Israel: ‘Delegitimization’ is just a distraction

M J Rosenberg writes:

Suddenly, all the major pro-Israel organizations are anguishing about “delegitimization.” Those who criticize Israeli policies are accused of trying to delegitimize Israel, which supposedly means denying Israel’s right to exist.

The concept of delegitimization has been used as a weapon against Israel’s critics at least as far back as 1975, when then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Daniel Patrick Moynihan accused the international body of delegitimizing Israel by passing a “Zionism is racism ” resolution. That may have been the last time the term was used accurately.

In a May speech, President Obama used it in reference to the Palestinian effort to seek recognition of their national aspirations at the U.N. General Assembly, as Israel successfully did in 1947. He said that “for the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure.” But he failed to explain just how a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations would delegitimize Israel.

The Palestinians are not, after all, seeking statehood in Israeli territory but in territory that the whole world, including Israel, recognizes as having been occupied by Israel only after the 1967 war. Rather than seeking Israel’s elimination, the Palestinians who intend to go to the United Nations are seeking establishment of a state alongside Israel. (That state would encompass 22% of the British mandate for Palestine, approved by the League of Nations in 1922, with Israel possessing 78%.)

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