Analyst: Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem puts Najib in tight spot

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PETALING JAYA: A political analyst has accused Prime Minister Najib Razak of lacking the gall to harshly criticise United States President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

 

Speaking to FMT, Wong Chin Huat, from the Penang Institute, said Najib seemed to be torn between portraying himself as a fighter for Islam and the worry that such words might anger Trump.

As a result, Wong said, Najib’s statement against the US in his speech during the 71st Umno general assembly paled in comparison with other reactions from across the globe.

“He hopes to show Muslims that he is with the Palestinians but ordinary people can see through his lip service,” he said.

“What capital does he have to lecture Trump? He was so desperate to be counted as Trump’s friend that he would even go as far as to spend the rakyat’s money to ‘save the US economy’.

“It is too obvious when you compare reactions of Turkey and Iran and this brings embarrassment to the Umno-PAS’ Muslim unity narrative,” Wong said.

He also said that Malaysian Malays were likely to remember and miss Mahathir who did not mince his words when slamming the US.

“The basic thing Najib can do is to summon the US ambassador to raise his objection, which is mild and measured.”

Trump had told Arab leaders on Dec 5 that he intended to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a decision that breaks with decades of US policy and risks fuelling violence in the Middle East.

Senior US officials had said Trump would delay relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv for another six months, though he was expected to order his aides to begin planning such a move immediately.

In a speech at the annual gathering of the ruling Umno party in Kuala Lumpur, Najib had called on Muslims worldwide to strongly oppose any move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“I call on all Muslims across the world to let your voices be heard, make it clear that we strongly oppose any recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital for all time,” Najib had said.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had warned that Trump’s plan to declare Jerusalem capital of Israel was a “red line” for Muslims and could see him breaking off diplomatic relations with the country.

Syed Farid Alatas, a professor at the National University of Singapore, said the comments of the prime minister or leaders of other nations were not as important as the actual steps they would take.

He asked if Malaysia would be able to play a key role in galvanising support from the rest of the world to go against Trump’s declaration.

“Does Malaysia have the international clout and goodwill among nations to pull this off? That remains to be seen.”

Source: FMT News | December 12, 2017

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