The Jewish People And Israel Have No Right To Exist

I was a bit coy in my previous post, Might Be Time To Check Your Premises, and didn't actually come out and explicitly say which premises needed checking. But Constant followed my train of thought well enough in the comment thread that it's worth coming out now and actually saying what needs to be said: The Jewish People And Israel Have No Right To Exist.

That's a pretty extreme thing for anyone to say, and the fact that I am Jewish probably won't shield me from charges of anti-Semitism any more than that tactic worked for Norman Finkelstein or Noam Chomsky, or any other from that shameful cadre of self-hating Jews.

Perhaps what will shield me from the charge is this: I say this not to pick on Jews in particular, but to make a more general point. No human collective has a right to exist, including the collective group comprised of humanity as a whole itself. That means no government has a right to exist, no nation has a right to exist, no ethnicity has a right to exist, no race has a right to exist, and no religion has a right to exist.

The only entities that can legitimately make arguments from self-preservation are individual people, making the argument for their own individual self-preservation, and perhaps for the preservation of their own immediate families. The further you get away from that, the further you get to justifying genocide on the grounds that the existence of my collective alone is the highest value, for which all other values--and thus all other people outside my collective, and even some of the ones within it--may be sacrificed.

Entire cultures may be lost - a tragedy. Religions lost - a tragedy. But neither of these entities have any moral claim to existence that trumps the "liberal and humanitarian values [and] support for human rights."

When races and ethnicities intermingle, there is a risk that eventually, with enough miscegenation, maybe one or more of these distinct groups will be lost forever. (Some people, myself included, would view this as a good thing.) If people, for whatever misguided reasons--perhaps out of some strange commitment to preserving the remnants of the past, because history books and museums just aren't good enough--if some people want to preserve these institutions through voluntary means, by associating only with members of their own race or ethnicity and not associating with outsiders, I say to them: go in peace. I may not approve of your goals, but I won't violently interfere with your methods, for your methods don't violently interfere with mine.

And the same goes, a fortiori, for nations and states, which at best are nothing more than arbitrary lines drawn on maps by long dead (mostly white) men, and at worst--unlike the other kinds of collectives, which can theoretically be maintained without violence--are collectives held together only with the bitter mortar of violence, suffering, and international apartheid.

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How was Isreal re-formed?

I've been meaning to research into how modern day Israel came to exist. Given the amount of unrest that Israel has caused among its neighbors, I suspect that there had to have been a ton of people who were forcefully displaced. I see no other cause for Palestinians or other Middle Easterners to be so pissed off at Israel. Unless of course all of them are crazy fundamentalists.

Nolan, My argument here

Nolan,

My argument here doesn't depend on whether or not the creation of Israel was legitimate. Even if we assume it's creation was legitimate, it still has no right to exist if remaining in existence requires throwing all morality out the window, as the op-ed to which I was responding suggested.

As it happens, I don't think a ton of people were forcefully displaced as a result of its creation. Many were displaced as a result of the defensive wars that followed after its creation. The hostility towards Israel has much more to do with, as you suggested, crazy religious fundamentalism, political scapegoating, jealousy, and sore losership, mostly coming from the surrounding Arab states more than the native Palestinians, who are used as pawns.

Agreed

No collective has rights. Neither does any individual.

How about your premises

I'm probably a minority here, but I think Israel has just as much a right to exist Joe's Pawn Shop. Your conclusion, and other libertarian conclusions like it (taxation is theft, etc.), usually come from assuming the homestead principle along with some other things I find less controversial (correct me if they are coming from something else). We've all seen what I think of that.

I'm a conventionalist when it comes to property.* A cursory glance at the current convention in the geographic region we call Israel shows that the Israeli government does, in fact, have the right to be there. A property right that is. How the Israeli government got this property right is irrelevant so long as according to the current convention, it exists. There could be some detail which disqualifies this property right, but in general, this need not be the case.

btw, should I feel ashamed for using an Objectivist cliche? Micha did it first...

