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Is the Saudi Prince becoming a Zionist?

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The crown prince and de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman, now appears to be parroting Israeli propaganda.

“In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given. It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining”,

Bin Salman is reported saying in a closed-door meeting with heads of Jewish organizations in New York on March 27th (Israeli journalist Barak Ravid citing Israeli and American sources).

This phrasing is almost an exact quote of the famous Abba Eban (former Foreign Minister) quip: “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. That one is attributed to him having said it in the 1973 Geneva peace talks, and has become an iconic and oft used disparaging expression by Zionist apologists, bemoaning a supposed Palestinian intransigence.

This is not particularly surprising, given that Bin Salman has been seeming to grow very close to Israel, recently affirming that the “Jewish people” have a “right” to an “ancestral homeland.” When asked by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic whether the “Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland?”, Bin Salman answered “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation”. Notice, how he is not rejecting Goldberg’s explicitly Zionist and mythological notion of “Jewish people” and their supposed “ancestral homeland”.

Israeli and Saudi interests have converged in the recent years, under the ostensible context of fighting the one arch-enemy – Iran. We have even seen this convergence in the Saudi (and Israeli) assault on Qatar-based Al Jazeera., as part of the Saudi-led isolation of Qatar for its supposed softness on Iran and “terror”.

Iran is now the main villain, in a kind of cold-war setting. Secretary of State John Pompeo was in Riyadh with Bin Salman on Sunday, saying “Iran destabilizes this entire region. It is indeed the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world, and we are determined to make sure it never possesses a nuclear weapon.” Ben Norton responded on Facebook post:

“Satire has lost all meaning: The former director of the CIA (which has for decades trained and armed far-right terrorist death squads), who is now US secretary of state, called Iran “the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world” while he was meeting with regime officials in Saudi Arabia, an extremist Wahhabi absolute monarchy that supported ISIS and al-Qaeda.”

Saudi-Israeli exchanges have been going on for some years now, under the table. Yet the recent US-Saudi unprecedented $110-billion military weapons deal has even begun to worry some Israeli leaders  – will the Saudis in some way turn them against Israel?

But Bin Salman is apparently assuring everyone that this will not and cannot happen – because he is now revealing himself as a closet-Zionist. Ari Heistein of Jerusalem Post summated the logic three days ago:

“Saudi Arabia has already shown a profound interest in making US President Donald Trump happy, and Trump has shown a deep affinity for Israel – even if Israel cannot offer Saudi Arabia much more than it is currently providing, it is possible that Saudi interests elsewhere could be advanced by establishing diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Bin Salman has been having very close relations with the US, specifically with President Trump’s ‘advisor-in-law’ Jared Kushner. The Intercept had reported recently that he even bragged to his friends about Kushner being ‘in his pocket‘. Bin Salman subsequently denied this, yet still confirmed that “we work together as friends, more than partners”.

Bin Salman is now getting favorable Jewish press for his assault on Yemen. In 2016, a panel of United Nations sanctions monitors in 2016 warned that Saudi-led coalition airstrikes were targeting civilians in a “widespread and systemic manner”; A United Nations Human Rights Council report from September last year detailed more than 5,000 civilian casualties from March 2015 to August 2017. Children accounted for more than 1,000 of the victims. Not all of them were killed by airstrikes, and some died at the hands of Houthi rebels, but the report made clear that the vast majority of civilian casualties were from coalition strikes. Saudi Arabia’s new blockade of Yemen is threatening to exacerbate what the United Nations has deemed the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world.”

So this could all look bad for Bin Salman, if it weren’t for the US support, and the constant fixing of the gaze towards Iran. The Saudi blockade is also comparable in many ways to Israel’s blockade on Gaza, and if the Saudi siege can be framed as a necessary and legitimate act against “terror”, that harmonises with legitimising Israel’s siege on Gaza.

And why not become a Zionist if it gives all those prizes? Why not throw the Palestinians under the “Jewish state” bus?

This is an Arab leader, effectively affirming “Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State”, which is exactly what Prime Minister Netanyahu has demanded to be affirmed in peace talks with Palestinians since his second-term election in 2009.

