Anti-Semitism Infects Bangladeshi Politics

Last month, Aslam Chowdhury, a high-ranking member of the Bangladeshi Nationalist party (BNP), the country’s largest opposition party, made an official visit to India where he met a Likud-affiliated Israeli Druze political consultant named Mendi Safadi. Photographs of the two shaking hands soon made their way into a Bangladeshi newspaper, leading to Chowdhurry’s arrest for sedition. Sebastian Bustle explains:

Bangladesh has no diplomatic relations with Israel. It is a country where Jews and the Israeli people are cursed in every Friday sermon, at more than 250,000 mosques. Imams across the country shout [in their sermons] that Jewish people are infidels. . . .

On May 15, police detectives arrested Chowdhury for alleged “involvement in a plot to oust the Bangladesh government with the support of Israeli intelligence Mossad [sic].” Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikha Hasina, accused two [major opposition] parties, BNP and Jamaat-e Islami Bangladesh, of being “so desperate that they are now conspiring with Israel to oust me. . . . They have joined hands with those who are frequently killing children and women in Palestine.”

The Bangladesh Nationalist party heavily depends on religious Muslim supporters, and Jamaat-e Islami Bangladesh is an Islamist political party that believes in Islamic revolution.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Anti-Semitism, Bangladesh, Druze, Islamism, Israel, Politics & Current Affairs


When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount