09 February '11
Posted before Shabbat
I hope a strong, vibrant democracy emerges in Egypt. But if not, well, just trust IDF superiority to blow the bad guys to smithereens. That’s the approach this Christian Science Monitor staff-ed takes in selling the Muslim Brotherhood.
Yes, an editorial board that doesn’t live here says I can manage to live with the consequences:
The long-term interests of Israel lie in democracy coming to Arab lands, no matter how messy or long in the making. A free people with a freely elected government is more of a solid basis for a peace agreement than the signature of a dictator.
Mr. Suleiman, who has long portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood as a violent threat, held talks with its leaders this week. The Islamist group, which renounced the use of violence decades ago, has been seen as more pro-democracy in the last two weeks than the Egyptian Army, which has strong ties with the Pentagon. In a free election, the Brotherhood may in fact turn out to be more like Turkey’s Muslim party, AKP, than Hamas.
Even if a future Egyptian government rejects the 1979 peace treaty, Israel’s military will be far superior to Egypt’s if the nations risk war again.
If the Monitor wants to convince a skeptical Israelis like myself that the Muslim Brotherhood can be trusted to safeguard peace and democracy, it would be wise to substantively address what went wrong the last time we were told that Islamists like Hamas participating in elections was okay.
In a nutshell, Hamas won 2006 elections, forcibly kicked Fatah out of Gaza, and just yesterday, vowed to boycott a Palestinian vote.
The Monitor would have to address the legitimacy Hamas enjoys from being democratically elected, but not democratically re-elected. That veneer was most recently expressed by, uh, the very Turkish Islamists the Monitor holds up as a hopeful model. Why rush to confer the same halo on the Muslim Brotherhood?
Not to worry. My army can defeat their army
Yes, I am skeptical the Brotherhood has really renounced violence. Case in point: Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahdi Akif has served as Hamas’s spiritual leader after Sheikh Yassin was killed. Connect the dots:
“Whenever there is an organizational spiritual issue, Hamas takes it to Akif,” said the Palestinian source. “He gave them the blessing to run in the elections and was instrumental in using Islamic tradition to deduce it was OK to join the government. The Brotherhood in essence is helping run Hamas. And Akif is the most important religious personality in the Hamas leadership right now.”
Israel will no doubt end up taking some risks for peace and democracy, whether or not its military superiority has any bearing on Mideast events.
The editorial’s simplistic fallback argument is, When all else fails, trust IDF superiority.
The Monitor’s just politely echoing Mao: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
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