Mob storms Israeli embassy in Cairo
critics—we few, we unhappy few—clearly warned what would happen if the Mubarak regime was overthrown and replaced by “democracy.” In particular we warned that Islamic anti-Israelism in Egypt would be liberated. But the mainstream ignored us, Obama gave the push that toppled Mubarak, and the liberals and neocons danced a jig at the advent of “democratic” Egypt.
The story is from today’s Guardian:
Israel evacuates ambassador to Egypt after embassy attack
Egypt declares state of alert after three die and more than a thousand are injured as crowds storm the Israeli embassy in Cairo
A protester holds an Egyptian national flag as a fire rages outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo, Egypt.
Israel has evacuated its Egyptian ambassador after crowds stormed the embassy in Cairo, plunging Egypt’s ruling army deeper into its worst diplomatic crisis since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.
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Egyptian prime minister Essam Sharaf is holding a crisis cabinet meeting and a state of alert has been declared as protesters remain on the streets following the violence on Friday, burning tyres and chanting slogans against the governing military council.
A senior Egyptian official says at least three people died and more than 1,000 were hurt during street clashes with police and army troops after an angry mob attacked the embassy building.
Deputy health minister, Hamid Abaza, says one of the three fatalities in the violence late on Friday was a man who died of a heart attack.
Abaza told The Associated Press on Saturday he doesn’t know the cause of the other two deaths. He says at least 1,093 people were injured in the clashes.
The protesters pelted the police and the military with rocks, prompting the troops to fire tear gas and shoot into the air. Only 38 of the injured remained in hospital.
Earlier, the protesters tore down a security wall outside the Israeli mission and stormed the embassy’s offices.
Police fired shots in the air and teargas to disperse the crowd. Early on Saturday morning around 500 demonstrators remained near the embassy, which overlooks the Nile, and a few threw stones at police and army vehicles. But police gradually pushed them back and secured the area.
An Israeli official said the rampage marked a further deterioration of diplomatic ties between Israel and Egypt since the fall of Mubarak.
The Israeli ambassador, Yitzhak Levanon, his family and most of the staff and their dependents some 80 people were evacuated out of the country by military aircraft overnight, the official added. Only the deputy ambassador remains in Egypt.
“That the government of Egypt ultimately acted to rescue our people is noteworthy and we are thankful,” the official said. “But what happened is a blow to the peaceful relations, and of course, a grave violation of accepted diplomatic behaviour between sovereign states.”
The incident was the second major eruption of violence at the embassy since five Egyptian border guards were killed last month during an Israeli operation against gunmen. That incident prompted Egypt briefly to threaten to withdraw its envoy.
“This action shows the state of anger and frustration the young Egyptian revolutionaries feel against Israel especially after the recent Israeli attacks on the Egyptian borders that led to the killing of Egyptian soldiers,” Egyptian political analyst Nabil Abdel Fattah said.
Israel is already embroiled in a diplomatic feud with Turkey, formerly one of its closest allies, over Israel’s armed assault on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in which nine people were killed.
Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy called for the army to take a “serious stance matching the public anger” towards Israel but said violence sullied the image of Egypt’s uprising.
Last month a man climbed up a flagpole on the Israeli embassy and took down the flag, replacing it with the Egyptian flag. Protests continued until Friday’s violence.
Jonathan Tobin at Commentary’s blog writes about the attack on the Israeli embassy. He makes various intelligent points, but nowhere acknowledges that he and his fellow Muslim-democracy enthusiasts pushed for the fall of the Mubarak regime against warnings that such fall would unleash hostility toward Israel. The closest he comes to the point is this:
For decades, the Mubarak regime kept the peace with Israel but allowed the Egyptian media to broadcast blatantly anti-Semitic propaganda in order to give Islamists and other critics of the government an outlet to vent their frustration. That created an unhealthy disconnect between policy and public opinion that took a cold peace and transformed it into one verging on open hostility after the fall of the dictator.
Everything he says here is true. But, again, he does not acknowledge that the neocons and liberals should have known BEFORE the overthrow of the “dictator”* that his overthrow would lead to open hostility to Israel.
But why whould we expect the slightest intellectual honesty from neocons? Remember that they have not replied to or even mentioned Caroline Glick’s important article challenging their position.
* Please remember that Mubabak, in power and a U.S. ally for 30 years, was never called a dictator by Americans until February 2011. The liberal “script” changed, and suddenly our valued ally became a dictator, just like with Kaddafi.
Ken Hechtman writes:
You should probably be wearing your left critic hat rather than your Islam critic hat to talk about the embassy attack.
The attack was a breakaway from a Revolutionary Youth Coalition rally that the Muslim Brotherhood boycotted:
The protest, called by mostly secular and leftist activists, is being boycotted by the influential Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Secular activists are concerned that the military’s current timetable for parliamentary elections in autumn will play into the hands of the Brotherhood by denying new political movements the time to organise into parties.
The activists are also demanding an end to the military trials of civilians.
Activists said more than 30 groups and political parties would be represented at the protest.
The Democratic Front party said it would demand that military rulers prepare a “comprehensive timetable that will spell out the steps for the interim period, starting with the presidential elections”.
Mohammed El Baradei, the former head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency and a presidential hopeful, said Egyptians were entitled to demonstrate peacefully, especially since many of their demands had yet to be realised.
But Mohamed Saad el-Katatni, secretary-general of the Freedom and Justice Party, set up by the Muslim Brotherhood to contest parliamentary elections scheduled for November, suggested it was not yet time for more demonstrations because previous protests had already brought some results.
