3 February 2011

Why Israel ought to be welcoming an 'Arab spring'

First Tunisia, now Egypt - it looks like the winds of change are blowing through some of the most authoritarian, corrupt and undemocratic states in the middle east. Whether these democratic movements succeed over the long term in either of these states or even spread to some of their more unsavoury neighbours it's probably too early to say.

But the idea mooted in some quarters that these democratic uprisings could be bad for middle east peace and the security of Israel is patent nonsense.

The more of Israel's neighbours that join it in the democratic community - including full rights for women - the better. Democracies rarely launch all out wars on their fellow democracies.

But a fully democratic middle east would put the spotlight back on Israel and its human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories. They could no longer use the excuse of being the only democracy in that part of the world as a virtue they alone are defending or have the easy rebuttal of referring to their arab accusers' oppressive and antidiluvian actions which have subjugated their people over generations.

Perhaps that's why some of the more unsavoury right wing elements in Israel and the US are worried by events in Tunis and Cairo.

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