The Saudi-Israeli Liaison
By Lawrence Davidson
11, 2018 "Information
2 April 2018 interview
Atlantic, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman publicly declared that
the Israelis “have a right to live in their
own land just like the Palestinians.” It is
a problematic assumption, given that the
Israelis’ “own land” is the land they took
away from the Palestinians. This, and much
else, has been either forgotten or ignored
by the Saudi crown prince.
years ago Saudi Arabia’s first king,
Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, expressed a very
different position in a series of letters to
Franklin Delano Roosevelt. For instance in
a letter of November 1938
Ibn Saud had
wrote “The [European] Jews have no right to
Palestine and their claim is an act of
injustice unprecedented in the history of
the human race.” Sadly, there was in fact
plenty of precedent when it came to colonial
injustice, but Ibn Saud’s declaration
certainly demonstrated the King’s depth of
feeling. Other letters followed, predicting
that Palestine was bound to become a “hotbed
of disturbances and troubles” if the
Zionists got their way.
The two leaders
met face to face
in 1945 on the U.S. Cruiser Quincy
during FDR’s return trip from Yalta. In that
meeting Roosevelt tried to convince the
Saudi ruler to allow European Jewish
occupation of Palestine. Ibn Saud countered
that “Make the enemy and the oppressor pay;
that is how we Arabs wage war.” He
continued, "Amends should be made by the
criminal, not by the innocent bystander.
What injury have Arabs done to the Jews of
Europe? It is the 'Christian' Germans who
stole their homes and lives.” He finally
added that “The Arabs would choose to die
rather than yield their land to the Jews."
Part II - What Has
Now Crown Prince bin Salman shows us that a lot has changed in the intervening years. Zionist Israel has become an established “fact on the ground” and thus settler colonialism is well rooted in Palestine. Saudi Arabia has, perhaps begrudgingly, accepted this change - and it is not hard to see why.
The Saudis have built their security around an alliance with Israel’s major backer, the United States. One price paid for that alliance has been a de facto acceptance of Israel’s existence. Thus, Saudi dislike of Israel has been largely rhetorical. However, it would seem that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has finally abandoned even that facade. That is why during the prince’s recent trip to the U. S., he was found publicly rubbing shoulders with AIPAC.
Are You Tired Of The Lies And Non-Stop Propaganda?
In the face of their
inability to do anything about the Zionist
occupation of Palestine, the Saudis have
moved on to focus on other enemies. This
proved easy because there has always been
another assumed foe out there. This enemy is
the Shiite Muslims, whom the Sunnis have
always seen as apostates. Specifically, the
enemy is now Shiite Iran. The Saudi crown
prince, once more resorting to hyperbole,
claims that country’s supreme leader,
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, "makes Hitler look
good.” Then there are Hezbollah in Lebanon
and the Zaydis Houthi of Yemen - all Shiite
and all seen as enemies.
The interesting part
of this shift in enemies is that by now
focusing on the Shiites, and particularly
Iran (which, since the 1979 revolution, has
not accepted the permanence of Zionist
Israel), the Saudi crown prince has
discovered that “there are a lot of
interests we share with Israel.”
Operating on the
motto that the enemies of our enemies must
be our friends, the Zionist Israelis have
become “good Jews” in the eyes of the
present aspiring Saudi leader. Also, the
Saudis have become “good Arabs” in the eyes
of the Zionists. Both now intrigue together
against their common enemies.
Part III - The Odd Couple
The Saudis and the
Israelis no doubt make an odd couple.
However, there are, if you will, inborn
similarities. For instance:
— Both Israel and
Saudi Arabia assert that they are “chosen
people” and therefore nations blessed by
their “one true God.” In both cases this
assertion has led to a claim that the
territory they control is “holy land” -
divinely granted to them.
— Also, in both
cases, the religious leadership of society
exercises guiding influence over many
— As a consequence,
both the Saudis and the Israelis run their
respective countries like restricted clubs.
One demands that you be Jewish to have
membership rights, and the other wants you
to be a Wahhabi Sunni Muslim. Outsiders
claiming equal club rights (here read
citizenship) are going to be restricted,
persecuted or just expelled. And, of course,
in both cases minority groups do claim such
rights: in Israel it is the Palestinians and
in Saudi Arabia it is the Shiite population
of the eastern Arabian peninsula.
Part IV - Conclusion
objectively, both Saudi Arabia and Israel
should be anachronisms. Two nations making
outrageous, unprovable claims of divine
right that in turn excuses undemocratic,
racist-like behavior and policies. And the
United States, which also sees itself as
God-blessed, readily backs them both.
What this suggests is that, even amidst an increasingly high-tech culture, medieval thinking is still with us - deeply enough embedded to influence the thinking of millions, shape government policy and wage crusades. Glory be!
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.
Join the Discussion
It is not necessary for ICH readers to register before placing a comment. We ask that you treat others with respect. Take a moment to read the following - Comment Policy - What Or Who is Information Clearing House and Purpose and Intent of this website: It is unacceptable to slander, smear or engage in personal attacks on authors of articles posted on ICH. Those engaging in that behavior will be banned from the comment section.