I haven’t posted for a few days, largely because the major news surrounding Middle Eastern issues has been in more of a flux than usual, if that’s imaginable.
You’ve got the al-Mabhouh assassination – the latest wrinkle appears to be that now Dubai is issuing an arrest warrant for Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu; never mind that the organization to which the assassinated assassin belonged is saying no, no, see – it was Jordan. Or maybe Egypt. And it was probably Fatah. And Iran says it was Europe. So yeah, sure, lets go arrest Bibi. That will put a stop to all this nonsense. Yes, Virginia, the world is nuts.
But I’ve also noticed several developments since Monday that, if taken at face value, and without digging beneath the surface, appear amazingly positive. First, U.S. Senator John Kerry came out “solidly behind” Netanyahu’s call for truly tough sanctions against Iran. I’ve never been a fan of Kerry, but his statement on its own is positive; whether the man is sincere is really not for me to say.
And then yesterday it was reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Lebanon, in effect, don’t expect us to protect you from Israel if you keep letting Hezbollah bring in more arms. Now maybe you think this is not news – that the current U.S. administration has supported Israel’s right to self defense from the get-go, but to me, this is news. And whether the woman means what she says or not, at least in this instance, I’m not here to say. At least not today.
And now it’s beginning to look like the Arab world is having second thoughts about its opposition to Israel. Say what!? Well, at least the Arab League is now saying it’s OK to talk. That might not seem like much, but it does represent a shift. And here’s something that we didn’t expect (although it’s only right): Israeli Arabs demonstrated in front of the Egyptian Embassy in favor of the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Actually, this isn’t all that shocking, considering the little known fact that the vast majority of Arabs living in Israel do actually support the Israeli government. But it bears repeating.
Now this is strange: the leader of a global Muslim movement has issued a strongly worded fatwa against terrorism. I don’t have a problem with that, do you?
And regarding anti-Semitism overseas? Well, there’s not much good news there – except Canada’s Ontario Legislature just passed a resolution condemning the annual anti-Israel event known as “Apartheid Week.” I might have mentioned this before, but, to summarize the words yesterday of Washington Post writer Richard Cohen, Israel is not South Africa.
Yet we still must – I repeat, must – have more sense than to blithely accept everything at face value, pleasant or unpleasant; we simply have to, as a matter of survival, roll up our sleeves and dig beneath the surface in all things. And that takes work. I truly hope my readers don’t think that I have a lot of answers here. I don’t carry the ball – I just try to say “whoa” once in a while when I see something coming that’s just not right. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Israel this week. During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Senator Biden was presented, as I recall, as a supporter of Israel. Maybe he is, in some ways. But take care – read these beneath-the-surface observations by respected columnist Caroline Glick during an interview published today in Israel National News.
In some words written several centuries ago, test and prove all things until you can recognize what is good, and then hold on tight to that.