Moderate reformers across the Arab world say American support for Israel’s battle with Hezbollah has put them on the defensive, tarring them by association and boosting Islamist parties.As they have many times before, these moderates are urging the US to stop supporting Israel because it undermines American standing in the region:
“Those calling for democratic reform in Egypt have discovered that once Israeli interests are in conflict with political reform in the Middle East, then the United States will immediately favor Israel’s interests,” said Ibrahim Issa, the editor of the weekly Al Dustour, who faces a jail sentence on charges of insulting President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.The problem is that very few of these reformers have ever had the courage to challenge the dogmatic policies of their governments with regard to Israel. Only a handful of them were at all positively inclined toward Israel in the first place. And few of them have spoken out against the rampant antisemitism in their societies. With a few notable exceptions, these reformers too accepted Israel as a sort of litmus test. You can criticize everything else, but you have to pledge allegiance to the cause of fighting Israel (though by different means).