On Wednesday, Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, in cooperation with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, held a one-day conference on the subject of U.S., Europe and the Middle East.
Among the many professors who took part in the conference was Dr. Thomas Rid of the University of Constance. Speaking to Israel National News TV, Rid, who participated in a panel entitled “Western Policies toward the Arab-Israeli Arena”, said that contrary to what many believe, Muslims do not take part in the political process, which he argues is actually bad for Europe.
“Europe needs more engaged Muslims. Europe needs Muslims who are more open to take part in the political process,” said Rid.
He also addressed the political arena in Israel, and said that while he was “very impressed by the people I spoke to in the IDF and in other government agencies,” he is less impressed by the style of the political debate in Israel.
“The big problem I think I see is that there doesn’t seem to be a clear political vision in Israel,” said Rid, and added that the only people who have a clear political vision are the Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria.
“On their own right they are impressive,” he said. “They have courage, they have a clear vision and they work very hard to achieve that vision. But if Israeli mainstream society does not agree with that vision, then just complaining about anti-Semitism in Europe, about critical views coming from outside Israel, and maybe even complaining about the settlers doesn’t help you very much. You need an alternative vision, something positive that could be achieved, and I really don’t see that at the moment.”