According to the American Jewish Congress (AJC) Executive Director, David Harris, Israel is the only UN member subjected to a relentless chorus of nations and institutions denying its political legitimacy and actions.

With few exceptions, the vast majority of nations recognize Israel. What Mr. Harris fails to understand is that those nations and institutions that do criticize Israel do so based on behavioral standards that are of paramount importance to the preservation of international law. Any country, if left unchecked, risks eroding a global mechanism that strives to maintain stability and security through a balance of power that is based on legitimacy and responsible behavior.

He goes on to claim that “no one would question the right to exist of countries whose legitimacy is more questionable than Israel’s, including those nations that were created by brute force and occupation.” The continuous criticism of Israel is based on the fact that its creation was, in fact, a function of “brute force and occupation,” having expelled over 700,000 Palestinians, and that fifty years later is still ongoing.

In Israeli and Palestinian Voices: A Dialogue with both Sides, I quote Dr. Jeff Halper, Coordinator of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, who calls Israel’s system “a Matrix of Control,” that has created facts on the ground including expropriation of land, construction of hundreds of illegal settlements on confiscated Palestinian land, massive systems of highways for Israeli-use only, control over aquifers, closures, work discrimination, travel permits, restricting movement, displacement, to name but a few of the hardships Palestinians endure on a daily basis. Such conditions remain largely unseen by the outside world and are, therefore, rarely, if ever, covered by the media.  At issue, therefore, is not the political legitimacy of Israel but rather the political legitimacy of its guiding ideology, and by extension, the political legitimacy of a state operating in a racist and oppressive way against others.

Harris also claims that Israel is the only UN member state targeted for annihilation by another member state. Here he refers to Iran and more specifically to a 2005 NY Times article that claimed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” The misquote came from an Israeli enterprise founded by a former Israeli intelligence officer and it wasn’t until 2012 that Dan Meridor, then Israeli Minister of Intelligence, conceded this quote was a common ploy put forth by the Israeli government for propaganda purposes. Ahmadinejad, in fact, expressed the opinion that the Zionist state was an “unnatural creation” and was, therefore, unlikely to survive. While not flattering, it by no means suggested that Israel should be wiped off the map.

According to Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to then Secretary of State Colin Powell, “Zionist influence spreads far beyond Israel’s area of domination and now influences, and oftentimes corrupts, many of the policy makers in the U.S., turning such entities into accomplices in Israel’s abusive policies. This makes it imperative that Israel’s criminality be signed out as a high-priority case for protest and boycott.”

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