Sunday, July 17, 2011

Delegit cont

MJ Rosenberg has a great piece in the LA Times about who is really delegitimizing Israel: Bibi.

The whole concept of delegitimization seems archaic. Israel achieved its "legitimacy" when the United Nations recognized it 63 years ago. It has one of the strongest economies in the world. Its military is the most powerful in the region. It has a nuclear arsenal of about 200 bombs, with the ability to launch them from land, sea and air.

In that context, the whole idea of delegitimizing Israel sounds silly. Israel can't be delegitimized.

So why are the pro-Israel organizations talking about it? The answer is simple: They are trying to divert attention from the intensifying world opposition to the occupation of the West Bank and to the blockade of the Gaza Strip, both of which, by almost any standard, are illegitimate. They are trying to divert attention from the ever-expanding settlements, which are not only illegitimate but illegal under international law. They are trying to divert attention from the ever-louder calls for Israel to grant Palestinians equal rights.

The effort to change the subject from the existence of the occupation to the existence of Israel makes sense strategically. Israel has no case when it comes to the occupation, which the entire world, except Israel, agrees must end. But Israel certainly has the upper hand in any argument over its right to exist and to defend itself.

That is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu routinely invokes Israel's "right to self-defense" every time he tries to explain away some Israeli attack on Palestinians, no matter whether they are armed fighters or innocent civilians. If the Israeli-Palestinian discussion is about Israel's right to defend itself, Israel wins the argument. But if it is about the occupation — which is, in fact, what the conflict has been about since 1993, when the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized Israel — it loses.

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