March 29, 2002
Thoughts on Arabic Democracy

After my first post, I began thinking (a bad habit of mine) about the partisan divide between supporters of Israel and supporters of the Palestinians here in the US. I am certainly not the only one to notice that the most ardent supporters of the Palestinians are (generally) those left-of-center. I wonder if they have considered the ramifications of Palestinian hegemony.

If the Israeli army was to suddenly disappear from the face of the earth and the Palestinians were to install a government, what would it look like? Would Hebrew be taught in the schools, as Arabic is now? Would the assembly have elected Jewish representatives, as it has elected Arab representatives now? Would Jewish (and Christian) religious practices be permitted to continue, or would they be curtailed? Would women enjoy the freedoms they enjoy now? Would the rights of gays be observed? Would the press enjoy the same degree of latitude the Israeli government provides?

These are all valid questions, and for the most part, the answers would probably be negative. Israel's Arabic neighbors are not known for their free and open societies; none of the Arabic nations is particularly free. According to Freedom House, the most free of the Arabic nations is Jordan, which is rated "partially free". (Jordan's scores for political rights and civil liberties are 4 and 4: lower scores are better). Countries such as Saudi Arabia (7/7), Syria (7/7), and Lebanon (6/5) are lionized in the press, while Israel (1/3) is pilloried for having the temerity to defend its citizens.

The left seems to have a disconnect when it comes to Israel, the only country in the middle east which has any sort of meaningful civil rights protections. This is the one that they choose to attack most vociferously. At the same time that they support the Palestinians and their likely tyranny, they attack conservatives here in the US for allegedly attempting to roll back the civil rights of our citizens. Where is the consistency?

posted on March 29, 2002 04:59 PM


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