“In case they are not achieved, then we return to the square,” he said.
Mohsen Rady, a senior Brotherhood member, told state television his movement, which is showing growing strains with the military, believed Egyptians were weary of protests.
“People have grown bored of these demonstrations,” Rady said.
Mr. Hechtman’s distinction between secular leftist Egyptians and militant Islamic Egyptians undercuts itself. If it was secular leftist Egyptians who stormed the Israeli embassy then this only shows that the secular leftist Egyptians who were liberated by the fall of Mubarak are as anti-Israel as the militant Islamics who were liberated by the fall of Mubarak. Which only strengthens the argument against Egyptian/Muslim “democracy.”
Ken Hechtman writes:
No representative Egyptian government, left, right or Islamist, is going to be on Israel’s side while Israel is fighting a war with people who look and talk and pray like Egyptians. And certainly not when the collateral damage from that war spills over into Egypt.
If you’re saying that’s a reason why the Egyptians shouldn’t be allowed to have representative government, well, that might be a persuasive argument in Israel and in some circles in America. Less so in Egypt.
I’m not trying to tell the Egyptians what kind of government they should have. My primary argument is with the American government—along with the American liberals, neoconservatives, and conservatives generally who pushed or backed the American government in this direction—which DID try to determine what kind of government Egypt has, by actively helping topple our ally Mubarak in the insane belief that this would lead to something more favorable to us and our allies.
I am in agreement with you that any representative government in a Muslim country is going to be militantly anti-Israel—as well as militantly anti-American and militantly pro-Islamic. The difference between us is that you welcome such militantly anti-Israel governments in the Muslim world and I don’t. So naturally you would look favorably on the advent of representative government in Egypt. But you’re a leftist who seeks the downfall of America and the West via their absorption into a One-World multicultural global society in which sharia plays a major role. So naturally you support Muslim self-government, along with the resulting empowerment of militant Islam and the resulting harm to the West. My argument is with the neocons who support Muslim self-government because they insanely think it will be good for the West.
Stan S. writes:
I need to comment on something Ken Hechtman wrote:
“No representative Egyptian government, left, right or Islamist, is going to be on Israel’s side while Israel is fighting a war with people who look and talk and pray like Egyptians.”
This is a deplorable statement, for two reasons:
1. Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979 whereby Israel returned to Egypt the entire Sinai, a territory that had given Israel invaluable strategic depth and an oil field worth many billions. In addition, Egypt accepted from the United States $2 billion in annual economic and military aid. Egypt’s only obligation under the treaty was to cease its hostile propaganda against, and to maintain peace with, Israel. The whole point of having a peace treaty is that Egypt is obligated to remain neutral in conflicts between Israel and “people who look and talk and pray like Egyptians.”
2. Mr .Hechtman writes that Israel is fighting a war against, presumably, the Palestinian Arabs. Putting it this way is absurd. If there were really to be a war, either or both of the Palestinian Arab governments could be overthrown in a few days. But of course, the last time Israel conducted a serious military operation against Hamas, it was forced to stop short by American and European pressure. The same thing happened when Israel fought Hezbollah in 2006. So, on one hand, Israel is prevented, and by its closest ally, from fighting seriously even against those terrorist groups that are completely open about their intention to destroy Israel. Yet, on the other hand, Israel is to be talked about (and treated) as though it actually were fighting a war at all times, so that all kinds of outrages against Israel, including attacks on Israeli diplomats abroad, become “understandable.” This is the sort of sly rhetoric that anti-Israel polemicists use all the time.
Excellent insights. Thank you for seeing all this and stating it so well. Clearly Mr. Hechtman’s statement that Israel is fighting a war against the Palestinians was incorrect. If Israel were really at war with the Palestinians, then Hamas rule in Gaza and Palestinian Authority rule in the West Bank would have been destroyed and uprooted long ago.
At the same time, there is something to what Mr. Hechtman said. Leaving aside the justice of the matter, of who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong (and clearly the Egyptians are in the wrong here), the fact is that a representative government in Egypt is not going to honor its treaty with Israel, period. An Egypt at peace with Israel was only possible so long as there was an Egyptian government that wanted to remain at peace with Israel, which in turn required that that government suppress the militant Islamic elements in Egyptian society. A representative Egyptian government, a government that fairly represents the views of the Egyptian people, is inevitably going to reflect the strong Islamic beliefs of the Egyptian people, which in turn will inevitably express themselves in the form of hostility to Israel leading to the breakdown of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.
Let us also remember that while it is objectively false to state that Israel is at war with the Palestinians, it is not false from the Islamic point of view. This is the case in both a general sense and a specific sense.
Generally, Muslims view all non-Muslim societies as being at war with Islam by the very fact of their existence as non-Muslim societies. According to the Koran, non-Muslims actually know that Islam is true, but perversely pretend that they don’t know this. For such evil, they deserve to die.
Specifically, Israel is a non-Muslim country existing on land that was once controlled by Muslims. The very fact of Israel’s existence constitutes a war against Islam.
So, while Mr. Hechtman’s statement that Israel is fighting a war against the Palestinians is objectively false, it is Islamically true. Furthermore, now that Egypt is acquiring a representative government, Islamic truth, not objective truth, will rule in that country.
Stan S. writes:
You wrote: “At the same time, there is something to what Mr. Hechtman said.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 10, 2011 12:27 PM | Send
Fair enough. We should also remember that Egypt is currently ruled by an interim government—the (bribed-by-US) military, and once there are elections and a real representative government comes to power things will be worse.