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Why Egypt worries Israel

Many Israelis see the uprising as a sign of a dangerous new instability in the Arab world


 
A nation filled with fear

Photograph by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

By Monday Ephraim Sneh had heard quite enough talk about democracy in Egypt.
“I am not interested in democracy in this region,” the former Israeli deputy minister of defence told a conference room full of dignitaries at the annual security conference in Herzliya, a Mediterranean Sea resort north of Tel Aviv. “Personally I prefer to have stability.”

Sentiments like Sneh’s are easy to find in Israel these days, although the wiry 66-year-old expressed them more bluntly than most. Just look around, he said. Everywhere Israel’s neighbours get the vote, things get worse. Take Gaza, or as Sneh called it, “Hamastan,” after the ruling Hamas party’s 2006 election victory. “Based on a democratic, free election, we are facing now some of the worst terrorists.”

Or consider Lebanon, where a Hezbollah-backed candidate became prime minister in January. “Lebanon is democracy, so-called,” he said. “Lebanon is a constitution without a state. But it’s very democratic. You have an elected president, you have an elected prime minister, you have a speaker of Parliament, you have all these institutions. But the country is losing itself. We call it Hezbollahstan.”

Democracy, Sneh concluded, “is not only voting. If there is democratic process in the Middle East, it will bring, for sure, dictatorships that will make this area like hell.”

It doesn’t take a visitor to Israel long to figure out that the euphoria accompanying most North American coverage of the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt is in short supply here. Sure, everything could work out for the best. Few are inclined to bet that way. There is widespread concern that the people’s revolution in Egypt might stall, or that the regime could fall into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. Israel’s 30-year “cold peace” with Egypt, the fruit of a 1979 peace treaty between Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, would be at risk.

Some observers are more than just nervous. There is a bitterness to some Israeli commentary that contrasts starkly with the amazing images from Tahrir Square in Cairo. “From an Israeli perspective, the most depressing and worrying overview of this staggeringly rapid shattering of regional certainties is that it reverses a generation’s momentum,” the Jerusalem Post’s editor David Horovitz wrote in his column. Peace with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 could have given Israelis the feeling their country was growing safer in a dangerous neighbourhood, he wrote. “Now, for the first time in more than 30 years, we see the spectre of our gains being rolled back, of the adjacent countries we thought we had grudgingly won over, slipping away again into hostility.”

Officially the Israeli government is saying little about events in Egypt. The only detailed comments so far came from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset on Feb. 2. He took note of the elation “in Washington, London, Paris and throughout the democratic world” at the news from Cairo, and was careful to admit it might not be misplaced. “It is obvious that an Egypt that fully embraces the 21st century and that adopts these reforms would be a source of great hope for the entire world, for the region and for us.”

A nation filled with fear

Photograph by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

The optimism didn’t last long. “Far away from Washington, Paris, London—and not so far from Jerusalem—is another capital in which there are hopes,” Netanyahu went on to say. This capital is Tehran. “The Iranian regime… wants an Egypt that returns to the Middle Ages. They want Egypt to become another Gaza, run by radical forces.”

Netanyahu’s pessimism isn’t universal. In the liberal newspaper Haaretz, commentators have been lining up to make fun of it. Columnist Anshel Pfeffer put it this way: “We’re all suffering from Orientalism, not to say racism, if the sight of an entire people throwing off the yoke of tyranny and courageously demanding free elections fills us with fear rather than uplifting us, just because they’re Arabs.”

What about the Muslim Brotherhood, lingering in the shadows around Tahrir Square? “We also have religious fundamentalists in the government,” Pfeffer wrote. “That is the price of a parliamentary democracy.”
Pfeffer was writing from Cairo, where he asked “hundreds of Egyptians” about the peace treaty between their country and his. Almost all favoured maintaining diplomatic relations, he said.

And yet a lot of Israelis remain unpersuaded. On my way to the airport to catch a flight to Jerusalem, I had lunch in Ottawa with a visiting Israeli scholar, Jonathan Fine. An ordained conservative rabbi, Fine lectures on diplomacy and strategy at the Lauder School of Government in Herzliya. He described a Middle East where Israel’s prospects for peace can only go from bad to worse.

