Guardian

Anti-Zionism of fools: What Egypt and the Guardian can learn from Israeli democracy


images

Israeli woman votes in 2013 election

An Egyptian opposition activist named Himda Hamdi was interviewed on Israeli TV last night and, buoyed by the fall of Mohammed Morsi, told citizens of the Jewish state that if her country could overturn the Muslim Brotherhood led regime then surely Israelis can do the same and remove Prime Minister Netanyahu. While the site of this young, progressive Arab woman speaking Hebrew was in many ways exhilarating, she perhaps needed reminding that Israeli voters peacefully decided the fate of their government in free and fair elections earlier in the year.

When the nineteenth Israeli Knesset was sworn in March, it represented merely the latest chapter in a 65 year history of non-violent democratic political transitions in the Jewish state.

Though Israelis of course disagree on any number of domestic and foreign policy issues, extremes within the country remain at the margins, and the centre continues to hold.  And, whilst there are factions lobbying for evolutionary change in social policy, and with regard to negotiations with the Palestinians, the country’s economy is exceptionally strong, their democracy remains robust and there is no serious political faction agitating for revolutionary change.

As the dramatic developments unfolding in Egypt now demonstrate, democracy isn’t one single event but rather a persuasion – a political habit of mind nurtured by the behavior of a nation’s citizenry, its cultural, media and religious gatekeepers and political class. It generally can not be imposed by a foreign power, nor brought to life by a (temporary) strongman. Political parties with no ideological propensity towards progressive, representative forms of government can not be trusted to govern in a manner which shows fealty towards such democratic norms as the separation of powers, an independent judiciary, and a system of laws which fiercely protect the rights of women, minorities and political opponents.

As the brief reign of the reactionary movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood shows us, political Islam – as with the Pan-Arabism and statist dictatorships which preceded its rise within the region – is fundamentally at odds with truly liberal political aspirations within the Arab world.

Interestingly, the Guardian earlier today published an editorial not only criticizing the military coup by praising the Muslim Brotherhood as, yes, defenders of constitutional democracy, demonstrating again – as with their defense of Hamas’ ‘democratic’ legitimacy – the institution’s inability to recognize the difference between democrats (those who seek genuine representative democracy) and demopaths (those who seek democratic legitimacy in order to destroy liberal society). As one Arab pundit recently observed about Morsi’s ‘reforms’ which had the effect of merely solidifying Brotherhood control of the country and codifying illiberal Islamist doctrine: “Morsi proved that political Islam seeks to use democracy only to seize power only to bury the democratic dream later.”

Additionally, if the strength of a democracy can in part be measured by how well the nation treats the proverbial ‘other’, Morsi’s government – which nurtured a society in which the beleaguered Christians and Bahais (and even Shiites) faced increasing discrimination and violence – failed miserably.  Further, while it may be a bit cliché to note that the health of a society can be gauged by how well they treat their Jewish minority, the following passage, from an essay written by a Muslim named Ahmed Hashemi, commenting on the increased antisemitism in Egypt (a nation with a Jewish population of, at most, 40) after the revolution, rings true.

…if we are going to establish a healthy, tolerant society that respects differences, and pursues a pluralistic democracy, we have to accept that Jews and the Jewish community have been part and parcel of our own communities. This affirmation of coexistence represents the essence of today’s civilization. An ‘Arab Spring’ without religious tolerance that rests on strong anti-Semitic attitudes cannot bring about genuine democracy and freedom. In a peaceful and democratic Middle East, everyone can prosper and flourish.

In reading the Guardian daily, it seems that the most pronounced effect stemming from their largely uncritical advocacy on behalf of Arabs (including Palestinian Arabs), and their hostility towards Zionism, relates not to its injurious influence on Israel, but the harm it inflicts upon their Arab protagonists by legitimizing their sense of victimhood and their immutable grievances against the Jews.

As the most successful democracy in the region, Hashemi added, “possessing a strong and diversified economy and a dynamic multiparty political system in a tyranny-affected region, Israel can be a role model.”

The Guardian’s ideologically inspired legitimization of the Arab world’s hostility towards Israel nurtures their continuing social pathos and sclerotic economies, and ensures that, regardless of whom takes power in Egypt, the shining example of diversity, tolerance sober, and liberal self-government to their north will never be leveraged to their advantage.

The anti-Zionism of fools makes it more probable that the ‘Arab Spring’ will continue to be merely a chimera.

