Chapter

Zionism and Judeo-Islamic Relations in the Middle East: Libya's Ideological and Political Position

Yehudit Ronen

in The Divergence of Judaism and Islam

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780813037516
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813042107 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813037516.003.0016
Zionism and Judeo-Islamic Relations in the Middle East: Libya's Ideological and Political Position

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Debate over the Arab–Israeli conflict and its resolution is by no means monopolized by the Palestinians and Israel's neighboring states, but has, over the years, extended to Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Iran, Turkey, and Libya. This chapter focuses on the revolutionary regime of Muammar Qadhafi, which overthrew Libya's monarchy in September 1969, and on the post-1969 revolutionary period of the inter-Arab arena and Israel. For almost two decades, Qadhafi attacked “world Zionism” and denied Israel's right to exist. In the 1990s, however, his perceptions and rhetoric evolved to some degree, and in 1993, Qadhafi encouraged Libyan Jews who had left their homeland in the 1950s and 1960s to return, promising to indemnify them for properties expropriated in the past. Although nothing emerged from these declarations, Qadhafi's less-radical attitude toward Jews, Israel, and Zionism became evident in the post-Cold War era. The weakened position of the Russian ally, the determination to end Libya's international isolation, the desire to mend fences with the United States, and the influence of Saif al-Islam—Qadhafi's dynamic and well-educated son—all explain his new strategy. Yet as soon as relations with the U.S. improved and Libya was no longer isolated, the Libyan regime no longer showed moderation toward Israel. The 2011 upheavals and the apparent overthrow of the Qadhafi regime may or may not play to Israel's advantage under the leadership of the rebels.

Keywords: Libya; Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi; Zionism; Israel; Isratin; Saif al-Islam

Chapter.  9023 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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