A Letter to Tablet Magazine

The following is a letter Modern Jewish Voice sent to Tablet Magazine:

On February 1st, you published an article titled “Borderline,” by Yoav Fromer, which made several compelling arguments but also stated unsubstantiated opinion as fact.

The article stated that Israel could fear a democracy in Egypt or anywhere else in the Middle East because:

…it could also spell the end of Israel’s monopoly on righteousness and endanger this special status, along with the lucrative benefits that have come with it. Among them: gargantuan amounts of U.S. military aid…. Finally, and possibly most disheartening for many Israelis, there is the chance that a genuine Arab democracy might raise the bar for Israel and prompt international calls for it to get its own democracy in order, end the occupation of Palestinian territories, and amend its discriminatory policies toward its Arab minority.

The following is an outline of why this argument is not valid:

1.       It is non sequitur to make the assumption that Israel would lose its status as a just and moral society if Egypt behaved similarly.  In fact, the exact opposite would happen.  Israel’s competitive advantage by virtue of being a moral society would be diminished if it didn’t want other countries to be equally free.  How can you make the argument that a country would look righteous by denying its neighbors freedom?

2.       Regarding the “gargantuan amounts of U.S. military aid” Israel receives, would Egypt becoming a moral and just society threaten that, when its current government already receives a similar amount of aid as Israel?  In addition, clarify the link between aid and just governments.  France, England, Germany and Spain all seem to have just governments, so according to your logic, shouldn’t they also be receiving massive amounts of US Foreign Aid?  On the other hand, Russia, Haiti, Rwanda, Sudan and Zimbabwe receive US Foreign Aid, are these countries bastions of hope and justice?

3.       Is it reasonable to assume anyone thinks Israel has a monopoly on righteousness?  It has become a world obsession to condemn Israel at every turn.  The media make absolutely no reservations about condemning Israel’s actions and Mr. Obama is vocal about condemning Israeli building in the West Bank.

4.       What do you mean if democracy takes hold in Egypt it would prompt the world to call upon Israel to change its policies?   The UN has issued 225 resolutions concerning Israel, isn’t this evidence that the world already calls upon Israel, perhaps more than any other country, to change itself?

The author of “Borderline” has previously held beliefs regarding Israeli politics and the Israeli people.  I take absolutely no issue with that.  It is an unalienable right to believe anything you want to believe, but passing your beliefs along as facts is disingenuous.

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