Reacting to the recent bloody attack on Egyptian Christians, Ziad Asali, M.D. and Hussein Ibish, Ph.D.– president and senior fellow respectively of the American Task Force on Palestine— have just published “Honesty and Hypocrisy in Facing Terrorism,” at the Huffington Post. They conclude as follows:
To survive, and to compete globally, Arab and Muslim societies need to embrace their cultural, religious and ethnic mosaics, and view their diversity as strength rather than weakness. They need to embrace a culture that values not only individual rights and foregrounds the role of the citizen in political and social life, but minority rights as well. The values of pluralism, peaceful resolution of disputes and inclusivity are the only effective antidote to the poison of extremism and extremist violence. Embracing these values will require a change in social and political culture, and for that, every Arab, and Arab and Muslim American, must take up their share of the responsibility. They must speak publicly and courageously for these values here and in the Middle East. The price of silence is prohibitive. The forces of fanaticism, violence and exclusion must not be allowed to prevail.
While this article, by gentlemen we hold in high esteem, is welcome, “The forces of fanaticism, violence and exclusion” have already largely triumphed in most Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East. Nearly a million Jews have left these places for Israel and the West during the past 60 years, leaving only a handful of countries with viable Jewish communities, where they once thrived. The ongoing victimization of Christians is apiece with the scapegoating and discrimination that devastated Jewish communities of tens and hundreds of thousands in Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Yemen and Iran.
It’s not that a significant number of Jews would not have emigrated to Israel and the West anyway, but whole communities (e.g., in Iraq and Egypt) would not have disappeared except for the forces of hatred and intolerance. Although similar forces are at work in Israel today, they are openly challenged and decried by mainstream voices within Israel and among diaspora Jews. It is a sad legacy of their unhappy exodus from Muslim countries, that Israelis with recent roots in these countries are disproportionately within the ranks of the haters of Arabs.