October 17, 2003

Nothing to See Here?

Malayasian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's Nazi-like rant is whitewashed by the media.

The EU prepared a text condemning his remarks. Can you guess which European president blocked the condemnation? This is apparently what the French mean by "sophisticated."

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 17, 2003 09:35 AM
Comments

"Sophisticate - 2. To make impure; adulterate. 1. To cause to become less natural, especially to make less naive and more worldly." Yeah but who's world?

Posted by: Stephen Meyer at October 17, 2003 10:25 AM

Many Malaysians will admit that their Prime Minister can be crazy. If you make a joke about him, they’ll laugh.

So what is Chirac defending? I don’t think it’s Mahathir’s good name, and it’s definitely not sophistication.

Posted by: mary at October 17, 2003 10:50 AM

To do list:

1) Cancel, once and for all, Christmas trip to Paris.

2) . . .

Posted by: M. Terrien at October 17, 2003 11:16 AM

Hmm. Gore was right about something. Also, here's Joel Mowbray praising him as a moderate.

Posted by: Bill Herbert at October 17, 2003 02:12 PM

"We also know that not all non-Muslims are against us. Some are well disposed towards us. Some even see our enemies as their enemies. Even among the Jews there are many who do not approve of what the Israelis are doing.

We must not antagonise everyone. We must win their hearts and minds. We must win them to our side not by begging for help from them but by the honourable way that we struggle to help ourselves. We must not strengthen the enemy by pushing everyone into their camps through irresponsible and unIslamic acts. "

Man, that is some extremist crazy shit, advocating that Muslims seek human rights and prosperity through honorable and decent acts, so that their enemies will see their humanity and come to agree with them.

His entire speech is a paean to the wrongness of terrorism, from its uselessness to its hopelessness to its immorality. He calls for Muslim nations to govern themselves well, act with honor and dignity, and pressure the Israeli government through appropriate channels to give the Palestinians human rights.

What the hell is your problem?

full transcript.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 17, 2003 08:55 PM

Kimmitt:
Did you actually read the transcript?
"The enemy [Jews] will probably welcome these proposals and we will conclude that the promoters are working for the enemy. But think. We are up against a people who think. They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking. They invented and successfully promoted Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power. We cannot fight them through brawn alone. We must use our brains also."
Persecuting Jews only APPEARS to be wrong.
Equal rights for Jews is unnatural.
Jews control the USA.
True Muslims must fight the Jews with their brains and with their brawn.
That is the world of Mahathir Mohamad and, apparently, of Kimmitt as well.

Posted by: Glenn C at October 17, 2003 10:44 PM

So, Kimmitt, you agree that the Israelis and the Jews control most of the economy and the media in the world?

Posted by: Al Superczynski at October 17, 2003 10:44 PM

That said, we should be encouraging voices that condemn terrorism and recommend the strengthening of science and culture.

I think the best diplomatic response would be to praise the means (recast to remove the religious/ethnic war angle), and condemn both the assumptions and the ends.

Everyone also seems to agree that Malaysia's prime minister is a "moderate"; it's therefore telling that even the moderates seem to generally accept the Jewish-World-Domination theory.

Posted by: Michael Martin at October 17, 2003 10:53 PM

Telling of what?

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at October 17, 2003 11:06 PM

Of their inainity, Luebcke.

Posted by: Orson at October 17, 2003 11:18 PM

So, Kimmitt, you agree that the Israelis and the Jews control most of the economy and the media in the world?

I think that Israel has done an excellent job of leveraging its strengths such that it has a disproportionate effect on world affairs, considering its small size and economy. I also believe that the Jewish lobby has done an excellent job of leveraging its strengths such that it has a disproportionate effect on US foreign policy, considering its relatively small size and total wealth.

Persecuting Jews only APPEARS to be wrong.
Equal rights for Jews is unnatural.

Okay, I know that right-wingers are used to parsing sentences to within an inch of their life so that they can find the technical truths which exculpate Bush from charges of outright lying, but:

1) These remarks came in a larger context.

2) I can't find out whether the speech was made in English, Malay, Chinese, or Arabic (the four most likely languages). If the first, then he was speaking in a tongue not his native, and therefore you simply cannot glean meaning from fine questions of connotation and word choice. He does not have the cultural background to make those connotations. If one of the latter three, then you are relying on the translator's rendering, which itself by definition carries accuracies.

