Meir Liberman

Who Needs Recognition?

In recent days there has been a great hullabaloo about the International Olympic Committee’s refusal to recognize the loss of 11 Israeli Olympic players in the Munich Massacre and the BBC’s refusal to note Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; among other objects that slip my mind at the moment. I have never truly understood the outrage, though. Who cares whether there is a formal recognition? Does the European Union’s lack of recognition of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization make it any less so?

Let me back up. There are many who associate the creation of the State of Israel with the United Nations declaring formal recognition of the state. To my mind this has always been a mistake. The State of Israel existed well before the recognition, albeit in a de facto manner. True, the British controlled the area, but the underground forces poised to take over when the British left were already solidifying their roles in trade, arms, and internal bureaucracy. Had there not been the formal recognition by the UN, the state of Israel would still exist today.

You’ll tell me, “Meir, you don’t understand. Without formal recognition, the State of Israel could never exist. We need to make treaties, establish embassies, and have trade relations with other countries. None of that is possible without formal recognition by the world of our existence as a state.”

I will then point you to Somaliland: A state that by all matters of international recognition is not formally a state, yet it is doing far better than its much larger recognized neighbor Somalia. Functionally, Somaliland is far more of a state than Somalia is. The bureaucracy is there, the trade is there, and the arms are there. They just realized they do not need formal recognition to move forward.

Now I’ll return to the points mentioned above. The Olympic Massacre is a great stain on the Olympics, the actions of the Olympic Committee during the time by allowing the games to continue after the members of the Israeli commission were killed even more so, and the refusal to note the loss by holding a moment of silence during the 2012 Olympics is abhorrent. But we don’t need it. The Olympic committee needs it. They have a moral responsibility to make a public show. If they don’t, we should make it for them by having our delegation hold an impromptu moment of silence to show we have the moral integrity they do not have. But again, this isn’t a need for us, it’s a need for them.

As for the BBC’s obvious anti-Israel bias (a bias which I have consistently found to translate into anti-Jew bias), once again we reach a point where we don’t need recognition, they do. Whatever the final status of negotiations, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Nothing can change that.

People can deny reality all they want, but all that matters are the results. As the rest of the world sinks, Israel is still rising. Within the past few hours I personally have found tremendous Israeli achievements in the news: Israel has created a 9 dollar bicycle, won second place in the Junior Achievement – Young Entrepreneurs Europe contest, and has created an app that allows users to use Microsoft Office on their tablets (a huge step, let me tell you).

The amount of Israeli achievements is huge and the list keeps on growing. So let’s swat away the flies and keep moving forward.

About the Author
Meir received a BA in Political Science from Lander College for Men and an MA in Politics and Government from Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He a recent Oleh who loves Israel: faults and all.