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'All my respect': Mahathir praised abroad after slamming Biden's Gaza hospital remark

The former leader is internationally known for his strong views on the Palestinian conflict.

Staff Writers
3 minute read
Praise pours in for former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's remarks against US President Joe Biden over an attack on a hospital in Gaza.
Praise pours in for former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's remarks against US President Joe Biden over an attack on a hospital in Gaza.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's condemnation of US President Joe Biden for suggesting that the missile attack on a Gaza hospital that killed more than 500 people was the work of Hamas has received praise from thousands of Palestinian supporters abroad, with many on social media recalling him as one who never minced his words against big powers.

Several versions of Mahathir's video statement condemning Biden has been making the rounds on different platforms including TikTok and Facebook.

One such video was uploaded by Arabic Post, a popular Arabic-language news portal, with hundreds of Arabic comments praising the former prime minister.

"One of the greatest Muslims in the world, all respect master president," said one comment, while another said, "Thanks Malaysia."

Thousands of comments in Arabic also flooded the clip shared on Tiktok and other platforms, many posting an Arabic expression which translates to "All my respect and appreciation."

In the video, part of a series of comments by Mahathir on the current Gaza conflict, he described Biden's claim that the missile which hit the Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital in Gaza was from a misfired Palestinian rocket as "totally ridiculous and absurd".

"Why should there be any doubt that the blast of the Al-Ahli Arab hospital is from an Israeli air strike as the murderous regime had been attempting to wipe Palestinians and Gaza out of existence since last week?" asked Mahathir, who is internationally known for his criticism of Western powers at global forums.

Mahathir also said Biden had been fed such a narrative by the Pentagon and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu.

"Obviously Nethanyahu lies about everything. And if Biden wants to use Pentagon to give credence to his narrative, we have not forgotten how the Pentagon and other American institutions lied about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. A more recent lie is about Biden claiming to have seen pictures of Hamas beheading babies," he added.

Mahathir also urged Washington to declare Israel and its military as terrorists. 

"The US is blatantly supporting terrorists. So what is the US?"

During his stints as prime minister from 1981 to 2003, and between 2018 and 2020, Mahathir had several times ruffled feathers with his condemnation of Washington's support for Israel.

He has frequently come under attack from the Israeli media, which labelled him "anti-Semite" for his various statements against the Jewish state. In one such statement, he said in 2012 that "Jews rule this world by proxy", a remark which he stood by.

Mahathir's strong stance has been compared to that of current prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who in the past was accused of sympathising with Israel, a charge the PKR leader has strongly denied.

Critics have also cited Anwar's 2012 interview with the Wall Street Journal, in which he was quoted as saying that he "would support all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel".

Hours after Anwar was sworn in as prime minister in November last year, an influential Israeli daily welcomed the appointment, saying it could signal a new chapter between Putrajaya and Tel Aviv.

"Unlike his predecessor [sic] Mahathir, Malaysia's new PM Anwar Ibrahim doesn't call himself a 'proud antisemite'; indeed, his foes slur him as an 'agent' of Jews and/or Christians," said Esther Solomon, chief editor of the English-language Haaretz.

"Israel would love closer ties with Kuala Lumpur. Could this be the opportunity?" she said on X.