You are distorting some truly excellent, liberal words, punishing a moderate Muslim for daring to state that Israel has been successful.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 17, 2003 11:20 PM

I just reread the speech -- it is a call to Muslim men and women to emulate the success of the Jewish people. The speech was not antisemitic -- it was prosemitic! His point was that due to their self-defeating policies, Palestinians had done their cause harm, masking their legitimate grievances by committing immoral acts, and that they would be well-served by doing as Israel does and taking the high road of (relative) respect for human rights, moral waging of wars (if any), and encouragement of the development of technological prowess through a sea change in education policy.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 17, 2003 11:31 PM

Mahathir Mohamad: We cannot fight them through brawn alone.

Their governments can do nothing to stop them. The enemy retaliates and puts more pressure on the governments. And the governments have no choice but to give in, to accept the directions of the enemy, literally to give up their independence of action.

It helps us to expose the wrongs perpetrated against us, perhaps win us some sympathy and support. It may strengthen our spirit, our will and resolve, to face the enemy.

Kimmitt: truly excellent, liberal words

Since when is a strategy to defeat the Jews liberal? He's not even talking about Israelis. He's talking about Jews. Some of my friends are Jews, Kimmitt, and this man wants to put them to the sword. Liberal, my ass.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 17, 2003 11:37 PM

This is like Hitler calling on all good Germans to work hard at science and mathematics so they can more effectively kill Jews. Real liberal.

It doesn't matter what language the speech was in. This wasn't extemporaneous speaking. It was clearly written beforehand and no doubt he was well aware of the content.

Posted by: infamouse at October 17, 2003 11:45 PM

Also, Mathahir hands out copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He's no liberal. He is a Jew-hating genocide-mongering dictator.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 17, 2003 11:52 PM

"Even among the Jews there are many who do not approve of what the Israelis are doing.

We must not antagonise everyone. We must win their hearts and minds. We must win them to our side not by begging for help from them but by the honourable way that we struggle to help ourselves. We must not strengthen the enemy by pushing everyone into their camps through irresponsible and unIslamic acts."

Looks like he's got a pretty good handle on the difference between the policies pursued by the Isreali state and the Jewish people as a group.

The articles I'm reading, where officials of Mahathir's party apparently passed out abridged copies of Henry Ford's "International Jew" (which contains bits of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," apparently) are beyond bizarre. I have no idea how the book was abridged, and Mahathir denies being influenced by it (saying that he read it and essentially was not impressed).

I'm increasingly convinced that these are the actions of a man who sees the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip as grossly immoral, but wishes to find ways to emulate the success of the Jewish community for the purposes of making his people strong and self-determining. A very odd man, indeed.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 18, 2003 12:07 AM

Of their inainity, Luebcke.

Thanks, just checking. (It's late)

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at October 18, 2003 12:31 AM

So Kimmitt, not all Jews are bad? That's refreshing.

"We are up against a people who think. They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back but by thinking"

Emphasis added for your benefit. Please, parse "We are up against" to mean "We should respectfully emulate". I look forward to it.

PS: He said "people". Not the nation of Israel. Which, by the way, poses about as much a threat to Malaysia as I do.

Not that I'm overly suspicious, but the only reference that I can find to Mathahir handing out copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is in the LGF post. Does anybody have an original source for this?

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at October 18, 2003 12:40 AM

Michael Totten: Mahathir is "... no liberal. He is a Jew-hating genocide-mongering dictator." "Dictator"? Standard-issue Asian personality-cult strongman, yes. "Jew-hating"? Possibly so, though Malaysia has never had much of a Jewish population to hate, so I doubt it's more than an abstraction to him. But "genocide-mongering" Could you be specific? As in a quote from Mahathir, in context?

I'll get back to Michael Totten's charge that Mahathir hands out copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion a little later.

As for Chirac blocking the EU resolution, this is what I found about the EU's response to Chirac's objections to the wording:

"Other leaders agreed, although the Netherlands wanted the wording to stay in the declaration. / The leaders then compromised by having Italian Primie Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the summit host, criticise Dr Mahathir at his closing news conference."

Which is to say, if ol' Silvio accidentally says something even more offensive and undiplomatic, everyone would consider the source and write it off as coming from the Mahathir of Europe. A very safe EU PR strategy under the circumstances.

