29 thoughts on “Cut Off U.S. Aid to Egypt–Now! – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. One of your most astute pieces, Richard. Even the obvious sometimes needs telling and retelling as we witness from afar the maneuverings of a dying dictatorship: vicious thugs bussed in to intimidate and provoke peaceful and incredibly courageous anti-government demonstrators; attacks on the messengers providing direct witness; a military restrained from countering the violent thugs. As to that pompous con of the sainted New York Times, Tom Friedman, a pity really to have to mention him, but perhaps it must be pointed out just how naked this emperor of the press truly is.

  2. Richard,
    I think that both you and Obama are following your values, and ignoring the reality.
    1. In Egypt there are 40 million people (about 50% of the Egyptian population) who live far below the poverty line.
    2. These people live in favelas in horrible conditions with no sanitation no running water no medical treatment etc.
    3. The organization that provides them with all these services, from water to medical treatment by women for women (for example) is the Muslim Brotherhood. You need to understand that the Hamas, including its charity organizations is a copycat of the Muslim brotherhood. What you see in Gaza (the way Hamas operates) is what’s happening in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood.
    4. According the Egyptian Law no party can have a religious base, only an ideological one, which is a huge contradiction to the Egyptian constitution, which states that Egypt is a religious state.
    5. During the last elections, Muslim Brotherhood representatives run as singles, considering the huge numbers of Egyptians who live in poverty and are depended on the Muslim Brotherhood to fulfill they daily needs, one would expect that the Brotherhood representatives will get at least 50% of the seats, instead their numbers were decreased from 8 to 1. Why? It’s safely to assume that someone (anyone says Mubarak) manipulated the results of the last elections.
    6. Iran for the most part is a very secular state with about 85% of the Iranians secular and 15% of religious mullahs who were able to gain control (with the help of the US) over its population, in Egypt it was the 15% secular elite who was able to oppress the 85% religious population.
    7. In real free elections the Muslim Brotherhood will gain control over Egypt, no doubt about it, why? Because of their role with the Egyptians daily life.

    After we established that the only question is would a Muslim brotherhood controlled Egypt would be good for world peace or not.

    Personally, I think that American’s action in Egypt should have been nothing. Nothing had changed in Egypt over the last 30 years, and nothing will change for another 100 at least. The problems this country is facing are huge.
    One of the issues it’s facing is food. Egypt does not produce enough wheat for its own needs. Without US aid people will simply starve to death, as Egypt cannot provide for its own people.

    The world attention is set at Egypt for one reason only, 7.5% of the world’s daily trade is conducted via the Suez Canal.
    Obama’s action will bring war to the region; I think that within a very short period NATO (mainly USA) will take over the Suez Canal to ensure the freedom of passage in the canal.
    I think that in the long run Iranian and Saudi money will buy the US interest out of Egypt, and that is the real threat to the region to the west, and to peace with Israel.

    In short just like in 1979, when America helped the revolution in Iran and 30 years later will have to act militarily to regain its control , it is doing the same now with Egypt. Obama will be remembered as second only to Carter, and much like him would be a one term president.

    1. Hamas is not a “copycat” of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, they are quite diff. It IS true that Hamas’ ideology is inspired by the Brotherhood, but other than that they are quite independent & not all copycats. This is a “line” suggested by Israeli politicians & intelligence officials seeking to spook the world about the evils of Islamism.

      You have no idea how many seats the Brotherhood would get in a free election. Your claim of 50% of made up out of whole cloth. But even if it were correct there is absolutely no reason to believe the Brotherhood once in the political system to behave in any way different from Erdogan’s Islamist party in Turkey. As for Hamas’ example, Egypt’s problems are entirely diff. than those of Gaza & the agenda of the Brotherhood in Egypt, if they wish to be a successful party, will have to respond to Egypt’s circumstances & not Gaza’s. Ideology or theocracy will not win an Egyptian party votes. Delivering jobs & services will.

