Don’t Blame U.S. For Arab Woes

Jerry Coffee
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Wednesday - March 22, 2006
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Mr. Haim Harari, chair of the Davidson Institute of Science Education and past president of the Weizmann Institute of Science, spoke recently to the board of a large multinational corporation. To his topic, “A View From the Eye of the Storm,” he brings the perspective of his family which has lived in the Middle East for almost 200 years. As he puts it, the views of the proverbial “taxi driver” of Middle Eastern descent.

To those who are convinced the United States has incurred the wrath of Islamic terrorism because of our friendship with and support of Israel, he points out that in spite of the 100-year-old Arab-Israeli conflict and its hold on the world’s media, Israel has never been the central issue. Israel had nothing to do with the millions dead in the Iraq-Iran war, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait or the butchering of his own people, Egypt’s use of poison gas against the people of Yemen in the 1960s, the Taliban oppression of Afghanistan and the civil war there, or the ongoing mass murder of black Christians by Arab Muslims in the Sudan.

And the list goes on.

The central issue and the root of all the problems is that “the entire Muslim region is totally dys-functional by any standard of the word, and would have been even if Israel had joined the Arab League and Palestine had been independent for 100 years.”

The 22 members of the Arab League have more than 300 million people and a land mass larger than either the U.S. or all of Europe.

“These 22 countries with all their oil and natural resources have a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of less than half of California alone. The gaps between rich and poor are beyond belief, and the social status of women is far below what it was in the Western world 150 years ago.” Human rights in general “are far below any reasonable standard, in spite of the grotesque fact Libya was elected the chair of the U.N. Human Rights Commission.”

A U.N. report prepared by Arab intellectuals found the number of books translated into Arabic is less than in Greece alone, and the total number of scientific publications of 300 million Arabs is less than that of 6 million Israelis.

Increasing birth rates and poverty hasten the social and cultural decline.

“And all of this is happening in a region that just 30 years ago was believed to be the next wealthy part of the world and, in a Muslim area which at some point in history had developed into one of the most advanced cultures in the world.

“It is fair to say that this creates an unprecedented breeding ground for cruel dictators, terror networks, fanaticism, incitement, suicide,murders and general decline.”

Harari concludes this synopsis of decline by emphasizing that almost everyone in this region “blames the situation on the United States, Israel, Western Civilization, Judaism and Christianity, and anyone and anything except themselves!”

Harari places strong emphasis on his belief that there are millions of decent, honest, good people of Muslim descent who may or may not practice their faith devoutly, but who are now double victims of the “outside world” which understandably develops Islamophobia, while continuing to live in an environment which “breaks their heart by being so totally dysfunctional.”

But, he is quick to add, “the problem is that even though these Muslims are not part of the terror and of the incitement, they also do not stand up against it. They become accomplices by omission, and that applies to political leaders, intellectuals, business people and many others. Many of them certainly tell right from wrong, but are afraid to express their views.”

Later in his speech Harari shares his fear that too many Americans - and even more Europeans - have yet to understand this social, cultural and economic desert as the source of an implacable enemy with whom we are actually engaged in World War III. He makes the bottom line clear: Islamo-fascist hatred of America and the West is rooted not in our foreign policies or alliances, but in envy, disillusionment, frustration and self-disenfranchisement.

Next week, Coffee Break will summarize Harari’s analysis of the main issues we face in this war - suicide, murder, lies, money, disregard for historical and customary law - and his prescription for an arduous strategy to ultimate victory.

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