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Andrew Levine Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies: The "Existential Threat"

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ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 01:25 AM
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Andrew Levine Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies: The "Existential Threat"
"Existential threat" recently entered the political lexicon, courtesy of Israeli paranoia. The expression sounds portentous, but all it seems to mean is that someone's or something's existence is in jeopardy. If so, the world is full of existential threats. But the expression is seldom used to refer to any of them except when the threatened party is Israel. Thus Iran's still "aspirational" nuclear weapons program or, sometimes Iran itself are existential threats and so is Palestinian "terrorism." An existential threat makes an excellent casus belli, a justification for war.

It is unclear, however what users of the expression think is threatened: is it the existence of the state of Israel as a state not of its citizens, but of the Jewish people? Or is it the physical existence of the inhabitants of that state? Those who promote the expression relish its ambiguity. It serves their purpose well.
Getting its way means having the latest round of negotiations fail. That is almost certain to happen because there really is an existential threat that America will continue to let Israeli leaders deal with in their own way. The threat has nothing to do with those who resist the Israeli occupation -- "terrorists," according to conventional parlance. It comes from the fertility of Israeli Arabs and the Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation. What they wield is a "demographic bomb," as they call it in Israel, a birth rate that threatens the existence of a Jewish state in mandate Palestine. This is why Israel has not annexed the territories it occupies, and why a "two state" solution is acceptable to many Israelis. It is the only remotely acceptable way to assure that the Jewish state will remain predominantly Jewish.

Israel could tolerate Bantustans under its control, but a viable Palestinian state with which Israel lives in peace would be unacceptable; a point Israel's leaders, left and right, have always understood. It would undercut the state's rationale and therefore, ultimately, its legitimacy. This is why peace has remained elusive, despite the fact that the general contours of a negotiated settlement, acceptable to all who believe in a two state solution, have been clear for decades. The details were spelled out at Taba in January 2001 during the final days of the Clinton administration. In the ensuing years, Israel has created more "facts on the ground" and, thanks in part to Israeli and American connivance, the Palestinian Authority has been severely weakened. But it would not require Solomonic wisdom to bring Taba up to date. Even Hillary Clinton could do it.

More at:

More at the link, but (my very shortened form of it) the "reasoning" is that every or any cultural, ethnic and/or religious group which asks its adherents to group together and seize some land and form their own state (by, for, and of them only) to protect themselves from the other(s) is both irrational and incapable of success. A delusional belief system doomed by the fact that reality exists and matters, and that the triumph of the will was deceptive agitprop.
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Ken Burch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 03:20 AM
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1. Shouldn't "The Existential Threat" refer to the risk
Edited on Fri Sep-10-10 03:24 AM by Ken Burch
that Sartre, Camus and Beckett will suddenly show up in Tel Aviv?
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