"This mad dog of the Middle East," as U.S. President Ronald Reagan called Muammar Gadhafi in 1986, after Libyan terrorists had bombed a Berlin discotheque frequented by American servicemen, is now shooting at his own people. This has finally aroused the concern of the UN Security Council.
That discotheque bombing was followed by the blowing up by Libyan terrorists of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988, and thereafter by the blowing up of a French airliner, UTA Flight 772, over the Sahara desert in 1989. Nevertheless, in 2008 Libya was almost unanimously elected to the UN Security Council, its representative assuming the rotating presidency. In 2010 Libya was elected a member of the UN Human Rights Council, receiving 155 votes out of a total of 192.
Throughout these years Gadhafi has regularly launched outrageous attacks against Israel, accusing it among other things of having plotted the assassination of John F. Kennedy and of being responsible for violence in Sudan. U.S. President Barack Obama's support for Israel, he insisted, stemmed from an inferiority complex over Obama's African origins.
For years, Gadhafi's Libya has been accepted as a respected member of the community of nations. He was visited in Tripoli by world leaders and feted in world capitals. The Libyan intelligence agent responsible for the Lockerbie bombing, who was convicted of murder in Britain in 2001 and sentenced to a 27-year prison sentence, was released eight years later on "compassionate grounds" and allowed to return to a royal reception in Libya.
The hypocrisy displayed by democratic countries, large and small, toward Gadhafi's Libya, now revealed in all its crudeness, is probably unequalled in the annals of modern history. It has made a laughing stock of the United Nations and the Security Council. By damaging the credibility of the United Nations and its institutions, it has seriously damaged the ability of the world's powers to utilize the UN in the management of international affairs.
The attitude toward Israel by the United Nations and many of the world's governments, the constant criticism of Israel's policies, and the threats of condemnation and sanctions represent another example of hypocrisy running wild. Rubbing shoulders with the worst of dictators while castigating democratic Israel has become the fashion. The latest motion in the Security Council to condemn Israeli settlement activity in Judea and Samaria, a motion that was vetoed by the United States, was supported by none other than the Lebanese representative, a council member in good standing, even though that country is today run by Hezbollah, a terrorist organization responsible for the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who threatens Israel with tens of thousands of rockets that he amassed with Iranian and Syrian help, deserves a place of honor next to Gadhafi. It is, in effect, his representative who now occupies a seat in the UN Security Council. It is high time to end the hypocrisy that pervades the corridors of the UN building in New York. That is the responsibility of the democratic members of the United Nations.
The hypocritically benevolent attitude taken by the world's leaders toward Gadhafi and other Arab dictators over the years has evidently not convinced the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain to continue to suffer under their dictatorial rule. They have had enough of these leaders, enough of oppression, corruption, poverty and squalor. That realization did not penetrate the minds of Israel's Arab Knesset members, who recently traveled to Libya to pay homage to the crazed Libyan leader. It is not possible that that visit represents the feeling of the majority of Israel's Arab citizens.
The good news is that in the demonstrations in Arab capitals there is only the occasional anti-Israel placard. The rage of the demonstrators in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya seems to be directed against their oppressors and the injustices they have suffered at their hands, and this time not against Israel. We in Israel can only hope that this Arab revolution won't be hijacked by Islamic fanatics, and that in time Israel will find itself living in a democratic neighborhood.
The Franco-Moroccan actress Rachida Khalil recently declared on a radio program in Morocco that she "dreams of seeing a democratic secular Arab country." If that is also the dream of the majority of the demonstrators, this is not only good news for the Arab world, but also for Israel.