Muslims must unite against Jew power: Malaysia

Putrajaya: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday told a summit of Islamic leaders that “Jews rule the world by proxy” and the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims should unite, using non-violent means for a “final victory.”

His speech at the Organization of Islamic Conference summit, which he was hosting, drew criticism from Jewish leader, who warned it could spark more violence against Jews.

Mahathir, one of the Third World’s senior statesmen, criticized what he described as Jewish domination of the world and Muslim nations’ inability to adequately respond to it as he opened the meeting of Islamic leaders from 57 nations.

“The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy,” Mahathir said. “They get others to fight and die for them.”

Mahathir, who retires Oct. 31 after 22 years in power, is highly regarded in much of developing and Islamic world, where Malaysia is seen as a success story for having progressed from a commodity-producing Southeast backwater a high-tech exporter with the world’s tallest buildings.

“We are up against a people who think. They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back but by thinking,” Mahathir said. “For well over half a century we have fought over Palestine,” he said. “What have we achieved? Nothing. We are worse off than before. If we had paused to think, then we could have devised a plan, a strategy that can win us final victory.”

The prime minister said Jews “invented Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy”? to avoid persecution and gain control of the most powerful countries.
Mahathir added that “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews,” but suggested using political and economic tactics instead of violence.

He told the audience of sheiks, emirs, kings and presidents that Muslims had the richest civilization in the world during Europe’s Dark Ages, but disputes over dogma- instead of embracing technology and science- had left them weak and divided.

The leaders gave Mahathir a standing ovation after his speech. “I think it was a shrewd and very deep assessment of the situation,” said Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher. “I think he elaborated a program of action that is wide and very important. I hope the Islamic countries will be able to follow this important road map.”

In Israel, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jonathan Peled expressed disappointment in the remarks but said he wasn’t surprised.

“It is not new that in such forums there is always an attempt to reach the lowest common denominator which is Israel bashing,” he said Jerusalem. “But obviously we’d like to see more moderate and responsible kind of declaration coming out of such summits.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said Mahathir has used anti-Israel statements in the past to prove he’s tough on the West. But, he said, Thursday’s speech was still worrisome.

“What is profound shocking and worrying is the venue of the speech, the audience and coming in the time we’re living in,” Cooper said during a visit to Jerusalem “Mahathir’s speech today is an absolute invitation for more hate crimes and terrorism against Jews. That’s serious.”

U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Marie Huhtala declined to comment on Mahatir’s speech Washington was angered over a speech he made in February, as host of the Non-Aligned Movement of 117 countries, in which he described the looming war against Iraq as racist.

Admirers in the West and Islamic world Malaysia as model for other Muslim nations-large religious minorities live with few restrictions, women enjoy relatively equal legal status with men, and Mahathir has cracked down on suspected terrorists.

But he is also blunt-spoken and freely articulates positions challenging the West, which he feels has tried had tried to exercise economic domination over its former colonial possessions. His speeches are delivered in well-reasoned tones that strike a chord with audiences.

Mahathir has long been a critic of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and of U.S. policy in the Middle East, including the war in Iraq and its strong backing of the Jewish state. And he has used almost every international podium to lambast the West for two decades.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he supported Mahathir’s analysis, which also included steps for how Muslim nations can develop economically and socially.

“It is great to hear Prime Minister Mahathir speak so eloquently on the problems of the ummah (muslim world) and ways to remedy them,” Karzai said. “His speech was an eye-opener to a lot of us and that is what the Islamic world should do.”