Like many Singaporeans, I am shocked by and disagree with the Singapore government’s decision to name the museum in the old Ford Motor Factory as the “Syonan Gallery” and am disappointed at the insensitivity shown in the decision. Similarly, I also share reservations about the existing policy by MINDEF about certain roles and appointments and Malay servicemen.

But that said, the bringing in of Israel into the picture in the discussion of such policy issues is disappointing and uncalled for.

As a start, to blame Israel for the policy missteps of the present government and/or policy disagreements we have reeks of the scapegoating of the Jews in Germany for all things that went wrong in Germany, from the economic crash to Germany’s World War I defeat, in the inter-war years on the 1930s to the 1940s, which eventually led to the Holocaust and contributed as one of the grounds for the explosion of total war, especially the expansion of it into Eastern Europe and the babaricity and atrocities reserved for Eastern European populations.

Blaming Israel for the perceived “racist” policies of the PAP government is intellectually fallacious and extremely illogical. It is as good as saying that all forms of real or perceived discrimination against Malays and Muslims in Singapore is down to Israeli influence. So may I ask Mr Jufrie, are the racist policies by the Turkish government against the Kurds, who are more than 90% Sunni Muslim, down to Israeli influence? Is the racist policy by the North Sudanese government against the blacks, especially the Dafuri Muslims, also down to Israeli influence? And do you think that it is fair for me to say that the racist Bumiputera policy in Malaysia because of Saudi influence? Or perhaps Israel has a hand in it too (Surprise surprise for a country which bans travelers with Israeli passport stamps from entering their country!)?

If Mr Jufrie were to talk about Israeli racism (ironic given that the Arab minority, some of whom are virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel themselves, are represented in the Israeli parliament and judiciary), perhaps he should be denouncing the Hamas charter for its genocidal proclamations against the Jews and Yusuf Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood for praising Hitler for his role in the Holocaust too. Thankfully, not all Muslims share these worldview, but if part of one’s house is made out of glass, I think it would be fair for one not to throw stones. And a curious question for Mr
Jufrie, is not singling out Israel for all things wrong, real or perceived, with the Malay-Muslim community an act of racism, in the sense of selective targeting of an entire people group and to a certain extent, a race for scapegoating?

Before blaming Israel or “racism” for SAF precautionary measures in one broad strokes, I think it would be fair for Mr Jufrie to consider the cases of Maj Nidal Hasan of the Fort Hood shooting or the San Bernadino shooting incident in 2015 in determining if these measures, though debatable, are down to racism or if there are justifiable grounds for such a course of action. I don’t think anyone needs Israel to influence them to lock their doors at night to prevent thieves from entering. Also, if Mr Jufrie truly cares for the Muslim community, then his rightful focus should be on Hamas, who have deliberately and willfully stached their weapons and rocket launchers among civilians and ISIS who are rightfully giving Muslims a bad name, instead of Israel, whose settlement building and counter-terrorism measures are dimmer than a candlelight compared to Assad’s “war on terrorism”, ISIS colonisation of Chaldean, Assyrian and Yazidi land in northern Iraq or Turkey’s racist policies towards the Kurds.

The naming of the old Ford Motor Factory as the “Syonan Gallery” and MINDEF’s policy on Malays are topics that warrant debate, discussion and concern. And I think it is fair for those listening to all sides involved for the topic to be assessed on its merits and lack thereof instead of scapegoating perceived, even imaginary enemies with the faintest of involvement in the debates of the day.

Philip Ong
A.S.S. Contributor

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