By: Mohammad Javdan

California University Professor: even those who might be opposed to such relations will not dare to

May 21, 2021 - 14:5

Sasan Fayazmanesh, a professor of economics and the director of the Middle East (West Asia) studies Program in California State University, believes that just like Israel, many Arab regimes are also the creatures of western imperialism and it’s not hard to expect that such countries become close to each other.

“The close relations between Israel and some Arab countries, such as UAE and Saudi Arabia, have been in existence for a long time. It is only lately that these relations are coming into the open and being formalized […] those who might be opposed to such relations will not dare to express their opinions, given the repercussion that they might face”, Fayazmanesh tells in an interview with the Tehran Times.

Calling Israel “an apartheid regime”, Fayazmanesh hopes progressive Jewish and Palestinian groups outside Palestine would be successful in taking effective political actions against it, such as advocating Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: Today, more than 70 years after Israel's occupation of Palestine, the Islamic world has yet to take concrete steps to fight this occupation. What are the reasons for this, as well as the Islamic world's divergence toward Israel?

A: I am afraid to say that I do not see colonialism through the lens of religion. Thus, for example, I do not see the European invasion of the New World, and the genocidal wars against the native population, as an extension of Christianity, even though Christianity was

"Many Arab regimes, particularly those around the Persian Gulf, are themselves creatures of Western imperialism and their survival depends on the support of American and European powers. Israel is also a creature of such powers. It is therefore not too hard to expect that such countries become close to each other. used as an excuse to colonize the Americas. Similarly, I don’t see the occupation of Palestine as an extension of Judaism, and the resistance to it as an extension of Islam. Judaism as a religion was used to concoct a colonial ideology called Zionism to occupy Palestine. And most Palestinians, but not all, happen to be Muslims; but that is not why they were colonized. How and why they were colonized requires looking at the history of Zionism, which is beyond this interview. Moreover, I do not believe that the abstract notion of “Islamic world” would render itself useful to this analysis. A Muslim living in Indonesia is not the same as one residing in Iran, Kenya or Saudi Arabia. The attitude of all these people, even within a country such as Iran, toward the plight of the Palestinians differs. Thus, it would be meaningless to talk about the Islamic world’s response to the occupation of Palestine and expect a uniform reaction.

Q: We have seen in recent years that some Arab countries have been lenient with Israel. What is the reason for this closeness?

A: Many Arab regimes, particularly those around the Persian Gulf, are themselves creatures of Western imperialism and their survival depends on the support of American and European powers. Israel is also a creature of such powers. It is therefore not too hard to expect that such countries become close to each other, particularly when their interests coincide. 

Q: The normalization of relations between certain Arab countries and Israel is regarded as a critical and problem in the Islamic world today. What is the explanation for this normalization at a time when Israelis are putting the most pressure on Palestinians and violating their rights?

A: As mentioned above, the interests of Arab regimes and Israel are becoming more and more aligned. One reason for this alignment, of course, is that they see Iran and its relationship with such groups as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis as common threats. 

Q: The normalization of relations between certain Arab rulers in the region and Israel is happening despite the disagreements in public opinion and Muslim communities. How can the rulers of the countries that follow this practice justify their public opinion?

A: Unfortunately, many countries with mostly Muslim population are dictatorial and it is hard to gauge their public opinion. So, we do not know much about the way that most of the people in these countries think. Some are probably concerned with the plight of the Palestinians and oppose the congenial relations that their rulers have developed with the apartheid regime in Palestine. But given dictatorial rulers, they cannot express their opinions. 

Q: What will be the long-term impact of normalizing relations with Israel on public opinion and their relationship with their rulers for the region?

A: The close relations between Israel and some Arab countries, such as UAE and Saudi Arabia, have been in existence for a long time. It is only lately that these relations are coming into the open and being formalized. I am certain that most people in such countries have known about the existence of these relations. Formalizing them will make very little difference as far as the public is concerned. As mentioned above, even those who might be opposed to such relations will not dare to express their opinions, given the repercussion that they might face. 

I am left with little hope for the future of Palestine. Beside the emergence of a more effective, intelligent, and capable Palestinian leadership, I hope various groups in the West, led by progressive Jewish and Palestinian people, will be successful in advancing political awareness about the nature of the apartheid regime and in taking effective political actions against it, such as advocating Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.



 

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