Arabs: We Want Democracy - Like Israel
"How many Arab leaders would be left if they went on trial of similar cases of bribery and corruption?" — Zuhear al-Karim, Arabic CNN.
"If Olmert were in Kuwait, his case would have been shelved and he would have received a senior position in government." — Yasalam, Al-Aan.
"Law is above all and this is real democracy. Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East." — Saad Sayad, Arabic CNN.
The Tel Aviv District Court's decision to send former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to six years in prison for corruption has prompted calls in the Arab world for endorsing Israel's standards of accountability, transparency and justice.
Reacting to the sentencing of Olmert, many Arabs expressed hope that the day would come when their countries would learn from Israel that no one is above the law, even if he or she is a president or prime minister.
Sufian Abu Zayda, a leading Fatah official and former Palestinian Authority minister, praised the court verdict; he said it shows that in Israel, no one is above the law.
"This verdict provides further evidence that the judicial system in Israel is fully independent in the wake of the separation between the legislative, executive and judicial authorities, as well as total freedom of the media," said Abu Zayda, who is considered an expert on Israeli affairs.
The praise for Israel's democratic system does not mean that Abu Zayda and other Arabs have become pro-Israel and are willing to recognize Israel's right to exist.
But while they continue to hate Israel and seek its destruction, many Arabs do not hesitate to express their admiration for the independence of Israel's judicial system.
Comments posted by Arabs and Muslims on the Internet this week revealed how eager they are for their countries to endorse Israeli democracy. Similar reactions were also published when an Israeli court sentenced former Israeli President Moshe Katzav to seven years in prison for sex-related offenses.
Soon to be reunited in prison? Israel's former President Moshe Katzav (l) and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (r) are pictured here during happier times.
Following are some of the comments posted on Arab media and social websites in response to the Olmert verdict:
- Ali Al-Kadi: "We salute Judge David Rosen [who sentenced Olmert to prison]. We wish the Arabs had 22 judges like David Rosen!" [Al-Quds Al-Arabi]
- Mohammed Akash: "O Muslims, look at the fairness of this judge and where you are. You must learn from our enemy, Israel. Long live the fair Israeli judicial system."[Al-Quds Al-Arabi]
- Manji Dalali: "This is one of the secrets behind Israel's victory over the Arabs. We must learn from our Jewish Zionist enemy the principles of fair justice. "[Al-Quds Al-Arabi]
- Ibrahim - Libya: "We Muslims are in great need of a decent judicial system to punish our thieves and corrupt leaders. May God help us." [Al-Quds Al-Arabi]
- Hassan Jamal: "I wish Arab countries do the same for their corrupt leaders. I wish the Arab people will do the same for their countries and get rid of corrupt officials, including presidents and kings." [Al-Quds]
- Mohammed: "Of course Islam is the best religion. But the regimes that claim to endorse Islam are practicing repression and corruption. Meanwhile, Israel is among the democratic countries and is better than all the Arab and Islamic countries when it comes to respecting its people and combating theft of resources." [Al-Wasat News]
- Adel: "This is the secret to Israel's success; it has become a symbol of justice because it has made justice one of its major bases of power. We, on the other hand, are doing the opposite. We continue to cover up cases of corruption and do not do anything about them." [Echorouk Online]
- Abu Zeid: "I live in Israel and am familiar with its laws. In this state, no one is above the law." [Al-Arabiya]
- Sami Dirani: "Israel is the enemy of the Arabs...but it practices democracy - something the Arabs do not know. That is why Israel is stronger and more advanced than the Arabs, who are busy slaughtering each other. Some [Arabs] are dying of starvation, while others are swimming in pools of dollars." [Al-Hayat]
- Hani: "The hadith [prophet's sayings] states that we should seek education, even if it is in China. And I say to Muslims, 'Learn justice even if it's from Israel.' I wish the day would come when our leaders would be brought to trial and have our money taken back from them." [Assawsana]
- Yasalam: "If Olmert were in Kuwait, his case would have been shelved and he would have received a senior position in government." [Al-Aan]
- Rahhal: "The Zionists have more justice than our thugs and so-called Muslims." [Al-Aan]
- Kabir al-Muhandiseen: "This is how states are built. This is the secret to Israel's strength and steadfastness." [Al-Aan]
- Muhasabah: "In Israel, they hold their officials accountable and send them to prison, while we Arabs glorify the corrupt." [Al-Aan]
