Trump’s idiotic decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital served two audiences–Trump’s base who support Israel because they think Israeli power will lead to the return of Jesus and right-wing Israelis. This may not be the best way to run our foreign policy. Given the size of Muslim world, why needlessly provoke them? That’s especially true for a nation such as Indonesia, a peaceful nation that is largest Islamic nation in the world. So of course Trump’s decision is leading to sizable rallies in Jakarta.
Around 80,000 people on Sunday (Dec 17) took part in a rally at the National Monument (Monas) in central Jakarta to protest against US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
It was the biggest protest in Indonesia since Mr Trump’s move on Dec 6 to reverse decades of US policy.
The turnout of the Defend Palestine rally grew from 40,000 at around 8am local time( 9am Singapore time) to 80,000, said Jakarta police spokesman Colonel Argo Yuwono. The rally ended shortly after noon.
The protest was peaceful but rows of police stood guard behind coils of barbed wire outside the US embassy which is just 100 m away from the protest site.
In response to Straits Times’ query, Col Argo said 20,000 police as well as military and municipal government security troops were deployed to ensure security.
Sunday’s rally was organised by Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) and several Islamic organisations.
“We urge all countries to reject the unilateral and illegal decision of President Donald Trump to make Jerusalem Israel’s capital,” Anwar Abbas, the secretary general of the Indonesian Ulema Council, told the crowd which included people from all walks of life.
“We call on all Indonesian people to boycott U.S. and Israel products in this country” if Trump does not revoked his action, Abbas said, reading from a petition due to be handed to the US ambassador in Indonesia.
Many of the protesters were clad in white and waved Palestinian flags.
One of the protesters, 30-year-old entrepreneur Lukman Abdul Jabar, told The Straits Times:”We want Palestine to be freed. We support them. We demand world leaders including Jokowi not only to condemn but prepare peace troops to ensure things are fixed.”
In the big scheme of the world, an 80,000 person rally in Jakarta might not be the most important thing to happen on a given day. But it is these sorts of US foreign policy actions–again, done for bad faith reasons and for no geopolitical advantage–that helps spur anti-American and anti-Israeli radicalism.