On the Horizon: “Frenchman, Go Home!”
Ten years ago, in Syria and Lebanon, Arab nationalists used to say to British officers and officials: “Get rid of the French for us and you will earn our eternal gratitude. Once they are gone it will be you who will hold the privileged position here. . . .” Shortly afterwards, of course, it was: “Liquidate this Zionist problem for us and there will be no more friction or misunderstanding. . . .”
And now it is the Americans—officials, oilmen, teachers, and others—who are being subjected to the familiar treatment: “The only cause of friction between us is Israel. Remove Israel and we will love you forever.” It is a heady and flattering refrain that seeps in most insidiously when the victim is most relaxed—over cocktails or arak and mezze or dinner on a balcony overlooking a moonlit Mediterranean—and it seems to be taking a heavy toll. Decisions to give what will apparently be—by Near Eastern standards—substantial American military aid to Saudi Arabia and Iraq, despite the violent and repetitive efforts of these states’ leaders to pour fuel onto the flames of Arab hostility to Israel, are symptomatic. So are the numerous anti-Israel innuendos in the Arabic handouts of the U.S. Information Service in the Arab capitals, and American subsidies to violently anti-Jewish Arabic dailies (in return for occasional ephemeral “anti-Communist” editorials which their readers know are paid for and which are sometimes even composed in a style that proclaims the writer had his tongue in his cheek).
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