Saudi journalist and businessman Hussein Shobakshi used his column in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat to condemn antisemitism in Islamic culture, as reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) this week.
Shobakshi wrote wrote that while Israel has its own extremists, citing racist rabbi Meir Kahane as well as Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Palestinians at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. "The intensity of the Jew-hatred disseminated by the media and by art, literature, and political cartoons [in the Arab world] has reached a degree that cannot be ignored," he added.
He asserted that "antisemitism in the Arab world is the product of loathsome, racist education that is rooted in the Arab mentality that is used to labeling people according to tribal, family, and racial affiliation, and according to the religious school to which they belong. It is this education that prompted thousands of Jews who were citizens of Arab countries to emigrate after the establishment of the State of Israel…"
Shobakshi continued that "we disregard all these very positive references [to Jews in Muslim literature] and present invented theories, interpretations, and motives that justify Jew-hatred..."
Israel is currently developing previously unthinkable diplomatic connections with Arab Gulf states. While these connections remain mostly under the table, there are occasionally open signs of a thaw between the countries, as when Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi in October 2018, the first official Israeli visit to the mosque.