The Role of Israel and Anti-Zionism in Malaysian Political and Cultural Life

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter explores the role that Israel plays in contemporary Malaysian politics. The chapter indicates how while Malaysia and Israel maintain no diplomatic relations and hardly any direct interactions, the constructions of Israel are surprisingly significant in Malaysia’s internal politics and international relations. Focusing upon the prominence and surprising veracity of anti-Israel beliefs together with antisemitism, the chapter explores how such discourses are closely connected to the internal persecution of minorities and the construction of Malay supremacy. The chapter then proposes that pushing for a dialogue with Israel has become a means by which the substantial non-Malay, non-Islamic, and/or politically radical citizens critique authoritarian Malaysian politics. Finally, moving on to the watershed Malaysian general election of 2018 (GE18), the chapter indicates how in contrast to many Islamic countries internationally, antisemitism and anti-Israel beliefs seem to have become more potent in Malaysia despite the supposed liberal breakthrough represented by the GE18.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIsrael-Asia Relations in the Twenty-First Century
Subtitle of host publicationThe Search for Partners in a Changing World
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781000954517
ISBN (Print)9781032328805
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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