Ramadan TV series about Gulf Jews ignites controversy

JERUSALEM — A television series aired by a Saudi broadcaster during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has sparked controversy by offering a positive depiction of a Jewish community in the Gulf at the time of Israel’s creation.

Critics say it and another series aired on the network promote normalization with Israel even as the Palestinian cause is under threat by President Trump’s Mideast plan, which favors Israel and would allow it to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.

Relations between Israel and Arab Gulf states have quietly improved in recent years as they have come to see Iran as a shared threat and as Arab leaders have sought to curry favor with the Trump administration.


The two series have fed into longstanding tensions between the Palestinians and their critics in the Gulf.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

They have prompted online calls for a boycott of MBC, the private, Saudi-owned satellite channel airing them. The Cairo-based Union of Arab Television Producers said they should be canceled, calling them “cheap works” meant to ‘‘brainwash’’ the Arab people.