Israel and its American friends want to stop the Egyptian ‘earthquake’

on 30 Comments

The Israeli government and its many friends in the U.S. media are rushing to support the brutal Mubarak dictatorship as it copes with the most serious challenge to its rule.

As I noted yesterday, Israel is worried about a reliable ally being toppled next door. The Israeli government recently told journalists that there is “an earthquake in the Middle East … but we believe the Egyptian regime is strong enough and that Egypt is going to overcome the current wave of demonstrations.”

M.J. Rosenberg reports on “AIPAC’s Egypt miscalculation” at Media Matters.

Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic joins the lobby’s misgivings about the uprising in Egypt here:

Fifty years of peace has meant propping up dictators for fifty years.

3) Is that such a bad thing? Friends of mine like Reuel Gerecht believe that Arabs, given their druthers, might choose Islamist governments, and that would be okay, because it’s part of a long-term process of gradual modernization. I’m not so sure. I support democratization, but the democratization we saw in Gaza (courtesy of, among others, Condi Rice) doesn’t seem particularly worth it.

Lee Smith, a neoconservative at the Hudson Institute, laments in the Weekly Standard that Gamal Abdel Nasser “owns the affections of the Egyptian masses”:

That is to say, we don’t know exactly what the protestors want. There are those who hate the regime because it jails and tortures bloggers and those who hate it because it won’t make war on Israel. No doubt some of the young are just fed up they have never known another Egyptian ruler in their lifetimes. Some of the youth are democrats and others are decidedly not.

It is not always a good thing when people go to the streets; indeed the history of revolutionary action shows that people go to the streets to shed blood more often than they do to demand democratic reforms. Perhaps it is an appetite for activist politics that explains why so many Western observers are now captured by the moment. Otherwise, it would be hard to explain why it seems as if no one had learned from the failures of the Bush administration’s freedom agenda—namely the Palestinian Authority elections that empowered Hamas—or could remember its successes. The Iraqis and Lebanese went to the streets, too, and our allies there are under pressure and ignored not only by the Obama administration, but also by a press corps and intelligentsia that mostly seems just fascinated by the spectacle of Arabs throwing themselves against a wall, regardless of the outcome.

The posture of Goldberg and Smith is striking. They were certainly not airing such anti-democratic sentiments when the Iranian “Green Revolution” was going on. But now that a revolt is threatening a pillar of the U.S./Israeli order in the Middle East, an order that is suffocating the people of Palestine, their zest for democracy fizzles. This will be noted.

Alex Kane blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia in the U.S. here, where this post originally appeared.  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

30 Responses

  1. Potsherd2
    January 28, 2011, 5:56 pm

    They’re pulling out the “Muslim Brotherhood” card.

    • seafoid
      January 29, 2011, 2:21 pm

      They spent years laughing at the Yanks for missing the Shah’s downfall.
      They have the world’s most daring spies. They don’t know anything of value about their most important neighbour.

      YESHA was built on the foundation of peace with Egypt.

  2. Jim Haygood
    January 28, 2011, 7:18 pm

    ‘It would be hard to explain why it seems as if no one had learned from the failures of the Bush administration’s freedom agenda—namely the Palestinian Authority elections that empowered Hamas.’ — Lee Smith

    The two slow learners who flunked the class are the US and Israel. Nullifying the Palestinian elections in 2006 was a disaster. Five years later, they’re repeating the mistake by siding with the Egyptian torturer.

    Egypt’s revolution is the meteorite which may usher in the extinction of these two faux-democratic political dinosaurs.

    As every parent knows, hanging out with delinquent friends can corrupt a kid. Israel is the worst ‘friend’ the US ever had.

    • MRW
      January 28, 2011, 10:58 pm

      Israel is the worst ‘friend’ the US ever had.

      Absolutely correct.

      • yonira
        January 29, 2011, 8:13 pm


        how many of the 9/11 hijackers came from Israel? I would argue SA and Egypt would be the worst friends possible.

      • Citizen
        January 29, 2011, 10:20 pm

        9/11 was blowback for US absolute support of Israel’s crimes.

  3. Psychopathic god
    January 28, 2011, 7:28 pm

    Israel believes Egypt’s security forces will be able to suppress the protesters. “We believe that Egypt is going to overcome the current wave of demonstrations, but we have to look to the future,” he said. While it would be better if Egypt were a democracy, since “democracies do not initiate wars,” the minister said, “I’m not sure the time is right for the Arab region to go through the democratic process.”

