Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during the APEC CEO Summit 2018 at the Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 17 November 2018.
(photo credit: FAZRY ISMAIL/POOL VIA REUTERS)
The Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad delivered antisemitic remarks in a public interview at the prestigious debate society at Cambridge University in the UK on Sunday.
Speaking at Cambridge Union, Mohamad said that "Jews do a lot of wrong things and force us to pass comments on them," and that he would invade Israel if he could.
In January, the Malaysian prime minister had sparked criticism for announcing that Israeli athletes would not be allowed to compete in the World Para-Swimming Championships that were set to be hosted by his country. The International Paralympic Committee stripped Malaysia of the games after they barred the Israeli athletes and they will now take place in London in July.
When asked by the host, Mohamad also confirmed that he stuck by his past statements that included saying that "Jews rule the world by proxy" and that they have "hooked noses."
When the interviewer reiterated the question of whether it was fair to make such general statements about the Jewish people, he responded that "not all Jews are bad" and that he had "many Jewish friends" but "most Jews support the wrong things done by Israel."
"Of course if you say something against Jews, you are labeled as antisemitic, but no other race in the world label people like that," he added.
The footage of the full event is available on YouTube.
Cambridge Union is both the oldest debating society in the world and the largest student society in Cambridge.
The London Jewish Chronicle reported on Tuesday that they claimed that the release of the video would show that the event's chair "repeatedly challenged" Mohamad over his "antisemitic comments."
In his remarks, the Malaysian PM also widely criticized the West and the capitalist system.
According to the Malaysia country profile on the BBC, Mohamad, a medical doctor by training, ruled the country with an iron fist from 1981 to 2003 when he retired from politics. He then scored a surprising victory in May 2018, becoming the world's oldest elected leader at the age of 92.
The profile also mentions that the Muslim majority country in Southeast Asia has some of the most stringent censorship laws in the world.
"We are disappointed that the Cambridge Union has taken the decision to host the Malaysian Prime Minister," the British Union of Jewish Student said in a statement.
"Freedom of expression is paramount but must be balanced against incitement to hatred, and we encourage Cambridge Union to think carefully about extending further invitations to those who propagate racism. We expect Mahathir Mohamad to be robustly challenged on his anti-Jewish racism and to be shown that his views are not welcome on UK campuses," it added.
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