Why Israel and Pakistan can never be allies

Published: June 13, 2012

There is a wide misconception that the clash over the holy land is solely between Muslims and Jews. The fight is for human rights who everyone has the right to defend. ILLUSTRATION: EMA ANIS

In 1947, Israel’s founder, David Ben Gurion sent a telegram to Muhammad Ali Jinnah in an attempt to establish diplomatic relations with Pakistan. The telegram was initially ignored and to date, Pakistan still refuses to recognise Israel as a state. 

Ben Gurion was allegedly quoted in The Jewish Chronicle in 1967 on his view of Pakistan:

The world Zionist movement should not be neglectful of the dangers of Pakistan to it. And Pakistan now should be its first target, for this ideological state is a threat to our existence. And Pakistan, the whole of it, hates the Jews and loves the Arabs. This lover of the Arabs is more dangerous to us than the Arabs themselves. For that matter, it is most essential for the world Zionism that it should now take immediate steps against Pakistan.

Whereas the inhabitants of the Indian peninsula are Hindus whose hearts have been full of hatred towards Muslims, therefore, India is the most important base for us to work from against Pakistan. It is essential that we exploit this base and strike and crush Pakistanis, enemies of Jews and Zionism, by all disguised and secret plans.

This famous quote has never been verified and many Israeli academics dispute its authenticity. However, it is a well-known fact that Israel is not favoured by Pakistan. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the recent blog published on The Express Tribune about Israel.

Over the years, I have heard many arguments regarding the Palestine-Israel conflict. From holding Hamas and Fatah accountable for internal bickering between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to blaming all Arabs for being arrogant towards south-east Asians as a whole – therefore the Palestinians deserve the unrest and the injustice. And above all the arguments is the one that takes the lead; Jews have the biblical right to a land that was promised to them by God.

To explain these reasons to a Palestinian living off UN handouts in a refugee camp in Lebanon or Jordan would be an insult and borderline insensitive. Imagine having your culture and livelihood taken from you and being expelled from your land. Or, to be degraded daily by the Israel Defence Force in checkpoints strewn across the occupied West Bank and have your child shot by Israeli extremist settlers in Nablus.

Human rights violations are rife despite Israel portraying itself as the beacon of freedom in the eyes of the international community. Israel would have you believe that Palestinians are all terrorists and it’s only defending its citizens from suicide bombers and Islamic extremists.

The reality however is very different.

There is a wide misconception that the clash over the holy land is solely between Muslims and Jews. There are over 300,000 Palestinian Christians in the disputed territories, along with many more living abroad. They too are discriminated against equally as their Muslim counterparts. Israel uses sophisticated lobbying from institutions such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to portray Palestine as the aggressor.

Then comes the question, ‘Would it be in Pakistan’s interest to recognise Israel, like countries who already have such as Egypt and Jordan?’

If not for economic stability, then maybe to increase its list of allies?

I would have to say no.

Not because of the Muslims versus Jews debate, or the ties many people have to the third most holiest site in Islam, Al-Aqsa Mosque, but based more on a human level.

If it was the other way around and Palestinians were occupying a land by killing innocent civilians and begrudging them their basic human rights in the 21st century, I would reiterate my decision regardless of religion or race.

We cannot let our names represent an apartheid regime and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people. We should push for peace in one of the most complex conflicts of our time, and simultaneously hold Israel accountable for its actions – something which the UN repeatedly fails to do.

I must also emphasise that I’m not anti-semetic and I don’t agree that Jews are our enemies either. Zionism and Judaism are two very different concepts. To simplify things, all monotheistic beliefs are from the same maker which renders the fight over religion pointless; hate will only brew more hate.

This is a fight for human rights who everyone has the right to defend.

Pakistan itself has a tainted slate when it comes to human rights. But it wouldn’t get any closer to making amends by forming an alliance with Israel either. And as for improving Pakistan’s image externally, well maybe we should focus on procuring a change from within first and then worry about what image others have of  us.

Read more by Zab here, or follow her on Twitter @zabmustafa

Zab Mustefa

Zab Mustefa

Zab Mustefa is a British journalist who specialises in women's rights and culture. She tweets @zabmustefa (twitter.com/zabmustefa)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Arjun

    you are not in India anymore nor do what you think matters even to a tiny country like Maldives. Just do not think too much of yourselves…another IMF loan is needed to surivive this year -just like last 15 years!!!!Recommend

  • Zalim Singh

    @ Author. Imagine having your culture and livelihood taken from you and being expelled from your land.

