Mr. A. Faizur Rahman takes kind note of my comparison of Pakistan and Israel before claiming that Israel is unlike any other nation. Indeed, no two nations can be expected to be identical right down to the charter of their birth. The idea behind my article was to point out the exclusivist mindset that led to the creation of Pakistan and Israel, and how it has poisoned their societies and polities in remarkably similar ways.

Some of the “differences” between Pakistan and Israel that Mr. Rahman enumerates, in fact, reiterate my point. He says the partition of India was “a legally formulated and politically accepted division between two indigenous peoples,” while “Palestine was forcibly partitioned.” But there were no “two indigenous peoples” in India until the two-nation theory was introduced. And they were never consulted about the partition―it was the nizams and maharajas who decided which country they wanted to join. So the Indian partition was as forced as that of Palestine.

Mr. Rahman questions what colonial powers and colonial institutions did in one instance, but accepts as “legal” what they did in another. The British, or the League of Nations, had no right to decide the fate of Palestine. But then, did they have the right to decide the fate of India? In Palestine, their hand was forced by Zionist militias. In India, too, religion-based power politics was mainly responsible for the partition.

In any case, the motivations of colonial powers are peripheral to the argument. What matters is the rationale that led to the creation of Pakistan and Israel, and how it has stunted their national identities and blighted their societies. And even though it may be too late to right the wrongs of history, it may not be too late―for these nations and for others―to learn from them.

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