Indonesian Muslims, & Jews

Apr 6th, 2007, in Opinion, by

Visitor Askan asks whether Indonesian Muslims are congenitally hostile to America and Israel.

Hi everyone here.

I’ve visited this site before, and as someone with a high level of interest in both East Asia and the Islamic world and had some questions about the country I’ve always wanted to find answers to.

First off, when did so many Indonesians become such a “pan-Arabic” people so to speak, as in, when did they suddenly put so much concern into middle eastern issues they know absolutely nothing about? Some say it’s just about “solidarity with Muslim brothers” but I suspect the recent obsession has much more sinister roots.

I know Saudi influence and Saudi-funded mosques are largely responsible, just like they are almost everywhere else in the world. And even on this site, most of the Indonesian Muslim commentators who appear, though of course there are notable exceptions, just pile on more inane anti-american, anti-israel and anti-western thought, with the intelligent commentary being limited to Christians, Hindus, Buddhists or western expats. What other factors could posssibly be involved?

As a disclaimer, I do admit I am prone to be somewhat sensitive on these types of issues as my fathers’ family comes from a very strong Jewish heritage (my dad’s parents came to America as refugees from the Nazis) but still, the mentality of Indonesia can be so disturbing in this regard.

I imagine those Indonesians who hate Jews so much haven’t met any, don’t know any, don’t know anything about them, and feel that way because Al-jazeerah tells them to in order to be “good muslims”, just like American kids let channels like MTV tell them what to do so as to be “in style”.

Same goes for the West’s foreign policies and the Israeli wars; do Indonesians know a thing about the Israeli conflict, again other than Al-Jazeerah’s lies. Do they know any of the background behind Israel’s so-called “occupation of Palestine”? Do they know, for example, that “Palestine” was under Jordanian and Egyptian occupation for 20 years and wasn’t even called “Palestine” until the Jews catpured it legitimately in a war the Arabs started, (as they did all Israeli Arab wars)?

Perhaps the most important inquiry is how Indonesian people feel about all this. I don’t necessarily expect them to support Israel or all American foreign policies per se. But are there any of them, besides in places like Bali or Manado or Tanah Toraja which are essentially non-Muslim, who are aware that in having blind, frantic hatred of Jews, Israel, Christians/Westerners and American policies they will end up little more than pathetic Arab-Wannabes? Are any of them embarrassed by all this, by such concern over issues they remain ignorant about?

I know there are such enlightened figures as Abdurrahman Wahid who have attempted to get the Indonesian people to appreciate Western and American principles, be tolerant of other religions, respect the West’s foreign policies and even respect Israel and the Jews. Is he the only such example of an Indonesian Muslim whose tried to get them to accept such viewpoints or are there others, like politicians, clerics or students who’ve tried to do the same?


41 Comments on “Indonesian Muslims, & Jews”

  1. Odinius says:

    Well, I’m an american and I’ve spent loads of time in Indonesia. I can tell you from experience that most Indonesians dislike president bush quite strongly, but that they also have an easy time separating the policies and politicians they don’t like from the individuals they meet. Much more so, in my experience, than in western europe.

    The USA had a 70%+ approval rate in Indonesia as recently as 2001. Obviously the current decline is completely fueled by current events.

    Oh, and most Indonesians DO see the occupation of the west bank and gaza as, well, the occupations they are (they haven’t been annexed, so even israel does not consider them part of ITS territory). Whether one perspective or another is correct is something people can debate. But if you want to have a dialogue, you have to listen as well as lecture, so don’t expect to make any friends in indo by telling them it’s “so-called” or their perspective = “lies.”

