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Campaign Against Israel Legitimacy

Campaign Against Israel Legitimacy

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Published by proisraeli
The campaign against Israel‘s legitimacy is the calling into question of the Jewish
people‘s right to self-determination and the Jewish state's right to exist and defend itself as well
as repeated and prejudicial condemnations of Israel's policies and conduct that have the effect of
delegitimizing not only those policies and conduct but also delegitimizing Israel itself.
The campaign against Israel‘s legitimacy is the calling into question of the Jewish
people‘s right to self-determination and the Jewish state's right to exist and defend itself as well
as repeated and prejudicial condemnations of Israel's policies and conduct that have the effect of
delegitimizing not only those policies and conduct but also delegitimizing Israel itself.

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Published by: proisraeli on Jun 22, 2011
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 AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEEOFFICE OF GOVERNMENT AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
October 2010
The Campaign Against Israel
’s Legit
imacy
Answers to Israel’s Critics
 
By Aaron Jacob
Background
 Definition:
The campaign against Israel‘s legitimacy is the callin
g into question of the Jewish
 people‘s right to self 
-determination and the Jewish state's right to exist and defend itself as wellas repeated and prejudicial condemnations of Israel's policies and conduct that have the effect of delegitimizing not only those policies and conduct but also delegitimizing Israel itself.
 Historical Background:
The campaign operates primarily in the international arena, although ithas disturbing American domestic manifestations as well, especially on university campuses andamong certain religious groups. It started before the State of Israel was born, when a Jewish statewas just an idea. In 1937, the Arab parties rejected the first partition plan proposed by the PeelCommission (set up by the British to propose changes to theBritish Mandate of Palestinefollowing the outbreak of the Arab revolt in 1936), insisting that all of Palestine belonged to theArabs and that Jews had no legitimate claims over the land. In December 1945, two and a half years before the establishment of Israel, the newly-formed Arab League declared a formal boy-cott against the Jewish community in Palestine. In November 1947, the Palestinian Arab leader-ship and the neighboring Arab states rejected the UN partition plan and waged a war of aggres-sion against the newborn State of Israel.
Anti-Zionism Campaign:
The campaign of delegitimization, which continued after the estab-lishment of Israel, reached a pinnacle in 1975, when the UN adopted the infamous resolution3379 equating Zionism with racism. The revocation of that resolution by the UN General As-sembly in 1991 implied, dialectically, that Zionism is
not 
racism
, but Israel‘s detractors conti
n-ued to pursue that allegation. The 2001 World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, ex-pressed solidarity with the Palestinians living under occupation, implying that their plight wasdue to Israel's
racist
policies. On the sidelines of the official conference, the Non-Governmental Organizations Forum adopted a much harsher document, calling into questionIs
rael‘s right to exist.
 
Today, Israel‘
s adversaries use the Zionism=racism lie to identify Israel asa
n ―apartheid state.‖
But the campaign against Israel is not limited to UN-sponsored conferencesor to the issue of racism. In the past few years Israel has been subjected to increasingly harshcriticism over a myriad of issues, resulting in an erosion of its international image.
 
This trendrecently peaked in connection with the Goldstone Report and, after that, the Flotilla incident. In
 
 
THE CAMPA
IGN AGAINST ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY
PAGE 2
many instances, criticism has stretched beyond legitimate discourse regarding Israeli policy to afundam
ental challenge to Israel‘s
right to exist.
The UN:
There are two reasons why the UN has been at the center of the campaign to delegitim-ize Israel. First, it is the principal provider
 — 
and hence denier
 — 
of international legitimacy.Second, the membership
at the UN provides Israel‘s adversaries with an overwhelming numer 
i-cal advantage, which they use to wage a relentless political campaign against the Jewish state.Israel is the only UN member not fully included in the regional grouping system; it is subjectedeach year to a series of anti-Israel resolutions by the UN General Assembly and to relentlessscrutiny by entities within the UN system whose specific mandate is to promote the Palestiniancause against Israel; and it has been repeatedly singled out and censured by the Human RightsCouncil. The Arab group and its allies at the UN consider Middle East-related resolutions as in-dicators of 
―international legitimacy,‖ meaning that these resolutions
are tools to delegitimize thepolicies of the targeted party
 — 
Israel. Repeated condemnations delegitimize
not only Israel‘s po
l-icies, but ultimately Israel itself.
One-State Solution:
In recent years, some Palestinian and non-Palestinian intellectuals havebegun talking openly about a one-state solution for the area between the Jordan River and theMediterranean. NYU historian Tony Judt has been a leading figure in this group. In an articlepublished in
The
 
 New York Review of Books
in 2003, he argued that
The very idea of a ‗Je
wish
state‘— 
a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded
 — 
is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is ananachronism.
 
