By Jason Ditz
Amid recent reports of improving Saudi-Israel ties, at least behind the scenes, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is visiting the United States, has met with the leaders of a number of US Jewish organizations.
The prince visited with officials from AIPAC, Stand for Israel, the American Jewish Committee, ADL, the Jewish Federation of North America, and others. The visits were revealed in a leaked copy of his itinerary, and were not meant to be publicized.
It’s not just that these groups are Jewish, as such, or even that they’re broadly pro-Israel. Much of the controversy is seen as many of the groups are both involved in the Israeli settlement venture, illegal under international law and widely criticized in the Middle East, and are anti-BDS groups.
Analysts familiar with the situation say that these meetings are being done broadly for the benefit of how the Saudis believe it looks to the Trump Administration. The Saudis apparently think such meetings show the prince as much more willing to engage with Jewish groups, and by extension to align themselves with the administration’s pro-Israel policy, than previous Saudi leaders have been.