Israel’s ‘Legitimacy’ War

There are legitimate questions about the legitimacy of Israel’s endless repression of the Palestinian people, but Israel and its backers have now declared such questions illegitimate as they mount a new propaganda war against Israel’s “delegitimization,” says John V. Whitbeck.

By John V. Whitbeck

June 5 marked the 48th anniversary of the “preemptive” attack on Egypt with which Israel launched the fateful “Six-Day War” that permitted the Zionist movement to complete its conquest of historical Palestine.

As the “State of Palestine” (the legal designation for the 22 percent of historical Palestine conquered in 1967, which is now recognized as a state by 136 other states and the United Nations) enters its 49th year of an apparently perpetual occupation by the State of Israel, the Israeli government and its friends in the United States are mobilizing to fight a new war a “Legitimacy War” against the “delegitimization” of “Israel.”

Israeli military commander Moshe Dayan (center) and his chief of staff Yitzhak Rabin (right) walking through Jerusalem during the Six-Day War. (Israeli archival photo)

Israeli military commander Moshe Dayan (center) and his chief of staff Yitzhak Rabin (right) walking through Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967. (Israeli archival photo)

The quotation marks around “Israel” are intended to emphasize a fundamental point: When Israelis and their friends speak of the “delegitimization” of Israel or of Israel’s “right to exist,” they are not referring to the legitimacy or continued existence of any physical territory or of any group of people. They are referring to the legitimacy or continued existence of the particular ethno-religious-supremacist political system established in 1948 on the territory previously named Palestine, a territory in which the current population is roughly 50 percent Jewish and 50 percent Palestinian.

Why has “delegitimization” suddenly become such an existential threat to “Israel”?

Until relatively recently, very few people seriously questioned the continued existence of “Israel” either because they considered the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the dispossession and dispersal of the Palestinian people to make room for a “Jewish State” to be a good thing or because they considered it, like the genocide of the indigenous peoples of North America to make room for European colonists and their African slaves, to be a irreversible injustice, not worth thinking about any more.

Until relatively recently, the world’s attention has been focused on ending the occupation of the portion of Palestine conquered in 1967, in large part because that more recent injustice was assumed to be reversible through a “two-state solution.”

However, as Israeli leaders have become more honest and explicit about the perpetual nature of their occupation of the State of Palestine and about their deeply held belief that there is no difference between the portion of Palestine conquered in 1948 and the portion of Palestine conquered in 1967, both being their god’s gift to them and to them alone, the world’s attention has begun to broaden, both regarding the possibilities of the future and regarding the realities of the past.

In the face of the clear Israeli intention to maintain the current undemocratic and discriminatory system of “one state with two systems,” many people have started to look again at the seminal injustice, the original sin, of 1948 and at the inherent nature of political Zionism and to think seriously about the desirability of reforming and transforming ethno-religious-supremacist “Israel” into a fully democratic state with equal rights and human dignity for all who live there the same political system which Western governments profess and proclaim to be the ideal form of government for all other states.

Of course, nothing would be more likely to make Israelis question the sustainability of their very comfortable status quo and become seriously interested in actually achieving a decent “two-state solution” than a realization that both Western public opinion and Western governments are starting to question both the “rightness” of how “Israel” came into existence and the legitimacy in the 21st century of an ethno-religious-supremacist regime, whether it calls itself “the Jewish State” or “the Islamic State.”

Hence the sudden rise of the existential threat of the “delegitimization” of “Israel.” Yet, no one has done more to delegitimize “Israel” in the eyes of the world than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Perhaps those who seek equal rights, equal human dignity and some measure of justice, whether in two states or in one, should hope that Mr. Netanyahu keeps up his good work in the “Legitimacy War.”

John V. Whitbeck is an international lawyer who as advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.

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21 comments for “Israel’s ‘Legitimacy’ War

  1. Abe
    June 8, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    The Nakba Law was proposed in 2009 and a diluted version of it passed in 2011. Essentially it forbids any body that receives any part of its budget from the government (such as funds, community centers, or schools) to commemorate the Nakba on the Israeli day of Independence. If they do, their budgets get slashed by a certain amount. The main impact of the law wasn’t so much the punishment that it legislated but the cooling effect that it had on the Palestinian (20% of the population) and other citizens of Israel from commemorating the tragedy that began in 1948 when two-thirds of the Palestinians who lived on this land became refugees. It basically criminalized history and the commemoration of the survivors’ pain and sent a clear message that only one version of history is legitimate, the version of the victor.

    The Big Lie at the Heart of the Myth of the Creation of Israel
    An Interview with Lia Tarachansky
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/05/the-big-lie-at-the-heart-of-the-myth-of-the-creation-of-israel/

    • Abe
      June 8, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      On the Side of the Road – OFFICIAL TRAILER
      https://vimeo.com/65278501

      When the government tries to silence a history, a light is shed on the nation’s biggest taboo. This is the story of those who fought to erase Palestine and created an Israeli landscape of denial.

  2. Bill Bodden
    June 8, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    And, let’s not forget that today (June 8, 2015) is the 48th anniversary of Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty followed by a craven coverup in Washington. No “thank you for your service” for the Liberty’s crew members killed and wounded.

    • Mark
      June 8, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      If Americans knew the truth about all we’ve sacrificed for Israel, while having been repeatedly betrayed by Israel, and betrayed by the manipulative pro-Israel Western media along with our coerced and complicit politicians — both America and Israel would be singing a different tune today — a peaceful tune that the Middle East and likely the entire world would benefit from.

  3. Mark
    June 8, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    The creation of Israel in 1948 was the legitimization of the Zionist terrorism which birthed modern Israel.

    Terrorism was planned for decades prior, until the Zionists had sufficient numbers of terrorists and weapons to expell the Arabs and Christians from the land stating in 1947 — this was all done while for decades they deceitfully told the world they wanted to peacefully coexist with the indigenous population in Palestine.

    They also had lobbied Western governments, ahead of the 1948 massacres and expulsion(s), to recognize the Zionist land theft by terrorism as being legitimate — they’re still doing the same today with armed “settlers” (terrorists in reality) being put in place by military force while each and every land grab and “settler home” built on Palestinian land in the West Bank is illegal according to the Geneva Conventions which Israel signed in 1949.

    The pro-Israel press has been propagandizing the Western countries since even before 1948 while they paint the picture for an ignorant Western public,
    that the Arabs are at fault for Zionists coming from Europe to massacre and terrorize Palestinians in order to steal the land.

    Any way you cut it modern Israel is built from the notion of racial and religious supremacy that grants entitlements to Zionists.

    Isreal is only legitimate if you consider mass murder, expulsion and theft as being legitimate.

    As for “Christians” being supportive and complicit, I have yet to meet one that can tell me how deceit, mass murder and theft fit in with the teachings of Christ.

    There is a growing number of people who consider many Jews and Christians to have been corrupted by Zionism (to where Judaism was hijacked by Zionism) while also believing Zionism’s claim to the land and method of obtaining it through violence never was legitimate.

  4. John the Ba'thist
    June 8, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Before his death even Theodor Herzl had recognized that the success of the Zionist movement depended upon its accommodation to Arab nationalism. Ahad Ha’am, the individual most responsible for the revival of the Hebrew language, warned the Zionists in Palestine not to try to dominate the non-jewish Palestinians as early as1891, when he wrote the essay “This Is Not the Way”. He decried the fact that Zionists were boycotting the Arab language and Arab labor. In a 1914 letter to a friend in Palestine who was similarly offended by Zionist behavior, he commiserated, “Therefore they wax angry toward those who remind them that there is another people in Eretz Israel that has been living there, and does not intend at all to leave its place. In the future. when this illusion will be torn from their hearts and they will look with open eyes upon the reality as it is,they will certainly understand how important the question is and how great is our duty to work toward its solution.”

    After WWI Ha’am moved to Palestine where he opposed the popular Zionist interpretation of the Balfour Declaration and spoke for the equal rights of Arabs and equal support for their economic and social development in all of Palestine. Near the end of his life he wrote,”And now God has afflicted me to have to live and to see with my own eyes that I apparently have erred. Are we really doing it only to add in an Oriental corner a small people of new Levantines who vie with other Levantines in shedding blood, in desire for vengeance, and in angry violence? If this be “Messiah”, then I do not wish to see his coming”.

    Speaking for myself, I think that questioning the legitimacy of Jewish Rhodesia is necessary and can be itself entirely legitimate, particularly in light of the current dire peril to Syria, a situation even worse than what befell Iraq that Zionists and Islamists have been striving to create for several decades

  5. Joe Tedesky
    June 8, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    I must confess, there was a time when I believed all the propaganda about the Israeli’s. My only excuse is, I was busy working 14 hours a day 6 to 7 days a week. The news I listened to back then of course was entirely Main Stream Media. Then around 10 years ago I started getting more news from sites such as this one. Wow! I was shocked at what all I had learned. I mean, I thought for a long time that the poor Jews were being beat up by those crazy Arabs. Yeah, I was one of those who was under the impression that the Jewish Arab conflict was 4,000 years old. Then one day I sat and contemplated of what it would take for a person to blow themselves up. Seriously, how bad would it need to get in order for me to do that? Then after doing more research, I came to the conclusion, how everything I was told by the MSM was a lie.

    As a side note I was on active duty in the Navy between 1968 and 1972, and although I was a Radioman, I never heard one word about the USS Liberty. Nothing!

    Israel must be reconfigured. Better yet, put out of business entirely. A new government should be put in place. This new democracy in my mine, would include all Palestinians, Christians, and other minorities who would take up citizenship. Israel would probably not be this nations name, either. This isn’t meant to demean Jews. Quite, the opposite. Instead, all Jews would be freer from the ball and chain that hangs around their ankles due to the worlds outrage over how the Zionist treats the Palestinians. I don’t wish to get down on a whole race or religion, but the Netanyahu’s among the Jews must go. Along with that, the Neocon’s and Dual Citizen’s of the United States must be gone, as well.

    • Bill Bodden
      June 8, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      As a side note I was on active duty in the Navy between 1968 and 1972, and although I was a Radioman, I never heard one word about the USS Liberty. Nothing!

      No surprise there. Try finding some biographical information about two-time Medal of Honor winner, Major General Smedley “War is a Racket” Butler on the US Marine Corps official website.

    • Zachary Smith
      June 8, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      “I must confess, there was a time when I believed all the propaganda about the Israeli’s.”

      Same here. MY excuse was that it was the only game in town at the time. The internet didn’t exist yet, and the only sources available to me agreed that Poor Little Israel was always the innocent victim. I woke up only when the June 1978 Proceedings arrived in the mail.

      http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/1978-06/violation-liberty

      Deliberate, cold-blooded murder of US Navy-men.

      That’s when I came to understand the true nature of the shitty little apartheid nation on the eastern end of the Mediterranean.

    • Mark
      June 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      The fact that “America’s interests” was always the universal reason justifying US aggression, always seemed suspicious to me, but I assumed the press was genuinely investigating reality in accord with their self described purpose for existing.

      My own political awaking took place when an internet search of the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, revealed the reality of the CIA overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian PM in 1953 for the sake of oil profits — by the corporation that ultimately morphed into today’s BP oil.

      Since then I’ve come to realize the real threat to American freedom and democracy, as well as that of the world, is corporate and special intrrests (Israel) along with colluding politicians and mainstream media networks that, by deception, have already robbed us of our freedom by denying us the ability to act as a democracy informed and armed with the truth.

      The percentage of informed Americans are increasing but the propaganda war against us spans multiple generations of manipulated and indoctrinated Americans.

      The sudden awaking is like a kick in the gut when you realize much of what you always believed in are lies.

      Boycott the mass media or only visit it to see what lies they’re telling today…

    • Abbybwood
      June 9, 2015 at 12:10 am

      But then what to do with all those pesky nukes Israel has but likes the world to think it doesn’t (wink, wink)….??

