Qatari youth against normalization of ties with Israel
The growing relations between Qatar and Israel are common knowledge by now. These ties have become stronger and have taken different forms in political, trade, sports and cultural areas. However, the Qataris, particularly the educated youth, are vehemently against any kind of complete normalization of relations with the Zionist entity.
Sections of Qatari society recently launched their own group, “Qatari Youth against Normalization,” which categorically rejects all forms of normalization with Israel. A member of the group, Rashid Al-Rumaihi, said in a television interview that, though this group is not recognized by the Qatari regime, it has the popular support of the Qatari street. The group’s website describes itself as an informal youth group working to monitor normalization attempts in Arab countries and ways to resist them. It works within the goals of the Movement of Boycotting Israel and calls for withdrawal of all investments from the Zionist entity and seeks sanctions against it.
Although the group was active in some way for nearly seven years in support of the Palestinian cause, it did not directly clash with the Qatari regime. But the group’s recent movement may prompt the Qatari regime to act against it due to its strong voice against normalization with Israel.
The Qatari youth have responded strongly to efforts to bring Doha’s normalization propaganda to universities. On March 5, the Qatar Foundation hosted Zionist Professor Alan Dorchovitz, who spoke strongly in favor of the Israeli occupation and the army’s atrocities against the Palestinian people, including women and children. He never hid the fact that he was a Zionist. In fact, he was very proud of it, as he himself demonstrated in his lecture at the Northwestern University in Qatar. The lecture was severely criticized by the Qatari youth, who have shown they will not follow the path of the regime. A number of Qatari youth walked out of the lecture, raising the Palestinian flag, clearly indicating that they were against normalization. They chanted “Zionists are not welcomed in Qatar.”
The Qatari youth have also issued a strongly worded statement through social media criticizing the normalization efforts of the Qatari regime. They strongly condemned the hosting of a Zionist in Qatari universities in the name of freedom of expression. The youth said, “We reject all forms of cultural and academic normalization with the Israeli occupiers and all its supporters.”
Israeli academic institutions have consistently used their resources to suppress the Palestinian people. They are also involved in creating an apartheid system in educational institutions that restricted the Palestinians. The Qatari youth, in their statement wrote, “Giving the Zionists platforms for expression is completely rejected. The state sponsors speeches of hatred.”
“Do not desecrate Qatar with normalization” is the slogan raised by Qatari youth to express their views, mainly online, since it is against Qatari law to hold public gatherings of more than five people, drawing punishments ranging between one and two years.
Qatari Twitterati Hany Al-Kharraz expressed concern over the accelerating pace of normalization with Israel. "In just one month, Israeli teams take part in a school championship under the auspices of the Qatari Olympic Committee; Al-Jazeera hosts a Zionist officer in its Opposite Direction program; and the Northwestern University in Qatar hosts Zionist Professor Alan Dorchovitz. This accelerating pace of normalization is disgusting."
Dr. Ghanem Fahid Al-Hajry tweeted, "We accused Saudi Arabia of normalization through our media, but we have discovered that our government is well down the road to normalization. The accusation against the Kingdom was just a red herring."