World Leaders Must Break Their Silence in the Wake of Mahathir's Anti-Semitism
New York, NY, October 27, 2003…Concerned with the lack of reaction from world leaders to the anti-Semitic speech given by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) urged the leaders of 109 countries "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 the ills of the Muslim world".
In letters sent to world leaders, Glen A. Tobias, ADL National Chairman and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, wrote:
Prime Minister Mahathir has made what amounts to a call for global holy war against the Jewish people by 1.3 billion Muslims. His address was received with a standing ovation by the assembled leaders and representatives of fifty-seven member states.
Prime Minister Mahathir's speech must 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 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 trust that your government has publicly condemned this message of hate, and if you and your government have not, we urge that you do so now. It is never too late to condemn anti-Semitism.
ADL sent the letter to 109 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America. ADL has already communicated with 12 countries and recognizes others such as Germany, Italy, Britain and Spain for their strong condemnation.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.