By Mohd Nazari Ismail
Chairman, BDS Malaysia
January 28, 2019
The Malaysian government’s recent decision not to allow Israeli para swimmers into the country seems to have attracted a lot of attention from fellow Malaysians and non-Malaysians alike. Interestingly, many who applaud the decision are non-Malaysians. One of them, Assoc, Professor Dr. Peter Slezak, a Jewish academic teaching philosophy at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and a strong supporter of the global Boycott , Divestment and Sanction movement (BDS), even sent a congratulatory message to me.
The people who agree with the decision are invariably those who understand the real history of the crimes committed by Zionists against the Palestinians. As explained by Ilan Pappe, a Jewish professor of history from the University of Exeter in the UK in one of his books, ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’, the creation of the state of Israel was actually accomplished by a process of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population. Thousands were killed and their villages were razed to the ground. Around 750,000 Palestinians became refugees in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. They had no choice because the Zionist terrorist gangs of Irgun and Stern would have killed them and their families had they decided to remain in their houses.
The above historical facts are not known by many unless one bothers to dig deeper into the issue. Sadly, some ignorant Malaysians have accepted the standard Zionist narrative that they showed up in Palestine in the late 19th century to reclaim their ancestral homeland; that Jews bought land and started building up the Jewish community there; that they were met with increasingly violent opposition from the Palestinian Arabs, presumably stemming from the Arabs’ inherent anti-Semitism; that the Zionists were then forced to defend themselves and, in one form or another, this same situation continues up to today. But as explained by a group of Jews who call themselves `Jews for Justice in the Middle East’ in their publication entitled “The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict”, the above account is simply not true.
According to the `Jews for Justice in the Middle East’:
“What really happened was that the Zionist movement, from the beginning, looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the indigenous Arab population so that Israel could be a wholly Jewish state, or as much as was possible. Land bought by the Jewish National Fund was held in the name of the Jewish people and could never be sold or even leased back to Arabs (a situation which continues to the present). The Arab community, as it became increasingly aware of the Zionists’ intentions, strenuously opposed further Jewish immigration and land buying because it posed a real and imminent danger to the very existence of Arab society in Palestine. Because of this opposition, the entire Zionist project never could have been realized without the military backing of the British. The vast majority of the population of Palestine, by the way, had been Arabic since the seventh century A.D. (Over 1200 years). In short, Zionism was based on a faulty, colonialist world view that the rights of the indigenous inhabitants didn’t matter. The Arabs’ opposition to Zionism wasn’t based on anti-Semitism but rather on a totally reasonable fear of the dispossession of their people.”
It is therefore very obvious that Israel as country was formed illegally. By right, the international community should not have recognised the country called `Israel’. Unfortunately, only a few countries, which include Malaysia, hold that stance till today and hence the absence of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Israel.
Meanwhile, Israel continues to commit flagrant human rights violations against the Palestinians such as seizing their lands and building illegal settlements on them, killing and injuring thousands of innocent Palestinian citizens, imprisoning them (including women and children) and making their life difficult by imposing all kinds of restrictions including hundreds of checkpoints on roads used by Palestinians. The millions who are living in Gaza are enduring untold sufferings because it has been blockaded by Israel since 2007. Movement of people and goods are severely restricted and as a result Gaza is like a giant open air prison. In recent months almost 250 Gazans were murdered by Israeli sharpshooters and thousands maimed or severely injured. Their only `crime’ was simply to hold unarmed protests near the barrier set up by Israel to prevent the Palestinians refugees from going back to their homes even though that right has been given to them under UN resolution 154 which was passed in 1948.
People who understand the above reality will appreciate the decision by the Malaysian government to ban athletes representing Israel from entering the country. Fortunately, more and more people do, and that is why the decision is being applauded and appreciated. It is now our responsibility to educate the rest who are not aware of the truth behind the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality so that they too will one day be part of this noble cause.