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Israel's Never Looked So Good

Israel's Never Looked So Good

Israel bashers could have taken Israel's democratic experiment to the Arab world.

by

They warned us. The geniuses at Peace Now warned us. The brilliant diplomats warned us. The think tanks warned us. Even the Arab dictators warned us. For decades now, they have been warning us that if you want "peace in the Middle East," just fix the Palestinian problem. A recent variation on this theme has been: Just get the Jews to stop building apartments in East Jerusalem and Efrat. Yes, if all those Jews in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would only "freeze" their construction, then, finally, Palestinian leaders might come to the table and peace might break out.

And what would happen if peace would break out between Jews and Palestinians? Would all those furious Arabs now demonstrating on streets across the Middle East feel any better?

What bloody nonsense.

Has there ever been a greater abuse of the English language in international diplomacy than calling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the "Middle East peace process?" As if there were only two countries in the Middle East.

Even if you absolutely believe in the imperative of creating a Palestinian state, you can't tell me that the single-minded and global obsession with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the expense of the enormous ills in the rest of the Middle East hasn't been idiotic, if not criminally negligent.

While tens of millions of Arabs have been suffering for decades from brutal oppression, while writers jailed and women humiliated and dissidents killed, the world -- yes, the world -- has obsessed with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As if Palestinians -- the same coddled victims on whom the world has spent billions and who have rejected one peace offer after another -- were the only victims in the Middle East.

Imagine if Israel bashers had spent a fraction of their energy fighting the lies of Arab dictators and defending the rights of millions of oppressed Arabs.

As if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has anything to do with the 1,000-year-old bloody conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, or the desire of brutal Arab dictators to stay in power, or the desire of Islamist radicals to bring back the Caliphate, or the economic despair of millions, or simply the absence of free speech or basic human rights throughout the Arab world.

While self-righteous Israel bashers have scrutinized every flaw in Israel's democracy -- some waxing hysterical that the Jewish democratic experiment in the world's nastiest neighborhood had turned into an embarrassment -- they kept their big mouths shut about the oppression of millions of Arabs throughout the Middle East.

They cried foul if Israeli Arabs -- who have infinitely more rights and freedoms than any Arabs in the Middle East -- had their rights compromised in any way. But if a poet were jailed in Jordan or a gay man were tortured in Egypt or a woman were stoned in Syria, all we heard was screaming silence.

Think of the ridiculous amount of media ink and diplomatic attention that has been poured onto the Israel-Palestinian conflict over the years, while much of the Arab world was suffering and smoldering, and tell me this is not criminal negligence. Do you ever recall seeing a UN resolution or an international conference in support of Middle Eastern Arabs not named Palestinians?

Of course, now that the Arab volcano has finally erupted, all those chronic Israel bashers have suddenly discovered a new cause: Freedom for the poor oppressed Arabs of the Middle East!

Imagine if, instead of putting Israel under their critical and hypocritical microscope, the world's Israel bashers had taken Israel's imperfect democratic experiment and said to the Arab world: Why don't you try to emulate the Jews?

Why don't you give equal rights to your minorities, just like Israel does?

I've never felt more proud of being a supporter of the Jewish state.

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?

Yes, imagine if Israel bashers had spent a fraction of their energy fighting the lies of Arab dictators and defending the rights of millions of oppressed Arabs.

Maybe it's just easier to beat up on a free and open society like Israel.

Well, now that the cesspool of human oppression in the Arab world has been opened for all to see, how bad is Israel's democracy looking? Don't you wish the Arab world had a modicum of Israel's civil society? Would you still be worrying about "stability in the Middle East?"

You can preach to me all you want about the great Jewish tradition of self-criticism -- which I believe in -- but right now, when I see poor Arab souls being murdered for the simple act of protesting on the street, I've never felt more proud of being a supporter of the Jewish state.

This op-ed originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

Published: February 5, 2011


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Visitor Comments: 37

(36) Hal, February 28, 2011 5:18 AM

Democracy to the muslum is permision/ encouragement for mob rule

Democracy only works if the precepts of Torah are practiced in every day life. A life that is not disciplined by the internal motive "to do the right thing" is wholly unprepared to rule the lives of the other people in his world. He must rule successfully over his own self in order to successfully rule over the life of another. Taken in plural the 50.0001% of the people who have common thoughts will rule; right or wrong! It is not good for a wrong headed idea or belief to rule over those who hold to Torah, a true and good set of precepts. The goal of every follower of Islam whether peaceful or violent, is to further his beliefs to the denigration of every non- believer in Islam. The only difference is method. One tries to overpower the will of another; the other tries to assimilate in effort to change the society existent from within! It is time we no longer passively sit by and permit the enemies of our soul to crush our lives as some feeble attempt to respect their differences. Those very differences say they want our death. How can that be a effort on our part for life?

(35) shalom levy, February 20, 2011 9:07 AM

excellent article BBC should relay it to the world.

It would be a refreshing balance to the normally negative things one hears about Israel from the BBC World and maybe would give moderate arabs who have been suppressed for so long pause to accept that maybe they should look closer and emulate the democatic system in Israel.

(34) Tanai, February 18, 2011 10:29 PM

I really liked this article. I hope more people can see the wisdom in it.

(33) Barbara Dagen, February 17, 2011 11:27 AM

Brilliant!

This says it all.Brilliant!

(32) BOBBI ROBINSON, February 15, 2011 11:36 AM

THIS LETTER SAYS IT ALL

IN ADDITION, I MIGHT ADD WHAT ABOUT ALL THE CONTRIBUTIONS, MEDICALLY, TECHNOLOGICALLY, ETC., ETC., ISREAL HAS MADE TO THE WORLD? I COMMEND THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE. TOO BAD MORE PEOPLE CAN'T RECOGNIZE WHAT IS SO OBVIOUS, AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WHAT IS SO ACCESSABLE TO US. KEEP THIS ARTICLE CIRCULATING. MAYBE IT WILL OPEN SOME EYES.

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