“The tragedy and the problem with Egypt that I think your readers have to understand is that, with all the happy feelings about very populistic striving for democracy, there ain’t no democratic force to step in,” he said. “They went from a monarchy with King Farouk, to Gamal Abdel Nasser, which was anything but a democracy, to Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. Now, Sadat and Mubarak were nice guys because they were pro-Western, but they weren’t democratic. And who are the forces that can take over? That’s the $1-million question.”

Fine is pretty sure it’s the Muslim Brotherhood that’s waiting in the wings, and that Western commentators who downplay the Brotherhood’s predilection for violent extremism are misguided. “And of course what happens in Egypt will have a tremendous impact on the Arab world,” he says. “See what’s happening in Yemen. Yemen is already an al-Qaeda playground. Has been in the past 10 years. There’s no strong central authority there. And with all this mess that is going to come up, the rioting and everything, it might be even worse. You’ll find Yemen turning into Somalia Number Two.”

Why so gloomy? Because, Fine said, Israel has tried optimism before and it never works. At the beginning of 1979 there was the peace treaty with Egypt. At the end of that year there was the Islamist revolution in Iran. Like many Israelis, Fine thinks the future will look more like Iran in 1979 than Eastern Europe after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

“Four questions will decide the future for our region,” he said. “First of all, how will the war in Afghanistan turn out? Second, what happens when Iran has the [nuclear] bomb? What are the implications? Three, what is the significance of Islamists taking over Lebanon? Four, where’s Turkey going?”

As for the war in Afghanistan, Fine says, “nobody cares about the Afghans. The issue is Pakistan—168 million people, a very heterogeneous, fragile society which the Taliban and al-Qaeda have been trying to rip apart by stirring up a civil war. And nobody would have cared about that, except they have 165 nuclear warheads. What the Taliban and al-Qaeda want to do is take over. You don’t have to be a great expert in arms control to understand what that would imply,” Fine adds.

“Second thing, Iran and the bomb. Would they throw a bomb at Israel the next day? The answer is no. They’re radical but they’re pragmatic. And they know what the reaction would be. Fighting to the last sheik in Lebanon and fighting to the last Palestinian in Gaza is one thing”—Iran is widely believed to have proxy regimes among Hezbollah and Hamas, which fought quick, nasty, losing ?ghts against Israel in 2006 and 2009—”but sacrificing Iran itself is another issue. Why do they want the bomb? As an insurance policy. The revolution is a total flop and the only guarantee that can keep it afloat is the bomb. They’ve got a wonderful example, which you know very well, which is North Korea. They get away with everything. Nobody’s daring to touch them because they have the bomb. That’s exactly what we’re afraid of with Iran.”

As for Lebanon, other powers have tried to control that country before, including Israel and Syria. They soon found they couldn’t. Hezbollah won’t have any more success, Fine said, and in seeking a scapegoat will turn again against Israel. It would be like the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, but more violent.

“Turkey? Doesn’t look good,” Fine says. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has seemed an enlightened leader for a large, Muslim democracy. Fine believes that’s just about over. “At the end of the day he has a very, very clear objective of moving eastwards. He’s finished with Europe. The Europeans will never admit Turkey into the union in the next 500 years. And Turkey is becoming very dangerous.”

Many observers believe Israel could reduce all the tension in its violent neighbourhood by reaching a peace with the Palestinian Authority. James Jones, Barack Obama’s former national security adviser, showed up at Herzliya to call a peace settlement “the one thing that, in my personal opinion, drives nearly everything else that threatens us, everything that happens in this region, and has global ramifications if not addressed.”
Tzipi Livni, Israel’s fiery centrist opposition leader, addressed the conference in similar terms. “People in the region look at us with Al Jazeera eyes. They will always see Israel as a tank against a Palestinian child.” A peace accord would put Hamas on the defensive instead of Israel, she said. “I want Hamas to have to decide: are they going to side with Iran and Hezbollah against the majority in the Arab world and against a new Palestinian state?”

