Normalization between Israel and Pakistan Remains Far Off

Since the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain broke the longstanding taboo on relations between Muslim countries and the Jewish state, there has been ample speculation as to which country will be next to follow suit. Although Islamabad and Jerusalem have engaged in covert cooperation and intelligence sharing since the 1970s, don’t expect Pakistan to take things out into the open any time soon, argue Varsha Koduvayur and Akhil Bery:

What stands in the way of normalization is Islamabad’s long record of equating the Palestinian struggle for self-determination to [local Muslims’] struggle in Indian-controlled parts of Kashmir. To normalize ties with Israel before resolving the Palestinian issue would rob Pakistan of the justifications it has used to bolster its claims over Kashmir. Earlier this month, the Pakistani president Imran Khan said that serious consideration of bilateral ties with Israel would have to wait for “a just settlement, which satisfies Palestinians.”

The pervasive feeling in Islamabad is that the Gulf countries have abandoned their traditional support for pan-Islamic causes, like Kashmir and the Palestinians, leaving Pakistan to take up the mantle of championing Muslim voices—a role Islamabad is happy to play.

[Moreover], the political costs of normalization are quite high for Islamabad. Khan would face the opprobrium of a considerable portion of the public, including his own supporters—thereby delivering a major blow to his reputation. There could also be violent protests and other reactions from Islamist hardliners that would have the potential to metastasize into major security threats. After all, street protests against Israel are not uncommon: thousands protested the UAE’s deal with Israel. . . . The Pakistani military, which would have to sign off on a formal recognition of Israel, would have much to lose from the heightened security risks that a public backlash would engender.

A third obstacle in the way of Islamabad-Jerusalem ties is Pakistan’s relationship with Iran, which appears to be intensifying despite earnest efforts by the Gulf Arab states to peel Pakistan away.

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Read more at Diplomat

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel diplomacy, Pakistan, Radical Islam

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter