Hillel Halkin doesn’t appear to grasp that there is no such thing as a right to “national self-determination,” but at least he sees the hypocrisy of those waving its banner:

[T]he response of the Madrid government to the Basque and Catalonian independence movements is curious. Self-determination for the nationalities of the earth? Of course, claro, bien sur! Just not for our nationalities. Nor, in fact, for most others. The Palestinians, it seems, deserve a state of their own; so, perhaps, do the Kosovan Albanians; so, too, did the inhabitants of East Timor. But what about the Chechens? The Tibetans? The Kurds of Turkey? The Christians of southern Sudan? What about the Tamils of Sri Lanka, the Papuans of Indonesian New Guinea, the Uighurs of China, the Karens of Burma? Each of these peoples has its own culture and language… each has taken up arms in its own cause….Sheer cant, too, is the commonly spouted mantra that Israel’s struggle with the Palestinians is a futile exercise in failure, since wars of “national liberation” are inherently just and can never be defeated. Wars of national liberation have often been defeated, the Tibetans’ doomed uprising against the Chinese and the Kurds’ hopeless battle against the Turks being cases in point. Such wars triumph when political, military, and demographic circumstances are in their favor; they lose when they are not. [Daily Sun, Nov 25, 2003]

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