The future doesn’t have to be like the past and the present, Re: Arab Spring and the Israeli enemy, The Arab News, October 9, 2012

The Arab News is Saudi Arabia’s first english language daily newspaper and enjoys wide distribution in Saudi Arabia itself and throughout the Middle East. Three days ago the newspaper published a very courageous column under the byline of one Abdulateef Al-Mulhim entitled “Arab Spring and the Israeli enemy” which spoke about the utility and futility of Arab-Israeli wars over the years and asked whether or not Israel is the real enemy of Arabs, particularly Palestinians, and the Arab world. The conclusion was that the real enemies of Arabs and the Arab world are “corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for human lives” and “dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people.”

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I would add one more enemy to the list. Islam…because Islam fuels hatred and violence towards Jews and Israelis which in turn fuels war between Arabs and Israel…because Islam by definition precludes quality education, quality health care, freedom of any sort, respect for human lives and peace and security for non-believers, especially Jews and Christians…because Islam is the root cause of the misery, cruelty and backwardness in the Arab world…because the social and economic problems which are endemic in the Arab world will never be overcome as long as Islam reigns supreme in it, until Islam is rejected by it.

Both history and present conditions in the Arab world show that the author is absolutely correct. Arabs, including Palestinians, really have been the authors of their own misfortune. That does not mean however that it has to be like this in perpetuity, that the situation cannot change, that Arabs cannot make it change, especially given the yearning by many for freedom, democracy and prosperity. They can and it must, for their own sake and for the sake of everyone else too. The Arab Spring is a very hopeful development, although how it plays out very much remains to be seen. So is the publication of a column like “Arab Spring and the Israeli enemy” in a Saudi Arabian newspaper, Saudi Arabia being one of the most repressive Islamic states on the planet, if not the most repressive.

The author opened the column by saying “many people in the Arab world are beginning to ask many questions about the past, present and future with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

Excellent. The more questions the better. The more people who ask questions and demand honest answers the better. The more people that recognize and understand that Israelis and Israel aren’t the cause of the problems in the Arab/Islamic world, aren’t the cause of the conflict in the Middle East, the better.

Are you listening Obama?

The author closed the column by saying “Now, it is time to stop the hatred and wars and start to create better living conditions for the future Arab generations.”

Amen to that.

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