Malaysia ‘Disgusted’ by Israel’s Condemnation of PM Mohamed’s ‘Rabid Antisemitism,’ Amid Ongoing Row Over Exclusion of Athletes
Malaysia’s foreign minister on Friday declared himself “deeply disgusted” with Israel after Jerusalem condemned the Malaysian government’s continued ban on visiting Israeli athletes as antisemitic.
Saifuddin Abdullah was responding to an Israeli statement on Thursday that Malaysia’s prohibition of Israeli participation in international sporting events hosted by the southeast Asian country was inspired by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s “rabid antisemitism.”
Malaysia, a majority-Muslim country that does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, announced it would bar Israelis from any event in the Southeast Asia nation after banning Israeli athletes from the World Para Swimming championships this coming July.
In a statement, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon called on the International Paralympic Committee, which is organizing the competition, to change the venue if it cannot persuade Malaysia to lift the edict.
“This is shameful and totally opposes the Olympic spirit,” the statement said. “Israel condemns the decision, inspired no doubt by Malaysia PM Mahathir’s rabid antisemitism.”
Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister, Mahathir has an equally long record of antisemitic statements and advocacy of conspiracy theories — among them the claim that the September 11, 2001 terrorist atrocities committed against the US by Al-Qaeda was a “false flag” operation cooked up by the American and Israeli intelligence agencies. He has also expressed vicious antisemitism, demeaning Jews as “hook-nosed” and describing Israel as the source of the world’s problems in a BBC interview last October.
Foreign Minister Saifuddin claimed that by labeling Mahathir an antisemite, Israel had “violated the Olympic spirit.”
He continued: “For more than half a century, Israel had continued to disregard the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, while committing inhumane policies and practices that were in clear violation of international laws.”