13 replies »

  1. Great post. As Dr. Janan Faraj-Falah, a Druze woman who is a professor of Gender Studies at Haifa Teachers’ College and leader of a volunteer women’s group in Acco that includes Christian, Muslim, Jewish women and Druze women, pointed out, the only place the Arab Spring is happening is in Israel.

  2. The editorial shows the true face of the Guardian – its eternal love of the Muslim Brotherhood – its medieval ideology, tiranny, racism, bigotry, intolerance of any other and anti-Semitism.

  3. “In reading the Guardian daily, it seems that the most pronounced effect stemming from their largely uncritical advocacy on behalf of Arabs (including Palestinian Arabs), and their hostility towards Zionism, relates not to its injurious influence on Israel, but the harm it inflicts upon their Arab protagonists by legitimizing their sense of victimhood and their immutable grievances against the Jews.”

    And it makes the Guardian money. Because would these “intelligent” (i.e. English speaking) anti-Zionist crusaders read the Guardian at all if the Guardian didn’t respond to Israel as the “intelligent” anti-Zionist crusader demands? That’s the real ticket for this KKKlown car. The Guardian doesn’t invest in hate merely because the Guardian is a KKKrappy paper; they get a return on this investment.

    This is commonly referred to as Blood Money. You can tell who profits from it whenever they announce that it’s teh Joos who are really in control.

    • “This is commonly referred to as Blood Money. You can tell who profits from it whenever they announce that it’s teh Joos who are really in control.”

      A stinging comment.

  4. The Guardian is rather like a students’ revolutionary society. They know vaguely what they’re ‘for’ and sharply what they’re ‘against’ but the logical and moral reasoning behind these choices and the connections between them are best argued out under the influence of something soothing and become rather elusive and slippery in the light of day.

    • Well put, Margie.

      I used to have an ongoing friendly debate at my university with an aging ‘student’ who was handing out flyers for marxism (this was while the cold war was still raging) and it struck me at some point while arguing with him that he likely hadn’t had a new idea or an evolution in thinking in over 20 years of activism. The facts I presented to him were merely distractions which temporarily prevented him from mouthing marxist-leninist platitudes about the the battle between the “bourgeois and proletariat”.

      • “The Guardian is rather like a students’ revolutionary society. ”
        A great comment in response to a fantastic article today. Adam, you’ve really earned your paycheck for this well thought out and articulate article.

  5. I read some of the comments on the Guardian’s editorial. I was amazed (pleasantly surprised) how many of them slammed it.

  6. Maybe the Egyptians can remove the poison from their head blaming Jews for their failures.
    Only the Egyptians could think Mossad sharks are killing tourists in Egypt.

  7. http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/08/islamic-s…
    Egyptians Protest Outside Israeli Embassy With Swastika Sign Saying “The Gas Chambers Are Ready”
    August 22, 2011

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx…
    Egyptian Cleric: Obligation to Murder Israelis
    A senior Egyptian cleric has issued a ruling declaring it permissible to murder Israeli citizens in Egypt. Dr. Salah Sultan, a lecturer on Islamic law (Sharia) at Cairo University, declared Friday that any Egyptian Muslim who meets a Zionist must kill him.
    8/23/2011

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/…
    Egypt: More Calls to Murder Israelis
    A second call by a Muslim Brotherhood cleric to murder Israelis, this one targeting Israel’s Ambassador to Egypt.
    Maayana Miskin
    8/28/2011
    Senior Muslim Brotherhood cleric Dr. Salah Sultan has called to murder Israel’s Ambassador to Egypt, Yitzchak Lebanon, Arutz Sheva’s Dalit Halevy reports. Last week Sultan declared that all Israelis in Egypt should be murdered.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4110102…
    ‘Mossad plotted to harm Egyptian fertility’
    Egypt’s Al-Ahram daily claims Israeli Ofir Harrari accused of spying for Israel, devised to sell Egypt hair products endangering reproductive abilities
    8/17/11

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaa…
    Shark ‘sent to Egypt by Mossad’
    An Egyptian official has claimed that a shark that killed one person and left four others injured in Egypt could have been placed there by agents from Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.
    This is the shark suspected of being responsible for the attacks in Egypt, which killed a German woman and left four others seriously injured.
    Nick Collins
    Dec 2010

    http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2012/03/egyptian…
    Egyptian clerics: “Hatred of Jews is a form of worship” (MEMRI)
    March 12, 2012
    This one’s got it all: Jews are donkeys, “President” Benjamin Franklin (who was president 50 years ago) warned the US against them, calls to kill all Jews, and more.
    But don’t call them anti-semitic