Iraqi Columnist: It’s Time We Realized That Ties And Normalization With Israel Are Not Treason And That Iran Is The Real Enemy Of The Arabs

MESOP MIDEAST WATCH MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9922

In his March 26, 2022 column in the London-based Emirati daily Al-Arab, ‘Ali Al-Sarraf, an Iraqi journalist who resides in Britain, defended the move of the Arab states that have normalized their relations with Israel, and came out against those who accuse them of treason and of betraying the Palestinian cause. Al-Sarraf stated that the Arabs wasted decades sticking to a misguided position that rejects any ties with Israel, and that today even the Palestinians themselves recognize Israel and demand a state on the 1967 borders, alongside this country. He added that Iran, and not Israel, is the real enemy of the Arabs, and that, while Israel aspires to make peace with the Arabs, Iran wants only to sow destruction: it strives to export its Islamic revolution to the Arab world and is destabilizing the region with its militias and with murders and wars. Iran, Al-Sarraf stressed, has in fact committed more crimes towards them than any other enemy. He called on the Arabs to stop believing that any contact with Israel or with Jews is a crime or an act of treason, and to realize that dialogue with Israel can lead to understandings and interim solutions, whereas contact with Iran brings only harm.  

The following are translated excerpts from his article:

“‘Normalization’ is a term that has always had two implications. One is an automatic fear of every Israeli and even every Jew on the face of the earth, and the other is [the notion that] normalization involves treason, collaboration and similar criminal [actions]. The fear [associated with normalization] means that, if you have a Jewish neighbor and you greet him with ‘good morning,’ his answer of ‘good morning’ could mark you with the stain of normalization. This is the case even though there are Jews who have been more loyal to the Palestinian cause than some Palestinians…

“As for the accusation of treason [associated with normalization], it are based on the assumption  that anyone who even meets with an Israeli, for any reason whatsoever, has relinquished the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people. Moreover, [any such meeting is regarded] as a sign of lack of self-confidence… as though every meeting of this kind [i.e., with an Israeli] means recognition of Israel and an expression of one’s willingness to make concessions, even if one does not [actually] make them, because one harbors treasonous [inclinations] and a willingness to commit treason.

“For a long time, the Palestinian revolutionaries saw recognition of Israel as a reprehensible crime, but eventually they themselves recognized it. Furthermore, [the late Tunisian president] Habib Bourguiba was [called] traitor for urging the Palestinians to agree to a state on the 1967 borders, but [now] this reprehensible crime has become an unattainable [Palestinian] dream.”

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