- Zuhear al-Karim: "How many Arab leaders would be left if they went on trial for similar cases of bribery and corruption?" [Arabic CNN]
- Abdo Shehatah: "The Jews continue to prove, every day, that they have real democracy in this world." [Arabic CNN]
- Saad Sayad: "Law is above all and this is democracy. Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East." [Arabic CNN]
Reader comments on this item
|Great compilation [142 words]||Israel L. M. Gonzalez||May 22, 2014 14:53|
|Taqiyya, or schizophrenia [134 words]||Ron Thompson||May 20, 2014 23:14|
|Following Israel's lead [22 words]||Ted||May 18, 2014 20:36|
|You Muslim commenters have got that right... [11 words]||Ron B.||May 18, 2014 05:06|
|Fatah Pro Isreal? [78 words]||Guy||May 17, 2014 08:27|
|No, they don't [123 words]||Bart Benschop||May 16, 2014 23:01|
|Arab democracy [171 words]||Horace Kindler||May 16, 2014 19:48|
|↔ The ability to concurrently hold diametrically opposed belief systems [290 words]||Craig||May 18, 2014 17:17|
|Hurrah! [134 words]||A.T. Halmay||May 16, 2014 16:52|
|Why focus on Arab comments to this event? [117 words]||Harry Taft||May 16, 2014 15:21|
|Democracy grows from the bottom up [234 words]||Craig||May 16, 2014 14:44|
|No such thing as a free lunch [245 words]||Doug Mayfield||May 16, 2014 13:46|
|Confusion [53 words]||Jim||May 16, 2014 08:22|
|Tell this to the disingenuous BDS movement [61 words]||Paul Randall||May 16, 2014 08:19|
|Another informative paper from Khaled AT [29 words]||Yosef ben Israel||May 16, 2014 06:14|
|A quote from the article: [44 words]||Fedup||May 16, 2014 05:56|
Comment on this item
by Soeren Kern
Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam and as a central hub for European jihadists to fight in Syria.
The proposed revisions would, among other changes, regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran to prevent its "misinterpretation" by Islamic extremists.
Muslims would be prohibited from citing Islamic sharia law as legal justification for ignoring or disobeying Austrian civil laws.
Leaders of Austria's Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to "institutionalized Islamophobia."
Official statistics show that nearly 60% of the inhabitants of Vienna are immigrants or foreigners. The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible.
by Samuel Westrop
Over 800 Iranians were executed during President Rouhani's first year in office.
Leading politicians, British government officials and businessmen nevertheless seemed happy to attend and speak at the Europe-Iran Forum.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
The "Arab Spring" did not erupt as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, it was the outcome of decades of tyranny and corruption in the Arab world. The Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis who removed their dictators from power did not do so because of the lack of a "two-state solution." This is the last thing they had in mind.
The thousands of Muslims who are volunteering to join the Islamic State [IS] are not doing so because they are frustrated with the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The only solution the Islamic State believes in is a Sunni Islamic Caliphate where the surviving non-Muslims who are not massacred would be subject to sharia law.
What Kerry perhaps does not know is that the Islamic State is not interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at all. Unlike Kerry, Sunni scholars fully understand that the Islamic State has more to do with Islam and terrorism than with any other conflict.
by Steven J. Rosen
Palestinian officials have generally been silent about security cooperation with Israel. They are loath to acknowledge how important it is for the survival of the Palestinian Authority [PA], and fear that critics, especially Hamas, will consider it "collaboration with the enemy."
"You smuggle weapons, explosives and cash to the West Bank, not for the fight with Israel, but for a coup against the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli intelligence chief visited me two weeks ago and told me about the [Hamas] group they arrested that was planning for a coup... We have a national unity government and you are thinking about a coup against me." — Mahmoud Abbas, PA President, to Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader.
According to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, if the IDF leaves the West Bank, Hamas will take over, and other terrorists groups such as the Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State would operate there.
In recent months, Abbas has been making a series of threats against Israel. If Abbas becomes another Arafat, it could be the Israeli side that loses interest in security cooperation.
by Burak Bekdil
It was the Islamists who, since they came to power in the 2000s, have reaped the biggest political gains from the "Palestine-fetish."
But the Turkish rhetoric on "solidarity" with our Palestinian brothers often seems askew to how solidarity should be.