  2. NR Watson says:

    It is not all anti-Jewish sentiment here. The tougher Ambonese Christian lads wear a Star of David around their necks under the Crucifix (minus the Corpus Christi if they are Protestant). They also wear t-shirts with crossed US-Israeli flags and others with bin-Laden at the centre of the bullseye. At last year’s soccer final, the Papuan side (overwhelmingly Melanesian and Christian) beat a majority Muslim, non Melanesian side. Amid the flares and other debris, the Melanesian supporters ran around with Israeli flags to fire up their troops and mock the other side. A clip of this was shown for months on Star Sports Asia.
    It should also be acknowledged that there are many successful Jewish businessmen here. Predominately Americans, they do business at all levels of society and government.

  3. Simon says:

    What arrogance. Living in Indonesia (and having lived in the US), I find most Indonesians very well informed on these matters generally, probably more so than middle Americans. The statement “middle eastern issues they know absolutely nothing about” appalls me, says who, you?

    The same attitudes you decry are as widespread amongst non Muslim (in Bali for example as elsewhere) here as Muslim, and, I would suggest are globally prevalent once you leave the US.

    I would also suggest that the ignorance you so happily accuse the Indonesian people of is probably better directed at your mirror.

  4. D says:

    I’m an Indonesian citizen – pure bred Javanese, stone-cold sober Presbyterian – but have only spent some five years in Indonesia and the other fifteen traipsing around two other continents, so I probably cannot speak for the majority, but I honestly believe that many of my countrymen back in the motherland feel such animosity towards “the West” because they know so little. Like you said, it’s not antagonism as much as it is plain old fear, ignorance, and lack of objective information.

    The situation is nowhere as bad as the media makes it out to be (ah, good old yellow journalism), but I do not deny that all it takes for full-out abhorrence to manifest itself is a little stoking by the minorty extremist leaders. What we need is for the majority moderate Muslim population to stand up and make some noise to quell that fear. What it comes down to is this: as long as there is unhappiness, dissent, and poverty in the people, then ugly things will happen.

    The so-called “fragile” situation in the archipelago is hardly a special case and is little cause for concern (again, unless some semblance of secularism is encouraged by the majority moderate Muslims), but then again this is the opinion of someone looking from the outside in.

  5. David says:

    Al Makin from Sunan Kalijaga Islamic University of Yogyakarta writes in the Jakarta Post yesterday on “Indonesia is experiencing an identity crisis“.

    Referring to the negative reaction to president Bush’s visit last year and now to Indonesia’s support of UN Resolution 1747 he says

    Are we Muslims or Indonesians? Can we maintain our unique nature as Muslims and Indonesians at the same time?


    The public seem to think that anything related to the U.S. and the West ought to be rejected and is automatically against the Muslim interests. Of course, this attitude is based upon incorrect theological rather than political considerations. To them, Iran is simply a Muslim country and its people are their brothers, so much so that it is not important anymore to understand what the case really is.

    He says if the distinctive Indonesian Muslim identity is lost:

    it leaves us nothing but to stick to our Muslim identity and will lead to fanaticism.

    Which might be all relevant to this discussion.

  6. Chris says:

    My (Indonesian) wife once made a wise comment on this issue:

    Why do Indonesian Muslims protest in Jakarta almost every weekend against Israeli aggression in Palestine, yet say/do nothing about their own countrywomen being abused, beaten and raped by their “Muslim brothers” in Saudi Arabia?

    It seems a bit strange to me too.

  7. Colson says:

    First of all I don’t think the diagnosis – a pan-Arabic and Saudi-funded Islam – is right. There’s plenty of room for nuances.

    Indonesian Muslims used to be very, very moderate. Dr Snouck Hurgronje, a great expert on this matter, said so a century ago. And even in 1981, although he noticed alarming incidents, V.S. Naipaul (“Among the Believers”) shared this opinion. At present the situation is still about the same; although the loud radical minority Naipaul did hit upon has grown belligerent, fortunately the overwhelming majority still consists of peaceful, moderate Muslims.

