Mahathir Mohamad is well known for statements that are, to Western ears, outrageous. But as Andrew Bolt observes, Mahathir did not arrive at these opinions in a vacuum. Will we see unequivocal condemnation of Mahathir (and not just by dedicated Holocaust deniers), or the usual claims that his remarks were taken out of context?
"Mahathir: Jews 'had to be periodically massacred'," by Andrew Bolt for the Courier Mail, January 23 (thanks to John):
This Jew-hating, terrorist-excusing conspiracy theorist was actually the elected leader of Malaysia - and spoke at a Muslim gathering where he expected his views to win support:
Malaysia's former premier Mahathir Mohamad said on Wednesday there was "strong evidence" the US faked the September 11 terror attacks as an excuse to go to war against Muslims.
"There is strong evidence that the attacks were staged. If they can make Avatar, they can make anything,' Mahathir told the Conference for the Support of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), as quoted by local media. [Quite possibly the strangest compliment James Cameron has received. - M.]
The former premier also blamed Jews for hindering progress in US foreign policy. Voicing his disappointment that Barack Obama had not yet ended the war in Afghanistan or closed the US terror detention center at Guantanamo, he explained that "there are forces in the United States which prevent the president from doing some things. One of the forces is the Jewish lobby."
Jews "had always been a problem in European countries. They had to be confined to ghettoes and periodically massacred. But still they remained, they thrived and they held whole governments to ransom," Mahathir said.
Even after their massacre by the Nazis of Germany, they survived to continue to be a source of even greater problems for the world."
Here's the frightening question: For how many Muslims does Mahathir speak?
And perhaps we should for once ask to what extent this man's disgraceful bigotry and victimology is driven by Islam rather than seek again to blame ourselves for his vileness, as in this recent effort, reported in The Age:
Malaysia's relationship with Canberra was at best prickly and diplomats could not understand why Dr Mahathir held such a jaundiced view. Barry Wain, an Australian journalist who has observed Dr Mahathir for 37 years, provides some of the answers to the mystery.
In 1969 Dr Mahathir, a first-term politician and a rising political star, was invited on an all-expenses-paid trip to Australia as a guest of the Foreign Ministry in Canberra. But he lost his seat in an election that year and a few days before he was due to depart the Australians asked him to postpone the trip....
Two years later Dr Mahathir accepted an Australian Government offer to visit Canberra after attending a seminar at his own expense at Monash University, only to find the hospitality in the capital as bleak as the weather. In his book, Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times, Wain maintains Dr Mahathir never forgot how he was treated all those years ago.
So does cold hospitality in Canberra also explain why Mahathir believes Jews "had to be confined to ghettoes and periodically massacred"? Or has some faith or ideology pushed him to that conclusion?
Many are all too willing to accept a roundabout and illogical explanation over an uncomfortable one.