    What has happened to Kashmir, Pakistan is also same. The people there before islamic invasion was all Hindus. Now they are being driven out of their own lands. Why are you worried about issues 5,000 miles away? Worry about attrocities at home.Recommend

  • Saad Aziz

    where were all the muslims when jews were brutally massacred in the holocaust,jews have been through enough trauma in their lives than any nation of the world,they are a nation of braves,they rose because of their hardwork and now they run mostly all of the world,peace with israel,thogh there are certain foreign policies of israel which i am also a critic of but you can not blame all of the israel for the palestine problem,there are two sides of the coin,the problem with us humans are that we only see oneRecommend

  • Camran

    @ Saad Aziz,

    Was it Palestinians that caused the holocaust? The Khmer Rouge dictatorship killed a third of the Cambodian population. Should we blame Arabs for that? Where were they when the Soviets massacred millions of their own people? What about the Rwandan genocide?

    There are two sides to the coin yes. Look at the Palestinian side as well as the Jewish.Recommend

  • Jasmine

    A two state solution is nearly impossible and after Arafat died, all these Palestinian factions rose up so there’s also a civil war between Palestinians as well as fighting the occupation of the Israelis.

    The conflict is like opening a huge can of worms and will never be resolved because Israelis who are backed by America will never leave that land and Palestine will never give up the land. Never ending problems and complications. Recommend

  • Imran haq

    Pakistan should worry more about improving relations with the Palestinian Authority and supporting them and also investing in other Middle Eastern countries namely in the Gulf before thinking about Israel. Israeli economy thrives because they are intelligent, educated etc and they get a lot of US money for aid, think it’s around $7 billion a year. There’s not much poverty between the Jewish Israelis and they realistically don’t need any support from Pakistan. Unless they want to cause more controversy. It’s in Pakistan’s interest to support the PA anyway.Recommend

  • masood

    well done ET! i congratulate you on this piece.Recommend

  • zaynaib

    Since when did Israel need Pakistan? they’re probably laughing at this article from their high illegal settlement outposts!Recommend

  • dora

    reading some of the comments on here, you all fail to understand that whether you like it or not, despite how “secular” you may be, sorry to burst your bubble but pakistan is majority religious. CONSERVATIVE religious. so there is no way israel would ever be recognized by us. Recommend

  • Abid P Khan

    @Zalim Singh:

    “The people there before islamic invasion was all Hindus. Now they are being driven out of their own lands. “

    Was it not the Dark Skinned Dravidians who were driven to regions further south, by the invading White Aryans? Recommend

  • Sara W

    I don’t get it. Why are we so worried about a fascist regime like Israel all of a sudden? Should we not be doing more with Arab countries seeing as they have more to offer? I mean, Arabs for the most part think Pakistanis are below them but they have a lot more economically which can be attributed to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Larissa

    Poor Israelis are angels in the eyes of the international community. They can do no wrong. Even with their secret nuclear programme. It’s so obvious they have nuks, but Iran is the one being penalised by America. No way. Over my dead body will my country ever accept such a chalaq state.Recommend

  • omar s

    Oh dear. Wonder what saavy Israeli lobby groups will have to say about this article. They’re probably spinning something as I write this..Recommend

  • Chaz

    I think Israel would laugh at Pakistan’s terrible human rights record. We can’t scrutinise how they treat Palestinians when we act so badly with anyone who’s not a Wahabi maulvi so the writer doesn’t need to stress about Israel dealing with Pakistan anytime soon cos they’d just embarass themselves associating with us.Recommend

  • mo shack

    I usually yawn when I see the words Palestine and Israel but Pakistan and Israel! Wow controversial!! Really grabbed my attention! After reading this I do see both sides of the story including that of the Palestinians and I can safely say that I’m deffos with the writer on this one. Recommend

  • amit

    @Abid P Khan:
    Was it not the Dark Skinned Dravidians who were driven to regions further south, by the invading White Aryans?
    oh ya you belive aryan invetion theory ? who proved false by 100 of reserch .max muller theory proved false don’t live in 18th century this is 2012 .Recommend

  • Anam

    i don’t care what all the “liberal” people commenting on this say, but as a pakistani, i will always be on palestine’s side. nothing to do with hating jews because i most certainly don’t. i just know that they deserve freedom. Recommend

  • Maryam

    Israelis are so weird. It’s like they live off the fear that evil Islamist terrorists are going to attack them. Seriously, when I was there for a vacation, No way did I say I was Pakistani otherwise they would’ve never talked to me so openly. But just average people in cafes and the beach were like: “Yeah we have to protect our country against an invasion from Iran.” The girl telling me had just finished her service in the IDF and was being deadly serious LOL. Recommend

