Global boycott movement schools DAP senator over call to set up embassy in Israel

DAP senator Nga Hock Cheh says Malaysia stands to benefit in the agriculture sector if it has ties with Israel. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian chapter of a global boycott campaign against Israel has condemned a DAP senator for urging Putrajaya to establish diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, saying his explanation reeks of Zionist propaganda.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Malaysia (BDS Malaysia) said Nga Hock Cheh not only showed his “naivety” of the conflict in Palestine, but also failed his own Christian faith by ignoring that Christians were also victims of Zionist aggression.

“Christian Palestinians are deprived of their human rights as much as their Muslim brethren. Bottom line is that you don’t have to be Muslim or Christian or Buddhist or Hindu to oppose what the Israelis are doing to Palestinians. You only have to be human,” BDS said in a strong reaction to remarks by Nga in the Dewan Negara recently.

Nga, a DAP leader from Perak, had expressed support for a proposal by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim for Malaysia to open an embassy in Palestine.

But he said Malaysia should take it a step further by opening its embassy in Israel and reap economic benefits from the new ties.

“Israel is very small country but it has very advanced technology in various field, especially in agriculture. Thailand has also benefited tremendously from the expertise and existence of Israel,” he told the Dewan Negara on April 24.

“So, we can also import the expertise for our agriculture to help to uplift the standard of living of the rural folks in this country,” he added.

Nga, who praised Dr Mahathir Mohamad as someone who is influential at the world stage, said the prime minister could broker peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.

“Peacemakers carry a special blessing in the scriptures, they are called ‘children of God’,” he said, adding that he would fail in his duty “as a senator with Christian faith if I do not alert the House about this”.

BDS took Nga to task for citing Israeli advances in agriculture.

“He should know that any such advances have been and are being conducted on the basis of water and land thefts by Israelis against Palestinians. The Zionist propaganda that he seems to imbibe will not care to mention this, of course,” it said.

It also said that Nga’s call on the government to do away with race-based policies was in contradiction with his call to establish ties with Israel.

“He should know that Israel is unabashedly an apartheid state in its policies towards Palestinians within and outside its borders. South Africa, until 1994 a country wracked by apartheid, is so ashamed to have ties with Israel that it is downgrading diplomatic relations with it,” it said.

Malaysia does not have any formal ties with Israel, and Mahathir is known for his strong words against Israeli policies at international conventions.

BDS said Nga had only embarrassed his own party in making the call to connect to Israel.

“His pathetic ignorance on so many fronts can only embarrass his own party which saw it fit to put his name forward to be among the party’s representatives in the upper house of the Malaysian Parliament,” the movement added.

“Notwithstanding that, we hold our hands out to Senator Nga to join us in our endeavours to bring about conditions that will lead to a free Palestine in which Arabs and Jews and the believers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam can live together in peace and dignity.”