The West within the East
Israel as a role model in liberal thought
in Zionism in Arab discourses
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This chapter discusses the historical roots of liberal writing about Zionism and Israel as a role model. It also discusses the liberal thinkers' usage of the different achievements of Israeli society as a means to shed light on the political, social and scientific revolutions necessary for Arab societies. The shift in Arab liberal thought began in the 1980s as liberal authors started to connect the lack of democracy in Arab societies and their backwardness. The writing of the liberals from the mid-1990s depicted Israeli democracy as the absolute opposite of Arab tyranny. In contrast to the diligence and pragmatism demonstrated by the Zionists, Arabs relied on slogans, appealing to international law and morals. Liberals in the early twentieth century pointed to the Zionist enterprise as a role model because it gave credibility to revive the Arabic language and to discard a culture of passivity.


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