While American Progressives Demonize Israel, the Arab World Has Moved On

“Many will tell you Israel has a right to defend itself, to safety and security, but are silent on whether Palestinians have those rights too,” announced Congresswoman Ilhan Omar on Twitter, as Hamas—unprovoked—rained over 1,000 rockets on civilians in the Jewish state, some of which landed in Gaza and killed Palestinians. These sentiments were echoed by other far-left members of Congress such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders. Noah Rothman comments:

If Ocasio-Cortez and Omar were truly speaking on behalf of Arab interests, you might expect to hear some of those Arab interests echo their sentiments. But the region’s Arab states have long since moved on. The Abraham Accords definitively decoupled the Sunni Arab states’ geopolitics from Palestinian affairs; they have moved with stunning alacrity to normalize relations with Jerusalem without a resolution to the Palestinian conflict. The usual dogs that are not barking in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Rabat, Khartoum, and Amman should communicate to these progressives that they’re speaking only for themselves.

[Meanwhile], the New York Times reported, the bloodletting has “nevertheless bolstered” both Hamas and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. After all, “the distraction of the war, and the divisions it creates between the disparate opposition parties currently negotiating a coalition to topple him from power, have given him half a chance of remaining in office, just days after it seemed like he might finally be on the way out.” The insinuation that, if he did not engineer the conflict, Netanyahu surely welcomes it, is a repulsive sop to the paper’s parochial progressive readership.

The world has passed these progressives by. The Arab world is not erupting over the hostile actions engineered by Hamas and its Iranian backers, whom they regard as the real threat to their security.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, anti-Semitsm, Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar, New York Times

When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount