Cambridge enables Malaysian Prime Minister to spread antisemitism unchecked

June 18, 2019 by TPS
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The Cambridge Union debating society hosted Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, a vocal anti-Semite, at the academic venue on Sunday, during which he reiterated his antisemitic and Holocaust-denying views while going unchallenged by the audience.

The Cambridge Union Society debating chamber during the 2011 Cambridge Festival of Ideas. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), a London-based watchdog, has filed a complaint with the Charity Commission against Cambridge Union, a registered charity.

In a recording of the event posted on YouTube, Mahathir is seen being asked by the moderator about his past antisemitic comments.

“I have some Jewish friends, very good friends. They are not like the other Jews. That’s why they are my friends,” he replied. The audience responded with laughter.

When questioned about his Holocaust denial, he said that “the Israelis should know from the sufferings they went through in the war not to treat others like that.”

CAA noted that under the International Definition of Antisemitism, “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is considered antisemitism.

He also denied saying that only four million were murdered in the Holocaust, something that he has previously stated on the record.

He defended antisemitism by saying that “of course if you say anything against the Jews, you are labeled antisemitic. No other race in the world labels people like that, why is it forbidden to criticize the Jews when other people criticize us?”

“The Jews do a lot of wrong things, which force us to pass comment,” he added.

He also defended his calling Jews “hooked nosed” by saying that “people do generalize, in describing certain people we take some general characteristics that they have, why is it that it’s the Jews who resent this when other people don’t resent being accused of some general characteristic that they have?”

He justified his antisemitism by using an example that “the British Jews used to say the Malays are lazy.”

“It is disgraceful and unforgivable that Cambridge Union, a club affiliated to the University of Cambridge, one of Britain’s most prestigious educational institutions, rolled out the red carpet for this self-confessed and unrepentant anti-Semite, and presented him with a platform from which to share his dangerous views with students, unchallenged,” CAA stated Tuesday.

A Jewish student who attended the event told CAA that a Union staff member spoke to him during the event and told him that he had seen him earlier near a small group of protestors and that security would specifically be keeping an eye on him. A member of security was subsequently positioned near him.

“The way Jewish students were clearly targeted for extra surveillance by security personnel left them feeling extremely uncomfortable and in some cases, too intimidated to ask the speaker a question” he recounted.

“While the opportunity to challenge Mahathir Mohamad on his regressive views on homosexuals and Jews might have been prima facie valuable, in this instance the Union failed to adequately counter his unacceptable rhetoric,” he told CAA.

“The questioner did manage to bring up controversial topics, but regularly let clearly racist and discriminatory comments go unchallenged. One horrific comment about Cambridge being colonized and renamed Israel was shockingly met with laughter from the floor. It seems the Union is conflicted between pampering its VIP guests, and truly holding them to account,” he charged.

CAA has complained to the University of Cambridge and the Charity Commission and wrote the home secretary that the decision to admit Mahathir into the UK could breach the government’s counter-extremism policy.

“If Cambridge Union wished to host Dr. Mohamad in the name of free speech, his longstanding Jew-hatred should have faced the harshest dissection and cross-examination that is the best of this country’s academic tradition. Instead, the Union gingerly and respectfully provided a platform for a revolting bigot,” CAA charged. “The Union decided to allow Dr. Mohamad to spew his vitriol against Jews without challenge and we intend to ensure that it bears the consequences of that unforgivable choice.”


One Response to “Cambridge enables Malaysian Prime Minister to spread antisemitism unchecked”
  1. Mr. Halas Peter says:
    Mahathir is the reason why I would never visit Malaysia, never fly their airline or spend money that might find its way to them.

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