Is Israel a legitimate state?
Israel—the only Middle Eastern country that genuinely protects individual freedom—is profoundly legitimate, while the area's many dictatorships and would-be Palestinian state are totally illegitimate.
Myth: Israel is an illegitimate government.
Truth: Israel is the only legitimate government in the Middle East—because unlike its dictatorial neighbors, including the leading Palestinian groups, that are trying to destroy it, it genuinely protects individual freedom.
Israel’s many attackers—from the Arab States in 1948 to Hamas in October 2023—have attempted to undermine Israel’s right to self-defense by claiming Israel is fundamentally illegitimate while they themselves are fundamentally legitimate. This could not be further from the truth.
What makes a government legitimate? Not how long it’s been around or what genetic lineage of people it governs, but whether it protects individual freedom.
Israel, which protects individual freedom for all residents, is profoundly legitimate, while its neighbors are utterly not.
Iran is a full-fledged theocratic dictatorship. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are absolute monarchies. In these places, you die if ever the dictator wishes it. Even in Jordan, lauded as a “freer” Arab State, it is a crime to “insult the king”. These are illegitimate states—not Israel.
In Palestinian Authority-run West Bank, LGBT groups are banned and selling land to Jews is a capital offense. In Gaza, Hamas permits marital rape and uses civilians as shields. These oppressive theocracies—like all Palestinian “governments” for the past 75 years—are illegitimate.
While Arab-Muslim dictatorships repress freedom, Israel is a parliamentary democracy dedicated to protecting freedom. Israel’s Basic Laws guarantee key individual rights such as freedom of speech, religion, and assembly. There is no equivalent in any other Middle Eastern country.
While corrupt Arab-Muslim dictators keep their populations entrenched in poverty, the rights-respecting government of Israel empowers people to create their own success. Israel nurtures a thriving start-up culture, where talented, hardworking individuals can rise from poverty.
In Israel, women enjoy full legal and political equality to men. Israelis even elected a female Prime Minister in 1969. Hamas, by contrast, says a woman’s role is to “manufacture men”, and does not allow women to travel alone or file for divorce, much less hold leadership roles.
In Israel, being gay is not just accepted but openly celebrated—over 250,000 people attend Tel Aviv’s LGBT Pride parade each year. Next door in Gaza, Hamas routinely imprisons, tortures, and even executes people for the “crime” of being gay, which is deemed “moral turpitude.”
Israel protects the rights and freedoms of its 2.1 million Arab citizens, who, contrary to claims of “ethnic cleansing”, outnumber the 1.4 million Arabs who inhabited the region in 1948. In fact, Arabs in Israel are treated far better than Arabs in any Arab-Muslim country.
Israel—a free and prosperous country—has launched wars against zero countries. Yet eleven Arab-Muslim countries have launched wars against Israel. These attacks, which attempt to destroy freedom-loving Israel, are thoroughly anti-freedom and should be unequivocally condemned.
Like the Arab States’ end-Israel crusade, the “Palestinian cause”—contrary to its purported end of “liberation”—amounts to destroying freedom. For any Palestinian state, if created, would undoubtedly join the Arab States in repressing its citizens while attacking Israel.
When the anti-Israel movement tries to persuade free people of Israel’s illegitimacy, it focuses on alleged Israeli failures to protect freedom. This is utterly disingenuous as their favored solution—a Palestinian state in Israel’s place—would undoubtedly violate those standards.
In recent years, Israel’s critics compare it to South African apartheid in the 1940s-90s, which deprived black citizens of freedoms offered to whites. These charges grossly misrepresent reality, and are a smokescreen for those who want to subject Jews to far worse than apartheid.
Myth: Israel is an illegitimate “apartheid” state due to its anti-Arab racism.
Truth: "Apartheid" allegations are a total fraud. Israel protects all its citizens’ freedom better than nearly all governments in history and infinitely better than its neighbors who seek its demise.