      And unlike Hamas in Gaza, Egypt has a long history of secular political parties & leadership. So there will be a lively spirited debate among the parties as to the right direction for Egypt to go. If Algeria had done something similar they might have a stable political system not run by military flunkies & wouldn’t have killed tens of thousands of their citizens.

      Yr characterization of Iran is quite simplistic. To say that 85% of Iranians are secular is simply another figure conjured fr. thin air. Yes there has been a strong secular culture in Iran. But far more than 15% are observant Muslims and if you count those who arent’ devout but who feel it is important to acknowledge Islam in their political system, the number is even higher. You forget that 1979 was a popular people’s revolution. Yes, the revolution later turned against the more secular supporters. But the ayatollahs in no way, at least initially, imposed themselves on the people. Eventually, the Green Movement or something like it will reform Iran’s government and I believe a more moderate system something akin to Turkey’s will prevail in Iran as well.

      In real free elections the Muslim Brotherhood will gain control over Egypt

      You’re not qualified to make that judgment. In fact, observers in Egypt & others far more knowledgable than you about Egyptian society have marveled at how little role the Brotherhood has played and are confident that in free & fair elections there would be a lively interplay among various movements, some secular some not. You have absolutely no way of knowing what will happen & merely claiming something will happen completely lacks any credibility whatsoever. Just because you read something in Maariv or Yisrael HaYom or hear some Israeli intelligence official say this nonsense doesn’t mean it will happen. It means that this is the underlying prejudice that Israelis have, their fear of what will happen. Not reality. And of course, Israelis like yrself are completely divorced fr. the reality of yr own society being so radicalized and theocratized & driven into the arms of settlerist hotheads in a way not dissimilar fr. what has happened in many countries whose populations have turned to Islamism.

      nothing will change for another 100 at least.

      THIngs are changing radically as we speak & every serious analyst & observer marvels at what is happening there. Yet you who know comparatively little about Egypt, aren’t there, you claim to know what will happen to Egypt over the next 100 yrs. You’d do a lot better to sit back & read & listen to those who know far more before speaking or writing.

      If you read carefully I advocated cutting off military aid, not all aid & especially not aid for the Egyptian poor.

      The world’s attention is focussed on Egypt for many reasons, only one of which is the Suez canal. Egypt is one of the most populous countries in the Arab world. It has one of the richest historical legacies as well. It has a very large military and has always set trends in the Arab world. Not to mention that it is a central front line state in the Israeli Arab conflict. Once again, you’ve dumbed down Middle Eastern reality to suit yr own needs.

      Obama’s action will bring war to the region

      Now you’re drifting off into cloud cuckoo land…

      NATO (mainly USA) will take over the Suez Canal to ensure the freedom of passage in the canal.

      1956 Suez war, plus ca change. So you want to try once again to wrest control of the canal fr Egypt. Didn’t work too well for you when you tried it then. You know this is the definition of insanity–when you try something after it’s failed assuming it will succeed the next time.

      in 1979, when America helped the revolution in Iran

      Say what? We “helped” the revolution? How so? By providing aid to the Shah & training the SAVAK? Or are you referring to the fact that we saved the Shah’s life by flying him out of the country? Should we have tried another military coup like the one that worked so well in 1953?? Yr presumptuousness knows no bounds.

      Obama will be remembered as second only to Carter, and much like him would be a one term president.

      Israelis just like you swore John McCain would win the last election. I warned them they were wrong. But they figured they knew American politics better than me or the American people. Obama will probably win a 2nd term & prob. easily. Not only is he a formidable candidate, the Republicans have absolutely no candidate who comes anywhere close to resonating with the American people. Who? Mike Huckabee? Sarah Palin? GImme a break. And I say this as someone who is very critical of Obama and disagrees w. him as much or more as I agree. But you’re simply hopelessly ill informed w. the emphasis on “hopeless.”

      1. 1. Spare me the big words, and let’s stick to the facts! Would you be able to state in what way the Hamas differs from the Muslim Brotherhood? Same dependency on the infrastructure for an Islamic social-welfare system (Dawah) as a way to gain political strength, same believes, same rhetoric. Hassan al-Banna was the one who birthed the credo “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” This credo wasn’t change to date, and is very similar to Hamas Covenant.
        2. My assumption that the Ikhwan will retain 50% of the political power in Egypt is based and the estimated number of people the reach out to, and the number of people they help on a daily basis. Your hope that the Brotherhood would concentrate on inner Egyptian issues is very naïve, because no one would be able to solve Egypt issues in the near future (10 years at least). When the brotherhood will fail in doing so, and will face losing their political power, they will blame everything on Israel.
        3. Your assessment on Iran is based on what? wishful thinking ?
        4. Your naiveté is frightening. The Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t need to lead the protests, all they need to do is to sit tight and wait. When elections will be declared they will put their Dawah infrastructure to work, and through it will regain power. It’s their best interest at the moment to stay behind the scene. I wish I would share the same narrow color spectrum you have, either black or white. Your view of issues is extremely simplistic.
        5. You have no idea what you are talking about when you state that the ayatollah’s didn’t impose themselves on the people right away, the Shah left Iran in Jan 1979, in June 1979 less than six month later the ayatollah created It included a Guardian Council and gave them the power to veto any unIslamic legislation, I would say it’s pretty dam fast.
        6. World attention is focused on Egypt just for one reason and that is the seuz canal. They don’t care about any of the reasons you stated. No one cared when millions were massacred in Darfur, and no one will care about Egypt if it didn’t have the ability to raise your fuel prices to the roof.
        7. Yes the USA helped the revolution, in the sense that very similar to what’s happening today in Egypt the human rights knights in the USA were celebrating the victory of the people, and the US didn’t stand by their allay who was described by president Jimmy carter during his visit to Tehran: an island of stability” in the troubled Middle East. One of the most famous articles supporting the ayatollah stating he was surrounded by moderates with an impressive record for being Human Rights activist was written by Richard A Falk and published in the NY times in Feb 1979. You should really do some reading and compare.
        8. We will be speaking of my prediction of the next elections after they will be concluded; my $50 bet offer is still on the table.

    1. The link you provided doesn’t work, neither does the google cache version of the document
      can you find another link ?

      1. I’ve just tried the link, and it works perfectly well where I live, so maybe it’s a geographical problem ? Though that’s mostly with videos.
        Try the http://english.aljazeera.net
        The title of the article is “Jewish prayers for Egypt’s uprising”, written by Michael Lerner of Tikun. It’s available on the front page on the right side under “What’s hot”.

        And there’s an interesting article on the possiblitities of a coming uprising in Syria, too.

        1. Indeed, Rabbi Lerner’s is a warm and interesting statement from a decent human being. Thanks for the link, which, by the way, failed to work for me at 2 am EST, then by 9 am was fine. Go figure!

  3. Whatever the Israeli and Palestinian reactions to current events prove to be, it’s no good just hunkering down and hoping that the tide of history will simply roll by, leaving them unmoved, untouched by its passage..
    But one question, as always, needs to be asked – and answered. Do Israeli and Palestinian societies still retain the capacity for change? Or have they been channeled for so long down the path of confrontation, distrust and violence that no other route lies open to them?

    At it looks now, the Middle East is poised at a very defining moment, a crossroads in its history. Which way will things go?
    Can genuine democratic rule finally emerge from years of autocratic dictatorship? Or is a relapse to be expected, something far worse than before, a new dark age that sees no future other than the same continuity with the past, a falling back on old verities and even older methods of remedy?

    Well, now may be the time for a new direction to be taken, a harnessing of a desire and a willingness to change, to adapt to new techniques and to seize the moment before it passes completely beyond our reach.

    All societies change. Not to do so is to die, to wither on the vine. Without change, there is no progress and without progress there can be no validation of any people’s right to stay just as they are. That has been the case throughout all of human experience and for any of us to advance further, it must remain so.

    But can humanity rise to the occasion or are we to muddle through in the same old fashion; let’s not get involved, it’s someone else’s problem, let them sort it out, why should we care?

    More than six decades have passed and, if no long-term solution can be sourced over such a span of years, what then is there left that hasn’t already been done?

