The World Cup has exposed the bankruptcy of the Abraham Accords

The World Cup in Qatar has pierced the illusion that the Abraham Accords are anything more than agreements between an apartheid state and brutal dictatorships

A Free Palestine banner held during the FIFA World Cup, 26 November 2022

Mitchell Plitnick writes in Mondoweiss:

In early October, the New York Times published a breathless article about the whirlwind romance between a Hasidic rabbi and his eventual wife. The rabbi lives in the United Arab Emirates, where their wedding was held. The wedding, in typical Hasidic tradition, was large, with many guests. Several of those guests were from the elite class of the Emirati community, according to the article.

The story was framed as demonstrating the success of the Abraham Accords, the agreement brokered by Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, that normalized relations between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and, in a more qualified fashion, Sudan. The Accords represent the idea that Israel can find normal relations with the Arab world, and especially the wealthy Persian Gulf autocracies led by Saudi Arabia, without dismantling their apartheid system or recognizing the human, civil, and national rights of Palestinians at all.

Now well into their third year, the effort to maintain the illusion that the Abraham Accords are anything other than a military and trade agreement between an apartheid state and brutal dictatorships in the Gulf is facing serious obstacles. Nowhere has this been more evident than in Qatar, during the World Cup.

Israeli football fans and journalists seemed surprised to find that the Arab fans and workers in Qatar were not welcoming them with open arms. Palestinian flags were in evidence, something new at the World Cup which had, in the past, frowned or even blocked such displays, pretending to a veneer of apoliticism. But more than that, Israelis reported a hostile atmosphere in Qatar.

Israeli journalists who could not or chose not to hide their nationality reported being asked to leave taxis and restaurants, encountering hostility, and having difficulty finding people who would talk to them. Israeli tourists and fans often lied about their nationality. There were no reports of any violence or threatening behavior, but Israelis, for the most part, said they felt unwelcome and uncomfortable.

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