Israel: Democracy’s Shining Light in the Middle East

A Zionist friend of mine once told me that he supported the nation of Israel not because he was Jewish, but because Israel was a Democracy. Israel gives Arabs the vote and even has Arab members of the Knesset. He didn’t mention that Israel was created, in accordance with Zionist ideology, so that Arabs could never be in the majority, with Jews having rights of nationhood and Arabs having only residential rights. He was, however, quick to remind me that the Arab States that surrounded the Zionist state, and sought its destruction at every turn, were shameless dictatorships. Well, that situation seems to be changing somewhat and you might think that Zionists all over the world, not just in Israel, would be applauding such a move. But you would be greatly mistaken.

The dictatorships that plague the lives of Arabs throughout the Middle East have long acted with the blessing of Israel’s greatest ally in the world: the U.S. Any Arab state that has decided not to put U.S. strategic and economic interest as a national priority, has faced dire consequences regardless of the fact that the other Arab states that the U.S. does support, have human rights records no better than the Arab states that the U.S. now seeks to punish. Strategic and economic interests have always trumped human rights issues in U.S. foreign policy. These Arab dictatorships have longed to have normalised relations with the Zionist State because of the economic benefits that would ensue. The only thing stopping them has been the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza. At a popular level, the Arab world cries out for justice and self determination for the Palestinians far more than the Arab elite do. For the Arab dictatorships to go ahead and normalise relations with Israel, while the occupation continued, would risk massive popular revolt. A lack of democracy in the Arab states has long been in the interests of the Israelis.

Pro-democracy movements in the Arab world have received little support from the U.S., if not outright opposition. The only difference is that the current pro-democracy movement is simply too big to be controlled or silenced. Democratic countries are difficult for the U.S. to control. It is a much easier option to install a U.S. friendly dictator or buy off an already existing one. It has long been a habit of Christian Zionists to demonise the Arab and Islamic world with this charge of Arabs not being civilised enough for the European invention that is democracy. This claim is about to be shown up as the lie it has always been.

Craig Nielsen
ACTION FOR PALESTINE

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