*I did promise to explain myself. I'll get to it in the next week, promise.

edit: to TGGP - I do think Joe's Pawn Shop has a right to exist.

I think Israel has just as

I think Israel has just as much a right to exist Joe's Pawn Shop.

As do I. Well, apart from its status as a state, the Jewish people as a whole and their presence in that part of the world have just as much a right to continue to exist as Joe's Pawn Shop. But then, nobody thinks that Joe's Pawn Shop has an ultimate right to self-preservation that trumps the rights of others to go about their lives peacefully.

usually come from assuming the homestead principle along with some other things I find less controversial

I'm not trying to base my argument on the homesteading principle here; I agree that it has some problems.

Note that my argument here does not depend on whether the State of Israel initially acquired its land legitimately.

Conventional Brutality

How the Israeli government got this property right is irrelevant so long as according to the current convention, it exists.

Should slaves be considered "property" if there is a widespread legal and cultural consensus that they are?

As for Isreal/Palestine, here's this from Wikipedia:

According to United Nations figures, 711,000 Palestinians left Israeli-controlled territory in 1948 and 1949.[24] From his study of the Israeli archives, Benny Morris discovered that the main direct cause of this exodus was military attacks by the Haganah and the IDF. He also confirmed former revelations that after the first truce, the IDF proceeded to massive expulsions of Arabs during operations Dani and Hiram.[25] These conclusions of Morris are now widely accepted among scholars.[26] Morris also concluded the exodus was «made by war, not by design», but there still remains a controversy whether or not there was an official or unofficial policy behind these expulsions and whether this policy was applied as early as April 1948[27] or even December 1947.[28]

"Benny Morris sets the record straight"

In a letter to The Irish Times, Benny Morris sets the record straight:

ISRAEL-HATERS are fond of citing my work in support of their arguments. Let me offer some corrections. In defiance of the will of the international community, as embodied in the UN General Assembly resolution of November 29, 1947, (Palestinian Arabs) launched hostilities against the Jewish community in Palestine in the hope of aborting the emergence of the Jewish state and perhaps destroying that community. But they lost; and one of the results was the displacement of 700,000 of them from their homes.

Most of Palestine's 700,000 "refugees" fled their homes because of the flail of war (and in the expectation that they would shortly return to their homes on the backs of victorious Arab invaders).

There was no Zionist "plan" or blanket policy of evicting the Arab population, or of "ethnic cleansing". Plan Dalet of March 10, 1948, was the master plan of the Haganah - the Jewish military force that became the Israel Defence Forces - to counter the expected pan-Arab assault on the emergent Jewish state. And the invasion of the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq duly occurred, on May 15.

It is true that Plan D gave the regional commanders carte blanche to occupy and garrison or expel and destroy the Arab villages along and behind the front lines and the anticipated Arab armies' invasion routes. And it is also true that midway in the 1948 war the Israeli leaders decided to bar the return of the "refugees" (those "refugees" who had just assaulted the Jewish community), viewing them as a potential fifth column and threat to the Jewish state's existence. I for one cannot fault their fears or logic.

Let me offer some

Let me offer some corrections. In defiance of the will of the international community, as embodied in the UN General Assembly resolution of November 29, 1947, (Palestinian Arabs) launched hostilities against the Jewish community in Palestine in the hope of aborting the emergence of the Jewish state and perhaps destroying that community. But they lost; and one of the results was the displacement of 700,000 of them from their homes.

Stephen Halbrooke (the guy about to give a talk at the Independent Institute on the 2nd Amendment) wrote this in his 1981 paper "The Alienation of a Homeland":

The United Nations Partition Resolution of November 1947 provided for a Jewish state of about 57% of Palestine although Jewish landowner-ship was only about 10% of the proposed state. The gerrymandering plan included 498,000 Jews and 497,000 Arabs within the state.

If this is true, is attempting to abort the emergence of a state in this case not a legitimate pre-emptive strike?