The ―conve
n
tional consensus,‖ he wrote, favors a two
-state solution, but it is now
―too late‖ for 
this
 because there are ―too many settlements
, [and] too many Jew
ish settlers‖
whowill not agree to live in a Palestinian Arab state, and no Israeli leader will have the courage, orthe political power, to uproot them. Therefore, he concluded
, the solution lies in ―a single, int
e-grated, binational state of 
Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians.‖
1
Michael Walzer, a politicalscientist at Princeton, responded that the problem with
Judt‘s proposal
is that it did not point theway to a binational state, but rather to
the replacement of one nation-state with another,
forwithin a decade Arabs would outnumber Jews between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.The result of 
Judt‘s binational polity
, then, would be another Arab nation-state. Leon Wieseltierargued that Judt had
―crossed the line‖ from ―criticism of Israel policy to the criticism of Israel‘s
exis
tence.‖
2
 
BDS:
 
Israel‘s detractors
are not satisfied with verbal and written attacks. Some of them, claimingthat Israel is guilty of major human rights violations, engage in activities designed to inflict realharm upon the Jewish state. The best-known example is BDS
 — 
Boycott, Divestment and Sanc-tion for Palestine
 — 
an international coalition that seeks to boycott Israeli academicians and art-ists, remove Israeli films from international festivals, prevent or cancel the participation of inter-national stars in concerts in Israel; and divest from Israeli companies. So far, the movement hasnot done Israel any serious overt damage, but it is clear that the goal is to undermine its legitima-cy.
1
 
Tony Judt, ―Israel: The Alternative,‖
The New York Review of Books
, October 23, 2003.
2
See Benny Morris,
One State, Two States
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), pp. 6-13.
 
 
THE CAMPA
IGN AGAINST ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY
PAGE 3
Direct Assaults
on Israel’s L
egitimacy:
Much of the campaign against Israel
‘s legitimacy
takes
the shape of direct assaults on the Jewish state‘s
right to exist. Some of the main themes are: (1)The Zionist claim about historical ties between the Jewish people and Land of Israel is just amyth; (2) Zionism is a colonialist-imperialist movement; (3) Israel created the Palestinian refu-gee problem; (4) The Israeli occupation of Arab and Palestinian lands is illegal and illegitimate;(5) The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the core of all other Middle East conflicts; (6) Israel is not apeace-loving nation; (7) Israel is guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other majorhuman rights abuses; (8) Israel prac
tices ―state terror 
ism
; (9) Jewish settlements on the WestBank are a major obstacle to peace; (10) Israel is not a true democracy; and, (11) Israel is anapartheid state.
Answers to Israel’s Critics
 
The Relationship of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel:
The first two paragraphs of Is
rael‘s Declaration o
f Independence eloquently express the ties between the Jewish people andtheir ancient homeland:ERETZ-ISRAEL, the Land of Israel, was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here theirspiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained statehood,created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world theeternal Book of Books.After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout theirDispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restorationin it of their political freedom.The yearning for Zion was expressed in the poems of Yehuda Halevi and other writers of theJewish Golden Age in Medieval Spain, and in the teaching of generations of Jewish thinkers.Yehuda Halevi wrote:My heart in the EastBut the rest of me far in the West
 — 
 How can I savor this life, even taste what I eat?How in the chains of the Moor,Zion bound to the Cross,
Can I do what I‘ve vowed to and must?
 Gladly
I‘d leave
 All the best of grand Spain
For the glimpse of Jerusalem‘s dust.
3
 In exile, Jews around the world turned to Jerusalem in prayer, and they continue to do today. Thephysical bonds between the Jews and their ancient homeland have never been severed. Through-out the Middle Ages Jews residing in the Land of Israel formed communities in historic cities,
3
Hillel Halkin,
Yehuda Halevi
(New York: Schoken Books, 2010), p. 115.

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