The Right to Exist: Who Has It? Where Is It? Why?

shofarDoes Israel have a “right to exist”? Do we?

It’s a shibboleth of the Zionist entity: “Israel has the right to exist!”

But what is this “Israel”? What is this “right to exist”?

Where is it written? Is it in Holy Scripture? “The Song of Songs”? “The Book of Job”? “Proverbs”? “Ecclesiastes”?

Is it written in stone on two tablets by the finger of God?

What does it mean when a people declare that they have the “right to exist” as they please because they are a “democracy,” but other people have no such right? I solemnly declare my elections legitimate—the will of my people–, but … it is obvious that you people over there (in Gaza, in Turkey, in Iran, etc.) do not have the capacity to choose leaders who can represent your true interests!

What does that mean?

Israel refuses to negotiate with Hamas—will not recognize the political leadership that the Palestinians chose in internationally monitored elections—because, Israel declares, Hamas will not recognize Israel’s “right to exist.”

And why should Hamas recognize that “right”? What is always unspoken are the words, “the right to exist as we are now, as we have been, and as we shall become.” Recognize me, and suffer all my faults! Recognize my right to exist as I am, have been and will be—and forfeit your right to challenge me legally for illegal seizures of property, for expropriations and appropriations, for illegitimate detainments, incarcerations, torture, homicides.

In effect, Israeli commandos unilaterally declared that Aid Activists on a flotilla in international waters had no “right to exist.”

When Ahmadinijead of Iran quoted the Ayatollah Khomeini that the Zionist entity would wither away and disappear from the page of history, the entity and its media stooges in the U.S. and elsewhere accused Iran of threatening to “wipe Israel off the map of the earth.” Israel declared Iran an “existential threat” and threatened, in turn, to destroy the Iranians with the 200 nuclear weapons that they will neither confirm nor deny possessing (even though everyone knows they have them!).

Orthodox Jews, including the ultra-conservative Hasidim, are among those most loudly proclaiming that the state of Israel has “no right to exist.” Their viewpoint is hermeneutical: they believe that Israel will be established among the nations after the Mashiach (the Messiah) comes. They believe it is heretical for politicians to reverse the process. First the Mashiach, then the state. That’s the way they read the Hebrew.

Then, do Orthodox Jews have the “right to exist”? (At last report, Israel had not threatened them with its nuclear bombs).

“We the people” in the infant republic of the United States, did not think much about the existence of Native Americans, women or slaves. Some three score years after our founding, we did not think Mexico had a “right to exist” north of the Rio Grande. We did not think Hawaii had the right to exist as a sovereign nation. Nor, in spite of promises made at the time of the Spanish-American War, did we think the Philippines had the “right to exist” as anything other than a U.S. colony in Asia (we needed the coaling stations!).

Is it simply power that determines the “right to exist”?

During the Cold War, the US and its allies decided the Soviet Union had no right to exist. We were prepared to obliterate the world to prove our point—certain nutjobs among us were. One of our soldiers, a Lieutenant Calley, thought he was “just following orders” when he decided that hundreds of villagers in a hamlet called My Lai in Vietnam—unarmed men, women and children—had no “right to exist.” He “wasted” them.

Does the U.N. determine who has the “right to exist”? Does Tibet have that right? Does Palestine? Does Kurdistan?

Suppose the good people of Vermont decide that they are sick and tired of bank bail-outs, oligopolies, kakistocracies, phony American elections, our media of the absurd, oil-slick corporations with more legal rights than “persons,” and artery-clogging, greasy fast food? In a sterling, transparent, democratic election, the vast majority of the state elects leadership that claims its place among the nations of the world as “The Glorious, Independent, Technicolor, Outstanding Republic of Vermont” (which a media wag soon dubs the “GIT OUT of “R” Vermont republic). Does the Glorious, Independent, Technicolor, Outstanding Republic of Vermont have the right to exist?

The Zionist state demands the right to exist as a Zionist state—a non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, bristling with nuclear weapons. Did Yahweh come out of the clouds and declare that this state alone can break all the rules of international decorum with impunity, without censure?

