Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Joseph Massad: The rights of Israel /

Joseph Massad: The rights of Israel
May 6, 2011

Israel's "lawfare" against the Palestinian people is rooted in a ficticious narrative of having a "right" to exist.

Israel's "right to exist", and lately its "right to exist as a Jewish state" and the lack of commitment by Palestinians to this basic "right", is a major reason (if not the major one) used by Israel to deny Palestinians the rights accorded to them by international law. Joseph Massad provides excellent analysis around this issue and related ones.

He writes, in part:

" of the strongest and persistent arguments that the Zionist movement and Israel have deployed since 1948 in defence of the establishment of Israel and its subsequent policies is the invocation of the rights of Israel, which are not based on international law or UN resolutions. This is a crucial distinction to be made between the Palestinian and Israeli claims to possession of "rights." While the Palestinians invoke rights that are internationally recognised, Israel invokes rights that are solely recognised at the national level by the Israeli state itself. For Zionism, this was a novel mode of argumentation as, in deploying it, Israel invokes not only juridical principles but also moral ones.

In this realm, Israel has argued over the years that Jews have a right to establish a state in Palestine, that they have a right to establish a "Jewish" state in Palestine, that this state has a "right to exist," and that it has a "right to defend itself", which includes its subsidiary right to be the only country in the region to possess nuclear weapons, that it has the "right" to inherit all the biblical land that the Jewish God promised it, and a "right" to enact laws that are racially and religiously discriminatory in order to preserve the Jewish character of the state, otherwise articulated in the more recent formula of "a Jewish and democratic state". Israel has also insisted that its enemies, including the Palestinian people, whom it dispossesses, colonises, occupies, and discriminates against, must recognise all these rights, foremost among them its "right to exist as a Jewish state", as a condition for and a precursor to peace."

To read the full article, go to

Racheli Gai.

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