A day or so ago I saw the text of an interview with someone described as one of the “moderates” in the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He mostly managed to sound fairly reasonable (with some ambiguity about the status of women), until the topic of Israel came up. There his position was clear: there should be one state encompassing Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, with the future of that state determined democratically.
In English, of course, that means that the Arab majority in that state would get to vote to drive the Jews out, just as Arabs have driven the Jews out of Syria, of Egypt, and of Iraq: all places where the Jewish population long pre-dated the arrival of the Arabs and existed continuously until the late 20th Century. (The Jewish community in Baghdad descended from th exiles brought to Babylon c. 600 B.C., or roughly thirteen centuries before the Arabs expanded from the Arabian Peninsula. Jews had been in Alexandria since Alexander’s time.)
So the “effectual truth,” as Machiavelli would say, of a democratic one-state solution is … ethnic cleansing.
Well, I said to myself, too bad. Let’s hope that the MB has less hold on the Egyptian electorate than it seemed to have as virtually the sole organized opposition to Mubarak. But we certainly can’t rule out the possibility that the current uprising will wind up delivering Egypt into the hands of a bunch of lunatic religious fanatics..
Then, a day later, I saw a story about Mike Huckabee’s latest speech, given in Israel. He said that Jews should be allowed to settle anywhere they want to in the West Bank, on the grounds that God gave them the land. If Palestinians want their own state, he says, it should be carved out of “the vast amount of territory that are in the hands of Muslims” outside Greater Israel.
In English, of course, that means that Israeli Jews get to expel Palestinian Arabs from anywhere the settlers want to squat, and that if the Arabs don’t like it they can leave.
In other words, the “effectual truth” of Huckabee’s position is … ethnic cleansing.
I have great respect for Mike Huckabee, though I disagree with him about almost anything. He’s no Sarah Palin. He’s badly educated, but as far as one can judge from a distance he’s extremely smart, maybe at the Obama level. Also like Obama, Huckabee is personally saner than the average Presidential aspirant. He has some humility, some irony, and a sense of humor, and lacks the outright meanness and delight in the suffering of others that characterize too many high-level politicians.
For all I know, that’s true of the Muslim Brotherhood guy, too. Either one might be fun to have dinner with (not, of course, the proverbial beer). But both are in the grip of religious/political ideologies that make otherwise decent people perfectly capable of advocating ethnic cleansing.
And Huckabee doesn’t have the excuse of coming from a part of the world where such things are considered normal.