The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
9 Points

Should we use the term "right to exist" when referring to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/27/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 564 times Debate No: 59625
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)




Many people who oppose the existence of the state of Israel claim that it has no "right to exist". I argue that this term means nothing because countries do not need a right to exist in order to exist.

Many countries such as Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Canada, and the USA have only become the countries they are today after hundreds of years of armed conflict with the Natives. Using the same definition of the term "right to exist" that is used in the Israeli conflict, one could argue that these countries do not have a right to exist because of the violence necessary to set up these nations.

On May 14th 1948, the land that was mandated to be known as palestine was declared to now be the land of Israel. While the land was stolen from the palestinians, this action no way infringes Israels legitimacy as a state.

As can be found on, 150,000 Carthaginians died in the siege of Carthage, which is also known as "the first genocide". While this is horrible, I've never heard anybody deny that Rome had the "right to exist" after committing such an atrocity.

I believe that people who deny Israel its right to exist don't want to admit that what is happening in Gaza has happened before, and on much larger scales.


Welcome Con to this debate and the Burden of Proof (BoP) is on Pro to prove the term “right to exist” is proper, and therefore, this term can be used for Israeli and Palestinian, where Con disagrees. Pro is looking forward for a learning experience with Con in a constructive exchange of ideas.

We may blame Thomas Jefferson, who discovered Unalienable Rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” for the terms “Right to Life” or “right to exist.” These Rights were a discovery, not man-made.

A little history. Just after the Big Bang, the Second Law of Thermodynamics became the evolutionary engine throughout the universe. At the macro level, Constructal Law is an outgrowth of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, explains how everything that moves or flows, whether animate or inanimate, naturally evolve in ways that facilitates such movement.

Relative to the Constructal Law for the animate, once alive, the evolution in ways to facilitate movement, is dependent for all “Life” to have the freedom (“Liberty”) in the pursuit of survival (positive-feedback); otherwise, there is no life. Positive-feedback for humans, can be summarized to include the emotion of “Happiness,” in addition, survival is a prerequisite for “Happiness.” The primeval working function of life having the freedom in the pursuit of survival, is the foundation to the Natural Selection Process. Unbeknownst to Jefferson, he discovered, not developed, this primeval working function, and he claimed a polished version within the scope of humanity, giving it the label of Unalienable Rights as in “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

A human is made up of a hierarchy of living-cells, organs, etc., resulting in the configuration of a person who has a “Right to Life,” in other words, the “right to exist.” Also, all those cells and organs have a “right to exist;” otherwise, there will be no person. Like the hierarchy of life makes a person, the hierarchy of persons gives life to a group.

For example, when two or more humans form a group, the group becomes alive as a separate entity with its own Unalienable Rights. The pursuit of group Happiness through goodwill and kindness leads to a mutual moral respect for the Unalienable Rights of all the members within the group. Goodwill is a conservative force that promotes order, stability, and harmony through the pursuit of group-wide positive feedback. Over time, group-wide positive feedback is the genesis of traditions, values, beliefs, language, etc., the norms of society. These norms are tried and tested, and conservatively pass down from one generation to the next establishing its culture. A moral order guides an individual in the prudent exercise of judgment relative to those norms. The individual in a civil society strives, albeit imperfectly, to be virtuous; that is, restrained, ethical, and honorable, respecting and embracing the Unalienable Rights of others relative to those tested norms.

The wide range of independently developed cultures, throughout the ages, across isolated human tribes empirically supports the Unalienable Rights of these cultures having the “right to exist”

Israeli and Palestinian, both have the “right to exist,” but too bad their cultures, history, and location are in conflict with each other. They both have the Right to “Life, and the freedom (“Liberty”) in the pursuit of survival (positive-feedback). How they struggle for their “right to exist,” in the shadow of their relationship, is in their hands. Regrettably, extinction is part of evolution, as in the example Con gave with the “Carthaginians.”

In summary, the term “right to exist” is proper when referring to any set of groups that may or may not be in conflict.
Debate Round No. 1


Just to clarify, I'd like to open round two by reminding the audience of this debate that Thomas Jefferson's "Unalienable rights" of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, were a substitution of 18th century philosopher John Locke's unalienable rights of "life, liberty, and property". (

Therefore Thomas Jefferson did not discover, as much as improve on this idea, much the same as how Thomas Edison did not discover how to make a light bulb, he merely improved on existing ideas. (

At the end of your brief history of the universe, you state that "[t]he individual in a civil society strives, albeit imperfectly, to be virtuous; that is, restrained, ethical, and honorable, respecting and embracing the Unalienable Rights of others relative to those tested norms." I believe that this is the hamartia in your argument. You claim that in order for a society to exist, the individuals must strive to be ethical, honorable, and to embrace the unalienable rights of those in the society. The reason that this is your hamartia, is because under the rule of Hamas, Palestine is not doing any of these. Hamas uses civilians to shield rocket launch sites, and military bases. Instructing your countrymen to be in close proximity with death is not ethical nor honorable, nor does respect the unalienable right to life. (

In your argument you stated that "... across isolated human tribes empirically supports the Unalienable Rights of these cultures having the 'right to exist.'" In making this statement you also make the argument that unalienable rights are directly correlated with the "right to exist".

As a result of this information I make the case that Palestine cannot claim a right to exist because they break the contract of unalienable rights.

Now on to Israel. The nation is constantly being attacked by Palestine for many reasons. One of these reasons being that they took the land from Palestine when the UN declared the land should go to Jews after the horrific actions of Nazi Germany.

Due to the fact that Israel has not done everything possible to ensure the safety of it's citizens, I can safely make the observation that they have violated the "life" portion of Thomas Jefferson's famous line in the Declaration of Independence.

This can also be found outside of the conflict in question. As a I asserted in round one, countries do not need a right to exist in order to exist. I will vindicate this claim with a few examples. Let us take a trip back in time to Nazi Germany. Within the 12 years that the Nazi's came to power, and their ultimate demise, 6 million Jews were wiped off the face of the earth, 1.5 million being children. This was probably the largest genocide in the history of the world. (

My point here is that the Nazi's broke all three of the unalienable rights.

During the exact same time period, the United States of America relocated 120,000 Japanese Americans into internment camps. The so called "land of the free", home to Thomas Jefferson, took away the liberty from these American citizens. (

On another note, I'm not too keen on listening to a slave holder (Thomas Jefferson) talk about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In summary, your claim that the "right to exist" is correlated with a nation allowing its citizens to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is incorrect because very many, if not all nations have committed some sort of atrocity towards it's own civilians.


On that note of “clarification,” the audience should also be aware of the historical discovery of Unalienable Rights. John Locke did covered the concept of "life, liberty, and property." Jefferson study those of the Enlightenment and with a library of 6000 books, one could rest assure the well-read Jefferson would have study the scholars of past ages and possibly included Democritus.

The discovery of Unalienable Rights, through recorded history, started as early as Democritus 460BC where he stated:

Freedom from disturbance is the condition that causes human happiness, and this is the ethical goal.”

Throughout the ages from the scholars of Democritus to Thomas Jefferson there were many similarities in metaphysics during the discovery of our Unalienable Rights to the celebrated form of: “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” (Jefferson). Unlike Locke, Jefferson and Democritus mentioned the dynamics pertaining to the primeval working function of life relative to “the condition that causes” (Democritus), or “the pursuit of” (Jefferson) during the effort of positive-feedback (“Happiness”). Locke only mentioned “property” leaving out the dynamics or forces in nature acquiring the objective. “Property” is a manifestation of life in the form of physical existence and territory of occupation. In any event, today Jefferson's discovery of Unalienable Rights has made the transition from metaphysics to the scientific stage (Takac).

Con made a good point, covering of the relationship of Hamas to the society of Palestinians, the relationship of the Nazis to the society of Germans, and Pro will add to this list, covering the relationship of Washington DC to the society of Americans.

What Hamas, Nazis, and DC have in common, they are institutions of governance. What the Palestinians, Germans, and the Americans have in common, they are civil societies. Ideally, the institution of governance protects the civil society's “right to exist” by embracing and protecting the individual's Unalienable Rights from the crimes of others, from the crimes of government, and defense from foreign forces.

