FRESH AIR

UPDATES

Same old Mahathir

Jun 28, 2016 | Gareth Narunsky

Same old Mahathir
news_item/mahathir.jpg

One could have been forgiven for thinking, during a 60 Minutes interview with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in March, that the one-time strongman of Malaysian politics had mellowed out significantly.

Talking about corruption in Malaysia currently, Mahathir appeared kind, gentle and softly spoken, and even shared a laugh with reporter Ross Coulthart over famously being labelled recalcitrant by former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating in the early 1990s.

Once considered an uncompromising, ruthless political operator, Mahathir came across more like a teddy bear.

We now know after an interview with Al Jazeera’s Medhi Hasan on June 24, that at least when it comes to his antisemitism – far from being a teddy bear – Mahathir is as hateful as he ever was.

Defending a 2003 statement in which he said “the Jews rule the world by proxy”, the former Malaysian PM didn’t back down.

Mahathir: I believe I am speaking the truth. You look at America, it is totally dedicated to supporting Israel.
Medhi: But why are you conflating Israel with all Jews? All Jews are not responsible for Israel.
Mahathir: Why not?
Medhi: Should all Muslims be conflated with ISIL then? If everyone is collectively held responsible for the actions of people in their faith?
Mahathir: No it shouldn’t. Because we are not working in that direction. What I said was that the Jews are ruling the world by proxy.
Medhi: That’s an outrageous claim with no evidence… That is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory … What is your evidence for the fact that Jews are quote, “ruling the world”?
Mahathir: There are not very many Jews in this world. By themselves they cannot rule this world, but they can influence countries to do the work for them, and America is very much under Jewish influence. That is why it supports Israel, whether Israel is doing the right thing or not, whether it commits crimes or not.

This shouldn’t be surprising for a man who in 1970 wrote “the Jews for example are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively”, blamed the collapse of Malaysia’s currency during the 1997 Asian financial crisis on a Jewish conspiracy and in 2012 stated “I am glad to be labelled anti-Semitic“.

It appears age hasn’t softened Mahathir, after all.

Gareth Narunsky

 

RELATED ARTICLES


(Credit: akramalrasny/ Shutterstock.com)

Yemen’s ceasefire will likely have disastrous consequences

Jun 29, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Backgrounder: The Temple Mount “Status Quo”

Jun 29, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (R); Alternative PM and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (C) and Defence Minister Benny Gantz  (L) (Photo: Noam Moscowitz / Knesset spokesperson)

Some key points to understand about the dissolution of Israel’s Government

Jun 22, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR, Resources
Image: Shutterstock

Unhealthy obsessions return to the annual World Health Organisation assembly – yet there are signs of positive change

Jun 17, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
IAEA head Rafael Mariano Grossi briefs the press on Iran (Image: Dean Calma/Flickr)

IAEA Board rebukes Iran, Iran unplugs IAEA cameras

Jun 10, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and head of Iran's Atomic Organisation Mohammad Eslami (R) speaking to media during a visit to Bushehr nuclear power plant, in the city of Bushehr, southern Iran, 8 October 2021. (Image: EPA/AAP)

New revelations: Iran apparently spied on the UN nuclear watchdog

Jun 2, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
While Iran's economy is currently in poor shape, estimates are that a nuclear deal could provide Teheran with up to US$275 billion within a year and US$800 billion over five years (Image: motioncenter, Shutterstock)

International implications of Iran’s economic unrest

May 31, 2022 | Update
Hezbollah does not hide its open affiliation with Iran - as these Hezbollah youth demonstrate - but the Middle Easterners are tired of the poverty, war and chaos that Iranian proxies bring to the countries they operate in. (Photo: nsf2019, Shutterstock)

Election setback for Hezbollah

May 21, 2022 | Update
Shireen Abu Akleh, the well-known Al Jazeera journalist who was killed during a firefight between Palestinians and the IDF in Jenin under unclear circumstances on Wednesday, May 11 (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Controversy follows tragic death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

May 13, 2022 | Update
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Italian TV: "Hitler also had Jewish blood. It means absolutely nothing…the most ardent antisemites are usually Jews." (Photo: YouTube screenshot)

The implications of Israel’s recent spat with Russia

May 7, 2022 | Update
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosts Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in January: A new Iran nuclear deal would be a boon to Russia and allied anti-democratic forces (Photo: ITAR-TASS News Agency / Alamy Stock Photo)

Are the Iran nuclear talks deadlocked?

Apr 29, 2022 | Update
Supporters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad gather in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on April 8 to celebrate the attack on a Tel Aviv bar by Raad Hazem (Photo: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo)

Incitement and the latest terror wave in Israel

Apr 14, 2022 | Update

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

Opposition Leader Binyamin Netanyahu: Not ruling out efforts to form a government without going to new elections (Image: Shutterstock)

Netanyahu’s last shot?

Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters in Maguindanao province: Laying down arms for political autonomy (Image: MindaNews)

Asia Watch: Staying the course?

The late A.B. Yehoshua: Renowned novelist and political provocateur (Image: Wikipedia)

Bilio File: Israel’s last literary lion

Image: Shutterstock

The Last Word: Two Forums and a Public Hearing

(Credit: akramalrasny/ Shutterstock.com)

Yemen’s ceasefire will likely have disastrous consequences

Opposition Leader Binyamin Netanyahu: Not ruling out efforts to form a government without going to new elections (Image: Shutterstock)

Netanyahu’s last shot?

Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters in Maguindanao province: Laying down arms for political autonomy (Image: MindaNews)

Asia Watch: Staying the course?

The late A.B. Yehoshua: Renowned novelist and political provocateur (Image: Wikipedia)

Bilio File: Israel’s last literary lion

Image: Shutterstock

The Last Word: Two Forums and a Public Hearing

(Credit: akramalrasny/ Shutterstock.com)

Yemen’s ceasefire will likely have disastrous consequences

SORT BY TOPICS