The new buzzword from the Israel Lobby, the media, the Jewish community and sadly, our government, is “delegitimization.” It’s essentially nothing more than propaganda used at the behest of the Israeli government but unfortunately, it’s made our way into our policies in the Middle East. Barack Obama uses the term, Secretary Clinton uses the term, members of Congress, and on and on.
I personally believe the word was created to prevent the U.S. and Israel from having to make good on the promise to recognize Palestinian nonviolence. Back in the day when the PLO was actively involved in terrorism, we implored the Palestinians to renounce violence and find a more appropriate way of getting their message heard. Well, now many of them have done that and what have we done in response? Labeled them “delegitimizers” of Israel.
To make matters worse, the U.S. and Israeli governments have the audacity to breathlessly claim that delegitimization is a threat to Israel’s very existence! In fact, the State Dept. has proudly proclaimed that they will battle delegitimization wherever they find it. Good luck with that. Ever notice that pretty much everything is labeled a threat to Israel’s existence? Except, of course, their own actions.
That is the theme of MJ Rosenberg’s latest article over at HuffPo. Here’s an excerpt:
The “pro-Israel” lobby’s latest hobbyhorse is “delegitimization.” Those who criticize Israeli policies are accused of trying to “delegitimize” Israel, which supposedly means denying Israel’s right to exist. Even President Obama has gotten into the act, stating in his May 19 speech that “for the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure.”
In that context, the whole idea of “delegitimizing” Israel sounds silly. Israel can’t be delegitimized.
So what is the lobby talking about?
The answer is simple: It is talking about the intensifying opposition to the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza which, by almost any standard, is illegitimate. It is talking about opposition to the settlements, which are not only illegitimate but illegal under international law. It is talking about calls for Israel to grant Palestinians equal rights.
The lobby’s determination to change the subject from the existence of the occupation to the existence of Israel makes sense strategically. Israel has no case when it comes to the occupation, which the entire world (except Israel) agrees must end. But Israel certainly has the upper hand in any argument over its right to exist and to defend itself.
That is why Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu routinely invokes Israel’s “right to self-defense” every time he tries to explain away some Israeli attack on Palestinians, no matter whether they are armed fighters or innocent civilians. If the whole Israeli-Palestinian discussion is about Israel’s right to defend itself, Israel wins the argument. But if it is about the occupation — which is, in fact, what the conflict has been about since 1993 when the PLO recognized Israel — it loses.
It wasn’t that long ago that neither the Israeli government nor the lobby worried about the “forces of delegitimization.”
On the contrary, in 1993, following Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s recognition of the Palestinians’ right to a state in the West Bank and Gaza, nine non-Arab Muslim states and 32 of the 43 sub-Saharan African states established relations with Israel. India and China, the two largest markets in the world, opened trade relations. Jordan signed a peace treaty and several of the Arab emirates began quiet dealings with Israel.
The Arab boycott of Israel ended. Foreign investment soared. No one discussed “delegitimization” while much of the world, including the Muslim world, was knocking on Israel’s door to establish or deepen ties.
That trend continued so long as the Israeli government seemed to be genuinely engaged in the peace process.
The world mourned Rabin because under him, Israel had embraced the cause of peace with the Palestinians. The homage to Rabin was a clear demonstration — as was the opening of trade and diplomatic relations with formerly hostile states — that Israel was not being isolated because it is a Jewish state and hence illegitimate, but because of how it treated the Palestinians.
Once again, Israel’s “best friends” are among its worst enemies.
And that about sums it up. It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? And yet not one single bozo in the MSM points out something so basic. Not one single member of the MSM has ever asked Secretary Clinton or President Obama about how “delegitimization” is nothing but an attempt to silence critics of the Occupation. NOT ONE.
The implications of the propaganda campaign of screaming “delegitimization” every five minutes essentially means that the U.S. government is promoting the view/policy that all people have a right to nonviolent protest, free speech, human rights and free association except the Palestinians. Now THAT is truly radical indeed.