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May 17, 2013

Some have questioned the wisdom of having a clear position on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

We have articulated a coherent, non-ambiguous position on the Arab-Israeli conflict to combat the extreme positions within the Coptic nation on the issue, which are damaging to the validity and morality of our own Coptic cause.

Why do we need to have a clear position on the Arab-Israeli conflict? Why commit ourselves when an ambiguous position is often taken as being politically more astute? Why do we need to have a position at all when we are not partners to the conflict and when by taking a position we risk angering one partner or the other, or, indeed, both?[1]

The Coptic Nationalists must have a coherent position on the Arab-Israeli conflict because of its responsibility towards the Coptic nation and because it thinks of itself as a movement that will have to have a view on major world issues, particularly when they are closer to home. The Arab-Israeli conflict is forced on us whether we like it or not; and a position is often demanded of us whether we are ready or not! The lack of clear thinking about the matter in a mature and intelligent way quite often lands us in trouble: some are confused and don’t know where to position themselves; others are forced to take positions to please others; and yet some others voluntarily locate themselves to one or the other extreme position. The latters’ prejudiced, unbalanced positions – which are thankfully rare – may take the form of downright anti-Semitism or that of blatant hate for all Arabs and Muslims: one sees the Jews as the problem not just in the Middle East but in the whole world and wants to see Israel eradicated – the Arabist/Nasserist propaganda is still rife with it; the other sees all Arabs and Muslims as evil and would resist the natural inclination for fairness when it comes to them – their views are influenced by the extreme right.

We take an independent, centrist position based on justice not hatred: we are neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Arab, despite the fact that we suffered historically under the latter: we are not racists or religionists. Our position is moral: Israel has the right to exist and to defend itself; but Palestinians have rights too. In our opinion, the Two-State Solution is the only just and moral solution to the Arab-Israeli problem.

No one can underestimate the harmful effect of the extreme positions that some Copts take on this issue on the Coptic cause itself. The modern world requires a balanced and fair position on important issues from any movement that seeks justice for its own people. Our job, by developing this seven-point, principled position on the Arab-Israeli conflict, is to try to cajole our Coptic brethren to steer away from amoral, extreme positions that are damaging to their integrity and to the Coptic cause, and convince them of adopting our mature position.

And this desire to prevent any damage to the validity and morality of our own Coptic cause by extreme positions on the issue is the nationalistic drive for articulating this coherent, non-ambiguous position on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

[1] Not many appreciate how much courage it needs in Egypt to support the Two-State Solution which entails, inter alia, a recognition of Israel. This often enrages many anti-Semites and anti-Israelis in the region. Talking about Palestinian rights may also angers some Jews, such as in the extreme right-wing political groups.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Mina permalink
    May 17, 2013 9:38 pm

    Amen! I think this is a very sensible position.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      May 18, 2013 8:35 am

      Thank you very much!

  2. Hany permalink
    May 18, 2013 5:10 pm

    Excellent point. We need a centrist opinion so as not to get carried away either ways. Two state solution is probably a solution most countries in the world agreed on. We need not get carried away into much details since our interest is merely from humanistic point view and we rather have our own problems in Egypt taken care of as priority.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      May 18, 2013 5:15 pm

      Thank you, Hany!

  3. mindthehat permalink
    July 9, 2013 7:09 am

    The best approach that could be adopted by the Copts is neutrality. Arguing for two-state solution does not reflect neutrality.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      July 9, 2013 5:41 pm

      Thanks, my friend. We are not arguing for any thing as it is not our business. As in the article, we are neither Israelis nor Palestenians, so it is not our problem. However, as any mature political movement we are expected to have a view of major world issues. The Two-State Solution is supported by most of the civilised world. Other reasons for us to have a view on this important issue have been explained in the second article. Please, review it.

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