My Parents are refugees from Egypt. My entire family was exiled in 1949. Because they were Jewish, they were never given Egyptian citizenship — only residency.
When they were exiled, they were given a document allowing them a one-way trip out of Egypt. They were only permitted to take a suitcase weighing 20 kilos, (about 40 lbs), per person. They were forced to leave the rest of their belongings behind, including all assets.
Did my parents ever condemn Egypt? No!
Did my parents ever blame and condemn Islam? No!
Was I raised to hate Egypt and Muslims and to call on the death of all Egyptians? No!
Was I raised to carry revenge and martyrdom in my heart against all Egyptians and Muslims, until I am entrenched with hatred and rage rushing through my veins? No!
Do Egyptian Jewish refugees call on the destruction of Egypt? No!
Do Egyptian Jewish refugees swear on their life to overtake Egypt? No!
Do Egyptian Jewish refugees encourage their children to carry out terrorist attacks against Egyptians? No!
What is the deference between Jewish refugees from Arab/Muslim countries and local Arabs from Israel? The answer is, detachment, dignity and the strength and resilience to move on.
The tweet arrived last week from a respected journalist. It read: “18 Palestinians killed in #Syria chemical attack.”
I subsequently checked other mainstream news sources to see if there were comments on the story. One of the few was Ma’an, the Palestinian news agency, which put the number killed at 31.
How revealing, I thought. Had the tweet read “18 Palestinians killed in #Israeli chemical attack,” it would likely have been all over the news, and countless non-governmental groups would have rushed to the ramparts.
But if Israel isn’t involved, it seems, the killing of Palestinian civilians just doesn’t arouse interest, much less anger.
No, this is nothing new, but it is still noteworthy.
There have also been other Palestinian victims in the Syrian civil war, singled out for who they are and what side they’re on, and they’ve been made to pay a heavy price. The reaction from the pro-Palestinian camp? Silence.
Meanwhile, the new Egyptian government, opposed to Hamas rule, has made life difficult for Gaza residents by destroying tunnels between Egypt and Gaza and closing the border at Rafah for days at a time.
But here, too, there’s been no international outcry or protests. To the contrary, even as Israel continues to permit the daily flow of goods into Gaza, the pro-Palestinian lobby curses Israel, while remaining largely mum about Egypt.
Again, nothing new, perhaps, but still noteworthy.
Egyptian military reportedly levels 6,000 square meters (64,500 square feet) of olive groves, claiming terrorists used them for camouflage to launch attacks against Egyptian border guards, and to smuggle fuel, goods, weapons and drugs.
If you’re getting your news about Egypt from the mainstream media and the Obama Administration, you’re probably feeling sorry for the “peaceful demonstrators” of the Muslim Brotherhood—but there’s a different side to the story; one that the Egyptian anti-Islamist activists are eager to show.
“Egypt is feeling severe bitterness towards some Western media coverage that is biased to the Muslim Brotherhood and ignores shedding light on violent and terror acts that are perpetrated by the group … ,” the Egyptian State Information Service said in an official statement on August 17.
The statement details facts that the Western media is not covering, such as the “peaceful” protestors’ damaging of public and private property including the burning and destruction of churches, storming of and damage to police stations and blocking of roads.
Foreign extremists from the Palestinian territories, Syria and Pakistan have joined the Egyptian militants in committing these acts of violence.
“[V]ehicles have entered Ramsis square, in Cairo downtown, carrying masked elements carrying the black flag of Al-Qaeda along with automatic weapons amid celebrations by the Muslim Brotherhood elements who were present in the square,” the State Information Service said.
Egyptian police have arrested a duck that they fear was sent by Israel as a spy, Egypt’s Al-Ahram news agency reports.
The bird was spotted by a fisherman in the Nile River, in the Qena region, as it swam with other birds. The fisherman noticed that the bird had a device attached to its feathers, which he feared could be used to gather information.
A security official told Al-Ahram that experts are examining the device to see if it could have been used to gather intelligence.
The Cairo-based paper El-Fagr expressed concern that the bird may have been sent by Israel, “which previously spied on Saudi Arabia, Turkey and neighboring countries using trained birds of prey.”
Israeli officials confirmed that the eagle bore a tracking device, but explained that it was for the simple purpose of tracking the bird itself, as part of a study to ensure the safety of the rare species.
