Many observers thought that Pervez Musharraf speech before the American Jewish Congress on September 17 was a historical act. In fact, it was the first time a Muslim leader of a country with no diplomatic relations with Israel had a public dialogue with Jewish leaders. This meeting will have an impact on the Pakistani public opinion, which is always ready to present Jewish organizations as a hostile force. This meeting will help to make the Jew’s image as a human one in that country. Besides, by linking the Jewish community to Israel, a clear message is being sent to his fellow citizens: respecting the Jews means respecting Zionism.
Unfortunately, despite these achievements, Musharraf did not go too far. He was right in condemning terrorism but he lost the opportunity of making a constructive contribution to the peace process: he should have stated that Israel was the legitimate homeland of the Jewish people. Instead of this, he presented Israel as a structure that can not be changed, as a necessary evil. Likewise, Musharraf missed the opportunity of developing the Judeo-Muslim dialogue. As I asked him for, he could have opened a centre to boost such an exchange and name the place after my son, Daniel Pearl, who was murdered in Karachi.

Jerusalem Post (Israel)

Musharraf’s missed opportunity”, by Judea Pearl, Jerusalem Post, September 27, 2005.