  6. Abbybwood
    June 9, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Here is a huge problem facing the American people:

    Ever wonder why the entire Congress and Executive and those running for president all grovel to the State of Israel?

    It is the power of the tens of millions of “Christian ZIONISTS” who have been brain-washed by the Zionist written Scofield Bible!

    These Christian Zionists have been thoroughly co-opted by the Hagees of America that they believe that a vote for Walker or Clinton (remember, Hillary claims to be a solid Christian and is best friends with Bibi), will bring on a needed war with Iran and a World War and Armageddon and the building of the Temple Mount and Christ’s return.

    Here is a talk by Dr. Stephen Sizer going into details regarding his book, “Christian Zionism”:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps-v2NkoNVg

    I am a Christian of the non-Zionist persuasion who believes in loving my neighbor and that the Peacemakers will be Blessed.

    We will all be in a world of hurt if we do not address the truly evil power Israel and Zionism currently has over the hearts and minds of millions of American voters!

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 9, 2015 at 2:08 am

      Any time this subject of Evangelical Christians is brought up with regard to the current Israeli state policies, it troubles me. I would suggest to anyone looking for God inside of a government which is racist, manipulative, violent, and feels so right about itself while hurting so many others, is not a place to find God. Besides that, there are no specific dates assigned to any prophecy described within the pages of ‘The Book of Revelations’. So, with that in mine, how could anyone really be safe predicting ‘The End Time’. Would it not be a safer thing to preach a message of peace for all nations? I mean what would Jesus do? I’m sorry, I just cannot seem to believe that Jesus would be okay with punishing Palestinians for the sake of them just being Palestinians. It just makes to sense.

    • Anonymous
      June 9, 2015 at 8:23 am

      To the detriment of many around the world, Zionists have been religiously at work for over a century propagandizing through news and religious venues. I believe you are correct and it was when Reagan and company convinced the Christian Zionists to become politically active, which they previously had resisted, that has corrupted US political decisions and actions over recent decades beyond any previous level.

      God, conscious or unconscious, indeed works in mysterious ways and many among the human race have been deceived, if not by supernatural evil, by humans who’s deceitfulness and actions certainly are in accord with what is accurately defined as evil…

  7. Charles
    June 9, 2015 at 9:14 am

    As someone who knows too much history, the comments and bigotry found here convince me more than ever that the Jews need a nation of their own. When the Palestinians and other arabs stop trying to extinguish their state and to exterminate them, then they will know peace and safety.

    • Mark
      June 9, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      You failed to challenge a single historical fact stated anywhere above with facts of your own.

      Remember, it was the Zionists who came to Palestine with the intent to take the land from the Arabs by force based on racial and religious supremacy, otherwise known as bigotry.

      The conflict began because of that fact, so who should be blamed and what in your mind makes Zionists terrorizing and massacring Arabs legitimate?

      Blaming the Arab victims has been a Zionist propaganda staple since the time Zionist propaganda began. Other tactics are to degrade the conversations to pure nonsense or try to deflect the conversation away from the methods and deeds of Zionism. Hopefully the board moderator will filter that out, or point it out as the denial of factual reality it is — I’ve seen it where Zionisms supporters muddy up the message boards with pure nonsense so the uninformed reader is confused or dissuaded from trying to make heads or tales of the comments.

      • Eddie
        June 9, 2015 at 7:28 pm

        Hey Mark.. good comment.

        Hey Charles, if you feel the Jews need a nation of their own then why don’t you give up your house, your own neighbourhood and your own country for the Jews? Why is your personal feeling that the Jews need a homeland a burden for the Palestinians (bearing in mind that the Jews that turned up to occupy Palestine were already citizens of other countries and weren’t exactly without a nation to live in).

        There’s homeless guy that hangs out at the end of our street. How about you, Charles, give up your house for my feeling that he should have his own place to live?

        What’s that I hear you say??… it’s nothing to do with you??

