While much of the world is thrilled by the images coming out of Egypt and hoping for the fall of the Mubarak regime, Israel and its many influential supporters are busy trying to persuade the USA and European governments that Mubarak is not so bad after all and that they should be busy shoring him up.
Reuters have a story today quoting a number of Israeli commentators praising Mubarak. The Israeli President Shimon Peres is quoted as saying:
“We always have had and still have great respect for President Mubarak…I don’t say everything that he did was right, but he did one thing which all of us are thankful to him for: he kept the peace in the Middle East.”
The same Reuters report quotes the Israeli commentator Aviad Porhoyles writing an article entitled ‘A Bullet in the Back from Uncle Sam’. It accused Obama and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton of pursuing a naive, smug, and insular diplomacy heedless of the risks. Who is advising them, he asked, “to fuel the mob raging in the streets of Egypt and to demand the head of the person who five minutes ago was the bold ally of the president … an almost lone voice of sanity in a Middle East?…The politically correct diplomacy of American presidents throughout the generations … is painfully naive.”
Meanwhile, writing in Haaretz, Ari Shavit said Obama had betrayed “a moderate Egyptian president who remained loyal to the United States, promoted stability and encouraged moderation”.
To win popular Arab opinion, Shavit said Obama was risking America’s status as a superpower and reliable ally.
“Throughout Asia, Africa and South America, leaders are now looking at what is going on between Washington and Cairo. Everyone grasps the message: “America’s word is worthless … America has lost it.”
Another line that Israel’s supporters are busy promoting is that Egypt is not yet ready for democracy and that if Mubarak is toppled the result could be an even worse government. Our very own Mad Mel P writes:
“The unhappy fact is, however, that in Egypt and Tunisia and elsewhere in the Arab world where ferment is growing against the tyranny of their regimes, the crucial infrastructure of the rule of law, independent judges and police, free press and so on that are the necessary precondition of democracy just don’t exist. As a result, when tyrants there fall the outcome is generally not the emergence of a free society but a tyranny far worse even than the one that has fallen – an Islamic theocracy.”
She may have a point. After all, were not the former communist states in Eastern Europe – which had all up until the fall of those regimes lacked an independent judiciary and free press, were noted for being virtually police states etc all replaced by, er, Islamic theocracies?