By Any Measure in Human History, Israel Has a Right to Exist


by William Sullivan

Once elected, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib famously used a Post-it note to identify the nation of Israel as “Palestine” on a map in her new office, signaling that she subscribes to the widespread belief that Israel does not have the right to exist, and that an independent Arab-Muslim nation called Palestine, which is every bit as real of a place in our world as Shangri-La, should exist in its place.

The claim that Jews have no right to a sliver of homeland in the Middle East has become a common refrain, particularly for the young progressives who are throwing violent tantrums in cities and on college campuses across the nation.  What these young people would know, if our academic institutions in this country were interested in the teaching of history rather than the Marxist reshaping of it, is this — by any measure applied throughout human history, Israel has every right to exist, insofar as any right to a nation and its peoples’ existence has ever been articulated by either civilized or savage societies.

The Right to Indigenous Ownership

We begin with the most novel and childish of any argument that occurs over the ownership of land, and that is the argument for “indigenous ownership.”

This often amounts to nothing more substantial than a child’s playground claim to a space on the merry-go-round because “I was here first.”  This claim seems morally righteous without any additional context, and this is undoubtedly one reason why so many young people continue to hold this argument in such high regard.

Young progressives routinely argue that modern European “settler colonialism” was oppressive in all its forms, and that somehow, the establishment of a Jewish nation in the Middle East is just another example of European imperialism akin to the Americans’ supposed “thieving” of land from Native Americans.

Arguing that “decolonization” is the path to peace in the Middle East, Professor Muhannad Ayyash of Mount Royal University in Calgary writes:

[S]ettler colonialism is a type of colonialism that functions through the replacement of an Indigenous population with a settler society that, over time, develops a national identity and claims sovereignty over the colonised [sic] land.

Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news for Mr. Ayyash and all others who proclaim Arabic Muslims as the “Indigenous” population of the region historically known to the Romans, and to the more modern Turkish imperators, as Palestine — Arab-Muslims certainly are not native to that land.

The Arab-Muslim conquerors who supplanted the largely Byzantine-Christian population that lived in the region in the seventh century certainly didn’t subscribe to the “I was here first” notion of land ownership, after all.  The city of Jerusalem was besieged and conquered by Islamic armies in 638 A.D., and Arabization and Islamization of the region ensued.  It was “colonized” by Arab-Muslims, if you will.

But this wasn’t the first pre-existing population that was purged and supplanted in the region.  This is a simple and indisputable fact which American children, not so very long ago, knew as a matter of our cultural inheritance, but which manages to elude today’s young adults who are taking on six-figure debts for an “education” that they now expect to be paid by you, the taxpayer.

Modern-day Israel, in Roman times, was approximately the lands of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Those lands had been inhabited by Jews at that time, as they had been in earlier Biblical times.  Those Jews were ultimately expelled in 134 A.D. after a revolt against Roman rule.  “As an insult to the Jews and to efface any traces of their connection to the land,” writes Robert Spencer in his book, The Palestinian Delusion, “[the Romans] renamed… the region as Palestine – a name they plucked from the Bible, as it was the name of Israelites’ ancient enemies, the Philistines.”

In short, a Jewish kingdom existed on that land long before the British Balfour Declaration of 1917 determined that an area of that region should be a “national home” for the descendants of the anciently displaced Jewish people, long before the Arab-Muslims who now claim “indigenous rights” ever colonized the region, and even long before the Romans decided to call it “Palestine.”

And this brings us out of antiquity, away from the nonsensical argument that Arab-Muslims are somehow “indigenous” to the land, and headlong into the second reason for Israel’s right to existence, and that is…

The Legal Right to Ownership

Only Westerners with no real understanding of history would ever claim that people have a right to ownership of land due to having existed there first.  But there is an absolute legal right for a Jewish State in the geographic region known as “Palestine.”

Before the Balfour Declaration, the Ottoman Turks ruled the region for 400 years.  The land remained desolate and sparsely populated until European Jews, particularly after legal migration was encouraged in 1917, populated their ancestral homeland in larger numbers, cultivating the land, and bringing along industry and prosperity.

Once again, there is not now, nor has there ever been, a nation of Arab-Muslims called Palestine.  This is a fiction.  But upon the British Mandate, there was legal encouragement of migration, and in 1947, after World War II, the British “referred the issue of Palestine to the United Nations.”

Two main proposals were considered by the UN.  The first was a partition of the land into Jewish and Arab states.  The Jews agreed, and the Arabs opposed.  The second was a binational state, which the Jews opposed due to a severe population disadvantage, and which, interestingly, the Arabs also opposed.  This signifies, of course, that Arabs have never entertained the notion of allowing Jewish representative authority in the region at all, and accentuates the ridiculousness of our continued imagining that they might, one day, accept Israel’s existence.

Of course, in a legal sense, none of that mattered in 1947, because the issue was legally under the jurisdiction of the United Nations, which decided upon the partition plan.  Based upon a solid legal premise, Israel declared its independence in 1948.

Upon this exercise of a legal claim to a Jewish nation, the surrounding Arab nations allied themselves militarily to destroy a reconstituted and fledgling Jewish State in the region.  The problem, for them, is that the Jews won this war.  Which leads to the third, and by far most important reason for Israel’s right to exist…

The Right of Conquest

There is nothing more fundamental to the natural world or the human condition than the certainty that the right to ownership of land is dependent upon the ability to acquire and defend that land through violence.

This is something that the ignorant young charges of Marxist professors at America’s universities fail to understand, even as this right to ownership has shaped our own national history.  They imagine, for example, that Native Americans subscribed to some other notion of land ownership than their European conquerors, when that is simply untrue.  As Dr. Thomas Sowell writes:

One of the things we take for granted today is that it is wrong to take other people’s land by force.  Neither American Indians nor the European invaders believed that.

Both took other people’s lands by force – as did Asians, Africans, and others.  The Indians no doubt regretted losing so many battles.  But that is wholly different from saying that they thought battles were the wrong way to settle ownership of the land.

The surrounding Arab nations, believing that the Jews had no right to self-determination in their indigenous homeland, told the Arab denizens of the region to flee their homes in 1948, promising that after the Jews had been driven into the sea, they could return to their homes and claim the Jews’ land for Allah.  Israel repelled its attackers, however, and maintained its sovereignty.

So, you see, the Arabs very much believed in the notion of a right to land ownership by conquest, as much in the twentieth century as in the seventh.  Though their Muslim-Arab ancestors undoubtedly regret losing the battle over that land in 1948, they must regret losing the Six Day War in 1967 even more so, in which several Arab nations again attacked Israel.

In just six days, Israel’s defensive efforts overcame its enemies, and yielded the capture of the strategically-imperative Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula, along with the so-called “Palestinian” territories of Gaza and the West Bank.

Ever since, Israel has committed to the admirable-but-futile quest for acceptance with an approach that we now refer to as “land for peace.”

But, by the right of conquest, Israel was under no obligation to return any of the spoils of its defensive war, any more than America is obligated to return Arizona to Mexico after the Mexican-American War.

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What doesn’t have the have the Right to exist is Hamas and Violent Mobs of uncivilized heathens

My response to the accusations of “colonization” is, where is the Dome of the Rock built?