Israeli embassy in Singapore forced to take down ‘insensitive’ Facebook post

Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam. Photo: X/minlawsg

Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam. Photo: X/minlawsg

An “insensitive” post by the Embassy of Israel in Singapore that tried to make a political point citing the holy Quran has been taken down after the intervention by the government of Singapore.

The post on the Facebook page was made on March 24.

Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam called it an “astonishing attempt to rewrite history,” and said the post was “insensitive,” “inappropriate” and “completely unacceptable” as it carried the risk of undermining safety, security and harmony in Singapore.

“I was very upset when I was told about it,” he told reporters at a doorstop on March 25.

“And the Ministry of Home Affairs [MHA] spoke with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MFA] yesterday [March 24] and said that the embassy has to take the post down immediately, and they have taken it down,” TODAY newspaper quoted Minister Shanmugam as saying.

Earlier on March 25, Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan weighed in on the post, too, saying, “It is highly inappropriate to refer to sacred texts to make political points. We have made this clear to the Embassy which has taken the post down.” Dr. Balakrishnan was speaking while making his way back from his trip to the Middle East, where he visited Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

The now-deleted post on the Israeli embassy in Singapore’s Facebook page stated, “Israel is mentioned 43 times in the Quran. On the other hand, Palestine is not mentioned even once.” The post went on to say that archaeological evidence such as maps, documents and coins show that Jewish people are the indigenous people of Israel.

“This post is an astonishing attempt to rewrite history,” Mr. Shanmugam said. “The writer of the post should look at U.N. [United Nations] resolutions, see if Israel’s actions in the past few decades have been consistent with international law before trying to rewrite history.” Calling the post “wrong at many levels”, Mr. Shanmugam said it could have inflamed tensions as the anger from the post could spill over to the physical realm and endanger the Jewish community in the multi-national Singapore.

Separately, Minister for Social and Family Development and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said in a Facebook post that he, too, was “very upset” when he saw the post.

“Nobody should make interpretations that are offensive to other people’s faith, especially selectively using their sacred texts, to make political points,” Mr. Masagos was quoted as saying.

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