No, Israel Doesn’t Prefer Undemocratic Regimes in the Middle East

Last month, with the announcement of the peace agreement—signed yesterday—between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, one respected expert on the Arab world averred that “it’s hard to imagine an Arab country, if it were democratic, striking a peace deal with Israel” and that, moreover, “Israel, one of the region’s few democracies, prefers that its Arab neighbors not be democratic.” Some have taken this line of reasoning one step further, to suggest that Jerusalem is in some sense propping up Arab dictatorships. Nonsense, writes Seth Frantzman:

It was the authoritarian regimes in the Middle East in the 1950s that led the drive against relations with Israel. . . . These dictatorships inflamed a generation and brainwashed people against Israel, even as [they] normalized with other states that [with whom they had conflicts]; e.g., despite the India-Pakistan conflict, no one suggested not recognizing India forever. [By contrast], Israel always had relations with democracies.

[Furthermore], the argument that average citizens in the Middle East oppose Israel, and therefore Israel “needs” dictatorships is flawed. The public that was propagandized against Israel is sometimes hostile. However this is mostly a historical aberration. Israel had relationships with democracies like Turkey, and Iranians would make peace with Israel if not for their regime. Kurds would also be open to Israel if not for Saddam and then Iran occupying Baghdad.

Next, we need to ask why Israel is singled out for being responsible for “authoritarianism” in the Middle East when every single other nation in the world has relations with countries like Saudi Arabia.It is only [considered] a problem for Israel to have relations with the UAE. But when the U.S. or France has relations with the UAE or when Switzerland embraces Iran, it’s fine? This makes no sense.

Read more at Middle East Forum

More about: Arab democracy, Bahrain, Israel diplomacy, United Arab Emirates

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University