September 18, 2020

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Draws Ire for ‘Filthy Zionist Agents’ Tweets Slamming UAE-Israel Deal

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei went on Twitter on 1 September to launch a verbal tirade against the historic accord reached between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel to establish diplomatic ties and exchange embassies in return for Israel putting on hold plans to extend additional sovereignty over areas of the West Bank.

© AFP 2020 / JACK GUEZ
Israeli and United Arab Emirates flags line a road in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya, on August 16, 2020.

Castigating the move as a “betrayal of the Islamic world and the Palestinians”, Ali Khamenei resorted to vivid rhetoric, claiming that the UAE was working in cahoots with “filthy Zionist agents”.

​Khamenei had earlier slammed the deal in a speech, adding that the Emiratis will be “disgraced forever for this treachery against the Islamic world, Arab nations and Palestine.”

“Of course, the UAE’s betrayal will not last long, but this stigma will always be remembered. They allowed the Zionist regime to have a foothold in the region and forgot Palestine,” Reuters quoted the Iranian leader as saying.

The Ayatollah’s comments came as a delegation comprising senior Israeli and US officials, including White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, a key architect of Trump’s Middle East policy, arrived in Abu Dhabi to finalise the agreement.

Khamenei referred to First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s husband, Donald Trump’s son-in-law as “the Jewish member of Trump’s family,” in a series of posts on his Twitter channel.

The tweets, which immediately caught flack for being perceived as “reactionary and anti-Semitic”, had indignant users questioning how the social media giant’s response fell in line with its guidelines on “hate speech”.

Donald Trump Jr. went on Twitter to voice his “disgust” with the social media giant’s inaction.

​US Senator Ted Cruz called out Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey for allowing “anti-American and anti-Semitic lies”.

​US Assistant Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism Ellie Cohanim tweeted that it was time for the platform to ban the “vile anti-Semite” from Twitter.

​Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Israeli politician serving as member of the Knesset for the Blue and White alliance, called out Twitter, questioning if the statements by the Iranian leader “violate your hate-speech policy.”

Sparks Fly in Wake of ‘Historic’ Deal

The US-Israeli delegation arrived in Abu Dhabi on 31 August, on board the first Israeli commercial plane to land in the UAE, led by White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, and including US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabba.

​In mid-August, Israel and UAE struck a US-mediated accord to establish full diplomatic ties as part of earlier conceived plans between the two countries to normalise relations.

After the deal was signed, UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a decree on abolishing the economic boycott of Israel and related penalties, thus allowing financial and commercial deals to be struck.

The deal makes the UAE the third Arab country to have open diplomatic ties to the country after Egypt in 1979, and Jordan in 1994.

The Palestinian Authority condemned the deal as an act of betrayal which they claim infringes on the long-term unofficial rule that there could be no diplomatic ties between Israel and Arab states without significant advancement in talks with the Palestinians.

The move, claim the Palestinians, would undermine their hopes of a viable future independent state.

A senior Palestinian leader, legislator, and scholar Hanan Ashrawi, tweeted his condemnation of the deal.

Iran’s foreign ministry deplored the “shameful” accord, according to state news agency IRNA.

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