Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lasting thoughts from the most recent trip to Israel

Item #1, the Arab Spring has produced a short summer and I fear Winter is Coming Ned Stark.  Tunisia, the first of the Arab revolutions, is still stuck in the crossroads between the stability from the military and the liberal secular/Islamist revolutionaries.  One thing for certain, everybody fears the Islamist movements.  News regarding Tunisia has been pushed from the back pages to oblivion as bigger and potentially more dangerous events unfold in Libya, Egypt, and Syria.
Item #2, make no mistake about it, the Egyptian military is in control and after granting the new revolutionary council some space to form a new constitution, the military has resumed some of the same suppression tactics of the Mubarak government.  Is that a step backward:  Not at all.  The recent attacks on the Israeli embassy and the general lawlessness of the Sinai have demonstrated that the liberal secular revolutionaries are losing out the Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood.   They are losing out because they are disorganized like a bunch of frat boys screaming ‘Freebird” at a Skynyrd revival concert.  I am all for the seeds of Democracy to flourish in the previously barren wastelands of dictatorships and tyrannical hegemony, but if that democracy brings a Hamas or Hezbollah like result, I am sorry but I will take Hosni over Hamas any day.
Items #3, the pending UN vote regarding Palestinian statehood.  Let me start by saying that a legitimate demilitarized unified Palestinian state with relations with Israel is a good thing.  The problem is that the splintered Palestinian body is not ready for statehood.  The Fatah and Hamas split and the latter’s continuous attacks on Israeli citizens and its failure to acknowledge and respect the sovereignty of Israel make statehood a nonstarter.  As long as Iran continues to arm the terrorists in Gaza and the Egyptian government cannot control the flow of weapons to the murderers, the U.S. will justifiably veto any motion in the UN Security Council.
Item #4, Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, who wants his Turkish Taffy and eat it too.   Erdogan realizes he needs the Western Markets and the NATO Alliance members for investment and markets for his country’s goods and services.  But he also wants to be the leader of the Muslim world, the counter balance to Iran.  He also has visions of being the man who leads the Arab populace against tyranny. And it’s here where he has badly overplayed his hand.  While he did receive a raucous ovation in Cairo, Arabs, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood, did not care for his self-promotion and grandstanding.  
So where does this leave Israel?  Potentially further isolated in a sea of hate based on this simple assertion: The Arab World is jealous of the State of Israel.  Yes it’s that simple.  The Arab nationalist movement has been a dismal failure in spite of sitting on the world’s most profitable natural resource.  The Arab street feels deep hatred for Israel that cannot be explained by the Arab tyrannies.  It is essentially racism born of ignorance and jealousy.  They are the poor ignorant kids who live on the other side of the tracks and as long as western nations, the Turks, and Iranians treat them as such, they will be a failure.
Perhaps Rashid Khalidi and other enlightened Arabs should worry more about educating their people and building community like the Jews and the Israelis and less about what they think their people deserve.
It’s that simple.

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