    But I’m afraid this dangerous minority will be or even has been boosted by the stupidity of the US foreign policy in the Middle East. The superpower has been using double standards. Hamas has been labelled – not without reason- a terrorist organization. Every time Israel asks for financial, military or political support, it has been granted. The disgusting terrorists attacks in Israel has been comdemned. But, occupying the Westbank, building a wall, stealing land the water, starting wars ( only last summer in Lebanon), building settlements on Palestine territory, fencing in a million people on a small strip of land, the isolation of a democratically choosen Palestine Parliament, randomly killing Palestine leaders, not applying resolutions of the Security Council – the governments of Israel can always get away with it. Fox News, and CNN to a lesser degree, make it even look like Israel is the victim. So, in my opinion, you can not blame Al Jazeera for showing the other side.

    There are conflicts in the Middle East. It’s a bloody mess. Most people in the world are very critical of these geo-politics of the US governments. No wonder it has been fuelling the indignation of Muslims. Only those who choose for the political Islam and even violence, probably will be grateful to Washington and Jerusalem. But we should be worried and protest. And not be astonished about comments that seem to be unfriendly for Washington, Brussels or Jerusalem. They really deserve it.

  8. Sputjam says:


    I believe you have been misinformed. The Muslims you referred to are pagan stone worshippers who have rejected and ignored God’s messages in the koran.
    They worship and kiss the meteoric stone in mecca contrary to messages in the koran which warns them of such activities.
    True Muslims are committed to serving God by doing good deeds and not trangressing His commandments. Some of this commandments are listed here from the koran :-

    Say, “Come let me tell you what your Lord has really prohibited for you:

    You shall not set up idols besides Him.

    You shall honor your parents.

    You shall not kill your unborn children from fear of poverty-We provide for you and for them.

    You shall not commit gross sins, publicly or privately.

    You shall not kill – GOD has made life sacred – except in the course of justice. These are His commandments to you, that you may understand.

    You shall not touch the orphans’ money except in the most righteous manner, until they reach maturity.

    You shall give full weight and full measure when you trade, equitably. We do not burden any soul beyond its means.

    You shall be absolutely just when you bear witness, even against your relatives.

    You shall fulfill your oaths to GOD. These are His commandments to you, that you may take heed. (6:151-152)

    There are no dress codes in islam except to dress decently, except for female meccans during the time of prophet Mohamed to cover themselves up so that their faces could not be recognised to prevent them from being attacked by pagans. I stand corrected on this.

    As for the Jews, the following verse refers :-

    5:12 God has taken the covenant of the Children of Israel and raised from them twelve representatives, and God said: “I am with you if you honor the connection, and contribute towards betterment, and believe in My messengers, and support them, and give God a loan of righteousness; then I will cancel your sins and admit you into estates with rivers flowing beneath.” Whoever rejects after this from you, then he has strayed from the path.
    5:13 Because they violated their convenant We put a curse on them, and we hardened their hearts. Consequently, they distorted from their original place and disregard part thereof. You will always see betrayal from them except a few. You shall forgive and forget about them. God only loves the compassionate.

    In other words. true Muslims are supposed to ignore and forgive the Jews. For God loves the compassionate.

    However, the koran also says this about the Arabs –

    9:101 And those who are around you from the Arabs are hypocrites and from the people of the city. They persist in hypocrisy and whilst you may not know them, We know them.

    Therefore any Indonesians who follow Arabs blindly without studying the holy scriptures, beware.
    God also forbids taking the words of preachers for granted as per my previous comments. No preachers in islam. No holy cities/holy stones/holy water. Those who died fighting for jerusalem died in vain.

    The main messages in the koran has nothing to do with religion. It is an invitation to God’s way/system/order. No rituals in God’s system. For the believers. you will be judged by your deeds alone.

    God’s guidance is a personal thing that cannot be forced upon any individual. Either you get it or you don’t.

