Sunday, November 13, 2005

Has the Muslim "blame Israel" excuse lost its potency?

When Arab or Muslim regimes or leaders have had domestic or political problems over the past fifty years, there has always been a reliable way out: blame the Jews, blame Israel, blame Zionists. As long as hatred could be redirected to the always reliable Jews, the heat would be off the true source of the problem, whatever it may have been. it was a free and very effective solution to all kinds of problems.

But it seems that nowadays, the "blame Israel" excuse has lost much of its power. Whether it is because of Israeli diplomatic moves or because of overuse, it seems that only Iran is still using it with any regularity, and that appears to be because Iran is increasingly isolated from its fellow Muslim nations. Indeed, Iran's constantIsrael bashing may be making it more difficult for other Muslim nations to follow suit nowadays.

Iran's isolation can be seen in this news story:
Saudi Arabia has agreed to end all economic boycotts of Israel, allowing the World Trade Organization (WTO) yesterday to admit the oil-rich kingdom as its 149th member, diplomats said.

The WTO's ruling general council, which includes the United States and Israel, endorsed the Saudi entry during a special session yesterday.

The kingdom's minister for commerce and industry, Hashim Yamani, signed the protocol of accession, which means that Saudi Arabia will become a full member on Dec. 11, just days before a big WTO meeting in Hong Kong.

To join, Saudi Arabia agreed to scrap all economic boycotts and it pledged not to resort to any future discriminatory trade measures against the Jewish state, diplomats said.
This story is nothing short of amazing, even if it is only an empty paper gesture. Saudi Arabia has always been at the forefront of the Israeli boycott and his shows that the boycott has been a complete failure. And it also shows just how out-of-step Iran has become in the world today. I think it is not surprising that in the face of such a crumbling of the united Muslim voice against Israel, Iran redoubles its efforts to paint Israel as a villain, and the general Arab world is not keeping to the Iranian company line::
Asefi condemned last week's bombings in Amman and hinted at Israel's involvement. "The bombings were suspicious. Reports indicate the Zionist regime has been behind the event," he stated.

It should be mentioned that the Tel Aviv-based Haaretz newspaper has retracted a report that Jordanian security services evacuated Israeli citizens staying in the Radisson SAS hotel in Amman beforethe bomb attack. At least one Israeli was confirmed dead in the blasts.
The second paragraph (not separated in the original story) is most interesting, in that it is a Jordanian news source that is going out of its way to show that Iran's blaming Israel is ridiculous - again, something that would not have been seen a few years ago.

Another indication that the "blame Israel" days may be on the wane among the general Arab population comes from this story about Arab-American comedians:
There are a few simple rules for being a "real Arab man."

Among them: Ignore the first few buttons on your shirt. Wear tremendous amounts of cologne. Oh, and blame every bad thing in the world on a Zionist conspiracy.
It may be a minor and amusing story but when Arabs can joke about how they always blame the Zionists for everything, it does show that the argument is not nearly as powerful as it used to be.