The Israeli daily Haaretz published an article quoting rebel spokesperson and founder of Libya’s Democratic Party Ahmad Shabani as having asked Israel to “use its influence in the international community to end the tyrannical regime of Gadhafi and his family.”
While an illegal occupation condemned by most of the world rages on and the siege on Gaza’s 1.8 million civilians continues, please tell me that this “spokesman” doesn’t really speak on behalf of the free Libyan community.
As long as Israel maintains “security” via air strikes, blocked checkpoints, apartheid walls, illegal settlement building, and discriminatory law, both in its creation and its enforcement, no country — especially a newly liberated one predicated on the ideas of equality and sovereignty — should feel compelled to legitimize Israeli policy by establishing diplomatic relations with the Israeli government.
I shouldn’t have to be saying this in the first place and I’m positive the rebels gloriously marching through Tripoli know this better than anyone else, so I’m going to assume that Ahmad Shabani is either speaking on his own behalf or already falling into the trap of abandoning his ethics for the sake of avoiding Western-backed political pressure, a trap that three recently-deposed Middle Eastern dictators fell into for decades at a time.
What makes Shabani all the more ridiculous is that his pathetic plea for help came moments after activists on the ground in Libya reported hearing chants of “We’re coming, Palestine!” from rebels as they stormed and captured Bab Al Aziziya in the Libyan capital city.
And no, I am not an “Israel hater”. I hate racism, discrimination, oppression, human rights abuses, occupation, corruption, theft, and anything minutely related to these injustices. I don’t think countries acceptably capitalized on South African relations during the Apartheid era. I don’t see countries capitalizing today on relations with North Korea, or even Iran for that matter — both of which don’t even employ nearly the same systematic violence, abuse, and intolerance that defines the core of Israel’s Zionist tenets.
There is no excuse for a rebel spokesperson to be making such demands, especially under the false pretense that he represents a Libyan community that is twenty times more conscientious than himself.
Update: I’m hearing many different interpretations of Shanabi’s request for help. Some find this to be a classic example of Israeli media exaggerating any and every attempt at normalizing relations with Israel so as to put Israeli policy in a seemingly favorable light. Others view Shanabi as a relatively unknown politician acting out for publicity’s sake. Still others find this entire situation, specifically the backlash Shanabi’s request continues to draw, to be severely premature in light of the limited media coverage. The general consensus is that this article is a flagrant attempt at sabotaging the momentum of the Libyan revolution.
Although each of the aforementioned angles of understanding is valid, it doesn’t change the fact that this plea for help was made or even considered. If Shabani accurately represents the Libyan population, normalizing ties with an Israeli government founded on the very opposite of all that the Libyan rebels aim to achieve shouldn’t be part of his political or moral agenda. The spirit of the Libyan revolution will continue to live on no matter how vocal Shanabi becomes.