“Does anyone in the Arab world care what is happening in Israel?” (& Iranian poet applies for asylum in Israel)

February 25, 2016

The gay Iranian poet and author Payam Feili (pictured above in Tel Aviv) has applied for political asylum in Israel, where he says he has finally found tolerance.

 

“ISRAEL HAS GIVEN ITS MINORITIES RIGHTS THAT MOST CITIZENS IN OUR ARAB COUNTRIES DO NOT EVEN DREAM OF”

[Notes by Tom Gross]

I attach two unusual op-eds. The first is published today in the Saudi paper Arab News, which is reportedly the most read English-language paper in the Arab world. The second, in Arabic from the Kuwaiti publication Al-Qabas, was published earlier this month. I prepared some extracts first (below) for those who don’t have time to read them in full.

These days much of the media attacks on Israel come from western journalists, not Arab ones. But what is not being widely reported in western media is that the Iranian government is pledging cash rewards for Palestinians that kill Jews. Columnists at The New York Times and elsewhere are too busy celebrating the Iran deal, which will see billions of dollars released to the Iranian regime, to notice many of the things Iran is planning to do with the money.

Iranian foreign ministry official Mohammad Fateh Ali said at a press conference that his government will give sums of $7,000 or $30,000 to Palestinian families of “martyrs of the new intifada” (i.e. those who are continuing to stab Israelis) depending how “successful” they were.

This is in addition to the (diverted European aid money) that the Palestinian Authority already gives them.

Yesterday a 30-year-old father of two became the latest Israeli to die as a result of an unprovoked Palestinian stabbing attack.

 

“I WILL GROW, I WILL BEAR FRUIT”

Meanwhile the gay Iranian poet Payam Feili has applied for political asylum in Israel.

Feili (who is Muslim) arrived in Israel in December to see his novella, “I Will Grow, I Will Bear Fruit,” staged as a play in Hebrew in Tel Aviv, and has remained in Israel since.

His asylum claim has been reported in The Washington Post and Newsweek but of course the rest of the anti-Israel media are ignoring it since it shines a light on Israeli tolerance.

Homosexuality is illegal in the Islamic Republic and those found guilty of this “crime” are sometimes executed, or sentenced to be whipped.

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad infamously said in a 2007 speech in New York that “in Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like you do in your country. This does not exist in our country.”

-- Tom Gross


EXTRACTS

“WE NOW JUST CALL THE ZIONIST ENEMY ‘ISRAEL’”

Abdulateef Al-Mulhim (Arab News):

“Does anyone in the Arab world know what is happening in Israel? … The answer to the above question is no… Israel has almost disappeared from headlines and many people no longer consider Israel as a threat. This is a reality that we have to learn to live with.

“The day the so-called Arab Spring erupted, Israel became invisible in the Arab media. Arabs are too preoccupied with so many issues plaguing their own lands…

“From referring to Israel as the Zionist enemy, the Arab media changed the tone by calling it the Israeli enemy, then we became aware of the term “hostile Israel” and then it was referred to as state of Israel and now Israel has simply vanished from the Arab media. It appears to be no longer on our radar.

“In the past few decades, we only heard about one enemy of the Arab world – Israel. Ironically, more wars have taken place between Arab countries than between Israel and Arabs. As a matter of fact, wars between the Arab world and Israel are considered less severe compared to wars between the Arab countries and clashes within some Arab countries.

“People are asking as to why during full-scale wars with Israel, we never saw destruction of archeological, historical or religious sites.”

 

“ISRAEL HAS KNOWN LAW AND ORDER SINCE ITS FIRST DAY, WHILE WE STILL TRY TO COMPREHEND THE MEANING OF BOTH THESE WORDS”

Kuwaiti Columnist Ahmad Al-Sarraf:

“For almost 70 years we have lacked, and continue to lack, all knowledge about Israel, and have learned nothing from it.

“Israel has outdone us in all fields – military, scientific, and cultural – but despite this we have refused to consider the reason for its obvious superiority to us, and have never stopped calling it ‘the monstrous entity’...

“Since its founding, Israel has been committed to democracy, while we refuse to even speak of democracy, let alone adopt it...

“Israel has given its minorities rights that most citizens in most Arab countries do not even dream of. Furthermore, the freedom of worship there exceeds that in any Arab or Islamic country.

“Israel has focused its attention on science, spending large sums on research, while we are still focused on whether drinking camel urine or using it medicinally is actually helpful…

“Israel has known law and order since its first day, while we still try to comprehend the meaning of both these words… The list is long, and the sorrow that accompanies it persists.”

 

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ARTICLES

ISRAEL’S DISAPPEARANCE FROM THE ARAB MEDIA SCENE

Israel’s disappearance from the Arab media scene
By Abdulateef Al-Mulhim
Arab News
Thursday February 25, 2016

http://www.arabnews.com/columns/news/885871

Does anyone in the Arab world know what is happening in Israel? Do we know what weapons systems their defense forces are acquiring or developing? Do we know who is who in the Israeli policymaking circles? The answer to the above questions is: We don’t know. Yes, we really don’t because at present, we don’t see or hear much about Israel in the Arab media. Israel has almost disappeared from headlines and many people no longer consider Israel as a threat. This is a reality that we have to learn to live with.

