Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cannot easily attack the state of Israel because he doesn’t recognise it. I don’t know why he doesn’t recognise Israel; it’s the same shape as Palestine, give or take – mainly take, obviously.
I jest; it is Israel’s right to exist that he refuses to recognise. But should people recognise it? Well, it does exist, so it’s childish to pretend otherwise. But whether states have rights is another matter. Whether people have rights is a moral rather than a biological question. The right to statehood is not like a liver. People are not born with one. Saying someone has a right to something just means you reckon they should have it.
But at least such judgements apply more sensibly to human beings than they do to geo-political entities. We’d all say a person has a right to a home, but we wouldn’t say their home has rights. Let’s imagine all Israel’s critics recognising its right to exist – although why should they say that if they don’t believe it? One can accept a fact on the ground without thinking it was historically right. But anyway, let’s say everyone accepts that Israel has a right to exist. That would still not guarantee its existence, in its present form or any other.
Did Yugoslavia have a right to exist? Does the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? We once laid claim to the South as well, and might not always be able to claim the North. And what if Scotland leaves the United Kingdom? Or Wales? Or England? What if we become a republic or we’re sold to America as Walt Disney’s Cockney World of Adventures? States come and go, and their populations change. Will Israel exist as presently constituted in 30 years’ time? It seems unlikely. Israelis will still exist, but that’s a different matter.
#232: Rue Britannia ● The legacy of the British Empire ● An interview with Priyamvada Gopal ● The People’s Olympics ● An interview with Neville Southall ● Agribusiness in India ● Deliveroo’s disastrous IPO ● Latest book reviews ● And much more!
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Famous voices can shape public opinion on Palestine, argues Raoul Walawalker, but walking back solidarity statements does more harm than good
The question of Palestine has become a black political litmus test, argues Annie Olaloku-Teriba, defining the very nature of black identity and politics
Shahd Abusalama recounts her father Ismail's experience in the Israeli prison system and calls for drastic reforms
There are one million children living in Gaza, trapped and under fire. By Omar Aziz
From the Land Day protests in 1976 to the Great Return March of today, the Palestinian struggle against colonial dispossession continues despite incredible odds, writes Ryvka Barnard
Students across the country are marking the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, writes Huda Ammori.
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