Excuse Me, But Israel Has No Right To Exist

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The phrase “right to exist” entered my consciousness in the 1990s just as the concept of the two-state solution became part of our collective lexicon. In any debate at university, when a Zionist was out of arguments, those three magic words were invoked to shut down the conversation with an outraged, “are you saying Israel doesn’t have the right to exist??”

Of course you couldn’t challenge Israel’s right to exist – that was like saying you were negating a fundamental Jewish right to have…rights, with all manner of Holocaust guilt thrown in for effect.

Except of course the Holocaust is not my fault – or that of Palestinians. The cold-blooded program of ethnically cleansing Europe of its Jewish population has been so callously and opportunistically utilized to justify the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Arab nation, that it leaves me utterly unmoved. I have even caught myself – shock - rolling my eyes when I hear Holocaust and Israel in the same sentence.

What moves me instead in this post-two-state era, is the sheer audacity of Israel even existing.

What a fantastical idea, this notion that a bunch of rank outsiders from another continent could appropriate an existing, populated nation for themselves – and convince the “global community” that it was the moral thing to do. I’d laugh at the chutzpah if this wasn’t so serious.

Even more brazen is the mass ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population by persecuted Jews, newly arrived from their own experience of being ethnically cleansed.

But what is truly frightening is the psychological manipulation of the masses into believing that Palestinians are somehow dangerous – “terrorists” intent on “driving Jews into the sea.” As someone who makes a living through words, I find the use of language in creating perceptions to be intriguing. This practice – often termed “public diplomacy” has become an essential tool in the world of geopolitics. Words, after all, are the building blocks of our psychology.

Take, for example, the way we have come to view the Palestinian-Israeli “dispute” and any resolution of this enduring conflict. And here I borrow liberally from a previous article of mine…

The United States and Israel have created the global discourse on this issue, setting stringent parameters that grow increasingly narrow regarding the content and direction of this debate. Anything discussed outside the set parameters has, until recently, widely been viewed as unrealistic, unproductive and even subversive.

Participation in the debate is limited only to those who prescribe to its main tenets: the acceptance of Israel, its regional hegemony and its qualitative military edge; acceptance of the shaky logic upon which the Jewish state's claim to Palestine is based; and acceptance of the inclusion and exclusion of certain regional parties, movements and governments in any solution to the conflict.

Words like dove, hawk, militant, extremist, moderates, terrorists, Islamo-fascists, rejectionists, existential threat, holocaust-denier, mad mullah determine the participation of solution partners -- and are capable of instantly excluding others.

Then there is the language that preserves "Israel's Right To Exist" unquestioningly: anything that invokes the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and the myths about historic Jewish rights to the land bequeathed to them by the Almighty – as though God was in the real-estate business. This language seeks not only to ensure that a Jewish connection to Palestine remains unquestioned, but importantly, seeks to punish and marginalize those who tackle the legitimacy of this modern colonial-settler experiment.

But this group-think has led us nowhere. It has obfuscated, distracted, deflected, ducked, and diminished, and we are no closer to a satisfactory conclusion…because the premise is wrong.

There is no fixing this problem. This is the kind of crisis in which you cut your losses, realize the error of your ways and reverse course. Israel is the problem. It is the last modern-day colonial-settler experiment, conducted at a time when these projects were being unraveled globally.

There is no “Palestinian-Israeli conflict” – that suggests some sort of equality in power, suffering, and negotiable tangibles, and there is no symmetry whatsoever in this equation. Israel is the Occupier and Oppressor; Palestinians are the Occupied and Oppressed. What is there to negotiate? Israel holds all the chips. They can give back some land, property, rights, but even that is an absurdity – what about everything else? What about ALL the land, property and rights? Why do they get to keep anything – how is the appropriation of land and property prior to 1948 fundamentally different from the appropriation of land and property on this arbitrary 1967 date?

Why are the colonial-settlers prior to 1948 any different from those who colonized and settled after 1967?

Let me correct myself. Palestinians do hold one chip that Israel salivates over – the one big demand at the negotiating table that seems to hold up everything else. Israel craves recognition of its “right to exist.”

But you do exist - don’t you, Israel?

Israel fears “delegitimization” more than anything else. Behind the velvet curtain lies a state built on myths and narratives, protected only by a military behemoth, billions of dollars in US assistance and a lone UN Security Council veto. Nothing else stands between the state and its dismantlement. Without these three things, Israelis would not live in an entity that has come to be known as the “least safe place for Jews in the world.”

Strip away the spin and the gloss, and you quickly realize that Israel doesn’t even have the basics of a normal state. After 64 years, it doesn’t have borders. After six decades, it has never been more isolated. Over half a century later, and it needs a gargantuan military just to stop Palestinians from walking home.

Israel is a failed experiment. It is on life-support – pull those three plugs and it is a cadaver, living only in the minds of some seriously deluded foreigners who thought they could pull off the heist of the century.

The most important thing we can do as we hover on the horizon of One State is to shed the old language rapidly. None of it was real anyway – it was just the parlance of that particular “game.” Grow a new vocabulary of possibilities – the new state will be the dawn of humanity’s great reconciliation. Muslims, Christians and Jews living together in Palestine as they once did.

Naysayers can take a hike. Our patience is wearing thinner than the walls of the hovels that Palestinian refugees have called “home” for three generations in their purgatory camps.

These universally exploited refugees are entitled to the nice apartments – the ones that have pools downstairs and a grove of palm trees outside the lobby. Because the kind of compensation owed for this failed western experiment will never be enough.

And no, nobody hates Jews. That is the fallback argument screeched in our ears – the one “firewall” remaining to protect this Israeli Frankenstein. I don’t even care enough to insert the caveats that are supposed to prove I don’t hate Jews. It is not a provable point, and frankly, it is a straw man of an argument. If Jews who didn’t live through the Holocaust still feel the pain of it, then take that up with the Germans. Demand a sizeable plot of land in Germany – and good luck to you.

For anti-Semites salivating over an article that slams Israel, ply your trade elsewhere – you are part of the reason this problem exists.

Israelis who don’t want to share Palestine as equal citizens with the indigenous Palestinian population – the ones who don’t want to relinquish that which they demanded Palestinians relinquish 64 years ago - can take their second passports and go back home. Those remaining had better find a positive attitude – Palestinians have shown themselves to be a forgiving lot. The amount of carnage they have experienced at the hands of their oppressors – without proportional response – shows remarkable restraint and faith.

This is less the death of a Jewish state than it is the demise of the last remnants of modern-day colonialism. It is a rite of passage – we will get through it just fine. At this particular precipice in the 21st century, we are all, universally, Palestinian – undoing this wrong is a test of our collective humanity, and nobody has the right to sit this one out.

Israel has no right to exist. Break that mental barrier and just say it: “Israel has no right to exist.” Roll it around your tongue, tweet it, post it as your Facebook status update – do it before you think twice. Delegitimization is here – have no fear. Palestine will be less painful than Israel ever was.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East. You can follow Sharmine on twitter @snarwani.

Comments

...it is imperative to dissolve the Jewish state of Israel. Such a state, which has no basis other than a fascistic narrative constructed out of paranoia and mythology, has
no legitimacy in our world. It embodies all of the characteristics that humanity has resoundingly rejected in the last century - settler colonialism, racism, ethnic cleansing,
apartheid and genocide. The dehumanization and destruction of a people, along with the dispossession of their land and property, is utterly intolerable. The only feasible
alternative is its replacement by a pluralistic, democratic state that includes the Palestinians as equals. There is no other viable solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
~ Us vs Them: On the Meaning of Fascism

I couldn't have said better myelf, Roger.

Dr. Finkelstein has expressed similar views in his latest book '‘Knowing Too Much'.

http://rehmat1.com/2012/05/18/dr-finkelstein-farewell-israel/

Two-thumbs up!!

Theoretically the author may be correct but an analysis such as this hasn't a 'hope in hell' of being accepted. The author falls into the same trap as 'expansionist' Israelis...the non-acceptance of the legitimacy of the other person's narrative

There's no such thing as competing narratives. There are competing positions. The only real narrative is what happened, and some positions have a greater interest in covering that up than others.