  4. It’ time for the U.S. to stop all aid in the Billions of dollars to all Middle East countries…including Egypt and Israel..let them settle their problems, and let the U.S. get busy to drill the oil we have…thus cutting out a great portion of our national debts…

    We don’t need to import, but to build up our industrial section for more employment…

    Keeping out of other country’s internal affairs will strengthen our own image..

  5. from

    Egypt: Bloodshed and civil war. We call world leaders to announce, tonight, the freezing of the regime’s bank accounts.

    Cairo, February 3rd 2011. Today horror in Egypt has tremendously escalated and has reached the levels of the unspeakable. Journalists are beaten up, lawyers, activists and protesters are arrested. Mubarak’s thugs control all accesses to Tahrir Place and bridges. They terrorize, aggress and snipers are, now at 9 PM, shooting at peaceful protestors on Tahrir Square with live ammunition. On a national scale, plain clothe policemen and thugs are beating, molesting and killing civilians.

    Tonight and tomorrow will be a blood bath. There will be thousands of deaths. Tomorrow, millions of Egyptians are expected to leave their homes for a peaceful demonstration in direction of Tahrir Square. The blood bath is already unfolding before our eyes.

    At 8.45 PM local time, no TV cameras seem to have access to Tahrir Square.

    We call on all those of you who have access to key global players to mobilize so that announcements may be made this evening that if Mubarak does not put an immediate end to this horror, his bank accounts and those of his regime will be frozen.

    No other steps or sanctions are likely to save the Egyptian population and its visitors who are among us.

    Thank you.

  6. The Egyptian protestors may not have the patience to wait for President Mubarak to resign in September. Things have been allowed to slide for too long and the current intransigence of the government may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. To mitigate the violence a government of national unity is required. The people must start to feel engaged in the process of government. I am sure the vast majority of Egyptians are fair minded and seek peace and good relations with all nations, including Israel. The Western leaders including Bibi must attempt to trust the people of Egypt. Managing affairs from on high is dangerous when the people resent the ivory tower. A more interconnected, dynamic, grounded Middle East is required. The relationship between the Holy Land and the Land of the Pharaohs is crucial to the mix.

    Politics is the art of the possible. Surveying the landscape what is before us ? Great chaos, flux, fear and change all throughout the Middle East. The threat of a downward spiralling vortex, almost like a land subsidence or spiritual sinkhole. No real leader present in Egypt. The other national leaders nervous but hanging on, treading water and managing to mitigate the anger by holding snap elections etc. Temporarily distracting the masses. Plugging the dyke. How about a meeting in Jerusalem with various representatives from Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt with other nations present ? A peace treaty could be negotiated. Various GDP’s in the region…Israel US$292.7 billion; Jordan $31.01 B; Syria $96.53 B; Lebanon $53.81 B; Gaza $4 B; Saudi Arabia $600.4 B; Egypt $452.5 Billion. The total GDP of these eight areas is approx. $1.5 Trillion. This can increase by at least 4% per annum over the coming years if trust and co-operation increases. The vacuum needs to be filled. Ganeden needs an HQ. A good CEO is required. How many Jews actually believe in the Twelfth Article of Faith ? It doesn’t really matter. As a wise sage once said “It doesn’t matter what you think we will all know the truth and what is correct in the end.” G-d has a plan. He will not be denied…

    1. G-d has a plan. He will not be denied…

      You had me until the end & then I noted that your e mail contains “moshiach productions.” Nuff said. Whether you’re with Chabad or Jews for Jesus I’m partial to neither. So watch yr step.

      1. I’m not “with” Chabad or Jews for Jesus. I have friends and contacts across many religious spectrums. I am an expert on comparative belief systems. World Peace 2050 was established in April 2000 after five years of extraordinary life experiences. There is a G-d and he does intervene in the affairs of humankind.

        1. You run a members only website and your e mail address includes the phrase “moshiach productions” & yet you claim you’re not involved with a cult. Please, spare me. And stop spewing religious doctrine here or you won’t be here. One of my comment rules is to stay on-topic. If you can’t, then don’t (comment, that is).

