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Troubling Signs in These Troubling (Middle Eastern) Times

by Shmuel Rosner

August 20, 2013 | 6:23 am

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
addresses the media before his flight to Denmark
for an official visit at Esenboga Airport in Ankara
March 19. Photo by REUTERS/Umit Bektas

More signs – if you needed any – that Israel's security and stability aren't served by a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt (over to you, Peter Beinart):

As pressure mounts on Washington to cut off U.S. military aid to Egypt, Cairo has found an awkward ally in the form of AIPAC, the influential pro-Israel lobby firm that is actively pushing for continued U.S. aid to Egypt. Long considered an incentive for Cairo to maintain peaceful ties with Israel, America's $1.3 billion package in annual U.S. military assistance to Egypt has come under global criticism as Egypt's military continues its bloody crackdown against anti-government protesters with U.S.-funded tanks and tear gas. AIPAC, which was credited with helping kill an amendment to cut Egyptian aid in July, is now operating behind the scenes in private meetings with lawmakers to keep alive Cairo's funding, congressional aides from both political parties said.

More signs – if you needed any – that the Turkish government is not the best example with which to demonstrate the ability of Islamists parties to be beacons of rationality and stability:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Israel is behind the removal of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi by the Egyptian military. “Israel is behind the coup in Egypt, we have evidence,” Erdogan declared to members of his party meeting in Ankara on Tuesday, according to the Turkish Today's Zaman. Erdogan reportedly cited an unnamed French intellectual who he claims said in 2011 that the Muslim Brotherhood won’t be in power even if they are elected because “democracy is not the ballot box.” Erdogan stressed that the intellectual was Jewish, the implications of which are consistent with a long string of anti-Semitic comments and conspiracy theories issued by the Islamist Prime Minister, whose AKP party is sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.

More signs – if you needed any – that it isn't just US government policy that's troubling for Israeli policy makers. It is also American public opinion:

51% of Americans say it is better for the United States to cut off military aid to Egypt to put pressure on the government. This is nearly double the percentage (26%) saying it is better to continue military aid to the government in order to maintain influence in Egypt.

More signs – if you needed any – that geography trumps sincerity:

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appeared to backtrack on Monday from comments made late last week according to which Israel faces "bias" and "even discrimination" at the world body…. asked by a reporter at UN headquarters in New York on Monday if he believed "there was discrimination against Israel” and what he "intend[s] to do about it," he said he did not believe there was discrimination… He added: "There may be some, what I can say… the Israeli government in fact, you know, raised this issue that [there's] some bias against Israel. But Israel is one of the 193 Member States, thus Israel should have equal rights and opportunities without having any bias, any discrimination. That’s a fundamental principle of the United Nations Charter and thus Israel should be fully given such rights."

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