A nation filled with fear

Photograph by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Conservatives like Fine don’t buy it. “Assume theoretically that tomorrow we would have a full peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority and we would dance with Hamas and the PA in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv,” Fine said. “It would be great. Will this change in any way al-Qaeda and the Taliban’s objectives in Pakistan? No. Would it stop Iran from racing for the bomb? No. Would it stop Hezbollah from taking over Lebanon? No. They are too allied with the Iranians. Would this change Turkey’s strategy? No. So whatever happens between us and the Palestinians, the impact isn’t going to be that great.”

Soon after I arrived in Jerusalem, I caught a Number 18 bus at the Damascus Gate and rode it through an
Israeli military checkpoint into Ramallah in the Palestinian West Bank. At Manara Square, around a fountain decorated with four concrete lions, a listless pro-Egypt demonstration began. The demonstrators, perhaps 300 in number, exclaimed their support for the anti-Mubarak forces in Cairo. Soon a young man climbed onto one of the lions and set fire to an American flag. The crowd cheered and whistled. A U.S. ?ag burning is a welcome addition to just about any political statement in Ramallah.

Just before the demonstration began I visited Sam Bahour, a successful Palestinian-American businessman, at the comfortable Ramallah home he inherited from his grandparents. What was interesting about the demonstration, he said, was that the Palestinian Authority police had shut one just like it down only days earlier. The same thing happened in Gaza: Hamas cut a pro-Egyptian democracy protest short. They were finally letting sympathy demonstrations go ahead, on a modest scale, because the strangeness of suppressing them was getting noticed.

“The Palestinian Authority seems to be very hesitant to allow any expression of non-support of Mubarak,” Bahour said. “Which is rather interesting, because it’s a complete mismatch with the mood of the city.” But this is one of the strange ways the Egypt ball may bounce. Ordinary Egyptians have concluded they can no longer stand the way the regime treats them. The sympathy of Palestinians is a danger for the Palestinian regime at least as much as for the Israelis. “People are seeing that the regime that is being created in the West Bank is not much different from the Mubarak regime that’s being kicked out [in Egypt],” Bahour added.
Like Jim Jones and Tzipi Livni, and unlike much of the Israeli security establishment, Bahour believes Israel could improve its chances of living in peace with its neighbours if it reached a durable peace with the

Palestinians. “I’m a business planner. I do business plans. If Israel was given to me today as a business plan, my recommendation would be that it’s an infeasible project. You cannot continue to act as though you don’t belong in the region that you exist in. When they built that wall [between Israeli and Palestinian populations in the West Bank], they became, on the other side of it, imprisoned just as much as us.”

Quietly, some Israeli government officials say there’s real reason to see hope in what’s happening in Cairo. They note that when millions of Egyptians took to the streets, they weren’t bothering to complain about Israel because they had more immediate concerns. Maybe, once free, the region’s populations will learn they have more in common than they ever believed. It will be excellent if that happens. A lot of Israelis aren’t holding their breath.


 

Why Egypt worries Israel

  1. Regarding the last paragraph in the article: Egyptians not complaining about Israel? What about the video of people in the street last week, screaming, "Destroy Israel!"? Don't kid yourself, the Muslim Brotherhood and long standing anti-Semitic sentiment are deeply embedded in the Egyptian events of these recent weeks.

    • Where is the evidence of that? LOL.

  2. From the article: "There is widespread concern that the people's revolution in Egypt might stall, or that the regime could fall into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists."

    Sort of like how democracy has allowed Israel to fall into the hands of Jewish fundametalists. It is safe to say that if the Egyptians use their democratic freedom the same way Israeli's have, then the middles east is in for trouble. Israels has proved to be as brutal as Mubarak when dealing with Parestinians and they were quite happey to do business with a tyrant. Israel has jammed the Palestinians into a couple of tiny enclaves behind huge concrete walls, prevented them from developing a healthy economy and limited access to jobs and even food and water. Is it any wonder they act violently?

