Tuesday the 2004 Arab Human Development Report was released by the UN Development Project. The report placed a large chunk of the blame for the Arab world's lack of economic progress and political freedom on Israel's creation in 1948 and US support for Israel's continued existence, as well as the US military presence in Iraq.
The report's conclusions about Israel and the US were immediately rejected by the US and Israel. Greg Sullivan, the spokesman for the US State Department's Near Eastern Bureau said, "We think it's misguided to blame Israel for the problems and the challenges that the Arab world faces."
Mark Regev, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, was equally blunt, "For too long too many people in the Arab world have used Israel as an excuse to justify behavior that cannot be justified. You can't have democratic elections because of Israel and you can't give equal rights to women in Saudi Arabia because of Israel. This is of course a cop out."
The American and Israeli denunciations of the report were, of course, wholly reasonable. The notion that 300 million Arabs live under the jackboot because some 5 million Jews in Israel live in freedom and America supports our right to live in freedom is patently insane. So too, it is simply delusional to believe that 300 million Arabs are so bent out of shape by the fact that 2.3 million Palestinian Arabs purportedly have their freedoms curbed by Israel, that they willingly accept their regimes' right to enslave and impoverish them economically and spiritually.
Yet the greatest irony that is brought to the surface by the UNDP report is that in spite of both the American and Israeli governments' ability to differentiate between spit and raindrops, in point of fact, both Israel and the US are basing their policies towards the Palestinians specifically and the Arab world generally on an internalization of the UNDP's ridiculous claims.
How does this manifest itself?
The view among American policymakers and Israeli Foreign Ministry types, both egged on by their ideological bedfellows in Europe and the international Left is based on two presumptions. The first is that the Palestinian conflict with Israel is the cause of the Arab conflict with Israel. The second is that the Palestinians are weak and the Israelis are strong and that the way to solve the conflict is to strengthen the Palestinians and weaken Israel.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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