Ansarullah slams Saudi Arabia, UAE for using television programs to promote Israel
The leader of Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement has slammed Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for using certain television programs to promote relations with Israel and demean the Palestinian struggle against occupation.
“Those who are directly coordinated with Israel, or through intermediaries allied with Israel, are partners in their crime,” Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi said in a speech on Thursday, according to Yemen’s al-Masirah television network.
Al-Houthi added that colluding in crimes committed by the Israeli regime was amongst “the most dangerous” of acts.
“The evils committed by the Zionists are most significant. This is because the scope of their crimes extends to all of humanity given the large scope of Zionist influence over major countries,” he said.
“People have to avoid providing any assistance to Israel, the United States or their supporters,” al-Houthi added.
Riyadh’s pro-Israel programming
Al-Houthi’s remarks come in response to the airing of a string of media productions by certain Persian Gulf countries promoting ties with Israel.
The new “Umm Haroun” television series is one of such programs produced by the Dubai-based Saudi-owned Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC).
The series directed by Egypt’s Ahmed Gamal el-Adl in the United Arab Emirates stars a Kuwaiti actress who plays the role of a Jewish midwife of Turkish origin living in the Persian Gulf country before settling in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Hebrew-language outlet N12 reported on Sunday that many believe Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is involved in the series as he is interested in closer relations between the kingdom and Israel.
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas in Gaza denounced the TV series as a “political and cultural attempt to introduce the Zionist project to Persian Gulf society.”
Critics regard the show as an invitation to normalized ties with Israel. The show has consequentially provoked a storm in the Arab world.
The airing of the series has taken place as Riyadh, along with certain other Persian Gulf states such as the UAE, have moved to embrace relations with the Israeli regime, specifically in the past year.
Numerous Israeli delegations have consequently visited certain Persian Gulf states in recent months. Arab delegations from Persian Gulf states have also visited Israel.
No Arab country has formal relations with the Israeli regime, with the exception of Jordan and Egypt.
“Exit 7”: Yet another pro-Israel production
The “Umm Haroun” series is not the only MBC production seeking to promote ties with Israel to the Arab public.
“Exit 7” is another series currently being aired by the Saudi company.
According to the Asia Times, the program seeks to promote various western values alongside breaking taboos regarding Israel.
Characters in the series promote “doing business with Israel” and argue against Saudi aid being sent to Palestine.
The program also disseminates blatantly anti-Palestinian themes, such as claiming that Palestinians “attack Saudi Arabia” whenever an opportunity arises.
Characters in the series also seek to legitimize Israeli occupation of Palestinian land by claiming that Palestinians “sold their land” to Jewish settlers.
Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, has disseminated similar claims of Palestinians selling their lands to Jewish settler to legitimize its ties with the Israeli regime.
According to Persian Gulf states analyst Nabeel Nowairah, MBC’s pro-Israel themes clearly “came from the high levels of the government”.
“You cannot talk about these things unless they’re approved by some agency or another. So it has the blessing of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in some way,” he said.
The Arab-Israeli attempts to normalize ties come as Tel Aviv and Washington have stepped up attempts to legitimize Israeli occupation as part of US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” initiative unveiled earlier this year.
Al-Houthi’s remarks on Thursday also come as Tel Aviv has mulled military intervention against Sana’a following the failure of the Saudi war on Yemen seeking to crush the popular Ansarullah, according to reports.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring the country’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and defeat Ansarullah.
The Saudi-led attempt has, however, been brought to a standstill by the Yemeni resistance.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.
The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.
Riyadh makes inroads into Hollywood
The push to normalize ties with Israel comes as bin Salman has also sought to greatly westernize the kingdom ever since being appointed crown prince in 2017.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, many major US entertainment brands are bracing themselves for large Saudi investment opportunities in the near future.
Last month, Saudi Arabia disclosed to have bought a 5.7 percent stake in the American events operator Live Nation.
According to the report, Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund has also specifically made an offer to buy the Warner Music Group, one of the three major music moguls in the US.
Many major Hollywood stars have also visited and performed in the oil-rich kingdom in the last year.
The report highlighted that Hollywood companies seeks to overlook the brutal murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi under the orders of the Saudi state in 2018 – which caused major international uproar – as they step up cooperation with the Saudi regime.