  • Annoyed

    I’m getting fed up of people going into the depth of history to talk about this conflict. Talk about what is happening NOW. Not stupid conspiracy theories dating back to the Roman times.Recommend

  • hanin

    there will b no friend just enemies . it’s human natureRecommend

  • Amin

    When Palestine is free from these Zionist modern day colonialists then we can be allies with Israel. Recommend

  • Musharaf

    1 – It is not in Pakistan’s interest to be allies with Israel

    2 – If we did, we would lose what little respect we have already from the international community

    3 – It’s just not logical. Why would an Islamic state form an alliance with a Zionist state? Okay Egypt and Jordan did, but they went to war with Israel in 1967 so it’s different. They have a direct link to the region and share borders with Israel so they have reason to.

    We don’t.Recommend

  • Mubashir Silat

    Fatah and Hamas policy of providing a pretext to Israel to conduct whole-scale war efforts is naive but no person in his right mind could vindicate Israel of its inhumane effort to rid the land of its original inhabitants because they believe that an ancient god gave them the right to do so in an ancient book. Such a line of thought has a theocratic ring to it wont you agree.
    Though it must also be asserted that there are moderates in the Israeli society who recognize the insanity of its right wing radicals, they must come forth to establish a two state solution that insures complete sovereignty to the Palestinian people or they will continue to suffer to satisfy the ego of certain ideologues who wouldn’t accept any compromise.Recommend

  • Amran

    Nobody thinks about human rights my dear writer. Everybody puts their own interests first. That includes our corrupt governments right down to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. What chance do the Palestinians have realistically in securing peace and freedom? I think you already know the answer to that. Recommend

  • yousaf

    @author::Israel and Pakistan can never be allies because here in Pakistan the debate is about Jews vs Muslims but actual debate is between Arabs vs Non-Arabs irrespective of the faith of locals there.This fact is never brought up or let be understood by Pakistanies.Recommend

  • shazia

    Great read. i’m not so sure about the peace part though. there are just too many problems in that area..Recommend

  • mohammed shafiq

    read the quraan that will tell u all u need to know about israelRecommend

  • awellwisher

    @Loneliberal PK:

    Excellent points. Also to be added to your list are Pakistan’s genocide in Bangladesh and the continuing genocide hundreds of thousands of Baloch for the past six decades.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    I am getting fed up with our government ignoring israeli terrorism and occupation on Palestinians and the israeli harm to our third holisest Masjid Al Aqsa.

    Our army should stop supporting the war of terror and protect the Palestinians and give them weapons to protect themselves from the israeli terrorists.

    We need leaders like with the piety and courage of Salahuddin who will do anything to liberate Palestine.

    Inshaallah israel will end in our lifetime.Recommend

  • Shabnam

    @Zalim Singh

    Oh did you forget to mention the thousands of Muslims that died at the hands of Sikhs? Don’t forget to mention that barbarian Sikhs used to kill pregnant Muslim women and rip the baby out of the stomach. Look at yourself before commenting about others. I’m not saying that Muslims are angels or perfect but your race isn’t either.Recommend

  • Rizwan

    An eye for an eye would make the whole world blind. All this killing over religion and land? Allah would probably be laughing at us.Recommend

  • shah mohammed

    Pakistan isn’t in a good situation either beta. i think we need to really be concerned about our own problems first before the palesine problems with isreal.Recommend

  • Hina

    Why is no one looking at the bigger picture here? Commentators are trying to portray themselves as very liberal and open-minded when it comes to Israel – bringing history and other conflicts into the argument. Try making things more simple:

    What is wrong is wrong. The occupation of Palestine, ethnic cleansing and refugees living in diaspora are all. These are all good enough reasons not to support or accept Israel as a state. Let the Palestinians worry about fighting internally with all their different factions. Just look at the bigger picture. Recommend

  • farouk

    Pakistan is sneaky with its relations in Israel. Rich Pakistani business men go there all the time. They also exchange intelligence as well. I think its disgusting. Money can’t buy you morals to all the defenders of israel.Recommend

  • farouk

    @Zalim Singh

    I presume you’re Indian so of course you’re going to be favorable towards Israel. After all India is the number 1 ally of Israel. People are shocked to know that but India comes even before America when supporting Israel. They welcome Hindus and sikhs with open arms for business and tourism but it’s different with muslims.Recommend

  • Chan Makhna

    about recognition of Israel. I would like to share one another thing. according to my humble knowledge that in geopolitics perspective, at present Israel and Iran have been indulged in big clash and both countries are near war, and Iran is our brother muslim country regardless sectism, we have common boarder, and at this time if we pakistani try to recognize Israel in order to enhance our ally list or economic stability then we can spoil our relations with our close neighbor.i think we should make better relation with our close neighbor rather than far away critical country. Recommend

  • Abid P Khan

    “oh ya you belive aryan invetion theory ? who proved false by 100 of reserch .max muller theory proved false don’t live in 18th century this is 2012 .”