It's hasty to condemn Chirac out of hand without knowing what his reasoning was for saying that such wording had no place in an EU resolution. Certainly, Chirac had no kind words for Mahathir; it wasn't that he wanted to go easy on the guy. From what I read, the proposed EU statement had been drafted overnight, however, and in the cold light of day, only the Dutch seemed to disagree about how it needed more work and ... at that point ... they were out of time. Among other things, the statement says that Muslims would find Mahathir's comments as offensive as anyone else. Really? All of them? Everywhere? I doubt that very much, especially given the casual state-sponsored antisemitism heard in much of the Islamic world. Why make angry Muslims even angrier by pretending to speak for them? (For that matter, why sound stupid or ignorant even when you're resigned to making some people angry?)

As for Mahathir himself and his Jewish Global Puppetmasters idiocy: as the State Department has said, such comments from him are nothing new, exactly. What makes this incident newsworthy is that this is the first post-9/11 world islamic conference, and Mahathir is soon due to be seen in Bush's company as the President swings as rapidly through Al Qaeda-infested SE Asia as fast as modern jet travel permits. Also, Mahathir steps down soon.

But I'd say something else makes Mahathir's speech genuinely newsworthy: his comments (which seem intentionally ambiguous to me) might be read as an endorsement of the Bush administration's Middle East Roadmap. I wonder if this interpretation is so ridiculous. I recommend going back and reading it in that light. Mahathir couldn't do a total climbdown on his previous anti-Israel rhetoric, not in his remaining few weeks in office, but he could moderate his tone, with a bow toward the Terror War situation. To me, it sounds like he did, or at least as much as he could within the ideological straitjacket he's wrapped himself in over the years. Malaysians are, after all, afraid of Al Qaeda. Kuala Lumpur has its own Twin Towers (Petronas) with prayer rooms every few floors, but they practically shut Petronas down on the first anniversary of 9/11, as a precaution.

Michael Totten's claim that Mahathir "hands out copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is pretty interesting. There is a Reuters report (copied widely on the Web, but curiously, no longer available at Reuters.com) saying that some officials of Mahathir's party handed out an abridged edition of Henry Ford's "The International Jew". There's also a story from VOA. Did this abridgment of Ford's book "include" the Protocols? Trying to track down some information about this book, I discovered only this source with an obvious bias:

"South Africa - An anti-Semitic publication called 'The International Jew' can be found on the shelves of a Muslim bookstore in London. The publication also includes the ''Protocols of the Elders of Zion' and was published in Johannesburg by 'Global Publishers'."

Was found ... by whom? And the name of the bookstore? Is there a Global Publishers in Johannesburg? (There's a Kima Global in Capetown, but they seem to deal in New Agey stuff.) There is no news source referenced. Henry Ford's The International Jew never "contained" the Protocols, AFAIK, but only excerpted parts of it. And this site may have been the only bibliographic reference that wire-service reporters could find. Is this even the same book as some UMNO partisans handed out?

Regarding the distribution of whatever book this was, a New York Times story has Mahathir saying he wasn't responsible for the book's distribution, and while he admitted having read it, that he wasn't influenced by it.

An irony about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: it was largely plagiarized from a book by Maurice Joly, Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu a political satire targetting Napoleon III. Yes,
a book supposedly transcribing the Elders' conversation in France, considered a "nest of Jewish Conspiracy" by Russian anti-semites, originally derives from a French liberal's attack on an illiberal state, with Machiavelli a thinly-veiled Napoleon III debating with Montesquieu. In The Protocols Machiavelli is swapped out and Jews substituted for the progrom-rationalizing purposes. (Need more irony? Much of the ruthlessness supposedly recommended in The Prince, and echoed in Joly's Dialogue was Machiavelli being sarcastic. Our problem is that we take what Machiavelli said about Cesar Borgia out of the immediate news context of his time, and assume Machiavelli must have been writing in dead earnest, and for the ages.)

So what else is new? Get the story wrong. Fabricate more information and add it in. Substitute one person for another. Take a statement too seriously. Take it out of context. Exaggerate it further. Pass it on. It looks like blogdom just perpetuates old human miscommunication patterns. Only faster.

Posted by: Michael Turner at October 18, 2003 03:20 AM

Michael Turner--(and Kimmett)

This is by no means the first time Mahathir has passed out copies of "The International Jew" or Protocols. And yes, the former excerpts and builds upon the latter. Just google mahathir and protocols. Another favorite of his is to blame the Asian economic meltdown on the Jew George Soros.