  9. Cukurungan says:

    Visitor Askan said:

    Do they know, for example, that “Palestine” was under Jordanian and Egyptian occupation for 20 years and wasn’t even called “Palestine” until the Jews catpured it legitimately in a war the Arabs started, (as they did all Israeli Arab wars)?

    Cukurungan say:

    There is no occupation and domination moslem upon moslem. Anyone among ourselves has power to govern and organize the moslem territory should be fully deserved and acknowledged as a our legitimate rulers. It means once Bush and Olmert converted to Islam all Jihads War against Israel and US are not valid anymore.

    Because a legitimacy Jew in Palestine Territory determined by the war so Palestine has also full rights to wage war against Jew anytime, anywhere and in any shape. Un-fortunately for Jews, some of our brother moslem consider duties for freeing of the Palestine territory is their ultimate obligations.


  10. Oigal says:

    “There is no occupation and domination moslem upon moslem”.

    In which universe is that?

  11. Colson says:

    Cukurungan: I hope this is a major misunderstanding on my part; but do you really believe in the god given existence of a territory that is “Muslim” by nature? And if you think so, how about the Jewish or Christian fundamentalists who claim Palestine and Jerusalem to be god given Jewish (or Christian) territory? And, by the way, do you consider RI to be an exclusive Muslim country in this sense (This would be very bad news for minorities and the old principles that Indonesia has been build upon)?

    In my opinion this way of thinking will make any peaceful solution of, for instance, the Palestine conflict impossible. Peace is dependent on sensible people willing to compromise, not on a totalitarian interpretation of religions. On the contrary.

    God is not about (geo-)politics. To me that is almost blasphemy.

  12. Aluang anak Bayang says:

    Askan, this may help you before you post any more article of similar nature.

    I am a full blooded Javanese growing up north in Kalimantan among the animist Dayaks. In Indonesia, anyone of local Malayic descents were encouraged to be Muslim for solidarity and unity’s sake. For those who do not have any religion (in my case) or animist (not recognised as religion in Indonesia), when it comes to identification paperwork, ISLAM will be stamped on our ID card. Hence this inflated the number of Muslim in Indonesia, consider the numbers of practising Muslims are a fraction of the actual figures!

    However Askan, if you have known any Indonesian Muslims, you will find that we are a very distinct group. Islam in Indonesia is only Islam in name. I have yet to meet any fellow Muslim who do not infuse local belief into their practice. You will have a hard time telling a local Muslim to hate Jews, about jihads, about stoning and amputation and death for apostasy. Speaking of apostasy, a worker in my company had just reverted back to Christianity without any encumbrance. An Indonesian Muslim do not have to adopt Arabic name. We believe our culture to be greater than that of any other civilisation, which is why Islam had to enter by way of sufism.

    Acheh had adopted shariah law, but if you look at Acheh historically, it is an isolated case. They had been jihading ever since and considered themselves to be of Arab lineages than Indonesians. Across the wider board, Islam is one of the many religions and do not reign supreme. An Indonesian of same ethnicity will feel safer with his own clan than with another of similar religious group, for example, if there is a ethnic conflict with Javanese and Madurese, a Christian or Hindu Javanese will be safer with mob of Muslim Javaneses than with Christian or Hindu Madureses. We believe in kinship. Our blood is thicker than any religion.

    What makes you think we are ‘pan-Arabic’? You may score some points if you point your finger at Brunei and Malaysia, but you scored zero for Indonesia. Do not come in here to lecture us about Islam, your version of the Middle Eastern conflicts, and the American policy. We know our brand of Islam well, and we don’t give a hoot about Middle Eastern conflicts and the American policies. We are more worried about corruption issues and foods on the table. And before jumping into conclusion just because we are a Muslim majority country, why not try to live in Indonesia for a few weeks and tune onto our local channels. Are we anti-west? Before you do this, I won’t go further.

    Instead of saying that we should be embarassed about our ignorance of a certain issue, you should be ashamed of your ignorance of Indonesia. Abdurrahman Wahid is ONE OF MANY enlightened Indonesian Muslims. Stay long enough in Indonesia, search through our archives of local reports, you will find that there are many instances where our enlightened local Muslims take up arms to protect churches and temples from radical groups.

    However one thing we are not ignorant and positive of: You the Jew, the Arabs and the Americans are all bad apples.

  13. Odinius says:


    i like most of your post but find this disturbing:

    “However one thing we are not ignorant and positive of: You the Jew, the Arabs and the Americans are all bad apples.”

    No country or people has cornered the market on “bad” or “good” apples. You mention the conflicts of 1998-2002. 1965 too. That doesn’t mean Indonesians are bad people, of course (I love Indonesia, it’s my favorite country to travel to), just as the Iraq war doesn’t illustrate that Americans are bad people. Every place has people capable of bad deeds, every country has skeletons in its closet and most certainly every place has loads of people willing to go along with bad ideas because they don’t understand the consequences. I don’t see why “Jews” “americans” or “Arabs” are any better or worse than anyone else.

    Anything Middle East-related, in fact, tends to be blown out of proportion. I mean, 5,000 Israelis and Palestinians have died since 2000. Awful as that is, it’s likely 1/40 the number who have died in Darfur in half the time. It’s 1/50 the number who died in Bosnia 1992-1995, and 1/200 the number who died in Rwanda in 1994 alone.

    Maybe I am misunderstanding you? That might be the case…the rest of your post is, to me, quite sophisticated. Forgive me if I’m not getting your point quite right!

  14. Aluang anak Bayang says:

    LOL I wrote it in the heat of the moment.

  15. Aluang anak Bayang says:

    You mention the conflicts of 1998-2002. 1965 too. That doesn’t mean Indonesians are bad people, of course

    Let me clarify this. These could happen in any 3rd world countries. The poor masses setting upon the wealthier minority. On the surface, it was race riot but it was more political driven than blind hatred for the Chinese.

    The economic scene in Indonesia are compArable to countries like Thailand and the Phillipines, where Chinese are economically better off than the local populace. In Indonesia we have ruthless tyrant who would instigate racial riot against the minority Chinese, at the same time feted on them in return by offering protection.

    A race riot can easily be fuelled if a group of provocateurs, secretly approved by the tyrant government of the day, running among the hungry peasants with loud speaker blazing out loud that their possessions are for their takings. Indonesia’s reputation as have been tarnished by the misdeeds of the Soeharto regime.

  16. e askan says:

    Dear Aluang anak Bayang,

    If you are still reading, please note that I genuinely did not mean all 200 million Indonesians identified as Muslims. I meant predominatly those in places like coastal West Java, in Jakarta area, Solo in Central Java and the Makassar area who often seem to be behaving increasingly similar to the Pakistanis and Malays, so to speak. It does not at all necessarily apply to areas like inland East Java or Kalimantan where it is not likely to be true. I realize it would be ludicrous to characterize any group of people, particularly numbering 200 million, as monolithic; I do apologize if you thought I meant the whole of Indonesia. So, if you are capable of distinguishing fact from fiction, especially the Saudi-financed mosques and Islamic schools and Islamist-Terrorist channels like Al-Jazeerah, whose job is essentially to try and brand anyone resisting Islamist terror as some kind of Islamophobe fascist, then my post was definitely NOT about you in particular.

    These are some links to articles that might better outline my point, for anyone still interested:

    This is from a blog often labeled “islamophobe” but in reality is dedicated to helping both Muslims and non-Muslims defend themselves from militant jihad. Yes, this particular article is referring to Malaysians, but it seems it could apply to some of the folks in Jakarta, Solo or Makassar. And no, I am not assuming this applies to *all* Indonesians.

