May 29, 2012:
A recent international poll (by BBC, involving 24,000 people worldwide) found that the nations considered to have the least positive influence on the world are Iran and Pakistan (both at 16 percent positive). Those polled were asked to rate each nation on whether it had a positive or negative influence on the world. North Korea had a 19 percent positive rating and Israel 21 percent. Iran and North Korea are understandable, as both are constantly calling for the destruction of other countries (Iran wants Israel destroyed, North Korea keeps threatening to attack South Korea). Pakistan openly supports terror attacks on neighboring India and has done so for three decades. As the evidence piles up, some of which even Pakistan admits is true, Pakistan continues to deny that it is responsible.
Israel is an odd case, as it has been the target of destruction by most of its neighbors for over 60 years. All that time the Arab states have promised the Arabs who once lived next to Jews in Israel that Israel would soon be destroyed. Many of these exiled Arabs (who came to call themselves Palestinians) were not allowed to settle in other Arab countries but were forced to live as refuges in special camps, and they continue to call for the destruction of Israel. The Arabs living in the West Bank (part of Jordan until the 1967 war) and Gaza (part of Egypt until the 1967 war) refuse to make peace with Israel and instead continue to try and destroy Israel.
When Israel was founded, equal numbers of Arabs left (or were driven from) Israel as were Jews expelled from Arab countries. The expelled Jews either moved to Israel, or other nations, where they settled (and not in refugee camps). For the last 40 years the Palestinians have waged several large-scale terror campaigns against Israel, all of which were defeated. But since the 1990s, the Palestinians have repositioned themselves as victims of Israeli oppression and convinced much of the world media to go along with this. At the same time the Palestinians continue to preach terrorism and the destruction of Israel in their own, Arab language, media. This is ignored by most media in the non-Moslem world, which results in Israel being constantly portrayed as an oppressor because it tries to defend itself.
Pakistan has tried, with less success, to portray itself as the victim of American, Israeli, and Indian aggression. Internal propaganda plays up this narrative big-time. Pakistan will back off when asked too many embarrassing questions about their support for Islamic terrorism. But such retreats are usually temporary. For example, recently a long-banned anti-American group "The Defense of Pakistan Council" was revived. The group has been holding large anti-American demonstrations. This is apparently in response to U.S. threats to halt the billions of dollars in economic and military aid for Pakistan (in an attempt to get Pakistan to stop supporting terrorism). Many Pakistanis are angered by this threat and are responding with hostility.
The big recent change in Pakistan is the enormous shift in attitude against the army and intelligence services (ISI). This has been growing for years but last year's American raid into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden changed everything. The revelations that bin Laden had been living in a military town for years, despite constant army insistence that they did not know where bin Laden was, seriously damaged the reputation of the military. Years of growing hostility against military lies and corruption now had convincing confirmation. The generals and spymasters were on the defensive.
The Supreme Court, which had long backed the coups and tolerated the corruption and illegal behavior of the army and ISI, has stopped ignoring the bad behavior. Some generals urged the army to take over the government again but the army and ISI leadership feared even more backlash. It's not that the army might change their minds in the future but for the moment the army and ISI are on the defensive. The courts are forcing the generals and intel officials to defend bad behavior. Civilian leaders are also feeling the heat. The Supreme Court has revived corruption charges against the current president. Corruption is widespread among politicians and senior military officers. Corruption has long been a popular complaint of voters, politicians, and the media. But now something is being done about it and everyone is waiting to see how effectively all those powerful and corrupt officials will push back. They will push back, they always do, and often they win. Meanwhile, the generally free media in Pakistan reports this for the entire world to see and the world is scared. There is no such fear of Israel, which makes it easier call Israel names.