Norman Finkelstein writes on this:

“The demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state lacks both precedent and sense.  Neither Egypt nor Jordan recognized Israel as a Jewish state when they signed peace treaties with it.  It figures neither in the text of the Oslo agreement nor in Bush’s 2003 Roadmap for Peace. In addition, Palestinians would be hard-pressed to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, when no two Israelis agree on who is a Jew, let alone what is a Jewish state. If Israel were truly invested in such recognition, it could simply rechristen itself the Jewish State of Israel, just as the mullahs, after the 1979 revolution, rechristened Iran the Islamic Republic of Iran. The recognition of Israel (a Rubicon that Palestinians crossed long ago) would then go hand-in-hand with recognition of its “Jewishness.” If Israel hasn’t taken this step, it’s because the 20 percent of non-Jewish Israelis would be outraged, as would be the (dwindling number of) resolute Israeli liberals. Perversely, Netanyahu insists that Palestinians do what Israel itself won’t do. In a revealing contrast, whereas every Tom, Dick and Shlomo is now weighing in on whether Palestinians, for the sake of peace, should recognize Israel as a Jewish state, one searches in vain for op-eds on whether Israel, for the sake of peace, should recognize its 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”

Israel is, in fact, seeking to ‘rechristen’ itself, in a way, as the “Nation State of the Jewish People”, as the name of its discussed quasi-constitutional base-law goes. But that law is just more Apartheid with a veil. The ‘Jewish state’ claim is how Zionism has tried to mask its intrinsic Apartheid, under the veil of a supposed ‘self-determination of the Jewish people’, and for the Palestinians it has meant their dispossession. This is why they generally reject affirmation of this principle – it would simply hand in ideological points to their colonizers.

And Bin Salman has now handed such points to Zionists.

But back to his recent claim that “in the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given”.

A main “opportunity” nearly two decades ago is the famous 2000 Camp David peace talks, between then Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO leader Yasser Arafat, mediated, as it were, by US President Bill Clinton. After the negotiations broke, Barak had gone off declaring that he had made a “generous offer” and that since it was rejected, that meant that there is “no partner for peace”. This claim has been a defining factor in the Israeli left (as Barak is known as a leftist, liberal-Zionist ‘hero’), and is a critical factor in the general weakening of the Israeli left in the past two decades, where it often becomes a parrot of the right.

The problem with Barak’s statement, which is in itself a paraphrase on the “missing opportunities” notion, is that it is false. Historical analysis of the “generous offer” reveals that it amounted to Bantustans.

At the time, Israel was trying to inculcate the Hasbara idea that the Palestinians were being offered 96% of the West Bank plus Gaza. Some were seeing partially through this, as for example The Guardian’s diplomatic editor Ewen MacAskill:

“The Israelis portrayed it as the Palestinians receiving 96% of the West Bank. But the figure is misleading. The Israelis did not include parts of the West Bank they had already appropriated”, he wrote.

That was a grave understatement. As MIT professor Jeremy Pressman notes in his essay on the matter, “the total Palestinian land share of the West Bank would have been closer to 77 percent for the first six to twenty-one years”. An additional 10% would supposedly have come in after those “six to twenty-one years” from the Jordan Valley – but to judge from Israel’s failure to withdraw within 5 years from areas agreed to after 1995 Oslo Accords, this ‘promise’ did not bode well either. (This matter is also summated by Nigel Perry in Electronic Intifada, 2002).

Anyhow, Foreign Minister under Barak’s government, Shlomo Ben Ami, has confessed outright:

“If I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well”, he said.

The Saudis have brokered an ‘Arab Peace Initiative’ in 2002, where Arab League collectively offered Israel recognition of its right to exist and a normalization of diplomatic ties in exchange for its complete withdrawal from Arab lands captured since 1967 as well as a “fair solution” for the Palestinian refugees. This is a proposal based on international consensus rooted in UNSC resolution 242 of 1967, and it has been endorsed by the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, including Iran.

