Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad continued his verbal campaign against Jews this week with the enthusiastic support of American anti-Semites, as one American Jewish official called on world leaders to speak out against the rising rhetoric.
The Anti-Defamation League reported this week that U.S. anti-Semitic groups are encouraging members to voice their support for Mahathir.
" ‘Call in and express your support for the truthful remarks made by the Malay PM which our own sellout white traitor politicians wouldn’t dare speak!!!!!!,’ " said a message published to an on-line forum sponsored by the neo-Nazi site Stormfront, the ADL reported.
The Web site forum of the hate music label Resistance Records stated that "the people at the [Malaysian] Embassy were very, very happy when they spoke with a National Alliance member from Florida" who called and expressed support, the ADL said.
Meanwhile, Arab and Muslim leaders also continued to express support for the virulent rhetoric of Mahathir, who told an Islamic world conference last week that Jews run the world by proxy and that 1.3 billion Muslims will not be defeated by a few million Jews.
"Mahathir only spoke the truth when he spoke of the power of the Jewish influence over the world," Abed al-Wahed al-Hamid wrote in the Saudi newspaper Ar-Riyadh. "Moreover, he was braver than the others, since what he said publicly is what others in the West are saying secretly and do not dare to say …"
"It was a brilliant speech! Very logical," said President Mohammad Khatami of Iran. (More responses to Mahathir’s speech from domestic extremists, the Arab world and world leaders are available at www.adl.org.)
ADL national director Abraham Foxman, declaring that Jewish leaders cannot afford to let Mahathir declare a holy war against the Jewish people, increased pressure on world leaders to clearly condemn Mahathir’s statements.
In letters sent to 109 world leaders, Foxman urged them "to stand up, to say that you can no longer excuse or rationalize this kind of incendiary rhetoric, this kind of hatred and scapegoating, this blaming of Jews for the ills of the Muslim world."
The letter, co-signed by ADL national chairman Glen Tobias, was sent to countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America.
ADL already has communicated with 12 countries and recognizes others such as Germany, Italy, Britain and Spain for their strong condemnation.
"Mahathir’s speech must be condemned by responsible leaders of the civilized world as an unacceptable outrage and an affront to civilized society," the letter said.
On Monday, the U.S. Senate made a $1.2 million military aid package to Malaysia conditional on the country’s religious freedom, including greater tolerance of Jews. The move, an amendment to a foreign aid spending bill, would require a State Department determination of Malaysian religious freedom and tolerance.
But Mahathir continued his anti-Jewish campaign this week, defending the right of all Muslims to criticize their Jewish oppressors and slamming the West for being "under the thumb" of Jews, according to the Malaysian newspaper Khaleej Times.
Mahathir said the Islamic world has a right to condemn Israel and its supporters for killing Palestinians and for "taking Muslim land to give it to the Jews."
"Are we not allowed to say that we are angry with the Jews?" Mahathir said. "Are the Jews some kind of creature who cannot be condemned in any way?
"I am not anti-Semitic … I am against these Jews who kill Muslims and the Jews who support the killers of Muslims."
Mahathir, who has been in power for 22 years and retires at the end of the week, also chided the West for being anti-Muslim and hypocritical: protecting Jews while allowing others to insult Islam.
"I condemned the Europeans as much as I condemned the Jews," he said. "You say you are not under the influence of the Jews, and yet when I criticize the Jews, the whole of the European Union wants to condemn me.
"But when somebody condemns the Muslims, calls my prophet ‘terrorist,’ did the European Union say anything? Which shows that they are under the thumb of the Jews."
Mahathir will be succeeded by his deputy, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The Khaleej Times noted that throughout his reign, Mahathir has been known for his controversial speeches and outspoken criticisms of Western economic and political practices.
Perhaps more important, "Mahathir has long been seen as a voice for the Muslim world and developing countries."