Photo Credit: Chris Price via Flickr
Downtown Manama, Bahrain

by Baruch Yedid

The presence of Israeli journalists at the ‘Peace to Prosperity’ economic workshop in Manama, Bahrain, has generated much anger in the Arab world.

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Selfies taken by Israelis in front of the offices of the “Bahraini Society against the Normalization with the Zionist Enemy” in the capital have become the focus of heated discussions on social media. The photos at this specific site are perceived as a provocation.

Photos of Israeli journalists at various venues in Manama have also received violent responses.

Users on social media view the photos as an affront, made by Israelis who are taking advantage of the generous hospitality they are receiving in Bahrain, “sticking a finger in the eyes of the Arabs.”

One user pointed out that the backlash on social media proved that while the Arab states are weak, “the Arab people still remain strong and therefore push back against any normalization attempts with Israel.”

Another surfer wrote that the normalization between Israel and Arabs will always be limited to “empty agreements” and “there is no chance that the Arabs will accept Israel as part of the Middle East.”

Yet a third commented on a photo of journalist Barak Ravid drinking a Lebanese-produced beer in a Bahraini hotel “as evidence of a new Middle East.”

Addressing the Israelis, he wrote that “your presence in the Middle East will always remain a dream and you will forever remain in fear.”

Bahrain’s announcement that it will allow a limited number of Israeli journalists into the country has elicited broad condemnation on social media in the Arab world. The rage was about the mere recognition of Israel as an entity.

Arab news outlets covering the summit in Bahrain related to Israeli journalists as “Zionists” while using slurs to mock them.

The opposition to the workshop in the Palestinian Authority (PA) is fierce and employed racist and anti-Semitic motifs.

The campaigns use swastikas printed on President Donald Trump’s face. In others, he appears as a devil.

Hamas has printed numerous posters protesting the event and used Nazi and anti-Semitic themes.

Protesters in Gaza marched with Trump’s portrait, set it on fire and shot at it.

Some marched with posters bearing a caricature of a hook-nosed and bearded Jew facing an old and apparently scared man, symbolizing the local Arabs, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda.

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