By law all Israeli citizens have equal rights, including those self-identifying as “Arab”. Arabs in Israel are free to speak their minds, get educated, innovate, marry whom they choose, escape poverty—to actually live—none of which they can consistently do under Arab governments.
Arab-Israelis are free to run businesses, own property, and serve in the highest reaches of government. Currently, 10 of 120 members of Knesset, Israel’s parliament, are Arab-Israeli. Meanwhile, there are less than 10 Jews in all of Egypt, down from 75,000 in 1948.
In Israel, both Arabs and Jews enjoy vast freedoms that many Westerners take for granted: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, sexuality, and more. In the rest of the Middle East, including Palestinian regions, neither Arabs nor Jews reliably have any of these freedoms.
Israel’s opponents popularize concerns of “racist” Israeli policies that allegedly favor Jewish people over Arab-Muslims. This is clearly ill-motivated, considering the immense racism against Jews that goes on in the neighboring societies they champion at Israel’s expense.
In Saudi Arabia, publicly practicing Judaism is illegal, and government leaders frequently promote and cite fraudulent anti-Semitic texts popularized by Hitler in Mein Kampf. In Iran, Syria, and Gaza, government leaders publicly and officially deny the Holocaust.
Israel has been charged with mistreating West Bank residents, over whom it shares jurisdiction with the Palestinian Authority. However, these critiques totally trivialize the main driver of Israeli policy: that the PA-led West Bank violently clings to an end-Israel agenda.
For decades, Israel has faced constant threats from the West Bank including suicide attacks and organized warfare. Israeli restrictions on residents of this region, e.g,. on travel, are absolutely necessary in order to protect its citizens from people who have tried to kill them.
Recent “apartheid” allegations claim Israel discriminates against Gaza residents. This is absurd, as Israel does not even occupy Gaza. Israel rightfully treats Gazans as subjects of a foreign regime that, especially after Hamas’ election, poses an extremely high threat to Israel.
Israel is under constant attack from Palestinian populations. Still, Palestinian non-citizens of Israeli-occupied zones can pursue justice via Israel’s legal system, with some landmark successes. That these successes are possible is precisely what makes Israel legitimate.
Israel is the sole country in the region to enforce a just legal code, including to try and convict rogue Israelis who commit crimes against Palestinians. By contrast, what passes for “justice” in Palestinian territories is the medieval practice of public lynching with no trial.
Anyone who talks about alleged Israeli bias against some minority group, while ignoring the full-blown racism and anti-freedom of its neighbors, is a fraud and should be dismissed. Critics absurdly call Israel an “apartheid” state, while demanding to replace it with a Nazi state.
Just as Israel’s opponents duplicitously fixate on Israel’s alleged shortcomings today, they do the same with the past—obsessing over or even fabricating missteps of Israel to cast it as illegitimate, while ignoring far worse atrocities of its neighbor-attackers and predecessors.
An honest dive into Israel’s history—far from undermining Israel’s legitimacy—in fact proves that Israel has, for its entire 75-year existence, been by far the most legitimate force in a region dominated by unbridled racism and a hatred of freedom.
Myth: Israel unjustly replaced a country called Palestine, where Palestinians had lived in peace for millennia.
Truth: Israel justly established a pro-freedom government upon the geographic area of “Palestine”, where Arabs and Jews had suffered war and oppression for millenia.
Contrary to the revisionist history of a “peaceful” region, “Palestine” had been plagued by war and conquest for millenia, violently changing hands between empires of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, multiple Caliphates, Mongols, and Ottomans.
Today’s usage of “Palestinian” falsely implies a certain ethnic cohesion pre-Israel. In truth, the term originally denoted all residents of “Palestine”: Christians, Jews, and Arab-Muslims. Since Israel's birth, “Palestinian” has conveniently denoted only the Arab-Muslim subset.
The various people who lived in “Palestine” prior to Israel’s founding had not led very peaceful lives. Many were alive for the Ottoman Empire’s brutal 1915-1918 war in “Palestine”, and all were alive for the 1947 Palestinian Arab-initiated civil war against Palestinian Jews.
When the Ottoman Empire, an Islamic Caliphate, fell in 1918, many of its old provinces repeated history by once again establishing Islamic theocracies, e.g., modern Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Israel, founded upon a portion of geographic “Palestine”, is a salient exception.
After the Holocaust, the British—who had been quasi-governing “Palestine” since WW1—established the state of Israel in 1948. Israel was to serve primarily as a national homeland to protect the safety and freedom of the Jewish people, who faced mass murder for their ethnicity.
In breaking Middle Eastern norms to protect individual freedom, Israel’s founding was absolutely legitimate. A group of people who seek to turn an unfree country or region into a free one—protecting the freedom of new and existing residents, if peaceful—have every right to do so.
Critics argue Israel's founding violated the rights of pre-existing residents. In reality, Israel’s founding protected the rights of the region’s pre-existing residents—whether Jewish, Christian, or Arab Muslim—as long as they were peaceful and didn’t aid Israel’s destruction.
Thanks to Israel, Jewish refugees and Palestinian Arabs alike saw their individual rights protected for the first time by Israeli citizenship. This made Israel far more legitimate than the oppressive regimes it replaced and the oppressive neighbors who attacked it from Day 1.
Myth: Israel’s founding unjustly displaced ~700,000 innocent Palestinians from their home.
Truth: The Arab States’ illegitimate attack upon Israel’s founding, which Israel legitimately defended, caused ~700,000 Palestinians—most complicit in the attack—to desert their property.
The Arab States’ 1948 attack on Israel was motivated by Jew-hatred and a power-hungry lust to expand their oppressive regimes. This was an utterly racist, unjust attack on an infant country that promised to free hundreds of thousands in the region regardless of race or ethnicity.
The anti-Israel narrative says Israel's founding unjustly ousted Palestinian Arabs. In truth, Israel invited these people into their new nation—before many helped the Arab States attack Israel, forfeiting their right to return to property they deserted in aid of Israel’s demise.
The Palestinian Arabs of 1948 are often painted as innocent victims, but in fact, many aided the Arab States’ end-Israel cause, whether by militarily joining the fight, or by exiting at the command of Arab leaders on the promise of more wealth and land once the Jews were killed.
Israel’s critics—who accuse Israel of deliberately expelling Palestinian Arabs, yet fail to condemn the Arab States’ horrid attack—are disingenuous. Israel came in peace before the Arab attack, during which many Palestinian Arabs attempted to expel or exterminate Jews.
Some claim Israel sponsored massacres of Palestinian Arabs in the war. This is false; Israeli leaders condemned the few massacres for which there was any evidence, while the far more numerous massacres of Jews—which Israel’s critics ignore—met no such indictment from Arab rulers.
1948 Israel—a legitimate state on its heels from a vicious attack by destructive forces—was fully justified in defending itself. In fact, Israel’s defense—which consisted of protecting the freedoms and futures of innocent civilians by fighting off invaders—was profoundly moral.
Insofar as Israel barred the re-entry of Palestinian Arabs who aided the Arab States in 1948, they were fully justified in doing so. The Arab attack was grossly illegitimate and Israel had no responsibility towards those who abandoned their property to aid Israel’s destruction.
For the small fraction of Palestinian Arabs who have real claims against Israel, e.g., Israel gratuitously evicted them, the proper path forward is reparations under the civilized Israeli justice system—not Israel’s dissolution and replacement by another Arab-Muslim dictatorship.
Israel’s establishment brought unprecedented liberty to the Middle East, whose residents had known only subjugation for millenia. By contrast, the Arab States’ 1948 invasion was thoroughly evil and eclipses any one-off injustices that Israel committed while fighting for survival.
Not only is Israel absolutely legitimate—unlike the empires it replaced, and unlike its neighboring Arab and Palestinian Arab dictatorships that persist to this day—but Israel is profoundly good for all under its jurisdiction and for anybody in the world who cares about freedom.
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