June 03, 2002
Bread and Circuses

This just in from Malaysia:
Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi speaking at a conference said: "The anger and grievances which breed movements like the al Qaeda have grown in the aftermath of September 11. The issue which most angers Arabs and Muslims is the Palestinian issue." He added that perceived injustices committed by Israel and foreign support for the Jewish state fed this anger.

Why should the Malaysians have such passionate grievances about Israel that they should want to commit terrorism? Kuala Lumpur is 4,730 miles from Jerusalem, which is just about as far away as Washington, DC is from Timbuktu.
There are hardly any Jews in Malaysia, let alone a Zionist occupation force. I'd bet that fewer than 1 Malaysian in 100 has ever even met a Jew. The Malays are Moslem, but not Arabs. What conceivable impact does Israel have on the daily life of anybody in Malaysia?
The answer, of course, is: none whatsoever. The Middle East conflict has no more than symbolic importance. But it is a symbol that is probably useful to a long-reigning autocrat who needs to divert his peoples attention from the actual problems in his country.

Does it really matter if a despot in a far away corner of the world uses Israel and the Jews to give his people Bread and Circuses? It does when he contributes to a climate under which his country becomes a favorite meeting place for Al Qaeda terrorists

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at June 03, 2002 11:36 PM
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