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Military dictatorships are good for Israel

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That’s what the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), an international news agency serving Jewish community newspaper and media around the world seem to be promoting.  The headline was clear:

“Egyptian military’s anti-democratic moves may benefit Israel”

The article by JTA staffer Uriel Heilman went on to say “Egypt’s military coup is now nearly complete. That may be distressing for Egyptian democracy, but it could help the Israel-Egypt relationship.”

This may also be distressing for millions of Egyptians and the cause of freedom and human rights, but there is no mention of that in the article, of course.  No, the only focus here is that what is “good for Israel.”

What do they mean by the phrase “good for Israel”? I suggest that they have not the good of the Israeli people at heart, but it is good for the preservation of an unjust status quo that enables Israel to oppress Palestinians without consequence, while still enjoying “normal” relations with a neighboring state (that just happens to be under a military dictatorship, for now).

If the editors at JTA really had the good of the Israeli people as their prime objective, or if they really cared about Israel’s international status, it would work tirelessly to end all oppression and support full freedom for all people, including Palestinians and Egyptians.

It is tragic that they instead chose to declare beneficial moves toward continued oppression of the Egyptian people because it is politically expedient to preserve Israel’s apartheid rule over Palestinians.

What makes this cheering for military dictatorship even more ironic and even irrational is that they seem oblivious to the fact that this move by the Egyptian military is quite possibly a very temporary arrangement that may be overthrown by the collective will of the Egyptian people.  Tens of thousands are on the streets in Egypt and are not taking this military coup lightly. The people of Egypt do not seem they are going to throw away the hard-won gains from earlier this year without a massive struggle. Even if the military wins in the short-term this is clearly not sustainable.

Finally, have the editors at JTA not given any thought to the millions of Americans, especially young people, Jewish and non-Jewish, who will ponder why stalwart supporters of Israel find it so necessary to support all sorts of oppression, not only of Palestinians, but also now clearly, and without apology, of Egyptians?  What kind of system are they supporting that it can be so indifferent to, indeed, even dependent on, the suffering of others? Don’t be surprised if the answers many come up with are not so beneficial to the status quo.

Jim Harris
About Jim Harris

Jim Harris is a founder of the “Stop AIPAC” website that supports and documents protests of AIPAC around the country in support of peace in the Middle East

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86 Responses

  1. hophmi
    hophmi on June 24, 2012, 1:15 pm

    If you’re going to harp on the question of why an Egyptian military dictatorship is better for democratic, liberal Israel (and, let’s be honest, democratic, liberal America) I think you should at least consider why a democratic, illiberal, Islamic Egypt where women have fewer rights, rhetoric is more belligerent, and so on, is worse for Western democracies.

    You seem to assume that the mob rule that often results in new democracies (and also resulted in the United States when it was new) is automatically better in all ways than what came before, even if the result is Jew-hatred, reduced rights for minorities and women, and less order in society.

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright on June 24, 2012, 2:12 pm

      ‘(and also resulted in the United States when it was new) ‘

      ? There was no ‘mob rule’ in the United States when it was new. I’m aware of the Whiskey Rebellion or something, but that was hardly ‘mob rule.’

      And in any case, the United States was neither founded as, nor pretended to be, a democracy. ‘Democracy’ was still a bad word back then. Property qualifications for the franchise, etc were still quite alright — and indeed, considered right and proper. We became a democracy about fifty years later — to the frank disgust of many. Get your facts straight.

    • traintosiberia
      traintosiberia on June 24, 2012, 4:45 pm

      You are one of the the lights unto the unwashed! Now they will stop using the word “Islamofasism” and opt for “Mob rule”.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on June 24, 2012, 11:19 pm

        I’ve never used the word “Islamofascism” to describe the Muslim Brotherhood. Only time will tell whether they are capable of being true Democrats. It will take at least a decade or so for us to know. I think all new democracies are in some danger of a mob rule situation, particularly in a conservative society. We in the United States had that problem, which led to the drafting of the Constitution and the bicameral legislature.

        The point is that it remains to be seen.

        As far as the treaty – there is no question, firstly, that the treaty is very much in existence. There is also no question that it is mutually beneficial. There is also no question that it will hurt Egypt if they scrap the treaty.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 25, 2012, 2:01 am

        ‘As far as the treaty – there is no question, firstly, that the treaty is very much in existence. There is also no question that it is mutually beneficial. There is also no question that it will hurt Egypt if they scrap the treaty.’

        How can the treaty be in existence if Israel has violated its terms? She agreed to establish Palestinian autonomy by 1983. That didn’t happen.

        If I sign a contract with you, and you fail to honor the terms of that contract, the contract is null and void. This is not a subtle concept.

        Egypt chose to continue observing the terms of the contract for the next twenty years — just as a bank might choose to let you remain in a house even though you’ve stopped making your mortgage payments. However, that bank can move to take back that house any time it likes. Similarly, Egypt can cease observing the terms of the peace treaty any time she feels so inclined.

        That treaty ceased to have any legal force thirty years ago.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on June 25, 2012, 6:54 pm

        “How can the treaty be in existence if Israel has violated its terms? She agreed to establish Palestinian autonomy by 1983. That didn’t happen.”

        And there was more to the treaty than the section on Palestinian autonomy, which is more complicated and more conditioned than you are making it. Look Colin, the international community disagrees with you. That’s that.

        If you think it’s advantageous for the Egyptian to start a war with Israel, then just say so.

