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Israeli embassy told to remove Facebook post that was an ‘astonishing attempt to rewrite history’, says Singapore’s law minister Shanmugam - The Leaders Online

Israeli embassy told to remove Facebook post that was an ‘astonishing attempt to rewrite history’, says Singapore’s law minister Shanmugam

Israeli embassy told to remove Facebook post that was an ‘astonishing attempt to rewrite history’, says Singapore’s law minister Shanmugam

SINGAPORE, March 25 — Singapore authorities told the Israeli embassy to remove a post made on its Facebook page yesterday that Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam called an “astonishing attempt to rewrite history”.

The post was “insensitive”, “inappropriate” and “completely unacceptable” as it carried the risk of undermining safety, security and harmony in Singapore, he said.

“I was very upset when I was told about it,” he told reporters at a doorstop on Monday. “And the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) spoke with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) yesterday and said that the embassy has to take the post down immediately, and they have taken it down.”

The now deleted post on the Israeli embassy in Singapore 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,” Shanmugam said. “The writer of the post should look at UN (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”, 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 Singapore.

While he said that MHA usually does not intervene in the online posts made by embassies here out of respect for their sovereignty, MHA told the Israeli embassy to take down this post after discussion with MFA because of “potential consequences” for communities in Singapore.

He added that the post had “selectively (pointed) to religious texts” to make a political point and it was “even worse” that the post made use of the Quran for this purpose.

“Often embassies say and put out posts, statements which we may disagree with but we generally don’t intervene because they represent sovereign countries, they have autonomy, but where it affects the safety and security of people in Singapore, the peace and harmony that we enjoy, we do and we will intervene,” he said.

TODAY has reached out to the Israeli embassy in Singapore for comment.

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 another people’s faith, especially selectively using their sacred texts, to make political points,” said Masagos.

“Whether one is a Singaporean or foreigner in Singapore, we must not do or say anything that disrupts the social harmony that is so precious to us in Singapore. Such insensitive and inappropriate messages can cause hurt, and sow distrust amongst different communities in Singapore,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, 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.

He was accompanied by a delegation including five Members of Parliament: Alex Yam, Nadia Ahmad Samdin, Rachel Ong, Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim and Gerald Giam from the Workers’ Party.

During his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, Dr Balakrishnan told Israel’s leaders that their military response has “gone too far”, MFA said in a statement on March 20.

He added that his hope is for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” to allow aid to flow through to Gaza, and for the release of the hostages.

Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of over 1,100 and the taking of more than 200 hostages, based on Israeli tallies.

Gaza’s health ministry has reported that Israel’s military response has killed over 32,000 to date in Gaza, mostly women and children.