Diplomacy

Israel’s Foreign Ministry Receives Messages of Support From Thousands of Iraqis

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has received thousands of messages from Iraq in support of Israel in the wake of the Temple Mount crisis triggered by a terrorist attack, with Iraqis saying they “recognize the State of Israel” and reject Palestinian terrorism.

Reactions include criticism of “the hypocrisy of the Arab peoples,” especially Egyptians and Jordanians, as their countries have signed peace treaties with Israel and yet incited violence with their support for Palestinian rioting over the installment of metal detectors on Temple Mount, Ynet reported.

Abdullah Bassem from Baghdad wrote, “A message from Baghdad to Tel Aviv: We recognize the State of Israel—the chosen and the victorious people. Fakestinians (a derogatory term for Palestinians) are traitors and terrorists.” He added that “We, as Iraqis, will be happy to visit Israel and welcome a visit by Israelis to their second homeland, the great nation of Iraq.”

Iraqis also explained that the existence of the state of Israel is a political reality and opposing it a waste of energy and resources. Rather, they would like to see a normalization between the two countries, which would replace killing and bloodshed with a mutually beneficially relationship.

“The Iraqis have suffered for years, while the Israelis have been refusing to accept terrorism for decades. The Palestinians must be expelled to countries that adopt and teach death and destruction,” Bader from Basra wrote.

The Foreign Ministry’s digital staff replied to him, saying, “We share your courageous view and know that you have suffered. We are in the same boat as far as terrorism is concerned and hope that Iraq’s sons will enjoy security.” But they also made clear Israel’s desire to coexist peacefully with the Palestinians. “As for your advice, we will never expel anyone, because we are all from the same region and there is no escape from living together. We believe in peace in the region,” they added.

Yonatan Gonen, head of Arabic-language digital diplomacy at the Foreign Ministry, said that the ministry has been flooded with pictures and messages of support. Iraqis have also opened new pages and websites to promote bilateral relations between Israel and Iraq.

The operators of the Facebook group “Iraq with Israel” wrote in a statement that “First and foremost, we firmly condemn all terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians,” adding that “As a country that has suffered and is still suffering from terrorism, we are aware of the great pain these attacks cause. Despite the tangible risk to us in managing this campaign, thousands of Iraqi citizens have joined it so far.”

Two years ago, Al Monitor reported on a trend that youth from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, and other countries were expressing support for Israel on a Facebook group. (The group appears to no longer be active or has been made private.)

“I want to send a message of peace and love to the dear Israeli people,” a young Iraqi man posted. “I decided to shoot this video and tell you, ‘True, we are two countries that do not have friendly relations, but that doesn’t matter. I believe that the number of people who support Israel here will grow consistently.’”

Social media has long been used to establish ties with people living in countries that do not recognize the state of Israel. In August 2013, Israel’s Foreign Ministry held a virtual meeting with residents of Persian Gulf states, engaging them in a Twitter chat on the “official channel of the virtual Israeli embassy to GCC countries.”

[Photo: צה”ל بستاهل / Facebook ]