Saturday, 5 February 2011

Divisions Among The Arab Protestors

Alan Dershowitz observes how the world has been so busy condemning Israel for it’s “oppression” of the Palestinians that there have been no protests or calls for boycott against the Arab dictators and their countries’ routine violation of human rights – until now, when the Arabs themselves are starting to protest. Dershowitz points out that “Radical leftists and campus demonstrators, by giving a pass to the worst forms of tyranny, encouraged their perpetuation”, only now deciding to care a bit about people other than the Palestinians.
Whilst the spreading protests in the Middle East are an encouraging sign of Arab citizens’ desire for moderation and democracy, it is also a cause for great concern, particularly in Egypt where extremists are waiting in the wings to seize power.
The danger now is that not all those protestors know what they want, or what democracy even is. If they knew what democracy is, they wouldn’t be saying that they hate Mubarak because he’s “Zionist”, and because they want a leader whose pledge is to destroy Israel. They would say they want to be like Israel. But they’re not saying that.
If this sounds patronizing to those Arabs… I haven’t finished. I only half-blame them for their confused mindset, their primitive antisemitism fuelled by misinterpretation of their own religion, and brainwashing by their leaders. But they wouldn’t be able to keep it up for so long on their own. For that, the leftists in the West are to thank.
With all the turmoil in the region at the moment, many references to Israel are accusatory, calling it the main stumbling block”, and suggesting that the creation of a Palestinian state would solve all the misery of the millions of Arabs ruled under oppressive regimes. And it is these ridiculous accusations that are prolonging the problems in the Middle East. The protestors need to choose, which do they want more? Freedom and democracy? Or the destruction of Israel? At this particular crossroads in Egypt, the two can’t go together and the protestors don’t seem to understand that.
As Dershowitz puts it:
“Unless we restore human rights to its proper role as a neutral and universal standard of human conduct, the kind of tyranny and despotism that stimulated the current protests will continue.”
Instead of promoting the idea that Israel is to blame for all the world’s problems, the pro-democracy protestors need to be encouraged to unite together, rather than divided between those who know what kind of revolution they want and those who are struggling with the incompatibility of their antisemitic beliefs with the idea of a free and democratic society.
Perhaps this would be overcome if, as David Suissa suggests, the Israel bashers would tell the Arab world:
“Why don't you try to emulate the Jews?
Why don't you give equal rights to your women and gays, just like Israel does?
Why don't you give your people the same freedom of speech and freedom to vote that Israel does? And offer them the economic opportunities they would get in Israel? Why don't you treat your Jewish and Christian citizens the same way Israel treats its Arab and Christian citizens?
Why don't you study how Israel has struggled to balance religion with democracy - a very difficult but not insurmountable task?
Why don't you teach your people that Jews are not the sons of dogs but a noble, ancient people with a 3,000-year connection to the land of Israel?”
Maybe once the protestors reform and get rid of their racist prejudices against other religions, then reform might follow in other areas.

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