Singapore Government Steps in Over Controversial Israeli Embassy Post

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Singapore Government Steps in Over Controversial Israeli Embassy Post

| Updated: March 25, 2024 20:00

The Embassy of Israel in Singapore has removed a contentious Facebook post following intervention by the Singapore government. The post, which attempted to make a political point by citing the holy Quran, was deemed “insensitive” and “inappropriate”.

The post was published on Sunday and was swiftly met with criticism. K Shanmugam, Singapore’s Minister for Law and Home Affairs, described it as an “astonishing attempt to rewrite history”. He expressed his concern that such a post could undermine the safety, security, and harmony in Singapore.

“I was very upset when I was told about it,” Shanmugam told reporters on Monday. Following discussions between the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the embassy was instructed to remove the post immediately.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan, also commented on the issue, stating, “It is highly inappropriate to refer to sacred texts to make political points.” Balakrishnan was returning from a trip to the Middle East, where he visited Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

The now-deleted post claimed that “Israel is mentioned 43 times in the Quran. On the other hand, Palestine is not mentioned even once.” It further argued that archaeological evidence such as maps, documents and coins prove that Jewish people are the indigenous people of Israel.

Shanmugam criticized the post for its attempt to rewrite history and urged the author to consider UN resolutions and Israel’s adherence to international law before making such claims. He warned that the post could inflame tensions and potentially endanger the Jewish community in multicultural Singapore.

Separately, Minister for Social and Family Development and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, Masagos Zulkifli, expressed his displeasure at the post. He emphasised that “Nobody should make interpretations that are offensive to other people’s faith, especially selectively using their sacred texts, to make political points.”

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