5 thoughts on “The Legitimacy of the State of Israel from a Libertarian Perspective

  1. Rafi,
    I just listened to the debate with Jeremy Hammond on the Tom Woods podcast. I was hoping to hear a good argument I could use during my discussions with friends and co-workers why I believe that justifies the nation of Israel. Despite coming from a fairly apolitical family, just growing up in the US in the 1970s and 1980s instilled in me that Israel was “the good nation” in the middle east.
    However, Mr. Hammond convinced me otherwise. He offered the more cogent, more logical, the more libertarian argument. Your argument seem more based on emotion and a rather spurious claim that there is no statue of limitations on land ownership for the Jews. Really? They are exempt because they keep a cultural tradition of saying a few prayers and reciting a few stories?

  2. Rafi, I admit that I am somewhat relieved to learn that I am safe to live where I do because, on the one hand, the land stolen from the Indians 200 years ago is, by statute of limitations, rightfully mine (according to Jeremy), or because in my ancestral lineage there is census proof that I am the descendant of a French Canadian and a Chippewa indian (circa 1840). Either way, my bases are covered. 🙂

    I met a man several years ago by the name of Telford Lewis who taught me something about the Middle East pre-1948. He was a teacher at American University in Beirut. He said that there was a polyglot of people living in the general area. A community of Muslims over here, some Jews over there, some Christians next door. They traded with each other and were considerate to each other by generally leaving each other alone. One day, Telford borrowed a surplus Jeep and took his girlfriend on a trip to the Mediterranean, but on the way he ran into streams of people pulling carts and carrying sacks of household goods. Clearly there was a humanitarian disaster in the making, so he turned around and went back to Beirut to make some calls and organize some help. He and his friends contacted a hospital somewhere to the south that said their orderlies had fled and they needed help with the crush of people who the doctors were struggling to treat.

    So Telford and two friends loaded the Jeep high with blankets and headed south, not sure how they would help, but willing to do anything they could to make a difference. In the Jeep was a Christian (Telford), a Muslim, and a Jew. That, he said, is how it was. All that changed after 1948.

    (I always intended to go back to visit with Mr. Lewis, but about 6 months after I met him he passed away. A really interesting, principled, religious man. He was a Quaker).

    I await your understanding of a statute of limitations because I think that is the linchpin of all ethnic claims in all conflicts. Reparations to descendants of African slaves for 400 years of compulsory servitude. American Indian claims to land stolen 200 years ago. Irish claims from 500 years ago. Jewish claims to land expropriated 2000 years ago, Arab claims to lands confiscated 70 years ago. What is an appropriate amount of time to pass before declaring all previous claims null and void? Surely each party can use the argument that there is a cultural connection, but does that have any real bearing on the issue at hand? Many parts of the earth have changed hands many times over, with multiple beneficiaries and multiple victims…just observe the movement of American Indians from one territory to another prior to the white men arriving….how is anyone to make sense of a rightful claim? It seems to me that the claim weakens with each generation, if indeed there is a claim at all after the first generation. (It would be a bizarre argument that a robber who kills his robbery victim is entitled to keep the stolen property because the original owner is no longer alive.) On the other hand, attempting to go back to First Owners to will inevitably result in reasonably disputable historical claims and counterclaims. I hate to say it, but I think the idea of a statute of limitations is a cultural construct that will vary from person to person and culture to culture. In other words, I think that absent a consensus on how long a claim can stand, the righting of past wrongs will inevitably lead to acrimonious conflict.

    I did appreciate that you are not calling for a “Jewish” state in the sense that it is defined by religion, but that you called for a land made up of rightful owners, regardless of religion. I do believe that is the element that is missing from the debate over how to solve the Mid East regional conflict.

  3. Just heard your debate. To me the best thing in it was learning that you were good friends with a top israeli politician and you were teaching him Austrian economics, which is obviously the key to socioeconomic prosperity. I’m sure if the entire world had the kind of economic prosperity us Austrians can easily envision the whole israeli/Palestinian ordeal would be much easier to solve…anyways … Good luck on your continued efforts to spread such vital information

    • Thank you Jorge. I’ve taught him everything I can for the past 6 years. Now it’s up to Israelis to elect him. Follow news on the Zehut party and Feiglin, and pray we get some traction whenever the government falls again.

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