Maybe you don't remember the response of the Egyptian government to criticism of its exciting TV series "Horsemen without a Horse", which aired throughout the Arab world as an after-dinner series during Ramadan? It's not the protocols, it's the truth, it's history; why do you criticize us for this? Hmmm, the criticism proves the power of the Jews, doesn't it? Sound familiar?

See, that's the frightening part--the defenders of this ancient canard BELIEVE it! Like the Iraqi arabic instructor (I think it was at UC Berkeley), who refused to take a position on whether the Protocols were "true", because that hasn't been determined, and most people believe in their essential truth where he comes from.

So Mahathir's forward-looking message is to get smart, and use 'their' own methods to ultimately defeat them, and all the governments they secretly control. Wow! Y'know what? I think that so long as this conspiracy theory underlies policy judgements in the third world, those judgements will not be fully rational. I don't know haw to fight it; it's a self-sustaining paranoid loop. But we have to address it, and aggressively.

Final question: for persons who accept the Protocols as reflecting a true Jewish conspiracy to rule the world, what would a balanced Israel/Palestine policy look like?

Posted by: Alene Berk at October 18, 2003 08:30 AM

Again, when he speaks of "defeating" the Israelis, it is extremely clear from context that he is speaking of freeing the Palestinians from the occupation, nothing more and nothing less.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 18, 2003 11:11 AM

I find it very depressing that a person as intelligent as Kimmitt can read Mahathir's speech and fail to see the bald anti-Semitism. This is a sign of the danger involved in a leader who's more moderate than Saddam or Bin Laden (nothing to brag about) saying rabidly anti-Semitic things. And you don't have to be Derrida to find the offensive sh*t in that speech, you just need to take your blinders off for two seconds. Anyone who hasn't read it should go read it for themselves.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at October 18, 2003 11:25 AM

Mahathir is now threatening Australia

Dr Mahathir - already under fire for remarks this week in which he said that "Jews rule the world" - was responding to reported comments by US President George Bush saying Australia was America's "sheriff" in South-East Asia.

"I can assure Australia that if it acts as a sheriff in this country it will be treated as a terrorist and dealt with as a terrorist," he said.

This guy is no friend of ours.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 18, 2003 11:31 AM

Kimmit – if you read the whole speech, you’d see two important points:

Mahathir said: “The Muslims will forever be oppressed and dominated by the Europeans and the Jews.”

He said “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews”

He doesn’t say Israelis, he says Jews - and Europeans. In Malaysia Americans are ‘Europeans’. Australians are ‘Europeans’ Europeans are Europeans. He’s not talking about Israelis, he’s talking about Jews, he’s talking about Australians, the French, Americans, Howard Dean, George Bush, etc.

This isn’t just about the Palestinians. Are there 1.3 billion Palestinians?

Posted by: mary at October 18, 2003 12:06 PM

"Okay, I know that right-wingers are used to parsing sentences to within an inch of their life so that they can find the technical truths which exculpate Bush from charges of outright lying, but:"

Kimmitt,
How did Bush and right wingers get into this? I have serious reservations about your capacity for reason and logic.

Posted by: Lee at October 18, 2003 12:32 PM

I can assure Australia that if it acts as a sheriff in this country it will be treated as a terrorist and dealt with as a terrorist,

Wait, let me see if I have this correct.

Bush: Australia is to supranational authority when dealing with Muslim nations in this area.

Mahathir: Muslim nations have their own sovereignity and must see to their own affairs.

Totten: Mahathir is our enemy.

The more I participate in this conversation, the more I feel like the real problem is with the idea of strong and technologically advanced Muslim nations.

Mary:

The full quotes:

"To begin with, the governments of all the Muslim countries can close ranks and have a common stand if not on all issues, at least on some major ones, such as on Palestine. We are all Muslims. We are all oppressed. We are all being humiliated."

In other words, "These are our brothers, and while they are oppressed and humiliated, we are oppressed and humiliated. We are all Palestinians." That is, "Ich bin Berliner."

"There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right. They believe that things can only get worse. The Muslims will forever be oppressed and dominated by the Europeans and the Jews. They will forever be poor, backward and weak. "

He is describing a common perception, which is not one which he shares -- he does not believe that Muslims will always be under the feet of Europeans, and later on he takes pains to point out that there are non-Muslims -- Europeans and Jews -- who are persons of good character who will support them if they act righteously. To wit:

"We also know that not all non-Muslims are against us. Some are well disposed towards us. Some even see our enemies as their enemies. Even among the Jews there are many who do not approve of what the Israelis are doing. We must not antagonise everyone. We must win their hearts and minds. We must win them to our side not by begging for help from them but by the honourable way that we struggle to help ourselves. We must not strengthen the enemy by pushing everyone into their camps through irresponsible and unIslamic acts."

