The crisis in Egypt has provoked quite a different reaction among political analysts in Israel and the United States. The differences are huge. While the majority of Israeli commentators are quite worried that we will soon have another country joining the Iranian axis, Americans seem much less concerned about that prospect.
There are two points that determine one's attitude towards the Egyptian crisis
1. Knowledge of Islam
2. Living in proximity to societies which have embraced Sharia.
People who have a solid understanding of Sharia tend to be more aware of the dangers of the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power than those who have never read the Islamic source texts. People living in the target range of Hamas, Hezb'allah and the Iranian mullahs are more aware what is at stake than those who live far.
Israelis live near and understand that both Hamas and Hezb'allah are the product of the Muslim Brotherhood. Americans live far away and see nothing wrong in the Muslim Brotherhood joining the next Egyptian government.
Here are is what several Israeli analysts say:
But what really riles me is when Westerners write a sentence like this one:
"It's incumbent on Islamists who are elected democratically to behave democratically."
Please contemplate those dozen words. What if they don't? What are you going to do about it after they are in power? What if they take your concessions but not your advice? The United States conditioned the Muslim Brotherhood's participation in Egypt's next government on that group's abandoning violence and supporting "democratic goals." There is no chance that it will meet those conditions and also no chance that the United States would try to enforce them.
Carter's betrayal of the Shah brought us the ayatollahs, and will soon bring us ayatollahs with nuclear arms. The consequences of the West's betrayal of Mubarak will be no less severe. It's not only a betrayal of a leader who was loyal to the West, served stability and encouraged moderation. It's a betrayal of every ally of the West in the Middle East and the developing world. The message is sharp and clear: The West's word is no word at all; an alliance with the West is not an alliance. The West has lost it. The West has stopped being a leading and stabilizing force around the world.
According to a Pew opinion survey of Egyptians from June 2010, 59 percent said they back Islamists. Only 27% said they back modernizers. Half of Egyptians support Hamas. Thirty percent support Hizbullah and 20% support al Qaida. Moreover, 95% of them would welcome Islamic influence over their politics. When this preference is translated into actual government policy, it is clear that the Islam they support is the al Qaida Salafist version.
Eighty two percent of Egyptians support executing adulterers by stoning, 77% support whipping and cutting the hands off thieves. 84% support executing any Muslim who changes his religion.
U.S. President George W. Bush was correct to view democratization as the antidote to all these ailments. But President Barack Obama - like Jimmy Carter before him, who supported the shah of Iran and called him an "island of stability," then turned his back on him and threw him away like a squeezed lemon - erred when he did not have a word to say about democracy to Mubarak, Saleh, Ben Ali and their colleagues. Obama even pledged support for the Arab world in a speech delivered in corrupt Cairo, which was perched atop a volcano about to blow, then hastened to abandon the regimes the moment the flames erupted. His secretary of state behaved the same way.
These two inexperienced, ignorant and unimaginative leaders brought disaster to the Western world and paved the way for troubled times in the Arab world. If only we were not the ones who will have to pay the price for these mistakes.
Sixteen years ago Bernard Lewis wrote this
The definition of democracy for our present purpose is a simpler task. What is meant is a system of constitutional and representative government, in which those who wield power can be dismissed and replaced without violence, and by known rules and procedures universally understood and accepted. As Samuel Huntington has observed, this must happen at least twice before a democracy can be regarded as "consolidated."
What are the chances that Egypt will meet the criteria? The Israelis are not very optimistic