Demonizing Israel has been well-exploited by Arab dictatorships to direct citizens’ rage against Israel instead of their oppressive regimes and to justify any atrocities they commit in the name of protecting their nations from “the evil Zionists.”
This game has served some of the most notorious Arab dictatorships, and still does today, as any opposition is immediately labeled “a Zionist plot.”
This model had served Saddam Hussein, who was promoting that “Iraq and Palestine are one identical case” in his last years in power. It is also one of the things behind Iranian President Ahmedinejad’s constant demonetization of Israel.
With the threat of populist uprising spreading across the Muslim Middle East, look for the iron-fisted tyrants to increase their anti-Israel hate speech.
First up on the hate treadmill, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who said yesterday that Palestinian refugees should capitalize on the wave of popular revolts in the Middle East by massing peacefully on the borders of Israel until it gives in to their demands.
He was giving his first major speech since a popular uprising in neighbouring Egypt forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign, an event which electrified the Arab world and prompted speculation that other Arab governments could also be toppled.
“Fleets of boats should take Palestinians … and wait by the Palestinian shores until the problem is resolved,” Gaddafi was shown saying on state television. “This is a time of popular revolutions.”
“We need to create a problem for the world. This is not a declaration of war. This is a call for peace,” he said in a speech given to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohamed, a holy day in the Islamic calendar.
He also said: “All Arab states which have relations with Israel are cowardly regimes.”
Palestinians have long demanded that refugees who fled or were forced to leave in the war of Israel’s creation in 1948 should be allowed to return, along with their descendants.