Saudi Crown Prince set to meet with American Jewish leaders
BANDAR AL-JALOUD (Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is set to meet with American-Jewish leaders as part of his two-week trip to the United States, Jewish Insider reported on Wednesday.
Organizations said to be in attendance include the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby, the Conference of Presidents, Jewish Federations of North America, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), AJC and B'nai B'rith, according to a US geopolitical intelligence platform Stratfor.
On the agenda, according to the Jewish Insider, is the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Saudi Arabia’s rivalry with its arch-foe Iran, and the Kingdom’s approach to anti-Semitism.
Arriving in the US last week, the Crown Prince, also referred to as ‘MBS’, received an effusive at the White House Tuesday from President Donald Trump who hailed a “great friendship” with the kingdom.
Discussions were also held with the special envoy for the Middle East peace process Jason Greenblatt as well as with Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Both officials were hosted by the Crown Prince at the end of 2017.
MBS has previously demonstrated support for the US’s efforts in reigniting the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, rhetoric set to draw a warm reaction from American Jewish leaders. According to information revealed in an recent i24NEWS interview with two of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s advisor’s, the Crown Prince apparently urged Abbas to accept the peace deal.
Kushner is said to have a close relationship with MBS, and according to Haaretz, communicates with him directly by WhatsApp. On Thursday, he denied reports that he had bragged about Kushner being “in his pocket” in reference to their meeting last October.
During his time in Washington, MBS held meetings with notable think tanks. Speaking at a Brookings Institution event, Saudi Foreign Minister Abdel al-Jubeir mentioned the “commonality of interests” Israel and Saudi Arabia regarding Iran. However, he was quick to add that this “does not mean we have to have diplomatic relations.”
Israel and Saudi Arabia have never had diplomatic ties and Riyadh has long been in unison with the rest of the Middle East in hewing closely with the Palestinian cause, a cornerstone of Arab solidarity.
Yet shared anger at the 2015 Iranian nuclear accord has chipped away at their historic animosity and their
Israel’s Defense Force Chief of Staff, Gadi Eizenkot previously said that there is “complete consensus” between Israel and Saudi Arabia on the issue of their mutual arch-rival and added that Jerusalem is ready to share intelligence.
Rumours also circulated that a senior Saudi prince had made a diplomatic trip to Israel to meet with officials.
Last week, Air India launched is first scheduled service to Israel crossing Saudi airspace, a further sign of behind-the-scenes improvement in ties between the Arab Kingdom and the Jewish State.
After his visit to Washington, MBS will embark on a nationwide tour, visiting New York, Boston, oil hub Houston, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley. He is expected to remain in the United States through the first week of April.
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