jueves, febrero 22, 2007

The recognition trap

Alex Stein

February 19, 2007 1:10 PM


It better be worth it, I thought to myself, as I waited for my heavily delayed bus to take me into town. The reason for the delay? Condoleezza Rice's latest "babysitting" visit, this time for a three-way summit with Ehud Olmert and Abu Mazen, at the David's Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem.

As the bus finally arrived, I suppressed my hysteria and reminded myself that the meeting would have about as much chance of resurrecting the Middle East peace process as my trilateral pint the previous night with fellow Comment is free bloggers Seth Freedman and Josh Freedman Berthoud.

There are many reasons for the moribund state of Israeli-Palestinian relations at the moment, but the central issue is that of recognition. One of the Quartet's demands for ending the boycott on the Palestinians is that the new government recognise Israel. This is clear enough. De facto recognition is a clear concept in international relations; actors in the international system (state, non-state and quasi-state) only have formal relations with one another once there is mutual recognition. If the Palestinian government refuses to recognise Israel, it cannot expect Israel (and by extension many of Israel's allies) to deal with it.

But it's not that simple. The issue of Palestinian recognition of Israel has been deliberately conflated with another idea - that of Israel's "right to exist". This is an unknown concept in the international system, and seems to have been invented by Israel/America in the 1970s, so as to raise the bar even further in response to tentative steps by the PLO towards acceptance of a two-state solution. Asking the Palestinians to accept the right of Israel to exist is akin to asking them to accept the moral legitimacy of its creation.

The best response to this question has been provided by Noam Chomsky, who was asked if Israel was a legitimate state. In other words, does Israel have a "right to exist"?

I don't think the notion of legitimacy of a state means very much. Is the United States a legitimate state? It's based on genocide; it conquered half of Mexico. What makes it legitimate? The way the international system is set up, states have certain rights; that has nothing to do with their legitimacy.

Every state you can think of is based on violence, repression, expulsion, and all sorts of crimes. And the state system itself has no inherent legitimacy. It's just an institutional form that developed and was imposed with plenty of violence.

The question of legitimacy just doesn't arise. There is an international order in which it is essentially agreed that states have certain rights, but that provides them with no legitimacy, Israel or anyone else.

The demand that the Palestinians recognise Israel is a reasonable one, and it's incredibly frustrating that Hamas has not yet done so. While I understand what brought Hamas to power, it is beyond me why they don't have enough sense of realpolitik to issue some sort of brief statement recognising that the international system contains a state by the name of Israel.

This would truly put the ball in the court of the Israeli government, which has never genuinely acknowledged the right of the Palestinians to a fair and viable state. The reason for this refusal, I fear, lies in the intransigence that goes to the heart of all fundamentalist movements - to recognise Israel would go against Hamas' very raison d'etre. If this is the case, then the Palestinian tragedy looks set to continue.

Either way, though, the demand that Hamas recognise Israel's "right to exist" is an absurd one. Uri Avnery described it in the following way: "Must a Native American recognise the right of the United States of America to exist?"

I do not expect the Palestinians to particularly like the fact that Israel exists. In this I concur with Vladimir Jabotinsky, who acknowledged that Zionism would entail, at least partly, the dispossession of the Palestinians, and who also understood that they did not have to like it in order to accept it.

I am of the belief that sufficient numbers of Palestinians do recognise Israel's existence and are keen to make peace with it. The Iron Wall has worked. Calls for them to go an extra step and accept our "right to exist" are designed in the knowledge that they will not be fulfilled, so as to preclude the possibility of a lasting settlement.

Until this demand is dropped, there will be no progress, no matter how much "babysitting" Condi does.

jueves, febrero 08, 2007

Más sobre antisemitismo

¿Es realmente diferente el antisemitismo del antisionismo?
Para leer argumentos opuestos puede ser interesante hojear el blog Diálogo de Sordos, y dejar allí algún comentario... a propósito de ciertas reflexiones.

domingo, febrero 04, 2007

Israel ¿tiene derecho a existir?

Christian Science Monitor: Israel's Right to Exist is an obstacle to

Posted by: "Ami Isseroff" ami-iss@013.net   ami_iss

Sun Feb 4, 2007 1:02 am (PST)

Christian Science Monitor: Israel's Right to Exist is an obstacle to peace
03.02. 2007
Original content copyright by the author
Zionism & Israel Center http://zionism-israel.com

The powers that be across the ocean need to have "peace" talks and to "resolve" the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict at all costs, because of the problem with Iraq, and the problem with
Iran. We are told that Arab states are anxious to reach a peaceful Israeli-Palestinian solution, so
that they can support US policy and let the US deal with Iran for them. It doesn't occur to anyone
that if Arabs want the US and Israel to take care of Iran, then they should be the ones to make
concessions regarding Israel, and not the other way round.

