2007-12-17

3 problems with recognizing the state of Israel’s “right to exist”

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

Historical Palestinian refusal to recognize the state of Israel has generally been portrayed in the western mainstream media as a sign of an Arab anti-Jewish hatred and wish to drive Israel “into the sea”. What is not often conveyed by western leaders and media are the reasons Palestinian and other Arab peoples have often refused to recognized Israel, and the fact that on several occasions they have conditionally offered to recognize Israel.

  1. Israel is a Jewish state, meaning it is a racial state, and this means that other racial or religious minorities do not in practice have equal citizenship rights. The world has come to deplore other states such as apartheid South Africa and nazi Germany using race in preference to truly democratic principles as the essential rationale for their existence.
  2. Recognizing Israel as a new state would mean accepting Israel’s refusal of the right of return for the refugees and their descendants who were expelled from territories Israel now controls from past wars. In other words, ethnic cleansing will be accepted as a legitimate fait accompli.
  3. To recognize Israel carte blanche means accepting their occupation and control over much of the West Bank, and ongoing “bantustan-ization” of Palestinians. Both Palestinian and Arab leaders have publicly agreed recognize Israel in her pre-1967 war borders. But Israel refuses to recognize any such borders as final, arguing it has both security and biblical-historical justifications to expand its “living space” (cf. lebensraum).

This is not to deny that there is a widespread anti-Jewish sentiment among many Arabs. But anti-Arab racism on the part of many Jews is just as tangible. Western media works against peace in the Middle East as long as they simplify Arab reasons for unconditionally accepting Israel’s right to exist (i.e. with present borders, a race-based state, ethnically cleansed) as a matter of irrational hate against Jews. Western media also works against peace while it refuses to openly criticize the real wrongs (and racism) of Israel. The above stumbling blocks to Arab recognition of Israel are discussed more openly and constructively in Israel than they are in the black-and-white simplistic reporting of mainstream English-language media.

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