    The Egyptians will create a far more productive democracy than Israel has been able to. ____

    • I agree with the above and hope for democracy for the Palestinians soon
      Mary A.

      • Palestilnians do have democracy. They can vote for Hamas all they want.

  3. I know far too little about the immensely complex middle east to fairly comment, but life-to-date that has yet to stop me…

    1. I read Netanyahu's speech when Frum posted it a week or so ago. There was a clear – to me – subtext of 'democracy for me, but you can't be trusted with it'. I forget the exact quote but the message was along the lines of 'peace is more important than freedom'.

    2. The experts you interviewed have perfectly legitimate concerns and it's simply impossible to predict how Egypt and the broader ME will now evolve. I'll simply suggest that with great change comes great risk, but also great opportunity. It seems to me that the conservative interviewees assume that Iran, Turkey et al will be unaffected by the changes in Egypt. I have no idea how they may be impacted, but it surprises that they expect all current threatening trends to simply extend "linearly".

    3. The position of the current Israeli government appears to me to be a continuation of their overarching position of past 40 years.

    4. I have no confidence in my ability to make predictions about the ME, but I'll be foolishly bold and suggest that if Israel simply continues on with its long held position of denying the Palestinians a decent state, then the outcome for Israel is going to be just as perilous in the next 40 years as it has been for the past 40. Time for some bold leadership Israel.

    Thanks for the article. Learned some stuff.

  4. This is Egypt's moment; let's let them have it.

  5. Those silly Egyptians! Thinking that they can get that boot off their collective necks and gain some control on their country's destiny. The nerve of those protesters!

  6. This Fine guy is just a tad too much of a Chicken Little– Turkey won't join the EU "for 500 years"? It may take 65-70 years, but I'll bet it happens before the year 2100. It seems those that are understandably pessimistic are trapped by a lack of hope/lack of imagination. What, is the status quo supposed to remain for 500 years? Absolutely unsustainable. Let's get this democracy ball rollin' folks.

    • Mr. Fine also caused me to chuckle with his perfectly reasonable remark that Iran, in the end, simply wants 'the bomb' as a deterrent. Just like Israel?

      • Well you're right that's true for any country that has it. But the idea of the Iranian theocratic regime having the bomb gives me the shivers because then it (the theocracy) will be more entrenched than ever. If Egypt can make a peaceful transition to a market economy-democracy, Iran can too– and that's way less likely to happen if the Ayatollahs get their bomb.

    • Yeah, I did a double take on Fine's assessment of Turkey and EU. Out to lunch, says I.

  7. Israel is not a world threat here, it's fanatical muslims. Even so called peaceful muslim groups don't have the balls to denounce the radicals. In the middle east or elswhere in the world, there will be a reckoning one day for these terrorists. Unfortunately, all muslims will probably pay the price for silently condoning this terrorism.

    • Fanatical muslims are a world threat, as is Isreal in its current behaviour.

    • Israelis, Americans and Canadian Conservatives have for years been condoning Israeli terrosism against the Palestinian people whose land they illegally occupied. Successive leaders in Israel and USA haven't had the balls to denounce the radicals in Israel. There will a reckining one day for these Israeli terrorists and their western supporters, including Stephen Harper. The Egyptians have started the process.

      • Nonsense. The Palestinians made their own bed at the start when they threatened to throw the Jews into the sea and all sorts of other terrors. When the UN established a joint state in Palestine the war was on. Israelis won 1n 1948 the Palestinians fled because they thought the Israelis would treat them the same as they had threatened. None of the Arab countries would take them in so they festered in UN Camps. The Mid East and the rest of the world, particularly the Christian world should recognize that the hate the early Christian Church and later the Roman Church is what caused two millennia of anti-semitism that eventuated in pogroms and the Holocaust. (It seems perplexing to say anti-semitism when almost everybody in the Middle East is ethnographically a "Semite".) The problem between Israel and the Arabs is Arab stupidity, not the reverse, despite Israeli radicals. It is a problem

    • Where, WHERE, in the midst of this genuine suppressed-middle-class-youth uprising is there even a tinge of terrorism, support for terrorism, or theocratic inclination? Egypt will become a truly modern boring middle class place like the west given the chance. Don't rain on their parade, let them become fat Walmart shoppers like the rest of us and peace will break out by default. My words are tongue-in-cheek here but the sentiment is damn serious.

