Muammar Qaddafi’s newest diplomatic theory on the Middle East appeared in the NY Times the other day. It took a while for me to read it; I had to re-read it too. When I finally finished it, I thought, “wow!” I’m not prepared to say that I agree with his solution, but I was shocked to see some of those comments coming from the Libyan leader, who has not embraced Israel at all, to my recognition.
In it, the Arab leader gave credence to both, Israel’s right to the land and “cruel persecution” of the Jews through the ages, including the Holocaust. Those are the very points Hamas, Hezbollah and many radical Islamists try to deny.
To see him say, “The Jews have been held captive, massacred, disadvantaged in every possible fashion by the Egyptians, the Romans, the English, the Russians, the Babylonians, the Canaanites and, most recently, the Germans under Hitler. The Jewish people want and deserve their homeland,” is like manna from heaven, as it is these very issues, particularly the last bout with history that he mentions, that brought about the reformation of Israel in 1948. To see an Islamic Arab leader declare that Jews “deserve” their homeland is an oddity.
It appears that many have debated Qaddafi’s notion of “Isratine” already, just do a basic Google search to see. Right wing Jews deride it, left wing Jews can use it as a framework for discussion, and Islamic haters of Jews applaud any effort that begins dismantling the underpinnings of Jewish sovereignty in the land. The flaws in Isratine for Jews are obvious, the main one being that Jews and Arabs living and voting together allows for the obvious demographics skewed toward the Arab birthrate, would allow a democratic process to whittle away at Jewish rights to anything. I am not prepared to leave Jewish fate in the hands of Islamic thinkers, thinking that Jews need to be erased from existence.
Not that this theory hasn’t any merits. While I was at the American Jewish Congress, a friend and a thoughtful colleague, David Twersky, would talk to me about a Greater Europe as the answer to Middle East wars, leaving Israel, a new Palestine, as well as the some other Arab nations surrounding them becoming states of a greater union, but not sovereign – kind of like the United States of Europe. It may very well be “the” answer, and if you listen to David tell it, it has promise, but I just do not see any of these nations acquiescing to such a proposition. It may serve a greater good, but cannot satisfy the drive for power, greed, and a rebuilt Caliphate.
I am not sure anyone has yet to develop the answer to Israel’s perpetual state of defense from her terror loving neighbors, but hearing a master terrorist like Libya’s leader talk of Israel as if it exists and shall continue to do so, even in his described form, is refreshing. It is misleading, yet, refreshing too. Israel and Jews can do as the Arabs do with propaganda, take what you like and promote it.
Tantamount to Israel’s detractor’s using Jimmy Carter’s warped comments on how Israel began this last war by bombing Hamas’ “defensive tunnels” and declaring “even a U.S. President agrees that Israel is wrong…”, Israel can now challenge any Arab leader who claims that Jews have no rights to the land, that the Holocaust didn’t happen, that Jews have neither a place in history or the future, and point to the fact that one of the longest running leaders in the world, let alone the Arab world, someone who championed and used terror and aimed the weapons of his minions at Israel often enough, declares Israel’s rightful place and decries Jewish persecution.
If nothing else comes of this Op-Ed, we can take this as solace. In a clandestinely designed article aimed to sound fair, but really seeks to eliminate Israel, an Arab leader has given Israel a very useful tool. Jews around the world can be proud that after more than 60 years following the Holocaust, Arabs agree that the very persecution that they have tried to deny from history, gave Jewish refugees the right to the land God led them to after leaving their slavery in Egypt which, by the way, Qaddafi mentions as well.
Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR and a contributor to the Cutting Edge News.