South Asia Has Few Jews, But Many Anti-Semites

Oct. 22 2014

Jews and Muslims have lived together in the Indian subcontinent for many centuries, and have often had close ties. India’s only Hebrew scribe, for instance, is a Muslim, as is the country’s only tombstone engraver in Hebrew. A devout Muslim is responsible for reviving the study of Hebrew at Indian universities. Elsewhere, however, there has been a rise in anti-Semitism, especially in Pakistan, and violent attacks, though rare, have not been limited to the murder of Daniel Pearl or the 2008 Mumbai attack. Anti-Semitism has also had diplomatic implications, writes Navras Jaat Aafreedi:

The Muslim antagonism toward Jews has also been a major influence on foreign policy in South Asia. It is for this reason that the policy has often been one of having relations with Israel secretly, not publicly, lest it provoke the general Muslim masses. Pakistan and Bangladesh still do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, though the Pakistani state has actually always maintained secret ties with Israel just as India did before the establishment of open diplomatic relations between the two states. While the Muslim factor alone would not suffice to explain Indian policy toward the Middle East, it did play a considerable role in some critical decisions taken by India. . . . It took India two years to recognize Israel and it did so only after both Shiite and Sunni countries had recognized Israel (Iran and Turkey). Former Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh was candid enough to admit during a state visit to Israel in July 2000 that Indian Muslim sentiment against Israel kept India from establishing diplomatic relations with Israel until 1992.

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Read more at Asian Jewish Life

More about: Anti-Semitism, Bangladesh, Indian Jewry, Israel-India relations, Pakistan

Palestinian Acceptance of Israel as the Jewish State Must Be a Prerequisite to Further Negotiations

Oct. 19 2018

In 1993, in the early days of the Oslo peace process, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasir Arafat accepted the “right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security.” But neither it nor its heir, the Palestinians Authority, has ever accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, or the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. Robert Barnidge explains why this distinction matters:

A Jewish state for the Jewish people, after all, was exactly what the [UN] General Assembly intended in November 1947 when it called for the partition of the Palestine Mandate into “the Arab state, the Jewish state, and the city of Jerusalem.”

Although the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state does not stand or fall on this resolution—in declaring the independence of Israel on the eve of the Sabbath on May 14, 1948, the Jewish People’s Council, [the precursor to the Israeli government], also stressed the Jewish people’s natural and historic rights—it reaffirms the legitimacy of Jewish national rights in (what was to become) the state of Israel.

The Palestinians have steadfastly refused to recognize Jewish self-determination. [Instead], the PLO [has been] playing a double game. . . . It is not simply that the PLO supported the General Assembly’s determination in 1975, rescinded in 1991, that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” It is that that the PLO leadership continues to speak of Jews as a religious community rather than a people, and of Zionism as a colonial usurper rather than the national liberation movement that it is.

The U.S. government, Barnidge concludes, “should demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state” and refuse to “press Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians unless and until that happens.”

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel & Zionism, Peace Process, PLO, US-Israel relations, Yasir Arafat