The leader of the Muslim-majority nation is notorious for his anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments.
By Aryeh Savir, TPS
Cambridge Union has invited Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, a vocal anti-Semite, to speak at the academic venue on Sunday, eliciting condemnation from Jewish organizations.
The leader of the Muslim-majority nation is notorious for his anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments. In an October 2018 interview with the BBC, he claimed that truth justifies his statement that Jews are “hook-nosed” and repeated the falsehood that six million Jews were not killed in the Holocaust.
In his 1970 book “The Makay Dilemma,” he wrote that “the Jews are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively.” In 2012, he wrote on his personal blog that “Jews rule this world by proxy.”
He also notoriously boasted that “I am glad to be labeled anti-Semitic…How can I be otherwise, when the Jews who so often talk of the horrors they suffered during the Holocaust show the same Nazi cruelty and hard-heartedness towards not just their enemies but even towards their allies should any try to stop the senseless killing of their Palestinian enemies.”
He banned Israeli Paralympic swimmers from attending a contest hosted in his country, having the event moved to another country after a diplomatic battle on Israel’s part.
The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA), a United Kingdom-based anti-Semitism watchdog, decried Cambridge’s “disgraceful” invitation.
“It is unforgivable that Cambridge Union at the University of Cambridge, one of Britain’s most prestigious educational institutions, is rolling out the red carpet for this self-confessed and unrepentant anti-Semite, and allowing him to share his dangerous views with students,” CAA stated.
In January, Mahathir was invited to speak at the Oxford Union. When challenged there about his anti-Semitic comments, he responded that “we talk about freedom of speech, but yet you cannot say anything against Israel, against the Jews, why is that so? If we are free to say what we like, we can say something that is regarded as anti-Semitic by the Jews, that is their right, to hold such an opinion of me. It is my right to tell them, also, that they have been doing a lot of wrong things.”
The Cambridge Union, the world’s oldest debating society, defended its position citing free speech.
CAA has complained to the University of Cambridge and the Charity Commission and wrote the home secretary that the decision to admit Mahathir into the UK could breach the government’s counter-extremism policy.
UK Union of Jewish Students stated it was “disappointed that the Cambridge Union has taken the decision to host the Malaysian Prime Minister… We expect Mahathir Mohamad to be robustly challenged on his anti-Jewish racism and to be shown that his views are not welcome on UK campuses.”