Pundit Press is proud to present interview number 38 in our ongoing interview series. Today we're interviewing Elder of Ziyon, one of the most prominent pro-Israel sites on the net. Make sure to check out the site if you don't already have it bookmarked.
1. When and why did you start Elder of Ziyon?
I started the blog in August 2004. At the time I was active in Yahoo discussion boards and spent a lot of time arguing with anti-Israel fanatics. I was frustrated when I wrote what I thought was a well-reasoned argument, only to see it disappear in the noise of the message boards. So I decided that a blog would be a better venue for me to write and publicize the Zionist side of the conflict.
2. What is the best part of running your site?
The best part of EoZ is the wonderful feedback I get from my readers. They keep me honest and they also often find me new topics to post on or links to check out. It is humbling that my site attracts such high-caliber fans.
3. Do you see anti-Semitism rising in the Western world in the near past/near future?
Unfortunately, anti-semitism is definitely on the rise in the West. It has morphed, however, from Nazi-style anti-semitism, which is still regarded as abhorrent, to the more socially acceptable substitute of anti-Zionism for traditional anti-semitism. The visceral hate for the Jewish state is endemic and growing, no matter what Israel does.
One difference between classic anti-semitism and the modern variant is the motivation. In the past, people blamed the Jews for their problems as individuals; now they blame the world's problems on Israel. This is in no small part due to the fact that the Arab nations have used the issue to avoid solving their own problems. The West, especially those in the "realpolitik" crowd, see a choice - have good relations with a huge and growing Arab world, which incidentally has lots of oil, or stay allied with a tiny Jewish country that is hated by her neighbors. Moreover, if the West sides with Israel publicly, we are under the veiled threat of terrorism. Between oil on one side and the fear of terror on the other, European nations have reasons to consider abandoning the one island of stability and democracy in the Middle East - and they have had decades to come up with excuses to justify this position.
4. Do you believe that the 'Arab Spring' will lead to semi-democratic, peaceful countries in the Mideast?
I am not optimistic about the "Arab Spring." True freedom takes time to nurture and grow, and it also takes time to for nations to build truly democratic institutions. Right now, the Islamists are the best organized non-governmental forces in the region, and the fear is that any election will be the last. Over the long term, it is possible that true freedom can win, but right now things are looking bleak.
5. How would you rate President Obama's policies regarding Israel? How is he regarded by the average Israeli?
President Obama's major problem, to Israelis and other Zionists, is that he doesn't really "get it." Unlike GWB and Clinton, he doesn't have any real feelings for Israel in his heart; to him the entire region is purely politics. Keep in mind that both Clinton and Bush asked Israeli leaders to offer very significant concessions - and Israel responded positively, both at Camp David and in 2008. The reason is that Israel trusted the White House to keep her interests at heart and, knowing that they had true friends in Washington, they were willing - naively, in my opinion - to offer very generous terms for peace. Israelis do not get the same warm and fuzzy feeling from Obama; quite the opposite.
Obama's Arab Spring speech actually has some very positive messages in it, once you took out the "1967 lines" part. But at this point, it is too late. Obama thinks that he can buy Israelis' loyalty and friendship with increasing funding for projects like anti-missile defense but the only way to gain friendship is to act like a real friend - to empathize with Israeli fears and to work together to ameliorate them That is not going to happen.
6. Will Egypt either place the Brotherhood in power or renounce its peace treaty with Israel?
I don't think that the Muslim Brotherhood will be in power in Egypt, but the fear is that it will gain a Hezbollah-type stranglehold on Egyptian politics - just powerful enough to have veto power over any real chance of democratization. The wild card is the army and so far they have not been acting irresponsibly, which is a great relief. I don't think that the peace treaty will be abandoned any time soon but there will be great political pressure to chip away at it.