Why do governments stand with Israel when their citizens do not?

Simply put: because Israel is the only reliable friend most nations have in the Middle East.

The United States of America has gone to war a dozen times in the past few years to defend human liberty, human rights and, quite unabashedly, liberal democracy. Why then does this great arsenal of democracy, that marched a million men to the streets of Berlin to halt a Nazi genocide, blatantly look the other way as both Israeli and Palestinian forces wreak havoc on a tiny strip of land?

Because the alternative is too impractical to even contemplate. No democracy in its right mind would trade a healthy relationship with Israel for a volatile one with the Arab states.

There was once a time, not very long ago, when most democracies were even vehement opponents of Israel and her creation. Even Gandhi was a strong advocate of Palestinian freedom. Nations like India and much of the developing world maintained cordial relations with the Arab states, and were united in their hatred of Israel.

Yet today, India is considered by the majority of Israelis to be the most pro-Israeli nation on the planet.

Indian police disperse pro-Palestine protests by force.

As I write these words, however, thousands of Indians are being arrested, detained and simply ignored by the Indian government for staging anti-Israel protests. Why? Because the Indian government – like the US government – knows all too well that friendship with Israel is far more precious to national interests than a relationship, however lucrative, with the hypocritical Arab states.

I’ve spent a regrettably large amount of time in autocratic Arab states, which allows me to attest to the fact that the morals, rights and democracy that quantify Israel, are absent. Tribalism is rampant, and nations that rode camels a few decades ago, now ride gold plated sports cars. But the political attitude of placing religion above rationality has remained unscathed.

This attitude is one of the only reasons why the U.S. maintains more drones than embassies in the Middle East.

From the arming and training of Islamic terrorist organisations, the gross mistreatment of women, the legality of child brides (some girls are as young as 10), to the harsh domestic policies visited upon immigrants and religious minorities – the Arab states have already done more harm to the region’s stability than Israel can ever hope to do so intentionally.

No nation with an inkling of sanity would like to be associated with such primitively brutal, albeit progressively rich, nations. One may only look at how both sides comment on war to infer the realities of the choice even the most noble nations must take:

“We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel.”

– Golda Meir

“Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations.”
– Yasser Arafat, PLO

The arrogance of Arab rulers is as petty as the things they do to accomplish a sense of self-satisfaction. From barring their luxury airliners from landing on Israeli soil, to financing anti-Israeli terror groups – the Arab states, in all their oil fuelled opulence, know all too well that the only reason most nations don’t boycott the Arab states altogether is because of their natural resources.

But the Arab people, proud and strong even after enduring the oppression of absolute monarchy, might just be the link between rationality and rule.

I believe the day is not far when an Arab people plagued by millennia of autocracy and blinded by oppressive monarchy shall see for themselves that their childishly arrogant rulers have marched their sons, brothers and fathers to their graves – all to satisfy the royalty’s petty hatred of the Jewish homeland.

On that day, the Middle East shall finally affirm that in the Israel-Palestine crisis, there is no black and white – only a million shades of red.

Until that day comes, however, the despotic reign of Arab rulers will continue – and rational nations will continue to ignore their citizens’ cries for justice in Gaza, because the only other option in this crisis is to stand by nations that think allowing women to drive cars affects their ovaries.

Should they take that other option?

You be the judge.

About the Author
Aditya Karkera is an Indian freelance writer. He is a blogger at The Huffington Post, contributing writer to the Times Of India and a Yale Young Global Scholar of Grand Strategy.