In a great piece in the Times last week, Neil MacFarquhar reported from Damascus that the disastrous Iraq war, chased by Israel’s Lebanon war, has set back the cause of reform in the Arab world. An Arab moderate is afraid to say good things about the U.S. now without fear of a beating. While the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has shot to political prominence thanks to a U.S. policy that looks to them like destroying the Arab world to save it.
The reformers point to a “taproot” for Muslim extremism:
The taproot of extremism. It was amazing to watch the Sunday talk shows yesterday in the wake of the London arrests and hear the usual blather about Why they hate us?—lack of opportunity in the Arab world, dictatorship, etc.—and not hear one voice expressing the concerns of our friends in the Arab world. Though once, on Meet the Press, Gov. Tom Kean did mention our support of Israel. This question has now been with us for five years.
You get far more honest discussion about this from the Israel Policy Forum, whose leaders wrote into the Times to acknowledge that the Israeli occupation was indeed the “taproot” of extremism, and to insist that withdrawing from the West Bank is the prime business of the Olmert government.
The inability of the mainstream media to examine the apartheid conditions in the West Bank, and the degree to which these conditions are fueling Arab rage across the region, is further proof, if anyone needs it, of the strength of the Israel lobby in this country. Americans are wed, forcibly, to an ideal of Israel as an enlightened democracy. They are almost never shown the militarized, racist, religious zealots who have carved up Arab land in the name of their alliance with us, the United States.
And no, that’s not the only reason they hate us. But it’s a big one. How long can we live in denial?