    I thought Rigveda’s words had more weight than 1000 researches a la BJP. Recommend

  • Samia Abdul

    good argument really well said. long live falastine Recommend

  • kashif

    in order to comply with human rights you have to be human. our governments aren’t human they’re stupid zoned out zombies.Recommend

  • Omar USA

    All people are concerned about is money and who can benefit who. The writer is right. Before anything human rights should come first. That goes for Pakistan as well. It’s disgusting how women here are treated like second class citizens and there is a clear divide between the upper and lower classes. Recommend

  • Pak needs human rights

    Why should we concern ourselves with Israel?? Look at our own track record on human rights then decide. Are we not hypocrites to call on Israel for peace? Our own country is riddled with enough problems before we go commenting on other nations. Yes Israel isn’t doing any favors by murdering Palestinians, but in comparison to a place like Pakistan, they’re angels. They don’t commit near enough half of the atrocities that go on here. Recommend

  • confused

    Human rights are rife

    Are you talking about Pakistan or Israel there? Recommend

  • Kaiser wala

    Lets look at the bigger picture, guys. In todays world relations between nations is not based off of ideology but trade/development. The only thing we can offer the palestinians is economic development which we ourselves lack. We should be pragmatic israel doesnt have any oil under there feet yet they are the most developed country in that region. Just imagine if it was only palestine there it wouldnt make a difference there would still be turmoil as its been in the past hundred yers. Instead of playing the islamic card or thumping our chest we must think with an open mind. A pragmatic non aligned foreign policy suits us. The saudis and iranian play the same way. When was the last time these brotherly countries said anything about kashmir? Yet when it comes to palestine were the lone wolf in the room while everyone else does what benefits them. We need less enemies and more friends. Israel as a nation is a perfect model for us to follow when it comes to development and strong foreign policy. Recommend

  • ghulam rasul

    very good i couldnt agree moreRecommend

  • Miakael

    Never ending story about Palestine and Israel. Everywhere is occupied and overrun by colonialism. It’s just taking after the world superpowers; UK, USA, Canada etc. Modern day colonialism is Palestine. There is nothing anyone can do about it. I can hardly see 6 million Jews leaving Israel because they illegally took the land. Realistically as hard as it is, all these countries will have to get used to the idea of this state and deal with it. Only then will there be peace when you deal with the problem at hand.Recommend

  • Sana S

    What is a significant place like Pakistan gonna do???
    It’s pointless even getting into a discussion about it because it’s not like Pakistan would even stand a chance at being like considered to be allies with Israel.Recommend

  • Sana S

    **insignificant i mean not significant. pak is anything but significant to the outside world unfortunately :(Recommend

  • Kiran Haq

    to people thinking being friends with Israel is a good thing. Imagine the uproar if it happened which I highly doubt. Recommend

  • mohsin khan

    the same time ISREALS foundations were being made , at the same time ALLAH created PAKISTAN two totally different ideologys. they can seldom be friends

    given even half a chance the jews and isreal wont leave a single stone unturned to wipe us out
    especially because of our nukes

  • Aleem Maqbul

    Love this article. Makes a lot of good points but the quote at the beginning is sort of pointless no? Everyone knows that it was made up. Ben Gurion wasn’t so war mongering as he was portrayed. He said a lot of peaceful thinks and was aware that he was taking over the land of Arabs. He actually said they should coincide but of course that didn’t work and didn’t happen. Look up some of his most famous quotes if you don’t believe me they’re all over the internet. But anyways, Zionism is barbaric that much is true. Any thoughts? Recommend

  • Angry

    It really angers me when people think being anti Zionist is the same as being anti Semetic. The two are completely different. Theoder Hertzl (founder of Zionism) only got the idea of a Jewish state in the late 19th century. Before that there was just Judaism. Zionism is more like a movement than religion so it’s different. Canada made it a criminal offence to criticise Zionism last year which I think is really unfair. Israelis always pull the anti semetic card when someone criticises their policies. It’s got nothing to do with hating Jews. No one hates Jews. It’s a question of land: Palestine.Recommend

  • Proud to be Jewish

    Israel doesn’t want enemies or best friends. Just peace. Jews have been through enough. We were persecuted since your Moslem profets time and also during the holocaust. We just want to rest and enjoy life. Our population was nearly wiped out by Hitler so we went back to our homeland. Anyone who thinks different should read history. Recommend

  • American Pakistani

    Leave Israel to worry about their own problems the same way Pakistan is dealing with its mess.Recommend

  • Hassan S Hakeem

    Any one who has seen movie The Ten Commandments would remember that when Prophet Musa reach Mount Sinai he is greeted by Arab Shepard & he marries one of them. How can palestinians be foreigners or invaders.Recommend

  • Abid P Khan

    @Proud to be Jewish:

    “……. so we went back to our homeland. Anyone who thinks different should read history.”

