Recognizing Israel has little support in the world, Arabs and Muslims who back the Jewish state are developing a new website, ArabsforIsrael.com.
Its developer, Middle East-born author Nonie Darwish, says “now is the right time for Arabs and Muslims who believe in and support Israel to do so.”
In its statement of principles, Arabs for Israel says it can support the Jewish state and religion “and still treasure our Arab and Islamic culture.”
“There are many Jews and Israelis who freely express compassion and support for the Palestinians,” the website says. “It is time that we Arabs express reciprocal compassion and support.”
The group says Israel “is a legitimate state that is not a threat but an asset in the Middle East.”
Palestinians cannot move forward, Arabs for Israel says, because “of their leadership, the Arab League and surrounding Arab and Muslim countries who do not want to see Palestinians live in harmony with Israel.”
“If Palestinians want democracy they can start practicing it now,” the group says. “We stand firmly against suicide/homicide terrorism as a form of Jihad.”
Emphasizing it is not anti-Islam, anti-Arab, confrontational or hateful, the group says, “We cherish and acknowledge the beauty and contributions of the Middle East culture, but recognize that the Arab/Muslim world is in desperate need of constructive self-criticism and reform.”
Darwish says last November she spoke at a lecture series at Carnegie Mellon University called “Arabs for Israel,” sponsored by the Young Zionist Organization of America.
In a lecture entitled “An Egyptian’s Journey from Anti-Semitism and Ethnocentrism to Understanding and Support for Israel,” Darwish told of her childhood in Gaza in the 1950s where she witnessed rising terrorism against Israel.
Darwish said she had to overcome years of indoctrination into hate and anti-Semitism.
After her lecture, she said, an Egyptian student objected to her calling the suicide mass murder of Israelis inside Israel by Palestinians “terrorism.”
“I told her there is no other name for it, and that there is nothing honorable about it,” Darwish said. “Terror is the behavior of desperate people and Arabs are not and should not act desperate.”
She advised another Muslim student, dressed in Islamic attire, “to put aside the baggage we all came to the U.S. with and get to know a Jewish student as a human being and fellow student.”
“I commented that this is an educational institution in the free world and this is their chance to learn about issues that are taboo in Arab culture,” Darwish said.
Reaction to the speech was mixed, she said, but she discovered “many Arab students needed to hear a different message from a person of Arab origin who supports Israel.”
“I believe that many went home with something new to think about,” Darwish said. “Yes, it is OK to be Muslim and Arab and support Israel.”