Government owned land

"... although Jewish landowner-ship was only about 10% of the proposed state."

Why use that number if not to deceive? Mormons only own some small percentage of land in Utah yet make up approx. 63% of the population. How is that? Much of the land is state owned. I know the Ottoman empire held much land it the area that fell into British hands. Not sure of exact numbers but this kind of statistic is deceptive.

I thought about that too.

I thought about that too. But the Jewish people did not represent a majority of the population at the dawn of the creation of the state of Israel. This from Halbrooke:

The Census of 1931 revealed an Arab population (Moslems, Christians, Druses, etc.) of 861,200 and a Jewish population of 174,600, i.e., 17%.

I'm quite certain this hadn't changed enough to garner the Jews a majority by 1948. (Not that "majority" really matters for the people at this site, but in this case it has some currency.) But maybe I'm wrong.

The point of quoting that was to note that the proposed state of Israel encompassed hundreds of thousands of people who had not contracted to be part of the newly emerging state. (The realists here say "Well, who does?", and I agree). And certainly nobody here thinks that the Ottoman state was a legitimate contractual partner when third parties - lots and lots of Palestinians - were currently occuping "its" land. Land not purchased from the state or government belonged to absentee landlords, whom we can say with probably great certainty were not legitimate owners in the Lockean sense.

The article by Halbrooke is here: http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/5_4/5_4_2.pdf

I tried to place the image of the UN map showing the land ownership distribution in Palestine at the time, 1947, but couldnt. It's in the above article, p 10.

It's all moot anyway

It's deceptive because it makes 17% look like 10%. One can turn around and say something like Arabs only owned 15% of the land without mentioning Jewish ownership at all any you can see why it's problematic.

Since I think rights are based on reciprocity I don't in fact care about relative proportions of populations in this case, or any other. It's quite apparent from the actions of the non-Jews in the area that they were willing to violate Jewish rights. For instance, by banning them from purchasing land at one point, and terrorizing them. The Jews have show themselves to be much more diligent about respecting the local non-Jewish rights than vice verse. Hell Arabs have more rights in Israel than they have in any of the Muslim countries of the area.

Just so long as Israel respected the land ownership and other rights of those Arabs who respected Jewish rights I don't see a problem with switching from one government to another in this case.

Other side of the story

Here's the other side of the story. Seems to me like the Israelis have bent over backwards to be as fair as possible. At least as much as possible in these cases. Certainly no worse than many other countries that are considered legit.

Whose conventions?

Matt Simpson:

I'm a conventionalist when it comes to property.* A cursory glance at the current convention in the geographic region we call Israel shows that the Israeli government does, in fact, have the right to be there.

Whose conventions show that?

Last I checked, a lot of Palestinians, for example, do not accept the property conventions in question (e.g. they reject the colonialist conventions behind the Mandate and Balfour, accept property conventions that would allow for a right of return after forcible exile from traditionally-held lands, etc.). So what then gives the Israeli government the right to force Palestinians to act according to the boundaries set by its own property conventions, as opposed to the property conventions that they themselves accept?

(Note that you can't answer by appealing either to conventions that allow for that kind of imposition, or to the alleged legitimate authority of the Israeli state to fix property conventions, without crassly begging the question.)

Well I did say a cursory

Well I did say a cursory glance. I defer to you on knowledge about what is actually happening in Israel. If what you say is true, it seems there are two conflicting conventions which each have many supporters (this is one of those details I mentioned above). From my perspective, the best resolution would pick the convention which does the best job of promoting human welfare. Note that this takes into account whether anyone accepts the convention - if no one is willing to abide by the rules, it defeats the purpose of the rules. I suspect that you would then argue because of the dominance this enforceability factor Israel should be disbanded, but that depends on the empirics which I already have demonstrated my ignorance of, so I won't argue one way or the other.

