Following are excerpts from three articles by Pakistani columnists in Urdu- and English-language dailies, discussing and lamenting the failure of the Islamic world to present a unified military and political stance on the war in Gaza emanating from the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack in Israel.
In the first article, titled "Boycott of Israel, But How?" and published by Urdu daily Roznama Jasarat, the columnist Muzaffar Ejaz goes into a lengthy discussion of the history of boycotts of Israel by Islamic nations and companies. He suggests how Muslim companies and Muslim consumers can establish a boycott of Israel without the support of their governments.
In an article also published by Roznama Jasarat and titled "The Tragedy of Palestine," Pakistan's noted Islamic religious scholar and columnist Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman discusses the failure of the international community to declare Israel to be guilty of war crimes in Gaza. He laments the absence of statesman-like leaders in the West as well as the failure of the Islamic world to offer a common stance on Gaza.
In the third article, titled "Human Tragedy Unfolding In Gaza MBS, The Arab World And Israel" and published by the Express Tribune, columnist Malik Muhammad Ashraf says: "It needs to be mentioned that the Western leaders who were part of the two-state solution never actually made any serious effort to have this agreement implemented".
A protest in Pakistan. Text reads: "Salute to the resistance of Hamas" (Image: X)
Following are excerpts from Muzaffar Ejaz's article:
"Now It Is Being Said That Israel Or The Planners Have Deliberately Allowed All This To Happen To Speed Up The Plan For Greater Israel... Israel Declares [Its Goal Is] To Establish Its State As Far As Medina"
"The whole world is protesting the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. Slogans and demands for a boycott [of Israel] are also coming from many places. Israel was brought into existence by occupying the land of the Palestinians under the auspices of the West and the United States, or rather under the auspices of the world of unbelief. It came to be called an ideological state. For 75 years, the Zionists in Israel have restricted the lives of the Palestinians. On October 7, the Palestinian Operation Al-Aqsa Storm cracked the Israeli security system...
"Now, it is being said that Israel or the planners have deliberately allowed all this to happen to speed up the plan for Greater Israel. Yes, things are moving rapidly in that direction. Israel declares [its goalis ] to establish its state as far as Medina and the rulers of the Arab world are helping to clear the way for Israel for the sake of petty interests. But a review of Israel's 75-year occupation of Palestine shows that Israel does not need a 9/11-style excuse. Israel came into being as a result of a global conspiracy and as part of this conspiracy it has been recognized as a state by UN resolutions.
"When the resistance grew and the world's conscience started to take a turn, the plan to strengthen the state of Israel in the name of the two-state solution was brought forward. About 25 years ago, two states came into being too, but they were not recognized by Israel either. Rather, it has maintained a complete siege of Gaza for the past 17 years.
"In such a situation, the boycott of Israel is repeatedly discussed. If people remember, a name will still be preserved in some corner of their mind. It was called the Israel Boycott Office. This boycott of Israel had started from the time of its establishment in 1948. It had three parts. The primary boycott was of Arab trade with Israel. Second, there were instructions to companies doing business with Israel not to do business with it. The third was to blacklist companies that were doing business with companies that were doing business with Israel."
"Under... Jimmy Carter, Congress Formally Stopped Companies From Supporting The Arab Boycott; And President Carter Signed It Into A Law, Saying That The Boycott Was Causing Obstacles To Free Trade Between Countries"
"There were differences regarding the boycott of Israel from the beginning. At first there was disagreement over the blacklisting of companies, with each country having a separate list. Some countries did not implement it at the official level. Egypt abandoned its policy of a strict boycott and started an unofficial boycott. Anyway, on the whole the boycott of Israel had been effective for many decades when Britain, Japan, and some other countries also boycotted and did not allow Israel to become an economic and military power.
"Then, as usual, the U.S. jumped to Israel's aid. Under the administration of President Jimmy Carter, Congress formally stopped companies from supporting the Arab boycott; and President Carter signed it into law, saying that the boycott was causing obstacles to free trade between countries. And it was also said that this boycott is harming the Jewish people in American society.
"The Arab League strongly objected to this law and described it as an attempt by the Zionists to impose it on America and Western Europe, but gradually the American diplomatic missions in the Islamic world, the American president, and the Secretary of State carried out a campaign and tried to force the Arab and Muslim states into normal trade with Israel.
"The result of this American campaign was that the Arabs did not start trade for the fear of their people, but also did not say anything to the trading companies [doing business with Israel]. In this manner, the boycott was boycotted. Then on different occasions this campaign went on: Israel should be boycotted, but nothing would happen [to the companies]. Now the products of the entire world are under Israeli, American, and Zionist control."
"Can The Muslim Ummah Boycott Under These Circumstances? This Is A Big Question"; "A List Of Muslim Companies Manufacturing Basic Necessities Should Be Made, Then Facilities Should Be Given To Them"
"The question is how to establish a boycott now. In recent past decades, these people have had a monopoly on everything from soaps to food and drink, fast food chains, medicines, weapons, and scientific instruments. What Islamic countries used to produce is now extinct or ineffective. The products of the Israelis and Zionists and the companies patronized by them are extremely high quality and delicious, and their advertising campaigns are very effective.
