Bahrain Foreign Minister Defends Holding Meeting With US Jews


bahrains-foreign-minister-shaikh-khalid-bin-ahmad-al-khalifaBahrain’s foreign minister, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, has denied media reports that his meeting last month with Jews in the US was a secret, insisting that the American society was now ready to listen to Arab views.

“The meeting was never a secret. I have mentioned it on my Twitter, which allows many people around the world to follow and to interact with me,” Shaikh Khalid said. “I received a dinner invitation from American citizens who were Jews. There was no Israeli present at the meeting,” the minister told Al Wasat daily.

According to Shaikh Khalid, diplomats often receive invitations from all the components of the US society.

“I will not hesitate to hold similar meetings with Americans. Such meetings are not based on religion and a diplomat meets all components of society. At such meetings, we must have views to share with others. The US society is now ready to listen to the Arab view that is committed to the Arab League and to the Arab peace initiative,” he said.

For the foreign minister, there is a strong need to convey the Arab view to all parties concerned with the conflict in the Middle East, and he blamed “attempts to abort putting across the Arab views on ways to achieve peace”.

Newspapers and agencies have claimed that Shaikh Khalid made the secret visit to the office of a Rabbi to meet Israelis.

However, Shaikh Khalid, one of two Bahraini ministers using Twitter, scorned the tendency of the reports.

“Al Wafd newspaper thinks it is breaking secret news… I already twittered it the same evening. I HAD DINNER WITH AMERICAN JEWS,” he wrote on his Twitter. “There is nothing secret … A news agency reported it the next day. It was an invitation and again I twittered it!”

The minister said that the dinner was at the rabbi’s home, and not his office as mentioned in the report.

“I was invited by the Rabbi in his home. With representatives of American Jewish organizations present. Discussed Middle East. It is not contrary to Arab League resolutions. We can talk to Americans,” he wrote.

On his Twitter, Shaikh Khalid said “Bahrain does not need to get close to Israel to win any sympathy for anything” and in another instance wondered “AIPAC delegation visited Arab countries a couple of months ago. Was there uproar against it?”

Bahrain, like most Arab countries, has no diplomatic relations with Israel.

{Gulf News/Noam Newscenter}


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