Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sadly: no need for Arab moderates: the extremists are more successful

From The Rubin Report, Sunday, November 8, 2009, by Barry Rubin*:

You have to feel sorry for those courageous enough to be Arab moderates. Most of your countrymen hate you, the government wants to crush you, the Islamists want to kill you, and the West doesn’t want to help you

......given ...the limited space permitted for free thought, the moderates have to talk like radicals to survive. In political terms, faced with the battle between the two giant movements of Islamism and Arab nationalism, they have to choose sides. Most liberals back their governments even though these are repressive dictatorships as a lesser of two evils to living under an Iran-, Gaza-, or Taliban-type state.

....The usual response by mainstream Arab thinkers has been: You want us to talk or act like people in the West? That is a betrayal! We will not surrender an inch….

...The Arabs have learned to speak the language of the modern international community and they are doing better at it than Israel.

Old style [which most Islamists still use, though even them not all the time]: The Jews are inferior. We will kill them all. We will never accept peace. We will wipe out Israel.

New style: The Israelis say that we are inferior. They want to kill us all. They don’t want peace. They violate our human rights. We are the victims. They want to wipe us out.

And by this brilliant inversion everything has changed. Leftist movements, humanitarian-oriented groups, huge sections of academia, large parts of the media, and various European governments bash Israel and extol the poor victims of the war criminal, racist, war-mongering, intransigent Israelis.

Of course, in fact, the positions of the Arab states and the Palestinian movement haven’t changed even in the tiniest iota. For example, in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, the “one-state” solution argument was something that isolated the Arabs and increased Western support for Israel. Then it was presented as: Throw Israel into the sea. Jewish-Zionist nationalism cannot be allowed to live. Palestine is Arab, Arab, Arab alone!

Today, exactly the same “one-state” concept is spun with the colored lights and tinkling bells of multiculturalism and political correctness into seeming like a utopia where nationalism is passé and everyone will just be nice to each other and get along just fine.

In short, Arab governments and societies don’t need ...liberals to bring a compromise triumph through real moderation. The extremists “know how to talk to them [the West and the world] and convince them...[the radicals, not the moderates] are more skillful in obtaining [the West’s] material, political, or moral support.”

Israel just gets slandered but is a free and democratic country whose people are able to move forward in developing its culture, raising living standards, and enjoying freedom. The Arabs are the ones who have to live with the consequences of their own disastrous “success” in gaining international sympathy by changing nothing.

What a remarkable but horrible irony. The “progressive” and “humanitarian” forces of the West have helped make real democratic and social reform unnecessary for the Arabic-speaking world and delivered it into decades more of violence, dictatorship, repression, stagnation, and failure.

*Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
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