Joe Lieberman and the Genesis of Israel’s ‘Partnership for Freedom’ with Middle East Dissidents
On June 4, 2007, Senator Joe Lieberman addressed the Prague Conference on Democracy and Security, which had been organized by the then former Israeli government minister Natan Sharansky of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center. Speaking to dissidents from all over the Middle East, including countries such as Egypt, Libya and Syria that have subsequently been destabilized by the supposedly spontaneous Arab uprisings, Senator Lieberman said:
I hope that each of you consider this meeting as the beginning of a partnership for freedom, and I invite each of you to contact me and my office whenever you need our help.History and the heroes in this room tell me that the future does not belong to despots and dictators. It belongs to a labor activist from Teheran, to a journalist from Moscow, to a blogger to [sic] Cairo, to a human rights advocate from North Korea, and to countless others whose names are not yet known, but which will someday be inscribed alongside those of Havel and Sharansky and Sakharov in the kingdom of conscience and courage to which all freedom fighters belong.
Whether or not any of the aspiring Middle East democrats took “the No.1 pro-Israel advocate and leader in Congress” up on his offer, the speech provides further evidence for genuine historians of the so-called “Arab Spring” of Israeli support for the toppling of the region’s authoritarian regimes. So, whenever you hear Israelispublicly fret about the resultant threat of increasing radicalization on its borders, think of the “partnership for freedom” that some of the country’s staunchest partisans initiated in Prague.
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