    • Gotta love how a popular protest unseated the authoritarian ruler of the largest Arab state in the world, and the unhinged among us are still screeching about terrorists.

  8. But then it's all good news for the US arms industry.

  9. Unfortunately, unrest in Egypt is just the tip of the iceberg. Most Middle East nations face the same demographic issues as Egypt; a massive number of young people who simply cannot find jobs and are extremely unhappy with their inability to start families or purchase homes. Here is a look at just how desperate the situation is for young and highly educated Egyptians:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2011/02/egyp

    • Exactly. We live in comparative ridiculous luxury and are most apolitical and busy with our own lives. The things that worry novelists and documentarians– the sedentary boringness of being an average joe from Portland to Bucharest– is what we actually want to happen in the wider world. I'm not condoing big box conformity– every individual has to fight that system– but if you can get countries (yes plural) to that point, then you'll have more self-reflective societies that worry about being swamped by the system that about real or imagined enemies. Gawd, I feel like I'm advocating corporate government and I'm not, but it's all a loooooooonnnnggg process.

  10. The religious fanatics have taken over the Israeli government and are matching anything the ayatollahs come up with. Former Chief Rabbi Yosef and leader of the Shaa Party claims that non-Jews were created, like donkeys, to serve the Jews. A nice Hitleresque view of a Jewish "master race" . And then we have the book , Torat Hamelech" which is a justification for killing non-Jews and even their babies pre-emptively because non- Jews are born "uncompassionate'. What a compassionate view of murder. Other Rabbis call to annhilate all Arabs, justify using Palestinian children as human shields etc.,etc. I am as concerned about Israel having A bombs as Iran. Religious fanaticism is scary in all it's forms.

  11. The risk is that in *democratic* elections, Egypt may fall to MBH. That would be a terrible thing for the west, for Israel and for Egypt. Why do so many of you believe that Israel is a monster? Have you ever been there? Do you know her people, her government, her heart at any level? Look at sharia law in contrast, honour killings, oppression, beheadings…..How can anyone defend that way of life?

    • Why must I defend that way of life if I criticize Israel? I am perfectly capable of criticizng both.

      • good point, but you are using common sense and ration, a rare trait among most people who criticize israel.

        i think a good majority of the time you will find many people crticizing israel are quite willing to turn a blind eye to the crimes/brutality of its arab/muslim neighbors. the people who like to believe that the arab-israel conflict is black and white; i.e. israel is always the aggressor, muslims always the victims.

    • I'm sorry, but none of us know what the result of an Egyptian election will be. This week, the people got out from under the boot of a vicious, thieving dictator. Good for them.

  12. I think it's highly interesting that the Israelis are always saying the we should support Israel becuase it's one of the few democratic countries in the region…Now they are afraid that democracy will bring a harder stance by the neighbours. Obviously, the same applies to Israel.

    Maybe it would be better if Israel was run by a dictator who was forced by the US to agree to the Palestinian terms.

  13. Great read Paul, thanks. Makes me thank god(Hoodie) I live in Canada. And to think my greatest concern is if the NFL will get a new CBA done.

    Crazy times, who the hell knows what is going to happen in Egypt now. I am cautiously optimistic, but who knows..

  14. What exactly do you think is anti-semitic about any of the above posts? Please, be specific. I'm always curious how people like you define anti-semitism.

    • Really? Read 'northwoods' 3 posts up.

      • What specifically do you have a problem with in northwoods post?

        • No response from the misanthropist…

  15. Incredible, the number of people so blinded by their hatred of Israel and/or the United States that they refuse to see the potential for a third world war coming out of this. Agreed, and hopefully there is the CHANCE a very real, peaceful democracy…but I doubt it. As Churchill said, this is only the end of the beginning insofar as Egypts future is concerned. The next 7/8 months should tell the tale. There seems to be enough reasonable people there that it just may work.

