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Commentary :: Human Rights
Israeli Delegitimization
21 Dec 2011
Israeli Delegitimization - by Stephen Lendman

Under the UN Charter, other international law, and principles of sovereign equality, all states are equal. None are more or less legitimate than others.

Under the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, Israel qualifies as one. It has:

• a fixed recognizable territory;

• a permanent population;

• a functioning government; and

• the capacity to have relations with other countries.

At issue isn't its legal nation state legitimacy. Its lawless ideology is illegitimate. It's corrosive, destructive, racist, extremist, undemocratic and hateful. It claims Jewish supremacy, specialness and uniqueness as God's "chosen people."

It espouses violence, not peaceful coexistence. It chooses confrontation over diplomacy. It employs strength through militarism, intimidation, and naked aggression. It's contemptuous of moral values and ethical principles.

According to Joel Kovel, it's "a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses." Alan Hart calls it "the real enemy of the Jews," and no wonder. It's a monster threatening its host and all humanity, especially in partnership with its Washington paymaster/partner.

In his June 30, 2011 article titled, "Israel and the Issue of Delegitimization: An Analysis," Lawrence Davidson said:

"....Israel's imperial and discriminatory policies are not a function of the ethno-religious definition of the state. But what happens if Israel's tactics and policies are not just opportunistic, but indeed structural?"

"What if the behavior of the government flows from the very nature of a country designed first and foremost for a specific group," alone? "If that is the case, you cannot separate out criticism of this or that policy from criticism of the very character of the Israeli polity. The state and its behavior are inseparable."

At issue is Israel, or any state, established for a specific group only, discriminating against and segregating its minorities, governing this way by law and practice, and spurning civil and human rights, as well as other democratic values in the process.

As a result, Israel's structure and practices lack legitimacy. It's not just occupation, says Davidson, it's how it treats Israeli Arabs (one-fifth of its population) and "Zionism as a guiding socio-political ideology that is illegitimate."

As long as it persists, Israel "will constantly be hoisting itself with its own petard," ably assisted by civil society worldwide. The Global BDS movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions shows notable successes. Others will follow until Israel complies with international law and human rights principles for Occupied Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinian diaspora refugees.

Its achievements raise serious concerns in Israel with good reason. Davidson calls the movement "the very best long term strategy for those who wish to force Israel to rid itself of what makes it truly illegitimate - its Zionist ideology."

Not according to the Tel Aviv-based Reut Institute's (RI) November 25 report headlined, "2011: The Year We Punched Back on the Assault on Israel's Legitimacy," saying:

"Israel and its allies have achieved small but significant 'triumphs.' " Admitting that "dangerous" delegitimization momentum continues, efforts "from international forums to university campuses" persist against it.

Much more, it says, must be done "to harness the support of liberal and progressive circles. Their denunciation of delegitimization is (important to enlist) because they hold the banner of universal values and human rights...."

Unexplained was how gaining their support is possible while Israel spurns international law, discriminates against Israeli Arabs, practices apartheid, and governs Palestine repressively as a colonial occupier despite worldwide condemnation.

Acceptance by civil society demands obeying international law, respecting human and civil rights, embracing other democratic values, ending its repressive occupation, and treating all its citizens equally. Nothing less will work. It's a lesson Israel, its ideological followers, and defenders never learned.

Third Annual BDS Conference

On December 17, it was held at Hebron's Children's Happiness Center '"to expand Palestinian civil society's active implementation of BDS as an effective and popular strategy of civil resistance, that is deeply rooted in the Palestinian struggle."

Since founded in July 2005, BDS gained worldwide recognition and support in pressuring Israel through economic, cultural and academic boycotts.

At issue are liberation, independence, self-determination within 1967 borders, the right of return, East Jerusalem as its capital, a just peace, and world recognition as a sovereign state with full de jure UN membership.

Many challenges remain. Over 450 attendees discussed them and successes to date, including through interactive discussions and workshops. Topics included:

• promoting BDS as effective popular resistance;

• boycotting Israel internationally: successes, challenges and prospects; and

• boycotting Israel locally: realistic programs and challenges.

Simultaneous workshops followed for students and youths, women's organizations, civil society institutions, formal labor (ministries, municipalities, and governorates), private sector groups, popular committees against the Separation Wall and settlements, and international BDS.

European BNC coordinator Michael Deas discussed successes on the continent, saying:

"BDS is now the main framework for solidarity." By maintaining momentum, "we are very close to closing the European market to Israel."

According to Adam Horowitz, journalist and BDS activist, conditions in America are much different because of the Israeli Lobby's power, availability of few Israeli products, and inadequate financial support. Nonetheless, progress has been achieved, including boycotting Ahava products and attracting new members.

Discussion also focused on encouraging Palestinians to boycott Israeli products and buy their own. Also to get Palestinian businesses to support BDS. Economist Ibrahim Shikaki noted no lack of effective alternatives, just inadequate political will to end Palestine's economic dependency on Israel.

Sustaining cooperative, unified efforts for common goals is how great victories are won. Palestinians have millions of worldwide supporters. Dedicated BDS activists globally stand resolutely with them for justice.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen (at)

Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.                                  
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