CST Blog

Stars in their eyes

4 February 2011

There are some people who cannot watch a major crisis without seeing the hidden hand of "Zionists", or Israel, directing events, influencing decision makers and generally interfering to prevent things from turning out how they properly should. The current crisis in Egypt is a case in point.

Many people have commented on how Israel-related issues have been relatively absent from the demands of the protestors in Egypt. This is despite anecdotal evidence that the regime is trying to paint the pro-democracy protestors as Israeli spies, or backed by Israel.

However, as the world watches the people of Egypt literally fighting over who should get to decide their future (whoever said the revolution will not be televised?), and new and old media fill up with commentators of every variety offering the contents of their crystal balls to the world, examples of observers outside Egypt finding ways to insert Zionist meddling into the story are not hard to find. The phenomenon ranges from the mainstream to fringe commentators and from the thoughtful to the fanciful; and that is without even looking at Stormfront or MPACUK, both of whom see Zionists everywhere even at the best of times.

Starting in today's Independent, Johann Hari examines various ways in which "we" are culpable for the repression of the Egyptian people. The second of these relates to Israel and Egypt's support for the peace process. The sting comes in this line:

we are so servile to the demands of the country's self-harming government, and to its loudest and angriest lobbyists here, that our governments obey.

Maybe I am missing something, but as I watch Egyptian pro-democracy demonstrators trying to oust their regime on the streets of Cairo, my first thought is not that the British government is "servile" to Israel's "loudest and angriest lobbyists".

Another commentator who has been offering his opinion on events in Egypt is American newspaper man Mort Zuckerman, the guest this week of the Henry Jackson Society. On Wednesday the Guardian reported his warning against the possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power. This is no idle fear, and one shared by many people, including many Egyptians. But for iEngage - ever alert to the slightest suggestion of Islamophobia - Zuckerman seemed to be the emissary of something bigger, and more sinister: "Zionists warn Tories About Mubarak Aftermath", was how they headlined the story.

The Muslim Association of Britain, which according to the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office is the Muslim Brotherhood's representatives in the UK and therefore speaks with some authority on the MB's position, also sees Israeli machinations trying to prevent the Egyptian people from achieving freedom and democracy:

We also call upon the US and the EU (including Britain) to stop over-looking the aspirations of the Arab world of freedom and democracy and instead linking them to what and how Israel wishes to see things happen. We condemn the Israeli propaganda in trying to spread the fear factor from the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions for democracy, by painting them as a threat to a stable middle-East.

The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) condemns the attitude of some Western governments in favouring the whim of the Israeli attitude towards the legitimate aspirations of the Arab people, in its quest for freedoms, dignity and in trying to acquire genuine and solid democratic structures regardless of whether it occurs in Palestine, Tunisia, or now Egypt. It will not be further tolerated that Israel will keep pushing the EU and US governments towards a stance in which stability should be a priority upon freedoms and democracy in Tunisia and Egypt.

One thing that has been very clear so far during this crisis is how little the American and European governments can actually influence events in Egypt. Lobbying by Israel, even if it is taking place on the scale claimed by the MAB, is unlikely to change that. So how would Israel actually try to dictate the course of the Egyptian revolution that is unfolding?

As ever, Iranian TV has the answer.

First, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported that Israeli commandos had infiltrated into Cairo:

According to the latest reports, a group of Israeli commandos have entered the Egyptian capital city to create tension and unrest in that city.

Informed sources told IRNA that by appointing the country’s intelligence chief – General Omar Suleiman /main negotiator with the Zionist regime/ - as his deputy, President Hosni Mubarak has in fact shown a green light to the Zionist regime for interference in his country’s domestic affairs.

An eye witness told IRNA by phone that suspicious attacks on trade and residential units and assassination of specific persons in Cairo have created uncertain situation in the country.

The witness referred to a rumor saying that the Israeli agents have infiltrated into the people in order to lead the public protest to violence and civil conflicts.

Then, a few days later, Press TV reported that  an Israeli spy, identified by Press TV as "A member of Israeli General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, Sayeret Matkal", had been arrested in Egypt. They even posted some rather undramatic footage of two unidentified men looking rather bemused as they are led out of a cafe by men in uniform. Needless to say, no evidence is offered by Press TV that they are even Israeli, much less spies or members of Sayeret Matkal.

Press TV has also reported that Israel delivered three plane-loads of riot control equipment to Egypt last Saturday, including "a large supply of internationally proscribed gas to disperse crowds." This report apparently originated with an NGO called The International Network for Rights and Development. It has been reported quite widely, including on the Muslim Brotherhood's own Ikhwanweb and by Middle East Monitor.

However if you want to check the original source of this story you can't, because if you google "International Network for Rights and Development" the only results are variations on this story. It appears to have no website, nor to have ever said or done anything else. It is possible that it is an Arabic NGO and that its name has been mistranslated into English in a way that has never happened before, and so would not show up on google for anything else; or alternatively, that this is another one of those conspiracy stories that emerges in the Middle East, usually about Israel, from a source that has never been heard of before and disappears without trace immediately afterwards. It is difficult to tell who first reported the story - which might indicate its source - but Middle East Monitor is the earliest example of it that I have found.

This 'Ziocentrism', which insists on placing Israel at the centre of any Middle Eastern story, also leads people to assume their positions on any given crisis according to how it may affect Israel. Middle East Monitor is headed by Daud Abdullah, who spoke further on Israel's role in the crisis at a meeting for "Solidarity with the Egyptian Uprising" in London on Wednesday evening. Few of the people at the meeting showed similar solidarity with Iranian pro-democracy protestors in 2009. Most of Abdullah's speech is about Egypt's relationship with Israel, rather than the internal issues in Egypt which seem to be driving the uprising, and he has no doubt who is stiffening the backbone of the Egyptian regime:

[From 2:30] The greatest casualty no doubt will be Israel...this is why they have sent messages to Europe and to Washington, urging to give Mubarak a free reign, let him deal with his people in the bloodiest of manner. This is why they have offered their resources to Mubarak and Suleiman, Omar Suleiman, so that they can crush this popular resistance.

Again, Daud Abdullah does not explain how he is party to confidential messages between the  Israeli, European and American governments.

At the same meeting, the rapper Lowkey shared his thoughts on the current crisis. He began by stating [0:35]:

I have so much belief in the people of Egypt that if there is democracy, if there was democracy, there wouldn't be an American or an Israeli government left standing in the Middle East.

This drew wild applause; and he concluded his speech with the strategic insight that [5:32] "the path to the liberation of Jerusalem runs through Cairo". This has long been a central doctrine in Egyptian jihad, as Reuven Paz (pdf) explains:

One of the most important doctrines of the Egyptian Jihad from its birth in the late 1970s, has been what Ayman Al-Zawahiri and before him Muhammad Abd al-Salam Faraj phrased as follows: “The way to liberate Jerusalem moves through the liberation of Cairo.” Zawahiri wrote it in several of his books, including “Knights under the Prophet’s Banner,” published in December 2001. Faraj referred to this notion in his famous book “The Neglected Duty,” [Al-Faridhah al-Gaebah] which has been circulated by the Egyptian Jihad since 1980.

Lowkey gives no indication as to whether he is consciously echoing Ayman al-Zawahiri, or whether he has reached the same analysis as Egypt's most famous terrorist leader all on his own.

For all that this meeting was meant to be in support of the people of Egypt, these two speakers at least seem more concerned with how the current crisis affects Barack Obama and Bibi Netanyahu than how it affects the average man in the Cairo street. But then that is what Ziocentrism does to you.

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