Israel uses cultural influence on Arab partners as a leverage for future political pressure. LGBT incitement is a recent example.
The Abraham accord facilitated a range of political and economic ties between Israel and its Arab partners. The reports, however, failed to focus the attentions on the societal and cultural aspects of the accords.
Partnership on these spheres is not a part of the trump-brokered normalization treaties. Nevertheless, Israel hopes to put its cultural influence on Arab countries like UAE and Sudan.
Analysts believe that cultural influence is an efficient strategy to increase the pressure on local communities.
Israel’s partnership with Arab countries realized under certain economic and political incentives provided by the United States. Given the basic political and ideological rifts between the two sides, there is always a possibility of cut in ties.
Israel’s employment of cultural influence may be viewed on that large scale. Changing the societal and cultural peculiarities of a nation might be the preliminary stage for putting pressure on its politics.
In a most recent example of such cultural influence activities, Israeli Minister of Culture and Sports explicitly wished to intervene in local affairs of UAE.
Attending in the performance of an opera called “The Mothers” in Tel Aviv Opera House, Hailey Trooper talked with reporters about LGBT communities in Israel. Trooper used the pretext to talk about the normalization process and the countries involved in it.
The culture minister voiced support for LGBT community and expressed his wish to support these communities outside Israel. Hailey Trooper openly said he means to use the Abraham accord as a tool to put pressure on Arab countries.
The Israeli official is working to use the deal as a cultural influence tool to put pressure on the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco to ease pressure on homosexuals in these countries.
“I believe that one of our goals or may I say duties is to try to let these governments to realize that women and the LGBTQ communities have the right to live like others and they should never be prosecuted,” Trooper said.
For more reinforcement, he added that Israeli Foreign Minister ordered to raise the flag of gay pride for the first time. Foreign Ministry headquarters has seen the flag since Monday on the occasion of LGBT pride month.
“The Foreign Ministry and its employees are leading a message of tolerance, brotherhood and freedom,” Yair Lapid said in a tweet.
The remarks by Culture minister are true indication of Israeli plan for exerting cultural influence on their new partners. Such societal interventions are not unprecedented in regional movements of the Middle East. Countries like Afghanistan and Iraq have been the victim of such cultural influence projects by the United States.
Lapid leaves Italy for the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday. According to some sources, he will be accompanied on this trip by Jerry Levinson, one of the founders of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance.
Levinson runs a lesbian and gay activist organization that aims to provide direct services to the LGBT community inside Israel. His presence in the visit to UAE sends a clear message to the people inside UAE and other Arab partners.
Already familiar with the religious and societal uptake of Muslim and Arabs about Homosexuality, such moves have no motivation other than using a cultural influence on local communities as a leverage in critical conditions.
Arab rulers must take these moves as scandals against local culture. They must show tenacity in the face of such attempts to put cultural influence. Otherwise, cultural and social disintegration on the one side, and political turmoil, on the other, will be the result.