    • lyn117
      lyn117 on June 24, 2012, 4:54 pm

      What “democratic, liberal Israel?” I mean, a country that was founded on the premise of ethnic cleansing and continues to practice it can hardly be called liberal. On top of that Israel legalized torture (only of non-Jews), regularly permits murder with impunity (against non-Jews only), forced exile of non-Jews, imprisonment without trial and regularly confiscates property of non-Jews for use by Jews only, and has instituted a system of apartheid. Calling it “liberal” is just spouting fake Israeli hasbara.

      Nor can a country that for most of its existence denied close to 1/2 of the people under its rule any vote or say in its government be called democratic.

    • justicewillprevail
      justicewillprevail on June 24, 2012, 4:58 pm

      What is this fictional ‘liberal, democratic Israel’ you refer to?

    • JamieT
      JamieT on June 25, 2012, 12:25 am

      Yet again we hear the rancid argument that the Arabs aren’t good enough for democracy. Nice one.

      Do you even realise that you’ve made blanket assumptions about a country of tens of millions of people?

  2. hophmi
    hophmi on June 24, 2012, 1:17 pm

    Israel has pledged to respect Egypt’s democratic vote. Will Egypt respect the peace treaties it has with Israel and the self-determination of the Jewish people?

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright on June 24, 2012, 1:42 pm

      ‘Will Egypt respect the peace treaties it has with Israel and the self-determination of the Jewish people?’

      Isn’t the question a tad academic? Israel ceased to respect the portions of the peace treaty that were binding on her a long time ago.

      The treaty was signed in 1978. One of the terms stated ‘a process was to be implemented guaranteeing the full autonomy of the [Palestinian] people within a period of five years.’

      Obviously, as of 1983, that treaty was no longer being observed. Whatever the reasons, you can’t not hold up your end of an agreement while simultaneously insisting the other party continue to observe the clauses that are binding upon them.

      You can protest ‘but the Palestinians…’ all you like. True or not (probably not) it doesn’t matter.

      I’ve got a $350,000 loan out to an associate who pays me 7.0% interest monthly. If he fails to make his payment, he may have the best reasons in the world for doing so. I am no longer obliged to continue to let him keep the 350k, and in fact am entitled to seek possession of the security if I am so inclined.

      The agreement’s been voided. This is obvious when it comes to agreements I sign, and I don’t see why it isn’t obvious when it comes to agreements Israel signs.

      It’s nice that Israel has agreed to respect Egypt’s democratic vote (I’d like to see her try to do otherwise). However, that in no way obliges Egypt to continue to observe a treaty the other party is ignoring. Israel could start a home for stray cats, and that wouldn’t oblige Egypt in any way either.

      That treaty’s a dead letter. Egypt can say so any time she likes. As so often, Israel will be hoisted on the petard of her own greed and dishonesty.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen on June 24, 2012, 5:50 pm

        At least Hop is consistent. Consitently hypocritical and a master at flipping the script.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on June 24, 2012, 11:21 pm

        I’m not hypocritical and I do not flip the script. The idea that Israel hopes for military dictatorship is a sad commentary on the Egyptians, not the Israelis.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 25, 2012, 2:04 am

        What nonsense. Of course any cynical, self-interested power would prefer that its neighbors be ruled by dictators beholden to it. It’s got nothing to do with the merits or lack thereof of Egyptians. Israel wouldn’t want a democracy in ANY state adjacent to it.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on June 25, 2012, 6:51 pm

        It’s just pure bullshit, and you know it, Colin.

        Countries want one thing – consistency and stability in their international relations. The entire West has long preferred a stable dictatorship to an unstable democracy, and Israel is no different. If democracies were more likely to respect Israel’s sovereignty, Israel would prefer democracies. If democracy means people are going to shoot at Israeli civilians from the Sinai, blow up gas lines, ferry weapons into Gaza to be used on Israeli civilians in the South, and so on, why would Israel prefer a democracy?

      • JamieT
        JamieT on June 25, 2012, 8:11 pm

        I find the West’s practice of placing dictators into power in poorer nations disgusting, and I’m pretty sure everybody here would agree. The perfect example would be Chile’s Pinochet and the abortion of a social experiment that followed.

        You seem to have this idea that other countries should be structured for Israel’s benefit. Or even that Israel wants other countries structured for it’s own benefit. Screw the Egyptian people! Mubarak gives Israel cheap gas. And you still see no causality in regional resentment for Israel?

        The whole ‘only democracy in the middle east’ argument becomes rather sickening given your support for these fascist regimes.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 26, 2012, 1:52 am

        ‘It’s just pure bullshit, and you know it, Colin.’

        No, I don’t know how it is bullshit. Explain it to me.

        Seriously. I’m all ears.

    • petersz
      petersz on June 24, 2012, 1:42 pm

      Israel has just sent tanks into the Sinai and therefore violated the Cap David accords. Egypt should expel the Zionist ambassador and declare the “peace” treaty dead!

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 24, 2012, 2:08 pm

        On the one hand, unless I missed something, Israel just sent tanks to the border with Sinai, not into Sinai — and with Egypt’s permission, so no violation there.

        On the other hand, the peace treaty’s BEEN dead since 1983. Egypt’s just found it convenient to continue acting as if it wasn’t. However, it hasn’t obliged them in any way for nearly thirty years now.

