Articles, Opinions & Views: Anti-Semitism and mainstream Malay politics - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
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“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Anti-Semitism and mainstream Malay politics - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, February 19, 2018
Malaysiakini : “The anti-Semites who called themselves patriots introduced that new species of national feeling which consists primarily in a complete whitewash of one's own people and a sweeping condemnation of all others.” ― Hannah Arendt, ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism’
COMMENT | David Roet who led the Israeli delegation to a United Nations event in Kuala Lumpur – the first in 50-something odd years – had this to say about Malaysia - “I have great hopes for good relations between our two countries in the future”, adding that he had found “many similarities between Israelis and Malaysians. A multifaceted society of people from different backgrounds working together for a better future.”
Even though Malaysia was a “tough nut to crack”, I give credit to the Najib administration for sensibly following international norms - not to mention, UN obligations - by allowing Israel to participate in this forum even though the Foreign Ministry in a cowardly manner attempted to deflect from this obligation when confronted with the predictable bigoted rhetoric from Amanah and PKR.

Meanwhile, what does the so-called “moderate” Islamic party, Amanah, think of all of this? They want to know if Malaysia is having an “affair” with Israel. The cherry on the horse manure cake is when Amanah’s Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah said, "Or is (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak) so eager to follow in the footsteps of the Saudi Arabian government which reportedly has close ties to Israel?”
Really, Saudi Arabia? The country which has since conceded that it has intentionally supported radical Muslim groups all around the world is now the whipping boy for Islamists wanting to outdo each in domestic politics? Isn't it strange how Amanah and PAS sound so much alike? I contend that the only challenge to the country’s dignity is having people who make stupid anti-Semitic remarks like what Amanah and PKR have done with this issue.
Anti-Semitism is mainstream in Malay politics. Anything wrong with the Muslim world is blamed on the Jews. We have hosted despotic theocratic regimes. We have welcomed religious tyrants. We have courted religious fanatics. We have embraced religious extremists who mock the religions of the non-Muslims in this country.
Yet when the only real democracy in the Middle East comes a calling, the Islamists use it as a weapon against Malay power structures in an attempt to appear “more Islamic” than their brethren. While axiomatic, I will nonetheless draw a distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Muslims and Jews, depending on their ideological perspectives, love to conflate the two. While most "pro-Palestinian" advocates fall in the latter category, there is enough empirical evidence to suggest that when it comes to the Islamic dialectic on the Palestinian issue, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not mutually exclusive and, of course, it gets muddier when you consider the wider geopolitical context of this issue.
While the anti-Zionist rhetoric of scholars such as Noam Chomsky is a matter of public record, I do not believe that the majority of Muslims in Malaysia have even heard of the actions and rhetoric of someone like George Habash (a Palestinian Christian who some argue was a KGB asset or cut-out) who once said - “Killing one Jew far away from the field of battle is more effective than killing a hundred Jews on the field of battle because it attracts more attention” - which sounds like your average call to jihad by anti-Semites around the world, which include white hate groups. The Palestinian issue does not exist in a vacuum of religious oppression and to propagate such is the mission of tyrants and colonialists.
BTN courses
While Roet highlights the diplomatic view of a divided country “working together”, all that the Islamists who claim to be moderate can do is play the anti-Semitic card, hoping it scores religious points with the Malay polity. The irony, of course, is that the average Malay would not recognise a “Jew” if he or she passed him or her on the street or understand the factual narratives behind the Palestinian conflict.

Everything most Malays are taught about the “Jewish” and the Palestinian conflict, they get are from Biro Tatanegara (BTN) courses and state-sponsored sermons from mosques around the country. If you think what the Najib administration did “tarnishes” the image of Islam, remember in 2015 when Times of Israel reported that the Malaysian premier called for a new dawn of Jewish-Muslim relations by quoting the Golden Rule and speaking “good” of the Torah when defending Muslim rights at Temple Mount? - “When asked to describe the Torah in a soundbite, [Hillel] said: ‘That which is hateful to you, don’t do to your fellow human being,’” Najib said. “This dictum, known universally in all religions as the Golden Rule, could herald the dawn of a much-needed revised relationship between Muslims and Jews.”
I do not have much good to say about the Najib regime but hopefully, by the time this sees print, minions of the regime have not said something dumb in the name of the sanctity of the Malay community to whittle away the “good” of acting like mature adults in international relations. Instead of changing the Islamic discourse in this country like what they claim they want to do, what Amanah and PKR are attempting to ride the anti-Semitic wave hoping that would give them credibility in the Malay/Muslim polity when it comes to anything “Jewish” in this country.
This idea that by spreading hate for the "Jews" makes good capital is what every Islamic political party in this country does. Except, of course, when the real world intrudes and Islamists are made to understand that you cannot expect to be part of the international community and think you are exempt from certain rules.
This would have been a perfect opportunity for so-called moderate Islamic parties to change the discourse even a little by highlighting the fact that Islam from the Middle East, or at least that which was perverted by petrodollars, is changing.

They could have taken the opportunity to learn from the Israeli experience of holding their leadership accountable like how Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu (photo) is facing possible criminal charges for corruption, by highlighting the fact that a supposed enemy of Islam holds their leaders accountable to graft allegations submitted by (mostly) independent institutions. Instead, none of this is explored, only the same old narratives that Islamic parties think will get them the Muslims/Malay vote.
Of course, the non-Muslim component of Pakatan Harapan will keep their mouths shut because by opposing anti-Semitism, they suddenly become anti-Muslim. This is pure horse manure but the opposition who are the mercy of the pernicious politics of Muslim countries should know better when it comes to standing up to state-sponsored bigotry and racism. Of course, nobody will hold them accountable because nothing should detract from the road to Putrajaya, right?
All this means is that another golden opportunity to reshape the discourse even a little bit, is drowned out by the business-as-usual politics of getting to Putrajaya by appealing to the lowest common denominator. This time Umno has the right of it, which makes Harapan’s bigotry worse. Imagine if the Muslim component of the opposition actually praised the current regime for this stand and acknowledged that this was a good way to handle international relations and a perfect opportunity to engage with a foreign power on behalf of the Palestinians, who Muslims here claim are at the mercy of the Jewish state?
As usual, when it comes to issues like these, rationality is too much to ask for.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 9:40 AM  

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