The Instigator
Marcus_Aurelius
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Dorb
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points

Israel does not have the Right to Exist

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Dorb
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/9/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,610 times Debate No: 12513
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

Marcus_Aurelius

Con

The question that I propose is often brought up within the context of Israeli/Palestinian debates: Does Israel have the right to exist?

To clarify, the question is not whether Israel does exist as a state, but rather if Israel should have the right to exist based on its historical and religious ties.

Note: It is not my intention to insult anyone whose view conflicts with mine. My sole intention is the encouragement of intellectual conversation regarding a controversial topic.

I will be challenging the position that Israel has a right to exist based on its historical and religious ties to the area. I will argue that, in fact, Israel does not have a right to exist by explaining that Israel's position is based on flawed genetic and political concepts that undermine any rational reasoning in affirming its right to exist.

Let me begin by first introducing Israel's right to exist. I will be using a speech that was given to the Knesset in 1977 as the basis for the belief in Israel's right in existence.

"Our right to exist--have you ever heard of such a thing? Would it enter the mind of any Briton or Frenchman, Belgian or Dutchman, Hungarian or Bulgarian, Russian or American, to request for its people recognition of its right to exist? Mr. Speaker: We were granted our right to exist by the God of our fathers at the glimmer of the dawn of human civilization four thousand years ago. Hence, the Jewish people have an historic, eternal and inalienable right to exist in this land, Eretz Israel, the land of our forefathers. We need nobody's recognition in asserting this inalienable right. And for this inalienable right, which has been sanctified in Jewish blood from generation to generation, we have paid a price unexampled in the annals of nations." [1]

The right to exist, therefore, centers on the belief that the ancestors of the present day citizens of Israel were granted this particular piece of land at the dawn of civilization. Furthermore, this right is exclusive to the Jewish people by being passed down by blood through generations, which constitutes an inalienable right to exist on this particular piece of land for all eternity. Essentially, this argument can be presented as two fundamental concepts: (1) historical ties, and (2) exclusivity by blood. I will first address the concept of historical ties. According to the Old Testament, the United Kingdom of Israel was established in 1020 BCE with Saul as its first king [2]. While Jewish tribes existed before this time, this is the first Jewish kingdom to be established in this area. It is irrelevant as to whether or not this kingdom actually existed. What is accepted as fact by the Jewish people is that Babylon destroyed and annexed the kingdom of Judah [3]. This began a process that involved the conquering of the Palestine area by several kingdoms with the final state of Israel being conquered by the Romans in 63 BCE. There has been no Jewish state until 1947, when the UN created the modern state of Israel. Israel exists – yes, but the mere fact that it does exist does not imply a right to exist. There is no international law that requires an acknowledgement of a state's right to exist. Either a state exists and is recognized by other states as a sovereign entity with international borders, or a state is not recognized as a sovereign entity under international law [4]. This concept of a right to exist is quite novel. Whether Israel can establish a factual link between the historical past and its present day state is irrelevant if there is no right to exist under international law. A similar example is the Native American population that clearly inhabited North America before the arrival of the Europeans. Shouldn't they then be allowed to reclaim vast portions of North America in the same manner of Israel?
I will now address the concept of Israel's jus sanguinis policy. Israel claims that they are the descendents of the original inhabitants who were promised the Palestinian land by their god. Through this ethnicity and bloodline from the original inhabitants, the Jewish people have an inalienable right to this land. Can this claim even be verified? Is it even possible to verify ones DNA to their ancient ancestors? "Some genetic studies suggest that Jewish populations show substantial non-Jewish admixture and the occurrence of mass conversion of non-Jews to Judaism. In contrast, other research points to considerably greater genetic similarity among Jewish communities with only slight gene flow from their respective host populations [5]. These conflicting scientific studies do prove one thing – there is currently no answer accepted by the scientific community. Using unsubstantiated scientific claims in terms of a bloodline link to previous ancestors amounts to nothing but hearsay.

Before going in depth on these issues, I await my opponent's response to the claims of blood relations and historical ties.

[1] - "Statement to the Knesset by Prime Minister Begin upon the presentation of his government- June 20, 1977", Volumes 4-5: 1977-1979, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affair
[2] - http://www.mfa.gov.il...
[3] 2 Kings 25:22-24
[4] http://www.un.org...
[5] http://www.pnas.org...
Dorb

Pro

INTRODUCTION

If I am not mistaken, my opponent's resolution is that Israel does not have a right to exist. My aim will be to negate this resolution. Because refuting this argument does not mean proving that Israel has a right to exist, that will not be my focus here.

Instead, my argument will focus almost entirely on the theoretical and philosophical foundations of what a "right to exist" actually is, how (if it is even possible) it can be justified or negated, and what the practical (that is, real-life) consequences of these conclusions are for Israel and this debate.