    • I enjoy how 21st century right wing charlatans invoke the speech of great men and women such as Winston Churchill, completely out of context, for no particular reason

  16. You're right. Bibi didn't say that explicitly but the message was crystal clear.

    Frankly, I self-censored to avoid encouraging the inevitable name calling.. Sad eh.

    I also see from at least one comment below, that it didn't work.

  17. All of this hand-wringing about "peace with Egypt" misses the obvious point that Israel never had peace with Egypt, only peace with two individuals who happened to be Egypt's autocratic presidents.

    Popular diplomacy matters; mutual trust matters – two forces which Israel and Egypt have both done little to foster. Which was dumb, since no one lives forever, not even Mubarak. Basing one's long-term security policy on the assumption that a dictatorship will always be stable is sort of like betting it'll never rain again.

  18. It's really all about money, a few mill here and there to a despot to keep his countrymen in line is a lot cheaper than trying to bribe an entire population. That's why the Americans prefer to deal with dictators. And they stay bribed also, sometimes for decades. There is a lot more stability in that than trying to guess which way the rabbit is going to jump every time an electorate votes.

    I can understand why Israel is getting nervous. The Egyptian electorate has been out in the streets before this letting the world know how they feel about the way Israel treats Palestinians. Until now it hasn't mattered because what they felt about anything hasn't mattered to their government. That is in the process of changing. I wouldn't count on only the Muslim Brotherhood finding Israel's behavior offensive, it's not all about religion, it's about shared humanity, codes of conduct and humane behavior.

  19. Interesting turn of events, this Middle Eastern uprising. And to think, if Bibi wasn't too clever for his own good and actually took a different tact with the Obama admin, he would have set the stage for a new relationship with Israel's closest Muslim neighbours which would have helped Israel stay ahead of the curve on what's going on now. Keep running the clock on the Obama administration Bibi but if too much democracy comes to the Middle East, you'll have a whole new set of trouble on your hands.

  20. The comments comparing Isreal,

    a thriving democracy in which the rights of Arabs living there (yes there are many Arabs living in Isreal) are just as sacred as the rights of Jews and certainly exponentially more sacred than in any of the neighboring Arab countries,

    to a dictatorial theocratic regime where gays are summarily beaten and killed, "impure women" are stoned, and every fabric of life is run by a rigid barbaristic centuries old religious code,

    is frightening.

    That such absurd (and frankly immoral) comparisons get such positve comments says much about those who frequent this site.

    If I was Paul Wells I would be embarrased. I would also expect him to respond to such horrible discourse occuring on one of his posts (at least as fervently as he does when some attack the media etc).

    Tsk, Tsk.

  21. What's more telling is that Isreal,

    a country founded from the ashes of people victimized by a evil dictator who told the world of the horrors of Jews, told the world how they should be anihilated, and then as the world watched, carried out the murder of millions of them,

    now lives beside an evil Islamic theocratic dictator in Iran who regularly and publicly tells the world of the horrors of Jews, tells the world how they should be anihilated, and as the world watches, races to develop a nuclear capability while continuing his vow to destroy the Jews,

    faces the prospect of yet another such neighbor,

    and this is somehow "news" which requires debate or analysis?

    We should all be saying "of course they should be concerned".

    That many here say otherwise may help to explain why the world stood by and allowed the Jews to be murdered by the millions, the first go around.

    • Scary isn't it?

  22. The debate turns ugly when people refuse to separate Israel from Judaism. Often when there is a critique of their government , the response is a cry of anti-semitism.
    Northwoods in my own interpretation is lambasting fundamentalist in general.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • It would appear from the posts I've read here, the word hatred is not even in anyone else's vocabulary, but since you use it frequently, it obviously is in your's.

