How Malaysia Became One of the Most Anti-Semitic Countries in the World

16 Feb 2016

From Tablet Magazine:

Malaysia is in political and economic crisis as it has been, now, for many months, due to a huge and still unresolved corruption scandal featuring a mysterious $700 million that was transferred into a bank account belonging to the country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak. The money arrived just before a hotly contested 2013 national election, which saw Najib’s United Malay National Organization (UMNO) triumph by a whisker. Where this money came from is anyone’s guess. The Wall Street Journal, which first uncovered the scandal, reported that it came from the 1MDB, a Malaysian state development fund, which is now many billions of dollars in debt. Malaysia’s Attorneys General Office, in a recent report, insisted that the money wasn’t looted from a state institution and that the $700 million was actually a gift from the Saudi royal family.

But this, needless to say, isn’t a very good explanation. Even assuming the money did come from the Saudi royal family, why would the prime minister be receiving such a princely sum from foreign royalty on the eve of an election campaign? It’s hard to imagine someone dispatching $700 million without expecting anything in return. (The Attorneys General Report did not explain why the Saudi royal family would be motivated to make such a generous donation.) But as Aziz Kaprawi, division head of the United Malay Party Leader and deputy head of the Transportation Ministry, explained, the prince did expect something in return. “If we had lost [the 2013 election], [rival political party] DAP would be in power. DAP with its Jewish funding would control this country. Based on that, our Muslim friends in the Middle East could see the Jewish threat through DAP.” According to this account, the mysterious Arab prince had sent $700 million to the prime minister’s bank account for a cause that any average Malaysian might be expected to understand, even sympathize with: to protect Malaysia from the Jews.

As this bit of Malaysian current events trivia suggests, blaming Jews for all manner of machinations, crimes, and failures is a normal part of Malaysian politics, even though very few of the country’s citizens have ever laid eyes on a Jew. While Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country of 30 million, nestled just south of Thailand, had a minuscule Jewish population that mostly emigrated decades ago, it still has a very active history of selecting leaders who make anti-Semitic remarks. Mahathir Mohamed, Malaysia’s prime minister from 1981 to 2003, gained international notoriety (as well as, in some circles, approbation) for his 2003 speech at the Organization of the Islamic Conference, where he suggested that while Jews and Muslims were natural enemies, “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews.” He also noted that, “The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule the world by proxy.”

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The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.