Ehud Olmert seems to have, single-handedly, inspired great respect in the hearts and minds of Israel's Arab neigbours. Where military victories, prosperous economy, excellent education, have failed to yield in the Arab world any acknowledgement of admiration for Israel, his corruption investigation has...
The Jerusalem Post has rounded up a few quotes from the Arab blogosphere:
* Rashid Bohairi in Kuwait: "I swear Israel is a state that will succeed. They are prosecuting their prime minister because of tens of thousands of dollars. What about the millions of dollars that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority stole? How come the Palestinian people are still hungry?"
* Hani in Ramallah: "This is democracy at its best! Enough of dictatorship in the Arab world! Let's learn from the Israeli example. Let's benefit from Israel's democracy."
* Abu Yusef in Egypt: "Unfortunately, this is the real democracy. Our enemies are very good in practicing democracy. In the Arab world, our leaders steal everything and no one ever dares to ask a question."
* Another comment, this time from Ahmed in Jordan, also referred to the alleged amount: "Only a few thousand dollars? What a fool! This is what an Egyptian minister gets in a day or what a Saudi CEO gets in 45 minutes, or a Kuwaiti government official in five minutes. This is what the physician of the emir of Qatar gets every 30 seconds."
To me these reactions suggest the obvious: the great thirst that exists in the Middle East for more decent political systems, for the prevalence of principles of accountability and lawfulness, for, in short, the benefits of democracy. It's what the Arab regimes most fear about Israel: its beaconing example. This fear accounts for 90% of the intransigence of this conflict. As soon as the masses get to understand this basic truth, their leaders will no longer be able to dupe them, unconditionally.
Alas, I fear that the wages of century-long socialization of the Arab world into wishing for the demise of Zionism and Israel, are going to remain effective for a very long time to come.
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Tuesday, June 03, 2008