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Theodor Herzl: The founder of modern Zionism planned the ethnic cleansing of what is now Israel - removing Palestinians from their land in order to replace them with Jews. How can that ever be supportable?

Theodor Herzl: The founder of modern Zionism planned the ethnic cleansing of what is now Israel – removing Palestinians from their land in order to replace them with Jews. How can that ever be supportable?

Does Israel have a right to exist, as many Zionists have claimed – stridently, whilst demanding that anybody who argues otherwise is an anti-Semite?

It’s an interesting question – and the alleged anti-Semitism being hung around its metaphorical neck makes it worthy of discussion. Here‘s Michael Rosen’s view – and he makes some excellent points.

Is he an anti-Semite (or, considering his heritage, a “self-hating Jew”)? Of course not. He’s a rational, thinking human being.

So consider his arguments and – when faced with opposing points of view – ask of their proponents are as rational as him.

‘Israel’s right to exist’ is not based on internationally recognised law. Nations do not have the ‘right to exist’: people seize them, create them, construct them, and defend them – usually with armaments. There is no abstract ‘right to exist’. Or if people think there is, let it be stated. I think many native peoples would be delighted to hear of it, including the Palestinians.

When or if Israel’s ‘right to exist’ is made ‘non-negotiable’, this makes the Palestinians’ right of return non-negotiable. If we say that any discussion or doubt about Israel’s right to exist is anti-Semitic or ‘hors du combat’ , or not up for debate, then in so doing we accord Israel its right to have founded a nation based on dispossession, and that it is entitled to claim continued dispossession. In fact, Israel demands that all peace negotiations begin with acceptance of its ‘right to exist’. Rather than this demand being described as unacceptable, and that this demand has at its heart at the very least some racist overtones towards the dispossessed, the situation is reversed and it is those who question this, who are told that we are the racists.

The main justification for this demand seems to be that the holocaust (genocide of European Jews) took place. This justification is not a universal rule or law. There has been the attempted genocide of the native people’s of Australia and north America. The ‘best’ that either of these peoples got from the conquerors and/or the international community in terms of land were ‘reservations’. They are not accorded any status in terms of a ‘right to exist’ as nations.

To be clear, it is quite possible for what I am saying here to be part of an antisemitic line of thought ie that it is part of a viewpoint which hates all Jews because they are Jews. What I am talking about here is to do with founding principles of nation states, and people’s rights.

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