An Israeli Messianic Jew Weighs in on the Egyptian Uprising
Here is a riddle for you: What is black and white and read all over. A news paper of course. The joke works much better when you can’t read the word read. And just as this joke will soon be obsolete as the next generation may ask, “What’s a newspaper?” while they check their phones and tablets for the latest news, revolutions are simply not what they used to be.
Here is another riddle: What is worse than a Dictatorship? An Islamic Extremist Theocracy.
As I have listened intently to the news for the past few days, you cannot ignore the excitement in many that Egypt, a dictatorship since 1952, is on the verge of embracing western-style democracy. I have also listened to the voices of caution. The extremists will try to highjack this revolution. This thing could go in two different directions, and Israelis would prefer the status quo.
Not because we don’t want Egyptians to enjoy the basic freedoms that we have here in Israel. It is more that we have had a standing peace treaty with the largest Arab nation in the world for more than thirty years—and that, after four wars (we won them all, by the way—just say’n)— we are a little nervous about a new regime.
In all the jubilation and bravado, let’s not forget that the Iranian revolution in 1979, that exiled the Shah of Iran, began the same way—as a popular uprising—not an Islamic one (according to Middle Eastern expert, K.T. McFarlan). She says that without American support, the new leadership quickly fell and the extremists immediately filled the vacuum. Now Iran is notorious for her secret police, hidden bugs, persecution of women, arrests without proof, forced confessions, lack of freedom, intimidated media, rigged elections and religious oppression—oh, and constant calls for the destruction of Israel!
Egypt is in even worse shape in terms of transitioning to a democratic government. Most of these demonstrations were organized by faceless, nameless bloggers who called people to the streets. While these may not be the stereotypical bloggers, in their pajamas, living in their mothers’ basements, neither do they appear to be ready to govern this massive country. They have no organization, no clear leader and no plan.
The man who has emerged as a possible new leader, Mohamed El Baradei, has ties to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Most of us remember El Baradei as the UN weapons inspector during the second gulf war and many assume that he has western-style values. Who knows for sure? What I do know is that as of this morning the powerful and growing Muslim Brotherhood has thrown their support behind him—but at what price?
There has been a plethora of pundits including former Bush Whitehouse Spokeswoman Dana Perino, telling us we have nothing to fear when it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood. Frank Gaffney, a former assistant secretary of defense disagrees: “One reason we might be misperceiving the MB as no threat is because a prime source of information about such matters is the Muslim Brotherhood itself.”[i] This is Middle Eastern Deception 101. Arafat was the master at saying, “Peace with Israel,” in English, while proclaiming, “Death to Israel” in Arabic.
For instance, the MB’s website in English focuses on freedom, while the Arabic site has their logo prominently seen with two swords and the words in Arabic make ready. On Fox News this morning the same Frank Gaffney explained that the group in Israel which aligns itself with the MB is Hamas, a terrorist organization calling for my nation’s destruction. There can be no doubt. The MB believes that Allah’s will is the world domination of Islam.
“But Ron, the people on the streets are not extremists.” Right, but don’t think for a minute that the highly organized leadership of the MB is not sitting on the sidelines devising a plan to fill the power void as soon as it is available.
Can you name one Middle Eastern country that has thrown out their dictator to become a democracy? I can: Iraq. But the only reason Iraq is not an Islamic Theocracy today is because American troops beat down the insurgence. Without that, the religious nuts would be ruling through fear and manipulation in Iraq as they do in Iran, creating an environment far worse than when Saddam Hussein was the dictator.
Let’s not forget that the uprising in Egypt in 1952 that dethroned a monarchy, created a dictatorship. It should be noted that it was the military, not the people, who overthrew the government. Nevertheless, the people didn’t win.
Not every uprising is led by George Washington and John Adams. Not every revolution is planned for years by already functioning governments, as with the colonies. In fact, the Egyptian uprising may be the least organized, spontaneous uprising in history. Who saw this coming? When the US defeated the British, we already had diplomatic ties with other countries. When Israel became a nation, she already had a Prime Minister in waiting and a cabinet. She had been largely self-ruled for decades.