Israel and Egypt: Rounding Up the Reax

Yossi Klein Halevi explains why the unrest matters to Israel.

For Israel, then, peace with Egypt has been not only strategically but also psychologically essential. Israelis understand that the end of their conflict with the Arab world depends in large part on the durability of the peace with Egypt — for all its limitations, it is the only successful model of a land-for-peace agreement.

• Never mind the Muslim Brotherhood. Gamal Nkrumah, the editor of Egypt’s largest daily, Al-Ahram told VOA that the secular protesters hate Israel too:

“What they are afraid of in the West, in Washington in particular, is that, if the people power revolution reaches its logical conclusion, what we will see is a government that is not necessarily Islamist . . . It is not just the Islamists that are anti-Israel; secularists, the left, socialists, youngsters, who do not even identify themselves as political activists, are anti-Israel.”

On a related note, Robin Shepherd raises plenty of big questions about the durability of a democracy with institutionalized anti-Semitism.

Daniel Finkelstein points out that Egypt is confirming Natan Sharansky’s views on peace and democracy. The Times of London has a paywall, but here’s the key snippet:

Sharansky’s critics, those who do not accept his link between democracy and peace, have always responded with one word: Egypt. For more than 30 years after Sadat’s visit to Israel there has been a truce between the two neighbours. Yet what is happening now shows why Sharansky was right.

For Sadat, as for Hosni Mubarak, peace with Israel was a manoeuvre to shore up his regime. But the people of Israel and of Egypt didn’t make peace. Some Israelis regard Egypt as the most anti-Semitic country in the entire Middle East. After all these years, it is telling that everyone fears the opinion of the Egyptian street about Israel.

Indeed. Just a few weeks ago, Brett Stephens warned how anti-Semitic the Egyptians really are.

• Palestine ain’t Arab autocracy’s red herring of choice anymore, says John Podhoretz:

No one has ever been able to offer a convincing explanation for what role the anti-Zionist struggle, emotionally stirring though it may be, might play when it comes to, say, the price of bread in Tunis, the unemployment rate in Cairo or the prospects for economic growth in Yemen.

It has never made any sense to argue that, unique among the people of the world, Arabs are more concerned on a day-to-day basis about the treatment of people they don’t know than they are about how they’re going to put food on their own tables, or whether their sons will ever find a job.

(Elliott Abrams concurs.)

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