To show "movement" toward peace, direction, it is necessary, according to the conventional wisdom,
to have a peace partner. Alas, the Palestinian Authority is controlled by the Hamas. The Hamas
repeat day and night that they will abide by their charter, and never make peace with Israel. In
return for Israel withdrawing to the borders of 1949, they will grant a Hudna like the one just
concluded between Fatah and Hamas that lasted less than a day, or the other one concluded today.
Common sense would dictate that as long as there are not two partners willing to make peace, there
cannot be peace negotiations. Yet on the other hand, the powers that be, require such negotiations.

Writing from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a metropolis famous for championing human rights and logic, John
V. Whitbeck offers the solution
Those who recognize the critical importance of Israeli-Palestinian peace and truly seek a decent
future for both peoples must recognize that the demand that Hamas recognize "Israel's right to
exist" is unreasonable, immoral, and impossible to meet. Then, they must insist that this roadblock
to peace be removed, the economic siege of the Palestinian territories be lifted, and the pursuit of
peace with some measure of justice be resumed with the urgency it deserves.

Source: www. csmonitor.com/2007/0202/p09s02-coop.htm

That's right, Israel's right to exist is a roadblock to peace according to Whitbeck and the CSM. The
article was of course timed to coincide with the meeting of the quartet.

Whitbeck arrives at his conclusion by a tortuous path of "reasoning" and euphemisms about
Palestinian self-respect and the usual canards about Israeli expansionism (look at Israel on the map
to see what expansionism we are talking about). He pours the best vintage Middle East establishment
bumph that petrodollars can buy.

It is a grand performance in the best tradition, intended to make you lose sight of the basics. The
reason the Hamas government is being boycotted by the West at present is that they announce that
they are not willing to make peace with Israel. No matter how much wishful thinking is applied to
the problem, the Hamas opposition to peace does not change, and is reiterated at every opportunity.
Western aid to the Palestinian Authority was supposed to promote peace process, not Jihad.

It is important to go back to the sources, and see exactly what Mr. Whitbeck and the CSM are
promoting. What is this peace-loving and self-respecting Palestinian Hamas movement? The Hamas
charter states:

"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it
obliterated others before it."

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf
consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be
squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "

Whitbeck is talking about a movement that advocates genocide and will not relinquish any part of the
land. This is the movement that he wants to recognize. This is the movement that Christian Science
Monitor wants to legitimize. Here is the Hamas peace plan, embodied in their charter, which
Christian Science Monitor and Mr. Whitbeck want the West to adopt:

"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals
and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

And the following, also taken from the Hamas Charter, is probably the origin of Mr. Whitbeck's
views, and those of his Arab hosts, about Israeli expansionism and Palestinian 'self-respect':

"After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will
have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan
is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of
what we are saying."

Mr. Whitbeck no doubt believes in the validity of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a document
forged by the Tsarist police, which is sold all over the Arab world.

Incredible as it seems, what it amounts to, stripped of sophistry and cant about Zionist
expansionism, is that Christian Science Monitor has come out in favor of genocide and Jihad.
Israel's right to exist is therefore an obstacle to "peace."

The enthusiasm of CSM and of Whitbeck's Saudi masters for making a deal with the Hamas is really
strange if the purpose is really to allow action against Iran, since Iran is actively supporting the

The real danger to Israeli interests and the interests of peace in the Middle East has never been
from the fringe radical leftists and extreme reactionaries like Rabbi David Weiss of the Netureh
Karteh, who make so much noise, and who are characterized by the New York Times as "Liberals". They
attract a lot of attention from worriers over the "new anti-semitism," but they have no political
clout in the United States.

With the virtual collapse of US policy in Iraq looming ahead, the neo-conservative pro-Israel line
that was popular in Washington is in jeopardy. The replacement for the neo-conservative strategy may
well be a "rescue" operation by the "old hands" of the State Department and stalwarts of Republican
Middle East policy. These are people like James Baker III and the representatives of Arab petroleum
interests, the pillars of conservativism and "realistic" approaches to the Middle East.

This group have always had the same line: U.S. backing of Israel jeopardizes American interests in
the Middle East. Interestingly, declassified materials reveal that on the eve of the Six Day war in
1967, this line was pushed by the Aramco company and by US Ambassador to Syria, Hugh Smythe. Smythe
claimed to represent the considered opinions of the US diplomatic corps. They urged the US to
abandon Israel, as they always do. Whitbeck's article no doubt represents the public expression of a
campaign that is going on behind the scenes. The same line is apparent in Arab world journals. When
it appears in the US, it could be an alarming harbinger of what is coming.

>From my perspective, relating not only to my self-respect as an Israeli, but also to my physical
integrity, it appears that Mr. Whitbeck and the Christian Science Monitor are much worse than an
obstacle to peace. They are hazardous to my health, and the health of my loved ones. They are
hazardous to the decency and self-respect of the Western nations. And remember, when they are done
making "peace" by eliminating my right to exist, you may be next.

Ami Isseroff

Updates and comments - Since I wrote the above, the Middle East Quartet (sounds like a Jazz group)
met, and announced the continuation of sanctions against the Hamas. That is what articles like
Whitbeck's are really about. Zvi Bar'el in Ha'aretz explains the Arab position, which is that Hamas
is a fact of life that has to be dealt with, and the best way to deal with them is to get them to
accept the Arab peace plan, which includes recognition of Israel. The only fly in the ointment is
that Hamas refuses to agree. However, only pedants worry about such details.

