Normalization Soon? Kuwaiti Professor Explains How He Was Forced to Appear on Israeli TV

Published September 29th, 2020 - 06:15 GMT
Normalization Soon? Kuwaiti Professor Explains How He Was Forced to Appear on Israeli TV
A Kuwaiti professor at the University of Kuwait has appeared on the Arabic-speaking TV channel Makan. (Shutterstock: NINA IMAGES)

Despite several official statements stressing Kuwait's rejection of normalization with Israel before it recognizes a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, conforming to the 2002 Arab peace initiative, a video of a Kuwaiti professor weighing on the topic on Israeli TV sparked online criticism, before the professor explained the truth behind the video.

Translation: "The head of philosophy department in Kuwait University is speaking to the Israeli Kan TV about GCC-Israel relations, saying "we've supported Palestinians for 70 years and it will be a mistake to not reassess our stance." I'm not saying we should silence such voices, but..."

The professor at the University of Kuwait Mohammad Al Wuhaib has appeared on Kan TV, which is run by the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, a few days ago. In the video, the philosophy professor spoke about the diplomatic relations between Israel and GCC countries, suggesting that "it's time for Kuwaiti reassessment of its political stance on the matter."

While many online people attacked and condemned the professor for what they assumed was an interview with the Israeli TV, Al Wuhaib clarified that he stands against speaking to Israeli media and that the TV channel had merely aired several minutes of an online talk he took part in recently with other academics, without notifying him.

Assuming that the Kuwaiti academic had appeared on Israeli TV, many social media commentators had perceived it as "an attempt to pave the way for normalization between Kuwait and Israel," especially that such interviews between Emirati and Bahraini politicians and analysts over the last year were the first signs of the peace deal signed lately between the two countries and Israel.

Translation: "We hope that the Minister of Interior and those in the public persecution investigate Mohammad Al Wuhaib for violating the 1976 Emiri decree [against normalization with Israel]."

Amidst the backlash against the professor, the students union at Kuwait University released a statement condemning his appearance on the Israeli TV, saying that "normalization with Israel has no place in Kuwait," before posting a clarification citing Dr. Al Wuhaib's defense.

Translation: "Statement in regard to the interview of a faculty member with a Zionist channel."

Translation: "Dr. Al Wuhaib has reached out to explain the truth behind what we had posted earlier, clarifying that the Zionist channel had dragged his name using an old talk he gave. We stress our stance towards normalization and hope it never takes place again."

Following the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel and the two GCC countries on the 15th of September, Kuwait had once again pledged "to be the last GCC country to normalize relations with Israel." However, US President Donald Trump, who has been described as the architect of this Middle Eastern deal had mentioned Kuwait as one of the countries that will "soon be following in the UAE and Bahrain foot steps."

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