Malaysia Leader Denies Bush Rebuked Him
Sat Oct 25
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has
repeated his claim that Jews rule the world by proxy, and accused U.S.
George W. Bush of lying if he said he rebuked Mahathir for the comment.
Mahathir and Bush met briefly last week on the sidelines of a Pacific Rim
leaders' summit, a few days after the Malaysian leader caused a furor by
saying in a speech that "Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to
fight and die for them."
Speaking to reporters later, Bush said he told Mahathir the remarks were
"divisive and unnecessary" and made clear that he found them
Mahathir denies Bush reprimanded him.
"I'm now told that Bush said he rebuked me," Mahathir was quoted as saying
in the New Sunday Times newspaper. "That is the biggest lie of all."
Mahathir, who has been a feisty critic of Bush and the U.S.-led fight on
terrorism, said Bush merely explained why his administration had used
strong language to condemn his remarks about Jews.
"If he had rebuked me, I'm quite sure I'd have reacted in my normal way. I
would have rebuked him also," he said.
Mahathir said he was unperturbed by Bush's version of events but took a
swipe at the president's credibility, using the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq
as an example.
"If you can tell a lie about the existence of weapons of mass destruction
and go to war because of it I'm not surprised if he is prepared to lie
about what he said to me," Mahathir was quoted as saying.
Mahathir, 77, is retiring at the end of the month. During more than 22
years in power, Mahathir has become known for outspoken, provocative
comments, especially about what he sees as Western domination of developing
countries and U.S. policy in the Middle East.
His comments about Jews brought strong condemnation from the United States,
the European Union, other countries and Jewish groups. The Simon Wiesenthal
Center urged foreign companies to boycott investment in Malaysia because of
what it called Mahathir's "serial anti-Semitism."
Responding to the criticism after returning from a four-nation overseas
trip, Mahathir called the threat economic "blackmail" and said he was
prepared to weather some economic damage for making the comments.
"I don't think we should allow ourselves to be blackmailed by them," he was
quoted as saying.
Mahathir repeated his assertion that his remarks were reported out of context.
"The press belongs to the Jews and their power is so great that people are
afraid to criticize them," he was quoted as saying. "On the other hand, you
can accuse Muslims of being terrorists ... and Europe does not protest.
"But because I said what is true _ that the Jews control the world through
proxy _ I don't see why people should get annoyed with this. It is
"Many rabbis and professionals have told me recently that they fear for their
jobs should they even begin to articulate their doubts about Israeli
policy--much less give explicit support to calls for an end to the occupation."
-- Rabbi Michael Lerner
Published on Sunday, April 28, 2002 in the Los Angeles Times
Confessions of a Philosopher:
It is not the case that a belief is worthy of respect, or is even interesting
merely because it is widely held, though that it is widely held may give one
food for thought. Of the religions I studied, the one I found least worthy of
intellectual respect was Judaism.
----British Scholar and Philosopher Bryan Magee in 1997
The Jewish Ruling Class
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