Sunday, June 06, 2004

Azmi Bishara at BGU

I just saw an interesting lecture by Arab Knesset Member Azmi Bishara at the university. He's one of the more extreme anti-Zionist Arab members of the Knesset, so I am naturally disposed to disagree with everything he says. He wasn't talking about Israel this time, however, his topic was democracy in the Arab world. He is given to demagoguery, so we got the usual rigamarole about American imperialism and the neo-con conspiracy, etc. However, he's also a very smart guy, so he did manage to say some interesting things in between bloviations. Among them, he raised this question: if democracy does come on the backs of American tanks, can I accept that? His answer, interestingly enough, seemed to be yes. This leads me to think that a lot of Arab intellectuals may never give up their anti-Americanism, but they may be able to accept the legitimacy of Iraqi democracy nonetheless. I actually came away from the lecture more hopeful than I was before.


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