claim it is yours. Would you give up your country if the Celts came and claimed it to be theirs?" I won't go into details about all the wrong assumptions in these statements (the Palestinian refugees were the result of a war that was started by the Arabs; Jews have had a spiritual and physical tie with the land of Israel/Palestine during all the time since their expulsion by the Romans and the creation of modern Israel; the land was not stolen but bought and there was no Arab state in Palestine that was 'taken over' by the Jews, etc. See here
for more information about such myths and why they are wrong. If the Jews should have created a state or a homeland only with the approval of the Arab Palestinians, then surely there would have been no Jewish state, as the Arabs rejected any compromise and any form of Jewish self determination. The Arabs opposed Jewish immigration to Palestine even during and after WWII, when it became clear what happened to the Jews in Europe.
What strikes me is that such doubts about the legitimacy of a country and its right to exist are never made against any other country. There are a lot of countries that came into being after a war and the native population was expelled or subordinated. There are a lot of countries that discriminate against or even persecute minorities and occupy land where another people seeks self determination or at least autonomy. American or Australian crimes against the native people were much worse than what Israel did to the Palestinians, yet nobody says that the USA has no right to exist or is an illegitimate state. After WWII hardly anybody said that the Germans have no right to self determination because of their terrible crimes and proven inability to live in peace with their neighbors.
If I say that I am anti-Iran I mean that I am against the Iranian leadership of Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs who want to develop an atomic bomb to destroy Israel and control the Gulf states and Iraq. I am not against Iranian self determination. I am not even against Iran as an Islamic state per se
, although I prefer secular democracies. If people say that they are anti-Israel they always mean that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state, which means as the national home of the Jewish people, not a state based on Jewish religious law as some anti-Zionists claim. Even people who only claim to be critical of Israel often also question its right to exist as a Jewish state, although their official position is usually a two state solution. In Arab media, but also in some European newspapers Israel's right to exist is denied frequently. That is the main reason that Israel puts so much emphasis on recognizing its right to exist before entering in negotiations and making concessions (serious negotiations will probably (and should) lead to Israeli concessions, as they are in control of the territories, and are the party that has to give up things, and they will be blamed in the first place if negotiations fail). It is true that right wing Zionists use this argument because they don't want negotiations and concessions at all, but they can be unmasked very easily by a genuine recognition of Israel as the national home of the Jews while condemning the occupation.
Because so many people question or deny Israel's right to exist, and this goes to the heart of the conflict, I feel compelled to make a case for its right to exist more than against the occupation, which I view as being a result of the Arab refusal to accept Jewish self determination in one tiny corner of the Middle East. I know few people who advocate the occupation nowadays and such a position is very rare in our newspapers. It is evident to almost everyone in Europe that the ongoing building of settlements and mistreatment of Palestinians at checkpoints as well as the forgiving way in which settlers who harass Palestinians are treated are bad and shameful. (I have some hope that things might become better with Peretz as new Minister of Defense
, I hope I am not too optimistic).
Were Israel's (moral) right to exist not questioned so frequently, also or especially by left wing people who celebrate the causes of justice and human rights, and were not Israel alone made responsible for a conflict that is caused to a great extent by the refusal of her neighbors to accept her right to exist, my blogs would be much different.
But even then I would never make a case against Israel's existence and I think nobody should, as there is no moral ground for such a position, with or without the occupation and Israeli wrongs against the Palestinians. Ratna Pelle
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Replies: 1 Comment
This is all non-sense. Israel need not even respond to such critics. This is like responding to a barking dog. If there is anything thats flimsy in this whole story is the historical authenticity of Palestine/Philistine. I am tired of hearing about their claim as Cananites or something or the other. Jewsish tribes were there in Arabia before the birth of Mohammad. I think Israel has more legitimate claim on Arabia than Palestine has on lands that were bought over by immigrant jewish community in the last century. The Islamists are going Hitler way, lie. Shout ur lie on the streets, on the parapets, in seminars and conferences. May be I am wrong, Israel should not ignore these lies, and counter in a more potent manner.
Anubhav, Wednesday, May 17th
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