Not too long ago, a minor Israeli military officer expressed his views about the instability of the Jordanian regime. These comments provoked a major international uproar, and justifiably so. It is one thing to criticize the policies of a government. It is really not done to speculate about the overthrow of a friendly government. Certainly, it is "unheard of" to call for the destruction of a neighboring state with which one has a peace treaty. That was not the issue in this case. It is
the issue in hundreds of other cases, but the target is not Jordan, but Israel.
The Egyptian weekly English version of Al-Ahram recently featured the Warwick memorial lecture for Edward Said
, delivered by Ahdaf Soueif, an Egyptian living in England. Dear Ahdaf and the Al-Ahram newspaper, controlled by the peace loving Egyptian government, which has a treaty with Israel, express the following view concerning the right of self determination of the Jewish people, and the existence of the State of Israel, with which Egypt has a peace treaty:
So, my subject is this: the Zionist project in Israel/Palestine is failing. A central question to be answered is what are the possible outcomes of that failure? And what can we do to promote the outcome we prefer?
THE FAILURE OF ZIONISM: A letter in the London Independent last year reads:
"Sir: More and more Jews are coming to see what my great grandfather failed to see, that the only just solution in the Middle East is a Palestine in which Jews and Muslims, Arabs and Europeans, live alongside each other with equal rights and an equal stake in the state; a solution in which the Balfour Declaration is finally put to rest."
The letter is signed by Dan Mayer, the great- grandson of Sir Leon Simon, who helped draft the Balfour declaration.
This perception, while not yet mainstream, is, as Mr Mayer writes, gaining currency. The Zionist project is, after all, anachronistic. When it first started, at the end of the 19th Century it caught the tail end of colonial expansionism. But even then the geography of the enterprise was wrong. Most colonial projects were predicated to some extent on the colonised lands being geographically distant from the colonising power. The home society could be kept largely shielded from the brute mechanics of colonisation.
A completely settler colonial project can only work, history shows us, by getting rid of the original inhabitants. Either by exterminating them or coming so close as to make no difference -- as happened in North America.
This venom is coupled to groundless charges of Israeli atrocities:
We witness Israel testing new weapons -- chemicals and nerve gases -- on the people in Gaza, phosphorus and uranium-based munitions in Lebanon, while the US uses phosphorus bombs and depleted uranium in Iraq.
The tour de force of hatred and incitement includes the usual charges that Israel fomented the war in Iraq and is now fomenting a war against Iran. The article, published for all the world to see by Al-Ahram, is rounded out with the usual tragicomic charges that the international Zionist conspiracy is "gagging" criticism:
The attempts to gag free speech: everyone now knows about the media uproar earlier in the year over the Mearsheimer and Walt article on the influence of the Zionist lobby in the USA. But on 4 October, Professor Tony Judt's talk for the organisation 20/20 in New York was cancelled after the Polish Embassy withdrew its offer to host it.
Presumably, were they not afraid of the vile Jewish conspiracy, Al-Ahram and Ahdaf Soueif would explain to the world about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and describe how Jews slaughter Christian kids to bake Matzos. OOPS - actually, Egyptian media have done that of course, in films like "Knight without a horse" and other works of art. Remember too, that English language media published in the Arab world are intended to be showcases of moderation. This is the nice mild version published for Western Khawajas (distinguished foreigners), and anyhow, it is mild compared to some of the other things published in Al Ahram about Israel and the United States.
Soueif's article is called "The heart of the matter." Indeed, it exposes the heart of the matter, which is the continued refusal of the Arab world and the Palestinians, after 58 years, to recognize the right of the Jewish people to self-determination, and to cease the unremitting campaign of incitement directed against Jews as well as Israel. Apparently, peace treaties and fine words are worthless and avail nothing against the tide of hate. Israel's "peace" with Egypt was bought dearly - Israel returned all of the Sinai peninsula to Egypt, in order to be rewarded by this unending torrent of vituperation. Egyptian security forces stand by idly as Palestinians smuggle tons (33 tons to date) of weapons into Gaza. Can anyone wonder that Israel is reluctant to give up even more land for such "peace" with other Arab countries?
Of course, the Egyptian government has no problem cracking down on media when they are critical of President Moubarak and his government. In most countries, the policy is that freedom of the press extends to everything except racism and incitement. In Egypt and other Arab countries, it seems that freedom of the press applies only to racism and incitement. Bloggers and journalists are often jailed for criticizing the government or radical Islam. BBC, not known for Zionist sympathies, reported:
Rami Siyam, who blogs under the name of Ayyoub, was detained along with three friends after leaving the house of a fellow blogger late at night.
In recent weeks, bloggers have been exposing what they say was the sexual harassment of women at night in downtown Cairo in full view of police who did not intervene.
Mr Siyam's host on Saturday night, Muhammad Sharqawi, was detained for several weeks earlier this year.
The most recently detained blogger, Abdel Kareem Nabil, was detained in Alexandria on 6 November and was charged with disrupting public order, inciting religious hatred and defaming the president.
Amnesty International says Mr Amer appeared to have been detained for expressing critical views about Islam and Egypt's al-Azhar religious authorities.
Americans take note: Egypt is the beneficiary of two billion dollars in American aid annually, and Al-Ahram is one of the more responsible government controlled journals.
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Replies: 2 Comments
I am always amazed by another common thread running throughout the Arab world (that's besides virulent antisemitism) -- this is projection. Whatever evil Arabs are up to, they immediately project it onto others (typically the victims are non-Arabs). I think it's reached the level of an extreme pathology (I should add that I find this not just with the Arab "intelligensia" but also all their rabid supporters -- people who write for, say, The Guardian newspaper).
Thus, in the above piece, there's the Arab claim of "The failure of Zionism." A patently laughable allegation, if one considers the Pals (in just what, precisely, have they been successful? -- outside of achieving chaos, murder and mayhem?)
Coupled with the pathology of projection, is another problem. This is a near perfect refusal for (what Sigmund Freud termed) "reality testing." Note in the above article the claims about nerve gas and chemicals. tch, tch, tch. In many ways, they are great comedians...But, of course, they are also adept destroyers (when taken seriously).
J.S., Friday, November 24th
It astounds me that the world and many Zionists themselves fail to see that hatred of Jews is an integral part of Islamic culture. One need only read the Qur'an to confirm that. I would go so far as to say that had A. Hitler reprinted the Qur'an in German rather than writing his tortuous "Mein Kampf," he would have had no less success in promoting hatred of Jews among his fanatics.
Howard Wolf, Thursday, November 23rd
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