No criticism of Abunimah’s piece which is – per usual – entirely accurate but for me this question has always been VERY easy to answer – and not requiring a long article or essay to respond to it.
It’s very basic: NO NATION-STATE HAS A “RIGHT” to exist. No nation-state has a “natural right” to exist. PERIOD.
States are artificial constructs, manufactured by coercion and human intervention. Most borders are artificially constructed by human coercion.
People have a right to exist. Cultures have a right to exist. Ethnicities have a right to exist. Religions have a right to exist. (Or non-religions).
This applies to every state that exists today and that ever existed – the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Britain and Israel. Etc.
Like every or most states that exist today, Israel exists by virtue of violence and coercion – there is no “natural right” for it to exist.
But since we have to live in the world that we have-we recognize that it does exist. And like every other state on earth, we recognize its borders — except that Israel, unlike every other state, refuses to declare its borders. So Israel is therefore unlike any other state that we recognize today.
We recognize that Israeli citizens of whatever ethnicity and religion have a right to live in peace and security. What we do not recognize is the right of Israeli citizens to continue to deny that right to an entire people whose lives they control and have controlled for decades by virtue of their ethnicity & religion.
So until Israel behaves like a normal state–it cannot be judged as one.