Indonesian Muslim leader condemned for Netanyahu meeting

Yahya Staquf with Netanyahu

Nearly 50 Muslim leaders, journalists and scholars have signed a letter condemning a visit by the head of Indonesia’s largest independent Muslim organisation to Israel where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

During the visit in June Yahya Cholil Staquf, Secretary General of Nahdlatul Ulama, met with Netanyahu in occupied Jerusalem.

Nahdlatul Ulama describes itself as the world’s largest independent Muslim organisation with some 94 million members.

Expressing his happiness after the meeting, organised by the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, PM Netanyahu tweeted: “I’m very happy to see that the Arab countries and many Muslim countries getting closer to Israel.”

The signatories to the letter accuse Staquf of betraying the Palestinian people, who continue to live under Israeli oppression and of affronting the feelings of the Indonesian people who steadfastly support the Palestinians in their struggle.

Here is the full letter with signatories:

Dear Sir,

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We the undersigned write regarding your meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel arranged by the Israel Council on Foreign Relations (ICFR).

We are shocked and appalled that on 14 June 2018, you agreed to a meeting, in occupied Jerusalem, with the leader of a state where the Palestinian people live under relentless enforced occupation in Gaza and the West Bank and are denied the most basic freedoms. Your meeting is an affront to the will of the Indonesian people whose support for the Palestinian people is strong.

After the meeting Netanyahu tweeted “I’m very happy to see that the Arab countries and many Muslim countries getting closer to Israel.” This contrasts sharply with the Indonesian Government who supports the struggle for Palestinian independence and, as a result does not have diplomatic relations with Indonesia.

We also note you attended a Conference arranged by the American Jewish Committee on 10 June 2018. In your conversation with International Director of Interreligious Affairs, you stated:

We need to choose Rahma…[which you defined as compassion and caring about others]. If we choose Rahma we can begin to talk about justice because justice is… about willingness to provide justice for others.

Yahya Cholil Staquf

As General Secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama, which seeks to facilitate inter-faith communication and co-existence, we question the sincerity and genuineness of your words when you are aware Palestinians are unable to co-exist with Israelis. They have no choice in where they live, their ability to travel is severely restricted, they are detained and often tortured without charge or trial, and are unable to use social media without surveillance, censorship and arrest. They are forced to live under a system of brutal apartheid enforced by a Zionist regime.

You spoke of “a willingness to provide justice for others” yet agreed to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu who has and continues to oversee the injustice, subjugation and humiliation of the Palestinian people, a recent example of which is the violence inflicted on hundreds of Palestinian protestors who conducted the “Great March of Return” in Gaza, in March 2018, in commemoration of the Nakba 70 years ago.

By meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and attending the AJC conference you have succumbed to the planning and plotting of Israel and the Zionist project of normalisation of Zionism within the Muslim and Islamic community. It is simply outrageous and demonstrates you have abandoned the Palestinian community.


Abou Jafar, Scottish Forum for Middle East and North Africa, UK

Roshan Salih, 5Pillars, UK

Massoud Shadjareh, Islamic Human Rights Commission, UK

Sayyid Samir Al-Haidari, Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission (AIM), UK

Abbas Ali, Inminds, UK

Shaykh Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour, London, UK

Shaykh Hassan Al Taraiki, London, UK

George Galloway, British politician, broadcaster and writer, UK

Shaykh Muhammad Yazdani Raza Misbahi, London Fatwa Council, UK

Mughees Husain, Fondation Islamique et Culturelle d’Ahl-el-Beit, Switzerland

Imam Muhammad al-Asi, The Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), USA

Mohsin Shaharyar, (Member Political Executive Council) Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, Pakistan

Azmat Ali, Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, Pakistan

Nasir Abbas Aherazi, (Vice Chairman) Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, Pakistan

Shujaat Ali Quadri, (Convenor) India Palestine Solidarity Forum (IPSF), India

Iqbal Jassat, Media Review Network, South Africa

Shaykh Shuaib Booley, Islamic Research, South Africa

Imam Achmad Cassiem, Islamic Unity Convention (IUC), South Africa

Sahibzada Hamid Raza, (Chairman) Sunni Ittehad Council, Pakistan

Alireza Alatas, SILABNA (Silaturahmi Anak Bangsa Nusantara), Indonesia

Habib Ali Reza, SILABNA (Silaturrahmi Ahlul Bait Nusantara), Indonesia

Noureddin Şirin, Quds TV, Turkey

Haji S.M. Mohamed Idris, Citizens International, Malaysia

Mohideen Abdul Kader, Citizens International, Malaysia

Mujtahid Hashem, Voice of Palestine, Indonesia

Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, (Chairman) Delhi Minorities Commission, New Delhi, India

Sayyid Ali Al-Hamid, (Chairman) HILMI FPI (Hilal Merah Indonesia), Indonesia

Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations (MAPIM), Malaysia

Secretariat for Ulama Assembly of Asia, Malaysia

Union of Internation Muslim Scholars, Malaysia

Muslimah Association of Malaysia

Ulama Association of Malaysia

Ulama Association of Kedah, Malayisa

Teras Malay Empowerment, Malaysia

SEJAGAT Welfare Association, Malaysia

Majlis Angkatan Perpaduan Islam, Malaysia

Pertubuhan Permuawakatan Ayahanda Malaysia

Pertubuhan Kebajikan Ummah Kedah, Malaysia

Pertubuhan HAZ Prihatin Johor Bharu, Malaysia

Senator Dr Mohamad Nur Manuty, (Central Committee Member of People’s Justice Party) Malaysia

Professor Nazari Ismail, (Chairman BDS Malaysia, Economic Professor University of Malaya), Malaysia

Syeikh Ahmad Awang (Mursyidul Am of National Amanah Party), Malaysia

Syeikh Abdul Ghani Samsudin (Deputy Mursyidul Am, National Amanah Party), Malaysia

Dr Roslan Mohd Nor (Deputy Deen Academy Islam University Of Malaya), Malaysia

Dr Zawawi Ahmad (CEO Islamic College Darul Ulum), Malaysia

Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid (Chairman Al Aqsa Wakaf Board of Trustee), Malaysia

Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman (Member of Parliament, Islamic Party), Malaysia

Bruxelles Pantheres, Belgium

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