        Another thing, what is it with hasbara trained trolls who like to use English sounding names? Is that to hide the fact that only hired-trolls leave pro-Israeli comments.

        Kind of ironic that a nation that whines incessantly about its legitimacy being under attack has to to use fake comments to support its cause.

    • John P
      June 9, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      Two wrongs never make a right. Jews managed well in the Palestinian area before Zionism appeared, and they fared reasonably well in the other Arab countries until the politics of Zionism became obvious and partition was being pushed for. The title of Alan Hart’s excellent 3 book series says it all “Zionism: the Real Enemy of the Jews.”
      And you can’t let some Christians off the hook either, as in earlier times they saw Jews as the Christ killers (earlier Biblical texts had the Roman acting as Christ’s killers and the later texts the Jews as Roman influence grew). Now they have become an obsession with the Christian Zionists who are preparing for end times when Jews supposedly have to covert to Christianity to be saved. Why can’t we let religion be a personal thing and do our best to help all. Why do we have so many clannish impulses that divide us? True spirit grows when you help the less fortunate and I think Jesus showed that, if there was such a person. And there certainly is a benevolent base of Jews who are repulsed by Israeli politics and mind set. The world is too small for all these tribal animosities when we have greater problems to solve, like climate change.
      Other books of great interest are:
      “Politicide: Ariel Sharon’s war against Palestinians” which reveals a lot of his intrigues.

      “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” by Ilan Pappe topped off with Benny Morris’s “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited,” where you can learn how Zionists prepared for war and what they did while Arab countries outside were slow to respond or not that interested.
      Norman Finkelstein’s “Image and Reality of the Israel – Palestinian Conflict.”

      For more recent events I recommend Noam Chomsky’s & Ilan Pappe’s, “Gaza In Crisis”.

      It’s nice to see a blog site like Consortium News facing up and exposing these challenges. I wonder if they all have flak jackets?

  8. Eddie
    June 9, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    It’s like a car thief in a stolen car whining that people are saying that’s not his car.

    In any case the Israelis are playing mind tricks. To say your legitimacy is under attack presupposes that you were legitimate in the first place. Well that’s a debate Israelis have never won.. or ever could.

    For Isralies to assume that they’re legitimate in the first place, is an assumption they have no right to.

  9. Peter Loeb
    June 10, 2015 at 6:48 am

    ZIONISM’S HISTORIC RACIST IMPERIALISM…

    In a letter to Arthur James Balfour thanking him for the Balfour
    Declaration,and dated May 30, 1918, Chaim Weizman (at that time a
    representative no state then in existence) said:

    “In Palestine we do not even propose to go through the
    form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the
    country…The Four Great Powers are committed to
    Zionism [which is] rooted in age-long traditions, in present
    needs, in future hopes of far profounder import than the
    desires and prejudices of 700.000 Arabs who now inhabit
    the ancient land…”

    From the very outset, Zionists had no intention of good faith
    efforts to negotiate with Palestinians. Weizman was trying
    to guarantee Balfour’s continued support. Earlier —in 1905–
    Arthur James Balfour had defended an “Aliens Bill as
    Prime Minister because “it would not be to the advantage
    of the civilisation of this country [UK] that there be an
    immense body of persons, who…remained a people apart
    and not merely held a religion differing from the vast
    majority of their countrymen, but only inter-married among
    themselves…”

    While we continue to celebrate the Nakba, there can be not
    the slightest doubt of British and Zionism’s intentions
    from the beginning.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  10. June 10, 2015 at 7:12 am

    The key to Israel´s capacity of keeping Western media in line is not to be found (or only partly) in Diaspora´s confusion on the issue, but in the blackmail power Israel´s Power Elite has over the US Power Elite to be used on regional (Near & Middle East) issues!
    „USA and Israel, the Helpless Giant and his Mad Dog: are there mor dirty secrets?“ http://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/usa-and-israel-the-helpless-giant-and-his-mad-dog-are-there-more-dirty-secrets/

    Andreas Schlüter
    Soziologe
    Berlin, Germany

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