Friday, March 03, 2006


On the UAE - Israel Connection

As seen at
Dubai, 1 March (AKI) - Emirates airlines, which have bought the naming rights to Arsenal’s new stadium, and whose logo appears on the team’s shirts, have slammed a decision by the top-flight English football club to sign a sponsorship deal to promote tourism to Israel. The two-year 350,000 British pounds (around 610,000 dollars) agreement will involve promoting Israel on LCD billboards around the pitch of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London, news reports said.

The club said it had cleared the deal with officials in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), whose national airline bought the rights to name the new stadium for around three million pounds (around 5.2 million dollars) a year. But a spokesman for the airlines has denied this. He told the Dubai-based daily Khaleej Times that the deal with Israel is “unfortunate, and we are obviously not happy.”

“We will do our best to persuade Arsenal to not renew its deal with Israel,” said the spokesman, who was not identified.
The remainder of the post provides further details: the stadium, to be named by Emirates Air (presumably something relevant to them and the UAE) has already signed a contract to display prominent "visit Israel" ads during the games, and so forth... and Emirates Air is uncomfortable about it, in spite of being told about this many times before the contracts were signed.

Look -- I've never visited UAE; I don't know what the conditions are like there. People who have visited there, and have written about it, report that things are not nearly as bad as we'd expect. (I'd love to get coroborration of that story about buying beer in Dubai... bottled beer with Hebrew labels, no less!)

From my perspective, they're kicking up a fuss about being seen as supporting Israel... but they seem to be going ahead with it. Mind you, I wish they could support Israel earnestly, wholeheartedly, and cheerfully. But if that's not an option, and I have to choose between walking the walk or talking the talk, I'll take the former.

So far as I can tell, they're doing the right thing. Let them protest, if it makes them (and/or their Muslim brethren) feel better; I can live with that.

(I can see this helping the UAE with the ports deal too, by the way...)


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