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October 25, 2003


Malaysia Leader Denies Bush Rebuked Him

Malaysian prime ministerKUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has repeated his claim that Jews rule the world, and accused U.S. President George W. Bush of lying if he said he rebuked Mahathir for the comment.

Mahathir and Bush met briefly last week on the sidelines of a Pacific Rim leaders' summit, a few days after the Malaysian leader caused a furor by saying in a speech that "Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them."

Speaking to reporters later, Bush said he told Mahathir the remarks were "divisive and unnecessary" and made clear that he found them "reprehensible."

Mahathir denies Bush reprimanded him.

"I'm now told that Bush said he rebuked me," Mahathir was quoted as saying in the New Sunday Times newspaper. "That is the biggest lie of all."

Mahathir, who has been a feisty critic of Bush and the U.S.-led fight on terrorism, said Bush merely explained why his administration had used strong language to condemn his remarks about Jews.

"If he had rebuked me, I'm quite sure I'd have reacted in my normal way. I would have rebuked him also," he said.

Mahathir said he was unperturbed by Bush's version of events but took a swipe at the president's credibility, using the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as an example.

"If you can tell a lie about the existence of weapons of mass destruction and go to war because of it I'm not surprised if he is prepared to lie about what he said to me," Mahathir was quoted as saying.

Mahathir, 77, is retiring at the end of the month. During more than 22 years in power, Mahathir has become known for outspoken, provocative comments, especially about what he sees as Western domination of developing countries and U.S. policy in the Middle East.

His comments about Jews brought strong condemnation from the United States, the European Union, other countries and Jewish groups. The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged foreign companies to boycott investment in Malaysia because of what it called Mahathir's "serial anti-Semitism."

Responding to the criticism after returning from a four-nation overseas trip, Mahathir called the threat economic "blackmail" and said he was prepared to weather some economic damage for making the comments.

"I don't think we should allow ourselves to be blackmailed by them," he was quoted as saying.

Mahathir repeated his assertion that his remarks were reported out of context.

"The press belongs to the Jews and their power is so great that people are afraid to criticize them," he was quoted as saying. "On the other hand, you can accuse Muslims of being terrorists ... and Europe does not protest.

"But because I said what is true -- that the Jews control the world through proxy -- I don't see why people should get annoyed with this. It is absolutely true."



. . . on this website

Contrite, but not very Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says his comments about Jews were taken out of context:
"The reaction of the world shows that the Jews do control the world"
More on Malaysian PM's interesting theory:
Presidents George Bush and (reluctantly) Jacques Chirac condemn "Jews rule" remark
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says Jews rule the world
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says Jews rule the world
Embassy Scandal Consumes Fleet Street | French ambassador to UK can't recall calling Israel "sh*tty" | Wall Street Journal shocked at rise of anti Israel feeling in Britain | French ambassador to London sent packing
Florida: Jewish outrage at "Jewish"
Our dossier on the origins of anti-Semitism

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