Gideon Levy writes: The provocative (and challenging) question in this headline is irrelevant. With the exception of Israel, such an accusation hasn’t been hurled at any state, and to be honest, Israel isn’t seriously considered illegitimate either – at least not in the sense the nationalist right in the country would have us believe in order to scare the public. When discussing the topic the question is not whether certain states are legitimate or not, but whether certain regimes are. The regimes of Iran, North Korea, Burma and others are considered illegitimate due to their conduct, but no one questions the legitimacy of Iran as a state. Of course there are states that were born in sin – the United States leading the pack – but no one questions the legitimacy of the U.S. That is true concerning Israel as well. It is an existing state, whose existence isn’t in doubt.
When the right screams ‘delegitimization,’ it purposely exaggerates. Even the most heated criticism of Israel is directed at the regime: most of it deals with Israel being a regime of occupation – an overtly illegitimate reality – and some of it is directed at its definition as an ethnic-national state, the Jewish state.
There is no other state that carries out such an occupation, nor another state that defines itself according to its ethnic, religious or national purity. France is not the state of the French, nor is Germany the state of the Germans. They’re both the states of their citizens. Germans and French aren’t defined only by the blood in the veins – whether one’s grandfather had French blood or an Aryan grandmother – but rather by the naturalization processes in these countries. [Continue reading…]