Capitalism and Empty Symbolism: The New Era of Israeli-Arab Relations

The shoot provides a better insight into the core tenets behind the UAE-Israel deal than any diplomat could.

Rabat – A photo shoot featuring two European models in Dubai has become a perfect symbol for the new era of Israeli-Arab relations. 

Two models draped in the flags of Israel and the UAE posed for cameras in Dubai on Tuesday as part of a fashion shoot for Israeli retailer Delta Galil. Following the Israeli-UAE normalization of ties, the photo shoot captures a glimpse of the future of Israeli-Arab relations as imagined by Israeli and US diplomats. 

The shoot provides a better insight into the core tenets behind the UAE-Israel deal than any diplomat could.

Brazen capitalism

The Dubai photo shoot revealed instantly one of the core motivations for the impressively named “Abraham Accords.” The agreement’s name implies a sense of unity between the three Abrahamic religions on which the agreement was built that could provide a foundation for the future of Israeli-Arab Relations. Yet, Tuesday’s fashion shoot shows that the agreement was not built on any principles besides money. 

Israel’s “Silicon Wadi” technology sector requires significant investment which the UAE’s petro-dollars can provide. The UAE, in turn, wishes to benefit from Israeli technological prowess, position itself as a key ally of the US, and formalize decades of shadowy cooperation with Israel.

After all that has been said about the agreement, the Dubai photo shoot provided a look at the real “values” behind the agreement: Selling Israeli products, promoting the UAE as a fashionable ally to the West, and providing sufficient “shock effect” to garner the world’s attention.

Empty symbolism

The beautifully shot photographs of fashion models draped in the flags of two Middle Eastern nations unintentionally revealed the empty symbolism of the Israeli-UAE agreement. 

Representing Israel was May Tager, who used her Danish passport to enter UAE. Russian model Anastasia Bandarenka represented the United Arab Emirates.

Both models wore pajamas branded with images of Cinderella and Snow White. The cartoon princesses, first imagined by notorious anti-Semite Walt Disney, were further complemented by the words “royal” in a country where insulting royalty can be punished with 10 years in prison.

A Russian and a Danish girl in pajamas, the perfect symbol for the “unity” between the UAE and Israel. And an apt symbol for the dollar-driven motivations that Israeli and US diplomats hope will nurture Israeli-Arab relations for a long time to come.

Read also: A Coordinated Agenda: The Fallacy of the UAE-Israel ‘Peace Deal’