RIGHT TO EXIST

In R1, Con left the concept of a "right to exist" without a clear definition, and I assume he did so because it is such a controversial and undeveloped concept. There have been many important philosophers and public intellectuals who have explored the concept, many who have called it into question, and many others who have made attempts to justify its existence.

My argument is simple. I contend that a "right to exist" is ontologically subjective. This means that the concept itself requires subjective experience to exist. It is not an observer independent category or concept; it is socially constructed.

As a result, it cannot be proven that Israel "does not have the right to exist." This is all I will say for now. In the coming rounds I will elaborate further depending on how my opponent attempts to refute this argument.

I end this round with a quote that drives my point home:

"The fact therefore must be that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a contract with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist" [1].

This is from Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man." What it basically shows, or argues, is that the category of a "right to exist" emerges when people associate with other people and thereby produce a government. It shows how the "right to exist" is ontologically subjective and socially constructed, and as a result, that we can say any government produced by a group of people associating with each other has this "right to exist."

And while the main point here is that my opponent cannot prove that Israel does not have the right to exist, Thomas Paine's quote does suggest that Israel, by the mere fact of its existence, has a right to exist.

[1] http://en.wikisource.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Marcus_Aurelius

Con

In his response, my opponent has introduced the notion of a right to exist as being ontologically subjective. As a result of this subjectivity, Pro concludes that there can be no absolute or concrete answer concerning this subject. I will now address this new concept:

First, the concept of ontological subjectivity is not relevant to this argument. This debate is not focused on the more general topic of "right to exist", but rather the more focused question of whether Israel has a right to exist. Pro's argument is not necessarily wrong, but it is applied in a manner that is inconsistent with this debate's topic. Israel's right to exist is based on religious and historical ties to this particular area (see aforementioned Knesset quotation, which is the position taken by the government of Israel). The question, therefore, must address Israel's historical and religious ties to the land.

Furthermore, Pro's inclusion of the quotation from The Rights of Man is interpreted incorrectly.

"The fact therefore must be that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a contract with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist" [1]

Paines's work describes the process by which a legitimate form of government arises. He argues that only through a contract (social contract) involving citizens does a government have a right to exist, or arise. The legitimacy of Israel's government is not the question at hand and the introduction of The Rights of Man does not address the question of whether a nation has a right to exist based on its religious and/or historical ties to a particular area.

Having addressed Pro's response and clarified this argument, I now await for a response concerning bloodlines and historical ties.

[1] http://en.wikisource.org...
Dorb

Pro

My opponent states, "This debate is not focused on the more general topic of 'right to exist', but rather the more focused question of whether Israel has a right to exist. Pro's argument is not necessarily wrong, but it is applied in a manner that is inconsistent with this debate's topic."

For some reason, my opponent believes that the meaning of a "right to exist" is irrelevant to this debate. But how can this be the case if what we are debating is a particular nation's right to exist. How can we ever know if a country has a right to exist if we do not even understand what it means to have a right to exist?

In fact, in the contention, Israel does not have a right to exist, Israel is the subject and a "right to exist" is the predicate. By claiming that we do not have to look at the concept of a "right to exist" separately from Israel, we are in effect claiming that the predicate is included in the subject. With this logic, my opponent would in effect be defining the word "Israel" as something that "does not have a right to exist." The debate would be over by definition.

This is clearly not the case, and my opponent clearly does not believe this to be the case. As such, we must analyze the concept of a "right to exist" independently of Israel before we can even begin to look at the relation between the two.

Therefore, my argument that a "right to exist" is ontologically subjective is relevant to this debate. By showing this to be the case, I demonstrate that it cannot be proven that Israel does not have the right to exist.

**Furthermore, as a kind of footnote, I'd like to note that a speech given in 1977 can have very little relevance to Israel's right to exist in 2010. Certainly my opponent agrees with me that a country's right to exist is not stable -- that it changes over time. Therefore, making claims about Israel's status in the year 2010 using information from 1977, or really from any time other than from analyzing the current global climate, only shows Israel's status in the past and not as it actually is now. As an example, note that initially the United States was British. Does this mean that the United States currently does not have a right to exist? That it should actually be English? Of course not. A country's status changes over time.
Debate Round No. 2
Marcus_Aurelius

Con

Marcus_Aurelius forfeited this round.
Dorb

Pro

My opponent has forfeited his final round, and has failed to respond to my criticisms. I simply extend my arguments, and ask for the reader's vote. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Yvette 6 years ago
Yvette
Voting based on Con's forfeiture.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Before a challenge is accepted, an "Edit My Debate" box appears to the Instigator where "Accept the Challenge" appears. However, no harm done in starting over. The rewrite is clear and well done.
Posted by Marcus_Aurelius 6 years ago
Marcus_Aurelius
This is the previous debate under a new title. I couldn't figure out how to edit without deleting the entire thread :/
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Yvette 6 years ago
Yvette
Marcus_AureliusDorbTied
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Total points awarded:07