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Facts and Logic About
the Middle East
P.O. Box 590359
San Francisco, CA 94159
(415) 356-7801


December 14, 2004

Dear Friend of FLAME:

You may have seen the article in Sunday's newspapers on the Arab-US summit held in Morocco on Saturday. The event, co-chaired by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, featured speech after speech by Arab spokesmen blaming Israel and the United States for Arab nations' failure to fight terror, failure to democratize and failure to eliminate corruption. The problem, the Arabs contend, is Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and U.S. support of Israel. This Arab position displays consummate chutzpah on two counts: First, tiny Israel has no influence on the internal politics and policies of any of the 20 Arab nations in attendance; and second, the stated goal of most Arab states and organizations is the total destruction of Israel. Nonetheless, however implausible, Arab politicians have for decades blamed Israel for the ills of the Arab world.

Here's an example of how it works: In October, 2002 a massive study commissioned by the United Nations — a body that is virtually never sympathetic to Israel — on the social, political, economic, educational, and democratic progress in the Arab world was carried out by twelve Arab sociologists. They documented the Arab world's massive human rights abuses, wide-sweeping and brutal oppression of women and minorities, gut-wrenching child abuse, and whole populations subsisting in grinding poverty while Arab elites live in obscene luxury. In addition, a dozen wars throughout the Arab world have caused the deaths of millions and made millions more homeless. In most Arab countries, literacy and education opportunities remain at a lower level than most sub-Saharan countries, many have legalized slavery both for labor and sex, and their levels of technological achievement are lower than almost anywhere else in the world.

And to what does this U.N. study attribute such a massive failure of Arab governance and such deplorable levels of human rights, education, freedom and opportunity? According to the study, the misery, poverty and suffering, from Mauritania through North Africa, to Egypt and "Palestine," Syria and Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia — throughout all 21 Arab nations and all 265,000,000 Arabs living in those nations — are ALL due to "...the occupation of Moslem lands by Israel" — a country the size of Rhode Island with only about 6 million people.

So why should we anyone expect any other explanation from Arab statesmen for the lack of freedom and democracy in the Arab world? Colin Powell, to his credit, exhorted Arab countries at the conference to stop stalling reforms. "Political and economic freedom go hand in hand," he said. "All of us confront the daily threat of terrorism. To defeat the murderous extremists in our midst, we must work together to address the causes of despair and frustration that extremists exploit for their own use." Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League, replied, saying that while extremism must be fought, any reforms must be linked to a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Just so we don't forget what the Arabs are talking about when they discuss "resolution of the conflict," Hamas spokesperson Moshir al-Masri underscored it for us again yesterday in his comments following the killing of five Israeli soldiers in a Gaza tunnel explosion: "This sends a message to everybody who tries to seek a peace settlement: Resistance is the only option for the Palestinian people."

The goal of Hamas, as of most Arab nations — and as it has been for decades — is not "peace," but the absolute destruction of Israel. Thankfully, the current U.S. administration seems to understand the duplicity of the Arabs, and it will not let Israel's existence or its right to self-defense stand as an excuse for Arabs not cleaning up their act.

Best regards,
Jim Sinkinson
Director, FLAME

P.S. Thanks to pro-Israel activist David Meir-Levy of Menlo Park, California, for many of the facts and analysis in this piece.

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