"Arab Peace Movements"

By Joseph Farah

April 25, 2002

For those who truly believe there is moral equivalence between the Arabs
and Israelis, consider the following question: When was the last time you
heard about an Arab peace march?

I've been observing the Middle East closely and professionally for 25 years.
I can tell you I have never seen one. Nor do I expect to see one any time

Why is this important? What's the relevance? Until the most recent outbreak of Arab violence and terrorism in Israel some 18 months ago, the Israeli public was divided fairly evenly between those who believed peace with the Arab world could be achieved through appeasement and those who believed it could be achieved only through strength. Regularly, Israelis would turn out by the hundreds of thousands urging more concessions to the Arabs, more talks with Yasser Arafat, Jewish retreat from predominantly Arab territories.

The fact that there is no equivalent peace movement in the entire Arab world should provide further evidence of two things:
a.. There is no freedom of speech nor freedom of assembly in the Arab world and no tolerance for any form of dissent from government policy.
B.. There is no desire in the Arab world for living in peace and harmony with the Jewish state.

Many in the West continue to portray Israel as some sort of aggressor in the Middle East. Nothing could be further from the truth. Israel has been a model of restraint in the face of unspeakable provocation and violence precisely because of internal checks and balances within its free society. Because there are people like Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak, who seemingly never tire of appeasing terrorists like Arafat, those who would take stronger military actions must think twice. There are political considerations to make. They cannot afford to alienate politicians who help form their coalition governments. They cannot write off huge sectors of the public - no matter how misguided and naive they may be.

There is no such public accountability anywhere in the Arab world. The entire Arab world is structured from the top down. There are rulers and there are servants. The people are told what the rulers want them to know and they do what they are told. There is no moral equivalency between these two ways of life - any more than there is between the United States and, say, Afghanistan under the Taliban.

Why can't there be negotiated peace between these two sides? Because they live in completely different worlds, they speak entirely different languages, they operate in different dimensions of reality. Israelis can see both sides of the issue. The Arabs cannot. Israelis see shades of gray. The Arabs see only black and white. Israelis live in a free society. The Arabs live in the most closed societies on earth. Israelis are free-thinking people with access to all kinds of information from many points of view. The Arabs are like programmed automatons, hearing and seeing only what their governments want them to see and hear.

An Arab peace movement? It's almost incomprehensible to consider, isn't it? But you will also see things in the Arab world you won't see in Israel. For instance, when was the last time you saw a Jewish child turned out by his or her parents to fight on the front lines against the Arabs? You have never seen it. Nor will you ever see it. Why do the Arabs send children to die as suicide bombers? Why do they send children to throw stones at Israeli police? Why do they encourage the youngest and most innocent to fight their unholy wars?

It certainly isn't because they are outnumbered. In fact, the Arabs outnumber the Jews in the Middle East by a factor of about 10 to 1. That doesn't even include many of Israel's non-Arab enemies in the region. Yet, the Arabs can't seem to find enough adults to fight this vastly outnumbered foe.

Strange. Yet, despite these considerations, despite the fact that Israel is a civilized nation defending itself in civilized ways against barbaric attacks by people who have no respect even for the lives of their own children, there are still those in the West who see no difference between the two sides.

I have a name for such people: They are moral relativists. They cannot distinguish between wrong and right, or between good and evil. Unfortunately, such people fill the offices of the U.S. State Department, the newsrooms of the Western world and the halls of the United Nations.

Joseph Farah is an Arab-American.

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