My thoughts on Egypt have been modest. I have not said much about it at all. Of course my sympathies are with those who have risen up against Mubarak, but I also wonder where this will all lead – and not all the possible longer term outcomes are attractive.
But I did post a video last week.
This led to the following storm in which my toleration for cliche and bullshit took a severe battering.
Kevin On January 31, 2011 at 1:29 am
This is very bad. As oppressive as Mubarak is, I suspect the new fundamentalist muslim overlords that Egypt inevitably puts in power next will outdo him.
I hope I’m wrong.
Kevin On January 31, 2011 at 11:46 pm
Neil On February 1, 2011 at 8:53 am
Such a shame when we discover that democracy does not always equal the interests of the USA.
The Arab world has been on holiday from history for four decades. As the number of democracies worldwide tripled and representative government flourished on every continent as never before, only one region has been in a state of suspended animation.
Until now. The arrested development of the Arab world appears to be approaching an end.
Spontaneous uprisings in Tunisia and now Egypt have revealed the terrible truth that the region’s dictators had been desperately trying to hide: that the people have power if they choose to exercise it, that the repression is a relic, that autocracy is no longer the norm but an aberration…
How has the Middle East remained somehow immune to one of the great movements in world history? The two answers are oil and US support, and the two are closely intertwined…
Kevin On February 1, 2011 at 11:31 am
Such a shame when we discover that democracy does not always equal the interests of the USA.
Holy cow. THAT’S what you learned from that video? It takes a certain whiny hippie type of person to twist a video such as that into an excuse to bash America. I had no idea you were that type of person. And now that I DO know it, I’m sad. Thanks a lot, ya jerk .
Neil On February 1, 2011 at 11:49 am
I was referring to the whole event, not just that video.
Of course you’d expect anti-Israel rhetoric to appear among the voices in Egypt. They see the dictator Mubarak as having been kept in place with US connivance because of US Israel policy, and they aren’t wrong about that.
That does not mean I support the destruction of Israel.
Kevin On February 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm
“Of course you’d expect anti-Israel rhetoric to appear among the voices in Egypt.”
And of course, such comments are acceptable to a multiculturalist who is pro-multiculturalism except when it pertains to Jews. Imagine if they were saying that about Australia, and they were in Tasmania. Would you so easily dismiss the statements? I’m growing discouraged with you, Neil.
Neil On February 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm
Having discussed the issue with Israeli friends over the years, and got more sense from them than I do from you, I stand by what I say.
Kevin On February 2, 2011 at 5:55 am
Yes, I totally believe that you have Jewish friends. The most antisemitic blogger in Australia sans muslims is pals with Jews. (your statement is as idiotic as a racist claiming ‘some of my best friends are black’. You should be ashamed, and I hope you are.)
This just in: 82% of muslims in Egypt think that removal of the clitoris should be codified into law. 84% think stoning is a good punishment for adultery. 84% believe that death is a good punishment for leaving islam.
This is a rare case where democracy will CURTAIL freedom. I guess you’re right when you say that it will not benefit the USA, since any increase in freedom benefits America (and other free nations), and this will not accomplish that goal. But get politics out of your head! This will be disastrous for the women of Egypt. That’s a bit more important.
Kevin On February 2, 2011 at 6:14 am
And so it begins. In Tunisia. Egypt’s next.
Neil On February 2, 2011 at 6:51 am
To quote a colleague from Masada College, an Orthodox Jewish school I worked in, a former tank commander in the Israeli army: “If I were Palestinian I would join the PLO tomorrow.”
So the US only cares about democracy in other countries when it suits them to do so — a.k.a, hypocrisy.
I guess their Saudi pals understand.
What the Islamic world needs is more Indonesias and fewer Saudi Arabias.
How dare you accuse me of anti-Semitism! Have you been in synagogue for Yom Ha Shoah, the day of remembrance for the Holocaust? Have you met Holocaust survivors? I have.
If you want to know what Jews may think about Israel, see Tikkun.
Personally I think Jerusalem should be no-one’s capital, but rather an international city as was originally proposed when the UN created the state of Israel. I also think the west bank settlements and the wall have been tragic mistakes.
I’ve been on about this often enough: 33 posts tagged Israel
I notice this morning too comment from notorious anti-Semite Daniel Levy via fellow anti-Semite M J Rosenberg:
Daniel Levy of the New America Foundation, one of the sharpest thinkers on all matters Middle Eastern, does not buy the idea that President Hosni Mubarak ever was a force for “stability” in the region.
On the contrary, according to Levy’s latest piece in Foreign Policy’s Middle East Channel “Mubarak’s heavy-handed security and intelligence apparatus probably created more terrorists than it intercepted.”
Nor does Levy believe that Mubarak helped advance peace…
Then there’s that anti-Semite evangelical Christian Jim Wallis:
It’s time to be a little more honest about Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak is a dictator, and has run a brutal and corrupt police state for three decades. Why did it take thousands of Egyptians pouring into the street to get the U.S. media to say that? Or to get the U.S. government to admit that there might be a problem there? How many times have there been reports on Egypt’s tyrannical government’s behavior and systematic violation of human rights over the last 30 years? Why has the U.S government provided more aid to Egypt’s repressive regime to any other country except Israel? Why don’t many Americans even know that? And why have American presidents and Secretaries of State consistently wrapped their arms around Hosni Mubarak and never bothered to mention his regime’s brutal repression? Smiling at joint press events in Cairo and Washington never created any problems — until now…
Clearly there are plenty of people in the USA not captive to the Right Wing Groupthink on Israel. Why don’t you break out of your cave and see what they say, Kevin? This is not to deny the outcome of recent events may well be challenging.
Kevin On February 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm
I’m not buying it. Just a few weeks ago your knowledge of Israel was that it was just a bunch of different types of Jews. No one with even a single Jewish friend would believe such tripe.
I also get that because the left suffers from groupthink as taught by their masters in the media, you are trying to project the same thing upon us. It’s not going to work, but I won’t be offended if you keep trying it. It’s pretty humorous, actually.
“So the US only cares about democracy in other countries when it suits them to do so — a.k.a, hypocrisy.”
I don’t see it that way. The US government only cares about the US government. That may be skeevy, but it’s not hypocritical.
Anyway, I’m freezing to death atm. Global warming is going to turn us all into ice cubes up here, so debate and discussion is not my top priority right now. Hope you Aussies are doing well! Create some CO2 for me please. Thanks in advance!
Neil On February 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm
Just a few weeks ago…. [Just a few weeks ago your knowledge of Israel was that it was just a bunch of different types of Jews.]
What the hell are you raving about? See that badge? That’s where I was working over 20 years ago. Many of the staff were Israeli. The school flew the Israeli and Australian flags. We sang the Israeli national anthem. We talked to one another.
It was also the only place I’ve ever worked where I had to sign a document before getting a job there saying I would oppose racism and raise environmental issues in my classes wherever possible.
They were fervent multiculturalists and Orthodox Jews. They were supporters of multiculturalism because that enabled their school to exist here. They had a range of views from “the only good Arab is a dead Arab” through to the woman I quoted. Yes, the tank commander was a woman.
Surrounded by Israelis and Jews*. I am back row left.
I think I know more about Israel than you do. The people I met were generally wonderful, but conflicted too as when they were not Israelis they were South African Jews — and yes they did have a sneaking suspicion that Israel was looking more and more like South Africa under apartheid and sadly the past twenty years have only made this more so.
Much more recently at SBHS my colleague Betsy — whose mother-in-law survived Dr Mengele — and I often used to discuss Israel. Betsy’s sister-in-law was one of the Israelis evacuated from Gaza before the occupied territory was handed back. Betsy went to Israel whenever she could. She though the Israeli government in the past decade or two had been really bad for the country.
Not just Betsy. Try reading Haaretz instead of whatever right-wing source you usually use. Expose yourself to Combatants for Peace, just one of many attempts to see the Israel question differently. Americans would do themselves and the world a real favour by endorsing the best rather than the worst in Israel. Obama has tried to, perhaps, but it still isn’t enough.
Supporting dictators who did favours to them has been a bad feature of US foreign policy for decades. No wonder half the world sees their professions about democracy and human rights as more than a bit hypocritical.
Who, aside from my own reading and my own conscience, is my master, Kevin?
* Israelis and Jews: not all Israelis like to be called Jews, as they regard that as a religious identification. A couple of people in the photo were Israeli atheists or agnostics. Of course many of the people in the photo are Jews (Australian or South African) but not Israelis. Many of the Israelis were employed to boost the school’s Hebrew and Jewish Studies programs, being native Hebrew speakers. Perhaps 10% of the staff were neither Israeli nor Jewish — this included me.
The boss once wished us non-Jews Merry Christmas at Easter. Still, it’s the thought that counts.
Sadly so many conversations on this topic go this way, but often even worse.
Trouble is there have been so many paradoxes here all down the line.
- “A home for Jews in Palestine” (Balfour Declaration) was never the same as “a state for Jews instead of Palestine” – the de facto situation.
- Increasingly the state of Israel has had a choice between being a democracy with all citizens having equal rights and equal power whatever their ethnic and religious background OR a state essentially for Jews only. Unfortunately the pull and push has led down the second path. Those on both sides prepared to embrace democracy have seen their voices drowned out by dogmatists and extremists.