Israel has more legitimacy than US because the bible mentions Jerusalem, not New York — says David Harris

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Last week David Harris, the CEO of the American Jewish Committee, offered a foot-stompin heart-stoppin sermon on Zionism from the pulpit of Temple Shaaray Tefila, a wealthy Reform congregation in Bedford Corners, N.Y.

The theme of the speech was that Israel has nothing to apologize for, and American Jews need to tell that story better. The Palestinians, Harris said, have turned down the “two-state solution” seven or eight times beginning in 1937 and 1947.

I already posted one excerpt. Here is another excerpt, about fighting back on attempts to question Israel’s legitimacy. Notice the extensive justification of colonialism; Harris seems to accept the criticism of Zionism as a colonialist enterprise.

Take it away, Mr. Harris:

We to this day continue to hear a lot about Israel’s legitimacy. So let’s go back to basics… May I ask, and I do so deliberately, provocatively, What is the legitimacy of the establishment of the United States of America?

Was there a comparable Balfour Declaration, a League of Nations mandate, a UN special committee on the future of America, a resolution 181, an endorsement by the General Assembly? Was there a bible, the most widely read book in the history of the world, that spoke repeatedly about Yerushalayim and Zion–  and in this case about Washington and New York?

What exactly was the basis for the establishment of the legitimacy of the European colonial enterprise in the United States? I might add, or Canada, or Australia, or New Zealand?
Or I might ask, why is that when AJC travels to Latin America, as we do so repeatedly …. and all the political leaders and economic leaders and cultural leaders we meet with are European in origin. Were they the indigenous people of Latin America? I dare say they were not.

Or, to be even more provocative, and closer to home, when the Arab world and the Palestinian Authority in particular demand– demand!— of Britain an apology for the Balfour Declaration, do you hear a word about what [British Prime Minister] David Lloyd George and [French PM] George Clemenceau and Woodrow Wilson did in Paris in the first six months of 1919 in creating other states? Or Sykes Picot, and what they did in the  creation of Lebanon and Syria and Iraq and Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia?

Are we going to go down this road? And are we going to ask, if we do, why is it that in North Africa, where the indigenous people were the Berbers and then the Jews– Arabs came from the Arabian peninsula and occupied and conquered those nations?

Do they really want to go down the road of questioning legitimacy? Yes of course– when it comes to Israel which I would argue by these terms has far more legitimacy than most nations on earth. But of course their goal is to ignore everything that doesn’t concern Israel.

Thanks to Scott Roth and James North.

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So the bible is the be all and end all to Mister Harris. Doesn,t the bible also have a few rules about theft and murder . ie, Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13) You shall not murder. Eighth Commandment (Exodus 20:13) You shall not steal. Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:14) You shall not… Read more »

I think this is a lot less “provocative” than Harris thinks. Nobody is questioning the legitimacy of Israel as a state in a legal sense. What people are questioning is the “legitimacy” of Israel as a “Jewish state” in a moral sense.

Mr. Harris ignores the ex pos facto laws laid down at Nuremberg when they hung German Nazi leaders; further he ignores Nuremberg’s progeny Geneva IV, etc. Basically, he’s justifying Israel and all its policies and actions by pointing to Caveman ethics and morality–Goering would agree with him–Goering labeled the Nuremberg… Read more »

The noun “legitimacy” comes from the Latin “legitimus” meaning lawful. For decades prior to it’s self-declared founding, at the moment of its bloody birth in 1948, and ever since, Israel has acted with lawless violence against the Palestinians, murderous illegal aggression against its neighbours, and total disdain for international law.… Read more »

I don’t care about the Bible reference, but if he wants to defend Israel on the grounds that other countries, including the US, were formed as a result of colonialism, imperialism and conquest, he is shooting himself in the foot. He is right about other countries. But the solution to… Read more »