Israel can apparently not accept such an offer, and apart from some polite diplomatic lip tax, it has been largely ignored. But the plan speaks of normalization “in exchange”, while Bin Salman has been showing many signs of offering Israel the normalization, without the exchange.

Bin Salman’s expressions of solidarity with Zionists come at a time of an unprecedented assault on Palestinian statehood, symbolized by the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (and not Palestine) and to move its embassy there next month. And he is now apparently willing to parrot Zionist propaganda, disparage the Palestinians and say they should “shut up” and accept the Israeli ‘generous offers’ (that is, surrender to the Bantustan model), because it can advance his goals.

That, my friends, is how Palestinians are being sold out by Arab despots. And if you don’t like it, you should just “shut up and stop complaining”.

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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20 Responses

  1. eljay on May 3, 2018, 10:19 am

    Luv from Zionists and the U.S. gov’t is a fickle thing. MBS had better enjoy it while it lasts.

    • Misterioso on May 4, 2018, 11:22 am

      During the years I lived in the Arab world, I met many Saudis, including members of the huge “royal family.” While a good number were decent folk, most were disgusting brats with $millions at their disposal for the pursuit of all manner of pleasures. As for MBS, he is a soft-handed, gutless, spoiled, not very bright, easily manipulated man-child wrapped in the trappings of ill-gotten power granted by a country that is a medieval anachronism. He is also a tyrant despised by the “Arab street,” including the majority of Saudis and the Muslim world. (The Islamic Prophet Muhammad must be screaming from his grave at what he sees and hears.) By cozying up to Trump and Netanyahu, it seems MBS is also unaware of the old adage, “lie down with dogs and you get fleas.” By one means or another, MBS will prove to be a “flash in the pan.”

  2. pabelmont on May 3, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Lovely caricatures, but maybe a bit hard on one of them: does Trump really look like that?

  3. JLewisDickerson on May 3, 2018, 2:00 pm

    RE: “That, my friends, is how Palestinians are being sold out by Arab despots. And if you don’t like it, you should just “shut up and stop complaining”. ~ Ofir

    MY COMMENT: But . . . but . . . but, MbS looks so cute in his green overalls and red Converse sneakers!
    That said, MbS does like to get his hands good and dirty, not to mention sopping wet!
    As to where his nose might have been, it’s probably best to just not go there!

  4. gamal on May 3, 2018, 2:14 pm

    “Israeli and Saudi interests have converged in the recent years”

    Saudi Arabia and Israel have always been the principle regional opponents of Arab Nationalism, Pan Arabism and all local revolutionary and anti-colonial forces…its not new, it is just a love that now dares to show itself,

    the purpose of coming out now is the ongoing politicide of the Arabs to prepare them for the new dispensation something like “village league” states, and a process of de-development by bombing and sanctions, so that the Arabs can concentrate on their competitive advantage in being slaves of American capital,

    But at least now no one can criticise the Saudis for Anti-semitism, well i mean you could but why would you want to.

    • Maghlawatan on May 3, 2018, 4:59 pm

      The Sauds are odious. Parasitical family. No forward planning . Guaranteed to end in a bloodbath.

      The Zionists tick all the same boxes.

  5. Kay24 on May 3, 2018, 5:19 pm

    While the young prince tries to convince the world SA is getting modern, opening it’s doors to wrestling fans, and changing, it has made the stupidest move by becoming part of the axis of evil. The US and Israel are not loved by the rest of the world, in fact Israel is one of the most disliked nations. SA joins the ranks of evil nations that bombs, kills, and accuses other nations of what THEY are guilty of.

  6. zaid on May 3, 2018, 6:29 pm

    I dont support MBS . Nontheless i doubt that he said what was attributed to him about the Palestinians.

    Saudi Arabia named the very recent arab summit “the Jerusalem summit” and donated hundreds of millions to both Jerusaelm and to the UNRWA

    Despite all zionist claims there is not a single documented positive statement (that can be verified) from the saudi rulers regarding Israel nor there is any evidence for any type of normalization.

    Lets be fair

  7. on May 3, 2018, 8:41 pm

    The sooner the Palestinians can separate/rid themselves from the racist nut jobs in Saudi Arabia the better. I can only hope that when people think of Zionists they think of the Saudis too – peas in a pod.

  8. echinococcus on May 3, 2018, 9:34 pm

    Any close ally of the US is necessarily Zionist

  9. gamal on May 4, 2018, 12:22 am

    “the racist nut jobs in Saudi Arabia the better”

    I have worked for Saudis and it is rarely understood how deeply integrated they are in the Imperial project, and just how influential they are, you may find this hard to believe but they know what they are doing, very technocratic and malevolent to a degree that is hard to understand, through the grapevine i hear that the Prince I worked for is a hopeless heroin addict controlled by his (Fasi Moroccan origin Saudi wife, she is my connection through her father a phoney sufi sheikh with many Sri Lankan followers) wife who feeds him the drugs and controls his 100 million a year income…i had to get her from a flat in Kingsway once that of her fathers second wife that she had trashed ….she got in the back of the car her eyes burned my ears like insane without shame the second wife was a Morrocan woman who had spent a whole evening telling me that all Egyptians are liars, boy man felt cold towards all of them

    Is it an absolute rule that we can’t genocide anybody at all…no leeway?

  10. Eva Smagacz on May 4, 2018, 6:30 am

    Although Israel has not yet named itself “Nation State of the Jewish People”, it is already taking steps to extend the jurisdiction of their religious courts over Jews world-wide.

    I want to consider the ramification of such development and the logical follow on: Are Vatican, Saudi Arabia and Teheran allowed to extend their jurisdiction to, respectively, Christians, Sunni and Shia Muslims worldwide ?

    And how soon before religious figures will demand the government to provide them with tools, – people and resources – to implement their rulings abroad?

    The only consolation is, that, as Israel invariably gets special treatment when breaking international law, it will only be Jewish people worldwide who will get visits from Mossad – trained enforcers of Israel’s Rabbinical Courts.

    I shudder to think of the consequences….

    Horse’s head in the bed for marrying out?
    Kitchens wired with explosives for mixing diary and meat?
    Enforced shunning for those not eating kosher in New York?

    Mind boggles


  11. Ossinev on May 4, 2018, 10:12 am

    @Eva Smagacz

    “Although Israel has not yet named itself “Nation State of the Jewish People”, it is already taking steps to extend the jurisdiction of their religious courts over Jews world-wide”

    Sounds as if the Crazy Ziolots have decided on a Zinquisition.

  12. Vera Gottlieb on May 4, 2018, 11:33 am

    I firmly believe in calling a spade, a spade. This guy is an israeli ass kisser.

  13. iResistDe4iAm on May 5, 2018, 6:52 am

    Mohammed bin Salman is playing a deadly game of thrones while he bombs and besieges Yemen back to the stone age (turning it into the Gaza of the Arabian Peninsula).

    As part of his brazen power grab, the crown prince has extorted and held hostage members of his own royal family, as well as Saudi puppets, including:
    – Former crown prince Muhammad bin Nayef who renounced his title after being held hostage under house arrest.
    – Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who suddenly announced his resignation after being summoned to Saudi Arabia and then held under house arrest. He rescinded the resignation a month later when safely back in Lebanon.
    – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who was summoned to Saudi Arabia and ordered to accept Trump’s vision for peace with Israel.
    – Saudi prince and billionaire Al-Waleed bin Talal who was arrested on corruption allegations.
    – Over 40 princes and government ministers who were arrested on corruption allegations.

    For those familiar with TV series Game of Thrones, crown prince Mohammed is the prince Joffrey of the Arab world.
    When he finally seizes the throne, the tyrant king is likely to suffer the same fate as his mythical counterpart.

  14. Atlantaiconoclast on May 5, 2018, 2:16 pm

    I don’t know how anyone can look at that creep and think he is anything other than a corrupt despot.

  15. hellsbells on May 5, 2018, 9:26 pm

    Rich people that use religion for control, sucking up to other rich people that use religion for control. They own the media and buy the politicians, they are the King class, the own the military industrial complex… When didn’t they own God?

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