The Problem with Anti-Israelism

Let’s say you believe Israel does not deserve to exist. What criteria are you using? If you are using lack of democracy, freedom of speech, press, and religion as a criteria – Israel does not lack those.

If you are using human rights abuses as a criteria, then why are you going after Israel, but not other human rights abusers such as China, Syria, North Korea and Sudan? After all, Sudan’s government has engaged in genocide, and continues to engage in ethnic cleansing. Yet no one is claiming for these UN Member states to stop existing, or even for them to be kicked out of the UN. I hear no one claiming anti-Sudanism – that is, a basci belief that, as a nation, Sudan does not have a right to exist.

If you are using engagement in war as a criteria, then a similiar situation arises: Many UN member nations (including the US) are engaged in wars, some of which are quite bloody, yet no one is protesting theses states’ right to exist.

Le’ts say you claim Jews are not Israel’s indigenous population: While there has been a slight Jewish presence in Israel fro 2,000 years, they did not arrive en masse until the 1800s, a full 148 years before Israel’s founding. Will you then, go back to every nation’s founding to ensure that the primary population that founded the state was living there for more than 148 years prior to the state’s founding? If so, most New World countries, from Haiti to the US, would be found severely lacking – perhaps they too, should have their statehood revoked – after all, they don’t even have the “slight population for 2,000 years” claim, and often, their very residency was the result of ethnically cleansing Native American populations. The Jews who came in the 1800s, by contrast, peacefully and legally bought (often previously uninhabited) land, which then became the base for the UN-founded state of Israel.

Yes, there are legitimate questions aobut Israel – especially concerning Israel’s border, and her treatment of Palestinians in the territories. Questioning her existence however, is not legitimate – at least, not as long as one does not also question the existence of the majority of UN member states.

One final thought about anti-Israelism: People often frame Israel and Palestine as an “or” question, when in fact, it is an “and” question: Israel’s existence does not preclude the existence of a Palestinian state. It is possible to support both states living peacefully side-by-side, and thus, to be, simultaneously, both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian.


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