Although some of the statements made in the “welcome letter” issued by the Israeli authorities addressed to the activists -who were denied entry at Ben Gurion airport are valid- it is despicable that a government would use the misery of men, women, and children in neighbouring countries to justify the suffering the government is inflicting itself on the people of Palestine.
It is absolutely true that Israel isn’t surrounded by the best of regimes – there is an absence of democracies, dictatorial rule by monarchies, women’s rights are abused in Egypt, and Syria has been ruled by a single party for more than 30 years and without a single democratic election- but claiming that Israel is the sole democracy in the region? According to what academic definition does a democratic state occupy another? According to what scholarly interpretation of democracy does Israel fall under when families are not allowed to be reunited? When generations of children continue live in the fear of Israeli bulldozers destroying their homes? Israel pointing fingers at the unfair conditions in other countries is getting old- and it is no longer fooling anyone. It cannot keep using the oppressive regimes of its neighbours – or around those further afield – as an excuse to continue the occupation.
However, there is a wider lesson to be learnt here. Something foreign policy makers around the world should consider. The Arab Spring -if it has taught us anything -is that nations need to start practicing what they preach. It only makes their plight for human rights concerns more legitimate.
So let us too stop the blame game and start addressing domestic injustices carried out by our own governments.