Israelis are the enemy, Muslims should fight them - Malaysian former PM

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad called for Muslims to attack Israelis during an interview on Lebanese TV.

Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 13, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/LIM HUEY TENG)
Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 13, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/LIM HUEY TENG)
Muslims should stop fighting among themselves or attacking the West, and should focus on "the enemy" - Israel, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said.
In an English-language interview on Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen TV aired on June 29, captured by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Mahathir said that Muslim in-fighting was helping Israel and her allies.
"I know there are big powers that would like to see instability in Muslim countries," he said. "We are doing things - almost like helping Israel. Because we fight each other, the Israelis don't have to kill Muslims. Muslims are doing it for them."
Instead, he said Muslims should turn their attention on Israel itself, which he falsely claimed was created through the displacement of a Palestinian state by Western powers to rid themselves of Jews. 
"The whole of Israel was created through taking Palestinian land," he said. "That is very wrong. So for that reason, we have always been against the creation of the State of Israel. Unfortunately, the big powers back Israel because they were the ones who created the State of Israel to solve their Jewish problem. They were having a problem in Europe with the Jews, so they wanted to create a homeland for the Jews, and they took Palestinian land."
But he warned against attacking Western states, insisting that the true enemy was Israel alone and that carrying out terrorist attacks against Western states will only erode support for Palestine. Therefore, Muslims should take inspiration from Palestinians who kill Israelis.
"When you commit acts of terror without due consideration as to the effect on the people concerned, for example you kill people in Europe - obviously the Europeans will not support you." he told the interviewer. "Your enemy is Israel, fight against Israel, don't fight against other countries - unless they attack you, of course. But the enemy is Israel.
"[If] you want to do anything, do it to the Israelis, like some of the Palestinians in Jerusalem who individually attack Israeli soldiers. That is the enemy. But if you go and attack the Europeans, Americans, and all that, you only create more enemies."
Instead of attacking America and other Western states, Muslims should support the movement for black persons' rights, Mahathir suggested, repeating a popular antisemitic trope claiming that Jews control the media in the West and use it to spread pro-Israel propaganda.
"If they [the American people] think we are wrong, we have to tell them that we are doing something that is right, Mahathir told viewers. "It is a propaganda campaign on the part of the Jews. They are very good. They own all the newspapers in America. They own all the TV stations, so they have tremendous influence.
"We should show support for the blacks because this is where we can show that the American society is unjust and unfair to their own people, so we will then reduce the influence of America on our own internal affairs."
The 94-year-old former prime minister has a long history of voicing antisemitic views in public, in the past calling Jews 'hook-nosed' and questioning the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.
In September 2019 while still in office he appeared at Columbia University's World Leaders Forum where he defended his record, saying “I am exercising my right to free speech. Why is it that I can’t say something against the Jews, when a lot of people say nasty things about me, about Malaysia, and I didn’t protest, I didn’t demonstrate?
He added: "The world is talking about freedom of speech, but whenever we say anything against Israel and the Jews, it is considered antisemitism," he stated. "It is my right to criticize Israel for its policy regarding the Palestinians and say they do many bad things."