The Corner

Baradei’s Promise to Declare War on Israel

Mario, how could you say the execrable Mohammed El Baradei is “obviously playing to public opinion” by threatening war against Israel. I thought we’d been told that there is a blossoming Arab spring of freedom and democracy, spearheaded by liberty lovers who — to borrow Condi Rice’s words — just want to live side-by-side in peace with their Israeli neighbors. There wasn’t the slightest cause for hesitation about getting rid of that thug Mubarak — the anti-terrorist pro-American dictator who kept the peace with Israel for 30 years even though Egyptians had killed his predecessor for agreeing to that peace. Remember? It was time for Mubarak to go. And after all, the likely new rulers were the “largely secular,” “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood, and Iran-friendly leftists like Baradei who are even more progressive than the Brothers if that’s possible.

What could go wrong — they’re gonna be a democracy, right? And if a substantial majority of Egyptians denies Israel’s right to exist, why shouldn’t they be able to enact that policy democratically? Don’t our values require that we support them in their quest to chart their own destiny?

Stanley notes that Baradei broke with the Muslim Brotherhood over the election, choosing instead to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those throngs of progressive Egyptian democracy lovers — who are so numerous they were wiped out, 7723 percent, by that teeny-tiny fringe of Egyptians who prefer fundamentalist Islam. I would add though (as Ray Ibrahim has observed) that Baradei’s break with the Brotherhood came only after he enthusiastically agreed with the Brotherhood’s position that Article 2 of the Egyptian constitution had to be preserved. That’s the provision that establishes Islam as the state religion and installs sharia law as “the principal source of legislation.” Talk about playing to public opinion: That’s a position an Egyptian democrat has to take not only to be viable for electoral purposes but to be viable as in stay alive.

But, hey, spring is in the air.

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