Israel’s legitimacy in doubt

The conflict has also brought public focus again on the continued debate over the legality of the creation and existence of Israel despite the claims of efforts towards a two-state solution. The pendulum gravitates between rejection of the Israeli state, a view interestingly not only held by Muslims, but also Christians and a number of Jews; and between its legitimacy lent to it by its colonial creators that is imposed and protected by regional tyrant rulers over the Muslims and an ever-present Israeli military.

60 years of existence as a state has been associated with 60 years of arguments and struggle. However, the essence of the debate has become deliberately lost in translation and side-tracked by the absurd assertion that being anti-state of Israel and/or anti-Zionist is synonymous to being anti-Jew and anti-Semitic. Subsequently, much legitimate political debate and expression has been hijacked with this false, disingenuous, emotive, deceptive and irrelevant connection.

To avoid falling into this trap and be falsely labelled — so that we can focus on a meaningful perspective on whether the state of Israel has a right to exist, let us go directly to remove the impediment and red-herring: “The assertion that being anti-Israel and/or anti-Zionist is synonymous to being anti-Jew and anti-Semitic is absurd, disingenuous and a concerted deliberate attempt to stifle legitimate political views that argue the illegitimacy of the Israeli state and the fundamental right to oppose it.”

As for the core discussion about the legitimacy of Israel as a state, it connected to four claims — Ethical, Historical, Religious and Political.

Ethical

There is no ethical basis for the legitimacy of Israel, since it was simply unethical and immoral to displace a population forcibly from their lands, converting them to refugees without meaning, then terrorise them to accept the illegal acquisition of their lands. We would assume by the twisted logic of considering it ethical to force a population to leave their homes, possessions and lands that this would make President Mugabe policy in Zimbabwe of forced eviction of ‘whites’ acceptable? It would also make it ethical for someone to enter Bush’s Texas’s Ranch, force him out and claim the ranch for himself, possibly leaving Bush with the barn and to accept this, making the barn his home and being prevented to take appropriate actions to claim all of the ranch back?

We don’t think so and doubt this would be considered ethical and moral… and neither was it evident when Argentina sought to claim the Falkland Islands and the British government responded in April 1982, under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, by fighting Argentina in the Falklands War to keep it under British rule. Let us also keep a perspective on this – the Falkland Islands only has a population of 3,000 in comparison to Palestine which has a population 4 million (excluding those forced to flee to neighbouring Jordan and those absorbed into Israel). Given Britain’s experience on giving Palestine away from her mandate to a foreign people, why was this precedent not applied to the Falklands and the islands given to Argentina (who have historical claim to the islands)? Was this an unethical action by the British government not to give the Falklands Islands, like they did with Palestine? Given that there is discussion amongst British politicians to commemorate the Falklands war, clearly Britain doesn’t believe so. Therefore, if the British can fight to liberate a small relatively insignificant island from occupation to safeguard its population (and commemorate this), then why cannot the Palestinians do the same and repel the illegal occupation of their lands?

What is unethical is not the position of the Palestinians to struggle for the liberation of all the occupied lands, but the hypocritical double standards of the western powers.

Historical

The historical argument that is frequently quoted is often connected to the ethical angle. As for the historical claim, it stems from the view that the ancestors of the Jews were the first to inhabit the plains of Palestine; therefore this grants them the right to the land. This was a similar argument, was it not, that Iraq held concerning Kuwait? Surely the colonial powers should have supported Iraq when it entered Kuwait in 1990 based on Iraq’s historical claim (more so since Saddam was a western agent), similar to when they supported the Zionist historical claim to Israel and paved the way for the Zionists to achieve this aim? On the contrary, whilst the Palestinians were forcibly evicted to make way for the Zionist entity, Iraq’s entry into Kuwait precipitated the Gulf War. Therefore it should be noted that the historical argument is not only weak, which we will endeavour to summarise later, but suffers from the same illogical double standards. For the sake of completion of argument, if one follows the logic of this argument, then the following examples of historical claims should be equally applied, with equal resolution, force and determination to return land to its original inhabitants:

a) Lands in America returned to the native Indians

When the Europeans landed, there were probably about 10 million Indians populating America north of present-day Mexico. It is believed that the first Indians arrived during the last ice-age, approximately 20,000 – 30,000 years ago. The initial enthusiasm with which the Indians greeted the Europeans soon turned to conflict due to the European colonial material greed. The conflicts led to the Indian Wars, the Indian Removal Act and other acts culminating in the last major war, which was the massacre in 1890 of Indian warriors, women, and children at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. From a period of a brutal policy of forced assimilation that lasted until the 1960’s, aside from token gesture Indian reservations, native Indians until today have been denied their right to re-possess their ancestral lands.

b) Lands in Australia returned to the native Aborigines

From 1788, when the British officially landed, until today force (military and otherwise) has been used to strip the native Aboriginal people of their lands. The Aboriginal people fought to protect their lands but the British declared this continent terra nullius — that the land was empty and belonged to no-one when they colonised it. For over 200 years the lie of terra nullius was the cruel and brutal cover for the mass murder, for the refusal to recognise Australia’s indigenous race as people, for the forced removal of children from their families, for the inhuman exploitation of the labour of Aboriginal people, for the racist treatment and apartheid Aboriginal people have been subjected to. Terra Nullius was also the justification for the denial of land rights. Though in 1992, the High Court of Australia recognised the concept of Native Title, stating it had existed before settlement and had continued after colonisation. However, the court adjudged that the Native Title was extinguished whenever land had been sold or set aside for some other purpose. Little has changed since then.

