Many have expressed doubts that America can influence the Middle East. But I submit that our cultural sway is already in evidence.
Just when you thought that no lawsuit could be more preposterous than the one filed by families who tried to sue McDonalds for making them fat, along comes evidence that lawsuit madness has taken hold in Egypt in a truly unique fashion.
Thanks to the Middle East Media Research Institute, we learn that the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram Al-Arabi recently featured an interview with Dr. Nabil Hilmi, dean of the faculty of law at the University of Al-Zaqaziq.
Hilmi, in concert with a group of expatriate Egyptians in Switzerland, is preparing perhaps the largest lawsuit in the history of the world. Hilmi, et al., are going to sue "all the Jews of the world" for items stolen by the Biblical Hebrews from the Egyptians during the Exodus from Egypt.
Hilmi explained at length in Al-Ahram Al-Arabi: "Since the Jews make various demands of the Arabs and the world, and claim rights that they base on historical and religious sources, a group of Egyptians in Switzerland has opened the case of the so-called ‘great exodus of the Jews from Pharaonic Egypt.' At that time, they stole from the Pharaonic Egyptians gold, jewelry, cooking utensils, silver ornaments, clothing and more, leaving Egypt in the middle of the night with all this wealth, which today is priceless."
"Dr. Gamil Yaken, vice president of the Egyptian community in Switzerland, came to Egypt to collect information. We set up a legal team to prepare the necessary legal confrontation aimed at restoring what the Jews stole a long time ago, to which the statute of limitation cannot possibly apply. ... The theft was not limited to gold alone. The thieves stole everything imaginable. They emptied the Egyptian homes of cooking utensils. ... Taking possession of the gold was understandable. This is clear theft of a host country's resources and treasure, something that fits the morals and character of the Jews."
Hilmi was then asked by his respectful interviewer, "What do you think is the value of the gold, silver and clothing that was stolen, and how do you calculate their value today?"
"If we assume," Hilmi replied, "that the weight of what was stolen was one ton, its worth doubled every 20 years, even if the annual interest is only 5 percent. In one ton of gold is 700 kilograms of pure gold -- and we must remember that what was stolen was jewelry, that is, alloyed with copper. Hence, after 1,000 years, it would be worth 1,125,898,240 million tons, which equals 1,125,898 billion tons for 1,000 years. In other words, 1,125 trillion tons of gold, that is, a million multiplied by a million tons of gold. This is for one stolen ton. The stolen gold is estimated at 300 tons, and it was not stolen for 1,000 years, but for 5,758, by the Jewish reckoning. Therefore the debt is very large."
But these are reasonable men. The interviewer wondered whether a compromise might be possible. "There may be a compromise solution. The debt can be rescheduled over 1,000 years, with the addition of the cumulative interest during that period."
Well, let's see. If the Egyptians are willing to abide by the Biblical account of events for their lawsuit (which would make the discovery process interesting), they must prepare for a counterclaim for damages resulting from 400 years of bitter slavery. In Exodus, Chapter III, verse 7, God said to Moses, "I have surely seen the affliction of My people that are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their pains ..."
In verse 9, God continued, "And now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto Me; moreover I have seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them."
Details, details. As it happens, the Egyptians tried this once before, in Alexander the Great's time. Alexander had no trouble ruling that if anyone owed indemnity, it was the Egyptians to the Jews, not vice versa.
Do the Egyptians really want to pursue this line of argument? Before filing their request for discovery, they might want to read on, to Exodus, Chapter VII -- the Ten Plagues.