One Malaysian, standing with Israel
One Malaysian, standing with Israel

Arutz Sheva received the following letter several days ago:

With the recent developments in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, I have penned my thoughts on the matter from a Malaysian perspective, for your kind consideration to be published as a piece.

Thank you for your kind indulgence.
Penang, Malaysia

One Malaysian, standing with Israel

As the crowd of peace loving brethren from the religion of peace made their way outside the mosques in Penang and Kuala Lumpur after Friday prayers, an ugly and ironic truth dawned upon me. On the podium constructed specially for the protest, community leaders and politicians alike rose above the sea of protesters to reveal their true colours.

With chants like “death to America” and “down with Israel”, they did not for a second hesitate before the utterance of hatred, anti-Semitism, racism and sheer stupidity.

It then occurred to me, Malaysians are either too afraid, or have so become numb to such ridiculous rhetorics, that none have emerged forward to provide the counter narrative in defence of a democracy in the midst of tyrannical rule and political suppression.

Malaysia street
Malaysia street INN:MYR

In this piece, I will discuss why as a Malaysian, I am in favour of Israel and why the age old ploy of the Arabs playing victim has overplayed itself in this century.

In recent times, Malaysia has largely contributed to the smearing of Israel’s image on the international stage and Malaysia’s political arena makes regimental excoriations against Israel, an electorally expedient enterprise, and does so through several avenues. This includes allowing for a media bias against Israel through erroneous headlines that constantly downplay Israeli victims and always portray Israel to be the aggressor and also through the use grammatically ambiguous language when reporting on the Israel - Palestine conflict.

The typical, tired media explanation for Palestinian attacks is “frustration with the lack of progress towards peace” (as if peace were ever the terrorist’s goal) whilst painting Israels act of self defence as aggression towards peaceful civilians. Malaysian politicians, including Prime Minister Najib, have proven their innate hypocrisy by choosing sides in this matter. Turkish Premier Erdogan, who has repeatedly shown utter disregard for human rights by bombing and killing the Kurdish people in Turkey has also denounced Israel, but are we really supposed to take human rights advice from a tyrant?

Jerusalem has been the capital of three homeland states, all Jewish, in the past 3,000 years and has had a renewed Jewish majority since the Ottoman rule during the 1800’s. Palestinian Arabs have never ruled any part of Jerusalem, making their claim to the city vacuously null.

In fact, East Jerusalem did not exist until the invasion of Jordan that seized the historical heart of the city in 1948 and expelled its Jewish population. The Eastern section of the city is where the Old City, Jewish Quarter, Temple Mount, Mount of Olives cemetery, Christian Quarter and Church of the Holy Sepulchre are located. In Judaism, Jerusalem is its holiest city; it is not a holy site to Muslims and is not once mentioned in the Quran. Therefore, this claim is baseless and with no legal standing, as it is, purportedly, only the 3rd holiest site for Muslims as opposed to being the holiest site for the Jewish people. Only since Israel reunified the city has there been equal rights and access to religious sites to people of all faiths.

Many Israelis, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, advocate a two-state solution, on the condition that there be an end to Palestinian terror. The Arabs have rejected a Palestinian Arab state living side-by-side with a Jewish state seven times since 1937, and continuously deny Israel’s right to exist no matter where its borders are drawn. Abetted by Muslim propaganda, they make spurious and unsubstantiated claims that Israel is occupying Palestine and therefore seek to exact punishment on Israel by promoting boycotts, divestment and sanctions that are harmful to any sovereign nation.

The Israeli government has been and is far more accommodating to Islam than any Muslim government has been to the Jewish faith, with Israel even barring its own Jewish citizens from openly praying at one of Judaism’s most sacred sites, but it’s not enough, and it never will be. After all, Israel’s original sin is its existence.
When it comes to Islamism and corresponding terrorism, there is largely silence or attempts to whitewash these atrocities, carried out by those from the religion of peace. Grotesque displays of anti-Semitism are always excused. Deadly violence against civilians is rationalised away. The Israeli government has been and is far more accommodating to Islam than any Muslim government has been to the Jewish faith, with Israel even barring its own Jewish citizens from openly praying at one of Judaism’s most sacred sites, but it’s not enough, and it never will be.