Other bizarre animal-related accusations have included an Egyptian official’s complaint that the Mossad released attack sharks into Egyptian waters, and Palestinian Authority claims regarding attack boars and anti-Arab rats.
It seems that being “unafraid” of criticizing Israel also often means being unafraid of singling out Israel and employing double standards. Lisa Goldman’s work offers some nice illustrations: as eager as she is to accuse Israel of racism under the flimsiest of pretexts, she is determined to overlook massive evidence of Arab and Muslim Jew-hatred. That’s how she could write in March 2012 that Jews shouldn’t worry about Egyptian “bigotry” because, while “one hears quite a lot of old-fashioned anti-Semitic talk in Egypt,” Goldman was convinced that “Jew hatred is a relatively new, imported phenomenon that has little history in Egypt and does not seem to run very deep.”Never mind that Egypt’s ancient Jewish communities were ethnically cleansed, never mind that antisemitic tropes are used to entertain the masses, never mind that Egypt’s Islamists – for whom Jew-hatred is an integral part of their ideology – had taken power.
One picture is worth 1000 words.
Look at the hypocrisy of those who enjoy the democracy of Israel, but shamelessly continue to spit into the well from which they are drink from.
Personally I am a social democrat/liberal/centrist/conservative, reading from left to right. What works works; what is true is true; what is wrong is wrong. Forgetting that rather basic fact has been very bad for the West. It’s called honest pragmatism.
Furious editorials demanding an immediate cutoff of aid to Egypt in both the New York Times and the Washington Post tell the tale. We still don’t get it. These papers, like the rest of America’s establishment, have learned nothing from our misplaced optimism about the Arab Spring. There were never any true liberals in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood was never moderate. The revolts were driven by economic failure, not a craving for democracy. Democracy failed because nobody in Egypt truly understood or wanted it to begin with.
Nobody talks about the Middle East’s social system, not only Islam and its sectarian divisions, but the patterns of tribe and kin that govern so much of life in this part of the world. Political events in the Middle East cannot be understood in isolation from the fundamentals of social life. Yet in our “multicultural” age, taking culture seriously as something that can influence politics or block political and economic modernization is now taboo.
This leaves us naively hoping for a Middle Eastern future modeled on our own hugely different social assumptions. Not content to simply long for a “democratic transition,” we actually assume that one is taking place, even as events before our eyes disprove this fantasy at every stage. One man, one vote, one time. It happened in front of us, yet we refused to see it. Egypt’s secularists and military did see what was happening and took action. They weren’t democrats either, but at least they understood their opponents.
No peace without including the Muslim Brotherhood, which represents so much of Egypt? Quite right. No peace. What this argument fails to recognize is that the image of a national reconciliation that encompasses all parties in Egypt — the goal the Times and the Post want us to work toward –- is a chimera. The minimum consensus on social fundamentals necessary for democracy to function is simply not present in Egypt, and there is no reasonable prospect that it will be any time soon.
Play out scenarios of a “democratic transition” in Egypt in any serious way and you will see that the solution America’s right-thinking establishment is working toward in Egypt is no solution at all. (I’ll have more to say about this in the forthcoming issue of The Claremont Review of Books.)
What we ought to be doing now is tending to America’s key interests and giving up ill-founded fantasies of liberal democracy in a still thoroughly illiberal region. In any case, Times and Post notwithstanding, our capacity to influence events in Egypt is fast disappearing. With their literal and political survival at stake, the actors on the ground are no longer much subject to what we have to say. The Gulf states are giving more money than we are, and they want the Brotherhood crushed. So whether the military stabilizes Egypt or we get a civil war, it’s now largely out of our hands. The best we can do is keep the treaty with Israel intact and the Suez Canal open and secure.
Among other things, the American response to the events in Egypt show the utter pointlessness of American security guarantees in the present negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Authority. Even in the extremely unlikely event that Mohammed Abbas chose to make peace with Israel, he would face a high probability of civil war, just as Ireland’s independence leader Michael Collins did when he struck a deal with the British for an Irish “Free State” rather than a republic. Collins killed more Irishmen than the British did in the preceding independence struggle. I do not want to compare Abbas to Collins, and I do not think he has any attention of making peace with Israel. But American blundering in Egypt has closed out the option, for whoever makes peace with Israel will require a free hand with Iranian-backed rejectionists.
