The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Does Israel support counterrev​olution in Arab world? A response to Philip Weiss

with 4 comments

Regarding Philip Weiss’s recent post “Lobbying for Syrian dictatorship, Israel leaves no doubt about its support for counterrevolution in Arab world,” I believe there’s far stronger evidence, contrary to the assertions of Ben Wedeman and Ted Koppel, that Israel is actually supportive of revolution throughout the Arab world.

The clearest example of Israeli support for pro-democracy Arab dissidents is an organization called It was launched in 2008 by the Adelson Institute, then chaired by Natan Sharansky. The Adelson Institute was located at the Netanyahu-linked Shalem Center, financed by Ronald Lauder and on whose board Bill Kristol sits. Directed by Sharansky protégé, David Keyes, was created “to research and focus attention on the online activities of democracy advocates and dissidents in the Middle East, in the hope of empowering them at home and raising awareness of their plight abroad.” Advising Keyes was neocon guru Bernard Lewis, who would have been very much at home at the 2007 Prague conference organized by Sharansky on “Democracy & Security” (whose participants reminded one Middle East analyst of Murder, Inc!). Also in attendance were some of the neocons’ favourite Arab dissidents. All of this is covered in more detail in my article “Arab Dissidents’ Strange Bedfellows.”

Moreover, is only the tip of the iceberg. Check out, for example, the Saban Center’s Project on Middle East Democracy and Development (MEDD), WINEP’s Project Fikra, and the CFR’s Middle East Program to see how keenly pro-Israelis have for some time been promoting “democratic change” throughout the Middle East. Then there’s the prominence of pro-Israelis at “democracy promotion” near-governmental organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House, as well as “NGOs” like the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (a subject which Jeff Blankfort and I recently discussed on his radio programme). There’s also Joshua Muravchik’s 2009 book, The Next Founders: Voices of Democracy in the Middle East. In fact, the list of pro-Israelis who have enthusiastically backed what Shimon Peres approvingly refers to as the Arab “awakening” goes on and on…


Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

May 10, 2011 at 9:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. That Israel pretends to prefer the continuation of the Assad regime is not just posturing, it also communicates a supremacist notion that Israel has the status of determining Syria’s leadership.

    This attitude is also evidenced by many of those Westerners, especially lite-Zionists, who fell into line supporting aggression on yet another Islamic nation, Libya.

    Depriving nations of sovereignty or self-determination is not even progressive or liberal as these people like to think of themselves.


    May 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm

  2. Phil Weiss, being a sort of extremely soft left liberal, uses ‘counter-revolution’ in an uninformed way. The term should be used only in relation to a ‘revolution’ that meets some standard definitions, rather than the completely ambiguous and still unfolding events in the Arab world, which certainly do not qualify on this score. You yourself, Maidhc, seem on the other hand to accept that the regime changes that the US neolibs, neocons and Israel-firsters are attempting to orchestrate can be referred to as’revolutions’. In fact, such events as the Egyptian regime change do not qualify as ‘revolutions’, and so any attempts by Israel and others to coopt them do not qualify as ‘counter-revolutions’. It is not surprising that people with different ideological affectations should immediately disagree about which particular attempted regime change or reaction to it is a ‘revolution’ and which a ‘counter-revolution’.


    May 11, 2011 at 5:19 am

  3. To clarify my position, I don’t consider the regime changes orchestrated by pro-Israeli advocates of “democratic change” to be genuine revolutions. In this sense, Israel is in fact a counterrevolutionary force in the Arab world, but not in the sense that Philip Weiss believes it to be counterrevolutionary.

    Maidhc Ó Cathail

    May 11, 2011 at 8:11 am

  4. If I have understood Phil Weiss correctly, he has a typically left-liberal idea of ‘revolution’, diluted to the point of almost complete meaninglessness, something like a Che Guevara t-shirt.



    May 11, 2011 at 8:26 am

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