From the country that brought you “only fellow Muslim nations should have troops in Iraq” comes some inflammatory anti-Semiticism:
THERE is much to be admired in politicians who are brave, or foolish, enough to say things that are true, even when they are unpopular. That is the sort of image that Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s prime minister for the past 22 years, has sought to cultivateas a man not afraid to speak his mind, to call a spade a spade, to stand up against foreign pomposity and bullying. Although he does not allow free speech within Malaysia, his right to say what he thinks should nevertheless be defended outside it. But what if he says things that are untrue, but popular? That is what he did on October 16th, at the summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, when he said that “The Europeans killed 6m Jews out of 12m, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.”
Implicit condoning of Holocaust coupled with the “Jews rule the world” propaganda. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
The response was predictable: outrage from governments and Jewish groups around the world, but a standing ovation at the conference. Both Dr Mahathir and his government officials were quick to defend his speech against its critics by saying that his point about Jewish control had been taken out of context. He was urging his fellow Muslims to eschew violence, and to emulate Jews by using their brains, not brawn. So it was a compliment, you see. It was just like the old Jewish joke about an Israeli who is puzzled when he sees his friend reading an anti-Semitic newspaper. “Our papers are full of bad news,” comes the reply. “But this one has good news; it says we control the whole world.”
“No, no, I was saying that we should learn from the Jews who rule the world!”
Mahathir himself was unapologetic when asked last week about the furor his comments had caused, and some Arab leaders said he was simply telling it like it is.
“The fact is that they are biased, most of them are biased. They think while it is proper to criticize Muslims and Arabs, it is not proper to criticize Europeans and Jews,” he told reporters after closing the Islamic summit hosted by Malaysia.