Israelis had to flee their embassy in Cairo this weekend:
With its Cairo embassy ransacked, its ambassador to Turkey expelled and the Palestinians seeking statehood recognition at the United Nations, Israel found itself on Saturday increasingly isolated and grappling with a radically transformed Middle East where it believes its options are limited and poor.
The diplomatic crisis, in which winds unleashed by the Arab Spring are now casting a chill over the region, was crystallized by the scene of Israeli military jets sweeping into Cairo at dawn on Saturday to evacuate diplomats after the Israeli Embassy had been besieged by thousands of protesters.
It was an image that reminded some Israelis of Iran in 1979, when Israel evacuated its embassy in Tehran after the revolution there replaced an ally with an implacable foe.
It’s one thing to pine for freedom for the Middle East, but quite another to witness what some do with it. In the past, such uprisings could be blamed on the local dictator, as Middle Eastern strongmen tend to stir up hatred for Israel to distract the people from their own brutalities and failures. But in Egypt, the dictator is gone. The hate may be self-sustaining.
And although some Israelis pointed fingers at Islamicization as the cause of the violence, Egyptians noted Saturday that Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, distanced themselves from Friday’s protests and did not attend, while legions of secular-minded soccer fans were at the forefront of the embassy attacks.
Step out of the soccer stadium, try to kill some Jews. Why should the Muslim Brotherhood get openly involved when they obviously don’t need to?
The Iranian regime hasn’t missed the parallel between the Arab Spring and the events of 1979.
Commander of Iran’s Basij (volunteer) force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi lauded the Egyptian people for their attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, and said the move resembles a similar raid by a number of Iranian students on the US embassy in Tehran in the early days after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
“This exceptional movement of the people in Cairo was inspired by Aban 13 (November 4) epic (the takeover of the former US embassy in Tehran in 1979) and is a reminder of the revolutionary zeal of the Islamic Iran’s students who courageously squashed the empty awe of the world arrogance,” Naqdi said on Saturday.