Israeli business delegation to travel to Bahrain in next normalization step

Israeli business delegation to travel to Bahrain in next normalization step
Wed Dec 13, 2017 13:31:27

The interfaith group's visit to Quds has sparked outrage among Palestinians and also back home in Bahrain.

Jerusalem Post -- A delegation of Israeli business leaders is due to visit Bahrain next month in a follow up to the current visit to Jerusalem of a Bahraini interfaith group, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the organizer of both initiatives.


The delegation made the trip to Quds (Jerusalem) at an extremely volatile time and despite anger among Palestinians and in the Arab world over US recognition of Quds Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Critics see the trip as paving the way for normalization between Israel and the Persian Gulf states at the expense of the Palestinian cause. 


Qais Abdul-Kareem, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, condemned the visit, saying: "They've chosen a very inappropriate time to spread their message of tolerance. This is a time the whole world is centered on the future of Jerusalem after the American move to recognize it as Israel's capital. In fact this visit has political substance, which is to pave the way for normalization of relations between certain Arab states, particularly the Gulf states, with Israel when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not solved and the Israelis continue their occupation and colonization of Palestinian land. This was politically wrong from the beginning and it caused more anger because it came at a very inappropriate time."


PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said: "They either are totally clueless or they are being deliberately provocative. I think the lesser of these two evils is that they are clueless." She said she does not accept "this whole lovey-dovey approach of we're here to show tolerance. Then go home and show tolerance at home. Bahrain certainly can't boast of a lot of tolerance domestically."


In Bahrain, the visit was widely condemned on social media under the hashtag Bahrain resists normalization. Al Jazeera quoted Basmah al-Qassab, a Bahraini blogger, as writing, "I believe the Zionist entity is an unjust occupier. The delegation's visit to occupied East Jerusalem is shameful and immoral and its claim that it represents the Bahraini people is unjust and insulting."


In a sense the trip is a follow up to a visit by the king's son, Nasser Bin Hamad al-Khalifa to the Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles in September to unveil

the king's "Declaration of Worldwide Religious Tolerance."


A spokesman for the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said at the time that the king is displaying warmth towards Jews and projecting himself as a statesman of religious tolerance in order to cover over rights abuses and persecution against Shiites.

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