Mohammad Talat’s Tahrir Square Haggadah

The demonization of Israel in the Middle East is so pervasive – bigotry embedded in the very fabric of their societies – that even relative liberals can’t avoid expressing hateful invectives against the Jewish state even as they nominally support the implementation of Israeli-style democratic values.

In “Jailing Maikel Nabil betrays the Egyptian people’s revolution“, CiF, April 24, Mohammad Talat, an assistant professor of civil engineering at Cairo University, condemns the arrest and conviction of Egyptian blogger, and pro-Israel activist, Maikel Nabil, who was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on 10 April by a military tribunal on the charge of “insulting the army.

Talat – in an essay curiously cross posted by the Jewish anti-Zionist hate site, Mondoweiss – noted Nabil’s “crime”,

“On 4 February, he uploaded a YouTube video asking his “Israeli friends” to support the Egyptian people’s demand for democracy, because “democracy, human rights and women’s rights are basic Israeli values”. He promised that this would end the cold peace and usher in a new era of real peace, concluding that “democracies do not fight each other”.

Talat then condemned Nabil’s persecution:

In post-Mubarak Egypt, I like to think that dissent gets treated by reason, not silencing. Maikel Nabil deserves a live TV interview, not a prison cell.

But then pivoted to distance himself from Nabil’s political apostasy.

 I’d like to see how he’d reconcile his praise of Israel’s democratic values with its reality of systematic ethnic discrimination; his claim of pacifism with Israel’s perpetual militarism; his call for abolishing the one-year mandatory service for non-exempt Egyptian male college graduates…with Israel’s two to three-year service for all high-school graduates, male and female, in which their innocence is wasted humiliating and shooting at civilians” [emphasis mine]

Talat then lists the ways Israel can reconcile with Egypt:

The only meaningful way Israelis can build bridges with post-Mubarak Egypt is by invoking justice, not power….come clean and pay reparations for the murders of Egyptian PoWs in the six-day war of 1967; for the subsequent pillaging of Sinai resources; for the bombing of Bahr el-Baqar primary school in 1970; and push for renegotiating the Camp David accords, which most Egyptians regard as instituting an unfair and undignified power dynamic.

Clearly, to maintain any credibility in Egyptian society one must continue to rewrite history as to avoid learning even the most obvious political lessons of their destructive past.  Such fictions include presenting Egypt as the victim of the Six Day War, a war they initiated in cooperation with five other Arab states, the aim of which was spelled out by Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser to cheering masses in Cairo days before the conflict:

“Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight . . . The mining of Sharm el Sheikh is a confrontation with Israel. Adopting this measure obligates us to be ready to embark on a general war with Israel.” – Nasser, May 27, 1967

But, in the alternative reality inhabited by even relatively progressive voices like Talat, there is never even a slight learning curve. Arabs are immutable victims of Israeli aggression.

As, seemingly, the “humiliation” associated with the mere suggestion of Jewish or Israeli superiority is too much to bear for a true Arab nationalist, Talat closes by lecturing the Jewish state:

“[Israelis need] to take inspiration [from the Arab masses revolting against their despotic leaders] and reject the racist fear-mongering apparatus that rules them”.

“On Passover, I usually fast to celebrate the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. Wouldn’t it feel right to celebrate one day the deliverance of the Israelis through Egypt? Since 25 January, millions of Egyptians have taken their fate in their hands and are on the march with it. Seize the day, take yours, and come meet us down the road.”

You hear that? Israel, who leads Egypt, by leaps and bounds, in every conceivable political, social, and economic measurement, is in need of political inspiration from the streets of Cairo – and a new Passover narrative.

The new Haggadah which Talat envisions will one day tell the tale of a Jewish people set free from the cruel democracy, insidious liberty, and unbearable prosperity which enslaved them in Israel, and which delivered them (with an outstretched Egyptian military arm) to the promised land of religious intolerance, despotism, and economic failure – a Passover tale which could only be told by the Guardian Left.

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