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Old 02-09-2013, 06:19 AM
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Default Israel's "Right To Exist"

My daughter has been assigned the negative side of a class mock trial. She was excited because she can now benefit from my constant railing against the policies of Israel's government. (Let's call them Zionists)

I am her tutor. I'm not completely pleased with the "Right To Exist" framing of the debate but I think it's an important part of the debate. That phrasing is very cleverly chosen. The undertone of the word "exist" is that you either support existence or extermination. That is not the political argument. There is no political position that denies Jews exist. It's a fact. They exist. It is obvious that they have as much right to exist as anyone else with freedom of religion. The question is whether or not they have the right to exist as a solely Jewish state and whether or not their right to exist is more valuable than the rights of the Arabs they have displaced.

Her reaction was that she wondered if the question should be changed. I don't think so. I think it's really important to show how fallacious the question is. It is a question designed to silence opposition to Israeli policy.

Am I right in saying supporting a one state solution is the destruction of Israel as the Zionists see it? Negating Israel's "right to exist" in a political arena would be supporting right to return for all the displaced Arabs and allowing the state to become majority Arab instead of majority Jew?
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:28 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

Step 2: predicting the biggest argument against you

The Holocaust as justification for Israel as a Jewish State is the slippery slope fallacy.
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:28 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

oh no.
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:40 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

I kinda assumed that what they're setting up is that opposition to their "right to exist" is the same as driving them out of the country altogether.

Also yes, a one-state solution where the population is no longer majority Jewish is the same as "the destruction of Israel" in the minds of many Zionists.


There's this Jewish girl from college that I'm somewhat acquainted with. She apparently would say to one of our mutual friends that she feels so much more comfortable having Israel around because if there was another Holocaust she has a place to go. (She also apparently slept with Israeli troops while visiting Israel just as a way to say thanks.)

My thoughts are that getting to Israel is not exactly a hop and a skip from the other most Jew-friendly places, and there would be other countries just as easy to escape to. And you know, if they're hell-bent on not letting you escape, it's not like they'd allow direct flights to Israel. And if escaping to Canada or England or Sweden or Japan or Mexico are all not good options either, well, then I imagine Israel might be in trouble too...
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:44 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

She has to choose "witnesses" for her side of the trial. I've advised her that the best witnesses will be people who are Jewish, like Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky. She wants two political figures to use and I advised against Hamas as they are considered irrelevant due to "terrorist" designation.
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:47 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

No reasonable person will argue for obliteration in the way the trial is framed so reframing the question to a reasonable argument is the key to proceeding.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:51 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

I don't think trees have a right to exist, but that doesn't mean I'm arguing in favour of their obliteration. I think you're conflating a whole load of issues together into one yarn-ball of complexity when you should be disentangling as much as possible.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

As far as I know there is no such thing in international law as a 'right to exist' for countries. What states recognise is not a right to exist, but the existence of other states. Palestinians have recognised that Israel exists. What the Israelis seem to want is for the Palestinians to agree that Israel should be ruled by Jews, which is quite a different thing to ask. They are using the 'right to exist' as a reason why the Palestinians should not have the right to return, like any refugee, because that would end Jewish-majority rule.

Anyway, a lot has been written on the subject, here's a lengthy essay by Brian Klug, a member of the philosophy faculty at Oxford: On saying that Israel has a right to exist | Mondoweiss

And here's a short version by Noam Chomsky:
Quote:
No state demands a 'right to exist,' nor is any such right accorded to any state, nor should it be. Mexico recognizes the US, but not its 'right to exist' sitting on half of Mexico, acquired by aggression. The same generalizes.

To my knowledge, the concept 'right to exist' was invented by US-Israeli propaganda in the 1970s, when the Arab states (with the support of the PLO) formally recognized Israel's right to exist within secure and recognized borders (citing the wording of UN 242). It was therefore necessary to raise the bars to prevent the negotiations that the US and Israel alone (among significant actors) were blocking, as they still are. They understood, of course, that there is no reason why Palestinians should recognize the legitimacy of their dispossession -- and the point generalizes, as noted, to just about every state; maybe not Andorra.

