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On Arab Democracy

The recent opinion piece “Uncivilized Arabs” (March 3) paints a rosy picture of democracy in the Arab world. The piece neglects to mention that the “president” of Syria is a dictator, who inherited the rule of the country upon his father’s death. In a sad statement about the status of democracy in the Arab world, “Uncivilized Arabs” offers Lebanon as the outstanding example of such democracy. Unfortunately, Lebanon has been a puppet state of Syria since 1991.

The piece also makes an attempt to defend the Arab members of the Israeli parliament. The Arab members of the Israeli parliament work closely with Yasser Arafat, a man whose PLO organization, in its written covenant, calls for the destruction of Israel. In 1997, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament attended an anti-Israel demonstration in the Gaza Strip, and gave a speech calling for the Palestinians to use “any means available” to fight Israel. Can you imagine what would happen if a member of the U.S. Congress went to an Arab state, and gave a speech calling for the use of any means available to fight the United States? That member of Congress would probably be tried for treason. It is a heroic act of democracy that Israel allows such members of its Parliament to run for office again.

Jeff Steinhauer