When did Yahweh make that announcement? Was it on the Rachel Maddow show? Was it on Larry King?

If there is a “right to exist,” is there not an equal right to resist–occupation, oppression, thievery, rape, duplicity?

Suppose we started from the other end? Suppose we assumed that no one had the “right to exist,” but that everyone—and every species—could enjoy the “privilege” of existence? How would we order the world then?

The Zionist zealots ask, Why don’t the Palestinians produce a Gandhi, a Martin Luther King to lead them? But where is the Zealots’ Martin Buber–a Jew who exhorted the Jews, and all humankind, to live in harmony with others—with different species, too—with God, too—in an “I and Thou” relationship?

The Zealots have raided the Kingdom of Heaven. Like Lucifer, the Angel of Light, they will be transmogrified by their pride and arrogance, and lust for power. And … they will fall, corrupted from within.

Gary Corseri

Gary Corseri has posted and published articles, fiction, poetry and dramas at Common Dreams, CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, The New York Times, Village Voice and hundreds of other venues internationally. His books include the novels, A FINE EXCESS and HOLY GRAIL, HOLY GRAIL.\


  1. Paul McDermott says

    The problem really is that Joe and TL and other Zionist sympathizers keep hammering their lies and contorted facts, taken straight from the Reut Institute and hasbara playbook. They promote their view of history (which often reads like a comic book) and spoon feed it to compliant news media, which are either too underfunded or too lazy to do their own research. When the Israelis are caught doing heinous things (like execution-style murders on an unarmed humanitarian mission or bombing schools in Gaza), the hasbara machine and their willing accomplices go into full action, either denying they happened or giving unbelieveable excuses for their actions. The fact that they refuse to allow independent international investigations only confirms their guilt.
    Like a squid, they squirt out their black hasbara ink and their slimy anti-Semitic innuendoes to obfuscate and silence the truth.

    For the reasons given, progressives look to websites such as this and newsmagazines like The Nation the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and radio stations such as Pacifica (KPFK/KPFA), and not Ethan Bronner’s reporting in the New York Times, for clear and honest reporting and opinions.

  2. Marshall says

    It would seem Gary is a little off the main street as each of you have well written. I always wonder why the Jews in America support the left so much with money and votes when the favor is not repaid.

  3. says

    LA Progressive has lately carried a plethora of anti-Israel articles – each one at the expense of an article that might have actual relevance for genuine progressives seeking to improve our own society thousands of miles away in North America, even in California – or for that matter to help many other stressed societies in the world.

    Behind the pattern of these articles, the working assumption seems to be that progressives are or should be antisemites.

    Antisemites are obsessed with portraying the Jews – fifteen million of the world’s 6+ billions of people – and their special creations, especially their tiny 8000-square-mile state, as the world’s demons or (at best) rejected Lucifer satans.

    For an antisemite, deep or even deepest educational lessons for USA progressives will consist of demonizations of Israel, including the use of a double standard: Israel held to a higher standard than other countries, east or west.

    It’s perhaps easy for frustrated idealists, including many would-be progressives, to fall into such an antisemitic attitude. As Saul Bellow noted decades ago: Israel has served conveniently as the world’s moral resort area. Anything that bothers you about your home country or anywhere else – but you lack the power or the interest or the balls to do much about – you can instead safely critique in the context of little Israel being an imperfect country.

    The moral critics’ usual underlying assumption – a typical antisemitic double standard – is that, unlike any other country, Israel is obligated to be perfect – and is obligated to listen to and heed opinions of anyone from anywhere – including its enemies, and even without any vote on the matter by Israel’s own citizens.

    Thus, in a comment on Peeler’s recent diatribe, a commenter Paul presumed that it is perfectly reasonable that Hamas demand that – without further debate or vote by Israel’s citizens – Israel dissolve or become a quite different kind of country.

