Uriya Shavit
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Ofir Winter
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Arab liberals between the struggle against despotism and the war against Zionism
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Rationalism and pragmatism have been the two cornerstones of Arab liberalism from its dawn to contemporary times. One of the prominent liberal voices rejecting Zionism was that of Taha Hussein, who was close to the Wafd although he did not hold an official political role until 1950. Rooted in the thinking of the late 1940s and crystallized in the 1970s, a broad liberal agreement blamed the despotic nature of Arab regimes for their failures in the fight against Israel. The 'refusal camp' promoted a stance that argued for democratization on the assumption that, without democratization, Arab societies will be ill-equipped for a struggle against Israel. To Ala' al-Aswani the Israeli-Egyptian peace has been a historical mistake. The resurgence of pragmatic liberalism began in Egypt parallel to a measure of flexibility in the position of the regime after the defeat in the Six Day War.

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