Fred Maroun
A believer in peace and human dignity

I am a friend of Israel because I am an Arab

I am sometimes asked how despite being an Arab, I support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. My answer is that I do so because I am an Arab.

Israeli Arab and Muslim Sarah Zoabi said, “I want to say to all the Arabs of Israel to wake up. We live in paradise. Comparing us to other countries, to Arab countries – we live in paradise.” Sadly, we cannot all live in Israel, and even if we could, unless we change ourselves first, Israel would become one more failed Arab state.

Palestinian-Jordanian Mudar Zahran argues that we need Israel for strategic reasons, concluding that “if the day were to come when Israel falls, Jordan, Egypt and many others would fall, too, and ‎Westerners would be begging Iran for oil.‎ We can hate Israel as much as we like, but we must realize that without it, we too would be ‎gone.‎”  While I agree with Zahran, Israel has no obligation to defend the whole Arab world while we Arabs keep demonizing her.

The reason I support Israel’s right to exist is because I want good things to happen not only in Israel but in the whole Middle East. Israel is a role model that we can emulate. Unlike fake “pro-Palestinian” activists, I want an end to hate, violence, oppression, destruction, and deaths.

We must look at our dismal failures and learn from the best. Israel gives a prominent role to religion together with innovation, liberalism, and democracy. She resolves differences without civil wars, insurrections, or military coups. In Israel terrorists are widely condemned, and the government, police, and religious authorities stand unambiguously against them regardless of their religion or the religion of their victims. In Israel a moral failing is taken seriously, and Israel goes to war against it. We do none of those things.

Palestinian Bassam Tawil observed, “While Israelis have been holding rallies to condemn terror attacks against our people, we have been celebrating the killing of Jews. How many times have we taken to the streets to hand out sweets and candies in jubilation over the killing of Jews? Such sickening scenes of men and women celebrating terror attacks against Jews on the streets of the West Bank and Gaza Strip have never been condemned by our leaders. […] We still have a lot to learn from Israeli leaders and the Israeli public.”

Following violence perpetrated against Palestinians and against a pride parade in Jerusalem, Orthodox Rabbi Benny Lau spoke at one of the many anti-terrorism demonstrations in Israel and he said to loud applause, “It is not possible to say ‘our hands did not spill this blood.’ Anyone who has […] heard the racist jokes, the homophobic jokes, the obscene words, and did not stand up and stop it, he is a partner to this bloodshed. All the worshippers […] heard for themselves the Ten Commandments. And in them, at the top, they stood and heard, ‘do not murder.’ In the name of what Torah, in the name of what God, does someone go and murder, do people go and burn a baby and his entire family? Whose Torah is this?”

I want an Arab world where religious leaders speak like this, with passion, love for humankind, and self-awareness, where we take ownership of our own actions, and where crowds enthusiastically applaud moral leaders like Lau. But we do none of those things. Our moral leaders are hiding or exiled. We blame Israel and lie about Israel to the cheers of anti-Semites. We are misogynistic, fanatical, mean-spirited, self-defeating, duplicitous, shameless, gullible, bigoted, closed-minded, and cowardly. How can any sane Arab not want change?

I want Arabs to have the moral values of Israeli Jews. I want Arabs to look at Israel and learn.

We are raised to be anti-Semites, we are egged on by fake peace activists and fake pro-Palestinian activists, including anti-Semitic Jews, and our hatred is amplified by the Israeli occupation and by IDF retaliations which we brought on by our refusal to accept the existence of one tiny Jewish state. Terrorists continue attacking Israel because the attacks ensure that the occupation continues and that Israel strikes back, feeding support for terrorists and oppressors. Why do we allow ourselves to be manipulated like this?

I know that I represent a small minority among Arabs, but I would be in the majority if we Arabs took our blinders off. We must refuse to be manipulated through fear, hatred, and revenge.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and to defend itself. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities co-exist in peace with each other, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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