Arab-American Executive Lee Habeeb: Arab Like Me Arab Like Me - Lee Habeeb - National Review Online An Arab American friend of mine who works for a large NGO is a case in point. He is Jordanian, he’s well educated, and he speaks five languages. But mention the word Israel, and watch his blood boil immediately. He will go into a lengthy diatribe about the injustices perpetrated against the Palestinians by Israel. When Prime Minister Netanyahu’s name is mentioned, I worry that he will have a seizure on the spot. Why is this? Why is all of his passion, all of his anger and rage, directed at this one country, this one people? Why is it not directed at Syria, I ask him? By all accounts, the Syrian government orchestrated the assassination of one of the Arab world’s great men of peace, former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri. And President Assad continues to terrorize his own people. Why not at Hezbollah, which orchestrated the takeover of Lebanon? Why not at Hosni Mubarak when he was in power? Or Saddam Hussein? Why not at the ways in which Islam degrades women in the Middle East, trapping them in a life of servitude? Why not at the ways some Muslims are persecuting Christians throughout the Middle East, as reports pour in about atrocities upon atrocities? Why not a critique of the Koran itself, which regrettably finds little separation between mosque and state, thus relegating the majority of Arabs to life under theocratic regimes? Two reasons: fear, and envy. To the dismay of Arabs around the world, Jewish people turned an ancient piece of real estate in the Middle East into a thriving oasis of intellectual, political, religious, and commercial activity, where people are free to do as they please. One of the oldest places on earth — a place where Abraham walked — Israel is as thoroughly modern as any place on earth, with a functioning government that respects religious and economic freedom. A young person in Israel can choose to work in some of the best high-tech companies in the world, or can pursue a life dedicated to Talmudic studies. A woman has an equal right to pursue any career she likes, and people of different sexual orientations are not driven underground — or worse. The fact is, the God-given talents of the people of Israel are allowed to flourish in ways Arabs should want to emulate, and replicate. Despising Israel the way Israel is despised in much of the Arab world is all about anti-Semitism. And most anti-Semitism anywhere in the world has its origins in envy. Benjamin Netanyahu once gave a speech in which he pointed at a map of the Middle East. He rattled off many of the countries in the region, and the relative size of those nations to Israel. Jordan is four times the size of Israel, Iraq 20, Egypt 46; Saudi Arabia is nearly 90 times the size of Israel. “Big countries,” he said. “But small accomplishments.” He then went on to describe Israel, which is just slightly bigger than one of America’s smallest states, New Jersey. “Little country,” he concluded. “But big accomplishments.” And there you have it, in one perfectly formulated binary. Maybe, over time, Arabs will build governments worthy of their people, as Israel and America have done. Maybe, Arabs will come to see Jews not as their enemies, but as their neighbors, and as their trading partners. And maybe, just maybe, as their friends. Here is one Arab praying that will happen.