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Why ‘Right To Exist’?

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Posted on January 25 2011 9:38 am
Seth Mandel is the former managing editor of four New Jersey-based newspapers, where he won awards for his coverage of the Middle East and Russia. He has appeared on Shalom TV's current affairs roundtable. He is currently based in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @SethAMandel
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In January 2001, the U.K. Guardian published a column called “Israel simply has no right to exist,” by Faisal Bodi. This was about four months after the Second Intifada began, and it called attention to the single most pressing challenge of the so-called peace process: that it is not 1967–the year in which Israel took control in a defensive war of land the Palestinians now claim for a future state–but rather 1948 that bothers Israel’s enemies.

Israel, to a great many commentators, journalists, politicos, diplomats, and of course the Palestinian leadership and much of its populace, simply has no right to exist. It is the only sovereign state about which there is even a discussion.

Most of the Arab states in the Middle East were artificially crafted by outgoing European rulers, yet the Jewish state–with its thousands of years of history as a home for the Jewish people–is always in the dock. As Bodi wrote:

“Certainly there is no moral case for the existence of Israel.”

Bodi’s argument is really rather weak, but that’s not the point–most people can name plenty of reasons Israel should exist. My intent is not to list them here. In fact, Israel’s enemies are often at an immediate advantage if this argument is engaged; once you start defending Israel’s place in the world, you have already assented to the legitimacy of arguing Israel’s right to exist.

Nevertheless, the idea that Israel has no right to exist is a pernicious one that must be defeated in the public arena, however distasteful it may be to engage with the ignorant or the bigoted.

Hence, the new blog you see here on NRB, Right To Exist. We will defend Israel with pride, not shame or defensiveness. And we will confront anti-Semitism–the Oldest Hatred–in all its forms. Such hatred persists–though we will discuss much more than that. Each day, we’ll provide readers with a combination of news about Israel and the Jewish people they may be missing as well as take on those in the media, academia, government, and elsewhere in the public sphere who seek to delegitimize the state of Israel or the rights of the Jewish people.

If you would like to write for us, or otherwise contribute to the discussion on these pages, please contact us through the form below. If you’ve been previously published (especially on this topic) please include links as well.

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