Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie told a web seminar on Tuesday that Jews are safer from antisemitic attacks in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), than in many cities in the United States and Europe, given a recent wave of anti-Jewish violence.
“We don’t have that problem [of antisemitic violence] in the UAE,” said the Orthodox rabbi, a scholar of Sephardic Judaism (referring to Judaism as practiced in the Middle East and among descendants of Spanish Jews).
“That problem, unfortunately, is in the West, in Europe, and the USA, for allowing extremist imams, or extremist Muslims, or Islam believers to basically roam free, say whatever they want, incite violence, incite hatred, and the West doesn’t do anything about it. And that’s a problem. But here we don’t have that problem.”
“There is tolerance, coexistence, and harmonious living amongst all the population” in the UAE, he said.
“That’s a challenge that the U.S. and Europe need to face,” he concluded.
The seminar was hosted by Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI), an American pro-Israel group.
Abadie, who was born in Beirut, Lebanon, moved to Dubai permanently in November, after the signing of the Abraham Accords, a peace agreement spearheaded by President Donald Trump between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, and other Arab and Muslim nations. He noted that the agreement came after the UAE began to incorporate and welcome a Jewish community.
“I was welcomed with open arms by the government, by the Emirati society, by the community,” Abadie recalled. He noted that he wore a kippah (or yarmulke), a traditional Jewish headcovering, everywhere he went, without trouble.
Abadie’s account contrasted sharply with the attitude of some Jews in the U.S., such as Aaron Keyak, Jewish Engagement Director at Biden for President, who advised Jews to protect themselves by hiding visible signs of their religion in public.
Abadie happened to have been visiting in Israel during the recent war between Palestinian Hamas terrorists and Israel.
“I received only texts, privately, and also on social media from my friends here in the Emirates, of support, of Israel, of support of the Jewish people, of friendship — did not receive any negative one from anyone I know,” he said.
He added that Emiratis understood that Hamas is a terrorist organization, as well as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. and a proxy of Iran. Many, he said, also believed that Jews had a right to Israel and supported Israel’s war effort for that reason.
The Times of Israel noted in October 2020: ” In recent years, the UAE has made great strides in presenting itself as an open country that respects all religions. President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan declared 2019 to be the “The Year of Tolerance” in the UAE. In this context, the country announced the building of a massive interfaith compound in Abu Dhabi that will also include a synagogue.”
Next week, Rabbi Abadie noted, there will be a Jerusalem Post conference in Dubai, bringing Israelis and Emiratis together.
He predicted that the peace created under the Abraham Accords “has survived and will continue to survive” in the region.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it). His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.