Since Saudi Arabia decreed that women in the kingdom would be able to drive cars, observers have wondered what would be next for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has said he wants to bring “moderate Islam” to Saudi Arabia. No one knows for sure, but bin Salman may have tipped his hand during his goodwill tour of the U.S. In an interview with The Atlantic, the crown prince claimed that Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, “makes Hitler look good.”
Elsewhere in the interview, bin Salman made a statement that no Arab leader ever had before — that the Jewish people have the right to their own homeland:
Another key — though sub rosa — member of Prince Mohammed’s alliance is Israel, a country about which Prince Mohammed did not have a bad word to say. In fact, when I asked him whether he believed the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland, he said: “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land.”
While Saudi Arabia does not officially recognize Israel, bin Salman added that the Palestinians also have a right to land, but that a peace agreement needs to be arranged between both sides first.
Prince bin Salman’s statement is noteworthy for a number of reasons, mostly because Saudi Arabia was an opponent of Israel’s original creation, though the kingdom has been calling for a two-state solution since 2002.