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May 11, 2018 2:29 pm

New York Times Exults Over Election of Malaysian Prime Minister With Sordid Anti-Semitic Record

avatar by Ira Stoll

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New Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Photo: Reuters / Lai Seng Sin.

The New York Times is hailing the election of a 92-year-old with a history of antisemitism as prime minister as “the greatest show of democracy” in Malaysian history.

“The optimism and energy of Election Day were a clear clue about the monumental result to come. At the polling station in the Lembah Pantai constituency, in Kuala Lumpur, for example, the camaraderie was palpable,” said the one opinion piece the Times has so far published about the election results, by Tash Aw. “Malaysians can exult in the knowledge that they took part of the greatest show of democracy this country has ever seen.”

Jews may be forgiven for failing to join in the exultation. As the Anti-Defamation League said in a tweet, “With Mahathir Mohamad again leading Malaysia, we cannot forget his decades-long record of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The world cannot accept this from any leader.”

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency pointed to Mahathir’s more than 40-year record of antisemitism, from a 1970 book that said, “The Jews are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively,” through a 2012 blog post claiming “Jews rule this world by proxy.”

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The front-page Times news article about the election runs 1,400 words and includes not a single mention of Mahathir Mohamad’s past statements about Jews.

A 500-word explainer inside the newspaper relegates the antisemitism issue to a mere seven words, constituting half of a sentence: “Mr. Mahathir was known for his autocratic tendencies, advocacy of Asian exceptionalism and occasional anti-Semitic jibes that prompted international condemnation.”

It’s almost as if the Times has a double standard on antisemitism. When it is committed by an American supporter of President Trump, or a commenter on the Breitbart web site, the Times is all worked up into a frenzy over it. But when it’s a Muslim foreign leader, the Times overlooks it, as if it were some kind of minor foible.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

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