What we clearly witness in the above two examples is a repugnant disguised policy of discrimination, denial of land return and political authority upon those people with legitimate historical claims (except Israel, of course). Therefore, possessing an historical right carries neither value nor worth as a basis of argument. So why is Israel made an exception? Clearly, the historical arguments are flawed and selectively applied – but this is typical from an international community that is hostage to political expediency and established upon the evil ideology of capitalism that serves the prime interests of the capitalists.

Where does this leave the Zionist historical claim, aside from being meaningless and irrelevant? A brief review on the history of Palestine reveals two interesting points. Firstly, that the history is disputed, so there is no clear proof of the Zionist claim anyway. Secondly, most historians conclude the Canaanites were the earliest known inhabitants of Palestine (3rd millennium BC). The Canaanites were the earliest known inhabitants of Palestine (3rd millennium BC). Egypt was the first adjacent power to conquer the region (3rd millennium BC). During the 2nd millennium BC Egyptian hegemony and Canaanite autonomy were challenged by various invaders – and only then did the ‘Israelites’ appear (Semitic tribes from Mesopotamia). Therefore, even the Zionist historical claims are at least unproven and at best a deliberate contortion.

Religious

Politically, Palestine holds no significance for Jews –- since like Christianity, Judaism does not possess nor articulate a political structure, institutions or processes to deal with state and society.

However, it is clear that Judaism has been hijacked by the Zionist movement, which has taken Judaic principles and ideals and fused them within a capitalist and ruthless political agenda that dreams of a ‘greater Israel’ – whilst according to the Torah, the Jews are forbidden to have their own state or political sovereignty while awaiting the messianic era. To this end, the religious argument and justification is false and is best represented by Jews themselves.

A number of orthodox Jews, like the Neturei Karta, state their refusal to, “…recognise the right of anyone to establish a “Jewish” state during the present period of exile.” They oppose the “…so-called “State of Israel” not because it operates secularly, but because “the entire concept of a sovereign Jewish state is contrary to Jewish Law.”

Quoting the Talmud, Orthodox Jews refer to Tractate Kesubos (p. 111a), stating that it teaches that Jews shall not use human force to bring about the establishment of a Jewish state before the coming of the universally accepted Moshiach (Messiah from the House of David).

The likes of Neturei Karta further aim to distance Judaism from Zionism by stating, “The true Jews remain faithful to Jewish belief and are not contaminated with Zionism.” Likewise they, “deplore the systematic uprooting of ancient Jewish communities by the Zionists, the shedding of Jewish and non-Jewish blood for the sake of Zionist sovereignty,” and that, “The world must know that the Zionists have illegitimately seized the name Israel and have no right to speak in the name of the Jewish people!”

Therefore, we would safely conclude that there is no religious basis for the existence of the state of Israel. We wonder whether orthodox Jews who espouse these views are chastised, tried and imprisoned by western governments for promoting such views and labelled as ‘anti-Semitic’ or imprisoned for holding ‘terrorist’ views on the destruction of Israel? We don’t think this is the case, since the likes of Neturei Karta hold year round global demonstrations, including in New York and London – with placards, which if held by Muslims – they would be instantly arrested and tried under racial/religious discrimination laws or some terror legislation.

Political

The development of Palestine in contemporary political history has three distinct periods, which are: firstly, under Islamic rule; secondly, under the British Mandate from 1922, by the League of Nations; and finally under Israeli rule. Without any shadow of doubt, only under the rule of Islam did the people (Muslims, Jews and Christians) find great levels of security, stability and ease. It is well documented, by non-Muslim historians, that Jews sought refuge under the Islamic authority, the Khilafah, from persecution in Europe, particularly the infamous Spanish Inquisition in 1492.

As for British rule, in 1922, Palestine was placed, by the League of Nations, under British Mandate until 1948, when the state of Israel was established. During this mandate, all the people, particularly the Arabs suffered at the hands of a discriminatory policy that enacted laws assisting Jewish immigration to Palestine and acquisition of land by Jews. During this time, the local Arab population (Muslims and Christians), dismayed that they were being slowly swamped in their own country by foreign immigrants, rose more than once in revolt against the immigration policy of the British Government.

As for Israeli rule since 1948, little needs to be said about the apartheid, brutal, discriminatory and racist nature of the state – both against the Muslim/Christian Arab populations (in Israel and the Palestinian refugee camps) and against Jews themselves of Oriental and African descent. A number of documents by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch re-affirm what the world has witnessed for 60 years of the brutal disregard of human life and blatant discrimination, resulting in the consistent tension for the region as a whole. Therefore, politically, Israel will never provide a basis for political stability in the region given its innate racist philosophy, Zionist political agenda and sustained opposition from a people that have been forcibly displaced and will continue to work for the complete liberation of Palestine from Zionist and colonial control.

In conclusion, the legitimacy of Israel is established upon deceit, dishonesty and hypocrisy. It reality it has no legitimacy and the ethical, historical, religious and political claims are false and twisted. The occupied people of Palestine have the legal right to oppose occupation and strive for the complete liberation of Palestine. This is a right for the people of Palestine; a right that exists for ethical, historical, religious and political reasons – unlike the false reasons that the proponents of Israel have claimed.

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