The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

BHL: Arab Spring will be good for the Jewish State

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The pro-Israel, pro-Arab Spring Huffington Post affords influential French Zionist Bernard-Henri Lévy the opportunity to reassure “the heirs of the great Zionist dream” that they shouldn’t be unduly “worried” about the revolutions in the Arab world:

I am hard put to see how a country can be be proud — rightly so and for such a long time — of being the sole democracy in the Middle East and yet hesitate to welcome its neighbors when they attempt to join it, embracing, at the cost of heroic combat, the values it has exemplified.

I cannot imagine an Israel that, alone among the great democracies, would retreat into I don’t know what reserve, nurturing the suspicion (and, God knows, rumors and conspiracy theories, thus suspicion, run rampant in this part of the world!) that, through fear of an uncertain future, they have bet on the wrong horse and — unpardonable mistake in the merciless realm of realpolitik — sided with the losers.

And what impression of itself would a people give who, rightly and incessantly, repeat, “We don’t have a problem with the Arab people (with whom we are ready to live on good terms and in peace should they wish to as well), but with the hardliners (Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.)” and yet, when the youth rise up, immature no doubt but seeking freedom from all dictatorship (including that of the Muslim Brotherhood and other jihad-inspired groups), hesitate to extend a hand and grant them at least a chance?

But there is more than that.

Whatever the merit of a Mubarak who was able to maintain the peace treaty signed by his predecessor Sadat, there exists a simple but constant law: fragile is the contract that depends solely upon the will of one man, moreover a dictator, who is not only mortal but, as we now know, vulnerable. The same contract would be solid if, as seems to be the case in Cairo, it were validated, confirmed, re-legitimized by the élite, the army and, perhaps tomorrow, a middle class to whom it would no longer be presented as an obligation, a bitter pill, a punishment.

In Libya, whatever the order that will replace the disorder and the arbitrary currently in force, whatever the measure of residual antisemitism left by a regime that hammered the population with its slogans and disseminated its literature (The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, bestseller in all the bookstores) for long and heavy years, I find that one has a strangely short memory. For ultimately, can there be a worse solution for Israel than a Gaddafi who has bankrolled terrorism, blown up synagogues, given asylum or honors to the vilest of negationists and who, only recently, when he was supposed to have calmed down, multiplied his threats and provocations? (Just two among many were the episode of the new ship bound for Gaza, sent on July 10th to “avenge” the Turkish “humanitarian flotilla” and, the following month, the Guide’s address at the opening of the African Union summit in Tripoli, where he bellowed that the Israelis were “a gang,” that they were “behind all of Africa’s conflicts,” and that “their embassies” should be immediately and forcibly closed.)

This is all the more so because these Arab revolutions have already produced still another effect — at least as important, ultimately, as the eventual hijacking of the movement by an Iran which, one might remark in passing, all being fair in love and geopolitical war, nothing prevents from countering the machinations without delay. Here is a people crushed under the boot and subject, for 42 years, to the deadly disinformation that has been pounded into them. Here is a people who have been convinced, then, that all the world’s misfortunes come from a methodically demonized Israel. And here they are, this people, who discover they have had another, even more dreadful adversary, one that wears the face of their own state and its mercenary brutality.

Suddenly, that changes everything.

This re-entry into the real world, where it is an Arab leader who promises his “brothers” he will drown them in “rivers of blood,” is a tragic but significant event.

And without judging what the future may bring, without excluding the possibility that new demagogues may one day return to raise the bogeyman, I am inclined to believe that a threshold has been crossed and that it will be a little more difficult, on this point and others as well, to fool a people who, in combat, are learning the truth.

It is first of all for love of what is right and hatred of tyranny that I have taken sides with free Libya.

But it is also because, as I said even in Benghazi, before gatherings of people from whom I never hid my belonging to one of the world’s most ancient tribes, I believe this revolution serves the cause of peace.


Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

May 6, 2011 at 8:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. BHL’s assurances reflect the differences of opinion even among the Zionist elite. He is more of a risk taker–revolutionary change in the region will benefit Israel. Other Zionists are more qualified in their support for the revolutionary change, and this exists even among the neocons, who appear to be more risk-oriented. The more cautious want to direct the revolutionary wave solely against Israel’s current major enemies–Iran, and to a lesser extent Syria. The moderately cautious want revolutions to take place throughout the region but want to make sure the US is closely involved in order to direct the revolutions away from radical Islam and anti-Zionism. In short. there is a real fear that the pro-Western monarchies–which are only moderately or even superficially anti-Israel–could be transformed into regimes far more hostile to Israel. And this would be the result in most of these countries if the regimes became more democratic. This would make it appear that many Zionists do not have full confidence in Oded Yinon’s ethno-religious fragmentation thesis, at least at this time given (the perception of) possible Iranian involvement in the affairs of other countries. Most want the fragmentation to take place in selective countries–namely, a fragmentation of those countries strongly hostile to Israel.

    Stephen Sniegoski

    May 8, 2011 at 11:11 am

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