After all, Israel’s original sin is its existence.

Today, there are 57 Islamic countries which are home to most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. Among these are 22 Arab states with a population of 4254 million. In contrast, there is one Jewish state, Israel, with a mere population of 6.5 million Jews and 1.2 million Arabs (the latter’s population has actually swelled since 1948) and  the total Jewish population on the planet is only 14 million people. Israel’s land mass is 1/545 of the Arab world and therefore, from a perspective of realpolitik, Israel is the true David even though it is portrayed as the Goliath, often by Muslims and their propaganda tools.

The Jewish People have the right to self- determination, owing to their long history of persecution and living as a diaspora community, which is potent and self-evident.

Israel is an open democracy that respects both civil and equal rights (25% of Israelis are Arabs and non-Jews), has an independent judiciary, robust free press, excellent healthcare and education and upholds freedom of religion. This is enshrined in its Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.

Moreover, Zionism has unleashed the potential of Israelis to endeavour in Tikkun Olam - repairing the world. It has also propelled Israel to share with the world amazing life-saving technologies, innovations in computers, biomedicine, water, and agriculture, and be a first-responder to humanitarian crises and natural disasters around the world. This is a deep expression of Jewish values. Jews have no interest in conquering land or taking over the land of others, as there is no jihad equivalent. Despite the above contrasts, Jews continue to be slandered, libelled and demonised, while Islamists are respected, and labeled as victims.

Jews are routinely accused of stealing Arab lands, of oppressing Arabs and of being colonisers. The facts and international law however, refute these allegations. The Bible, San Remo Conference, and the U.N. clearly support the Jewish People’s claim to the land. Israel has additional legitimate claim to territories it gained in 1967 because it acquired them in a defensive war, as per international law. But the false claims against Jews enable the justifying of incessant acts of terrorism and murder targeting Jews via suicide/homicide bombings, stabbings, missile and rocket attacks on civilian areas. This is likely because Muslims view themselves as victims of Western colonialism and expansionism and because systemic social ills in Muslim societies are rarely exposed.

Meanwhile, it is high time we stopped our insistence that we know better than the Israelis as to the nature of their security issues. After all, they are a free and democratic nation. Instead, Israel must play the long game, and place the onus squarely on the Arabs to come forward with open hands. The Arabs have rejected a state of their own within the Palestine Mandate seven times since 1937, and continue to reject normalisation and punish those who attempt to engage with Israelis. So long as extremist narratives are unthinkingly accepted, namely that the Jewish people have no right to a homeland, is it any wonder that Arab-Israeli peacemaking has been so difficult? 

Ultimately, the best Israel can now do is to manage the situation, which it has done so to the best of it’s ability. Palestinian Arabs are not interested in realising peace as they claim, and are clearly unprepared to work at the negotiating table. They have brainwashed multiple generations since the Oslo Accords in 1993 and developed a culture of hatred and violence towards Jews and the delegitimisation of Israel.

Let the Palestinian Arabs, for once, make the first initiative and start by amending their charters i.e. PLO and Hamas to repudiate the provisions that call for the destruction of Israel and the genocidal passages encouraging the murder of all Jews, cease their engagement in terrorism and violence against Israeli citizens, cease the teaching and preaching of hatred in their schools, mosques and media, cease naming streets and squares after so-called martyrs who mercilessly murder Jews, cease delegitimising Israel in international forums and the UN, live up to their obligations under Oslo Accord, affirmatively recognise Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People just as Israel has recognised the aspirations of the Palestinian Arabs, and then maybe they can begin to lay the groundwork towards achieving peace.

As the protests draw to an end and the peace loving brethren disperse, I just hope that none of them used Israeli-invented Waze to navigate their way through the city's traffic. Their double standards in discriminating the Jewish population whilst making full use of all that the Jewish people have contributed to the world does not fall short of their semi-opaque rhetoric. Malaysia has a long journey ahead; and without considering both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict, we are unjustly alienating a minority population that has been and continues to be viciously persecuted.

Muhammed Yusoff