    • Empiricon
      Empiricon on June 24, 2012, 1:51 pm

      Hophmi , your last 5 words (or really the last 2) say it all. “[S]elf-determination” not for the Israeli people, but for the “Jewish” people. No self-determination for Arabs, Palestinians, etc. Only for Jews.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on June 24, 2012, 11:20 pm

        Who said the Arabs and Palestinians had no right to self-determination?

    • eljay
      eljay on June 24, 2012, 4:21 pm

      >> Will Egypt respect … the self-determination of the Jewish people?

      I do not believe that anyone should respect an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state born of terrorism and ethnic cleansing and maintained by means of a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder.

      I do believe Egypt should respect a secular, democratic and egalitarian Israeli state, a state of and for all Israelis – regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, etc. – equally.

      And I also believe that Egypt should be prepared to respect a secular, democratic and egalitarian Palestinians state, a state of and for all Palestinians – regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, etc. – equally.

    • lyn117
      lyn117 on June 24, 2012, 4:55 pm

      Will Israel respect the self-determination of the native people of the land it rules, that being the Palestinians?

    • traintosiberia
      traintosiberia on June 24, 2012, 5:21 pm

      Israel respects American activities as prerogative of a sovereign nation.Will America respect Israeli activities in Gaza,Lebanon,and West Bank?
      Israel respects the Indian claims over Kashmir.Will India reciprocate by respecting Israeli claims on Syria,parts of Saudi Arab, and western Iraq including Gaza and WB?
      Israel is self -determining the lives of Gazan and West bank citizen.Why the world wont help Israel in this age of self-determination?
      Israel build buildings and Iran build nukes and Gazan builds rocket.When will the world take note?
      The cat in Tel Aviv house enjoys all the pleasures of belonging to Israeli households.When will the world stop talking of the Israeli cruelties towards the “animal’ from Africa and from Palestine.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 26, 2012, 1:53 am

        To traintosiberia: ‘Israel respects American activities as prerogative of a sovereign nation.Will America respect Israeli activities in Gaza,Lebanon,and West Bank?’

        The difficulty is that we don’t just respect them. We fund them, protect them, applaud them, and prevent anyone else from stopping them.

    • RoHa
      RoHa on June 24, 2012, 9:44 pm

      “Will Egypt respect … the self-determination of the Jewish people?”

      How can they respect nonsense?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on June 24, 2012, 11:42 pm

        RoHa- A vast majority of Israeli Jews would not consider their desire for self determination to be nonsense. Granted that you don’t consider the Jews of the Diaspora to exist as a corporate entity called the Jewish people, but do you not grant the Israeli Jews (because they live in one polity) a right to define themselves?

        And if you do not allow yourself to see the other point of view on this specific issue, then your tendency to consider “dialogue” necessary or useful is hollow, because you are unable or unwilling to see any view other than your own on this issue, so there really is nothing to talk about, if you lack some degree of curiosity about the possibility that other people’s self definition might differ from yours.

      • eljay
        eljay on June 25, 2012, 10:25 am

        Shame on you, RoHa, for not being open to the immorality and injustice…errr…to the joyousness and goodness of supremacist “self definition”. :-(

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on June 25, 2012, 3:46 pm

        eljay- RoHa, on a different thread, expressed the (regrettable) necessity of engaging in dialogue and therefore my comment was apt. You have never expressed any such a necessity, so to you it is but another opportunity for knee jerk mockery.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on June 25, 2012, 9:02 pm

        WJ – Even if we restrict the term “self-determination of the Jews” to the Israeli Jews, it is still nonsense. There is arguably a right of self-determination for Israelis, but not just for Israeli Jews.

        You will recall that I have never suggested that any right of self-determination is absolute or unrestricted.

        When you shift to the topic of self definition, I am quite prepared to acknowledge that other people’s self definition (whatever that might mean) might differ from mine, but that does not mean that I will necessarily accept that self-definition, or even regard it as marginally sensible.

        I will, of course, listen (but not uncritically) to arguments supporting a self-definition.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on June 25, 2012, 9:39 pm

        eljay – On the other hand, sometimes mockery is the appropriate moral response, and thus a duty.

      • eljay
        eljay on June 25, 2012, 10:14 pm

        >> eljay- RoHa, on a different thread, expressed the (regrettable) necessity of engaging in dialogue and therefore my comment was apt. You have never expressed any such a necessity, so to you it is but another opportunity for knee jerk mockery.

        You believe in and advocate for a particular form of supremacism. You want people to accept that the form of supremacism you champion is a valid form of self-definition.

        I do not believe in or advocate for any form of supremacism. I believe in equality. I cannot possibly accept that your form of supremacism is a valid form of self-definition. This is why I have never expressed a necessity to “engage in dialogue”.

        Terribly sorry to disappoint. :-(

      • eljay
        eljay on June 25, 2012, 10:14 pm

        >> eljay – On the other hand, sometimes mockery is the appropriate moral response, and thus a duty.

        Mock-mock! :-)

      • eljay
        eljay on June 25, 2012, 10:32 pm

        >> You want people to accept that the form of supremacism you champion is a valid form of self-definition.

        I should clarify that I’m taking “self-definition” to mean “self-determination”.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 26, 2012, 1:55 am

        ‘A vast majority of Israeli Jews would not consider their desire for self determination to be nonsense. Granted that you don’t consider the Jews of the Diaspora to exist as a corporate entity called the Jewish people, but do you not grant the Israeli Jews (because they live in one polity) a right to define themselves?’

