On July 9, 20,000 Malaysians gathered in Kuala Lumpur to demand more transparency in electoral laws in connection with next year’s national elections.
Police unleashed tear gas and chemical-laced water on the demonstrators and temporarily detained nearly 1,700 of them. According to reports, authorities also detained six opposition activists without trial and accused them of trying to use the rally to spread communism. Police said they found T-shirts and other materials linked to communist figures.
Apparently, these measures didn’t suffice for some of Malaysia’s nervous ruling elite. The editors of Utusan Malaysia, owned by Prime Minister Najib Razak’s United Malays National Organization ruling party (UMNO), defaulted to a time-tested maneuver: When in doubt, blame the Jews!
The Jews? Most citizens of the overwhelmingly Asian economic giant have never and will likely never meet a Jew in their lifetime. And yet the folks at Utusan Malaysia, which is influential among Muslims in rural areas who rely on government-linked media to shape their worldview, are apparently confident warnings about a “Jewish plot” would resonate in a land without Jews.
To understand why, you need only look at the track record of the man who dominated his nation for a quarter of a century, Malaysia’s fourth prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad.
Mahathir was credited with engineering Malaysia’s rapid modernization and spectacular economic growth. He was a dominant political figure, winning five consecutive general elections. He also used his political clout and controversial laws to detain activists and political opponents.
And Mahathir is an anti-Semite.
Back in 1970, in his treatise on Malay identity, “The Malay Dilemma,” he wrote: “The Jews are not only hooked-nosed … but understand money instinctively. … Jewish stinginess and financial wizardry gained them the economic control of Europe and provoked antisemitism which waxed and waned throughout Europe through the ages.”
In August 1984, a visit by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra was canceled when his Information Minister demanded that music by composer Ernst Bloch be deleted from the program. His crime? He was a Jew and the selection chosen was based on Hebrew melodies.
In 1986, Mahathir charged “Zionists” and Jews with attempting to destabilize the country through allegedly Jewish-controlled media. He subsequently banned The Asia Wall Street Journal for three months describing the publication as “Jewish owned.” In the 1990s, Mahathir used the Malaysian news agency, Bernama, to accuse Australian Jewry of conspiring to topple him.
Mahathir, who made Islam a central component of Malaysian identity, made this chilling charge in 1997: “We are Moslems, and the Jews are not happy to see Moslems progress.”
Perhaps that would help explain the resounding ovation which greeted his screed at a Islamic Leadership Conference in 2003: “The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million … but today, the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.”
And just last year the elder statesman of anti-Semites said this at a conference: “Jews had always been a problem in European countries. They had been confined in ghettos and periodically massacred. But they still remained and still thrived and held whole governments to ransom. … Even after their massacre by the Nazis in Germany, they survived to be a source of even greater problems to the world.”
All this may help explain why Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and the infamous “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” are on prominent display at the Malaysian capital’s International Airport.
But there are some signs that in 2011 not everyone is drinking Mahathir’s toxic Kool-Aid. Maria Chin Abdullah, one of the organizers of the mass rally that sought to prevent electoral fraud, charged that Utusan Malaysia‘s warning of an alleged Jewish conspiracy was “nonsense that is being spread in very bad taste,” adding, “To rely on this claim of Jewish support is to insult the people’s good intentions of seeking important reforms.”
Perhaps Kuala Lumpur hasn’t paid much attention to the Arab Spring. Maybe its time they did, especially since it was inspired by Muslims demanding more freedom and democracy. It isn’t world Jewry that is driving members of minorities to the streets of Kuala Lumpur, but the failure of a democratic government to provide equal rights and opportunities to all their citizens. It’s time for Malaysian leaders to grow up. Relying on big-lie Jewish conspiracies is no substitute for honest and transparent governance.
Our Republican friends will do their darndest to convince us that the answer is Barack Obama. President Obama is not perfect, but let’s compare him to his predecessors rather than to perfection.
George W. Bush (43) pressured Israel to allow Hamas to participate in Gaza electionsdespite the objections of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, thus granting Hamas a diplomatic coup and a legitimacy it otherwise could never have attained.
Bush failed to stop North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons. Instead of making Iran a top priority, he eviscerated Iran’s two natural enemies, Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving Iran free to focus on its quest for nuclear weapons. Bush, who never met a military action he didn’t like, not only did not attack Iran, but he rejected Israeli requests for aid for an Israeli raid on Iran’s main nuclear complex. Bush also violated security agreements with Israel in which the U.S. promised to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge over Arab armies.
George Bush (41) opposed loan guarantees because of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza. He also opposed new “settlements” in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. Bush complained that he was “one lonely little guy” up against thousands of lobbyists on the Hill. Those “lobbyists” were volunteers exercising their rights as American citizens. People like you and me.
Ronald Reagan faced down AIPAC and sold AWACs to Saudi Arabia despite intense opposition from the pro-Israel community. Reagan supported a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israel after Israel saved countless lives by bombing Iraq’s nuclear reactor. Reagan suspended delivery to Israel of F-16’s after Israel bombed Iraq. After Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, Reagan suspended the strategic cooperation agreement between the U.S. and Israel, prompting Prime Minister Begin to accuse Reagan of treating Israel like a “banana republic.”
Reagan called for a settlement freeze in 1982. In 1988, Reagan reversed long-standing U.S. policy and authorized the State Department to negotiate with the PLO, then considered by the U.S. to be a terrorist organization. Reagan never visited Israel in his entire life, but he did visit Bitburg and its SS cemetery in 1985, despite pleas from Elie Weisel and many others not to.
In 1975, Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger announced their intention to “reassess“relations with Israel to coerce Israel into signing an agreement with Israel that at the time was heavily tilted toward Egypt.
The criticisms of President Obama, real and imagined, pale in comparison to the records of previous presidents. Bush 43, Bush 41, Reagan, Ford, and Ike were not anti-Israel. But if President Obama’s record contained even a fraction of the anti-Israel activity of his predecessors, our Republican friends would be apocalyptic.
President Obama’s record is firmly pro-Israel. He has done more to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions than any other president. He’s imposed tough economic sanctions, he’s rallied the international community to impose sanctions, and he’s worked with Israel on viral attacks against Iran’s computer networks. Iran is further away from acquiring nuclear weapons today than it was when President Obama took office. No matter how tough sanctions are they could always be tougher, and no matter what President Obama does to stop Iran, some Republican will pop up to say he could be doing more. But no one else has ever done more than President Obama to stop Iran, and he has consistently reiterated his determination to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. President Obama demonstrated in Libya and by his order to kill Osama bin Laden that he will not hesitate to use force when appropriate.
President Obama has taken military cooperation between Israel and the U.S. to unprecedented levels, and he’s reversed the erosion in Israel’s qualitative military edge that began during the previous administration.
President Obama has provided more security assistance to Israel than any president in history.
President Obama has fought attempts to delegitimize Israel in the international community. He refused to participate in Durban II or Durban III because of their anti-Israel agendas. He condemned the Goldstone Report. The only UN veto cast by the US during the Obama administration was in opposition to the one-sided anti-Israel Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlement activity.
The list goes on and on. If you want to read the list to learn more about the above, documentation of the above, and more not mentioned above, click here.
We’re going to hear again and again about how President Obama is supposedly not strong on Israel from Republicans who value partisan gain more than strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship. Our nation is united in its support for Israel. By using Israel as a wedge issue to create the illusion of policy differences between the parties on Israel, these Republicans only strengthen enemies of the US and Israel.
History proves that President Obama is a good friend of Israel.
For that we should all be thankful.