Faisal Al Qasim
Gulf News (Opinion)
June 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Never take Israeli criticism of Arab dictatorships seriously. It is just for media consumption. In actual fact Israel would hate to see Arab dictators go as they suit it best. That is why the Israeli, together with the Iranian and other Arab lobbies are working constantly hard these days behind the scenes to prop up endangered despotic Arab regimes.

Unpublished reports have it that these lobbies are putting a lot of pressure on America and the European powers to help preserve Arab dictatorial regimes beset by popular uprisings. In a word, Israel is afraid of the revolutions taking place around it, and is trying to halt the revolutionary tide in the area by all means possible.

It is in actual fact quite naive to believe that Arab dictatorships are really at odds with Israel. Not at all. The apparent animosity shown by certain Arab media towards the so-called ‘Zionist enemy' is hardly genuine. It is superficial and not at all meant to be put into action. It is a well-calculated much ado about nothing.

The Egyptian poet Ahmad Fouad Najm once said that the so-called Arab slogan: ‘No sound should go higher than the sound of the battle against Israel' is no more than some kind of hocus-pocus. Others regard it as a means to dupe the masses and keep them busy with an illusionary war.

The alleged struggle against Israel is just a game. Had Arab dictatorships been at loggerheads with Israel, they would not have kept their people in a state of submission for years. Arab dictators have in actual fact worked ever so systematically to strip their people of the values of resistance and challenge. They have also sort of emasculated their societies, and turned them into concentration camps, if not pens.

Controlling the people

The Arab people living under dictatorial regimes have been kept in such enclosures, which was and is still very much appreciated by their alleged enemy, i.e. the Israeli entity. In other words, Arab dictators have done the Israelis a great and invaluable favour by controlling the people in a very monstrous manner.

Israeli writer Ben Alofs says that "Israel has built its territorial policy on what might be called the balance of terror with Arab dictators. She has always regarded their regimes as a natural barrier which protects her from the angry Arab mob".

Alofs goes on to warn the US against encouraging democracy in the Middle East. In a word, Israel prefers Arab dictators to democrats, as it has built all its political, military and economic strategies to control the area on propping up dictatorial Arab regimes, which have proven to be quite reliable. They have shown that they can meet all of Israel's security needs. That is why Israel's borders have been very quiet if not serene over the past four decades or so. It is quite obvious that Arab dictators are catering to Israeli needs by suppressing popular dissent so that the alleged enemy lives peacefully and sleeps undisturbed.

It is in the common interest of Arab regimes and Israel to keep some Arab people in a state of backwardness, poverty, corruption and fragmentation so Israel can be the only superpower in the region.

Tacit agreement

It is quite naive of Arab liberals and democracy-seekers to think that Israel, or the US for that matter, prefer them to dictators. The last thing Israel wishes for the countries around it is democracy. It will never help topple a dictator unless it is sure to get a better one. I am sure Israel would have helped Egypt's Hosni Mubarak stay in power if he was young enough to do the job.

Don't ever be surprised to know that one of the missions assigned to Israel is to help protect Arab dictatorships. A certain Israeli prime minister once remarked that Israel's main job after the fall of the communist bloc was to protect dictatorial neighbours. It is quite funny when we compare this hair-raising fact with the anti-Zionist slogans raised by some dictatorial Arab regimes.

But it seems that Arab people, namely those living under allegedly republican regimes, have at long last understood the game. They can no longer live under corrupt despotic rule just to please the Israelis and so have taken to the streets in their thousands clamouring for democracy.

It is democracy and nothing else that will help the Arab people liberate the lands occupied by Israel. This entails getting rid of dictators first. In other words, it is only free citizens who can fight the enemy, which reminds one of the story of the great Arab hero Antara Bin Shaddad. He used to be a black slave, but once he got rid of slavery, and became a free man, he turned into a historic hero.

In other words, the Arab people should never dream of liberating occupied lands until they rid themselves of despotism and dictatorship.

Thankfully, many Arabs are trying their best these days to throw their dictators into the rubbish dump of history, no matter what Israel, Iran and others do to help such dictatorships.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017