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  • “Defining Deviancy Down”

    Posted by Jonathan on January 28th, 2003 (All posts by )

    Bret Stephens tells us why the Palestinians are not yet ready for prime time:

    I AM often asked whether I favor an independent Palestinian state. I wish someone would ask me instead whether I favor an independent German one.

    I favor an independent Germany, of course, but not if it’s going to be the Third Reich. I favor an independent Japan, but not the Japan of Tojo. I might even favor the independent state of Tamil Eelam, but not under a psychopath like Prabhakaran.

    In each of these instances, I’d sooner have a benign colonial occupation than a nasty native dictatorship. And the same goes for the Palestinians.

    Today, the international community is having trouble accepting the fact that the problem with Palestinian statehood has nothing to do with its borders, much less with the size of its army or the rights it has to its airspace, its water resources, and so on. It has nothing to do with what Israel does or does not do in its military or diplomatic efforts. The problem, rather, is the nature of the state itself, and principally its moral nature. Is it a respecter of the rights of its citizens? Or of the rights of its neighbors?

    In the Declaration of Independence, America’s founders did more than insist on their inalienable right to self-determination. They also showed they knew what self-determination was for, and, in so doing, that they deserved to have it. Israelis, too, have shown that they deserve the state they fought for and were given.

    By contrast, Palestinians continue to demonstrate, in word, deed and above all in attitude that they have no similar understanding. Until they do so, until they emerge from the moral swamp in which they have put themselves, they ought to remain – along with countless other peoples – stateless.

    Well stated.