The anti-Israel BDS (Boycott-Divest-Sanction) movement attracts noisy support on American campuses. It has managed to shout down, or keep from being invited to appear in the first place, pro-Israel speakers. Its victories consist mainly in limiting free speech. So far, however, it has had no discernible effect on the Israeli economy, which goes from strength to strength, with news almost every week of a major American company establishing a branch in Israel, to take advantage of Israel’s deep bench in high tech, and news, too, of another Israeli startup being bought for billions by American investors. And now we see deep-pocketed Arab investors from the United Arab Emirates arriving to make deals with Israelis, paying not the slightest attention to the raucous demands of BDS to “boycott, divest, and sanction” the Jewish state. Instead, every other day we learn of Emiratis — Arabs, Muslims — investing in the Jewish state.
The latest news, about a major American oil company, Chevron, buying Noble Energy, which discovered and has been producing natural gas deposits from the huge Leviathan and Tamar gas fields that it discovered in Israel’s territorial waters, and the significance of that purchase, are reported here:
For many decades, one of the givens in the discussion about the Arab world’s war on Israel was the role that the American and international oil industry played as a supporter of the Arab war on Zionism. One of the most important factors in sustaining the hostility of the foreign-policy establishment to Israel was the enormous influence of the huge oil companies that viewed the US relationship with Israel as a threat to their ability to do business in the Middle East. The notion of any of those corporations doing business in Israel was unthinkable since they were among the primary enablers of the Arab boycott of the Jewish state….
Big Oil was for decades a lobbyist in Washington for the Arabs, mainly in promoting arms sales to the Arabs, and in opposing measures deemed by the Arabs as too pro-Israel. The oil companies were particularly important in pushing Congress to approve the sales to Saudi Arabia. None of this was surprising; the big oil companies that were supplied with oil by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states, naturally wished to curry political favor with those Arabs in order to safeguard, and promote, their own economic interests.
If the economic muscle behind the Arab world’s long campaign to treat Israel as a pariah state has not only given up that fight, but is making a massive investment in that country’s future, then where does that leave a movement that still imagines that its anti-Semitic propaganda will erase the Zionist experiment?…
That “massive investment” in Israel’s future is being made right now by the Emirates and, to a much smaller extent, by Bahrain. But even Saudi Arabia, that has yet to follow suit in normalizing relations with the Jewish state, has signaled a new policy toward Israel. It refused to criticize the UAE’s normalization of relations with Israel. It tellingly gave the go-ahead for Bahrain, which would not have dared to make such a move without Saudi consent, to follow the UAE example and normalize its own relations with the Jewish state. same. Riyadh has opened Saudi airspace to Israeli planes. And the Saudi royals ordered the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Abdulrahman al-Sudais, to deliver a sermon, broadcast on Saudi state television on Sept. 5, that stressed Muhammad’s friendship with Jews.
Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is known to favor closer ties with Israel, and when he inherits the kingdom — his father, King Salman, is 85 — is likely to press for normalization with the Jewish state, a move which King Salman still opposes unless Israel first accepts the 2002 Arab Peace Plan that requires Israel to be squeezed back within the 1949 armistice lines. As Israel has made clear, that will never happen. And unlike his father, Muhammad bin Salman doesn’t appear to mind. He wants Israel, as his ally against Iran, to remain strong, and not with a nine-mile waist at Qalqilya, inviting aggression from the east, which is what the 1949 armistice lines would require.
But Chevron also sees a golden opportunity in the Eastern Mediterranean as vast new fields of cheap energy under the seabed are still waiting to be tapped. As The New York Times recently reported, natural gas from new energy suppliers like Israel has become much more marketable because of concerns about climate change in which it is somehow viewed as less of a problem than oil….
Natural gas is indeed the cleanest-burning conventional fuel, producing lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than the heavier hydrocarbon fuels, like coal and oil. It’s a transition fuel, as the world attempts to move from the age of oil to the age of renewable energy.
Israel has gone from being a huge importer of fuel to a huge exporter of natural gas to Egypt and Jordan, thanks to its undersea natural-gas fields. And this remarkable change in its energy profile took place in just the last decade.
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