Anwar Ibrahim's statement...means exactly what it means, period. (Graphic by Dayang Norazhar for The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: The controversy surrounding remarks Anwar Ibrahim recently made about Israel shows no sign of abating, with one Malaysian blogger saying Anwar’s statement about supporting the security of the state of Israel was clear and cannot be explained away.
In a Wall Street Journal interview in January, Anwar said “I support all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel.” That statement was widely criticised, both in Malaysia and elsewhere.
Anwar’s response to criticism of his remarks emphasised his support for a “two-state solution” and his statement in the WSJ interview that his support for the security of Israel was "contingent on Israel respecting the aspirations of Palestinians".
The latter was emphasised yesterday by PKR vice-president Tian Chua, who said, “In actual fact the article had clearly stated and clarified Anwar’s statement. I don’t think there should be an issue about it.”
Blogger Freddie Kevin also said Anwar's statement clearly demonstrated his stand regarding Israel. However, the conclusion Freddie reached was quite different from the conclusion of Tian Chua.
In a post in his blog Freedom Come, Freedom Go yesterday, Freddie said Anwar’s statement “ran counter to an avowed and politically sensitive policy of Anwar's Ibrahim's partner in the opposition coalition, the Islamic party, PAS.”
“An inviolable and non-negotiable policy,” he continued, “by which if unaddressed, the statement would have serious consequences to PAS grass root support and legitimacy of Anwar's party, the PKR, as a true and reliable coalition partner in the opposition pact.”
Freddie pointed our four problems with Anwar’s statements, beginning with the fact that Anwar didn’t mention the two-state solution at all until after the controversy over the WSJ article first erupted.
Second, the blogger said, Anwar’s subsequent reference to a two-state solution contradicted his earlier remarks about the possibility of diplomatic ties with Israel.
“If…Anwar is in agreement to a two-state solution…there should be no reason why Anwar should have ‘stopped short of saying he would open diplomatic ties with the Jewish state’,” Freddie wrote.
The third issue the blogger identified with Anwar’s remarks was his choice of the word ‘protect’ when referring to the security of Israel, as it “is an explicit word to mean an action and that includes military protection.”
The blogger’s fourth issue – which he refers to as “the killer” – was Anwar’s reference to “the state of Israel”.
“If Anwar does not recognise the the state of Israel, having ‘stopped short of saying he would open diplomatic ties with the Jewish state’ until all ‘the aspirations of Palestinians’ as eloquently elaborated are achieved,” Freddie said, “how can Anwar ‘support all efforts to protect the security’ of the state of Israel, which according to Anwar Ibrahim does not exist?”
The blogger said that taken in its entirety, Anwar’s statement “means exactly what it means, period.”
Meanwhile, Anwar was reported to have met with Pas spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat today regarding the issue.
Anwar said Nik Aziz understood his stand on the matter, adding "I understand Pas' strong and clear views on the issue of Israel.
Anwar said he felt good now that he had "celared any doubt there was over the statement" and said he would not sue the Wall Street Journal because their report "was not wrong".