vendredi 7 octobre 2016

A radio Interview with DURIAN ASEAN in KL in 2014 Misconceptions about JEWS JUDAISM and ISRAEL

During the early part of 2014, I had stopped by the synagogue in Yangon to pay my respects to Moshe Samuels the custodian of the once magnificent synagogue of the Burmese Jews of Iraqi origin. There was a small group of Asian visitors and a very inquisitive young woman, Arlene Tan and I became friends. On my next trip to Malaysia, she wanted to interview me, on a delicate subject.
After the independence and formation of Malaysia, Israel which already had good relationships with Burma, Thailand and other countries in the region wanted to have diplomatic ties with Malaysia but the leaders of the new republic of Malays did not want to have diplomatic relationship with 
Israel and also forbade its citizens from travelling to Israel, and to this day do not allow Israeli citizens from visiting Malaysia. The logic of this decision is rather convoluted and has no historic or economic or social reasons but rather an emotional one of casting their vote with their moslem arab colleagues. 
An average Malaysian has absolutely no knowledge about Israel or Jews or Judaism, lest he has travelled to the west or lived in the west and the information is the one fed by the state which borders on Stalinist blood libel!
I know and like Malaysia and Malaysians and when I got this chance to explain ourselves to the listeners I was happy to do so.
I just saw that the talk has been uploaded to youtube, in audio form and those of you, especially from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei would benefit from listening to it. Strangely enough India is very pro-Israeli and in  Cochin and Kerala the places that I know reasonably well, average citizens do know a lot about Jews and Israel.
Currently the only Jews in Malaysia are the expatriates living there. there is a jewish cemetery in Penang. The best known Malaysian or Malayan Jew was David Marshall, the first Prime Minister of Singapore. Singapore maintains good relations with Israel and has a jewish community which consists of Iraqi merchants of another century and expatriate jews. Jews are welcome to attend services at the synagogue there.

so here is the link to the youtube audio of the Interview.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeihwzqodQM

There is historical interest in the Jewish Community of Indonesia
http://www.jodeninnederlandsindie.nl/en/

Indonesia does allow Israeli visitors for tourism but obtaining a visa is not easy. Malaysia requires prior approval from Ministry before Israelis can get a visa. I have never met an Israeli in Malaysia. Israelis can visit 147 countries in the world and 14 moslem countries refuse entry to visitors from Israel: Bangaldesh, Pakistan, Malaysia and Brunei are in Asia.