The Israel and Palestine Conflict: Muslims’ Responses in Indonesia and Malaysia


In response to Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip in October 2023, the people and governments of Malaysia and Indonesia have expressed strong opposition through both diplomatic channels and street protests. On 5 November 2023, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi broke from previous practice by joining a large street protest in Jakarta organized by the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI). She won accolades from various quarters in Indonesia, including from conservative Muslims, due to her stern stance against Israel’s invasion, which she also voiced during previous United Nations (UN) meetings. In Malaysia, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim attended the country’s largest pro-Palestine rally on 24 October 2023, calling Israel’s invasion “the height of barbarism”. Officially, the two countries have no diplomatic relations with Israel, but unofficial contact exists in the form of commercial trade and tourism. Establishing official relations with Israel is politically sensitive for the two dominant Muslim Southeast Asian nations, which are becoming increasingly conservative. The conflict between Israel and Palestine is a long-running historical conflict. This begs the following questions: what have been the changes and continuities in Malaysia’s and Indonesia’s foreign policy towards the conflict? What are the prospects of change in their foreign policy in the aftermath of the ongoing war? How can we assess society’s response—offline and online—to this issue? This seminar will discuss the foreign policy of the Malaysian and Indonesian governments, and will also look at responses from non-government actors towards the war.

About the Speakers

A’an Suryana is Visiting Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. He also teaches Political Science at the Faculty of Social Sciences (FOSS), Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII). He earned a PhD in Asian Studies from the Australian National University, which he completed in 2018.

Mohd Faizal Musa is Visiting Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute as well as Associate Fellow at Weatherhead Centre Harvard University working on the Global Shia Diaspora project. He is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Malay World and Civilization, National University of Malaysia (UKM) where he earned his PhD in 2010. He is also a well-known fiction writer in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Pradana Boy Zulian is Visiting Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. He is also an associate professor in Islamic Legal Studies at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Muhammadiyah Malang, Indonesia. He earned his PhD in Malay Studies from the National University of Singapore in 2015, during which he focused on the sociology of Islamic law.


This is a hybrid event which will be held at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS).

Attending the Event In-person at ISEAS

To join the event in-person at ISEAS, please register via the ISEAS mobile app, available on iOS and Android via the Apple or Play store. Search “ISEAS” to find or scan this QR code.

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Seating capacity is limited. Do register early to avoid disappointment.

Attending the Event Virtually via Webinar

To join the event virtually at the specified date and time using your internet devices, please register here to receive your unique login link for the webinar via the zoom platform.

If you have questions for the speakers, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speakers during the Q&A session.


Feb 06 2024


2:00 pm - 3:30 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2 / Webinar