Most Read
Most Commented
Read more like this

I write in response to Abdul Rahman Koya's International Jew: Apologies won't undo the truth and Abdul Rahman Abdul Talib's Hamas democratic choice of Palestinians .

There are some very peculiar things about Malaysia and one of these peculiar things is the venom that most Muslim Malaysians seem to have towards Israel. Dr Mahathir Mohamad with his famous anti-Jew remarks, Chandra Muzaffar with his anti-Israel rhetoric and views expressed in the above letters seem to indicate that Malaysians top of the list of people with the most venom towards the Israelis alongside militant groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah and the Iranian government.

The background to the publication of The International Jew is incredible. I can't imagine that fellow Malaysians have that much venom towards the Jews to publish a book that denigrates the Jews based merely on fiction and far fetched imagination rather than truth as some would want the world to believe. This was also done against the wishes of its original writers who have since apologised for their work.

One wonders why Malaysians of all people should have this sort of venom towards Israel and the Jews in general. We are after all very distant from the Middle East conflict. Is it because of our passionate support for the Palestinian cause? However, this should not in any way be the reason used to ferment hatred towards the Israelis and Jews. I am convinced that all this venom is being shown by our fellow Muslim Malaysians due to the rise of religious extremism and a complete lack of understanding of the true situation and the history of the IsraeliArab conflict. This is further compounded by the completely biased and one-sided manner of journalism perpetrated by the Malay media.

If one cares to analyse the IsraeliPalestinian conflict carefully, it is apparent that even as the militant Palestinian groups continue daily to target innocent Israeli civilians including women and children with tacit backing from the Muslim world, the Israelis target only the militants who are hell bent on the destruction of Israel. Of course, one has to acknowledge that occasionally innocent Palestinian lives are lost due to the nature of the conflict.

Those that argue that Israel is an illegal state that is a colonial creation that is created out a Palestinian homeland are also completely missing the historical facts. Israeli was legally created by a UN resolution. There was never in history something called a Palestinian state while historical facts prove the presence of a historical Kingdom of Israel. Jews have a historical right to a homeland just like everyone else in the world. They cannot have just dropped out of the sky.

Then there is the often-heard mantra of Zionism being an evil and racist ideology. Does any of these Malaysian's really know what Zionism is all about? Zionism is in essence a very simple desire of the Jewish people to have their own homeland nothing sinister at all. If Zionism is so evil and dangerous, one wonders why 20 percent of the population of Israel is made of Arabs who are full citizens of the state of Israel. Due to the nature of the conflict between the Arabs and Jews, I guess that there would be some sort of discrimination against the Israeli Arabs but again we in Malaysia do not have any moral authority to talk about discrimination.

My argument is that all this venom targeted at the Israelis and Jews is simply the result of religious extremism among our Muslim brothers in Malaysia as also clearly illustrated by the fact that many of the progressive Muslims worldwide have accepted and have made attempts to build bridges with the Israelis. In addition to the countries that have signed peace treaties with the Israelis such as Egypt and Jordan, there are a number of progressive Muslim countries that have established relations with Israel. Turkey, a country made up of 99 percent Muslims and with the historical heritage of the great Ottoman empire behind them have established good relations with the Israelis which includes even high-level military cooperation.

Here in Malaysia, as illustrated recently in the MAS case , even the mention of Israel would get some Muslims into such frenzy. The local Malay media can't even bear to mention the word 'Israel' and often retorts to statements like 'Zionist regime'. If Israel and the Jews are a bunch of cold- blooded murderers who are anti-Islam as what our Muslim brothers in Malaysia want to believe, why do all these overwhelmingly Muslim countries have links with Israel?

It is quite evident that there is nothing that Israel has done that deserves such negative views by our Muslim brothers in Malaysia on them and on Jews. Our passionate support for the Palestinian cause is fine but this should not blind us to the truth and cause us to hold such unjustified negative views on Israel.