Cultural Revolutions

Isolating Israel

Neoconservative ideologues have joined liberal internationalists and left-wing global utopians in celebrating the collapse of the authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and the ensuing political uprising in other Arab countries.  Their glee suggests that the Middle East is about to go through the kind of political and economic reforms that have been sweeping the former Soviet Bloc and East Asia since 1989, with members of the internet-savvy generation of Arabs—like those who organized the protests at Tahrir Square—leading their people into the promised land of democratization, liberalization, and integration into the global economy and the modern world.

But is it good for the Jews?  Neoconservatives like the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and former Bush administration official Elliott Abrams have been caught in the headlights of the Democratic Peace Theory: A democratic Egypt will never go to war against a democratic Israel.  But since the start of the so-called Arab Awakening, a large number of Israelis have concluded that the collapse of Arab regimes who supported some form of coexistence with the Jewish state—that of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, for example—is actually bad for Jews.

Indeed, the way members of the Israeli political establishment see it, the Arab Spring marks the arrival of an Israeli Winter, creating the conditions for Islamic political radicalization in Egypt—did...

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