Appreciate this article? +972 depends on your support -- click here to help us keep going

Analysis News

Egypt's election results are none of Israel's business

Outsiders who wish for a return of the dictators are pushing against the inevitable tide of history. And Israelis who express a preference for Mubarak only contribute to the perception, widely held in Egypt, that the dictator was able to survive because he was supported by ‘the Zionists.’


Cairo democracy activist wrapped in an Egyptian flag (photo: Lisa Goldman)

The Egyptian election results are in, and two-thirds of the vote went to the Islamist parties. According to the New York Times, 47 percent of the votes went to the Freedom and Justice party, representing the 84-year-old Muslim Brotherhood, which invented political Islam; and 25 percent to the Nour party, representing the fundamentalist Salafists. My colleague Larry Derfner writes that if he had known what the results of this first post-Mubarak election would be, he would not have supported the revolutionaries. He describes Islamist parties’ victory as a “demoralizing defeat” for “we liberals” and concludes that the Middle East has taken a “giant leap backward.”

Well. “We liberals” are citizens of the democratic state of Israel, which freely elected, as the largest faction in its governing coalition after the Likud, the quasi-fascist Yisrael Beitenu party. The head of that party, Avigdor Lieberman, is now the foreign minister. He cozies up to Vladimir Putin and once said that Israel should bomb the Aswan Dam. In our Knesset, we also have Kahanists and a large contingent from Shas, which is quite similar to the Nour party. So I don’t think we have all that much credibility when it comes to commenting on the election results of our neighbours.

I am also pretty sure that the Egyptians don’t care whether Larry or any other non-Egyptian supports their revolution. They particularly don’t care whether or not Israeli liberals support or oppose their revolution. We Israelis can be quite vain, but really – this revolution is not about us. At all.

More to the point, we have no say in the Egyptian revolution. Israel is not part of the discourse about the Arab world – by choice and by default. We removed ourselves from the discussion by tacitly supporting oppressive dictators like Mubarak, who crushed civil society in his country over a period of thirty years, and by refusing to end the military occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Who killed the liberal opposition parties of Egypt? Mubarak did – by jailing their members and refusing to allow them to run for parliament. The Muslim Brotherhood did sit in parliament, although it was subjected to periodic crackdowns by the secret police, so it understands the political system. In terms of votes, it benefits from being a known entity. The Brotherhood has nearly a century of experience in political organization. It has money, it is organized and it represents stability to millions of Egyptians who, while they were probably happy to see Mubarak gone, were tired of the revolutionary chaos. Beyond Tahrir, for most Egyptians, the army is a respected institution that also represents stability – much as the IDF is a respected institution for most Israelis.  Most Egyptians still believe that the army is with the people, despite all the evidence to the contrary. And so the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood and the ruling military junta struck a deal to cooperate also worked to the benefit of the Freedom and Justice party.

The Salafists, who surprised and shocked so many with their electoral success, benefited from both focused organization and a huge cash infusion from Saudi Arabia.

Then there was the liberal political coalition. They had no financial support from foreign governments, no long-established parties and no candidates with face recognition. They had five months to prepare for elections – to form parties from scratch, choose candidates, articulate a platform and then go out and campaign, while the chaos of the revolution continued. Egyptian blogger Sarah Naguib describes in this blog post some of the Herculean challenges the liberals faced going into these elections; in this podcast, Mahmoud Salem (aka the Sandmonkey), who ran as an independent candidate, describes the obstacles he experienced and voting irregularities he witnessed.

And yet, despite all these difficulties, the liberal parties won 30 percent of the vote.

Revolutions are messy, violent and protracted. The French revolution and the American revolution took years to achieve, and both were violent, chaotic affairs. The Egyptian revolution is only one year old and the situation will probably get worse before it gets better. But outsiders who wish for a return of the dictators are pushing against the inevitable tide of history. And Israelis who express a preference for Mubarak only contribute to the perception, widely held in Egypt, that the dictator who destroyed their civil society, impoverished them, spied on them, tortured them and humiliated them was able to survive because he was supported by ‘the Zionists.’

