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Saturday, February 19, 2011

My comment for BBC World Have Your Say on Muslim Brotherhood

I have a comment from listening to your (BBC World Have Your Say) program on the Muslim Brotherhood.

They were a bit evasive in some of the answers, but on this issue it is not as simple as yes or no as the moderator seemed to think:

You gave the Muslim Brotherhood quite a time over the question "do you believe Israel has the right to exist." I am an American and even I realize this is a loaded and difficult question. Israel's existence means different things to different people- respecting the rights and security of Jews or accepting the Occupation or respecting the rights of Jews at the expense of Palestinians. It can mean any number of things.

Israel believes it has the right to exist as a Jewish state and won't eliminate "transfer" or other forms of ethnic cleansing to maintain a Jewish majority. Leiberman, whom the US has hosted, has talked about such outlandish "solutions" as drowning Palestinian prisoners in the sea and "loyalty oaths". The current concept of the Jewish state includes occupying Palestinian territory, ignoring international obligations to allow refugees to return after war, making laws in Israel that discriminate against Palestinians (building permits for one example) building settlements illegally, building Jewish only roads to get to illegal settlements, and various forms of collective punishment in the name of "security". So, you see, one can say they have a right to a homeland. Everyone has certain unalienable rights. Does this right to exist or right to a homeland include the minority (which Jews would be if refugees lawfully returned) subjugating a majority or rearranging the borders or population (transfer, ethnic cleansing) so that you remain a majority in the territory you took in addition to what the original UN and or British Mandate agreement intended?

I'm not an anti-Semite, though questioning in any form Israel's existence will get me labeled- of that I am sure. Israel's existence isn't just about not being anti-Semitic, not wanting them pushed into the sea, etc. I think accepting Israel's right to exist is often equated with accepting the Occupation and all of Israel's other demands and actions as legitimate and lawful. Jews deserve a homeland (I suppose the question of why Palestinians were expected to pay for and continue to pay for the Holocaust is another question to explore...not that it makes any difference because I hope no one would take seriously the suggestion that all Jews be transferred out), but they need to be held to the standard of other countries, held to account, and made to face consequences for egregious violations of human rights and international law. They get away with murder and that makes people mad. I can see the apprehension of just getting on the "I believe in Israel's right to exist" bandwagon without clarification.

The question of Israel's existence is much more than a yes or no question.

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