    1. Israel would know that “democracies do not initiate wars.”

    2. Israel, that “democracy that does not initiate wars,” is definitely qualified to be the arbiter of when “it’s time for the Arab region to go through the democratic process.”


    If US takes this sitting down, then it’s time for the American people to rise up in revolution.

  4. yourstruly
    January 28, 2011, 9:40 pm

    can everyone feel it?

    the earth trembling?

    tunisia, its initial epicenter

    one dictator out
    the people in

    right now it’s centered in egypt

    one dictator out
    the people in

    with yemen and jordan soon to follow

    meanwhile, in washington d.c. – “Who lost egypt?”

    except egypt never was america’s to lose

    belonging as it always has to the egyptian people

    until, that is, its supposed leaders sold it to the u.s. of a. for chump change and a few guns to use against the people

    who now are taking it back

    with notices going up throughout the land

    “egypt not for sale”

  5. MRW
    January 28, 2011, 11:00 pm

    M.J. Rosenberg reports on “AIPAC’s Egypt miscalculation” at Media Matters.

    I love his ass. This man is a mensch. M.J. Rosenberg writes the truth.

    • sherbrsi
      January 29, 2011, 2:27 am

      His article is required reading. Thanks for pointing it out.

      “I am often accused of harping on the lobby’s baleful influence. I plead guilty. But it’s my obligation because (1) I know from personal experience — 15 years on Capitol Hill and four at AIPAC — how it operates, (2) I know how little it really cares about Israel, and (3) I am free to tell the truth about it. If I worked in the mainstream media or in the U.S. government, I wouldn’t be.”

  6. iamuglow
    January 28, 2011, 11:05 pm

    I love the scarmongering bit that maybe the Egyptians hate their government because…..

    ‘it won’t make war on Israel.’ (!)

    haha..oh come on…there are plenty of degrees between totally subservience and war. Its far more likely most Egyptians would be happy with something in the middle.

  7. Avi
    January 28, 2011, 11:30 pm

    Goldberg’s writing drips with latent racism and smug orientalism.

    because it’s part of a long-term process of gradual modernization […] doesn’t seem particularly worth it.

    Worth it to whom? And who nominated the smug and arrogant Goldberg the master?

    • MRW
      January 28, 2011, 11:57 pm

      Avi: great. ;-)

    • sherbrsi
      January 29, 2011, 1:50 am

      Latent? You’re putting it lightly. It’s explicitly racist. “Democracy” along our lines and interests, or to hell with it (don’t bother him about it). Everything has to fall right in place for him and other imperialist Zionist masters, everything must be viewed within the sphere of Israeli (and US backed) regional hegemony. If there is any contradiction or threat to such designs or authority, democratic rights for the Arab population aren’t “worth it.”

      Chomsky described the American establishment and others of Goldberg’s ilk perfectly: “they have a profound hatred of democracy.”

  8. southernobserver
    January 29, 2011, 2:00 am

    “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch”.

    To be honest I have never understood this quote (or more likely unverbalised policy). how can it possibly be worthwhile sacrificing all your principles to support a regime that spits on them, and exploits and tortures its own people? Observation obviously says that I am thinking wrong, but why? Anyway things may be looking up for Egypt and Tunisia, but definitely no thanks to us in the ‘west’.

  9. seafoid
    January 29, 2011, 2:28 am

    Israeli ppp gdp per head $24100
    Egyptian $4950

    The only way to maintain such differences is via dictatorship.

  10. VR
    January 29, 2011, 3:00 am

    So I am going to ask a simple question – now that you are all armchair revolutionaries. What brought change faster, what I have advocated since the inception of this site or what has been the distanced and direct opposition to what I have advocated? As you can imagine I have been very busy of late, hence the few posts -one final question: if this is what generates true change swiftly (what we see transpiring in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and more to come soon) why is it not the choice in America? It is not over by a long shot, and should be the serious consideration of those (us) in the belly of the beast, otherwise things will just get worse here. What time is it?

    WAKE UP!

    • Kathleen
      January 29, 2011, 2:44 pm

      Our peaceful protest before and against the invasion of Iraq barely got a peep out of our MSM. Hundreds of thousands protested on the streets of D.C., New York, and around the nation millions. Chris Matthews, CNN, etc not a peep. Millions around the world. Too bad peaceful demonstrations are not covered.

      Too bad it often takes violence to get their attention.

      If Americans started protesting like Egyptians on the streets, rioting, starting fires we would be thumped bumped and thrown into prison pronto at the very least. More likely would be shot down…pronto

      • Psychopathic god
        January 29, 2011, 4:00 pm

        the irony is killing me.

        Americans would be tear gassed in the streets by canisters manufactured in Pennsylvania by a company displaying the Israeli flag, by police who have been trained in crowd control by ADL, using databases and camera/monitors created by Israeli corporations.

      • VR
        January 29, 2011, 7:31 pm

        I guess you will remain on your knees, because the methodologies you are employing will move nothing – that is all I have to say.

  11. seafoid
    January 29, 2011, 3:39 am

    Rosenberg is on the ball.

    “Of course, no one would even be worried about the peace treaty if the Israelis had agreed to implement the critical second part of the Camp David Accords. That was the part that would have ended the occupation. But the Israelis chose to ignore it and the lobby and the ever-faithful Congress blocked Carter’s efforts to push it through.”

    And that is why there are half a million Jewish colonists in the West Bank and Israel needs Mubarak more than Egypt needs Israel.

  12. Theo
    January 29, 2011, 1:40 pm

    ” he is a mensch…..”

    Many liberal jews are good mensch, but do not have the courage to speak up, at least not until now. To open their mouth against Israel ment discrimination from neocons and possible loss of a job, see Helen Thomas and others.
    It is my earnest desire that jews will head the movement that brings down the US/Israel empire, force Israel to become a real democracy and to offer equal rights to all its citizens. Not to forget the withdrawal to the pre 1967 borders, allowing the return of refugees and return all US troops where they belong, to the USA.

    • Psychopathic god
      January 29, 2011, 4:01 pm

      and pay reparations.

      NOT ONE DIME of US taxpayer money should go to Israel or Palestine: THAT is for Israel to pay and pay and pay.

      This time, the US must not be the freier.

      • seafoid
        January 29, 2011, 5:16 pm

        The US doesn’t have the wherewithal to pay reparations to the Palestinians. The US is broke.

        Pottery barn rules. Israel broke Palestine, Israel pays.

      • Citizen
        January 30, 2011, 9:07 am

        While Obama keeps Dennis Ross close, the pottery barn rules do not apply. You forget already about those expensive F-35s we were willing to give Israel for a few months settlement stoppage? Not to worry, just putting America’s grandchildren in hock up to their necks before they finish high school.

  13. seafoid
    January 29, 2011, 2:29 pm

    link to

    Robin Niblet, director at Chatham House

    “If Egypt stepped in that direction [of political Islam] implications for Israel and Israel’s security could be very serious indeed.”

    This Ha’aretz article is a real stunner . Zionism might have to grow up real fast.

    link to

    ” Israel’s increasing isolation in the region, coupled with a weakening United States, will force the government to court new potential allies.

    The “cold peace” with Egypt was the most important strategic alliance Israel had in the Middle East. The security provided by the alliance gave Israel the chance to concentrate its forces on the northern front and around the settlements. Starting in 1985, peace with Egypt allowed for Israel to cut its defense budget, which greatly benefited the economy.

    Now, with Mubarak struggling over the survival of his government, Israel is left with two strategic allies in the region: Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.”

    The emperor has no clothes.

    • Psychopathic god
      January 29, 2011, 4:08 pm

      Surely Iran would be happy to ally with Israel — oh, wait; that assassination thing with the nuclear scientists;

      Surely Syria would be happy to ally with Israel — oh, wait; that bombing thing;

      Surely Lebanon would be happy to ally with Israel — oh, wait; that orgy of destruction in 2006;

      Surely Turkey would be happy to ally with Israel — oh, wait; nine Turks killed on Mavi Marmara;

      There’s always Libya.

      You reap what you sow.

      • seafoid
        January 29, 2011, 4:47 pm

        Don’t worry, Lieberman has all the answers.

      • lobewyper
        January 29, 2011, 8:29 pm

        PG: This is hilarious!

  14. Potsherd2
    January 29, 2011, 7:55 pm

    Right now, the main beneficiaries of this upheaval are Iran and Lebanon. BYahoo won’t dare start another war while the defenses on his left flank is collapsing.

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