March 10, 2015

C. Christine Fair On How Israel And Pakistan Are States That Share A Similar DNA

C. Christine Fair is an assistant professor in the Center for Peace and Security Studies (CPASS), within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
An excerpt from, "The Pakistani origins of the Israeli state" by Ishaan Tharoor, The Washington Post, December 3, 2014:
"Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state," said then Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq in 1981. "Take out the Judaism from Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse." 
It's a strange thing to think about now. Pakistan and Israel are, on the face of it, not kindred spirits. There are no formal diplomatic relations between the two countries-- Pakistan, like many other Muslim-majority states, does not recognize Israel's existence. Israel, meanwhile, has in recent years been cozying up to India, Pakistan's archrival across the border. Pakistani conspiracy theorists routinely hurl invective at the combined plots of RAW, India's top intelligence agency, and the Mossad. 
But Zia, an instrumental figure in the Islamization of Pakistani society, was saying something quite obvious: Pakistan and Israel are historical twins. 
They emerged as independent states one after the other -- Pakistan in 1947, Israel in 1948 -- following the retreat of the British empire. They were born in blood: Pakistan in the grisly Partition that cleaved British India in two, Israel in the battles of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. And ideologically, as Zia noted, they were both states whose raison d'etre was religion, or at least religious identity.
And Netanyahu himself is attempting to push through a controversial law that would cement Israel's status as a "Jewish nation-state," privileging the collective rights of Israeli Jews over the interests of Israeli minorities. It's a proposal that plays well among Israel's right-wing, including communities of settlers living in the West Bank.   
But it has its critics, too. "Israelis not in the thrall of settler fanaticism need to decide whether they want to be part of the democratic Western world or not," wrote Israeli intellectual Bernard Avishai in the New Yorker this week. He then offered this tidy comparison: "The Jewish nation-state law puts the choice starkly: a globalist Hebrew republic or a little Jewish Pakistan."
Quote from the video below:
"This goes back to the logic of why Pakistan was founded, when the British decolonized South Asia. The proponents of Pakistan said that Muslims and Hindus are separate nations, and that they can't live together. And the idea was that in a unified India with a Hindu majority Muslims would be subjugated to the tyranny of the Hindu majority. And so they argued that there had to be a separate Muslim state for South Asia's Muslims. So, in some ways, the founding ideology of Pakistan is a lot like the founding ideology of Israel. People don't like to hear that, but in fact there are a lot of comparisons.  
This is called the two-nation theory. And Pakistan felt deprived of the process of partition. It didn't get the Muslim majority area of Kashmir. And so Pakistan's demands for Kashmir stem directly from this two-nation theory.  
And so if Pakistan lets go of this concept of the two-nation theory a couple things happen. One, the two-nation theory sets up India as Hindu by virtue of the design. And, of course, India can't accept the two-nation theory because it has Muslims, it has Sikhs, it has everyone else living within the fabric of that state. So the two-nation theory, from the Pakistani point of view, sets up India and Pakistan in a civilizational war that has no end. It also means that Pakistan's demand for Kashmir also has no end.  
So there is an ideological argument to this, but there's also an institutional argument, because if there were in fact some way of having rapprochement with India the ability of the Pakistan army to commandeer all resources and to run the state at will would be deprived. So, you'll always see when there is a civilian effort to make peace with India the army is always the spoiler because they have the most to lose, both institutionally, but also in terms of the ideology that they promote." - C. Christine Fair [7:19 - 9:41].
Title: C. Christine Fair 02 18 15. Source: Rocky Mountain PBS. Date Published: February 27, 2015.