donderdag 18 november 2010
How is delegitimization dangerous?
Israel is confronted by several tangible threats, including the nuclear threat posed by Iran and the missile threat posed by Hamas and Hizbullah. A no less worrying threat posed to Israel is that of delegitimization, which attempts to negate the legitimacy of the Israeli state, its policies and its right to self-defense.
Delegitimization is a political, economic and philosophic campaign aimed at reversing the right of the State of Israel to exist and denying the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their homeland.
The ultimate goal of delegitimization is the liquidation of Israel as a Jewish state. According to the delegitimizers, Israel not only has no right to defend itself, it has no right to survive. They seek to cause Israel's collapse by undermining the moral legitimacy of Israel, constraining its military activities, destroying Israel's image and isolating it as a pariah state.
There is a difference between conventional criticism of the policies of Israel and delegitimizing criticism of the existence and legitimacy of the state. Delegitimization exceeds valid discourse on specific Israeli policies and instead presents a fundamental challenge to its right to exist. Israel remains willing to engage with honest critics of Israel, as long as they don't engage in the 3-Ds of the new antisemitism: delegitimization, demonization and double-standards.
Although the ultimate goal is eliminating the Jewish state, delegitimizers usually does not clearly state that Israel must be abolished. Rather, they use euphemisms like the "one-state solution" or compare Israel to an apartheid state or Nazism, leaving the obvious conclusion
to their audience. The use of comparisons to apartheid and the Nazis is not accidental; rather they were carefully chosen to represent the two greatest evils of the twentieth century, both of which are considered crimes against humanity and legitimate targets for elimination.
Delegitimization deploys a wide variety of anti-Israeli themes in addition to the apartheid comparison and Holocaust inversion. It disallows Israel's inherent right to self-defense and security, represents Israel as an international criminal, portrays Zionism as a racist ideology and denies the historic connection between the Jewish people and their ancient homeland, particularly Jerusalem. Delegitimization supports the one-state solution and the invented "right of return" for Palestinian refugees, both of which would mean the end of Israel's identity as a Jewish state.
Delegitimization focused its activities on NGOs, grassroots movements, academia and the general public. This campaign abuses international institutions to attack Israel, attempts to invent new legal principles that can be used against Israel and has tried to have Israeli governmental and military officials falsely charged with war crimes in Western states. Delegitimization masks its activities as legitimate criticism, inverting morality, human rights and the law to achieve its aims.
Delegitimization is a political, economic, cultural and ideological war against Israel. It is characterized by a disproportionate and obsessive focus on Israel. It is against freedom of speech and open discourse, trying to end academic exchanges and commercial ties.
Israel is the only state whose very legitimacy is questioned and attacked, who faces a debate not about its borders, but about its very existence. Other states, even those in Africa and Asia who were established along arbitrary borders delineated by colonial powers, do not have their legitimacy as nation-states brought into doubt. This despite the fact that Israel is the only state whose right to exist was recognized by both the United Nations and its predecessor, the League of Nations. It is pure hypocrisy that those who question the Jewish people's right to self-determination in the state of Israel often support the self-determination of the Palestinians in the form of a Palestinian state.
The delegitimizers claim to be advancing the Palestinian cause, but in reality they are working against peace. Some accept Hamas, which rejects peaceful negotiations and aims to destroy Israel. They usually dispense with concepts such as co-existence and oppose the only realistic resolution to the conflict, the two-state solution, as this would mean accepting Israel's existence. They also pay no attention to the situation of Palestinians outside Israel, ignoring their second-class status and plight in most of the Arab world.
Delegitimization directly harms peace efforts because it fools the Palestinians into believing that there will be enough international pressure on Israel to force it to capitulate to any Palestinian demand without the need for true negotiations. It also severely undermines the confidence of Israelis in the international community's support for self-defensive actions should Israel be attacked after it withdraws from territory in the framework of a peace agreement.
Delegitimization contributes nothing to a peaceful settlement to the conflict. Its nefarious goals and distorted exploitation of principles such as human rights and international law should be denounced. It is time to delegitimize the delegitimization of Israel.