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MBS is the latest in a long line of rogue regimes supported by Israel

Netanyahu’s ongoing support for Saudi Arabia, despite the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, fits a pattern of Israel aligning with dictatorships and rogue states

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s defence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which continued even after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, highlights Israel’s immoral stance towards human rights issues. 

The Zionist movement is a settler-colonial project based on ethnicity: political and economic interests always top Israel’s agenda. In recent years, though, many have been stunned by Netanyahu’s silence in the face of rising anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of racism in the US and Europe, where he continues to cooperate with extreme, populist leaders.

Israel’s Channel 10 News reported that Netanyahu asked the Israel lobby to do what it could to defend bin Salman among US policymakers in the wake of the Khashoggi killing, but that his request was mocked and dismissed as unethical. 

Rogue alliances

According to an article in the National Interest magazine, Netanyahu may do well “to avoid establishing diplomatic relations with illiberal regimes where possible, and to scale back and restructure existing relationships with such countries … [to] preserve the safety of various diaspora Jewish communities and allow for greater foreign-policy flexibility”.

More critical Israeli and American voices are blasting Netanyahu for staying silent on US President Donald Trump’s incitement of racism and white supremacy, especially after the recent bloody assault on the Tree of Life synagogue in the US city of Pittsburgh.

It’s no secret that Israel, since its creation seven decades ago, has consistently cooperated - politically, militarily and economically - with despotic regimes around the world

It’s no secret that Israel, since its creation seven decades ago, has consistently cooperated - politically, militarily and economically - with despotic regimes around the world. From supplying arms to right-wing, repressive regimes in Latin America to cooperating with South Africa’s apartheid regime, Israel has a long history of such behaviour.

As for the dictators of the Arab world, standard Israeli policy applies. Democracy, freedom and economic development for Arabs, including Palestinians, are of no interest to this repressive, colonial state. 

Support for dictators

As Egyptians were rising up against Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011, Israeli leaders were trembling, angry at the Obama administration for letting the regime fall. But fortunately for them, an Egyptian general came to their rescue in 2013, brutally overthrowing the first democratically elected president in Egypt’s history.

Israel hailed this bloody coup, showing no sympathy for the hundreds of protesters slaughtered at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, or for the thousands of dissidents languishing behind bars. Today, Israel hails bilateral cooperation with the Sisi regime as key to their mutual security.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in New York on 18 September 2017 (Egyptian presidency/HO/AFP)

The same is true for the young Saudi crown prince, whose rise to power was another miracle for the Zionist apartheid state. Both Netanyahu and Trump accelerated their strategic relations with him, with a goal of countering Iran and reaping as many financial and economic benefits as they could from the kingdom. 

The war in Yemen, which for more than three years has battered the country and sparked the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, is of no concern to bin Salman’s backers. They have also overlooked his brutal domestic crackdown on his opponents. It took the brutal killing of Khashoggi to awaken the international community from its apathy.

Established on Palestinian ruins

The 1948 creation of Israel in the heart of the Arab world attested to its racist, violent and immoral character - an embodiment of Western settler-colonial expansion. Yet, even as Zionist leaders proclaimed the importance of liberating Jews from European persecution, they cooperated with imperialist powers who invade, conquer and exploit poor countries, in some cases trained forces who exterminate the indigenous populations.

The state of Israel was established on the ruins of indigenous Palestinians. Its discriminatory policies against Palestinians who survived the 1948 ethnic cleansing has largely been overlooked by the international community. 

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Palestinians - including activists with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement - have for years been trying to remove Israel’s mask of being “the only democracy in the Middle East”; it is clear today that Israel is an apartheid state with no moral legitimacy.

Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians, in addition to its cooperation with murderous states, should place it squarely within the category of rogue regimes. 

Awad Abdelfattah is a political writer and the former general secretary of the Balad party. He is the coordinator of the Haifa-based One Democratic State Campaign, established in late 2017. 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Photo: Palestinian protesters in Gaza prepare to burn posters of the Israeli flag, President Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (AFP)