A new-old idea is rattling around the Middle East five years after the Arab Spring stirred democratic ambition: that restoring stability, especially if accompanied by some economic and political improvements, should be reform enough for the moment.There is nothing wrong with this analysis....until the very last paragraph where Perry goes out of his way to insult Israel:
This discourse appears to be taking front and center these days, most obviously in Egypt — the region's most populous country and the one that raised the highest hopes for democracy advocates when the military in 2011 removed longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak as millions rallied against him and his Western support collapsed.
The current government is aggrieved to find itself facing possibly harsher international criticism than Mubarak ever did, mostly over questions of human rights. It argues that democracy does not require tolerance of chaos in the streets, and that unfettered freedoms can destabilize a brittle society facing illiteracy, poverty, weak democratic traditions and a jihadi insurgency.
In meetings with U.S. Congressional delegations this week, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi argued that "democracy is an ongoing process and cannot be realized overnight," elaborating that Egypt is committed to "striking the balance between enhancing security and stability and upholding rights and freedoms," according to a statement from his office.
But the government's defenders cast the criticism on human rights as unfair since other countries in the region are worse. In this way Egypt finds itself in an ironically similar situation to neighbor and former enemy Israel. Israel's Declaration of Independence promises full equality and that the Jewish state will be a "light unto the nations." With expectations so high, its supporters now struggle to defend the Jewish state's half-century occupation over millions of stateless Palestinians on the grounds that other situations around the world are even worse.
The linkage to Israel is less than tenuous. Worse, the assertion is a flat out lie.
Israel's supporters don't justify any actions by the state "on the grounds that other situations around the world are even worse." They justify it on legal and security grounds. The reason that they ever compare Israel to its surrounding nations is not to justify abuse but to point out the hypocrisy of people obsessing over supposed Israeli crimes when far worse things are happening in the region - including to Palestinians - and these so-called human rights defenders are silent.
That is not the case for Egypt. Egypt does get criticized by some NGOs for its human rights record but is hardly the target of obsessive, single-issue activists - people who pretend to care about international law or human rights but in fact only want the entire nation to be done away with.
That honor is reserved for Israel. And Dan Perry seems to be leaning towards that camp to throw in an unjustified insult in an unrelated article.
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