    Were any other country under discussion, the very making of such a demand would be seen as idiotic. [That would be true, even if Hamas were simply a kindly elder statesman. But in fact Hamas is an terror organization – like Arafat’s Fatah a generation ago – that murdered first, and only afterwards, pressed by media, bothered to state a cause and demand that allegedly justified the murders.]

    The hope for a perfected Jewish future society in the ancient homeland had long been the classic messianic dream. The hope moreover for a progressive actual Jewish society began over a century ago among East-European Zionist immigrants, echoed in part by Herzl, who in seeking to build a progrom-free refuge in the ancient homeland figured that the new society might as well also aim at progressive ideals.

    Antisemites – followed by today’s gullible would-be ‘progressives’ -have seized on this enlightened hope, and in their minds and propaganda have twisted it into not a desire or goal, but a minimum existential obligation on Israel. Unlike any other kind of national state (even, for instance, a restored Tibetan state), for them a Jewish state is not entitled to exist if it does not meet their criteria of special progress or indeed perfection.

    In adopting such double standards, gullible would-be progressives of today are simply adding another brand of antisemitism to various historic versions: to the classic religious fanaticisms of both Islam and Christianity, and to the demonology of ideological Czarism and Stalinism and especially Nazism. Nazism was a tonic inspiration for Hitler’s collaborator Haj Amin al Husseini of Jerusalem, the most influential Palestinian Arab leader during WW2.

    Thanks precisely to rampant antisemitism – revived and militant now as part of fanatic Islam in the near east, as well as faintly echoed by articles in LA Progressive and like places in the west – Israel’s first business is – and for decades has been – to physically defend her existence.

    The first casualty of this necessity is deferment or submergence of some otherwise attainable progressive hopes.

    So, by going to obsessive lengths to focus on critique of Israel (already the near east’s most progressive country) by antisemitic double standards, today’s gullible would-be ‘progressives’ are helping to obstruct and sabotage further genuine progress in Israel itself.

    But worse, this antisemitic focus moreover takes the progressive heat off far more cogent targets at home. Worse yet, it also gives a free ride to the medieval oppression and repression by many of the world’s most regressive regimes, including not only Israel’s enemies but many others, who bear prime responsibility for making life miserable for hundreds of millions of people.

    Editors and readers would do well to consider these broader consequences of LA Progressive’s recent focus on anti-Israel diatribes.

    • says


      Stop with the tedious, inflammatory charges of antisemitism against the LA Progressive.

      Your charges of antisemitism — always a shout of “fire” in a theater — are utterly unfounded here. That’s not what’s going on.

      We are presenting a range of opinion around developments in the Middle East that are critically important to Americans and the entire world. You may note that Israel, no matter what it does or what position it takes, has plenty of defenders in the mainstream media and in government. But you rarely hear the dissenting voices anywhere we attempt to present.

      If you think that sliming us as antisemitic, naive, gutless, obsessive — oh dear, you do go on — will silence us, you will find that you’re dead wrong. If you knew us, you’d know that’s one bad strategy.

      Also, rather than approaching us with articles presenting your views that we might publish, you choose instead to snipe endlessly from the bushes at other writers’ articles. You might want to rethink that strategy as well.

      — Dick Price, Editor

      • says


        I used the word ‘antisemitic’ primarily to call heed to the impact of repeated use of double-standards or demonization – not necessarily the result of any one person’s witting intentions or attitudes. My intent was hardly to seek to ‘silence’. On the contrary, we need facts and reasoned discussion, not silence.

        So I appreciate and in fact applaud the readiness to publish dissenting views. However, there are many kinds of dissent on many issues, and not all of them are equally reasoned or useful.

        For instance, legally sanctioned behavior has many establishment defenders, but that fact doesn’t make it useful to present multiple dissenting articles promoting murder and theft; even though many laws on the books indeed do merit critique and dissent.

        Another problem: when the same dissent – initially courageous – gets replayed repeatedly, it runs a danger of degenerating into merely its own kind of in-group conformism.

        Since the LA Progressive format invites comments on the articles, actually furnishing such comments (in some cases turning out as Friday picks) does not equal ‘snipe from the bushes’. But I admit that it’s generally more feasible to comment briefly on someone else’s article then to find time and sometimes special expertise to author a worthy full-length article of one’s own.

