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'Anti-Semitic? I don't care': Mahathir lashes out at pro-Israel UK paper

The former leader defends his strong position against Israel after a London-based paper appeared to negatively paint his recent UK tour.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad has defended his opposition to Israel after a pro-Zionist UK-based newspaper published an uncomplimentary report on the former prime minister's recent visit to Britain, where he addressed several events hosted by local Muslims as well as political think tanks.

Prior to going to the press on July 13, The Jewish Chronicle, seen as a mouthpiece of the Israeli government, contacted Mahathir for a response to allegations that he was "anti-Semitic" over past comments on Zionism and the creation of the state of Israel.

Mahathir, in a reply, hit out at the paper, saying it deliberately sent him an email in the last minute because it "does not really want me to give my reply".

Still, I am going to give my reply to The Jewish Chronicle," he wrote.

In the six-page reply posted on his Facebook page, Mahathir lashed out at supporters of Israel who argue that the Palestinian land belonged to the Jews.

"Your claim to Palestinian land is because a thousand or so years ago you lived there. That claim is not the basis for people to take over land settled later by others," he said, giving several historical instances of lands taken over by foreigners, including one example closer to home.

"The Malays lost four Malay states to Thailand and one to Indonesia. Singapore, a part of Malay land, is now basically an independent Chinese state.

"The former inhabitants and nationals of these states, the Malays, do not claim a right to set up states belonging to them simply because the land once belonged to them," Mahathir wrote.

He said instead of having empathy for their sufferings during the Nazi holocaust, the Jews were now oppressing the Palestinians.

"With all your arrogance and cruelty, how can I keep sympathising with your suffering during the holocaust? It was sympathy that was misplaced and wasted."

Mahathir also defended his 1994 decision to ban Schindler's List, a movie on the Holocaust, saying it was a propaganda stunt to gain world sympathy.

He also challenged the narrative that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

"How did you arrive at this exact figure? It could have been more; it could have been less. If I said it was 4 million, I may be right or I may be wrong. But what is important is the beastly cruelty perpetrated by the Nazis."

He said the world had gone to war to end the cruelties of the Nazis.

"That was what the world sacrificed to stop the Nazis from oppressing the Jews. Now you are no longer oppressed. You should appreciate that. But you don’t. You only talk of the holocaust, of your six million deaths."

Mahathir said he did not care if he was labelled "anti-Semitic", saying the Palestinian Arabs too are Semitic people.

"You are as anti-Semitic as I am. You care not for the sufferings of the Semitic Arabs."

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