For decades, Saudi Arabia — a territorially expansive nation and home to Islamic holy cities Mecca and Medina — represented a symbolic epicenter of the Arab world’s systemic anti-Zionism. That anti-Zionism dates back to the Arab world’s fateful rejection of the U.N. Partition Plan for Palestine in November 1947, and reached its zenith with the vile Khartoum Resolution in September 1967, decreed in the aftermath of Israel’s Six-Day War victory: “No peace [with Israel],” “no recognition” and “no negotiations.”
Yet in the year 2020, Saudi Arabia — along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Egypt and Morocco — seems to be more pro-Israel than the leading luminaries of the Democratic Party. We may come to this troublesome conclusion because of the various Democrat reactions to the Trump administration’s formal unveiling of its “Deal of the Century” plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Per the Saudi government’s official release, the kingdom “appreciates the efforts of President Trump’s administration to develop a comprehensive peace plan between the Palestinian and the Israeli sides, and encourages the start of direct peace negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.”
By contrast, the 2020 Democrats were dismissive. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the purported “moderate” in the party’s presidential primary field, decried the President’s plan as a “political stunt that could … set back peace even more.” Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), borrowing the same talking point, lamented that “Trump’s so-called ‘peace plan’ … will only perpetuate the conflict.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called it a “rubber stamp for annexation” that “offers no chance for a real Palestinian state.” Former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg dubbed it a “political green light for … unilateral annexation.”
The 2020 Democrats were joined across the pond by the loathsome Jeremy Corbyn. The iconic leftist and proud “friend” of jihadist outfits Hamas and Hezbollah excoriated Trump’s plan as a “travesty” that “lock[s] in illegal Israeli colonisation.”
The reality is that in the post-Iran nuclear-deal era — where “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” logic reigns supreme — the Sunni stalwarts of the Islamic world have all but abandoned their traditional role as the patrons of and international community provocateurs on behalf of the Palestinian cause. The thawing of relations between Israel and the Sunni Arab world has seeped from the realm of the surreptitious into the realm of the highly visible.
“Realpolitik” now is the name of the game in the Middle East, and non-Islamist Arab rulers soberly recognize Israel’s utility in countering the Islamic Republic of Iran’s hegemonic ambitions and harrowing pursuit of a nuclear arsenal. The Palestinian cause − always just a hobbyhorse to which an Arab leader could point and distract his restive populace − necessarily takes a back seat to the more important goal of regime survival.
Thus, the Arab world finally has tired of the decades of Palestinian intransigence and rejectionism. We have come a very long way from 1967 in Khartoum; the Sunni Arab states want to resolve the nagging Palestinian issue once and for all.
But the American and European left will not let them do so. Leftists in both Europe and the United States, beholden to the same ruinous worldview of intersectionality, identity politics and grievance mongering, officially have replaced the Arab world as the leading cheerleaders of the Palestinian cause. That cause plays well for leftists’ “woke” political base, which views Zionism as synonymous with extraterritorial European colonialism and considers the quest for Palestinian statehood the quintessence of justice.
This is no doubt unfortunate, but it is where we are. The only outstanding question is whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman will attend an AIPAC Policy Conference before a Democratic presidential candidate does so.
Josh Hammer is editor-at-large of The Daily Wire and of counsel at First Liberty Institute.