Utilitarian tie-breakers

... the best resolution would pick the convention which does the best job of promoting human welfare

(1) Are you introducing this utilitarian criterion as a second, completely independent criterion for settling normative claims about property in addition to the conventionalist criterion, or (2) is the conventionalist criterion supposed to be derived somehow from the utilitarian criterion, or (3) are they both supposed to be derived from some unstated common premise?

If (3), what's the common premise, and why not describe that as your position on property rather than "conventionalism," since "conventionalism" only describes your position on cases where conventions are substantially settled and uncontroversial?

If (2), why not just save yourself a step and try to settle problems about property title directly using the utilitarian criterion, rather than using a conventionalist criterion that you can't cleanly apply to any substantially controversial case?

If (1), what motivates you to adopt that second criterion as a tie-breaker rather than any other, and what motivates using it only as a tie-breaker? (Presumably a utilitarian criterion could be invoked in cases where there's little disagreement over conventions as well as it can in cases where there's lots. So why not invoke it there?)

I suspect that you would then argue because of the dominance this enforceability factor Israel should be disbanded

Well, no; I'd argue that these kind of conflicts, and the seeming lack of any principled way to settle them within the bounds of conventionalism, jointly demonstrate that conventionalism is inappropriate as a criterion for settling normative claims about property. Actually, I also think that utilitarianism is an inappropriate way of settling those claims, but for other reasons.

En Mass Reply

@ Rad Geek

(1) Are you introducing this utilitarian criterion as a second, completely independent criterion for settling normative claims about property in addition to the conventionalist criterion, or (2) is the conventionalist criterion supposed to be derived somehow from the utilitarian criterion, or (3) are they both supposed to be derived from some unstated common premise?

I don't have time to expand at the moment, but (2) is the closest. I'm not really going for utilitarianism, but it's hard to convey exactly what I mean with a few concise words. It is safe to say that utilitarianism is a crude measure for what I'm looking for, so you can think utilitarianism if you want, at least in these comments..

If (2), why not just save yourself a step and try to settle problems about property title directly using the utilitarian criterion, rather than using a conventionalist criterion that you can't cleanly apply to any substantially controversial case?

Since I think property rights are a matter of convention, the only way to settle who has the title by appealing to the convention. Whether someone should have the title is a separate question which may or may not have anything to do with any existing conventions. The utilitarian criterion can't settle questions of who owns what, but it can settle questions of what system of ownership should be used (i.e. who should own what).

Well, no; I'd argue that these kind of conflicts, and the seeming lack of any principled way to settle them within the bounds of conventionalism, jointly demonstrate that conventionalism is inappropriate as a criterion for settling normative claims about property.

I'm essentially reiterating from my last paragraph, but the convention can only tell you whether someone has a right or not. Whether it is normatively binding is a separate question and requires something besides pure convention to settle.

Let me ask you a slightly different question, if we are picking between the two conventions here, does one seem to be a clear cut winner in terms of human welfare? I'm sure there are more options as well, but they're probably much harder to enforce.

@Dain

Should slaves be considered "property" if there is a widespread legal and cultural consensus that they are?

As a matter of fact, they are property according to that legal and cultural consensus. The property right exists. Whether it is normatively binding is a separate question.

@Micha

I originally interpreted 'right to exist' as 'right not to be attacked' rather than the more literal 'right to exist indefinitely' which you seem to be using. If this is what you mean, we are in agreement though perhaps for different reasons.

edit: just to be explicit for everyone just in case they miss it, I am using a different concept of a "right" than just about everyone else here which has no necessary normative content.

Yes, we are in agreement; by

Yes, we are in agreement; by "right to exist" I was referring to an ultimate "right to exist indefinitely" that trumps all other concerns, which is how the author of the op-ed to which I was responding was using the term.

"Right to exist indefinitely" doesn't help

Claiming you were refering to the "Right to exist indefinitely" doesn't help here because it renders your entire article moot. No individual has a "right to exist indefinately" either, nor even a right to exist for a set finite period of time. I can't, as an individual, steal your food just because I'm starving based on some "right to exist".

I do think starving people can take food they don't own but on a different basis.

Islam first.