Hosni Mubarak is gone. He is not coming back. The Islamist parties have won a majority of seats in a rubber stamp parliament. The real power is still held by the military and this will continue to be the case for some time – a fact that might comfort Israelis who fear the Islamists. But if we’re going to assess reasons to fear for the Middle East, we Israelis don’t have to look very far. The danger is not with the Islamist parties. They have no love for Israel, but they have neither the power nor the will to express their dislike by mobilizing for war. The danger is with the Israeli governing coalition, which is passing anti-democratic legislation at home and behaving increasingly like non-rational players in the diplomatic arena.

In 1991, the Algerian military cracked down on the Islamists when they were poised to make a strong showing in the national elections. The result was a civil war that cost an estimated 200,000 lives. Surely no liberal – Israeli or otherwise – would wish for the Egyptian military to spark a civil war with a similar crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists.

One liberal Arab friend told me, “You Israelis have enough problems at home. You should mind your own fucking business.” And no liberal should think that 250 million Arabs are going to put their revolutions on hold because 7 million Israelis are worried about their security. We all need to get over Tehran Trauma: There is no Egyptian version of the Ayatollah Khomeini waiting in Paris for the right moment to fly to Cairo and co-opt the revolution.

When I was in Cairo last spring, I met a prominent Egyptian journalist – a liberal – who displayed an impressive knowledge of Israeli society and politics. He told me two things that I won’t forget. He said that there was not a single Israeli journalist who evidenced any true insight or deep knowledge of the Arab world. And he said that the Arab uprising was unstoppable.

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week's events. Sign up here.

View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • COMMENTS

    1. O.Selznik

      @Lisa – I agree with your point as long as it reffers to domestic politics.

      The issue is the peace agreement and the gas contracts.

      when Muslim brotherhood leaders make statements about canceling agreements or the need to change them it becomes an Israeli affair, dont you think?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jalal

      Thanks Lisa, after reading larry’s post yesterday, I only tweeted “The Muslim Brotherhood’s victory in Egypt is every liberal hypocrite’s nightmare.”
      besides, coming from an Israeli, who indeed has much worse trouble at home, they should mind their own business.
      The Yisrael Beituna party is way more extreme and fascist than people might imagine Hamas could be, but the former wasn’t faced with world-wide rejection when it won the Israeli elections a few years ago.
      Besides, Israeli liberal parties are in no way less bad than the extremist parties. The only difference is that extremist parties are honest, while Liberal Parties keep their agendas hidden but act with impunity.

      Reply to Comment
    3. O.Selznik

      @Jalal – you last remark shows your awful understanding in Israeli politics.

      the dicotomic approach of either you are for the abolishment of a jewish state or you are fascist gets you no where (atleast if your looking to solve the conflict).

      Same goes for opinions about hamas, just like anything in this world, its not a monolithic movment. they have politicians who are moderate and politicians who are outright racist.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Richard Witty

      Larry has every right to an opinion as well, and to state it assertively.

      You are wrong that the opinion of progressives does not affect revolutionary efforts.

      I am disappointed that you are not disappointed in the results.

      In foreign policy impact, it plays into the likud argument that “none of our neighbors accept Israel”.

      Just to give that argument less voice, I would have hoped for a dominant advocacy of democracy, not for a dominant advocacy of quite strong conservatism.

      Reply to Comment
    5. I think the Egyptian people looked around and asked themselves “which of these candidates is least likely to rob us blind?” I welcome the advent of Democracy in Egypt and I hope the process continues undeterred. I think folks were afraid that once the Islamists got into power they would begin cracking down on opposition parties, the way Hamas has done to Fatah in Gaza. But Gaza didn’t have the equivalent of the Egyptian Army in place to help balance things out and exert a moderating influence. I wish the Egyptian people and their Democratically elected government well, and I hope they will continue to respect Egypt’s international commitments. Who makes up that government is none of my business – in that respect I fully agree with Lisa. But to say that Shas is “quite similar” to the Salafist Nour Party, is a bit of a stretch.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Richard Witty

      Another point to Lisa.

