Positive-Sum Arabs on Israel

I have occasionally expressed the feeling that if the Arabs could muster some positive-sum, reciprocal sentiments, they might look at Israel as an asset in the Middle East, and grant that Jewish claims to Jerusalem far outweigh those of Islam (in which, in the most inflated version, Jerusalem is the “third most holy city”). Now I have discovered a new website maintained by Arabs — and, I think, organized by Nonie Darwish — that reflects precisely those points of view. (HT/Laura Chizzali from Facebook)

Arabs For Israel
Arabs and Muslims who Support the State of Israel and the Cause of Peace in the Middle East
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2009

Who Are We?

We are Arabs and Moslems who believe:

We can support Israel and still support the Palestinian people. Supporting one does not cancel support for the other.

We can support the State of Israel and the Jewish religion and still treasure our Arab and Islamic culture.

There are many Jews and Israelis who freely express compassion and support for the Palestinians. We Arabs also express reciprocal compassion and support.

The existence of the State of Israel is a fact that we accept.

Israel is a legitimate state that is not a threat but an asset in the Middle East.

Every major World religion has a center of gravity. Islam has Mecca, and Judaism certainly deserves its presence in Israel and Jerusalem.

Diversity is a virtue not only in the USA, but would be beneficial around the world. We support a diverse Middle East with protection for human rights, respect and equality under the law to all minorities, including Jews and Christians.

Palestinians have several options but are deprived from exercising them because of their leadership, the Arab League and surrounding Arab and Moslem countries who have other goals besides seeing Palestinians live in harmony with Israel.

If Palestinians want democracy they can start practicing it now.

It will benefit Arabs to end the boycott of Israel.

We can resolve our conflicts using non-violent means. Sending our young people on suicide/homicide missions as a form of Jihad is a distortion of Islam. We can do better.

We are appalled by the horrific act of terror against the USA on 9/11/2001.

It will be better for Arabs when the Arab media ends the incitement and misinformation that result in Arab street rage and violence. We support the Arab media providing coverage of ways that people of all religions are and can live together in harmony.

We are eager to see major reformation in how Islam is taught and channeled to bring out the best in Moslems and contribute to the uplifting of the human spirit and advancement of civilization.

We believe in freedom to choose or change one’s Religion.

We cherish and acknowledge the beauty and contributions of the Middle East culture, but recognize that the Arab/Moslem world is in desperate need of constructive self-criticism and reform.

We seek dialogue with Israel. We invite you to join us on a path of love.

We are NOT:

Anti-Islam, Anti-Arab, confrontational or hateful.

We remember with deep sadness and respect the brave Arabs, known and unknown, who were killed or severely punished for promoting peace with Israel; a special thanks to President Anwar Sadat of Egypt who was killed at the hands of Militant and Radical Islamists after he signed the peace treaty with Israel.

We salute and commend Arab and Moslem writers, scholars and speakers, who found the strength, commitment and honesty in their hearts to speak out in support of Israel. We thank you for being the pioneers that you are and for holding such sophisticated and advanced views in the realm of Arab and Moslem thinking. You are inspiring us all.

Now there’s something that real liberals and progressives should be able to get enthusiastic about. Come to think of it, what do you think, Michael Lerner?

5 Responses to Positive-Sum Arabs on Israel

  1. Tom says:

    “We believe in freedom to choose or change one’s Religion.”

    So they’re anti-islam, it could even be easily argued these are apostates because of this. Such a conviction (to death, in case you’re wondering about the punishment) certainly would not be a judgement that would turn heads. You don’t get to choose whether a word matches an ideology or not.

    These guys are just like communists in academics : they support free choice too, you know. Just ask them.

  2. Michelle Schatzman says:

    A little visit to Nonie Darwish’s sites was in order yesterday. I realized that both sites were last updated in Feb. 2009. I wrote her to ask about her health, and tell her a little about me and my experiences with all sorts of muslims.

    I was quite surprised to receive a nice answer the same day. She had been travelling, and will soon update the sites again.

    The lady needs to sell her books. I guess I’ll buy at least one of them, and tell you about it.

    It is clear from the web sites and the abstracts of the books that she knows she is an apostate re. islam, and in danger of death. Anyway, she has been threatened. I also spent some time reading the reviews of the books on amazon.com ; there are two kinds of reviews : totally enthusiastic reviews, and very negative reviews. The very negative reviews are from muslims and leftists. There was a cute leftist who moaned about Darwish’s uncritical view of the USA. There was nothing like a scholarly review of the books, so I’m going to dig for one.

    There are also some french authors who write critically about Sharia law, and I got Delcambre’s books, for instance.

  3. Michelle Schatzman says:

    More on Nonie Darwish : she converted to some brand of evangelical christianity (Wikipedia says so). So, an apostate she is, and a contract on her head there must be.

    I have no idea of the number of people who agree with her among arabs and/or muslims.

    I am quoting a piece from a paper she wrote in “Front Page Magazine”, on May 25, ’04:

    «To expect Arab and Moslem leadership to apologize for the barbaric murder of Nick Berg is a reflection of the West’s naïve and wrong expectations of Arab culture. In the Arab world to take responsibility and say sorry is taken as an unmanly sign of weakness that may get a person into more trouble. Those who admit guilt, even if it is accidental, are given no mercy and may end up taking all the blame and being brutally punished. It is the norm for Arabs to deny a fact (however blatant) and blame others rather than admit to the wrongdoing and apologize. Honesty is not rewarded.»

    Full referencee can be found here :

    http://frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=12900

    This is a description of a society where all prisoner’s dilemmas are answered by the defect strategy instead of the cooperate strategy. There is incentive to obey and not to cooperate, hence social capital cannot accumulate (read Robert Putnam’s “Making Democracy Work”).

    I never lived in a muslim or arabic society, hence I have no direct experience of their social behavior. I tend to think from my personal experiences with people coming from that kind of culture that the description is probably a bit excessive, and that there are bubbles or oases where things work better. But they cannot work too well : lots of algerian academics who were educated in the french system, including french professors teaching in Algeria after independence decided to leave the country during the civil war in the nineties. They plainly feared for their lives, and quite a number of well-known journalists and intellectuals were indeed assassinated at that time by the jihadists.

  4. Cynic says:

    Michelle,

    I never lived in a muslim or arabic society, hence I have no direct experience of their social behavior.

    I spent many years working alongside them and from my point of view your quote of Nonie Darwish is to the point.
    I am not considering interaction between “them” and “us” but observations of their inter-group reactions.

    It is the norm for Arabs to deny a fact (however blatant) and blame others rather than admit to the wrongdoing and apologize.
    It is only by observing this physically that one gets to thinking that maybe “Deconstruction” is the attempt to neutralise this psychosis in the academic mind ;~)

  5. Eliyahu says:

    cynic, I too have had experience dealing with Arabs in everyday life, not politics or war. I have had Arabs in my home for business reasons. These were persons who were not politicians or public relations experts but ordinary, everyday people. Indeed, it is bizarre to see how they will deny blatant facts. And I am not talking about politics but about everyday business relationships. Obviously, this habit carries over to politics. That is one reason why Israelis don’t trust them. Among others.

    In this context, I ask oao why he bothered linking to an article by Dominique Moisi on a later thread. Moisi is rather articulate, even in English which is not his mother tongue. Yet he seldom says anything worthwhile. And he is foolishly stubborn, or simply hypocritical, in claiming Israelis are too distrustful of the Arabs, too inclined to suffer from a Holocaust-induced paranoia. Moisi is being either cynical or disingenuous or ignorant and naive.

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