        No, I don’t. Any more than I would agree that the Germans settled in Poland in 1939-43 had a right ‘to define themselves.’ I would accord any Jew that wants to insist he has a sole right to the land exactly the same right that was accorded to German settlers.

        The right to leave. Very quickly.

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright on June 25, 2012, 2:07 am

      ‘Israel has pledged to respect Egypt’s democratic vote.’

      That’s really arrogant when you think about it. Israel has eight million people; Egypt, eighty million.

      It is as if Canada promised to respect the outcome of democratic elections in the US or Denmark agreed to let Germans go to the ballot.

      That country has gotten WAY too big for its britches.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on June 25, 2012, 6:47 pm

        “That’s really arrogant when you think about it. Israel has eight million people; Egypt, eighty million.

        I don’t know what the numbers have to do with it. Egypt never showed must regard for Israel’s democratic rule.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 26, 2012, 1:58 am

        I don’t think it occurred to her that her permission to hold elections might be necessary, though.

        That is arrogance.

  3. pipistro
    pipistro on June 24, 2012, 1:27 pm

    I’d call this the inner ghetto. This piece shows how much this feeling is deep in their minds and souls. Inasmuch they rely on the suffering of other people, they don’t deserve solidarity whatsoever. And in the (not so) long run, they won’t get any.

    • hophmi
      hophmi on June 24, 2012, 1:52 pm

      Lol. Israelis don’t rely on the suffering of others. Israel will survive regardless of who runs Egypt. It is, unfortunately, a sad commentary on the state of Egyptian society that its democracy is potentially more dangerous to free people everywhere than its dictatorship was.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 24, 2012, 2:05 pm

        “…It is, unfortunately, a sad commentary on the state of Egyptian society that its democracy is potentially more dangerous to free people everywhere than its dictatorship was.”

        That’s ridiculous. On the other hand, it is indeed a sad commentary on the nature of Israel that freedom for any of her neighbors is a threat to her.

      • pipistro
        pipistro on June 24, 2012, 2:10 pm

        I suppose you think they’re not worried about the Rafah border, and the likelihood they will feed the Palestinians caged in Gaza. The ones let alive, I mean…

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 24, 2012, 2:20 pm

        “…its democracy is potentially more dangerous to free people everywhere than its dictatorship was.”

        That really is funny. The awesome threat an Egypt in chaos poses to Canada.

        I’ll bet they’re shaking in their boots. They should be, right? They remember the 1920 riots. They remember how the last time chaos threatened in Egypt, terror reigned in the streets of Toronto.

        The things you Israel lovers wind up saying…

        Of course, it’s all inevitable. If you start with a manifestly false proposition, you’re simply going to be led into ever-mounting absurdities. It’s like positing that 2+2=5 and then reconstructing mathematics on that basis. You wind up saying the silliest nonsense…

      • Cliff
        Cliff on June 24, 2012, 4:10 pm

        Of course Israel relies on the suffering of others. That is what Zionism is in its entirety.

        A phony nationalistic mythology. There was no Jewish nation 3000 years ago and Judaism in the time of Christ wasn’t even organized Judaism ANYWAYS.

        Oh and Herodotus mentions Palestinians before Jews and we rely on the Bible and religious texts to navigate through the murky history of this so-called ‘land of Israel’ – whereas other ancient civilizations’ history are actually documented (relatively speaking as is the case with everything in history).

        It’s like that B.S. China-ISRAEL hasbara photo-op – Zionists are trying to buddy up with the Chinese as if they have something in common with an actually ancient people. The Chinese have considered themselves ethnically contiguous since the HAN dynasty. LOL

        You’re so full of #^** hophmi, everything you say is a lie.

        Of course suffering is good for Israel. Whether it be Palestinian suffering or Egyptian suffering or Israel Arab suffering – the only imperative is ‘what is good for the (not Jews) Zionists.’

      • hophmi
        hophmi on June 24, 2012, 11:24 pm

        Your animalistic insults do not have an effect on me, Cliffie.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 25, 2012, 2:10 am

        ‘Your animalistic insults do not have an effect on me, Cliffie.’

        Some of the ideas could do with further development, but everything Cliff said is at least partially valid.

        I’d be happy to expand on any one point if you would like.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on June 24, 2012, 4:46 pm

        Israel hasn’t got a hope of surviving to mid century. There are too many problems that have never been addresse. the Palestinians are top of the list but there is also the decline of Europe, Israel’s biggest trade partner, the Orthodox, the end of oil, climate breakdown . A Jewish sparta in the Middle East was a fantasy and still is .I srael has no long term resilience. All there is to fall back on is the bomb.

        And even if things look lovely 64 years on the challenges coming up in the next few decades are in a totally different league to those that were addressed by bombing the crap out of Lebanon every 7 years.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 25, 2012, 2:12 am

        ‘Israel hasn’t got a hope of surviving to mid century.’

        She has a hope of surviving that long. She could probably prolong her existence to mid-century — although I doubt if she could play it out much past that. However, she’d need to reverse course about now.

        Hopefully, she won’t reverse course. I’d just as soon get this over with.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 25, 2012, 2:23 am

        …and the latest exercise in reading the tea leaves (coffee grounds?)

        Morsi has refused to take his oath of office before the Supreme Court, as the military has attempted to require.

        He wants to take the oath before parliament — the parliament that the military disbanded.

        Egypt’s interesting. I’m getting a sense of a particular political culture that I’ve yet to get a feel for. As breathing and consciousness return…

      • justicewillprevail
        justicewillprevail on June 24, 2012, 5:00 pm

        No need to rely on it, when you impose it, create it and perpetuate it.