    According to history books Jewish people lived in Canaan (Africa). They came on cross purposes with the then Pharaoh of Egypt, who did not like their ways. Under the leadership of of Moses the Canaanites walked over to ME, Asia, as the Red Sea had parted, thus were safe from clutches of the Egyptian ruler.

    The mistreatment meted in Europe does not justify atrocities against the Asians.Recommend

  • stevenson

    If Pakistan can be friends with the Indians who have done more damage to Pakistan than any other nation, why can’t the nation be friends with Israel who has done nothing directly to harm Pakistan?Recommend

  • methos

    @Peace for all:

    Oh Really? And Pakistan is? I guess Syria is a “Real Democracy” when it can bomb towns and villages as well kill scores of people as it ignores UN resolutions Recommend

  • Umair

    @Hassan S Hakeem

    A lot of right wing Israelis even deny that Palestinians exist! They say that Palestine was never their country..Recommend

  • mariam italy

    nice sunday read.Recommend

  • auntie flo

    yes i agree dear. what goes around comes around and israel won’t have big bully friends like america forever. pakistan will never support such a disdainful nation.Recommend

  • Saleem K Chaudrey

    I don’t think using the argument that “Israel has done no harm to Pakistan” is a viable point. It’s a point of morals that the writer is trying to point out. Logically, economically and perhaps to gain more brownie points with America make it a good idea to accept Israel…

    Otherwise, on moral grounds, no way. It’s wrong no matter what way you try to justify it simply because the Israelis have a huge superiority complex and treat Palestinians like third class citizens. They are racist and think ALL Muslims are terrorists which is very unfair.Recommend

  • gt


    You, like Uri Avnery, are intoxicated by visions of your own beatitude. Kindly study history with an unbiased mind, and especially spare some thought to fate of the Banu Qurayz.Recommend

  • yousaf

    @Mohammad Hassan :: Good comment.Now lets see how many more see the reality and how many still insist to be THEKEDARS of ummah who always has paid two hoots to our problemsRecommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan

    Your gamers gul is a joke like zaid Hamid here. These two provide better entertainment than Charlie chaplin.
    Ps I adore Charlie Chaplin, he was wonderful actor.Recommend

  • Babur Chughtai

    I think you are ill-informed and a deep believer in conspiracy theories or maybe you just want to malign Pakistan and Pakistanis. I googled after your post and this is what I found:

    Ahmed Quraishi wrote an excellent article on Jews and Muslims recently. You can see it here: http://j.mp/JYnHmn

    He wrote another piece on Israe & Pakistan here http://j.mp/xqB5WS where said there’s no conflict of interest between the two countries. However if Israel will meddle in the geographic space around Pakistan, and if Israel would provide arms to India aimed at Pakistan, then it should not expect Pakistani warmth in return. To me that makes sense. Recommend

  • abed

    humanitarian reasons are not valid when it comes to international relations. if that were the case, just look at china with tibet. israel applies the same logic with the palestinians. Recommend

  • Samah

    Great article but I must say I’m really surprised about the pro Israeli comments here.Recommend

  • Abid P Khan


    “Great article but I must say I’m really surprised about the pro Israeli comments here.”

    There is a lot in this world, one does not know about.Recommend

  • Samah

    @Abid P Khan

    I don’t understand what your point is here..Recommend

  • Abid P Khan


    “@Abid P Khan
    I don’t understand what your point is here..”

    What is so surprising that many have opinion that does not concur with your own? People are free to think the way they like.Recommend

  • manish

    @Abid P Khan:
    and what versus in rigveda say that they drove out dravidians from present day pakistan….
    please quote it for us……
    also if anyone is to leave the abode of dravidians it’s the present day pakistanis who are occupying their territories.Recommend

  • Bilal

    I think Pakistan and Israel are natural allies, and soon one day both will have good relations with each other.Recommend

  • India

    Hahahahahahahaha u r rite broRecommend