New York, NY, October 16, 2003 … In the wake of a virulently anti-Semitic speech by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged leaders of civilized nations to condemn his words, "which amount to a call for a global holy war against the Jewish people by 1.3 billion Muslims."
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
Prime Minister Mahathir has made what amounts to a call for global war against the Jewish people by 1.3 billion Muslims. This is nothing more than a call to Holy War against Jews. It is grotesque anti-Semitism on an international scale. Mahathir's speech needs to be condemned by responsible leaders of the civilized world as an unacceptable outrage and an affront to civilized society.
The time has come for world leaders to stand up, to say that you can no longer excuse or rationalize this kind of incendiary rhetoric, this kind of hatred and scapegoating, this blaming of Jews for all of the ills of the Muslim world. It is time for world leaders to denounce and condemn such statements as dangerous, morally repugnant and beyond the pale of civilized dialogue. We hope the participants in this conference, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is there in an observer role, will immediately condemn these remarks. We are dismayed and saddened that among all these leaders from 57 countries, nobody stood up, nobody walked up and nobody challenged him.
While it is not surprising to hear these words from an unrepentant anti-Semite, the prime minister's words are especially damaging at this moment, and to this audience. His statement will reverberate across the Muslim world, where there are those who are more than willing to take them at face value, and that can lead to violence against Jews and Westerners.
In his statement, Prime Minister Mahathir called on Muslims to unite against Jews towards a "final victory," saying that "the Jews rule the world by proxy. … They have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power. 1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way."
Excerpts from the prime minister's statement>>