Unfortunately, not all institutions of governance follows the ideal mantra due to not having an understanding of Unalienable Rights. Historically, the mode of governance includes conquest to assert their “right to exist,” by accumulating wealth from the spoils of the conquered. The norms of the conquered society do not change overnight because social norms are Conservative by nature. Often the foreign occupiers or when an institution of governance becomes tyrannical, the local civil society will rise up in revolution or conflict to preserve their “right to exist.” And there is no reason why the struggle between institutions of governance and civil societies will ever end. In other words, institutions of governance come and go while the society continues.

Take for example, the history of the USSR over the last century. The institution of governance was in a constant mode of conquest of spreading Communism, not only globally but by tyrannically going against the Unalienable Rights of its citizens, and in the end, the USSR is now history (, however, the society of Russians still remains.

All social groups, including institutions of governance, have a “right to exist” by the fact that all entities have Unalienable Rights (

Over 200-years ago, a civil society decided to try something new by the design of the US Constitution giving an institution the “right to exist” by restricting it to embrace and protect the individual's Unalienable Rights from the crimes of others and from the crimes of government, no more, no less. The state governments did all the rest where they compete with each other for the best and brightest.

Con made reference to the “slave holder” Jefferson, but failed to consider the Conservative nature of cultural norms.

For example, having the mission to embrace and protect everyone's Unalienable Rights, the US started with a difficult task relative to the cultural reality of the day. Cultural norms do not change overnight, because they are inherently Conservative. Slavery and woman's standing in society were deeply rooted in the culture, including the norms of the ruling-class, for they too reflect the culture of the day. Our founding Fathers knew Unalienable Rights will remove cultural ills, as a result, slavery, the treatment of woman, and today's treatment of gays, etc, in time during the Conservative evolution of culture as a function of our Unalienable Rights and the design of Congress, representing the people, and the only branch to make law correcting such cultural ills.

Life's Unalienable Rights are the evolution engine of life (Takac). These Rights are also the engine for social evolution, if, and only if, the configuration of governance supports such natural engine at the social level. The US Founding Fathers develop a configuration of government supporting evolution before Darwin came on the stage.

This form of governance sparked a social experiment within a short period of 200-years, changed the world like no other society in recorded history, through the fruits of technology, food production, and medicine, the stables of human existence throughout the world today. A compelling example of what happens when our Unalienable Rights are free to operate within the awesome machinery of nature.

Con made reference to, “they break the contract of unalienable rights.” Unalienable Rights is not a “contract” but a representation of some primeval working function, like a bio-program, where once a living-system comes into existence (“right to exist”), it has the natural bias where all “Life” has a craving to grow, to sustain itself, etc., with the desire to increase freedom (“Liberty”), while decreasing the energy in “the pursuit of” an objective, and in the process, exploring new levels of positive-feedback (“Happiness” for us humans). Again this is the foundation to the Natural Selection Process; the machinery of evolution for life, social systems, technology, markets, etc.

Since the institution of governance has Unalienable Rights, it too maintains those natural biases found in all living-systems. Throughout history, over time the growth of governmental institutions generally morph into tyranny and plunder going against the individual's Unalienable Rights. There comes a point where the populous will rise up to make changes or abolish the institution.

The point is, all life, social groups, institution of governance, corporations, etc., throughout the living universe, these entities have Unalienable Rights, and therefore, they have the Right to Life, the “right to exist.” That includes, “Israel and Palestine.”
Debate Round No. 2


I'm just leaving this here because I don't want to forfeit a round. Check the comments.


Thank you Con for those kind words in your comment. I find a constructive debate a learning experience that is more important than victory, more informative and memorable than a class lecture, better feedback than a test, the foundation to the scientific method, last but not least, the evolution of ideas. You do not find those dynamics in a static text book, where the text book are results from past debates and used as references or building blocks in future debates. And in saying that, I look forward to meeting Con again on the debating floor.

In closing, I wish Con a long and healthy “Life” having ample “Liberty” (aka money), in the moral pursuit of “Happiness.”
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by SocialistAtheistNutjob 2 years ago
@Mike_10-4 I tried and I tried, but no matter what I thought of, I couldn't come up with a solid final argument to contradict yours. You've swayed my opinion and I would like to congratulate you. This was a great first debate for me.
Posted by The_Immortal_Emris 2 years ago
Good debate so far.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: con's lack of a round makes him unable to respond to pro's arguments
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession by Con.