Mahathir’s “anti-Jewish” speech at the OIC Summit opening –Hamid Albar’s “apology that is no apology”
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): At 4.15 p.m. today, the first item of the CNN.World News on http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/ was “”, with the following story:
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia -- Malaysia's foreign minister has apologized for what he described as any misunderstandings over Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's assertion that Jews "rule the world", saying no offence from the remarks was intended.
Fighting to reign in a surge of international outrage that followed the Malaysian leader's comments Thursday, Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said Friday that Mahathir had been misunderstood.
Syed Hamid said it was important to realize that Islam was not anti-Jewish and the problem was with Israel.
In his wide-ranging speech to the Organization of Islamic Conference, the often-controversial Mahathir launched a blistering attack on Jews and Israel saying, "Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them."
Assertions of Jewish dominance dominated Mahathir's speech, which also called for a modernization of Islam and the embracing of technology and progress to lift the Muslim world out of -- as Mahathir described -- a self-induced state of "oppression."
"I'm sorry that they have misunderstood the whole thing," Syed Hamid told The Associated Press. "The intention is not to create controversy. His intention is to show that if you ponder and sit down to think, you can be very powerful."
"Please forget about anti-Semitism," Syed Hamid told reporters. "Islam has never advocated being anti anybody including theJews."
Hamid has added to the confusion created by the international furore over Mahathir’s opening speech at the OIC Summit yesterday, resulting in protests from the European Union, the German, United States and Australian governments.
Why should the Malaysian Foreign Minister apologise for “any misunderstandings” over Mahathir’s speech when no offence had been intended, for then it is those who misunderstood Mahathir’s speech, like the EU and the German, United States and Australian Governments who should be making the apologies for all the international furore and unnecessary fuss.
In all fairness and objectivity, Mahathir’s speech is anti-Jewish, offensive and highly objectionable, wins no friends for Malaysia or OIC, and Mahathir himself should be gentleman enough to apologise himself for the speech – as Hamid “apology which is no apology” can only exacerbate the offence, whether intended or otherwise, it has caused.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman