Israel Should Be the Litmus Test of Muslim Moderation

Western observers are all too eager, writes Liel Leibovitz, to sort Muslims into “moderate” and “extremist” camps. The limits of such distinctions immediately become apparent when the attitudes of supposedly moderate Muslims toward Israel come to the fore. Take, for instance, the seemingly “moderate” father of the perpetrator of the San Bernardino attack, who responded to his son’s obsessive hatred of Israel by reassuring him that Israel will disappear in a few years and the Jews will be sent “back to Ukraine.”

[W]hen it comes to moderate Muslims, we view Jew-hating as understandable, even acceptable. . . . [V]ile statements [about Israel] are explained away by mumbling something about the occupation or Gaza or the lasting effect of a strange religious conflict over some faraway land none of us well-heeled Westerners have any business trying to understand. That’s a travesty.

A tiny religious minority group with its own independent national existence, Jews are the Middle East’s essential others. A failure to think of them in any other way but yearning for their destruction [means] you should neither call yourself a moderate nor hope ever to strike roots in a democratic society that still believes in the bounties of peace, pluralism, and liberty.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, Moderate Islam, Muslim-Jewish relations, Terrorism

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy