Is Israel using Assad, or is he using Israel?
Does this remind you of Egypt? So what position should Israel take, if it must take any?
Arab Israelis step on photo of Assad as Hitler. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Regarding Israel’s opinion of the coming civil war in Syria, there is no black
and white. Views are mixed. Views are either formed from an empathetic
humanitarian ethos, or from an austere military-strategic ethos. The former view
seeks to rid the world of any threat of genocide, no matter the details. The
latter view poses the question: if the Assad regime falls, does it mean the
Islamification of Syria? Would the new regime be a hit or a miss for Iran?
policy analyst, Khaled Abu Toameh, raised the issue of Islamification in a
recent article. “What started as a secular Facebook revolution against the Assad
regime is now beginning to look more like a jihad [holy war] led by Muslim
fundamentalists,” he wrote. “The Muslim Brotherhood is clearly seeking to hijack
the anti-Assad protests, in both the political and military fields.”
this remind you of Egypt? So what position should Israel take, if it must take
any? Well, in an April 23, 2011, article, former deputy defense minister Efraim
Sneh told The Washington Post, “We prefer the devil we know.... Although
the Islamist forces are not the majority in the opposition, they are better
organized and politically competent. And if we fantasize today that one
day we’ll be able to take the secular regime in Syria outside the Iranian orbit,
it may be more difficult, if not impossible, if the regime is an Islamist
Islamist or not, Yitzhak Laor penned an editorial for another
Israeli daily on June 12, suggesting that when the Assad regime falls, the new
regime, beleaguered by civil war, will amplify the demand for the Golan Heights.
Still, much of the free world, Israel included, is having a hard time digesting
the grizzly butchering in Syria. (At least 10,000 are dead so
Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz recently criticized Russia for
continuing to arm the Assad regime. He told Israeli radio, “This slaughter is
being carried out not far from Israel’s borders. For understandable reasons,
Israel cannot be directly involved. But I think that the West, led by the United
States, has an interest in guarding the threshold [so] genocide does not take
In a recent article on the blog Electronic Intifada, entitled,
“Pointing to Syria to divert attention from Israel’s crimes,” Jamil Sbitan, an
American- Palestinian blogger, argued that Zionists are pointing fingers at the
genocide in Syria in order to divert attention from their own practice of ethnic
What does he mean? Perhaps it is in reference to the fact that
Israeli newspapers bear photographs of the carnage in Syria. The blogger from
Electronic Intifada writes: “In addition to pink-washing [using Israel’s relative
support of gay rights to sugarcoat the country’s apartheid nature] and
green-washing [perpetuating the perception that Israel has
environmentally-friendly policies to do the same], Zionist advocates are now
using a different method: Assad-washing.”
The one time that Israel was
directly threatened by the situation in Syria was last April. Naksa Day 2011
occurred only three months after the crackdowns began on the Syrian uprisings.
When Palestinian rioters approached the border between Israel and Syria (the
Golan Heights, which belong to Israel, and were captured during the 1967 war;
and Quneitra, the portion of Syria on which the Golan Heights gazes on from
above), hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israel border police and IDF
armored cars, the Jewish forces were commanded to open live fire.
Israel solely intended to act in demonization of such cold-blooded murderers as
Bashar Assad, (as the blogger from Electronic Intifada suggests) they would
not have reacted so forcefully against the demonstrators.
policy towards the Palestinians is built on security. Israel’s security barrier,
referred to almost academically as the “apartheid wall,” is not to sniff out the
Arab blood and make life impossible, but to protect the liberal standards of the
new Jewish state – still sans a constitution – from extreme Islamism; more akin
to the Berlin Wall than the country where Akfrikaans is spoken.
in case is presented in a new documentary entitled, Israel/Palestine – The
Invisible Men, from JourneyMan Pictures, written and produced by Yariv Mozer,
that apparently depicts the lives of two homosexual Muslims from the West Bank
who must seek refuge in Israel – where it is illegal for them to be – from
homophobic abuses by their family and government.
When Israel dismissed
April’s “flytilla” protest, pointing to human rights abuses in Syria and Iran,
it must have hatched the myth that Israel was using Assad to hide its own
atrocities. Pro- Palestinian activists aboard April’s “flytilla” demonstration
were greeted at Ben-Gurion Airport with letters stamped and signed by Jerusalem
begging activists to focus their humanitarian concern on the “Syrian regime’s
daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives...
[and] the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and support of terrorism
throughout the world... [and]... the Hamas rule in Gaza, where terror
organizations commit a double war crime by firing rockets at civilians and
hiding behind civilians...”
For the enemy of the state, it would be easy
to make the argument that Israel, as perpetrators of war crimes and
ethnic cleansing are just conducting a campy campaign to hide the horrors of
their own government. But even Noam Sheizaf from the left-wing +972 magazine
told a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, “Palestinians understand
they will not see a sovereign state from the peace process, and they are trying
to bring their issue back to the basic denial of human rights.... If I were a
newsroom editor I would focus on Syria and Afghanistan as well...”
thing you can be certain of: Noam Sheizaf is not Assad-washing.
is a freelance journalist based in Israel.