As we followed the various Arab and international events occurring over these past few days, two news items published by some Arab media caught our attention but were completely ignored by the media of the normalised countries. The two news reports may seem small, but we see them as very important.
The first piece of news is that Egypt released the Palestinian political activist, Rami Shaath, son of the well-known leader Nabil Shaath, after about 900 days in prison. He was released after being forced to give up his Egyptian citizenship, which he legally obtained because his mother is Egyptian. When he reached France, the Palestinian activist stated that he was accused of belonging to a "terrorist group" because of his membership in the BDS movement, which is active in many countries of the world!
As for the second piece of news, it was the response of many Australian artists to the call of the global BDS movement, and 20 cultural works that were scheduled to participate in an international festival in the Australian capital, Sydney, starting from 13 January, pulled out in protest against the Israeli embassy in Sydney funding a dance performance to participate in the festivals. Those who withdrew described Israel as an "oppressive settler-colony" and said that they withdrew in support of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinians' right to "sovereignty and liberation," according to Israel's Times of Israel. The newspaper also quoted a tweet by local comedian, Tom Ballard, in which he said, "I love the festival and sharing jokes, but standing against the apartheid regime is more important" and a tweet by singer, Marcus Whale, who said the Israeli embassy "collaborates with Western cultural institutions to paint Israel as a liberal democracy on one hand, while enforcing brutal occupation and apartheid with the other. No more."
It is a strange irony, indeed, as while the movement boycotting the criminal Israeli state is growing in the countries of the world and we hear every day about international celebrities calling for a boycott of the apartheid regime, the normalisation countries are moving to abandoning the isolation of the occupation and criminalising the BDS movement in their countries, considering it a "terrorist organisation" and persecuting those associated with it.
About a month ago, Israel organised the Miss Universe pageant and the South African contestant announced her boycott of it in protest against the racism of this state, its crimes against the Palestinians and depriving them of their most basic rights. Other countries' contestants followed suit and withdrew, but Miss Morocco insisted on participating, and the electronic flies praised her "historic participation".
Many countries of the world are now boycotting Israeli products coming from West Bank settlements, as they are an occupied area in accordance with a well-known UN resolution but, as of a few months ago, the UAE has allowed for the import of wine produced in settlements. It also signed an agreement with Israel to implement joint economic projects worth $11 billion. The occupation also boasted, a few days ago, that it imported aluminium from Bahrain, while Jordan signed an agreement years ago with the occupation to import stolen Palestinian gas. However, all of the angry popular demonstrations failed to thwart the agreement.
In light of this gloomy Arab situation, free people appear every day in this world to call out loud for boycotting Israel through the BDS movement, which expands daily in all parts of the world and haunts the Zionists. These free people do not hesitate to challenge the occupation and expose its oppressive and racist actions against the Palestinians, without fear of being accused of "anti-Semitism" and restricting them in various ways. A few days ago, Harry Potter star, Emma Watson, posted a picture on Instagram showing pro-Palestinian activists holding a banner saying, "Solidarity is a Verb". Every day, someone appears to voice the truth, support the helpless, and condemn the Israeli gangs and their crimes, except for the Arab governments that are rushing to Israel's side, not being content with selling its "top cause" for cheap. They have now become supporters of the Zionists, cooperating with them on the security and intelligence level, allying with them militarily, signing mutual defence agreements with them, criminalising support for the Palestinians in any form, and ordering their electronic flies to demonise them.
May God protect you, O mighty nation.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Echorouk Online on 11 January 2022
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.