    2. I rather think God intends for us to come up with a plan. And, given the situation and all the time we’ve had to mull things over, it had better turn out to be a damn good one.

      Otherwise, what is the point?

      1. G-d always makes sure there are a few tzaddiks left down here on terra firma, even like in the days of Noah they are on their Pat Malone, to hold the very fabric of the universe together. The geometries of consciousness are swirling all throughout the world right now. This time was prophesied to occur. The prophets glimpsed pieces of the divine jigsaw puzzle. Jerusalem is the epicentre. The universe is stable, ordered, benevolent and expansive even if the minds of many bear witness to the opposite.

        1. The universe is stable, ordered, benevolent and expansive even if the minds of many bear witness to the opposite.

          I wish you’d take a few of those tzadikim & go start your own blog leaving this one to people a bit more sentient & in touch w. reality than you. Read the comment rules before you publish another comment here & STAY ON TOPIC.

  7. It is these days exactly twenty five years ago that what the Filipinos regard as the prototype of People Power revolutions took place in Manila: EDSA 1 (there were a few more to follow). In February 1986 Marcos organised, under pressure from Washington, a snap election that was so blatantly fraudulent that still that same month people came out on to the streets in massive numbers. Marcos was, after the army partly deserted him, finally whisked away in American aircraft.

    Can we hope for a repeat? There are rumours along that line but the differences are massive. Firstly Marcos was already a very sick man when he tried to make his last stand. Moreover, in his ‘hour of need’ he was deserted by senior army figures. Mubarak, by contrast, still seems to be a tough old boot and there is no sign yet that (parts of) the military will openly turn against him. Also American interference there was less controversial, both in the Philippines and the US. There was politically far less at stake for the US. Etc.

    Yet one keeps hoping even though the outcome of the story in the Philippines was not exactly a happy one. The worst excesses of Marcos’ martial law era disappeared but patronage politics, crony capitalism, widespread corruption and poverty and the slaughter of political activists (as under the recent scandalous Arroyo administration) remained.

  8. Two reasons for President Obama to push Mubarak out:

    1. Ethics: Why should the US continue to back a torturing despotism.

    2. Self-interest: The US needs to be close to whatever Egyptian government results from the pro-democracy movement. Since The US is the only country with influence — we own the keys to Egyptian (and Israeli) military gadgets — we can talk with the Egyptiam military.

    1. From AlJazeera, which has had the most accurate and in-depth reporting on Egypt:

      Frank Wisner, who has acted as an envoy for Barack Obama, the US president, by carrying a message to Mubarak, has said the Egyptian president “must stay in office to steer” a process of gathering “national consensus around the preconditions” for the way forward.

      PJ Crowley, the US state department’s spokesman, has said, however, that Wisner was speaking as a private citizen, and that his views did not represent those of the US government.

      “The views he expressed today are his own. He did not coordinate his comments with the US government,” Crowley said.

      Obama administration officials welcomed the resignation of Gamal Mubarak, terming it a “positive” move.


      US policy seems clear enough: Mubarak’s regime must be pushed out, slowly and carefully.

      1. John, could you forward me the Mr. Wisner schedule ?
        apparently between 2 – 4 PM daily, he speaks as a private citizen and the rest of the time he speaks as a US special envoy.

        does PJ Crowley, really expect the rest of the world to buy is BS statements ?

    2. I’d say you have a idiots a lot more clueless running yr gov’t. I’ll take the ones running ours over the ones running yours any day.

      But you’re right. Obama’s policy today is clueless. He’s now willing to shift fr. overthrowing Mubarak to living with him. I think it’s a cave & I don’t like it. Wisner prob. wandered off the reservation a bit, but I have no doubt that he expresses the true waffling nature of U.S. policy & it disgusts me. But like Seattle rainy weather, wait 5 minutes & the policy may change.

      BTW, it seems to me you have a few even higher level officials like Avigdor Lieberman who often range far off the reservation politically.

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