Noam Chomsky
Chomsky on Israel’s ‘Right to Exist’ | Mondoweiss
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

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Originally Posted by Dragar View Post
I don't think trees have a right to exist, but that doesn't mean I'm arguing in favour of their obliteration. I think you're conflating a whole load of issues together into one yarn-ball of complexity when you should be disentangling as much as possible.
I didn't create the topic. That is the name of the mock trial given by her teacher. What watser posted is pretty much what I said in post 1.

She needs to pick two political figures to use as witnesses. Obviously Ahmadinijad is not a good choice. Mahmoud Abbas would be better than an Hamas leader. George Galloway? Nelson Mandela?
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

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Originally Posted by Watser? View Post
As far as I know there is no such thing in international law as a 'right to exist' for countries. What states recognise is not a right to exist, but the existence of other states. Palestinians have recognised that Israel exists. What the Israelis seem to want is for the Palestinians to agree that Israel should be ruled by Jews, which is quite a different thing to ask. They are using the 'right to exist' as a reason why the Palestinians should not have the right to return, like any refugee, because that would end Jewish-majority rule.

Anyway, a lot has been written on the subject, here's a lengthy essay by Brian Klug, a member of the philosophy faculty at Oxford: On saying that Israel has a right to exist | Mondoweiss

And here's a short version by Noam Chomsky:
Quote:
No state demands a 'right to exist,' nor is any such right accorded to any state, nor should it be. Mexico recognizes the US, but not its 'right to exist' sitting on half of Mexico, acquired by aggression. The same generalizes.

To my knowledge, the concept 'right to exist' was invented by US-Israeli propaganda in the 1970s, when the Arab states (with the support of the PLO) formally recognized Israel's right to exist within secure and recognized borders (citing the wording of UN 242). It was therefore necessary to raise the bars to prevent the negotiations that the US and Israel alone (among significant actors) were blocking, as they still are. They understood, of course, that there is no reason why Palestinians should recognize the legitimacy of their dispossession -- and the point generalizes, as noted, to just about every state; maybe not Andorra.

Noam Chomsky
Chomsky on Israel’s ‘Right to Exist’ | Mondoweiss
Awesome. I'll pass those links on to her.
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

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Originally Posted by Watser? View Post
As far as I know there is no such thing in international law as a 'right to exist' for countries. What states recognise is not a right to exist, but the existence of other states. Palestinians have recognised that Israel exists. What the Israelis seem to want is for the Palestinians to agree that Israel should be ruled by Jews, which is quite a different thing to ask. They are using the 'right to exist' as a reason why the Palestinians should not have the right to return, like any refugee, because that would end Jewish-majority rule.
Yeah, "right to exist" seems not to refer to Israel as a state, but to Jews, and their "right to be the overwhelming majority population of a state and have unquestioned political hegemony within that state combined with privileges for the Jewish religion."

I don't think it's enough in their eyes for them to have a majority population of 51%, since that would present the possibility of some left-wing/secular Jews teaming up with Arabs and other minorities against the right-wing Orthodox.

Anyway, even if they weren't totally dicks about it, and there hadn't been these wars with Arabs and so forth... That is even if they weren't creating a Jewish state by taking land from and oppressing Arabs, I favor separation of church and state in all countries and so I would oppose such a "right" anyway. I always find it strange how there can be American Jews who want the US to have separation of church and state but think it's not only ok but necessary for Israel to have special rights for Judaism.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:26 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

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Originally Posted by koan View Post
My daughter has been assigned the negative side of a class mock trial. She was excited because she can now benefit from my constant railing against the policies of Israel's government. (Let's call them Zionists)

I am her tutor. I'm not completely pleased with the "Right To Exist" framing of the debate but I think it's an important part of the debate. That phrasing is very cleverly chosen. The undertone of the word "exist" is that you either support existence or extermination. That is not the political argument. There is no political position that denies Jews exist. It's a fact. They exist. It is obvious that they have as much right to exist as anyone else with freedom of religion. The question is whether or not they have the right to exist as a solely Jewish state and whether or not their right to exist is more valuable than the rights of the Arabs they have displaced.

Her reaction was that she wondered if the question should be changed. I don't think so. I think it's really important to show how fallacious the question is. It is a question designed to silence opposition to Israeli policy.

