Ya'alon Cites Western Naivete: Not All Elections Bring Democracy

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon cited Western "ignorance coupled with naivety"in his address at the 2012 Herzliya Conference.

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Chana Ya'ar,

Minister Moshe Ya'alon at IDC 2011
Minister Moshe Ya'alon at IDC 2011
Israel news photo: IDC

Strategic Affairs Minister Lt-Gen (res) Moshe "Boogie" Ya'alon cited Western "ignorance coupled with naivete"  about the causes of the Arab Spring vs. the  Israel-Palestinian Authority conflict as he addressed the 2012 Herzliya Conference on Thursday. 

Speaking about the difficulty Western nations face in understanding the cultural mindset of the region, Ya'alon told the gathering that even leaders of those nations often make erroneous “conceptual links” about what is happening in the Middle East.

"When a Western person asks himself why the Muslims attack us, they cannot fathom that it could be possible that they want Islam to become a world religion, and so they blame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Ya'alon explained.

This "creates the wrong paradigm about what happens around here," he said, adding that it was difficult for people to understand that there's another culture with jihadistic principles that sanctifies death.

"I would say that to a great extent this is ignorance coupled with naivety," he added bluntly.

Likewise,  another problem Ya'alon said was prominent in the way the West views the Middle East had to do with the “attitude where you think you know what's better for another country."

The minister commented that the West had come to Israel with the "a new patronizing idea" of  'democratization'.

Ya'alon noted last year's crashing Arab governments that came amid the long, violent months of the region's “Arab Spring,” and the rise of the Islamist governments that followed. "We would love to see democracies around us -- but if you think democracy can be applied by elections, you are making a mistake.

"We have gotten used to the idea that every problem has a solution… we are so patronizing and feel so powerful that we feel that we can solve everything… Mankind arrived on the moon so why can't we solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?" he said.

Ya'alon explained that with complex issues like the Israeli-Palestinian Authority conflict, sometimes we need to realize that "there are some things that we can't solve, it has to be managed."