      Are the results of Israel’s election of any concern to Israel’s neighbors, or is it none of their business.

      I think it is their concern legitimately and it is their business, though they can’t and shouldn’t interfere in any way (unlike what was reported in Egypt, with Saudi money fueling the Salafi party.)

      Reply to Comment
    7. AYLA

      I love this, Lisa. Thank you. If we could even get to the point where we understand how little we know/understand, we’d be making tremendous progress. And if I hear one more person talking about Egyptians being “brainwashed” (against Israel), I’m going to scream. I’m not saying there’s no propaganda at work. Nor that we aren’t victims of our own. Nor that lack of information (ours, theirs, everyone’s) isn’t it’s own kind of brainwashing. Maybe we all need brainwashing–the washing of our brains of all we think we know, to make room to inquire, listen; to learn what Egypt is truly about, which–shocker–isn’t us. Thanks especially for all the Egyptian voices you brought in, here.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Volodinjev

      Aren’t Israel’s election results none of the rest of the world’s business either? It doesn’t sound like it from +972Mag.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Roger

      Lisa,
      .
      Well argued but I can’t help but see this as yet another light going out.
      .
      I think we also have to seriously question the wisdom of designating parties as ‘liberal’.
      .
      As the experience of post-communist Russia and Eastern Europe shows ‘liberalism’ can be a hugely destructive force when let loose in a society which has been predominantly socialist or state-capitalist.
      .
      Parties advocating westernisation through globalisation, privatisation and de-regulation represent an even more serious and immediate threat to the basic economic interests of ordinary Egyptians than Islamists.
      .
      So is there a real secularist left in Egypt that does offer either western neo-liberalism or neo-Nasserite state-capitalism?

      Reply to Comment
    10. Roger

      Damn: ‘neither’ not ‘either’

      Reply to Comment
    11. Jameson

      Lisa, I can’t help but feel it’s strange that you think that the results of a revolution and an election in a country neighboring Israel are “none of Israel’s business”.

      I understand why you think Israel shouldn’t dismiss the Egyptians push for democracy, but what reasonable country anywhere in the world would not be concerned or interested in what’s happening in a neighboring country currently undergoing violent revolt?

      Should Tunisia not care about what happens in Libya? South Africa what happens in Zimbabwe? The U.S. what happens in Mexico?

      It would seem bizarre if we weren’t concerned, watching, commenting, discussing, etc.

      Furthermore, are Israeli elections the concern of the world? I feel that 972 definitely takes the stance that the world must weigh in on Israel’s internal politics, and in some cases exert pressure. Is Egypt a sacred cow?

      I say simply, if you think it works for Israel, why not for Egypt…..

      Reply to Comment
    12. Lila

      Lisa -
      Your article makes a very important point – but while I agree wholeheartedly that wishing Mubarak back in power is not ok, I feel your argument is based on a few really problematic assumptions:

      1. “It’s not about us.” Of course it’s not about us, but it is absurd to think that Israelis should not be concerned about potentially problematic developments in Egypt. It is not selfish of Israelis to be worried about the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – a party with a disturbing history of virulent, racist anti-Semitism – it is human. Would we expect the citizens of any other country to adopt an entirely disinterested and “altruistic” position regarding a neighboring country? Of course not. So why is it so disturbing when Israelis are afraid of something they have every right to be afraid of?

      2. “Revolutions are messy, violent and protracted. The French revolution and the American revolutions took years to achieve, and both were violent, chaotic affairs.” Would you tolerate that kind of long view regarding disturbing developments in Israeli politics?