Jews have no right to exist as a collective entity? Fair enough. I agree. But some collectives are more dangerous than others. Before dismantling Israel, we need to first dismantle Dar al Islam.

Dismantle Dar al Islam

Israel is a state. Judaism as a religion and Jews as an ethnic group (or groups) predated it and will continue to exist if it does not. Contrary to the hopes of al Qaeda and their well-wishers, there is no caliphate, unless you count the Turkish parliament.

I would most certainly not

I would most certainly not count the Turkish Parliament. Turkey is one of the most forcefully secular states in the region. Columbia University's Ahmet Kuru has this to say:

The AK Party defends what I call passive secularism, which requires the state to play a passive role in the public sphere to accommodate the public visibility of religion. The United States, at this specific point, seems to be a model for the AK Party. The Kemalists, on the other hand, defend the dominant assertive secularism in Turkey, which asks the state to play an assertive role to exclude religion from the public sphere and confine it to the private life. In a 1997 decision, the Turkish Constitutional Court stresses that secularism does not mean separation of religion and the state, but it implies “separation of religion and worldly affairs, [such as] social life, education, family, economy, law, manners, dress codes, etc.” This is an extreme version of assertive secularism, even more radical than the dominant understanding of secularism in France.

Just to clear things up

I don't consider the Turkish parliament to be caliph. They barely even rule Turkey, with the military clearly wearing the pants there. I mentioned them because when the caliphate was abolished its powers were transferred to them.

Micha you didn't support

Micha you didn't support your position. Why exactly don't Jews have a right to exist? Seems to me your arguments apply to anarchists to.

"No human collective has a right to exist, including the collective group comprised of humanity as a whole itself. That means no government has a right to exist, no nation has a right to exist, no ethnicity has a right to exist, no race has a right to exist, and no religion has a right to exist."

WTF does this mean? No one has a right to exist? So do you plan to act on this belief and start killing people?

Don't complain about me misinterpreting. You went out of your way to be provocative. You're the one who said humanity doesn't have the right to exist. What can that mean other than that you believe it's dandy to exterminate them en mass or one at a time.

It could mean exactly what I

It could mean exactly what I said it means: the only entities that can legitimately make arguments from self-preservation are individual people, not collectives. Of course that doesn't mean you can start killing people; that would violate individual rights.

Actually it still sounds crazy

But you said it in a way that naturally leads one to believe you are talking about the group not as an organization but as a collection of things. Humanity doesn't even exist as an organization or "a collective" as such but only as a collection of individuals. So when you are talking about a collection it can only have one meaning. Since you used that as an analogy to further express your beliefs it sounds like you mean that "all items in the collection share a property of not having the right to exist". Hell your title screams that out.

There are no "collectives" called "The Jewish people" or "Humanity" as these only exist as collections of items, also known as sets. I have an inkling of what you are trying to communicate but it's not something you can stretch to "humanity" or "the Jewish people". There really is only one way to take that, and it's wrong.

You also said:

"That means no government has a right to exist, no nation has a right to exist, no ethnicity has a right to exist, no race has a right to exist, and no religion has a right to exist."

The same goes for ethnicity, race, and religion.

As for some of these other types of collectives. Well those collectives have a "right to exist" in a different way based purely on individual rights to free association, or freedom to conscious. The existence of a religion depends on people choosing to become or remain of that religion. Since it's meaningless to say the religion has no right to exist the sentence must mean the people have no right to freely choose that religion.

I don't even know how to charitably interpret the statement "a race doesn't have a right to exist". If someone said "Blacks don't have a right to exist" I can't think of any way to take that than an advocation of genocide. Doesn't really matter what the original speaker meant either. If Jesus or Mohammad had said this then racists of the associated religions would be repeating it with the genocide meaning.

Which is exactly why Islam has a problem. It's most sacred religious texts make calls to genocide in a way that can be applied to peoples that are currently in existence.

BTW, all collectives have a right to exist in-so-far as they are not organized with criminal intent.

The category is no the same as the items it contains.

Brian,

You are conflating the category (race, religion, etc) and the people in that category.

As Micha said, every individual has rights. These rights usually define the relationship between individuals and the states (see the Bill of Rights for an example). Collectivities do not have rights as such. To take race, the most controversial example. There is no imperative toward the maintenance of blackness. If over time racial constructions ceased to function the way they do now, and people stopped identifying, or being identified, as black, there would be no imperative to resurrect blackness. This does not mean that black individuals do not have a right to exist, of course they do. That right, however, is predicated on their status as individual human beings, not as black people.

Similarly, Jews as individuals have a right to exist (just like all individuals). The collectivity of the Jewish people, however, exists as a social construct, providing meaning but lacking in ontological status. Unlike Micha I would argue that there are many reasons why Jewish culture and religion are good things. Their goodness, however, lies in the way they provide frameworks for meaning. Thus, they do not have inherent value, only instrumental value. They do not deserve preservation at all costs. There is no right to preserve Jewish culture or the vapid complex we call "the Jewish people." (see here for a description of the vacuousness of the concept of Jewish peoplehood).

Israel defends individual Jews

When I think of the defense of Israel and when I think of the defense of "the Jewish people", in part I think of it as the defense of the integrity of an ethnicity, and as pointed out, this integrity has no separate moral standing. However, in part I think of the defense of "the Jewish people" as the defense of individual Jews (en masse). After all, one way to destroy "the Jewish people" is for the Jews to stop thinking of themselves as Jews, for them to discard their religion, and so on. But another way to destroy "the Jewish people" is to exterminate them one by one, with bullets or gas. The history of the 20th century tends to shift the meaning in the latter direction.

So even pronouncements such as the one that Micha is criticizing here, I don't entirely take one way. I take them two ways - as referring to the integrity of an ethnicity considered for its own sake, but also as referring to individual people referred to in the plural. Moreover, both the state of Israel and the ethnicity of the Jews serve to protect their existence (not necessarily on balance, but whatever enemies an ethnicity may attract, the shared culture is a tool that people use to support their existence - a kind of non-universal "civilization" to which individuals can turn).

Meanwhile, in the United States Constitution, "the people" is meant to refer to individual people, plurally.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

I understand that "the people" is taken by some to refer to an entity distinct from the individuals who make it up - especially when interpreting the second amendment. However, to the best of my knowledge, the best scholarship recognizes that this is a misreading.

Unlike Micha I would argue

Unlike Micha I would argue that there are many reasons why Jewish culture and religion are good things.

Just to be clear, I don't deny that Jewish culture and religion - like many cultures and religions - have some instrumental value. Though I'd say on net the costs are greater than the benefits, at least without a great deal of picking and choosing.

"You are conflating the

"You are conflating the category (race, religion, etc) and the people in that category."

Not at all. Collectives and collections are different things. Jews is a category and not a collective. The sentence "Kill the Jews" means "Kill all the individual Jews". If someone says "Jews are subhuman so let's kill them" it's not a statement about some abstract category. It refers to the individual members that belong to the category.

In order to speak about the category requires additional words. One could say that "Jewishness" has no rights, or "The category Jew has no rights" but that's not what was actually said.

He didn't provide any additional words to indicate he was talking about the class as a meta-concept. Using the word directly means the individual items that make up the set. "Dogs have fur" doesn't mean that the concept "dog" is covered in fur. It means that all the individual members of the category have fur.

He said that the Jewish people have no rights. That is just plain wrong. The Jewish people do have rights.

He's miscommunicating.

But you said it in a way

But you said it in a way that naturally leads one to believe you are talking about the group not as an organization but as a collection of things.

Well, I'm sorry you got that impression; I tried to be as clear as possible that I am talking about "the group not as an organization but as a collection of things." For example, when I wrote "The further you get away from that, the further you get to justifying genocide on the grounds that the existence of my collective alone is the highest value, for which all other values--and thus all other people outside my collective, and even some of the ones within it--may be sacrificed." The implication here is that if one is sacrificing some of the constituent parts for the preservation of the collection, one is more concerned with the collection as a whole than with the constituent parts.

