Tel Aviv, Israel - May 12, 2016: Old Yaffo streets full of tourists.

Column: No Doubt That Cornel West Denies Israel’s Right to Exist

Riddle me this, Cornel West, as they say on Batman.

CNN host Abby Phillip asks you: “Do you believe that the state of Israel should exist?

As an independent presidential candidate, you respond: “We want a situation in which precious Palestinians and precious Jews can live together under conditions of equality.”

What are you telling us? We can interpret this answer in the negative. You oppose the existence of a Jewish state. You have always opposed its existence. Many Israel supporters fervently believe that West joins all of Israel’s critics in opposing the existence of Israel. He wants to destroy Israel. He responds with vague, circular language. He will not give her a straight answer.

Many critics of Israel probably yearn for its destruction, but a great number within a wider sphere likely does not. Let’s abide by what we know for certain. West, an author, political activist and former professor, evades Phillip’s direct question. She gives him two more chances.

West’s second answer: “A Jewish state that is predicated on the domination of others? No, no.”

His strikeout response follows: “I will not support any state, a Jewish state or whatever, that is on the necks of anybody, and in this case Palestinians.”

Phillip confronted West during an interview last Thursday night after he announced the appointment of his running mate, Melina Abdullah, who appeared with him. They both blamed Israel for the war in Gaza and refused to condemn the terror group Hamas, which touched off the war with its Oct. 7 invasion of southern Israel. Maybe they blame Israel for Iran’s massive bombing attack on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

The few news reports of the interview failed to mention West and Abdullah’s refusal to concede Israel’s right to exist. If they will not concede Israel’s right to resist, do they deny it, too? It may be a matter of interpretation, but not for me. Combine their puzzling answers with distortions about related issues, and nothing is left to interpretation.

West and Abdullah revile the very notion of Israel’s existence.

To make my views clear, I am not trying to defend all of Israel’s actions, but overall the Palestinians are wrong. All violence and political shifts in nearly the last 24 years can be traced back to President Clinton’s Camp David summit where the late Yasser Arafat rejected Israel’s plan for an independent Palestinian state and then initiated a Palestinian uprising.

In case of any confusion, I am not endorsing the last six words of this column but rather claiming that this is West and Abdullah’s real attitude.

As the interview with Phillip progresses, West says, “You don’t start with those (Palestinian) voices without coming to terms with the vicious killings and occupations that’s been going on for 75 years and then you get a counterterrorist response to that.”

So Israel has spent the last 75 years as a killer of Palestinians and occupier of their land.

West on a cease-fire: “The IDF is not going to ceasefire just for releasing…They themselves have to stop the bombing. They’re got to (not) keep killing people…It’s the Palestinian lives that are being lost. We’ve got to start there…They (President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer) don’t look at the situation from the vantage point of those who are suffering the most…they’re (the IDF) are terrorizing that they are doing it reaches the point of the crime of genocide…so for me, they have to stop the bombing.”

West is telling us that Israel must take the first step toward a cease-fire even though Hamas started the killing and holds onto more than 100 Israeli hostages. After all, Israel has trampled upon innocent Palestinians for 75 years.

Their take on Hamas’ role: Says West, “Hamas has responsibility, of course…but Hamas is not the culprit at all…It’s the IDF and they’re terrorizing Palestinians.”

Abdullah: “I find it really troubling that we’re constantly asked to condemn Hamas. I’m not a member of Hamas. Why would I be asked to condemn Hamas?”

Why, indeed?

And how Abdullah would rewrite…er, write…history: “This did not begin on October 7th. This began 75 years ago with the Nakba (their term for “catastrophe”). And so, to understand just one piece of what’s happening gives us a complete lack of understanding. So, we have to understand this, yes, as a desperate act. And how do we get to peace is to end the occupation. How do we get to peace is to demand a free Palestine.”

“Palestine” is free, she neglects to clarify. More than one “Palestine,” in fact, as in Palestine, Texas, Palestine, Illinois, and East Palestine, Ohio. Please identify any sovereign “Palestine” that exists in the Middle East. I think readers are capable of parsing her other distortions.

Adds Abdullah: “It’s important that we recognize that there is a distinction to be made between Jewish people and the state of Israel.

Translated: Acceptable for Jews to be part of society, but a Jewish homeland is out of the question.

“This” began more than 75 years ago, by the way, and if we also believe West and Abdullah on the rest of their idea of arguments that Israel has occupied Palestinian land for 75 years, initiated not only the war of 1948 but also the current military clash, can only end it by stopping the bombing, respect Hamas for its defense of the downtrodden and, most especially, Jewish people are distinct from the state of Israel, we can conclude nothing else but:

Israel has no right to exist.

About Bruce Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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