      3. “We liberals”, actually, are people who have (rightfully) been consistently and vocally critical of Lieberman, his party, and this government. We don’t say to ourselves – hey, Israel’s just 60 years old, it took a hundred years for the US to abolish slavery. And “we liberals” don’t tell outsiders who criticize our government to “shut up” and mind their own business…

      Reply to Comment
    13. AYLA

      I don’t think that Goldman is saying that Israel shouldn’t care, including out of any kind of self interest, about the election results, nor that they have no effect on us. I take it more to be about a) how little we understand about Egypt/Egyptians and what their election results mean, for them or for us, b) how wrong it is to wish a dictator back for Egyptians because he kept the peace (in a manner that was dictated, which only makes conflict worse, really). It seems that the arguments here in this regard are more with the title than the piece. Although she had me at the title, perhaps it would read more accurately as “Egypt’s election results are not about us”. Also, if Israel really wants Egyptian results that are best for Israel, than Israel should want election results that are best for Egyptians. I don’t know much, but I know that’s not Mubarak.

      Reply to Comment
    14. First time reader. When I saw your award for work in Gaza, I expected some anti-Israeli diatribe. You didn’t disappoint. Don’t you feel just a bit hypocritical using your Jewish/Israeli credentials to attack the Jewish state? “Look at me, I’m a Jew and I hate Israel!” Big deal.

      Comment edited by moderator.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Sol

      Derfner’s logic is quite simple: Our fascist, religious wackos are clean, pure, just, and Chosen.

      Your fascist, religious wackos are dirty, evil, unfair, and products of a military dictatorship.

      It’s quite simple, really.

      Avigdor Lieberman good. Muslim Brotherhood bad.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Thank you so much Lisa for this interesting piece. When it comes to the Arab neighbours, Israel always preferred short term strategy than long term policy. This explains why Israelis love Mubarak (who never visited Israel ) and they never cared about what Egyptians really feel.
      On the other hand, I perfectly understand their concerns about the peace process and the gas deal. The revolution has exposed the depth of unease and even hostility among Egyptians towards both issues. Now Israel has to deal with the reality which Mubarak brutally hide for long time. They should be patient. I genuinely believe that Egyptians will opt to keep the peace deal because it is in their interest. The gas deal may need amendments but probably would not be cancelled.
      The Arab Spring will finally force Israel to deal with Arab people not Arab dictators.

      Reply to Comment
    17. AYLA

      Sol–keep it real. LD is against ours, too. And LG isn’t inferring that he isn’t; she’s making other points.

      Reply to Comment
    18. AYLA

      @Nervana Mahmoud–thank you for everything you just shared–good and interesting to hear. I especially love this, “The Arab Spring will finally force Israel to deal with Arab people not Arab dictators.” Amen.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Aaron

      A Middle East policy that was only successful for thirty years, is a success.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Henry Lowi

      Here is the comment I wrote under Larry Derfner’s article:
      “So, I guess that Larry Derfner, knowing what he knows now, will support the Egyptian military dictatorship (Mubarak regime without Mubarak) when it exercises repression against those it terms “Islamists”, all in the name of being “liberal”. Larry exposes his value system while writing about topics that he does not know much about. The troubling fact, for “liberals” like Larry, is that the Arab revolution is on the march, it is combatting obstacles like Gaddafi, the TNC, Mubarak, SCAF, MB, the Assad regime, and the Zionist regime of Israel, and has set its goals as freedom for the people. Along the way there will be partial victories and setbacks, but democracy will win in the Arab East and North Africa, Palestine will be free, and “liberals” will have nothing to contribute to any of that.”

      Reply to Comment
    21. delia ruhe

      Excellent piece. “Mind your own business” . . . I wish someone had said that to Bush and Sharon in 2006, before they strangled Palestinian democracy in its cradle.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Ruth

      ‘He said that there was not a single Israeli journalist who evidenced any true insight or deep knowledge of the Arab world. And he said that the Arab uprising was unstoppable.’

      Oh yeah? Well your friend is wrong. Many of us ordinary people know the place only too well. Not just Egyptian yuppies. Of course you were so impressed by his words you did not argue with him. What a shallow article.

