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Thursday, April 01, 2004

DEATH OF A MYTH by Jonathan Rosenblum

"Israelis definitely have a dog, as the Americans would say, in the fight between Bush and Kerry"
. . . Israel’s existence cannot explain the chronic failure of the Arab world to keep pace with the rest of the world, despite its immense natural resources, The 2002 U.N.-sponsored Arab Human Development Report, produced by Arab intellectuals, detailed the backwardness of the Arab world in freedom, knowledge, and the status of women.
The 22 Arab states rank at the bottom of the freedom scale of the world’s seven regions.

Arab despots’ fear of their own people forces them to keep a tight control on all knowledge.

Internet connectivity in the Arab world ranks behind sub-Saharan Africa.

The entire Arab world translates one-fifth the number of books annually as Greece.

From 1980-2000, the Arab states registered 370 patents compared to Israel, with little more than 2% of the population, which registered 7,652.

No wonder the total GNP of 22 Arab states, with 280 million people, is less than that of Spain, with 40 million.
That failure has made the Arab world a festering sore producing a pus of hatred. As the great Orientalist Bernard Lewis notes, Arab loathing for the West is perfectly natural: The poor and the weak will always despise the rich and strong, and particularly if they see the world as “a millennial rivalry between two world religions, and now, from their point of view, the wrong one seems to be winning.”

Arab hatred of Israel is a subspecies of the generalized hatred of the West, only more intense because of Israel’s existence in the middle of the Arab world. Israel is not the cause for the Arab failure to join the modern world, but rather the excuse that Arab leaders require to distract their subjects from their ignorance, poverty, and lack of freedom.

Should John Kerry replace George Bush as president, however, we can expect to see a full revival of the old myth. . .
Read it all at Maariv.