The XX Factor

Dowd in Saudi Arabia

Perhaps the desert sun has befuddled Maureen Dowd’s ability to skewer the lies and hypocrisy of the powerful. In a column from Saudi Arabia, she is spun by Prince Saud al-Faisal into buying the absurd line that Saudi Arabia is becoming more liberal, while Israel is moving toward theocratic oppression. This would be comic if it weren’t so sad that she has allowed the pages of the New York Times to advance Saudi Arabia’s agenda of delegitimizing Israel. Usually Dowd prides herself on detecting spin. Yet here was a Saudi prince getting her to do a little anti-Israel dance in service of making the kingdom look good. Is it really necessary to itemize the facts that prove Israel is a vibrant, fractious democracy in which women have full rights? And that Saudi Arabia is a dystopian nightmare of oppression and gender apartheid, which invests its oil fortune in madrassas around the world in order to spread its hatred of all who don’t follow its Wahhabist fundamentalism? Maureen, Muslim women citizens of Israel have more freedom and civil rights than could be imagined by females in Saudi Arabia. Take off the abaya and see reality.