Israel, the only country standing in the way of the Mideast descending into total chaos
Across the Arab world, dictators denounce Israel as a way of diverting the masses from their miserable condition. Surprisingly, this devious strategy works as well in 2016 as it did in the 1950s. And it fools educated Westerners as easily as it tricks starving Arabs.
“There is a huge campaign to terrorize the Palestinians,” Mudar Zahran says. “As long as the Palestinians fight with the Israelis, no one will turn around and look at what the Arabs are doing to one another.” He believes the Palestinian cause is a necessity for Arab regimes, the cornerstone of their propaganda.
But who is Mudar Zahran to make that argument? He’s a rare character in the Middle East — a sharp critic of standard beliefs. He’s an Arab Palestinian-Jordanian, age 42, who directs the Jordanian Opposition Coalition (JOC) from exile in Britain.
His well-to-do parents were born in Jerusalem and later moved to Jordan. They sent him to the U.S. to study and he came home with two MAs from the University of Southern New Hampshire. In the Jordanian capital of Amman, he worked in policy jobs for the embassy of Australia and then for the U.S. embassy. Those positions helped him become a confident and articulate journalist. In the process, they turned him into a politician with an unusual agenda.
He’s a Muslim who believes in secular government and Western-style civil rights. He does not believe in the Hashemite Kingdom and Jordan’s current ruler, King Abdullah II. His criticism made him unpopular with the regime and he realized he was in danger. In 2010, he successfully sought asylum in the U.K. He’s been there ever since, keeping in touch with the opposition, serving as a researcher at the University of Bedfordshire and maintaining a powerful presence online.
His views of Israel are always surprising. He’s convinced that most Palestinians would rather have Israeli citizenship than Jordanian citizenship — Bedouins too. “The Bedouins in the south of Jordan can’t find food for their children. They are dying of hunger while our king is buying Ferraris.”
Zahran probably can’t go home until the regime changes. In 2013, a military court indicted him for “inciting hatred” and insulting
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