The day the so-called Arab Spring erupted, Israel became invisible in the Arab media. Arabs are too preoccupied with so many issues plaguing their own lands. Today, we don’t read much about Israel in the newspapers or see any reports about the Middle Eastern country in the electronic media. This is not a case of sudden disappearance. From referring to Israel as the Zionist enemy, the Arab media changed the tone by calling it the Israeli enemy, then we became aware of the term “hostile Israel” and then it was referred to as state of Israel and now Israel has simply vanished from the Arab media. It appears to be no longer on our radar.

In the past few decades, we only heard about one enemy of the Arab world Israel. Ironically, more wars have taken place between Arab countries than between Israel and Arabs. As a matter of fact, wars between the Arab world and Israel are considered less severe compared to wars between the Arab countries and clashes within some Arab countries. The major Arab-Israeli conflicts took place in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and this doesn’t include minor conflicts and battles such as the clashes in southern Lebanon. But, overall, the wars were clear, people knew who was who in the battlefield and the casualties were not as high as people would see in other wars. In addition to that the wars were brief. And please don’t get me wrong, I hate wars and the loss of one life does matters. That is, however, a different issue.

The question remains, why has Israel disappeared from our media? Even it is no longer part of our living room discussions. Could the answer be that the Arab world has its hands full with internal issues or is it something else?

It is true that the Arab world has its hands full with other issues but there could be another reason for that. Simply put, some of the Arab leaders used the Palestinian issue just to portray themselves as heroes. Ironically, Israel is the one that invented many fake heroes and dictators in the Arab world. Just look at Lebanon’s Hassan Nasrallah who hijacked and destroyed Lebanon initially using anti-Israel propaganda. Similarly, we have seen Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Syria’s Hafez Assad and many others who became instant heroes because they showed hostility toward Israel. They also (mis)used the Palestinian misery and in due process they simply forgot to build their countries and neglected improving the living standards of their people.

Now the Arab media is drawing comparisons between the devastation caused during wars with Israel and the current regional scenario particularly the events taking place in Syria – a country whose own people are bent on its destruction. People are asking as to why during full-scale wars with Israel, we never saw destruction of archeological, historical or religious sites. In the past, we talked about Palestinian refugees, now we are dealing with a new wave of refugees emanating from Syria and other parts of the region. The Arab media now has no time or space to talk about Israel and to raise the issue of Palestine or Palestinians.

And let us not forget Iran, which is not an Arab country, but it is also silent about Israel. A few years ago, they wanted to wipe Israel out from the map but now there is no mention of Israel in the Iranian media. [That last statement is not quite true -- Tom Gross] Perhaps, due to the fact that Saudi Arabia has replaced Israel as Iran’s number one enemy.

Instead of reading about Israel, Arabs want to discuss ways to promote better education, improved health-care facilities, social equality and better infrastructure.

At the end of the day, no matter what we write about Israel, the Israelis don’t care. They know we are busy.

 

ISRAEL HAS OUTDONE US IN EVERYTHING – WE MUST LEARN FROM IT

Israel Has Outdone Us In Everything – We Must Learn From It
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf
Al-Qabas (Kuwait)
February 1, 2016

(Extracts only; translation from the Arabic by The Middle East Media Research Institute)

In theory, Arabs have [only] one enemy in the region – except that recently we have made additional enemies, such as Iran. Some went even further, stepping up their hatred of Iran, while at the same time becoming more accepting of Israel [than in the past], to the point where it has become more friend than foe…

Usually, every conflict is rooted in one side’s ignorance of the situation and nature of the other – though I tend to believe that Iran knows far more about the 22 Arab countries that those countries know about it. I attended Kuwaiti schools; in my day, their curricula were far more developed and were open to the other. Despite this, I do not remember reading a single line about [Iran] that was even remotely positive – neither about [its] geography or climate, nor about [its] strength, weakness, or history. So it was only natural for us to view it negatively, [even though we] had no [concrete] reason to do so.

As for Israel, many [of us] view it as a political-religious foe, as opposed to a cultural danger, and this is a serious mistake. Even though our conflict with it has never ceased, we have remained ignorant regarding everything it represents, and for 70 years we have lacked, and continue to lack, all knowledge about it, and have learned nothing from it.

“Israel has outdone us in all fields – military, scientific, and cultural – but despite this we have refused to consider the reason for its obvious superiority to us, and have never stopped calling it ‘the monstrous entity’...

Since its founding, Israel has been committed to democracy, while we refuse to even speak of it [i.e. democracy], let alone adopt it...

Israel has given its minorities rights that most citizens in most Arab countries do not even dream of. Furthermore, the freedom of worship there exceeds that in any Arab or Islamic country.

Israel has focused its attention on science, spending large sums on research, while we are still focused on whether drinking camel urine or using it medicinally is actually helpful.

Israel has managed to unite people emigrating to it from 50 countries, and to forge a single people from them, while we have not managed [even] to create a [joint] army out of the [Arab] people, with its deep historical roots.

Israel has known law and order since its first day, while we still try to comprehend the meaning of both these words. Two of [Israel’s] senior leaders went to prison for corruption, while we still argue over how to convict the master thieves in our midst.

Israel has developed its technologies and developed its agriculture, industry, and military, becoming an advanced and respected country, while we currently occupy the bottom slot in every field.

Israel has managed to get its companies traded on the international stock market, while we consider liquidating our assets after nearing bankruptcy.

The list is long, and the sorrow that accompanies it persists.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.