And The Misguided Tenets Of The Israeli Left, Center-Left and Mainstream MediaBy Noam A. Rotem
Yitzhak (Isaac) Herzog, chairman of the Israeli Labour party (aka The Zionist Union), came out with a statement on Saturday, that the latest wave of terror needs to be stopped by security or diplomatic measures, and that this is the time for negotiations with the Palestinians, and with moderate Muslim elements in the region, including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
Throughout this most recent wave of savage Palestinian stabbing attacks, against Israelis, the Israeli left and center-left, with the backing of mainstream media, have consistently insinuated that the source of this latest wave of terrorism, is somehow related to a lack of diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, rather than the Nazi style incitement and propaganda that the Arab masses are fed each day, by both official Hamas and PA media, as well as online social media. They also often fail to talk about the virulent antisemitic religious hatred, preached in mosques, and taught in schools. And lastly, they make little mention of the veneration, and massive funding, in millions of dollars, that Palestinian terrorists are granted, by the PA. In the same breath, this Troika (of the Israeli left, center-left and mainstream media), suggests, that there's some historic, almost cosmic, last opportunity, for cooperation with so called "moderate" regional Sunni regimes, like those mentioned in Herzog's statement.
Here are the facts. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocracy and one of the most repressive regimes on the face of the earth. Religious minorities do not have the right to practice their religion and conversion from Islam to another religion is punishable by death. It practices gender apartheid against women, and capital punishment without western due-process, that is carried out by beheading with a sword, stoning, or firing squad. Just last week the Associated Press reported that Saudi Arabia carried out at least 157 executions in 2015, with beheadings reaching their highest level in two decades. Last year, liberal Saudi blogger, Raif Badawi, was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam". Other forms of punishment in the kingdom, include amputations of hands and feet for robbery, and flogging for crimes such as "sexual deviance" and adultery.
A Pew Research Center study published in 2013 of the world's Muslims, found widespread support for Sharia law, in Egypt 74%, Jordan 71%, and in the PA 89%. And among those, a very high percent supporting the death penalty for apostasy (those who leave or convert out of Islam), in Egypt 86%, Jordan 82%, and the PA 66%.
In Egypt, 92% of married women aged 15 to 49 have been subjected to female genital mutilation, according to an official Egyptian government report from 2014. And Jordanian law criminalizes speech deemed critical of the king, government officials, institutions, and Islam.
Last but not least all of these so called "moderate" Arab countries, in one form or another, continue to actively support the BDS, uphold rampant lies about the Jewish state, consistently vote and operate against Israel in the UN, and antisemitic teachings and hatred of Israel, is widespread in all these countries. The Israeli Troika refrains to point all of this out, about their "moderate" Sunni Arab partners, as their entire political belief system would collapse should they do so.
Moreover the Israeli left, center-left, and mainstream media, fail to realize, that true peace cannot be achieved in the mideast, until real democratic reform comes to the Arab and Muslim world, and it doesn't look like that will be happening anytime soon. True peace, is one between nations with shared democratic values, and not just between governments, and certainly not dictatorships. Sadly the Israeli Troika, fails to grasp this most basic foundation to what makes a real and lasting peace.
Having said that, Israel by all means should be pursuing tactical and strategic alliances with Mideast regimes who are sincerely interested in joining forces, to combat terrorists and state sponsored terrorism. Moreover, Israel's moral and existential imperative, must be to seek out and build bridges to true moderates, and democratic reformers, that do exist in the Mideast, and work together with them, to be agents of true democratic change and coexistence. Often these reformers are pro-Israel, believe in cooperation with the Jewish state, yet are sadly ignored by the Israeli Troika. One such example is Greek Orthodox Israeli priest, Gabriel Naddaf, who is a proponent of integrating Arabic-speaking Christians into Israeli society, and to serving in the Israeli Army. Like him, there are Christian, Muslim, and democratic reformers of other faiths and ethnicities, around the Mideast and in exile beyond, who see Israel as a beacon of democracy in this troubled region.
Arab nation states are crumbling before our eyes, and deteriorating into barbaric, bloody and violent chaos. This is hardly the time to be pursuing peace agreements, based on concessions, to authoritarian, anti-Israel and immoral regimes, that may not be around tomorrow. Let us not forget the cry of the center-left, to quickly pursue a 'peace' agreement with Syria, while Assad was still in power, in exchange for the Golan Heights, before it is too late...
The refrain "when will they ever learn", from the 1960's political folk classic "Where have all the flowers gone?" feels likes a curiously appropriate question for the Israeli Troika.
Map of the Arab Spring
This article was also published on the Op-Ed page of Arutz Sheva:
Op-Ed: The fallacy of moderate mideast Muslim countries