How’s this for jaw-dropping hypocrisy?
The JTA reports:
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States rejected recognizing Israel as a Jewish state “There are 1.5 million civilians in Israel who do not define themselves as Jewish,” Adel al-Jubeir told reporters at the U.S.-convened Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Annapolis, Md. “We do not believe states should define themselves according to religion or ethnicity.”
Yeah, Saudi Arabia — where a gang-rape victim was just sentenced to be lashed for “adultery” under a particularly backwards reading of Shariah law — isn’t a religious state at all. And, as far as the ethnicity bit goes, maybe we should refuse to call it “Arabia.”
Incidentally, it is true that neither ethnicity nor religion — while certainly central to the Saudi state — is Saudi Arabia’s single most defining characteristic. Instead, the defining fact of Saudi statehood would actually be that a single family — the House of Saud — sort of owns the entire country. Imagine if the Israeli ambassador had retorted: We don’t think that states should define themselves according to the principles of absolute monarchy or oligarchy. But, thankfully, even Israeli diplomats are too polite to say something like that at a peace summit.