King Abdullah, the Jane Addams of Saudi Arabia

By now, you have read and heard the the official American media “take” on the late King Abdullah was that he was a “moderate reformer” who sought to “open up” the Saudi Kingdom to Western values and practices. Kind of like the famed Chicago Reformer Jane Addams he sought to improve the social conditions of his people  but alas, circumstances did not give this benevolent monarch the necessary time to fully develop his progressive views.

King Abdullah was a vicious despot who brutalized, murdered, and imprisoned all who dissented from his absolute rule. Like the rest of the “House of Saud” he appropriated the wealth of the nation for himself and his extended family while treating the non-Saudi population in his country like dogs. Women were (and are) second class citizens and non-Saudi women who have the misfortune to live in that nation are treated even worse.

The New York Times published today the famous photo of Abdullah walking hand in hand with Bush, while “Prince” Bandar speaks to Condi Rice. Anyone who knows anything about the real Saudi Arabia knows that in that country, a woman of African descent who dared to speak to a Saudi Prince would be in danger of having her tongue removed.

The Saudis were, and continue to be financial backers of terror all around the world. They do this for the same reason that candy store owners pay the Mob-to keep the vandals away from them. One day, historians will wonder why, when the majority of 9/11 attackers were Saudi, we attacked the enemy of the Saudis, the Iraqis. To this day, if you recall, the report that discusses the Saudi role in 9/11 is classified. Saudi members of the “Royal” family were allowed to fly home after 9/11, while all Americans were grounded.

If I sound bitter, it is because I am.  The failure of the media and of others to explore the reality of the Saudi family, their support of terror and brutality, and their complex ties with the highest levels of the political elite in our country is a true moral failing. I will not miss “King” Abdullah, neither him, nor his noxious, repressive reign.

About the Author
Rabbi Douglas Sagal has served as the Rabbi of Beth Shalom in Connecticut, KAM Isaiah Israel in Chicago, and is now Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, NJ, the largest congregation in the state. He studied at Wesleyan University, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and Yale Divinity School.
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