Leave it to Canada’s brilliant MOT, Irwin Cotler, to lay out this legal and moral imperative justifying Israel’s existence. Yes to justify the existence of Israel. That is really what the current international debate is hinging on and the debate on college campuses (thankfully not in Congress). Putting Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-determination in line with other First Nation claims is brilliant spiritually, nationally, and politically. In his recent essay The gathering storm and beyond, Cotler writes:

Israel, then, is the aboriginal homeland of the Jewish people across space and time. It is not just a homeland for the Jewish people, a place of refuge, asylum and protection. It is the homeland of the Jewish people, wherever and whenever it may be; and its birth certificate originates in its inception as a First Nation, and not simply, however important, in its United Nations international birth certificate.

The State of Israel, then, as a political and juridical entity, overlaps with the “aboriginal Jewish homeland”; it is, in international legal terms, a successor state to the biblical, or aboriginal, Jewish kingdoms.

But that aboriginal homeland is also claimed by another people, the Palestinian/Arab people, who see it as their place and patrimony. THE EXISTENCE of a parallel claim does not vitiate that of the Jewish people or cause it to resonate any less as memory and memoir of homeland – where homeland represents history, roots, religion, language, culture, literature, law, custom, family, myth and values. Rather, the equities of the claim mandate the logic of Israeli-Palestinian partition – a logic which in moral and juridical terms requires that a just solution be organized around the “principle of least injustice,” and that includes mutual recognition of the legitimacy of two states for two peoples.

There is only one pitfall, perhaps two to this argument. There are very few First Nations that have modern States. It could be that Israel is the first. Secondly, the Muslim revisionist history that spreads from Mecca until UC Irvine calls Abraham & Sarah Muslims and the Palestinians as Philistines — no matter how absurd and absolutely wrong that is — which would seemingly nullify/equalize our First Nation status.

Nonetheless, his position if accepted by the left and moderates, would be a great step forward towards resolution of the conflict. Only if.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah

Loading comments...