BDS activists
BDS activists iStock

A number of Gulf writers are boycotting a cultural festival in the United Arab Emirates due to a scheduled appearance by Israeli author David Grossman, Middle East Eye reported on Thursday, citing the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper.

The writers are viewing the festival as "a normalization with Israel festival", the report said.

A Kuwaiti cultural delegation, composed of writers, academics and intellectuals, including writers Muna al-Shamari and Ali Ashour al-Jaffar, announced its withdrawal from the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature due to the expected online appearance of Grossman.

Omani writer Bushra Khalfan also announced her withdrawal from the festival, which will be held from February 3 to 13.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement supported the writers’ decision to boycott, calling other Arab authors to withdraw due to Grossman’s participation, according to Middle East Eye.

The movement said that Grossman’s participation is a “clear and explicit violation” of the cultural boycott of Israel.

The UAE and Bahrain both signed normalization agreements with Israel in 2020 as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited the UAE last month, where he met with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

On Thursday, Bennett spoke with the Crown Prince and conveyed his condolences for the terrorist attack which occurred in Abu Dhabi earlier this week.

The Prime Minister also expressed the State of Israel's support for the United Arab Emirates at this difficult time.

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