      Reply to Comment
    23. eitan hajbi

      although i agree (to a certian extent) with some of the writer’s sub-points, i have to say that i’m amazed by the ongoing self/group-decieve about the political situation, and datas( !) that are evident in this article too. the mantra about the muslim brothers’ victory being mainly an outcome of their superior organization is false. for example, the wafd party, whice is well organized and rooted in the history of egypts politics, clashed. and the assumption that “30% of the votes went to the liberal forces” is simply not true. infact, only less than 20% of the sits will belong to the liberal-democratic parties (the article didn’t consider the center party, whice is also an islamist, and some of the little lists and independent sits that are actually ndp-mubarak figures). the term “the inevetable tide of history” represnts nothing but mistic approach to politics. and there were and are people and journalists in israel that are showing a decent understanding of the arab world (but maybe not “important” ones). in short, i don’t understand the point of this article. it doesnt suggest any new or deeper inderstanding of stuff, but prefers to deal with some side-effects of it on the western inner bla-bla-bla circles, and to re-arrange, once again, reallity in a way that is more convienet to “understand”, hear and deliver. but it’s false, and it keeps on missing the points and the relevant information, the deeper understanding of what is going on. and maybe most important: larry (and you, and me) are not “israel”. i’m really alergic to that headline!

      Reply to Comment
    24. The reality of an MB-dominated government is not thrilling to Egyptian liberals either, from what I gather on Twitter, but those are the results and the only thing to do is to keep up the pressure on the new regime to adhere to democratic safeguards and liberties against its natural inclination.

      Reply to Comment
    25. conchovor

      Israel had little choice but to deal with Mubarak as it was only his successor, Sadat, who first agreed to deal with Israel.

      Was Israel supposed to promote the antisemitic as well as anti-Zionist Muslim Brotherhood, which regarded the peace with Israel as treachery?

      ‘the perception, widely held in Egypt, that the dictator was able to survive because he was supported by ‘the Zionists.’

      Surely of a piece with the widely held belief that Egyptian bondage somehow began with peace with Israel; whereas, in fact, the military junta began under a man millions, if not most, Egyptians still revere, Gamal Abdel Nasser. Who came to power on a plank that the previous liberal, dysfunctional but, yet, democratic government, failed to abort a Jewish state.

      A myth in which not a few western journalists seem to connive.

      Whether Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak or Muslim Brotherhood, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hatred (in no small part promulgated by the Brotherhood) still remained a common feature, albeit (thankfully) contained by Mubarak.

      It was Nasser who expelled all Egyptian Jews, after all. Are Egyptians likely to be examining the faults in Egyptian Arab Islamic culture and society that led to that under the Muslim Brotherhood in the none-too-distant future?

      I doubt it.

      ‘They have no love for Israel, but they have neither the power nor the will to express their dislike by mobilizing for war.’

      Not the power, yet. Though they are quite happy for gas lines to Israel to be routinely bombed; to increase gas prices in their contribution to a general siege of Israel.

      ‘The danger is with the Israeli governing coalition, which is passing anti-democratic legislation at home and behaving increasingly like non-rational players in the diplomatic arena.’

      In no small part driven by the rise of Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish, nationalism, at home and abroad.

      In a region which has effectively made itself Judenrein. The more Israeli Jews feel isolated or besieged, the more they will exclude those they deem to be aiding and abetting their foreign enemies.

      That is the near universal tendency of peoples under siege.

      ‘And no liberal should think that 250 million Arabs are going to put their revolutions on hold because 7 million Israelis are worried about their security.’

      The Arab, Islamic world has never been very friendly to Israel at the best of times, least of all the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafists. So Israeli Jews should stop being concerned? Has the need for security concerns diminished?

      I must say, I think the tenor of statements like that is ridiculous. And further feeds the myth that somehow Israel is responsible for the state of the Arab world i.e. a further distancing from the +actual+ taking of responsibility for one’s actions.

      ‘He said that there was not a single Israeli journalist who evidenced any true insight or deep knowledge of the Arab world. And he said that the Arab uprising was unstoppable.’

      Such prophetic insight! No wonder you are driven to such veneration.

      Egyptian and other Mizrachim had an intimate knowledge of the Arab world. The Revolution of Arab Socialism forbade them, however, from further intimacy.