        So if in fact what seems sometimes as lack of balance is due to a lack of submitted usable articles, I will try to find time (and I would hope others will try too) to help correct that situation, to everyone’s benefit.


        • says


          It is true that we sometimes pound issues into the ground. Partly that’s an artifact of how we get our articles. If we paid our authors — something we hope to be able to do in the future — we could better direct their efforts. As it is, we have a stable of authors we regularly publish and often they pile on the topic of the day.

          As you note, we encourage opposing view expressed in the comments on the articles and sometimes feature them with what we call “Friday Feedback.” That provides some balance to the articles.

          We’re also looking for ways to provide more actual reporting and solutions more than endless criticism, but that’s also hard to generate. Maybe when we can move away from our day jobs we’ll be able to move more firmly in that direction.

          — Dick

    • Bob Jones says

      Funny that you call people anti-semites when Palestinians are Semites. Funny you do not mention, at all, the people displaced by the creation of Israel. You conveniently ignore the plight of the dispossessed. You conveniently ignore the root of the entire problem.

  4. Steve Lamb says

    Israel has been kept on a almost constant war footing by hostile enemies from without, nations who stood with Adolf Hitler during WW2 and had whole divisions in the SS. Their historic Islamic hatred of the Jewish People led them and their Imams to go to bed with the Devil. They are still in bed with him, enjoying every moment of their orgy of death and hatred.

    The Palestinians have never been an autonomous people. First they were imported and ruled by Rome, then a sultan of twenty, then the Ottomans and Syria. The closest they have ever been to being a free and independent people has been since the partition and if they dropped the Nazi hatred of the Jews, they could live in peace as a free people either as citizens of Israel or in their own State.

    Since 1948 the message to Israel has been “In order to talk peace with us, you must give up more land.” After a bit one realizes this will continue until no land is left and the dream of Hitler and the Pan Arab Brotherhood comes true, the Jews all drown in the sea.

  5. Bob G says

    It’s not really that hard. The “right to exist” means the right to live peacefully without having your towns and farms and citizens blown up by artillery fire from the Golan heights, or by rocket fire from Gaza, or by Egyptian armored divisions on your eastern border. That “right” is brought up in response to the statements by Hamas and others, that their intent is to destroy Israel and its Jewish inhabitants. The Israeli right to exist was established by vote of the UN back in 1948, and it included far more territory than present day Israel covers. If you disagree with that vote by the UN then that is your right, but to imply that Israel was created out of thin air by Zionist conspirators isn’t the case.

    Shorter version: Mr. Corseri had to work really hard to come up with this argument. If he wants to make an argument that Israel is overreacting to threats and foreign aggression, he has the right to do so, but this isn’t that argument.

    • Bob Jones says

      @BobG “The Israeli right to exist was established by vote of the UN back in 1948, and it included far more territory than present day Israel covers. If you disagree with that vote by the UN then that is your right, but to imply that Israel was created out of thin air by Zionist conspirators isn’t the case.”

      You don’t know much about British Zionists, do you? You should read more books, and not just the ones force-fed you.

  6. says

    Sorry, but the Jews had established their right to Israel before 1000 B.C.E., and the Arabs conquered it only in 638 C.E. after the Romans extirpated the Jews from it in the 2nd cent. C.E. then passed it to the Byzantines or Eastern Romans. The Arabs never had a right to it, they just conquered it, then squatted on it with their Muslim supremacist Sharia, oblivious to Jewish claims that it was rightfully theirs ever since. The Turks took it from the Arabs in the 1200s, and allowed some Jews to return, but only under Muslim supremacy. The Ottomans were defeated in WWI, and the Allies captured Palestine and awarded it to Israel, but Islam still won’t relent. Islam, not Judaism or the Jews is the only problem preventing peace in the Middle East, and the rest is b.s.

    Scope Jerusalem’s history free with the Historyscoper anytime and see for yourself how history awards it to the Jews not Arabs:


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