At least one person took me to task (by e-mail) for taking Whitbeck literally, but Whitbeck must be
taken literally. He tries to make it seem as though "recognizing Israel's right to exist" is just a
slogan -- some sort of Zionist plot cooked up by Henry Kissinger. But the fact is, that recognizing
Hamas is tantamount to giving the go ahead for the liquidation of Israel. The position was put quite
eloquently by Peter H., who commented at http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000343.html :

How exactly does Meshal's interview contradict what Whitbeck wrote? Actually, it seems like Meehal
and Whitbeck are saying the same thing: that Israel's existence is a fact of life, but that Hamas
cannot recognize the morality of its creation, since that would be tantamount to morally justifying
the dispossesion of Palestinians.

That was my point. There is no contradiction. Both Meshal and Whitbeck, along with racist advocate
of genocide and ethnic cleansing Peter H., want to destroy Israel. Except for the fact that the
"dispossesion of the Palestinians" was not the result of the creation of Israel, Peter has it right.
Whitbeck and Meshal are saying the same thing. It is like saying that the Czech republic has to be
wiped out, because recognizing it would be tantamount to recongizing the morality of "dispossesion"
of World War II Nazi sympathizers from the Sudetensland.

sábado, febrero 03, 2007

The Jews took no one's land

The Jews took no one's land by Joseph Farrah

WorldNet Daily - November 19, 2002 As the most visible Arab-American critic of Yasser Arafat and the phony "Palestinian" agenda, I get a lot of hate mail. I've even received more than my share of death threats. Most of those who attack me at least those who bother to get beyond the four-letter words and insults say I just don't understand or have sympathy for these poor Arabs who were displaced, chased out of their homes and turned into refugees by the Israelis.   Let me state this plainly and clearly: The Jews in Israel took no one's land. When Mark Twain visited the Holy Land in the 19th century, he was greatly disappointed. He didn't see any people. He referred to it as a vast wasteland. The land we now know as Israel was practically deserted. By the beginning of the 20th century, that began to change. Jews from all over the world began to return to their ancestral homeland the Promised Land Moses and Joshua had conquered millennia earlier, Christians and Jews believe, on the direct orders of God. That's not to say there wasn't always a strong Jewish presence in the land particularly in and around Jerusalem. In 1854, according to a report in the New York Tribune, Jews constituted two-thirds of the population of that holy city. The source for that statistic? A journalist on assignment in the Middle East that year for the Tribune. His name was Karl Marx. Yes, that Karl Marx.   A travel guide to Palestine and Syria, published in 1906 by Karl Baedeker, illustrates the fact that, even when the Islamic Ottoman Empire ruled the region, the Muslim population in Jerusalem was minimal. The book estimates the total population of the city at 60,000, of whom 7,000 were Muslims, 13,000 were Christians and 40,000 were Jews. "The number of Jews has greatly risen in the last few decades, in spite of the fact that they are forbidden to immigrate or to possess landed property," the book states. Even though the Jews were persecuted, still they came to Jerusalem and represented the overwhelming majority of the population as early as 1906. And even though Muslims today claim Jerusalem as the third holiest site in Islam, when the city was under Islamic rule, they had little interest in it.   As the Jews came, drained the swamps and made the deserts bloom, something interesting began to happen. Arabs followed. I don't blame them. They had good reason to come. They came for jobs. They came for prosperity. They came for freedom. And they came in large numbers. Winston Churchill observed in 1939: "So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population." Then came 1948 and the great partition. The United Nations proposed the creation of two states in the region one Jewish, one Arab. The Jews accepted it gratefully. The Arabs rejected it with a vengeance and declared war.   Arab leaders urged Arabs to leave the area so they would not be caught in the crossfire. They could return to their homes, they were told, after Israel was crushed and the Jews destroyed. It didn't work out that way. By most counts, several hundred thousand Arabs were displaced by this war not by Israeli aggression, not by some Jewish real-estate grab, not by Israeli expansionism. In fact, there are many historical records showing the Jews urged the Arabs to stay and live with them in peace. But, tragically, they chose to leave.   Fifty-four years later, the sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters of those refugees are all-too-often still living in refugee camps not because of Israeli intransigence, but because they are misused as a political tool of the Arab powers.   Those poor unfortunates could be settled in a week by the rich Arab oil states that control 99.9 percent of the Middle East landmass, but they are kept as virtual prisoners, filled with misplaced hatred for Jews and armed as suicide martyrs by the Arab power brokers.   This is the modern real history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. At no time did the Jews uproot Arab families from their homes. When there were title deeds to be purchased, they bought them at inflated prices. When there were not, they worked the land so they could have a place to live without the persecution they faced throughout the world.   It's a great big lie that the Israelis displaced anyone one of a series of lies and myths that have the world on the verge of committing yet another great injustice to the Jews.