        • although i agree, convenient terms like “anti-semitic” and “islamophobic” are thrown around far too often.

          but, to be fair…

          “The religious fanatics have taken over the Turkish government and are matching anything the ayatollahs come up with. Former Grand Mufti Haj Amin and leader of the Baath Party claims that non-Muslims were created, like donkeys, to serve the Muslims. A nice Hitleresque view of a Muslim “master race” . And then we have their book , the Quran which is a justification for killing non-Muslims and even their babies pre-emptively because non-Muslims are born “uncompassionate’. What a compassionate view of murder. Other Imams call to annhilate all Jews, justify using Israeli children as human shields etc.,etc. I am as concerned about Iran having A bombs as Israel. Religious fanaticism is scary in all it’s forms.”

          that post would definetly get you called an “islamophobe” in most places; justified or not.

  23. Without improving the lives of everyday Egyptians and others in the region, these governments may increasingly find their control of message is lost. Lost to hunger, lack of work and knowing through growing lines of private communication that life elsewhere isn't what they've been told.
    Democracy isn't utopia and it has risks. Yet it gives people a chance that they would not have otherwise. A chance at change.

  24. During the 19th and early 20th Centuries the ruling classes including President Theodore Roosevelt believed there are three Laws of Civilization;
    1- The White Race founded all civilizations
    2- When the white race maintains its whiteness , civilization is maintained.
    3- When the white race loses its whiteness, civilization is lost.
    Who were/are the white race? As they saw it then they are the decedents of Aryans and Teutons that spread out of the forests of Germany in a westward direction to Britain and America. This belief led to the loss of life among non white culture such as American Indians, Phillipinos, Mexicans, etc, etc. The white mans burden you know.
    Fortunately this belief has largely died out in the west but it seems as if the Israelis have adopted it and believe Arabs are not civilized and are incapable of governing themselves. It is too bad. Oh, and Israelis would not have qualified as Aryans or Teutons at that time..

    • Isreali's dare to want to exist, dare to thwart repeated attempts to destroy is over the last several decades, and dare to try to stop the missles being hurled at it from fortified schools and hospitals,

      for this they are "racist" "white men", and to be faulted for the undemocratic nature of the theocratic dictatorships that surround it.

      How sad that people actually think like that today.

      How very, very sad.

    • Actually this belief is alive and well and western civilization still rests on it.

      The first nations in both Canada and the US are facing a slow genocide ( through the long term effects of residential schooling and other technologies of destruction and assimilation, through sustained violence against them – something that is supported, condoned and reinforced by law enforcement, through "family planning" policies designed to get rid of them, and so on).

      Many many groups are still marginalized and oppressed on the basis of race. And this violence is built into all the social institutions; education, the law, religion, family and so on.

      All because the white race construction of itself is still centered on those three laws.

      As for whether Israelis have adopted this belief …wouldn't that be the ultimate irony? But I don't think they hate the Arabs any more than the Arabs hate them.

  25. I don't see why the Israelis are worried. They have those 200+ nukes and will threaten to annihilate any neighboring country that will dare to attack them. And in fact they will do it.

    • And, in doing so, will annihilate themselves – the constant dream of the Zionists.

  26. Believe me, there is only one answer to the problem.
    (a) Israel removes itself from the occupied Palestinian territories – there is more than sufficient land within Israel to satisfy its expansionist desires for centuries to come.
    (b) Jerusalem becomes a separate City State, probably modelled on the Vatican City. Neither Israel or Palestine shall use Jerusalem as their capital city.
    Then, if Israel acts as if, finally, it sees the wood for the trees, peace may evolve. There must be trust and faith on both sides.

    • As for the radical regimes all around it, which flood that territory with arms, radicalize their youths with cartoons depicting "jew eating rabbits", who's leaders proclaim "death to Isreal daily", who's organizations have as their founding charters the destruction of Isreal, which countries have tried to destroy Isreal three times in the past 65 years,

      they have no obligations whatsoever.

      Well of course not. I mean, Isreal dares to defen it's right to exist, eh?

      • This is referred to as the 'head in the sand' syndrome. It is not a solution – please reply if you have a solution.

