An article today by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Oliver Holmes (“Far-right Israeli football fans rebel over Beitar Jerusalem’s new Arab owner”, Dec. 27) included the following context on the significance of new ties between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi.
The [normalisation] deal [between Israel and UAE] was one of the first fruits of a diplomatic breakthrough between Israel and the United Arab Emirates after the two countries signed agreements to establish formal ties.
Backed by the fervently pro-Israel Trump administration, four Arab states, including Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, have announced intentions to stop shunning Israel, which has long been isolated in the Middle East for its crippling occupation over the Palestinian territories.
Holmes’ claim that Israel has been “isolated in the Middle East for its crippling occupation over the Palestinian territories” is completely ahistorical.
The Arab states’ boycott of Israel began in 1945, three years before Israel declared independence, and 22 years before Israel occupied even one square kilometre of the West Bank.
“Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries.” All Arab “institutions, organizations, merchants, commission agents and individuals” were called upon “to refuse to deal in, distribute, or consume Zionist products or manufactured goods.” – Arab League Council on December 2, 1945
The boycott’s goal was clear: to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state and, then to reverse the outcome of Israel’s War of Independence.
Though, in the decades following the Six Day War, Arab leaders would begin using the language of human rights and putative concern for the Palestinians in an effort to garner sympathy for their anti-Israel crusade from the Western left, only those blind to the ubiquitous demonisation of Israel and Jews in the Muslim and Arab world during this time could conceivably view the boycott as a movement based on humanitarian concerns.
Among those gullible enough to fall for the boycotter’s re-branding of hate as ‘progressive’ politics is the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent.