February 6, 2012 Special Dispatch No. 4472

Saudi Journalist: The West's Support of an Extremist Religious State in Israel Is Shameful

February 6, 2012
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 4472

In a January 10, 2012 article in the Saudi daily Al-Madina, Saudi journalist 'Asem Hamdan claimed the West was employing a double standard by criticizing extremist Islamist streams in the Middle East while ignoring the religious extremism he said characterized the Jewish State of Israel.

Following is a translation:[1]

"Some two decades ago, the West began complaining about the rise of extremist religious streams in the Middle East region, while ignoring the fact that the Western institutions supported, by every [means], the establishment of an extremist religious state on the soil of Arab and Islamic Palestine – an entity whose nature as a Jewish state was already shaped at the [First Zionist] Congress in Basel, held at the end of the 19th century under the auspices of the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl.

"The West propagated [a view according to which] Zionism has a secular aspect that is in line with Western principles and basic assumptions. However, those who rose to [Zionism's] political fore were leaders with terrorist backgrounds who combined political and religious extremism, such as Menahem Begin, head of the 'Irgun' gang that carried out the [Deir] Yassin massacre, and his friend [Yitzhak] Shamir, head of the 'Stern' gang [i.e., the Lehi]. Their rise to the political fore, [despite the fact that] they were wanted in Western courts, gave a strong push to the extremist religious parties and movements like Shas, which altered the balance of power in the Israeli Knesset such that none of the main parties can form a government without taking the demands of these [religious] gangs into consideration.

"These streams have demonstrated great hatred toward the Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, and have forced their Torah-based views on Israeli society. Thus, for example, there is gender separation on buses and in the streets, and not even youth on their way to school are spared its harm. Most of those belonging to these extremist streams do not work, and receive monthly allowances from the government.

"While the West sees the donning of the hijab and niqab by Muslim women as contravening the liberal nature of its society, it does not consider the Jewish skullcap or the clothing worn by Jewish women... to be a problematic or troubling matter. This is a paradox and a double standard that has led the Muslim minorities in the West to demand the same legitimate rights [granted] to the Jewish community. The West, which has suffered at the hands of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, just as the Muslims themselves have, must denounce the fact that it supported the establishment of an extremist religious entity [i.e., Israel]."


[1] Al-Madina (Saudi Arabia), January 10, 2012.

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