Imagine a government body signing a contract with an Israeli company which insisted on excluding Arabs from opportunities associated with that deal.
Imagine the Israeli partner’s stipulation meant that this public body was then unable to source funding from Arab banks, sell to Arab companies or even hire Arabs to work on the project.
Now imagine what the public reaction would have been.
We can hear it now, those age-old cries of “Jewish lobby,” those dusty stereotypes of Jews who control the world, manipulating through money.
But who is using money to influence who? Which nationality is apparently being commercially and contractually shunned by big-spending Gulf states and their state-owned enterprises?
The hypocrisy of this situation stinks, the legality is highly questionable, and the precedent – that UK partners must abide by the idiosyncratic foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates – is as alarming as it is absurd.
Within 24 hours of this story exploding onto the news, Boris Johnson’s men had guaranteed that the clause would be pulled, whilst feigning ignorance that the Mayor had ever known of its existence.
But cable cars now seem only the tip of the Emirates iceberg. When this newspaper asked Arsenal FC (several times) whether they wanted to reassure Jewish supporters that they were not contractually obliged by similar clauses, they declined to do so, citing corporate confidentiality.
Unfortunately, the conclusion of many readers will be that if their commercial contracts did not discriminate on the grounds of race and/or nationality, they’d be able to say so.