Nathan, you have not given any example of a past, present, or proposed state that does or doesn't have what you label "a right to exist."
You write that "It’s so obvious that this is a website dedicated to the Palestinian narrative entirely. It’s actually quite amazing that foreigners can present the Palestinian view exactly as the Palestinians present it."
"Palestinian narrative": yet another anti-Palestinian trope.
And besides, Phil himself writes a lot on this website about Jewish issues and the position of Jews in American society, from an insider perspective, and it's crazy to say he's getting this from the "narrative" of Palestinians.
I came to this issue, and to this website, years ago because I had grown up hearing so many anti-Palestinian tropes that were accepted widely but sounded a bit fishy when you thought about them:
- "Israel has a right to exist": How come no other government's policies or actions are ever defended in these same terms?
- "Jews are a people and are therefore entitled to their own state; Palestinians do not constitute a people and therefore aren't": How come no other government's ethnic cleansing of "people who aren't a people" is ever justified on these grounds?
- "One can criticize Israel as harshly as one wants, but one should avoid antisemitic tropes in doing so.": How come no similar concern is ever expressed about criticism of any other country's government?
- "To criticize Israel for the plight of Palestinians is to deny the Palestinians their own agency": Why is it OK to say this, but politically incorrect to say it about any other group of people oppressed by any other government?
Israel is going to continue to exist (and thrive). She ...
Ah yes, referring to Israel as "she". A dead giveaway that someone is a Zionist defender. I get it: the rhetorical trick here is to portray Israel as a woman who needs defending, and in your experience, it's so subtle that your audience isn't going to notice what you're doing.
"The claim that Israel has no right to exist is an ideological position, and one hears this position all the time."
No, one does not hear this position all the time. The claim that one does hear all the time is "Israel has a right to exist", and it is always made in the context of justifying some Israeli government policy or action.
Maximus and I are making the claim on this board that Israel has no right to exist, because we don't believe that any state has a right to exist. Humans have rights, states don't. If, as you say, you seriously want to have a discussion about whether or not Israel has a right to exist, then you first need to make clear what it even means for Israel, or any state, to have a right to exist. Maximus and I brought up examples of the USSR, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia as states that stopped existing, and you never said whether or not you believe those states had a right to exist. There were people in or close to the GWB administration who famously advocated "ending states that support terrorism": were they saying that those states had no right to exist, or that those states must be forced to stop certain activities of their governments? Does it make a difference?
Nathan, why don't you say which states you believe have a right to exist, and which states do not have a right to exist? How about starting with states that currently exist? There are even 10 current members of the Canadian parliament who are open in expressing their opinion that Canada shouldn't exist. But they don't say Canada has no right to exist -- and, you may be surprised to hear, their opponents don't say that Canada does have a right to exist. Why not? Because nobody in Canada believes that Canada has a right to exist! Most Canadians think it should continue to exist, but there are some, like those 10 MPs, who think it should be split up, and others who think it should become part of the U.S.A. The question of whether or not Canada has a "right" to exist never crosses anyone's mind.
After saying what existing states do or do not have a right to exist, what about ones that have been proposed, but don't (yet) exist? A Palestinian state? A Kurdish state? An African-American state? In reality, people don't talk about whether such states have a "right to exist"; they talk about the rights of the people who would be living in these putative states.
In the case of Israel, in contrast with other states, does it mean something special to say that Israel has a right to exist? Does insisting that Israel allow the descendants of its forced exiles of 1948 to return and to be full citizens mean denying the right of Israel to exist? Suppose someone proposes full equal rights under the law for Jews and non-Jews within Israel: Would such a proposal negate Israel's right to exist, on the theory that "Israel" by definition is a state that privileges Jews? Or how about a proposal to change Israel's name to Palestine: Would that be a denial of Israel's right to exist? If it is, then that would show that your notion of "Israel's right to exist" is absurd. But I honestly don't know how you would answer any of these questions.
If you ever hear anyone assert that the state Israel has no right to exist, they're asserting that the state has no right to do some of the things it does. If you respond with "well, it wouldn't be Israel if it did/didn't do X", then you're not talking about the right of Israel to exist; you're talking about the right of a government to do or not do X.
No, Nathan, "Do you, Donald, accept Israel’s right to exist?" is not a "very interesting question". States don't have a right to exist. Nobody defended the USSR's "right" to exist at the time when its continued existence was being seriously debated by the various politicians there who eventually decided to terminate its existence.
Now if you insist on playing this "Israel's right to exist" game, I could even turn this around: What is the state of Israel? It's the state that was proclaimed by those 37 signatories of the declaration of independence of May 14, 1948, right? If you read their declaration, it says that this state "will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations."
Does that state have a right to exist? You think so? Well, why doesn't it exist? Because there's been a regime governing its territory that has prevented its existence. If you believe in this state's right to exist, then you should support the goals of the BDS movement:
- ending the Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
- recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality;
- respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.