Published — Saturday 2 February 2013
Last update 2 February 2013 5:27 am
Just a few days ago a Saudi woman columnist in the Asharq Al-Awsat wrote an article titled “Israel that we don’t know.” It was a very well balanced article. After reading it, I saw some tweets from what seemed to me clown-style tweets. This person was against publishing such an article even though it is clear that he didn’t read it. He just saw the title of the article and it was enough for him.
In the Arab world we don’t read and if we do, we don’t try to understand. But, what if the article was published in a Qatari newspaper? Would the same person criticize the article or the columnist? I don’t think so. For them, the Qatari Al Jazeera news channel is indisputable, but, the Saudi (Dubai-based) Alarabiya news channel is called the Hebrew news channel. I will not go into details about what they say about United Arab Emirates’ No. 1 policeman, Gen. Dhahi Khalfan. So, just let us talk about music.
How many Arab nationals had ever seen a Broadway show titled Fiddler on the Roof? I don’t know the answer, but, if one single Arab national was present in any of the performances, then the number would be 3,242 people. The show started in 1964 in New York City. The original script was written in Yiddish in 1894. I think Many Arabs should have watched the play. It would have reminded them of the Arab League with one difference.
The Arab League is taking care of 22 countries not five daughters like the play. In the play, there is the poor, rich and sharp-tongued. Like the play, the Arab world has the rich, poor and sharp-tongued. At that time if an Arab national was seen going to Broadway to watch Fiddler on the Roof, then he or she will be labeled as a Zionist and traitor of the Arab cause.
So, what would you call inviting an Israeli musician to an Arab capital to play music for an audience from all over the world including many Arabs and especially Qataris? And why watching a play written about a Jewish family 54 years before the creation of the state of Israel would make you a Zionist and traitor, but watching an Israeli pianist in an Arab capital would make you an Arab music lover? The answer is because the Israeli pianist performed in Doha, Qatar. So, the question now is why no one is calling Qataris Zionists or traitors? The answer is, Qatar is a cash machine with lots of money. So much money, they bought Harrods of London using their pocket change, gave Gaza Strip $ 400 millions and gave the Qatari-Egyptian Sheikh (Yusuf Al-Qaradawi) a blank check to deliver to the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar is untouchable.
Daniel Barenboim is a well-known Israeli composer and pianist who is of an Argentinean origin. He was invited to perform in Katara Cultural Village in Doha, Qatar. Katara Cultural Village is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in the Gulf area. It is a place where you can spend the whole day with your family and enjoy the scenery, waterfront and a wide variety of international cuisines. And don’t get me wrong, I think Qatar is free to decide whom to invite to the country.
As a matter of fact, I admire Qatar and I enjoy being there and I think Qatar progressed a lot and it is becoming one of the most advanced countries in the world. And they have one of the strongest economies with the highest per capita income in the world. What Qatar had done regarding the invitation of an Israeli pianist is going to be part of the Qatari future. Qatar is hosting many international events and has been chosen to host the FIFA World Cup in the 2022 if there is no upset decision. So, Qatar will have to open its doors to every nationality including the Israeli athletes, media and Israeli football federation members.
As for myself, an Arab, who is tired of wars in the region, loss of human lives and precious assets, I wish the Arab world were listening to the sound of music rather than the sound of guns in the many wars with the Israelis. And my views about the Arab-Israeli conflict are open and not hidden. I have written many articles about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
But, the Israeli pianist’s visit to Qatar had exposed many of the real faces of the so-called anti-Zionists in the Arab world. The performance of the Israeli pianist has exposed to the world that many in the Arab world are using the Palestinian suffering just to gain fame and become celebrities and that they have turned the Palestinian cause into a money-making machine.
There are voices, which were given space in the Qatari media to label any columnist who mentions Israel in his or her articles as Zionists, but, if Qatar receives Israelis with a red carpet, then the same type of twitter clowns look the other way. We saw them criticize every Saudi who wanted the best for the Palestinians and spoke honestly about the best way to end the Palestinians’ miseries. We heard these people say that Mahmood Abbas is a tool in the hands of the Israelis and he is working for them, but they are quiet about the intention of Hamas to talk to the Israelis about a two-state solution. They criticized Saudi columnists for writing articles about Israel, but they looked the other way when a member of the Muslim Brotherhood asked the Egyptian Jews to return to Egypt. Those same people denied any Iranian involvement with Hamas, but they looked the other way when Hamas leaders thanked the Iranians for their help.
In the Arab world you can gain fame and become a political star just by shouting loud and issuing as many threats against Israel as you can the same way we did in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s (talk is cheap). At the end of the day, the 22 Arab countries had won only one Nobel Prize in science.
We are simply a nation of tweeps not scientific labs.