This is absolutely awesome. Ms. Narwani words encapsulates the thoughts of millions of people who call for the total evacuation of all the Israeli settlements as well as the Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands occupied during and after 1948.

I suppose this article is one of those traditional rants that we should expect around Nakba day. Next year there will be more of the same. Are we doomed to read and write & say the same things over & over again?
It's a shame because the idea of properly critiquing the notion & language of Israel's "right to exist" is important & interesting but instead the article goes round & round the same old same old.............................

oh are you bored? What is a proper critique of "Israel's" right to exist? Is it to start off by saying "of course Israel has a right to exist, but...."
Will you find it more interesting then? Isn't that the same rubbish that you hear from western heads of state and MSM.
The failed zionist entity has no right to exist.

Sharmine,

I usually enjoy your work, but at the risk of being labeled "Zionist" (which, though the charge would be absurd, is often used on our side to tarnish anyone who doesn't pass our various litmus tests), I got to disagree on the premise of this article.

When talking about "rights" we are talking about law, and international law does give Israel the "right to exist" within the pre-June 1967 borders.

When the World Court ruled on Israel's "security" wall several years ago they noted as much. The wall is only lawful where it is constructed within the green line, because that is Israel's lawful border. That is the boundary of which Israel has a "right to exist."

The native Palestinians never consented to it being there.
“The Zionist state which came into being as a consequence of Zionism terrorism and ethnic cleansing had no right to exist and more to the point could have no right to exist unless it was recognized and legitimized by those who were dispossessed of their land and their rights during the creation of the Zionist state. In international law, only the Palestinians can give Israel the legitimacy it craves….” Alan Hart, British journalist and author of the book Zionism: The Real Enemy of Jews.

"When talking about "rights" we are talking about law, ..."

Given your name one may presume that you are talking about of Western interpretation of those two words. You certainly are believer of R2P concept - in the name of "protecting civilians". I wonder does American Natives have any right? I guess all settler states are alike: US and Israel, or Australia, Canada.

"Faced with a corrupt administration of justice, the reasonable person does not demand a return to the war of each against all, but fights for an honest system. Likewise, when we have shown that international law has been misused for imperialistic aims, our task has begun, not ended. We must fight against imperialism."

---Franz Neumann, Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism 1933-1944

Just like the "rights" of apartheid in South Africa, you can justify its ethnic cleansing as much as you want. But its only a matter of time before it disappears. Haven't you heard there is but One True God and the GOG (European converts to Talmudism) are not His Chosen. The real Children of Israel will get their land back soon. Strange how all the "GOYIM" got their lands without stealing them from others yet the self proclaimed "Chosen" have to steal it from others. For there to be a fake-christ (anti-christ) there has to be fake-jews (Talmudists) as apposed to Torah Jews. Do the 300,000,000 Chinese Muslims have a "right" to Arabia? Watch aznequation and his age of dajjal on youtube .

If Israel has no right to exist, does Israelis have that right? I mean, what are you offering to generations of Israelis, whom, all they know, talk, think and experienced throughout their lives - is Israel? To emmigrate? to be expelled? or to go on living there in equality?

You obviously did NOT read an article carefully, therefore re-read again. Or, you have comprehension reading problem.

Where were you when the world was really discussing this? This is the language of the past and we have all paid much more than palestine is worth. Look at our countries and tell me if you see any hope in our future. Your righteous rant is peanuts to what we used to have in the past. And where did it get us? Iraq Lebanon and now Syria. All once proud countries now destroyed. Each on its own has suffered as much as the Palestinians. How much longer should we put ourselves in harms way just to fight an impossibly more powerful force?
I used to be like you once. You are probably as old as my daughter and believe me I do admire you for your principles and your belief but I think that it is time to be wise and not angry otherwise we will lose even more.

Are you serious? Are you being occupied and oppressed by a foreign entity with a sense of entitlement to it? Get real. "Israel" is the sins of our fathers. Palestinians never consented to it.

Bravo

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