What an inconceivable error! To write “Israel” on the map, putting its name in the right place, as that country actually existed! There is nothing left to do than to apologize for this disgusting distraction. And this is exactly what the Saudi MBC TV network did when hundreds of millions of viewers throughout the Arab world unleashed streams of insults on it.
As reported by Khaled Abu Toameh, a Palestinian journalist of the Gatestone Institute, two young Arab Israelis coming from villages in the north of the country, Manal Moussa, a 25 years-old girl, and Haitham Khalailah, 24, participated in the popular show “Arab Idol”, a sort of oversized San Remo Festival of the Islamic world. This is the first time that two Arab Israelis have participated in the show, and their names appeared, as also the names of the other contestants, on a map indicating their country of origin.
And where there is Israel they indeed had put Israel’s name on the map. Are we kidding? So, hundreds of thousands of people have immediately demanded to write Palestine instead of Israel. No sooner said than done, and many apologies for the “serious error”.
But, as hatred is a particularly tenacious feeling, a Twitter campaign entitled “Shut Down Arab Idol” has been launched. The network’s owners are “Zionist Arabs”, and now the MBC network refers to the two Israeli singers as “Palestinians”.
But a great number of studies on Israeli Arab citizens shows how they essentially do not want to be referred to like that. Israel’s democracy provides them with equal rights as for all of its citizens: education, social insurance, civil liberties, freedom of opinion, and sexual freedom, all of these not very popular in Saudi Arabia, in the territories under the Palestinian Authority, nor in the rest of the Arab world. Incidents like this one about “Arab Idol” prove that, when the Arab world sees Israel on a map, it desires more to erase it, rather than seeking peace with it.
This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (October 10, 2014)