    Here is another one. If what these particles are saying does not apply to you, that’s a very good thing. When Malaysians, pakistanis and more militant Indonesians become mind-warped into thinking this way, that resistance to militant jihad not only in Israel but in the Balkans, Chechnya, Kashmir, Ethiopia and Nigeria constitutes fascist imperialism, it can often lead to these peoples having a quite bad image in the eyes of the non-Muslim world, which was something I presumed was worth addressing.

    Once again, I apoligize if you thought I meant you specifically.

  17. Odinius says:

    I tend to think everyone, regardless of place of birth or ethnicity, has the potential to be good or bad, given the correct environmental pressures. I think religion attempts to create stability and rules in this regard, but more often just ends up a justification for behavior (either good or bad) that people would likely engage in for another reason anyways.

    I’ve never had a bad experience with anyone from Bali, for example, but at least 80,000 were killed in 1965 (a much higher percentage than anywhere else in Indonesia). I’ve lived in Croatia before, and plenty of messed up stuff happened there in 1991-1995, but people are so NICE it doesn’t make sense.

    Guess there are saints and demons in all of us.

    Totally agree with your take on the riots btw 🙂

  18. Cukurungan says:


    I never said that Palestine or Moslem is only the legitimate owner of Jerusalem/Palestine Land but as mentioned by Askan that all those land acquisition by Jews was determined by the war and displacement of Palestine People so what is wrong if they (Palestine) want to return back there even by force or terrorism actions.

    In this real world’s we almost can not change other people feeling or attitude. The simple example if we want to be respected by other, we have to respect other person first but this is not guarantee,this is just only the best we can do.

    In regard to Israel and Palestine conflict there’s almost impossible to obtain peace deal as long as both Parties in conflict don’t have any stairs to climb down from their respective position.


  19. Colson says:

    Cukurungan: Sorry. But I’m glad you proved I was wrong.

  20. Odinius says:

    Cukurungan: few people outside Israel would claim Palestinians don’t have a right to struggle for statehood (and even in Israel, a majority think it’s inevitable that there will be–and should be–a Palestinians state).

    But then you get to methods. Targeting and killing civilians, whether you use a suicide bomb or a cluster bomb dropped from a plane, is just plain wrong. Israelies and Palestinians who are not armed should not be victims, just like unarmed people everywhere should not be victims. Yeah, this is a mostly unattainable ideal, but the moment we as human beings stop TRYING to achieve this, we’ve lost, morally and ethically.

    I’ve always wondered, wouldn’t Palestinians force Israel to the table on their terms if they took a page out of Ghandi or MLK’s book and organized large, peaceful and sustained demonstrations instead of violent retribution for the occupation? Wouldn’t Israel get more sympathy abroad if they didn’t respond to terrorism with bulldozers and helicopters, but with engagement and aid? Wouldn’t both peoples be better off if they realized neither can ever “win” unless they both sacrifice something together?

    Before anyone scoffs at this idea, note that violence has failed to attain anything of worth for either side except for revenge attacks on their respective civilian populations.

  21. Cukurungan says:


    You are quite correct that whatever the reason targeting un-armed civilian is an evil action. But both parties in the conflict did these barbaric actions behind argument just to deliver justice of their own term. I think the intifadah movement by Civilian Palestine was almost a replicate of Gandhi Method but it seemed Jews are smarter than English and they knew how to defuse those intifadah action and Jews only give the option for Palestine movement is a suicide bombing.

    If Jew really wants a peace deal with the Palestine it is only a peace of cake. Jews has everything in their hand while Palestine has nothing except hope and patient. What made Jews so difficult to give a small percentage of their wealth just pay all the land previously owned by displaced Palestine Family and American also might help by selling “their stolen land from Red Indian” to Palestine after they receive those compensation.


  22. Sputjam says:

    This has nothing to do with faith or race but as long as the previous inhabitants of what is now Israel, are not allowed to return, this issue can never be resolved.

  23. Oigal says:

    “Jews only give the option for Palestine movement is a suicide bombing.” and there in one sentence is what is wrong with the world.”