Humanity doesn't even exist as an organization or "a collective" as such but only as a collection of individuals.

Not true. Humanity as a whole is just as much of a collective as individual races, ethnicities, etc. For example, when the last human dies out, there can be no more humans (absent future technologies like cloning), just as when the last member of a race or ethnicity dies out, there can be no more of that group. And this sort of collective death can happen without the violation of any individual rights; for example, if people within that collective just decide to stop procreating at replacement level. That is their individual decision to make, and the self-preservation of the group is not a trump card to be used to force them to procreate.

Since you used that as an analogy to further express your beliefs it sounds like you mean that "all items in the collection share a property of not having the right to exist". Hell your title screams that out.

Again, if you've been following the context of the conversation, I'm not sure how you got this impression. The existence of Israel or the existence of the Jewish people does not depend on the existence of "all items in the collection." This simply does not follow. Even the author to whom I was responding admits as much when he writes,

"Clear external and internal dangers threaten the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state. It is very likely that the collapse of Israel or the loss of its Jewish nature would undermine the existence of the Jewish people as a whole. And even given the existence of a Jewish state, less clear but no less fateful dangers threaten the long-term sustainable existence of the Diaspora."

The implication here is that if Israel as a Jewish state or "the Jewish people as a whole" ceased to exist, individual Jews and individual Israelis might continue to exist, but the collectives to which they were previously associated would not.

The existence of a religion depends on people choosing to become or remain of that religion. Since it's meaningless to say the religion has no right to exist the sentence must mean the people have no right to freely choose that religion.

Again, this is a gross misreading of my argument. To say that a religion has no right to exist is not to say that individual people have no right to freely choose that religion. Rather, it is to say that the religion itself has no rights above and beyond the rights of the individuals who constitute it.

BTW, all collectives have a right to exist in-so-far as they are not organized with criminal intent.

So you would agree with Yehezkel Dror that "the imperatives of existence [of the collectives Israel and the Jewish people] should be given priority over other concerns — however important they may be — including liberal and humanitarian values, support for human rights and democratization"? That these collectives can make the same sort of appeal to self-preservation at any cost that individuals can make?

I don't see how you don't see

"Humanity as a whole is just as much of a collective as individual races, ethnicities, etc."

I am using defintion 2) from American Heritage dictionary.

2. Of, relating to, characteristic of, or made by a number of people acting as a group: a collective decision.

Humanity, as such, doesn't "act as a group". Sure it's a collective by definition 1) which essentially means "a set". I wasn't referring to that definition.

The term "Jews" and "Jewish People" are sets, not collectives, as in, those acting as a group. When you use an sentence to refer to a set the way you did it is meant to apply to the members of the set.

Saying "The Jewish people have no rights" is like saying "The Invertibrates have no spines". The latter does not mean the collective has no spine. It means the individual invertibrate animals have no spines (or said without the plural "each individual invertibrate animal has no spine").

Using your way one could also say "The vertibrates have no spines". Does that make sense to you? It shouldn't. One could argue that one meant that the set of "Vertibrates" as a whole doesn't have a spine but then the question is "why did you use the plural spines".

"Again, if you've been following the context of the conversation, I'm not sure how you got this impression."

What I'm saying is that your article was muddled because of your misuse of language. Just try going down to a black neighborhood and screaming out "The Blacks Have No Right To Exist" and see how much people care about any of your attempts to clarify. I frankly don't see why you can't see what I'm talking about.

Your attempts to clarify in the article are useless because the point you are making is obvious and thus needs no article. No individual, group, club, race, fetus, animal or inanimate object has a "right to exist" in the sense you used it. So why bother making the claim specificially about Jews.

It then becomes about pointing out a negative characteristic of one group that is true of all groups. You are not going to win points for saying "Blacks are lazy" but then clarifying that "well I mean some blacks are lazy like some whites".

Why point out in a title that "Jews and Israel" don't have rights when the same can be said of "Arabs and Mecca"? Sounds like you have anti-semitic motivations. Just like saying "Blacks are lazy" sounds racist.

I'm just pointing this out for your own good. You seem to be making all sorts of false claims. Like the claim that individuals have this "right to exist" that Jewish people don't have. Well that's not true either, unless you equivocate to a different meaning of the phrase, which you seem to do.

Humanity, as such, doesn't

Humanity, as such, doesn't "act as a group". Sure it's a collective by definition 1) which essentially means "a set". I wasn't referring to that definition.

Ok, and I was. Arguing over definitions doesn't interest me. I think my post was perfectly clear; any ambiguities would certainly be cleared up by reading the previous post in the series and the op-ed to which I was responding.

I'm sorry you misread me.

Your attempts to clarify in the article are useless because the point you are making is obvious and thus needs no article. No individual, group, club, race, fetus, animal or inanimate object has a "right to exist" in the sense you used it. So why bother making the claim specificially about Jews.

So you clearly did not read the preceding post and the op-ed. Well that explains why you are having such difficulty with this post when read in isolation. Go read the previous post and the op-ed and you will see why the point I am making is not at all obvious to many, and why I am making this claim specifically about Jews.

It then becomes about pointing out a negative characteristic of one group that is true of all groups. You are not going to win points for saying "Blacks are lazy" but then clarifying that "well I mean some blacks are lazy like some whites".

But I didn't point out a negative characteristic of one group. Nor did I restrict my criticism to one group. I explicitly said that I was speaking about many kinds of groups in general.

No one has a "right" to

No one has a "right" to exist. You have a right to be the sole master of your own existence, that's about it. Self-preservation for individual does not justify theft for example. It can make it understandable, predictable, but it does not make it just.

Arthur, Whether or not you

Arthur,

Whether or not you want to consider it just or unjust, would you agree that the self-preservation for an individual is understandable and predictable in a way that the self-preservation for a collective is not? Do you have the same or different levels of sympathy for these two kinds of self-preservation?

Maybe it is, but it's not

Maybe it is, but it's not worth singling out groups as having no right to exist since :
a) groups don't have any rights anyway
b) no one has a right to exist

Where my sympathy lies depends on the situation.
For example, I believe humanity as a group may be worth preserving. While I find an coercive opposition to the ownership of human race wiping engineered virus, if people engaged in such coercion arguing from self-preservation of humanity, I wouldn't feel very antipathetic towards them.
If a man dying of contagious disease decides that the best way to survive is to infect as much people as possible in the world to raise demand for a cure and starts doing so, I would be much more hostile to him than to the members of the first group.

In other cases I might be more understanding of individual self-preservation than group self-preservation. It depends.

Self preservation: Group vs. Individual

Depends on the individual and the group.

Why don't you get self preservation at the group level? Individuals are just collectives in the first place. Collectives of cells.

I understand why self preservation operates more strongly in the case of some collectives than others but I don't see why you think there is a categorical difference. Why should the self preservation of a sea slug count for more than that of a colonial polyp? Just because the cells in the slug share identical genes whereas the colonial polyp doesn't? Both potentially die if enough individual cells of each die due to specialization.

If we killed off all the farmers in a country it's likely many of the other individuals that make up the collective will also die. Since we are specialized that is probably true of several other professions or groups of professions. Why shouldn't the rest of the individuals in the collective be concerned?

Many corporations have rules about how many top executives can fly on the same plane for similar reasons. This too is all about "self preservation" as applied to a group, the corporation.

Why don't you get self

Why don't you get self preservation at the group level? Individuals are just collectives in the first place. Collectives of cells.

Because cells aren't the moral unit of concern; people are. Cells don't experience pain, pleasure, have hopes and dreams, make plans for the future, sympathize with others, and have all the same qualities we value in individual persons.