Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Monday, 3 January 2011

Towards a New Dawn in the Middle East?

What I’ve always considered the best national newspaper in Australia (and certainly the one that’s consistently fair towards Israel), the Sydney-based Australian, carried yesterday (1 January 2011) an intriguing article headed “Reforming Voices in the Middle East”, by Abraham Rabinovich (hat tip: reader Shirlee). Inter alia, it says:

Amid calls for jihad emanating from websites and television channels in the Muslim world, a counterpoint has emerged: fierce Arab self-criticism and openness to the West.

Although small in number compared with fundamentalists in the media, Muslim liberals have been able to expose the Arab world to a totally different, often shocking, way of seeing itself.

"Why do the Arabs boast of their courage when in fact we are the most cowardly people on earth?" Iraqi researcher Mohammed al-Khodari said last month on al-Jazeera TV, the leading news channel in the Middle East. "Of all peoples, Arabs are most likely to resign themselves to injustice, oppression and persecution."

Referring to a photograph of a suicide bomber, he said: "This backward man, this low-life, who is the product of the Arab peoples, blew himself up in Iraq, at a [church] mass, among people who were worshipping God. His family and his people are proud of him."

Lebanese journalist Ziyad Noujeim, interviewed on Lebanese station OTV in October, said the distortions in Arab society began with denial."

"Our entire culture is based on two things and two things alone: lies and denial. We blame everything on Israel. If one day Israel is eliminated, what would we do?"

Sheik Abd al-Hamid al-Ansari, former dean of Islamic law at Qatar University, attributes the backwardness of the modern Arab world to the disappearance of critical thinking and the resultant absence of accountability.

"Despite the defeats we have suffered for half a century [an apparent reference to the wars with Israel] we have not learned a thing" he said on Abu-Dhabi TV.

"We say that Israel is the enemy and that we hate it, but let's ask ourselves why Israel is always victorious. It is because it has a tradition of accountability."

Although Israel was the victor in its war with Hezbollah in 2006, said al-Ansari, most Arabs chose to believe otherwise. "Would you believe that after the war Israel, despite all it had achieved, established a committee to examine the accountability of the government because it hadn't achieved a total victory; just 80 per cent instead of 100 per cent? We, on the other hand, are still proclaiming from the rooftops that we won."

Although Israel is a target of vilification in the Arab media, it is not infrequently portrayed, as by al-Ansari, in a positive context as an example of a modern society from which Arabs could learn.

"People talk about how Israel attacked Gaza [in Operation Cast Lead two years ago]," said interview host Faysal al-Qassem on al-Jazeera. "By God, if Gaza revolted against any Arab ruler, would there be anything left of it?"

Read the entire article here:


  1. I remember watching a news item just after Iraq invaded Kuwait and the western journalist mentioned to the Kuwaiti he was interviewing, that Arafat had thrown his full wholehearted support behind Saddam Hussein, and the Kuwaiti replied most supprising to me that " the Israeli's can't be that bad after all then".
    So as mentioned above Israel is a very convienient bogey man in the region, what would the Arab/Muslim world do without it ?

  2. Let's hope we'll never find out, Steve! Thanks for your comment.

  3. keep up the self criticism and you won't have to find out!

  4. I watch russian tv -


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