      Unstoppable indeed: the end of the Arab Jewish world. I wonder if you Egyptian journalist had insight into that.

      Reply to Comment
    26. conchovor

      Sorry, this is a clear version, with double spacing between paragraphs

      Israel had little choice but to deal with Mubarak as it was only his successor, Sadat, who first agreed to deal with Israel.

      Was Israel supposed to promote the antisemitic as well as anti-Zionist Muslim Brotherhood, which regarded the peace with Israel as treachery?

      Nervana Mahmoud complains that Israel dealt only with dictators instead of peoples: who else was prepared to deal with her?

      Hers is a magical view of history, an inversion of historical cause and effect.

      ‘the perception, widely held in Egypt, that the dictator was able to survive because he was supported by ‘the Zionists.’

      Surely of a piece with the widely held belief that Egyptian bondage somehow began with peace with Israel; whereas, in fact, the military junta began under a man millions, if not most, Egyptians still revere, Gamal Abdel Nasser. Who came to power on a plank that the previous liberal, dysfunctional but, yet, democratic government, failed to abort a Jewish state.

      A myth in which not a few western journalists seem to connive.

      Whether Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak or Muslim Brotherhood, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hatred (in no small part promulgated by the Brotherhood) still remained a common feature, albeit (thankfully) contained by Mubarak.

      It was Nasser who expelled all Egyptian Jews, after all. Are Egyptians likely to be examining the faults in Egyptian Arab Islamic culture and society that led to that under the Muslim Brotherhood in the none-too-distant future?

      I doubt it.

      ‘They have no love for Israel, but they have neither the power nor the will to express their dislike by mobilizing for war.’

      Not the power, yet. Though they are quite happy for gas lines to Israel to be routinely bombed; to increase gas prices in their contribution to a general siege of Israel.

      ‘The danger is with the Israeli governing coalition, which is passing anti-democratic legislation at home and behaving increasingly like non-rational players in the diplomatic arena.’

      In no small part driven by the rise of Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish, nationalism, at home and abroad.

      In a region which has effectively made itself Judenrein. The more Israeli Jews feel isolated or besieged, the more they will exclude those they deem to be aiding and abetting their foreign enemies.

      That is the near universal tendency of peoples under siege.

      ‘And no liberal should think that 250 million Arabs are going to put their revolutions on hold because 7 million Israelis are worried about their security.’

      The Arab, Islamic world has never been very friendly to Israel at the best of times, least of all the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafists. So Israeli Jews should stop being concerned? Has the need for security concerns diminished?

      I must say, I think the tenor of statements like that is ridiculous. And further feeds the myth that somehow Israel is responsible for the state of the Arab world i.e. a further distancing from the +actual+ taking of responsibility for one’s actions.

      ‘He said that there was not a single Israeli journalist who evidenced any true insight or deep knowledge of the Arab world. And he said that the Arab uprising was unstoppable.’

      Such prophetic insight! No wonder you are driven to such veneration.

      Egyptian and other Mizrachim had an intimate knowledge of the Arab world. The Revolution of Arab Socialism forbade them, however, from further intimacy.

      Unstoppable indeed: the end of the Arab Jewish world. I wonder if your Egyptian journalist had much insight into that.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Steve

      Yes, Egypt’s elections are certainly Israel’s business. Israel is next door to Egypt, so obviously the entire premise of this article is absurd. Furthermore, Israel received war from Egypt in the past, so of course they have ever right to be concerned. And as for the accusation that “Israel likes Arab dictators,” that’s just silly nonsense that Israel-haters claim. Most Arab dictators hate Israel. Only two of them had peace agreements with Israel. Israel didn’t “like” those two dictators because they were dictators. Israel likes people who want peace with Israel. Israel wants peace with its neighbors. If crazed radicals rule Egypt and they want peace with Israel, Israel will return the peace. It doesn’t mean that Israel likes crazed radicals. But that’s the sort of dishonest, backwards logic that Israel-bashers like to use.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Mikesailor

      Please tell me why Egypt should like Israel? The 1948 war? The Suez crisis of ’56? The Lavon affair (which incidentally led to the expulsion of many Jews from Egypt)? The ’67 sneak attack and ensuing war? The assistance Israel gave the Mubarak government making Egypt, in fact, the co-wardens of the open-air prison known as Gaza? The ‘gas’ deals wherein Mubarak and his cronies not only skimmed money but locked in prices below market levels? Killing Egyptian soldiers at the border? Maintaining the ‘settlement’ project in the West Bank thereby ensuring political turmoil? I am really curious as to how Israelis are once again claiming ‘victimization’ or potential ‘victimization’ and expect the Egyptians to give a damn. Egypt will find its own way. They have every right to try. But trying to excuse Israeli actions vis-a-vis Egypt is disingenuous at best. I too look upon the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood with some trepidation, yet governing is a different enterprise than merely spiting rhetoric in opposition. And who can say that the Muslim Brotherhood will be as racist or theologically driven as Shas, Likud, Ysrael Beiteneau or others in Israel? Or even Labor, Meretz etc. who believe in ethnic and religious superiority over minorities? I wish the Egyptians well but I will say that no matter what their government, relations with Israel are going to change. The real question will be the next elections for that will show whether or not a democracy has really taken place, not merely a revolution.

      Reply to Comment
    29. MarkH

      Does not the State of Israel have flourishing political parties, holding seats in the Knesset, that are religiously based?

      Don’t these parties insist that important government policies should be based on religious precepts and scriptures?

      Of course, it is only human to decry conduct on the part of my neighbour, that also takes place in my own house.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Richard Witty

      “Please tell me why Egypt should like Israel?”

      Peace rather than war. Trade. Education. Technology. Relief assistance. Access to medical facilities. Integration into Mediterranean European economy.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Mikesailor

      ‘Peace rather than war’? Since when has Israel offered anything to the Egyptian people? Or any ‘Arab’? Other than the back of their hand? Israel has nothing to offer anybody, except an example of a racist, theologically driven society which tramples international law with the impunity granted by the diplomatic and political cover of the West. Then the West, and Israel, whine that the ‘Arabs’ don’t understand that the actions they have promulgated, propping up dictatorships and heir militaries, were for the “Arabs’ own good.My view is that the ‘Arabs’ understand all too well.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Jameson

      “He said that there was not a single Israeli journalist who evidenced any true insight or deep knowledge of the Arab world.”

      Sorry if I sound skeptical, but does your friend know every single Israeli journalist? What about Yoav Stern (Haaretz) or Eran Zinger (Reshet Bet), are they both full of shit? What about Jacky Khoury, Fadi Eyadat?

      This is a silly blanket statement made by your friend, much like if an Israeli said “there is not a single Arab journalist who evidenced any true knowledge or insight of Israel or the Jewish world”.

      I assume you didn’t question him at all though…..good journalism Lisa!

      Reply to Comment
    33. Actually, James, he did know Yoav – who is a friend of mine – and Jacky Khougy, who is also a friend of mine, and he knew of Eran Zinger, whose work I know well. Neither Yoav – who is no longer a journalist – nor Jacky would claim particular insight regarding Egypt.

      This journalist knows Hebrew and has visited Israel on more than one occasion, by the way. And I know him quite well; I am not quoting from a single conversation.

      Reply to Comment
    34. James North

      Lisa: This is a terrific article. Particularly frightening was this quote:

      “He said that there was not a single Israeli journalist who evidenced any true insight or deep knowledge of the Arab world.”

      Reply to Comment
    35. Jeremy Goldbery

      Lisa, journalists should never like in their articles. You are not an Israeli. You have left Israel and refuse to explain why.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Jeremy Goldbery

      By quoting someone saying, You Israelis, you are deliberately misleading your readers. You are not Israeli any more. You are living in Toronto. Liar, Liar, pants on fire.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Click here to load previous comments

    LEAVE A COMMENT

    Name (Required)
    Mail (Required)
    Website
    Free text

© 2010 - 2014 +972 Magazine
Follow Us
Credits

+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

Website empowered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel