Jason Greenblatt suggests accessories worn by United employees ‘resemble a keffiyeh’ and may secretly express pro-Palestinian sympathy
Former US envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, accused United Airlines of harboring pro-Palestinian sentiment after he suggested that the black and white scarves worn by employees resembled the traditional Palestinian hijab.
This latest accusation came just days after Greenblatt joined a campaign to pressure United to fire one of its pilots over social media posts critical of Israel.
The former diplomat later retracted his accusation that there was a hidden meaning behind the scarves, saying that it was “Too hasty” In claiming that the accessory, which features a flat silhouette pattern, resembles the traditional Palestinian keffiyeh.
Greenblatt served in President Donald Trump’s administration and helped conclude the Abraham Accords, treaties that established Israel’s diplomatic and economic ties with several Arab countries.
Former White House envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, expressed his horror at the black and white scarves worn by United Airlines workers as they looked at him “like a Palestinian keffiyeh.” #wepic.twitter.com/iuulzsafgr
– Tibou Ratiba (@Tibou33969029) November 23, 2023
The first criticism leveled at the airline earlier this week stemmed from a complaint filed by stopantisemitism.org, a self-described organization. “A grassroots watchdog organization dedicated to exposing groups and individuals who embrace incitement against the Jewish people and the Jewish state.”
On Monday, United Airlines pilot Ibrahim Muslim was reported for contact “The massacre that took place in Israel, in which 1,400 people were killed.” On October 7, committed by the Palestinian Hamas movement “Resistance is by a brave people.” Last Friday, Israeli authorities revised the initial death toll reported by the advocacy group to about 1,200.
Muslim’s letter mentioned in the complaint did not mention the killing of civilians, but it encouraged readers to learn more about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because “The media here in America is highly politicized.”
He added: “This is not an unprovoked attack, but it is a response to last year’s attacks launched by the Zionist regime.” he said, apparently referring to the Hamas incursion.
Greenblatt was among those who urged United Airlines to respond to the allegations, and thanked it when the company announced Muslim’s firing on Tuesday.
But on Thursday, the former official posted new allegations showing a photo of UnitedJet customers at Newark International Airport. Their scarves “Very similar to the Palestinian keffiyeh. Is there a message @United is trying to promote? Read the message.
Commentators were quick to point out that the scarves were just ordinary accessories for the company, and that the keffiyeh in any case had no inherent political message.
Yasser Arafat, the long-time leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, became known for wearing the black-and-white fishnet-style keffiyeh. In the 2000s, the secular Arab nationalist Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and its political party Fatah fought a war with the Islamist movement Hamas for control of Gaza, which the latter won.
Greenblatt later admitted an error in judgment and deleted his tweet.