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Hanukkah celebration highlights Bahrain, Israel ties: Analyst

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah

Bahrain has come under criticism from judicial activists for hosting an Israeli celebration in the capital Manama. The activists have called on the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry to punish its members, who took part in the Hanukkah ceremony, and to make them apologize for their participation in the event. The ceremony, which was held on Saturday, was also reportedly attended by members of the country’s small Jewish population, foreign businessmen and local Bahrainis.

Press TV has spoken to Scott Rickard, political analyst and former American intelligence linguist, as well as Maxine Dovere, journalist and political commentator, to discuss the issue.

Rickard believes the political relationship between Bahrain, the United States and Israel, alongside the intelligence ties, is a fact worthy of attention in the Hanukkah event which was held in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom. 

He also noted the Al Khalifah regime does not represent the Bahraini people, adding that Bahrain has been a “complete” ally of the United States since 1929.

The analyst further stated that American Jewish millionaire Lazer Scheiner, who organized the Hanukkah ceremony in Bahrain, is a prominent pro-Israel lobbyist in the US representing an extreme type of anti-Islam mentality.

He also said the idea of people celebrating their respective religions together is “fantastic.” However, he argued, because of the nature of Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah and the fact that Lazer Scheiner neither represents peace in the Middle East nor any type of legitimate business; this is not a situation that should be celebrated.

“So it is an interesting situation because the Americans have used Bahrain for their Fifth Fleet since World War II, they have obviously been very close to Bahrain and very close with Israel at that time, intelligence flows freely between the United States, Israel, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia even, so obviously when it comes to the political and the religious dogma of the Judeo-Christian societies, the Jewish societies, there is this sort of anti-Islam, destroy-Islam type mentality,” he said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rickard criticized the international community for not helping the people who rose up peacefully against the monarchy in Bahrain. 

Rather, he said, the United States and its allies absolutely supported the monarchy while many Bahrainis were “murdered, incarcerated, tried and put to death.”

According to the analyst, the West overlooks the human rights violations of such oppressive monarchies because they are strategic not only economically but also militarily and politically.

He concluded by saying that the Western countries should not support any of these oppressive governments, but unfortunately that has been the status quo of both the US and European foreign policy. 

Meanwhile, the other panelist on Press TV’s program, Maxine Dovere, said the fact that the Hanukkah celebration was held in Bahrain is not so strange because of a Jewish population who lives in the country.

She also mentioned the idea that people can find mutual understanding enough to celebrate together is “quite striking” and “amazing,” adding that there is nothing negative in these relationships.

The commentator further noted that rulers will be “smart” if they allow their people to improve knowledge, life style, and become more sophisticated within the world of humanity; otherwise they will lose power.  

Therefore, she argued, Bahrain’s king should look to his people and coordinate with the Bahraini leaders.

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