Do you support Arab progress? Then, listen to genuine Arab liberals & reject Guardian’s analysis.

“On the anniversary of the 1973 War between the Arab and the Israelis, many people in the Arab world are beginning to ask many questions about the past, present and the future with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The questions now are: What was the real cost of these wars to the Arab world and its people. And the harder question that no Arab national wants to ask is: What was the real cost for not recognizing Israel in 1948 and why didn’t the Arab states spend their assets on education, health care and the infrastructures instead of wars?” [emphasis added]

Who wrote these words, as part of a longer essay?  A CiF Watch contributor? A conservative British columnist? An Israeli?


It was written by a retired Saudi Navy Commodore named Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, and published at Arab News.

Abdulateef Al-Mulhim.

Not only is there a severe dearth of Arab commentators willing to ask such difficult questions, but Western media gatekeepers (at the Guardian and elsewhere) seem to believe that Arab “authenticity” requires that blame for Arab political, social and economic problems continue to be place squarely on Israel.  

I’m overstating the case, you say? Well, try to find more than a handful of Arab or Muslim (or European leftist) contributors at ‘Comment is Free’ who have suggested that the Arabs should have accepted partition in 1948, and recognized and cooperated with the nascent Jewish state instead of launching war.

Al-Muhim continues:

“But, the hardest question that no Arab national wants to hear is whether Israel is the real enemy of the Arab world and the Arab people.”

Engaging in such honest critical scrutiny of the Arab world’s malign obsession with the Jewish state is something which is almost never undertaken by Guardian commentators, reporters and analysts.

Al-Muhim continues:

“I decided to write this article after I saw photos and reports about a starving child in Yemen, a burned ancient Aleppo souk in Syria, the under developed Sinai in Egypt, car bombs in Iraq and the destroyed buildings in Libya. 

The common thing among all what I saw is that the destruction and the atrocities are not done by an outside enemy. The starvation, the killings and the destruction in these Arab countries are done by the same hands that are supposed to protect and build the unity of these countries and safeguard the people of these countries. So, the question now is that who is the real enemy of the Arab world?”

The following passages are even more stunning:

“The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of innocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list.


The real enemies of the Arab world are corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people. 

These dictators’ atrocities against their own people are far worse than all the full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.

In Syria, the atrocities are beyond anybody’s imaginations? And, isn’t the Iraqis are the ones who are destroying their own country? Wasn’t it Tunisia’s dictator who was able to steal 13 billion dollars from the poor Tunisians? And how can a child starve in Yemen if their land is the most fertile land in the world? Why would Iraqi brains leave Iraq in a country that makes 110 billion dollars from oil export? Why do the Lebanese fail to govern one of the tiniest countries in the world? And what made the Arab states start sinking into chaos?”

Al-Mulhim concludes, thus:

Finally, if many of the Arab states are in such disarray, then what happened to the Arabs’ sworn enemy (Israel)? Israel now has the most advanced research facilities, top universities and advanced infrastructure. Many Arabs don’t know that the life expectancy of the Palestinians living in Israel is far longer than many Arab states and they enjoy far better political and social freedom than many of their Arab brothers. Even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World. Wasn’t one of the judges who sent a former Israeli president to jail is an Israeli-Palestinian? 

The Arab Spring showed the world that the Palestinians are happier and in better situation than their Arab brothers who fought to liberate them from the Israelis. Now, it is time to stop the hatred and wars and start to create better living conditions for the future Arab generations. [emphasis added]

And, isn’t it about time that Western commentators stop indulging the worst impulses of the Arab world, and cease in allowing Arab leaders to scapegoat their vexing social problems on Jews, Israel and the West?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if ‘Comment is Free’ occasionally published commentary by the likes of Mr. Al-Mulhim, and others, demanding that the Arab world take steps to overcome their reflexive antisemitism and their socially crippling anti-Zionism, to cease scapegoating and to begin to soberly address the real problems they’re facing.  

A genuine movement for Arab progress, freedom and prosperity would necessarily strive to achieve the following goals:

  • Adopt true democratic reforms, and develop transparent government institutions.
  • Recognize that Islamism is necessarily incompatible with free, prosperous, tolerant and liberal society.
  • Abolish UNRWA and grant Palestinian Arabs who fled the 1948 War (and their descendants) full citizenship in the Arab states where they’re currently living.
  • Grant equal rights to Arab women, and begin to overcome a culture of misogyny which denies half of their population fundamental freedom, and denies their countries the potential benefit of full female economic participation.
  • Promote tolerance towards gays and lesbians. 
  • Stop persecuting Christians and other religious minorities, accept Arab responsibility for the ethnic cleansing of 900,000 Jews from Arab lands, and, more broadly, slowly begin embracing the values of tolerance and diversity.
  • Recognize Israel and strategize on how best to benefit from social economical and political cooperation with the Jewish state.
  • And, finally, begin to rid their culture of their endemic Judeophobia. 

Do I expect any of these changes to occur any time soon, or for the Guardian to begin holding Muslims and Arabs accountable to such genuinely liberal standards?

No, of course not, given their continuing identification, or at least sympathy, with the most reactionary voices in the region.

However, the promotion of such long-term political objectives should at least represent a litmus test of sorts for those claiming sympathy towards the Arab and Muslim world.

If you want to know how best to advocate for hundreds of millions of Arabs – at least those genuinely supporting a real democratic “Spring” – you can begin by reviewing the Guardian’s coverage of the region and adopting a political persuasion based on the complete opposite of what you read.

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