That is Christian life in Egypt today. When Mohamed Morsi came to power, things became considerably worse for them than under Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian military at least had the decency not to join in the attacks; local police were unpredictable. While Morsi delivered the usual blather about “peace, peace” to the cameras, his brownshirts were going to work on the Christians, & on many secularized Muslims, too. Pogroms are intrinsic to the Islamist conception of Shariah: religious minorities are to be exiled, enslaved, or exterminated. Attacks on them are celebrated as holy acts, & any assailant who manages to get himself killed in the course of the carnage is hailed as a martyr.
Notwithstanding the pusillanimity of our statesmen & media, & the veil of political correctness that we draw over our own heads, most people in the West know the score by now. We’d rather pretend that we did not know, but we know. All Egyptians most certainly know it. The great majority are reasonably decent people. Only the usual minority of thugs, who exist as a proportion in every society, join in the rampages. For the rest, as for the Germans under Hitler, the best thing is to look the other way. Why intervene, & thereby make yourself a target? Perhaps, make your whole family a target? And when it is all over, & the shame descends for what was done, & the truth begins to rise from the ashes, there is nothing else for it but, “We never knew!”
News reports out of Syria are airing graphic footage of extensive interior damage to the historic Khalid Ibn Al-Walid Mosque in Homs. Syrian government troops, backed by Hizballah fighters, captured the mosque from Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces on July
The masjid (its Arabic root means to prostrate, as in worship) is the place where shariah, believed to be the immutable law of Allah, is upheld and implemented. As such, it is the central structure in an Islamic society: it is a gathering place, place of worship, and a place for teaching Islamic doctrine—but also a base of operations, military operations, the command and control hub for the commanders of the Islamic armies to plan their next offensives in the incessant wars of conquest. They declared jihad [war in the cause of Islam] from the mosques. Official delegations from the tribes met at Islam’s early mosques; pledges of loyalty were given and accepted, alliances formed, and treaties proposed and signed. In this way, affairs of state were conducted in such mosques, underlining the intrinsically political nature of Islam from its earliest inception.
As Solomon points out in his 2007 monograph, “The Mosque Exposed,” because all Muslims are obligated to emulate Muhammad, modern mosques must model themselves on the first mosque the Muslim community established in Medina (after the 622 CE hijra [journey] from Mecca). Inasmuch as that original mosque was above all a political center, and only secondarily became the place for Muslim prayers, so to this day mosques serve multiple purposes: as places of worship, certainly, but also as centers of jihad, public policy, and shariah justice. As Yousef al-Qaradawi, the senior jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood, elaborated in a 2006 fatwa [answer to a question about religion],
"In the life of the prophet there was no distinction between what the people call sacred and secular, or religion and politics: he had no place other than the mosque for politics and other related issues. That established a precedent for his religion. The mosque at the time of the prophet was his propagation center and the headquarters of the state… From ancient times the mosque has had a role in urging jihad for the sake of Allah…"
Al-Qaradawi’s words echo those of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who, speaking in 1997, quoted the words of a 1912 poem, “The Soldier’s Prayer,” written by a Turkish poet: “The minarets are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the faithful our army.”
Could you ever imagine that the leading American newspaper would openly advocate siding with radical Islamist forces in the Middle East against all of America’s allies and friends, and with eyes wide
One of the most blatant, arrogant views of the American foreign policy establishment today is the frequency with which its members insist that leaders know nothing about their own countries. Thus, Obama, a man who has spent a few hours in Israel and has no empathy with it, can dare to say that he knows better what the country needs than does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Western policymakers and reporters never seem to read the Egyptian or any other Arab or Israeli press.
“Last weekend’s massacre of marchers supporting the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, will make national reconciliation and a return to democracy far more difficult.”
No kidding. First of all, there was never going to be conciliation. Second, the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t exactly eager to get national conciliation, a point the editorial and the Obama Administration never mention.
Every once in a while we see videos of anti-Israel rallies talking about how Israel is killing Palestinian Arabs (or Arab children) every day.
In early July, an Arab was killed after repeated warnings as he was apparently climbing onto an IDF vehicle (it was unclear if he was run over or shot.)
This was the only Palestinian Arab killed since the beginning of May by the IDF.
There were dozens killed in Lebanon as well but I couldn’t find a good estimate.
Also, there are Palestinian Arab children being killed nearly every day - in Syria.
You know how people like to refer to the “cycle of violence”? Well, look at this: when Israelis aren’t being killed, neither are Palestinian Arabs.