Could Bangladesh Join Other Muslim Countries in Breaking the Taboo on Relations with Israel?

Dec. 24 2021

Until recently, Bangladeshi passports bore the words “This passport is valid for all the countries of the world except Israel.” But newly issued identification documents dropped the text, fueling speculation that Bangladesh might be the next Muslim country to normalize relations with Jerusalem—despite the fact that the country’s laws still forbid travel to the Jewish state. Mike Wagenheim writes:

Economic and military cooperation is believed to be ongoing between the two countries, regardless of official diplomatic status. Multiple media reports indicate that Bangladesh has purchased Israeli military-grade technology, and the World Bank’s World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) database showed that between 2010 and 2018, Israel imported products worth around $333.74 million that originated from Bangladesh. WITS data show that Israeli exports eventually making their way to Bangladesh stood at $3.67 million between 2009 and 2015.

Despite the lack of ties today, Israel was an early supporter of Bangladesh during its war of independence from Pakistan in the early 1970s and was one of the first nations to recognize independent Bangladesh. Nevertheless, the country’s original leaders shunned Israel in favor of the PLO leader Yasir Arafat, who had sided with Pakistan.

[The pro-Israel journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib] Choudhury faced charges of sedition, treason, blasphemy, and espionage in part for attempting to attend a conference of the Hebrew Writers’ Association in Tel Aviv in 2004. He was beaten, jailed in solitary confinement for seventeen months, and denied medical treatment.

However, one of Bangladesh’s most revered war heroes was Jewish. Lieutenant General Jack Farj Rafael Jacob, an officer in the Indian army, played a crucial role in negotiating the surrender of Pakistan in Dhaka during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Bangladesh, Israel diplomacy, Jewish-Muslim Relations, Yasir Arafat

The Attempted Murder of Salman Rushdie Should Render the New Iran Deal Dead in the Water

Aug. 15 2022

On Friday, the Indian-born, Anglo-American novelist Salman Rushdie was repeatedly stabbed and severely wounded while giving a public lecture in western New York. Reports have since emerged—although as yet unverified—that the would-be assassin had been in contact with agents of Iran, whose supreme leaders have repeatedly called on Muslims to murder Rushdie. Meanwhile U.S. and European diplomats are trying to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran. Stephen Daisley comments:

Salman Rushdie’s would-be assassin might have been a lone wolf. He might have had no contact with military or intelligence figures. He might never even have set foot in Tehran. But be in no doubt: he acted, in effect, as an agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Under the terms of the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989, Rushdie “and all those involved in [his novel The Satanic Verses’s] publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death.” Khomeini urged “brave Muslims to kill them quickly wherever they find them so that no one ever again would dare to insult the sanctities of Muslims,” adding: “anyone killed while trying to execute Rushdie would, God willing, be a martyr.”

An American citizen has been the victim of an attempted assassination on American soil by, it appears, another American after decades of the Iranian supreme leader agitating for his murder. No country that is serious about its national security, to say nothing of its national self-worth, can pretend this is some everyday stabbing with no broader political implications.

Those implications relate not only to the attack on Rushdie. . . . In July, a man armed with an AK-47 was arrested outside the Brooklyn home of Masih Alinejad, an Iranian dissident who was also the intended target of an abduction plot last year orchestrated by an Iranian intelligence agent. The cumulative weight of these outrages should render the new Iran deal dead in the water.

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Read more at Spectator

More about: Freedom of Speech, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy