Monday, March 12, 2007


LA Times & Israel's "Right to Exist" (HonestReporting)
So far, the international community has stood firm in demanding that any Palestinian government, be it Hamas or otherwise, recognizes Israel as a precursor to lifting financial sanctions. Questioning Israel's very "right to exist" is a well-employed tool of Israel's detractors to call into question the Jewish state's legitimacy as part of an effort to undermine her.

Thankfully, the mainstream media in the US, unlike in Europe, has generally managed to discern the difference between legitimate criticism of Israeli policies and actual delegitimization of the state itself. In February, HonestReporting highlighted an op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor that questioned Israel's right to exist. Now, the Los Angeles Times follows suit, giving space to Saree Makdisi to ask "Why does The Times recognize Israel's 'right to exist'?"

Our colleagues at CAMERA have catalogued UCLA professor Makdisi's numerous factual errors and opposition to the existence of Israel, while also exposes Makdisi's hatred and inflammatory language.

In this latest LA Times piece, Makdisi muddies the issue of "recognition" in legalistic jargon while failing to acknowledge that the issue goes deeper than this in practical terms, as Hamas not only refuses to recognize Israel but actually advocates its destruction. Like Hamas, Makdisi evidently wishes the Palestinian people to move backwards in diplomatic terms.

Makdisi asks:

which Israel, precisely, are the Palestinians being asked to "recognize?" Israel has stubbornly refused to declare its own borders. So, territorially speaking, "Israel" is an open-ended concept. Are the Palestinians to recognize the Israel that ends at the lines proposed by the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan? Or the one that extends to the 1949 Armistice Line (the de facto border that resulted from the 1948 war)? Or does Israel include the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which it has occupied in violation of international law for 40 years — and which maps in its school textbooks show as part of "Israel"?
Israel's borders don't need to be defined as a precondition for recognition. Israel and the Palestinians recognized each other by signing the Oslo Accords and final borders could be negotiated as part of an overall settlement.

Makdisi claims that "A just peace will require Israelis and Palestinians to reconcile and recognize each other's rights." Israel has consistently demonstrated its wish for peace and a recognition of Palestinian rights going back to Oslo all the way to its withdrawal from Gaza and the election of a Kadima government on the platform of bringing a two-state solution into being. Makdisi, on the other hand, espouses the language of rejectionism.

As the Palestinian leadership becomes ever more desperate to water down the demands of the international community, is this op-ed part of a broader media strategy to call into doubt the need for the Palestinians to recognize Israel? Not only does this excuse the Palestinians from moving forward on the diplomatic track but it also excuses the genocidal ideology of Hamas, which is committed to Israel's destruction.

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