Monday, January 31, 2011

Why Israel doesn't want democracy in Egypt


It is often said, only partly in jest, that Israelis examine every event of world significance through the prism of "will this be good or bad for us?" Well, they hardly need the doom-laden headlines in the Israeli press to tell them the continuing crisis on the streets of Cairo is as bad as it gets.

In short, when Clinton – joined by Obama and David Cameron - calls on Mubarak to allow an "orderly transition" to democracy, it only sets alarm bills ringing in Israel.

You can read the whole of Philip Jacobson’s First Post piece on why the ‘democrats’ of Israel are not so keen on Egypt becoming more ‘democratic’, here.

Also, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports:

Israel called on the United States and a number of European countries over the weekend to curb their criticism of President Hosni Mubarak to preserve stability in the region. Jerusalem seeks to convince its allies that it is in the West's interest to maintain the stability of the Egyptian regime.

Senior Israeli officials…. said that on Saturday night the Foreign Ministry issued a directive to around a dozen key embassies in the United States, Canada, China, Russia and several European countries. The ambassadors were told to stress to their host countries the importance of Egypt's stability. In a special cable, they were told to get this word out as soon as possible.
(HAT TIP: Luke at Media Lens.)

Ah, ‘stability’. I don’t recall Israel- and its neo-con/faux-left cheerleaders in the west being too keen to maintain the ‘stability’ of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in Iraq do you? Nor are they too keen to maintain the ’stability’ of the current Iranian regime.

The Israel-firsters want ‘stability‘ when it suits them, but when the regime in question isn‘t doing their bidding, they do all they can to destabilise it.
UPDATE: Quote of the Day from the staunchly Zionist US Vice-President Joe Biden on Hosni Mubarak.

"I would not refer to him as a dictator."

How hilarious.

4 comments:

Douglas said...

I don't consider Vice President Biden as staunchly Zionist. I consider him as "weak-filtered," someone who has difficulty from time to time keeping himself from saying what he thinks. A trait I find rather humorous in a politician.

brian said...

The israelis always bragged about how they were the only democracy in a sea of arab dictatorships..now when one of them is goingthe way of the DODO they are determined to keep him in office..The dont want their status challenged.

so next time they tell you how arabs prefer nasty dictatorships...remind them of Mubarak!

Steve Hayes said...

I've been wondering whether Israel would attack Egypt to "restore order", and it's probably only the thought that if they did that it would distract the Egyptian army from the task of suppressing protests that deters them from doing so.

Neal said...

Neil,

A problem with your point that conflates Israeli opinion with neo-con views is that neo-cons have, almost to a person, taken the side of the anti-Mubarak demonstrators.

Further, you misread Israeli opinion. The Israelis do not oppose democracy in Egypt. However, they do not want the peace agreement ripped up, as the Ikwan has promised to do. Presumably, unless you like war, you also do not want that peace agreement ripped up.

The Israelis I have read make the point, not that democracy would be a great thing in Egypt, but that one needs to temper encouragement for democracy with the reality that there are no serious forces organized for democracy in Egypt - which was the case in Iran. And, needless to say, a great many revolutions turn bloody and, for example, like the French revolution, lead to wars. In that Israel is likely to be a focus of wars that would come from a revolutionary government in Egypt, the Israelis worry, a reasonably so.

I do not see why people have to pooh-pooh Israeli concerns. If there is to be peace in the region, all voices need to be understood, including the Israeli voice.