A screenshot of Muzaffar Ejaz's article in Roznama Jasarat
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"Can the Muslim Ummah establish a boycott under these circumstances? This is a big question. Just as there were three priorities at the time of the boycott, there should still be three priorities. First of all, a list of Muslim companies manufacturing basic necessities should be made. Then facilities should be given to them. After that, the Muslim countries should increase the trade of these goods between themselves. In fast food, Arab, Turkish, Lebanese, and Iranian food are excellent, their fast-food chains should be opened in Islamic countries. It should be ensured that no raw materials are taken from Israel or countries that trade with Israel.
"Above all, the most important is the one on whose strength everything is done: and, that is, the Muslim consumer. Muslim consumers will have to sacrifice quality and price for at least several years. It is possible that the products of Islamic countries will be expensive. Here too, the rulers of Islamic countries will not be helpful.
This work should also be done by forming an association of Muslim traders and consumers. Awareness has to be created. At present, they have a monopoly on [many things including] razor blades, etc. The companies that make cookies, chocolates, etc., in Pakistan are also not doing well. If the quality is reasonable, the price is too high. These Muslim businessmen must sacrifice and cut down on profits. The sales of their products will increase.
"Those who are exporters or importers should also bear a little and stop ordering from such countries and companies [that trade with Israel]. But is that possible? Will the rulers allow this to happen? The answer is: absolutely not. Rather, they are destroying Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) today in the same way as they destroyed Pakistan Steel and today they are being brutally told to get rid of PIA as soon as possible. Before any boycott of Israel and Zionists, an effective awareness campaign is needed, and an example needs to be set by big businessmen by reducing their own profits. Then it can be thought that there can be a boycott."
Following are excerpts from Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman's article:
"Fifty-Seven Muslim Governments And The Organization Of The Islamic Conference [OIC] Are Helpless, Military Action Is A Distant Thing, No Effective Political, Diplomatic, And Economic Collective Action Has Emerged"
"Fifty-seven Muslim governments and the Organization of the Islamic Conference [sic, OIC] are helpless. A military action is a distant thing, no effective political, diplomatic, and economic collective action has emerged. All their gifts to the oppressed Palestinians are resolutions of condemnation and that's it! Muslim people can only protest, take out rallies, pass resolutions. So far, no one has come forward for the rehabilitation and aid of the oppressed Palestinians...
"It is strange! NGOs, the candle mafia, and liberals who thrive on Western capital are also dumb, deaf, and blind. They too do not have the ability to raise their voice on these atrocities, lest it happen that their Western patrons and mentors are angered and ratabs [daily fixed food, meals, rations, or scholarship]. Compared to the sad situation of Palestine, the first priority of the Pakistani media is the Cricket World Cup.
"Allah says [verse translated from Urdu version]: 'And (Muslims!) What has happened to you that you do not do qital [fighting to kill] in the way of Allah, even though some weak men, women, and children are (calling out) making this supplication – Oh Lord! Take us out of this town of the wrongdoers, and make a helper for us from your side, and make someone from your side a helper for us' – (Al-Nisa: 75).
"It is stated in a hadith [sayings of Muhammad], that as Syedna Thauban narrates: 'The Messenger of Allah said: "The time is not far when other nations will fall upon you, just as people fall upon the dining mat for their share of food." A person said: "(O Messenger of Allah!) Will we be less in number at that time?" He said: "(No!) Rather, you will be more in number at that time, but you will be (ignored) like the foam of a flood. Allah will remove your fear from the hearts of your enemies and will put wahan in your hearts." The questioner asked: "O Messenger of Allah! What is meant by wahan," he said: "Love of the world and disliking death" – (Abu Dawood)."
"It Was Necessary Upon The International Community To Declare Israel Guilty Of War Crimes And Steps Toward Prosecution At International Level"
"The irony of history is this: the world is deprived of statesman-like leadership at this time. It is the tragedy of history that the U.S. has become the sole superpower due to its military capability and economic superiority, but it is deprived of the moral substance for the leadership of the international community. The deprived, the short-sighted, the narrow-minded, and the dwarfs hold positions of leadership. They are deprived of the ability to lead the world by rising above their personal and national priorities.
Muneeb-ur-Rehman's article in Roznama Jasarat
"U.S. President [Joe] Biden, due to his old age, sometimes loses his balance, but no strong opponent is emerging against him in the Democratic Party. Similarly, there is no challenge for... Donald Trump in the Republican Party. In short, there is lack of leadership. The whole of Europe is also deprived of capable leadership. They are essentially subservient to America; there is no capable leadership across Europe that could steer America toward reason; their role is merely to blindly follow America's lead.
"The slogans of human rights, children's rights, women's rights and democracy are used by the inhabitants of the West only to put pressure on the opponents. In fact, they have no interest in these values. Otherwise, it was necessary upon the international community to declare Israel guilty of war crimes and take steps toward prosecution at the international level.
"On the contrary, in the UN Security Council the United States is unilaterally vetoing the ceasefire resolutions on the Gaza Strip and it has paralyzed the international organization. In fact, the principle of a veto is a negation of democracy and democratic values, that even if the entire international community is on one side, a single country can completely cancel its consensus decisions. At the international level, only Chinese President Xi Jinping is visible as a statesman, but he is silently focused on strengthening his economy. Also, he is engaged in planning and wisely enhancing his political and economic influence globally. He is steadily advancing without creating confrontation against the United States.
"The CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor], the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO] are all part of this same global policy. However, China neither cultivates wars like America nor is their buyer. Russian President Vladimir Putin has entangled himself in Ukraine's conflict. Therefore, he cannot pose a significant challenge to America, and Europe is trapped in following America's lead, which is why global leadership has slipped from their hands."
Following are excerpts from Malik Muhammad Ashraf's article:
"Terrorist Actions Are So Common In The Behaviour Of Israel And These Nations [France, Germany, Italy, The UK, And The U.S.] That Their Anti-Terrorism Rhetoric Smacks Of Only Propaganda Unpinned By Blatant Double Standards"
"The mere condemnation of what is going on in Gaza is not enough. Honestly speaking the UN secretary general cannot do anything beyond that. He cannot even have the UN resolution on the issue implemented unless the U.S. and its allies wish to do so. It is not the first time that a massacre of the Palestinians has been carried out on such a large scale. The memories of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps where Israel killed thousands of Palestinians are still fresh in the memories of the people.
"Reality and propaganda are two different things. Propaganda, when repeated so often, takes on a surreal life of its own. The leaders of U.S. and Western countries cannot tell the difference between the two. On October 9 the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the UK, and the U.S. made a statement, saying: 'We make it clear that the terrorist actions of Hamas have no justification, no legitimacy and must be universally condemned.' That was the most unfortunate stance.
"Terrorist actions are so common in the behaviour of Israel and these nations that their anti-terrorism rhetoric smacks of only propaganda unpinned by blatant double standards. They cry from every convenient roof-top to proclaim and stress their humanitarian credentials and show criminal indifference to human rights violations when it suits their strategic and geopolitical interests.
An anti-Israel protest in Lahore, Pakistan (Image: X)
"The statement by these five nations ascribing terrorism Hamas's actions only and claiming that it does not represent all Palestinians raises the question that if that is true, why do they so ardently stand with Israel in inflicting collective punishment on the Palestinians? The destruction of almost all of Gaza City and its 600,000 residents cannot be aimed at Hamas only. They would surely have no plausible answer to it and their explanations in this regard would only amount to sophistry."
"The Western Leaders Who Were Part Of The Two-State Solution Never Actually Made Any Serious Effort To Have This Agreement Implemented"
"The actions of Hamas are a sequel to the prolonged persecution by Israel. History bears testimony to the fact that the oppressed people, being driven by emotions, suppressed for a long time, tend to rise over time to the level of the violence and oppression of the oppressor. The Israeli policy of persecution of Palestinians can also be readily interpreted as terrorism. It has surely set the standard for Palestinian reaction in a violent way.
"Thus, the word 'terrorism' ascribed only to Palestinians is nothing but a propaganda mantra reflecting a double standard by Western leaders. What this mantra implies is that as a sovereign state, you have a right to go around pummeling international law through your terrorist actions and piously calling it self-defense while their citizens cheer this stance influenced by the propaganda. As against it the victims of this violence and persecution have no right of self-defense or reacting to the inhuman ploys of the oppressor. If the victim does something in self-defense, the action becomes terrorism."
"It needs to be mentioned that the Western leaders who were part of the two-state solution never actually made any serious effort to have this agreement implemented. They looked the other way while Israel kept raising new settlements on occupied land after this agreement in blatant disregard for international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.
"The OIC [The Organization Of Islamic Cooperation] Is Also A Dead Horse – Though The Islamic Countries Do Show Solidarity On Blasphemy And Islamophobia, They Lack The Political Solidarity Of The EU To Exert Any Influence Or Pressure In Regards To The Resolution Of The Palestinian Issue"
"None of the so-called 'civilized nations' ever raised an eyebrow at these violations of international law and frequent killings of Palestinians by Israel. They do not even care about the principles enshrined in the UN charter and the global public opinion. The statements of condemnation and expression of concern about what is unfolding in Israel are not going to influence them. The UN is only a debate club where issues are discussed and resolutions adopted and thrown on the back burner. Only those resolutions get implemented in which the U.S. and its allies have any interest."
"Regrettably, the OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] is also a dead horse. Though the Islamic countries do show solidarity on blasphemy and Islamophobia, they lack the political solidarity of the EU to exert any influence or pressure in regard to the resolution of the Palestinian issue, on which there are innumerable UN resolutions.
"Until and unless the Islamic world becomes united and takes a joint stand against all these atrocities, nothing tangible can happen. The Palestinians will continue to suffer and watch helplessly the ruination of their land and lives.
"The Iranians rightly call U.S. the Great Satan. It is behind all the conflicts around the world and is a culprit of humanity for killing thousands of human beings all around the world or supporting massacres by its allies. It can be deterred or stopped in its tracks only through an impregnable unity among Muslim countries."