  4. ColinWright
    ColinWright on June 24, 2012, 1:34 pm

    ‘If you’re going to harp on the question of why an Egyptian military dictatorship is better for democratic, liberal Israel (and, let’s be honest, democratic, liberal America)’

    More like, ‘let’s be dishonest.’

    Why America? I can’t see it. Indeed, it’s been noticeable that our willingness to tolerate democracy in the Arab world varies directly with the distance of the state in question from Israel. We all but blessed the Tunisian revolution, decided to take a chance on helping to overthrow Qaddafi and seeing what would ensue — and have been transparently reluctant to let democracy actually take hold in Egypt.

    Very little can happen in the Middle East that actually hurts us. Most of the oil no longer even comes here anyway — and whoever runs things, they’re going to want to sell to SOMEONE. The only one that can get hurt is Israel, and virtually everything we do in that region is done for Israel’s benefit.

    Egyptian democracy may well be bad for Israel. It’s highly unlikely to have severe repercussions for us.

    …and where is this ‘liberal, democratic Israel’ that you speak of?

    • Mooser
      Mooser on June 24, 2012, 3:24 pm

      “…and where is this ‘liberal, democratic Israel’ that you speak of?”

      I’m sure that if Hophmi can escape the tyrannical American government, which won’t let anybody emigrate to Israel, he’ll go to Israel and find it. In the meantime, it’s much easier to be sure that “liberal democratic Israel” is there when you live in New York city.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 25, 2012, 2:26 am

        That’s actually the worst of it. For so many Israel lovers, Israel isn’t even really their country so much as a hobby.

        It’s a heck of a thing to take someone else’s homeland so that you can have a hobby.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on June 25, 2012, 9:07 pm

        “It’s a heck of a thing to take someone else’s homeland so that you can have a hobby.”

        Not as boring as stamp-collecting.

  5. ColinWright
    ColinWright on June 24, 2012, 2:00 pm

    ‘What makes this cheering for military dictatorship even more ironic and even irrational is that they seem oblivious to the fact that this move by the Egyptian military is quite possibly a very temporary arrangement that may be overthrown by the collective will of the Egyptian people.’

    Yeah. Happily, the question seems to have become moot for the moment (Israel’s desires notwithstanding) but people were positing a false choice.

    The advocates of a military dictatorship obviously assume the army COULD stay in power. Like it did in Russia in 1991? In Iran in 1979? Generals only have power if their troops follow.

    The choice the Israel-lovers posited was between a return to Mubarak and some unspecified Islamic cartoon.

    That wasn’t the choice. It’s more accurate to see the choice as always having been between an Islamic party in power in a democracy that more or less ‘plays by the rules’ ala Turkey and a full-on Islamic Republic arising in the wake of a popular revolution ala Iran.

    Neither outcome was or is guaranteed under any circumstances — but pushing the generals to stage a coup made the Islamic Republic a more likely outcome than it would have been otherwise. You don’t want the Islamic Republic, you back the Egyptian revolution with all your might and keep your fingers crossed. You want it, do as the JTA urges.

    I was in Iran in 1979. I remember in particular a young student who was achingly sincere and kept mumbling ‘Khomeini is a good man’ — as if trying to reassure himself. Had a democratic process been allowed to unfold there in good time, he never would have been forced into such a choice.

  6. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870 on June 24, 2012, 4:24 pm

    RE: “Egyptian military’s anti-democratic moves may benefit
    Israel” ~ Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)

    MY COMMENT: And that is why Israel is an existential threat to “The Enlightenment” ! ! !

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Age of Enlightenment]:

    [EXCERPTS] The Age of Enlightenment (or simply the Enlightenment or Age of Reason) was a cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe and America, whose purpose was to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted science and intellectual interchange and opposed superstition,[1] intolerance and abuses by church and state. Originating about 1650 to 1700, it was sparked by philosophers Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), John Locke (1632–1704), Pierre Bayle (1647–1706), physicist Isaac Newton (1643–1727), and philosopher Voltaire (1694–1778). . .
    . . . No brief summary can do justice to the diversity of enlightened thought in 18th-century Europe. Because it was a value system rather than a set of shared beliefs, there are many contradictory trains to follow. As Outram notes, The Enlightenment comprised “many different paths, varying in time and geography, to the common goals of progress, of tolerance, and the removal of abuses in Church and state.”[33]
    In his famous essay “What is Enlightenment?” (1784), Immanuel Kant described it simply as freedom to use one’s own intelligence.[34] More broadly, the Enlightenment period is marked by increasing empiricism, scientific rigor, and reductionism, along with increasing questioning of religious orthodoxy.
    Historian Peter Gay asserts the Enlightenment broke through “the sacred circle,”[35] whose dogma had circumscribed thinking. The Sacred Circle is a term he uses to describe the interdependent relationship between the hereditary aristocracy, the leaders of the church and the text of the Bible. This interrelationship manifests itself as kings invoking the doctrine “Divine Right of Kings” to rule. Thus church sanctioned the rule of the king and the king defended the church in return.
    Zafirovski, (2010) argues that The Enlightenment is the source of critical ideas, such as the centrality of freedom, democracy, and reason as primary values of society – as opposed to the divine right of kings or traditions as the ruling authority.[36] This view argues that the establishment of a contractual basis of rights would lead to the market mechanism and capitalism, the scientific method, religious tolerance, and the organization of states into self-governing republics through democratic means. In this view, the tendency of the philosophes in particular to apply rationality to every problem is considered the essential change.[37] . . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment

    • hophmi
      hophmi on June 24, 2012, 11:23 pm

      Another for my book of hilarious pro-Palestinian hyperbole. And pro-Palestinian nonsense. Your post is a huge non-sequitor.