    Killing of women and children for any reason by anyone is not an option at anytime. Suicide is and always has been the the cowards way, because you are gone and leave others to face the grief you cause.

    Options, how many millions of options do you want. How about donations of some of billions of dollars made in by the oil rich nations in the region? How about moving the UN HQ from cushy New York to Palistine and make the wold responsible for peace. How about, on and on.

    Palestine and her people are just pawns in a world game and it is naive in the extreme to think it is only Israel playing the game.

    Never the less, No-one has the right to kill women and children or other non-combatants and it is impossible to justify as human beings.

  24. Janma says:

    Force and violence only marginalize people. The only way to retrieve the situation in the middle east is with dialogue. The Israeli and American attitudes so far have only led to more radicalize palestinians and other Muslims who feel for their plight. Palestine as a state MUST be viable in order for there to be lasting peace.
    It seems to me sometimes that judaisim, Christianity and islam all have the same God, but He’s telling them all different things.

  25. Aluang anak Bayang says:

    It seems to me sometimes that judaisim, Christianity and islam all have the same God, but He’s telling them all different things.

    Not just that, He is also punishing the most devout of them all. A little bit of tsunami here, and a little bit of earthquake there. And all this zombies got to say is, “repent, repent, repent for your sin.”, while the rest of the world invented and fine tuned technologies to counter these natural disaster.

    Hang on Janma, someone just told me that these fightings, natural disasters are works of the CIA. The Jews had their hand in it.

  26. Odinius says:


    Cool, man, we’re getting closer on every post! I’ve got two criticisms here:

    The first intifada was not exactly Ghandi, but it was certainly an improvement over the second intifada, and it DID result in some serious gains. The madrid conference and oslo accords would never have happened had the first intifada been as violent as the second (and i’m including actions by both israelis and palestinians in that equation, both have acted worse the second time around).

    People criticize the oslo framework, but does everyone even know what the details of the final peace treaty were? Esp the 2000 Taba framework? Joint sovereignty in Jerusalem including shared sovereignty and control of the old city. 98% of the west bank and 100% of gaza to become Palestinian state (acc to Taba framework), the 2% to be compensated for by land in Israel. Israel would dismantle its settlements and Palestine would renounce the right-of-return for all 1948 refugees, but some would be able to move to Israel if they wanted to. Others would be moved into the soon-to-be vacated Israeli settlements (which could house 200,000 and could be easily expanded to house 500,000). The US, EU and UN all promised $1 billion in civilian aid per year and the US promised military aid as well. This is the best peace deal that, unfortunately, may ever be on the table. And it was not Ehud Barak that refused this deal, it was Arafat. This paved the way for Sharon, a guy who always said that the negotiations were a fool’s errand. It also paved the way for Hamas, who said the same thing. And it paved the way for the situation to degrade tremendously for everyone.

    Now look at what Palestine’s options are: a) keep resisting and continue to live in squalid conditions with little aid and a hostile Israel or b) try to get back to the Taba framework when your own leaders AND Israel’s leaders are both now hostile to the idea

    And then ask, wouldn’t it have been better to go with Taba? It’s 2007 now, Palestinians could have had 6 years of peace, economic activity and state growth (and $18 billion in aid plus $3 billion in military aid) instead of instability, fighting with Israel, fighting between Fatah and Hamas, loss of jobs, loss of infrastructure, emmigration of the best and brightest, etc. Israel, for that matter, would also be way better off had Taba worked.

    My second issue is your use of “Jews” instead of “israelis.” More than half the world’s Jews live outside Israel and should not be equated with israel. In fact, did you know that while 52% of americans in 2006 thought the iraq war was wrong, 77% of american Jews think it was wrong? (I got these numbers from an article in the economist a month ago). Saying “the Jews” instead of “the israelis” is sort of like saying “the Muslims” when you just mean saudi Arabian Muslims.

