Malaysia PM Mahathir Mohamad compared Holocaust to Israeli treatment of Palestinians at UN conference

He wondered why there had not been a Nuremberg for Israeli 'war crimes'


Malaysia's Prime Minister and self-described proud antisemite Mahathir Mohamad addressed a United Nations Conference with a speech that asked why Israelis had not faced a "Nuremberg tribunal".

In one of his last acts before he left office on March 1, Mr Mohamed delivered the keynote address at the International Conference on the Question of Palestine that was hosted in Kuala Lumpur on February 28 and 29.

In a press release on the United Nation’s website, Mr Mohamed was reported to have said: “The Holocaust lasted six years and the Nakba has been going on for more than 70 years. The Holocaust was committed by others, why do the Palestinians have to pay the price”.

The ‘Nakba’ is a term for the violence that surrounded the foundation of Israel in 1948, during which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee their homes.

The veteran politician, who entered politics in 1945 and served as Malaysian Prime Minister between 1981 and 2003 and again between 2018 and last week, has a history of making antisemitic remarks and said in 2003 he was “glad to be labelled antisemitic”.

He has also questioned the numbers of Jews murdered during the Holocaust and accused Israel of “Nazi cruelty” in its treatment of the Palestinians.

Mr Mahatir has also pedalled in classically antisemitic tropes, alleging that the Jews are “hooked nosed”, “understand money instinctively” and that they “rule the world by proxy”.

Describing the Second World War’s Allies as “the pro-Israel nations”, Mr Mohamed wondered why they had been “quick to hold a tribunal at Nuremberg to try Nazi war criminals, but no tribunal has been established for Palestinian victims”.

According to the UN press release, Mr Mohamed “went on to express hope that the International Criminal Court will take note of that blatant case of injustice of the century and institute proceedings against Israel.”

The conference was organised by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in partnership with the Government of Malaysia and the Perdana Global Peace Foundation.

Mr Mohamed had been serving as interim Prime Minister after his coalition collapsed on February 24 and was unexpectedly replaced by Muhyiddin Yassin on March 1.

His keynote address has been described as “antisemitic” by UN Watch, a campaign group that calls out antisemitism and anti-Zionism at the UN.

It questioned why the organisation hosted antisemitism on its website.

UN Secretary-General Spokesman Stephane Dujarric De La Riviere told the JC: “The Secretary-General has no authority of what the representatives of member states say during official UN meetings and we are mandated to post statements delivered by those member states in any of the UN’s legislative bodies”.

Mr De La Rivere said that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “has clearly stated, during UN meetings and in many other fora, that he will be in the frontline of the battle against antisemitism” and had “clearly condemned Holocaust denial and Holocaust revisionism, which we have witnessed with the rewriting of history.”

At the conference, Mr Mohamed also called the United States dishonest and President Donald Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ peace plan a “mockery”, although he restated Malaysia’s commitment to a two-state solution.

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