When Malaysian politicians of all stripes sling mud and hurtle rhetorical slings and arrows at one another, there is one label that is universally considered by all players to be an insult far worse than all the rest. What might that insult be? Being called a racist? Or a bigot? Or a fascist? No, no, and no again. The ultimate insult in Malaysian politics is to be called a Zionist, or to be seen in any way as a supporter of Israel. This support includes supporting the right of Israel to exist in the first place. In Malaysia, it is a given that all measures taken by Israel to defend itself are by definition war crimes, while all actions undertaken by jihadist organizations like Hamas et al are automatically considered as ‘noble’ or ‘heroic’ resistance. These truths are never questioned, at least in Malaysia’s public and political sphere.
In a recent demonstration of this unwavering axiom, Malaysia’s foreign minister, a man named Anifah, has accused Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of daring to support Israel’s right to exist. In Malaysia, this is quite an incendiary accusation. Anwar was quick to denounce Anifah, and proclaim to the world that, in not so many words, he’s a good pious
Jew-hating I mean Zionist-hating Muslim, and how dare someone accuse him of such treachery.
From “Anifah: Malaysia does not support “˜all efforts to protect Israel–, by Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider, 29 January 2012:
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 “” Datuk Seri Anifah Aman insisted tonight that despite supporting a “two-state solution,” Malaysia has never supported Israel in its conflict with Palestine.
Well, isn’t that a relief!
The foreign minister said this differed from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he “supports all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel.”
“His statement clearly shows his acceptance and support for actions taken by Israel against Palestinians up to now.
“Actions interpreted as security measures by Israel include military
attacks on Gaza causing the death of thousands of innocent Palestinians
including women and children,” the Kimanis MP said in a statement sent
to The Malaysian Insider.
Anifah stressed that Malaysia has never supported these actions but
joined the global community in condemning Israel that clearly breaches
“Malaysia calls for all parties to find a comprehensive solution that
is fair and just based on the “˜Roadmap” and United Nations (UN)
Security Council resolutions whereby both nations can live side-by-side
in a peaceful and safe manner,” he added.
Anwar came under heavy fire from Umno and its media after his statement was published by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
But the international business daily said Anwar stopped short of
saying he would open diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, a step the
former deputy prime minister said remains contingent on Israel
respecting the aspirations of Palestinians.
And we should all well and truly know by now what those ‘aspirations’ are.
The opposition leader was forced to defend himself last night by
stressing that his remarks in the newspaper meant that he supported a
two-state solution as mentioned by Anifah when the latter addressed the
UN general assembly in September last year.
But Anifah said today Anwar’s interview “clearly shows full support
for all actions taken by Israel to protect its security, unless he is
accusing the Wall Street Journal of making a mistake.”
Muslim-majority Malaysia is a staunch supporter of Palestine and has no diplomatic ties with Israel.
Muslim politicians have long vied for support from Malays by
denouncing what they say are inhumane acts of aggression by Israel
towards its neighbour.
Anwar has previously been attacked as a supporter of the Zionist
movement due to his interaction with prominent Jewish figures in the
So which does Malaysia support…the right of Israel to exist, or the need to wipe Israel from the map, and to expel or kill all Jews from ‘Palestine’? The answer to that should already be obvious.