Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Live 8, Dead 8 

While a clever campaign combining entertainment and political activism has been using a series of concerts, multi-media events and high-powered meetings in order to raise the awareness of Africa's plight and to inspire the developed world's young to pressure their elders in power to do more, elsewhere, another awareness-raising effort has been just as successful but without much fanfare:
On July 2, 2005, Al-Arabiya TV broadcast a report on an Iranian movement of suicide bombers with the aim of targeting Americans in Iraq and Israel. The volunteers said they wanted to carry out martyrdom operations to liberate Islamic lands and stated that so far 40,000 "time bombs" have been recruited.

According to the chairman and spokesman of The World Islamic Organization's Headquarters for Remembering the Shahids, Mohammad 'Ali Samedi, his organization began recruiting suicide bombers about a year and a half ago... Since then, he has engaged in organizing conventions, registering volunteer suicide bombers online, and providing guidance and training for martyrdom operations.
But what if some Muslims don't necessarily want the Islamic lands to be liberated - after all, what will happen to democracy, jobs and social benefits? Writes Daniel Pipes (hat tip: Dan Foty):
Palestinians - even terrorists - generally prefer life in what they call the "Zionist entity." This pattern became especially clear twice when a chunk of territory - eastern Jerusalem in 2000 and part of the Galilee "Triangle" in 2004 - was slated for transfer to PA control. In both cases, the Palestinians involved clung to Israel.

When Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's diplomacy raised the prospect, in mid-2000, of some Arab-majority parts of Jerusalem being transferred to the PA, a Palestinian social worker found "an overwhelming majority" of Jerusalem's 200,000 Arabs choosing to remain under Israeli control. A member of the Palestinian National Council, Fadal Tahabub, specified that number: 70 percent, he said, preferred Israeli sovereignty. Another politician, Husam Watad, described people as "in a panic" at the prospect of finding themselves under PA rule...

In the Galilee Triangle, a Palestinian-majority area in the north of the country, just 30% of Israel's Arab population, according to a May 2001 survey, agreed to some of the Galilee Triangle being annexed to a future Palestinian state, meaning that a large majority preferred to remain in Israel. By February 2004, when the Sharon government released a trial balloon about giving the PA control over the Galilee Triangle, the Haifa-based Arab Center for Applied Social Research found the number had jumped to 90%. And 73% of Triangle Arabs said they would use violence to prevent changes in the border.
As Pipes writes, it's not that Arabs have suddenly turned into ardent Zionists. They might not actually like Israel, but it certainly beats the Palestinian Authority on any socio-economic indicators.

Some see Israel as the outpost of Western liberal democracy in the Middle East, others as the outpost of Western imperialism, but whatever the interpretation, there is a basic underlying consensus that Israel stands out in the region. So if the above sounds familiar, it's because it is. It reminds me of every "Yankees Go Home - And Take Us With You" slogan painted on a Third World wall, every anti-American nutbag who's waiting for his engineer uncle from Detroit to sponsor him to come over to the Great Satan, every anti-globalization weirdo clad in designer rags and designer sneakers.

As they say, hypocrisy is the compliment that vice pays to virtue, and as such is a temporary safe-house between rejection and acceptance. If acceptance is too much to ask, I'd rather have hypocrisy than rejection, because more than anything, hypocrisy shows that we're right.


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