      • DICKERSON3870
        DICKERSON3870 on July 7, 2012, 9:01 pm

        How so, great omnipotent one?

  7. Kathleen
    Kathleen on June 24, 2012, 4:51 pm

    the coverage of the situation in Egypt was wonderful today on Chris Hayes up. Mona Eltahawy “Egypt has changed forever” Israel has to get it that the tables are turning.

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright on June 26, 2012, 2:10 am

      ‘Israel has to get it that the tables are turning.’

      Hopefully, Israel won’t get it until it’s too late . I’m sure there’ll be a desperately groveling moment — votes for the Palestinians in the West Bank, an agreement to consider the right of return ‘on a case by case basis,’ etc — but it will all come when it’s all too obvious Israel is on her death bed anyway.

      Ultimately, the only real trick is managing the collapse so that all those nukes don’t go off.

      Israel needs to end with a whimper, not a bang.

      The funny bit is that about 2004-2006, they could have written a deal for a Bantustan giving the Palestinians some scrap of fictional independence — and gotten the Palestinians to sign it. As an abstract proposition, I’d still hold that Israel was eventually doomed — but I would have had to admit that its end was still quite a ways off.

      Well, that deal’s not going to be in the cards much longer.

      Greed is a vice.

  8. clenchner
    clenchner on June 24, 2012, 6:59 pm

    Jim, I think you misunderstand what Heilman wrote, either willfully or through genuine ignorance. As you quote above:
    “Egyptian military’s anti-democratic moves may benefit Israel”

    Has it occurred to you that Heilman is a pretty smart guy who understands things at least as well as you? He’s being entirely clear: Egyptian military dictatorship is perceived by the Jewish community as good for Israel, thus throwing out any semblance of support for democracy in the Arab world. What a stinging indictment of the Bibi/Sharansky effort to blame the lack of peace on the absence of democracy in the Arab world. Surely everyone remembers that line of argument, which resulted in the elections that brought Hamas to power.

    Your article should be rewritten as a love letter to the new straight talk from JTA reporters concerning Israeli real-politik. I sure hope it continues. Nowhere in the article does Heilman express his own opinion on the matter.

    • hophmi
      hophmi on June 24, 2012, 11:26 pm

      I’d say it’s quite willful. For people here, Israel is apparently supposed to conduct international relations differently from all other countries, who, of course, are only supporters and beneficiaries of democracies.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 25, 2012, 2:32 am

        ‘For people here, Israel is apparently supposed to conduct international relations differently from all other countries’

        But Israel DOES conduct international relations differently from all other countries.

        She has invaded every single one of her neighbors, all but openly carries out assassinations abroad (and even tries to pin those killings on others), forges passports, spies on her friends and sells lists of their agents to the highest bidder, attacks ships belonging to her allies in an attempt to sink them (and pin it on someone else again), murders UN envoys…

        Did I miss something? Anyway, I think we’ve established the uniqueness of how Israel conducts her international relations. The mighty mite…it’s an impressive list for a country with the population of Honduras.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on June 25, 2012, 6:46 pm

        “She has invaded every single one of her neighbors”

        Every one of her neighbors (and some non-neighbors) has invaded her and called for her destruction. I’m not aware of Israel calling for the destruction of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, or Lebanon.

        “all but openly carries out assassinations abroad ”

        Sure. So the US. So do the Russians. So does Iran.

        “forges passports”

        As do most intelligence agencies.

        “spies on her friends ”

        As do most intelligence agencies.

        “attacks ships belonging to her allies”

        A blood libel.

        “murders UN envoys”

        Which ones? Folke Bernadotte was killed by the Irgun, not Israel.

        “Did I miss something?”

        Pretty much everything.

        “Anyway, I think we’ve established the uniqueness of how Israel conducts her international relations.”

        Nope, sorry, not even close.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 26, 2012, 2:16 am

        “She has invaded every single one of her neighbors”

        Every one of her neighbors (and some non-neighbors) has invaded her and called for her destruction. I’m not aware of Israel calling for the destruction of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, or Lebanon.

        Israel throttled what was to be the neighboring state of Palestine in May 1948.

        She mounted virtually continual and very bloody cross country raids into Jordan in 1948-49, indiscriminately slaughtering whole villages.

        She invaded Egypt in 1956.

        She invaded Egypt (again), Jordan, and Syria in 1967

        She invaded Lebanon in 1982, and again in 2006.

        That’s all her neighbors. It’s actually a record for the modern era. No other state has done this.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 26, 2012, 2:23 am

        ‘ ““attacks ships belonging to her allies”

        A blood libel.’

        I’m afraid not. Patriotism may not be the last refuge of scoundrels, but accusations of anti-semitism definitely are.

        “murders UN envoys”

        Which ones? Folke Bernadotte was killed by the Irgun, not Israel.”

        And Israel quickly apprehended and severely punished the perpetrators, right? Why do I have this feeling they actually did nothing? Didn’t the head of Irgun eventually become prime minister — or would that be another blood libel?

        “Did I miss something?”

        Pretty much everything.’