    But my overall point is that if you saw one million palestinians demonstrating peacefully and without “death to israel” chants, something like “peace now, state now” and sustained for weeks, there would be no choice for israel. That is, if you force them to deal with people power and have those people show that they come in peace and with resolve, that they can be negotiated with, there would be no way to get around it. The way right-wing israeli politicians support not negotiating peace even though most israelis want a negotiated peace is by saying “we have no partner for peace.” So palestinians should prove them wrong on their own terms AND they should speak directly to the israeli people, who also want peace.

    This worked in belgrade in 2000, in india in 1947, in the philippines in the 1980s, Indonesia in 1998, all of eastern europe in 1989, soviet union in 1991, etc.

  27. Aluang anak Bayang says:

    Odinius, peaceful protest is alien to Islam. Look at this forum, the only Muslim that can relate and reach out to non-Muslims is Mr. Khafi. Why? Because he uses logic and common sense like us. He will be safe because he is in Indonesia surrounded by Javanese influenced Muslims and most think like him.

    I was in Yogya last week for the Harley Davidson meets, and in a shopping centre, there was a couple of scantily dressed tranvestites. All they get was the odd stares and laugh from the locals, and wolf whistles from us. In Indonesia, we are not yet at a stage where tranvestites will be dragged out in the street and stringed. I wouln’t say that if they were in Acheh.

    Askan, if you read about Malaysia or Brunei, it doesn’t necessary reflect Indonesia. When it comes to religion and racial tolerance, we are poles apart. Muslims in these neighbouring countries will be ridiculed by their own people if they don’t adopt Arabic names.

  28. Odinius says:

    I don’t think peaceful protest is alien to anyone. Or maybe it’s alien to EVERYONE! I can’t think of a single example of it before Ghandi. So maybe it’s something you need to learn and teach, something that does not come naturally to anyone.

  29. Cukurungan says:


    Hehehe I am always cool man or “saya selalu seeeejuk” like air conditioner.
    I totally agreed with you that the Oslo deal was too good for the looser side of the Palestine People. Of course, Arafat need sometimes to consolidate internally and put his stair to climb down from his position but the time out and Sharon succeeded to provoke Palestine by his arrogant intrusion to Masjidil Aqsa.

    Most people aware that the most Hamas leader were initially in the list of pay roll in Mossad account just to reduce Arafat and Fatah influence. But by the time everything went wrong and now Hamas has been became no.1 enemy of any peace deal with Israel becoz there is no real peace deal.

    Regarding declined American support toward the Iraq War is not because Mr. Bush manipulated intelligent information or American so care about a huge dead of Iraqis but rather American has been beginning to realize that whatever the out come of the Iraq War, their billions dollars investment and thousand dead their soldier will never payoff. The real outcome of the Iraq War will be two type of state and none of them in American Favor that is Republic Iraq Alqaeda in the Sunni dominant area and Republic Ayatollah Iraq in the syi’ah dominant area.


  30. Odinius says:

    So we’re on the same page as far as middle east goes. 😉

    I think it’s actually a mix of all three. The people who supported the Iraq war were split between a) those who thought saddam was a threat because of WMD b) those who thought he was a horrible dictator who should be removed c) those who wanted to go kick someone’s ass after september 11.

    I would say group a) mostly don’t support the war anymore because it’s been shown there were no WMD in iraq. group b) doesn’t support the war because it’s obvious iraq was in less bad shape WITH saddam than after. Those in group c) who don’t want to fight anymore changed their mind only because there’s no end in sight. So group a) does care about the lying and group b) cares about both the lying and the suffering of iraqi people. All three care about the fact that there’s no end in sight, but only group c) ONLY cares about it.

    But why I put those stats in there was to show that more Jews than non-Jews think that the war was wrong. I just wanted to show that so you could see that most Jews outside of israel are quite different from people like sharon and are quite pacifistic. 🙂

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