Am I right in saying supporting a one state solution is the destruction of Israel as the Zionists see it? Negating Israel's "right to exist" in a political arena would be supporting right to return for all the displaced Arabs and allowing the state to become majority Arab instead of majority Jew?
The "right to exist" argument is fallacious -- as others have already mentioned in this thread - for at least two reasons:

1. it sets up a false dichotomy - either (a) Israel gets to practice oppressive apartheid, or (b) the only remaining choice is the destruction of Israel and the genocide of Jews;

2. it tries to leverage the frequent confusion between (a) Israel (a nation state) and (b) Jews (an ethnic/religioius group) and pretends that if anyone opposes/criticizes the former, they must want to destroy the latter;

On top of this, the Jews weren't looking for a homeland after WW2. They were looking for one particular piece of real estate: Palestine. Here's a conversation from 2005 that I had with someone on this topic. Note the reference to Uganda:

Freethought Forum - View Single Post - Anti-semitism and criticism of Israel

And actually, the entire thread is good for reference material.


Another:
Freethought Forum - View Single Post - Israel, Palestine and Dispossession

Sadly, the galiel post seems to be buried behind the restructured talkatheism website now.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:57 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

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And if escaping to Canada or England or Sweden or Japan or Mexico are all not good options either, well, then I imagine Israel might be in trouble too...
The other point is that escaping is exactly the prerequisite hurdle to be overcome. The problem with the original Holocaust was the inability of Jews to escape it (and find refuge in another country).

If there is another Holocaust in - Brazil, Iran, China, for example - then having Israel around only solves the "find refuge" part of the problem. But I don't see how having Israel around will make initially escaping Brazil, Iran, or China any easier.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:12 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

I want to come back to this point, because I think it's critical to the assignment for koan's daughter:

The Jews were offered at least two other pieces of land besides Palestine, because the British knew that it was going to be a disaster placing them side-by-side with the Arabs. Naturally, the British wanted to avoid that. Moreover, the British knew that the extreme displacement necessary would send the Arabs to war - which it did. But the World Zionist Organization representatives didn't want the other land; they wanted Palestine. For them, it was Palestine - or nothing.

Now, if you're a member of a group of people that is (allegedly) running for their lives because of pogroms, suffering widespread persecution and injustice, and staring down an impending Holocaust, you don't get fucking picky. A drowning man cannot afford to be picky about the color of the liferaft.

The fact that the WZO turned down the other two homelands offered and insisted on Palestine demonstrates that the extent of the pogroms and discrimination was not as bad as they were claiming (if it were, they would have jumped into the liferaft).

So this has NOTHING to do with "right to exist". It is ENTIRELY about "give us the land we have an unrealistic emotional attachment to, even if the current residents have to be kicked out."
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Old 02-10-2013, 04:50 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

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Originally Posted by Sauron View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by koan View Post
My daughter has been assigned the negative side of a class mock trial. She was excited because she can now benefit from my constant railing against the policies of Israel's government. (Let's call them Zionists)

I am her tutor. I'm not completely pleased with the "Right To Exist" framing of the debate but I think it's an important part of the debate. That phrasing is very cleverly chosen. The undertone of the word "exist" is that you either support existence or extermination. That is not the political argument. There is no political position that denies Jews exist. It's a fact. They exist. It is obvious that they have as much right to exist as anyone else with freedom of religion. The question is whether or not they have the right to exist as a solely Jewish state and whether or not their right to exist is more valuable than the rights of the Arabs they have displaced.

Her reaction was that she wondered if the question should be changed. I don't think so. I think it's really important to show how fallacious the question is. It is a question designed to silence opposition to Israeli policy.

Am I right in saying supporting a one state solution is the destruction of Israel as the Zionists see it? Negating Israel's "right to exist" in a political arena would be supporting right to return for all the displaced Arabs and allowing the state to become majority Arab instead of majority Jew?
The "right to exist" argument is fallacious -- as others have already mentioned in this thread - for at least two reasons:

1. it sets up a false dichotomy - either (a) Israel gets to practice oppressive apartheid, or (b) the only remaining choice is the destruction of Israel and the genocide of Jews;

2. it tries to leverage the frequent confusion between (a) Israel (a nation state) and (b) Jews (an ethnic/religioius group) and pretends that if anyone opposes/criticizes the former, they must want to destroy the latter;

On top of this, the Jews weren't looking for a homeland after WW2. They were looking for one particular piece of real estate: Palestine. Here's a conversation from 2005 that I had with someone on this topic. Note the reference to Uganda:

Freethought Forum - View Single Post - Anti-semitism and criticism of Israel

And actually, the entire thread is good for reference material.


Another:
Freethought Forum - View Single Post - Israel, Palestine and Dispossession

Sadly, the galiel post seems to be buried behind the restructured talkatheism website now.
Those were the two main fallacies that I predict as well, the false dichotomy and slippery slope.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sauron View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by erimir View Post
And if escaping to Canada or England or Sweden or Japan or Mexico are all not good options either, well, then I imagine Israel might be in trouble too...
The other point is that escaping is exactly the prerequisite hurdle to be overcome. The problem with the original Holocaust was the inability of Jews to escape it (and find refuge in another country).

If there is another Holocaust in - Brazil, Iran, China, for example - then having Israel around only solves the "find refuge" part of the problem. But I don't see how having Israel around will make initially escaping Brazil, Iran, or China any easier.
Good point.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sauron View Post
I want to come back to this point, because I think it's critical to the assignment for koan's daughter:

The Jews were offered at least two other pieces of land besides Palestine, because the British knew that it was going to be a disaster placing them side-by-side with the Arabs. Naturally, the British wanted to avoid that. Moreover, the British knew that the extreme displacement necessary would send the Arabs to war - which it did. But the World Zionist Organization representatives didn't want the other land; they wanted Palestine. For them, it was Palestine - or nothing.

Now, if you're a member of a group of people that is (allegedly) running for their lives because of pogroms, suffering widespread persecution and injustice, and staring down an impending Holocaust, you don't get fucking picky. A drowning man cannot afford to be picky about the color of the liferaft.

The fact that the WZO turned down the other two homelands offered and insisted on Palestine demonstrates that the extent of the pogroms and discrimination was not as bad as they were claiming (if it were, they would have jumped into the liferaft).

So this has NOTHING to do with "right to exist". It is ENTIRELY about "give us the land we have an unrealistic emotional attachment to, even if the current residents have to be kicked out."
I wasn't aware the Brits foresaw problems with them coexisting with Arabs culturally or religiously, only that they feared the hardship of having such a massive immigration in one territory and the displacement concerns. They gave in because the alternative of returning them to Germany became an embarrassment. And, as you mentioned, that the Zionists refused to accept any other homeland because they felt they had the ability to be fucking picky. :D

I haven't been able to find anything confirming a fear of cultural clash beyond the Palestinians being from there and them being forced to make so much room for so many people without notice or preparation.

There is the one part of the trial in which we negate the doomsayers of what will happen if Israel is forced into a one state solution. The other part is to look at what they have done while they've been allowed a two state possibility. That is where Mandela's testimony that Palestine is worse than the African Apartheid comes in handy. The new events showing they aren't beyond sterilizing undesirables and the old news that they scientifically calculated the caloric needs per person within the ghetto system links them to Nazi tactics.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:06 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

I have to say I'm pretty excited about the chance to give some 17-18 yr olds information they probably haven't encountered before in this discussion. Apparently last years debate had the kids arguing against the "Right to Exist" stopping repeatedly to apologize and state they weren't anti-Semitic. The outcome is not something people are unsure of going in. They all know the final vote will go to Israel. The teacher has told them that winning the debate isn't part of their mark, he just wants them to do their best to show what the arguments against are.

I want them to all leave there asking more questions, even though I expect she'll lose the vote.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:59 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

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I have to say I'm pretty excited about the chance to give some 17-18 yr olds information they probably haven't encountered before in this discussion. Apparently last years debate had the kids arguing against the "Right to Exist" stopping repeatedly to apologize and state they weren't anti-Semitic. The outcome is not something people are unsure of going in. They all know the final vote will go to Israel. The teacher has told them that winning the debate isn't part of their mark, he just wants them to do their best to show what the arguments against are.

I want them to all leave there asking more questions, even though I expect she'll lose the vote.
I might approach this from the standpoint of telling it like it is: Israel was settled by colonial invaders, and use South Africa as a parallel. With South Africa, we have a country that was:
  • colonized by extremists from Europe guided by religious views;
  • populated by Europeans who transplanted themselves from their original countries;
  • used superior technology and weaponry to force their way into the land;
  • used that same technology and weaponry to subjugate the natives, killing tens of thousands of them when they resisted colonization;
  • separated families, broke up lands, gardens and hunting areas, destroyed religious monuments and desecrated graves of the original inhabitants;
  • seized land and natural resources for their own benefit, and did not share with the natives;
  • created a state that was ruled by a minority, for the benefit of the minority, with separate (and inferior) legal status for the majority;

Did South Africa before the Republic have a right to exist? Would a fair-minded person say that such a country, created by dishonesty, brute force, and establishing an apartheid system of government where 10% ruled the other 90% -- would such a country have a "right to exist"?

I think a fair-minded person would say that such a country was an artificial abomination, forced down the throat of an unwilling population. Its political and legal institutions were oppressive and exploitative in the extreme. Rather than having a "right to exist", this country should be disassembled and control returned to the original inhabitants, along with a huge apology. It would be a textbook case of a country that should *not* have the right to exist.

All these bullets above are true of Israel. So then: why is the conclusion for Israel somehow different, than it would be for pre-Republic South Africa?

And at least with South Africa, there was a revolution, apartheid was destroyed, and a semblance of democracy installed in its place. But with Israel, the original conditions of settlement are still going on. Even in the West Bank today, Israel is trying to create little bantustans - islands of Palestinians separated from each other, castrated, dependent, and surrounded by Israel - in the exact same way that South Africa created settlements for Zulus.

I should also add that Zionists are aware of the uncomfortable, eerie similarities between South Africa and Israel. It wasn't a problem for them, prior to the South African revolution. But the revolution caused many people, governments (and investors) to take a hard look at such countries, and take action. During the 1980s, for example, there was a sweeping movement for investment companies and universities to divest themselves of any holdings in South Africa, and refrain from doing business with them. After the South African revolution, the Zionists have either tried to deny that Israel's current situation is the same as apartheid because apartheid was based on skin color -- as if religious apartheid was somehow different or less obnoxious than racial apartheid -- or they simply turn up the velocity of the handwave, while accusing the other party of anti-semitism.

And a warning: you need to address the Holocaust, but don't be sucker-punched by it. And don't let it dominate the discussion. Jewish immigration into Palestine was in high gear long before WW2. Yes, the Jews suffered during the Holocaust. But the Holocaust cannot be used as an excuse to inflict the same kind of injustice against another different, innocent people, 75 years later.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:18 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

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I wasn't aware the Brits foresaw problems with them coexisting with Arabs culturally or religiously, only that they feared the hardship of having such a massive immigration in one territory and the displacement concerns.
The big issue is that the British had promised the same thing to both sides. The Balfour Declaration and the Husayn-McMahon Correspondence essentially promised Palestine to both sides.

The cultural clash came in a general sense, but also in the specifics of control of places like Hebron, east Jerusalem and especially, the Dome of the Rock. The Jews wanted that given to them, because of its religious significance. It is, however, the 3rd holiest place in Islam.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:17 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

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I should also add that Zionists are aware of the uncomfortable, eerie similarities between South Africa and Israel.
Historically, Israel developed quite close ties to the apartheid regime in South Africa, even while the latter was led by a Nazi sympathiser.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Sauron View Post
It is ENTIRELY about "give us the land we have an unrealistic emotional attachment to, even if the current residents have to be kicked out."
Maybe that's why the U.S. Government has such an attachment to an Israeli state. We see so much of our own manifest destiny in their quest.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waluigi View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sauron View Post
It is ENTIRELY about "give us the land we have an unrealistic emotional attachment to, even if the current residents have to be kicked out."
Maybe that's why the U.S. Government has such an attachment to an Israeli state. We see so much of our own manifest destiny in their quest.
I'm leaning a lot more toward clients/ proxies in maintaining a sphere of influence over the Middle East oil, and AIPAC leverage on electability being the basis for "attachment". The only other "manifest destiny" is the freaky Christians who support Israel because they think for the end-times to occur Jerusalem has to be occupied by Jews, who they believe must build the Third Temple to fulfill prophecies and bring about the second coming blah blah duh.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:08 PM
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Yeah, I was kinda being facitous. I think it has a lot to do with having a reliable ally in the region. It helps that they "look like us", so to speak.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:28 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

Can nations even have rights?
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:50 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

Nations are people, my friend.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:52 AM
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Default Re: Israel's "Right To Exist"

Therefore, nations are Soylent Green! :freakout:
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