        No, actually I nailed it all. I’ll grant that other nations have committed some of the other crimes Israel has — but in considerably less aggravated form. For example, the US has indeed assassinated people. We don’t go so far as to run around blowing up scientists with possibly awkward expertise — nor do we try to frame our allies for the crimes.

    • stopaipac
      stopaipac on June 25, 2012, 1:23 am

      Heilman is not using quotes from some Israeli official, but declares that recent developments are “bad news for democracy and the Egyptian revolution, but it could be good for Israel.” Looks like an opinion to me.

      Another thing people are missing is that what has been declared is the military will have power, regardless of who won the Presidency. We will see if the military will cede power.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 26, 2012, 2:33 am

        “Heilman is not using quotes from some Israeli official, but declares that recent developments are “bad news for democracy and the Egyptian revolution, but it could be good for Israel.” Looks like an opinion to me. “

        It’s unlikely it was an Israeli official. An Israeli official would have claimed the SCAF’s moves were good for Israel AND good news for democracy.

        Note that there actually people who wouldn’t see that as nonsensical rubbish.

  9. proudzionist777
    proudzionist777 on June 24, 2012, 8:05 pm

    Yes. Saddam’s Iraq was great for Israel. Israel didn’t mind those Scud attacks at all.

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen on June 25, 2012, 10:10 am

      Well Saddam has been taken care of. Clearly Syria and Iran on Israel and the I lobbies list are the next steps. The neocons Project for a New American Century blueprint and the plans in the “Clean Break Securing the New Realm” are still on course in the middle east

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright on June 26, 2012, 2:50 am

        It’s an perversion. Not that we were ever perfect (usually rather spectacularly imperfect, actually) but this sort of tripe makes me embarrassed to be an American. I certainly don’t want to be part of their ‘American Century.’

        We’ve traded exuberance for hatred, a somewhat overwhelming desire to help everybody be just as happy as us just like us for blind, murderous bigotry, cheerful carelessness for rampant paranoia, and a healthy tendency to obstruct government as much as possible for a meek submissiveness.

        We find patsies and stage show trials, we willingly give up our constitutional rights, we empty our pockets every time we go into the frigging county courthouse, we seriously advocate mounting unprovoked attacks on nations because they are frantically trying to come up with something that will deter us from attacking them (doesn’t anybody notice the circular logic here), we…

        At this rate, in a decade or so, I’m going to be arrested ‘to protect my freedom.’ They’ll probably actually say that.

        It’s rapidly becoming a mean, nasty, increasingly impoverished country. We’ve become so insecure!

        Let me give an example. I used to regularly watch the Olympics — back in the seventies and eighties. Then I started my own moving company — and was invariably busy come Olympic time.

        I resumed watching in 2004 or so — and couldn’t believe the change.

        Howard Cosell et al were naturally partial to Americans, and I found that perfectly congenial. However, when someone else was doing really well, they happily started focusing on her — wherever she was from.

        Now it’s ‘we cut away from the gymnastics final because an American looks like he might medal in team snorkling’ and endless ‘meanwhile, back to the American in 55th place.’ It’s really bad — and symptomatic of our decline.

        We USED to be a pretty nice place. I mean, people will always kvetch, and when everything’s perfect, wake me up, but…

        Not any more. Rapidly declining…and in so many ways!

  10. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther on June 24, 2012, 9:11 pm

    Good post – the last paragraph could easily be directed toward the US and Americans.

    • stopaipac
      stopaipac on June 25, 2012, 1:13 am

      Yes, Dan, it could be applied to the US for a very long time. Time and again the US has supported military dictatorships around the world, sometimes even installed them (e.g. Pinochet in Chile). Blind nationalism leads to all sorts of disgusting behavior.

  11. wondering jew
    wondering jew on June 24, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Egypt was in deep shit, economically on the day before the Arab Spring and Egypt is in deep shit today. That is the first glaring difference between Egypt and Iran, which has oil, whereas Egypt has none. But it is to Iran that I look to first to wonder about the fate of Egypt’s democracy.

    Political maturity is a process. The Muslim Brotherhood might be as democratic as the Ayatollahs. I know here in Mondoweiss ville the Iran elections of 2009 were totally on the up and up, but I believe the election was stolen.

    Egypt and Iran are two different countries and there is no proof that the Sunni Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood will be revealed in 30 years (from 79 Khomeini returns to 09 election is stolen) to be as adverse to democracy as the imams of Iran have revealed themselves to be, but it is not farfetched to believe that the Muslim Brotherhood will have trouble handing over power in thirty years.

    My own preference is for some kind of evolution from military rule to Muslim Brotherhood rule. I don’t know how Turkey accomplished its military rule to democracy shift, but that is the basic prototype in that part of the world. Egypt will have to pass through the process of Islamic rule (of some sort) in the near future, the will of the people to move in that direction is “inevitable” particularly in Egypt.

    The analogy that comes to mind is the teenage year of 15. Everyone has to pass through the age of 15 years. That doesn’t mean that 15 year olds are easy to deal with, a pleasure to deal with or certainly the maturity level one wishes to deal with the rest of one’s life, but everyone has to pass through that phase of life. Egypt must pass through the phase of Islamic rule. That doesn’t mean that it will be pretty.

    (How are the Copts feeling today? Do they fear an Islamic parliament? I tend to think they do. So don’t be so blithe that no blood will be spilled in Egypt and everything is beautiful, just because Israel is complaining, therefore it must be good, the logic here in Mondoweiss ville.)

    • Avi_G.
      Avi_G. on June 26, 2012, 3:23 am

      June 24, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      Egypt was in deep shit, economically on the day before the Arab Spring and Egypt is in deep shit today. That is the first glaring difference between Egypt and Iran, which has oil, whereas Egypt has none. But it is to Iran that I look to first to wonder about the fate of Egypt’s democracy.

      Actually, not only does Egypt have oil, it has plenty of natural gas. But for obvious reasons, you prefer to pretend as though it doesn’t.

      I stopped reading your comment after that, “Egypt has none” claim. It’s just not worth the effort.

  12. Desrtrat6
    Desrtrat6 on June 25, 2012, 6:30 am

    I think from a bigger perspective what we are seeing, and have seen with the beginning of Arab Spring, is a Middle East tired of being pawns. It has taken them 20+ years to realize there is no other player opposite the US on the world stage, therefore, they longer need to remain the “monkey in the middle” of two super-powers. I also think Obama’s message to Muslims everywhere, but particularly his speech in Cairo, let them know that it is ok to disagree with authority if that authority (i.e. the US and its puppets in the Middle East) is wrong.

    I think ColinWright hit it on the head when he wrote, “Indeed, it’s been noticeable that our willingness to tolerate democracy in the Arab world varies directly with the distance of the state in question from Israel.” Just the other night I was watching a debate between Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst, Republicans running for the Senate seat from TX, and they were asked whether we, the US, should intervene in Syria. Both stated unequivocally “No.” UNLESS, the conflict threatened Israel, then both claimed by all means we should send in troops.

  13. Taxi
    Taxi on June 25, 2012, 8:57 am

    Why are we taking anything the JTA writes seriously. Their article is full of “can” and “coulds”! What kinda journalism is that?! These guys don’t know what they’re talking about!!!!

    Israel benefits from ANY chaos visited upon their indigenous neighbors – be it islamic, democratic or military dictatorships. Israel has no particular preference. Chaosand civic strife can be easily stirred under any of the above political systems.

    And regarding Egypt’s elections: just remember this folks, there’s a blood debt between the Egyptian army and israel that the Egyptian army has not forgotten about. Yeah the army plays the political game with the USA and it’s ‘demands’ on them, but they sure as hell haven’t and WILL NOT FORGET the blood debt owed them by israel – and one day they intend to collect it.

    • hophmi
      hophmi on June 25, 2012, 6:59 pm

      Again, this is the purest nonsense. Israel does not benefit from chaos. Like any other state, it craves stability in its neighbors, and prefers the status quo to the unknown.

      “And regarding Egypt’s elections: just remember this folks, there’s a blood debt between the Egyptian army and israel that the Egyptian army has not forgotten about. ”

      Which is why the Egyptian army is by far the part of Egyptian society most supportive of Camp David. Probably because they, unlike the armchair warmongers here, understand what would happen to their soldiers if they started another war with Israel and also because they, unlike a lot of Egyptians have had close contacts with the Israelis and do not believe they are the devil like some here.

      • Taxi
        Taxi on June 26, 2012, 2:02 am

        “it craves stability in its neighbors”

        Hahahahaha! Pull the other mister on-the-payroll colonialist!

        Apartheid israel craves the land and water and cherry trees of ALL it’s neighbors – just look at the current map and long list of INVASIONS buster!

      • thankgodimatheist
        thankgodimatheist on June 26, 2012, 3:26 am

        “Probably because they, unlike the armchair warmongers here, understand what would happen to their soldiers if they started another war with Israel”

        What, exactly, makes you so sure, mr. Fanfaron? Not long time ago, in 2006, few thousand Hizbullah fighters administered a masterly kick in the ass to your adorable little cuties and sent them crying to their mammas. Forget already?

      • thankgodimatheist
        thankgodimatheist on June 26, 2012, 3:39 am

        Unless you’re talking about civilians, a target of choice for the idf thugs as demonstrated in the Dahiyeh, in which case you may be right of course.

      • thankgodimatheist
        thankgodimatheist on June 26, 2012, 3:50 am

        This is what your cry babies are good at. Flattening entire neighbourhoods full of civilians:
        http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_TmED4DTHvIY/TQPKNt7K4eI/AAAAAAAAVxU/lqi9sdH5Wmo/s1600/06erla_600.jpg

      • Taxi
        Taxi on June 26, 2012, 6:18 am

        3 thousand Lebanese fighters versus 35 thousand israeli fighters…

        And the Lebanese won!

      • thankgodimatheist
        thankgodimatheist on June 26, 2012, 7:59 am

        Most of the casualties were civilians. It was a calculated, deliberate effort that civilians would be heavily targeted, hence the doctrine now famously known as the ‘Dahiyeh doctrine’. Where did the idf thugs get the inspiration for such methods, one might ask? Let’s just pretend we don’t know the answer, no one wants to be banned from this site, does one?

  14. Rusty Pipes
    Rusty Pipes on June 25, 2012, 7:29 pm

    Thanks for covering this, Jim! It’s good to see you writing here.

  15. ColinWright
    ColinWright on June 26, 2012, 1:49 am

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

    Violent protests in Israel, and…

    “…A large majority of Israelis – 69 percent – supports the renewed social-justice protests…” — Haaretz

    Obviously, a significant ‘terrorist attack’ is going to have to be ordered up. Or maybe something topical?

    An uncovered Iranian plot so nefarious that an immediate response is required.

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