The Prime Minister of Malaysia asked why Jews “resent” being called “hook-nosed”, saying “other people don’t resent being accused of some general characteristic they have” at his controversial Cambridge Union appearance.
The full extent of Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad’s open antisemitism emerged after the debating society released the full video of his appearance at an event hosted by the debating club last Sunday.
A short clip of the event, released by the Union of Jewish Students, showed the PM said he liked his Jewish friends because "they're not like other Jews" - to laughter from the audience.
The Cambridge Union claimed the release of the full video would show that the event’s chair “repeatedly challenged” Dr Mohamad over his “antisemitic comments”.
But the footage shows that the Malaysian leader was able to put forward a stream of openly racist and anti-Jewish opinions with only gentle attempts to challenge him as he spoke.
Asked by his interviewer, if it was “fair” to attack all Jewish people for the alleged actions of the Israeli state, Dr Mohamad said: “Most support the wrong things being done by Israel.
“Of course if you say anything against the Jews you are labelled as antisemitic. No other race in this world labels people like that.
“Why is it so difficult… Why is it forbidden for us to criticise the Jews when they and other people criticise us?”
Without responding to this claim, the chair, who said he was himself Jewish, asked the PM why he “focused particularly on Jewish people”.
The Malaysian PM responded: “Well, the Jews do a lot of wrong things which force us to pass comment.”
He then alleged Israel had confiscated items on a relief boat sent to Gaza by Malaysia saying: “It is a Muslim mission, they don’t care – nine people were killed.”
The chair then suggested this was the responsibility of Israel and not the “Jewish people”.
The PM said: “I am waiting for the Jewish people to condemn Israel.”
At one point he also said:""Can you imagine the Israeli's taking over Cambridge and calling it Israel? How would you like that?"
The chair then returned to the Malaysian leader’s previous comments about “hook-nosed” Jews. He asked whether he was referring to “Jewish people who support Israel or just generalising?”
“In describing certain people we take some general characteristics that they have,” said the Malaysian PM.
“Why is it that it is the Jews who resent this when other people don’t resent being accused of some general characteristics they have?”
In response, the interviewer added: "Alright, I think that’s enough of that line of questioning from me.”
On Monday, former presidents of the world’s oldest debating society condemned its decision to host the Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Barrister Jeremy Brier, who was president of the union in 2001, said he was “appalled that antisemite Mahathir Mohamad was invited to speak, was openly antisemitic and was greeted with laughter.
"What a shameful chapter in the history of a wonderful organisation.”
Adam Cannon, who was president in 1996, described it as “absolutely appalling".