        • Until those who use the Palestinian region as a proxy battleground, recognize the right of Isreal to exist,

          there will be no peace.

          Until that happens the peace process is a farce.

          The fact that the other side overtly refuses to refrain from vowing for Israel's destruction, is a pesky little fact refrained from mention from those who purport to claim to want "peace" in the region.

    • There will be no peace as long as people rant – Please do not reply unless you have sensible and practical solution.

    • You're a f*cking idiot.

  27. For those who keep blaming the Israelis for not allowing the Palestinians their own state – it was the Jordanians that threw them out of Jordan in the first place! Get your history right or keep your stupid comments to yourself.

  28. Why is it that idiots such as Causeiknow are the most vociferous and also the most ignorant vis a vis Israel?

  29. Who exactly are you calling an antisemite?

  30. I did post a reply to Causeiknow, but it was removed by the Macleans censors.

  31. Sunshine Coaster wrote:
    “Israel has jammed the Palestinians into a couple of tiny enclaves behind huge concrete walls, prevented them from developing a healthy economy and limited access to jobs and even food and water. Is it any wonder they act violently? ”

    you have it backwards again Sunshine.

    Israel never jammed Palestinians into tiny enclaves….Jordan and Egypt did that. As for the concrete walls…they were put up because Palestinian terrorists thought it was fun to lob rockets, and take potshots at Israeli kids.

    As for food and water….I recommend you go visit Gaza and the West bank….there’s some pretty nice luxury hotels there….and markets, malls…etc..etc..

    If the Palestinians want peace with the Israelis, then I suggest they stop spending so much time trying to find ways to kill Israeli citizens.

    The Jewish people have been on that land far longer than the Egyptians and Jordanians who now call themselves Palestinians.

    For example: Dome of the Rock….third most holy place in Islam, is built on top of an ancient Jewish temple. Now what do you think that means?

    I’m supposing you are one of those folks who disregard facts, and are happy to blame the Jews for sneaking into Jerusalem one night and building their temple UNDER the Islamic mosque.

  32. Zesty Mordant wrote:
    “What exactly do you think is anti-semitic about any of the above posts? Please, be specific. I’m always curious how people like you define anti-semitism.”

    I agree Zesty…..sometimes the people who write that Israel is somehow to blame for constantly being attacked by Islamic fanatics, is NOT anti-semitism…..sometimes it’s plain old stupidity.

    Which category fits you?

  33. chet noted:
    "a country founded from the ashes of people victimized by a evil dictator who told the world of the horrors of Jews, told the world how they should be anihilated, and then as the world watched, carried out the murder of millions of them,"

    And therein lies the problem for folks like B. causiknow and Sunshine Coaster……..

    some of them got away.

    • You're a sick man.

      • TimesArrow noted:
        "You're a sick man"

        Coming from you….that's a compliment.

  34. When hope itself looks like a loaded gun to many in Israel you know we're in deep doo-doo. I'm not blaming them [ there's far too much of that going on here] but it would be a wonderful twist of historical irony if it took one of Isreal's ancient eneimies in trying to rejoin the family of free nations, to show Isreal once again what hope looks like – rather then down the barrel of a loaded gun or over a steel wall.

  35. The fact that I admire Mubarek is because I always viewed his country as being stable. Was this because America funded the country to remain stable?. as it turns out, he is a thief and the riches he has derived are nearly efficient enough to restabalize the country.
    For some unexplainable reason, I have always liked Egyptians. Iv'e never been there but the same holds true for the Turks. Is it because they are, to some degree,the progenitors of intellectual civilizations?
    I wish the people of Egypt joy and success. The Turks too.

    Cochise.

  36. If Egypt can truly achieve freedom and democracy for its millions of people, and at so little (relative) cost, and as a potentially cascading domino for many other Arab nations in search of the same virtues, this can only be a good thing for the entire region, INCLUDING Israel.

    As a general rule, nations that are TRUE democracies go to war with one another, well, hardly ever, really.

    • Unless they are taken over by radical Islamists that want to take them all back to the 14th Century.

  37. i think middle east peoples deserve democracy

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