Here's an interesting point:
First, Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Turkey is a democracy but is not technically in the Middle East. Lebanon is no longer a full democracy, its politics dominated by armed militias and Syrian interference. Israel is the only society in the Middle East with all the institutions of a democracy: a media that reveals all its secrets, a free parliament, independent courts, independent universities and the rest. This earns it a lot of support, especially in the US, but it also means that Israelis generate much of the most damaging criticism of Israel.
This is a singular quality of Israel but it is also discloses a singular quality of the Middle East. Is there another region in the world in which there is only one democracy? This fact alone demonstrates how utterly at odds with its own region Israel is, but also how very odd that region is. The Jewish people, as Walter Russell Mead has written, are an old people but the Israelis are a young people. And deeply imprinted on their DNA is the culture of democracy.
It has always amazed me how a bunch of Eastern European socialists and Middle Eastern Jews created a democracy without any tradition of its institutions. It is ironic that the colonial face of Israel is not in the complexion of its population, but in its institutions which by virtue of being democratic are deigned as "colonial". If that's what colonial means--I'll take it.
Another tidbit regarding our friends the Saudis, taken from accounts of diplomatic exploits of Martin Indyk, and Henry Kissinger:
Indyk describes in 1998 between Clinton and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is most instructive. This was at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Indyk writes:Abdullah leaned across the table and explained to Clinton in a hushed voice that he had information that Monica Lewinsky was Jewish and part of a Mossad plot to bring the president down because of his efforts to help the Palestinians. He told the president that he intended to share this intelligence with senators he would meet after lunch in an effort to help forestall his impeachment.
This anecdote echoes one of a generation earlier told in Henry Kissinger's memoir, in which Kissinger holds a formal meeting with a Saudi ruler who tells him the world is beset by a global communist conspiracy, which is a mere part of the broader global Jewish conspiracy.
It's striking that from Kissinger to Indyk absolutely nothing has changed, nor will it, I'm afraid. Sheridan's lengthy article is well worth the time.