His point was extremely simple: If Muslim nations act with unity and in a moral fashion, they will be able to do what, divided and immoral, they have not been able to do in 50 years -- end the oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli state by forcing the West to see Palestinians as good and decent people who are worthy of human rights.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 18, 2003 02:36 PM

This debate seems nice and high-falutin', but it is quite anti-Limbaughian in that it seems to sidestep that which is most important:

Was the Malayasian Prime Minister correct?

As it turns out, Rush was right about McNabb, but tha5t fact has taken a neat back seat to Limbaugh's lynching.

Pity.

Posted by: SlimyBill at October 18, 2003 04:18 PM

Well, we haven't yet reached consensus on what he is saying, so it's hard to determine the accuracy of his claims.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 18, 2003 05:13 PM

the more I feel like the real problem is with the idea of strong and technologically advanced Muslim nations.

I have never said or implied any such thing. Listen, Kimmit. The problem is with dictatorship, race-murder, and terrorism. That is all.

The same goes for Christians when they behave the same way, which is why I strongly supported the war against Serbia to save the Muslim population of Kosovo.

Religion and technological advancement has absolutely nothing to do with any of my opinions on this subject. Period.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 18, 2003 06:25 PM

It's not fair to deal solely with excerpts when trying to work things out; that goes both for Kimmitt and everyone else -- and the speech even in its entirety, taken alone, can be treated as an "excerpt" too, if you're trying to determine "how should we treat Malaysia?"

The rhetoric as given is pretty nasty stuff, but it is certainly in a different league than Osama et al boasting about how they're going to kill thousands of Americans. So it's quite reasonable to ask whether we should acknowledge this as a step in the right direction, or if it's still too mired in ethnic hatred and envy. (I use 'envy' guardedly; the sections Kimmitt points out indicate to me a hostile emulation, catching up with an enemy so that you can overtake and then overpower them.)

If you extract parts of it, you may get "fine, liberal words", but as Norman Geras recently pointed out, those "fine, liberal words" were not the ones that the others at the conference paid attention to.

Kimmitt: Yeah, there are problems with strong and technologically advanced ideologically driven nations, especially when the ideology appears to be hatred. Notice that the objections here don't object to Islam except to the extent that fundamentalist Islam is anti-semitic and anti-Western. Now, if you think that technological advancement alone will remove those traits, then by all means, there is little to complain about in Mahathir's speech. I don't buy that premise though. North Korea is capable of advanced technology and about as illiberal as it is possible to get.

Posted by: Michael Martin at October 18, 2003 06:26 PM

But, again, Mahathir is calling simultaneously for advancement and an abandonment of terrorist acts. This is not about trying to bring about North Korea. This is about trying to take Turkey and improve on it.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 18, 2003 07:40 PM

Kimmit - anyone who reads the newspaper can see that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is just one of many conflicts that involves extremist Muslims. There's the violence in the Sudan, in Nigeria, in Kashmir, in Afghanistan. When M. is talking about 1.3 billion Muslims being oppressed, he's not just complaining about Israelis. The Christian Sudanese resisted Muslim oppression and they were slaughtered. The Israelis are resisting it and they survive - because of their technology. Mahathir is intelligent enough to see that terrorism alone is not enough to win this particular war..

You are also aware that the Israeli/Palesitinan conflict is not the only one that M. is discussing. That's why it's very interesting that you say:

"later on he takes pains to point out that there are non-Muslims -- Europeans and Jews -- who are persons of good character who will support them if they act righteously. To wit:'

"We also know that not all non-Muslims are against us. Some are well disposed towards us. Some even see our enemies as their enemies."

So there are 'good' Europeans and Jews who support Mahathir's muslim supremacist agenda. Are his enemies your enemies too? Why? Is it because you believe that the Palestinians, who support suicide bombing and groups like Hamas, are essentially a good, benevolent and open hearted group of people who wish to live in democracy and freedom, side by side with their Jewish brothers?

Do you really believe these things, or are you just trying to be one of those 'good' Europeans, feeding this particular crocodile in the hope that it will eat you last?

Posted by: mary at October 18, 2003 07:52 PM

Is it because you believe that the Palestinians, who support suicide bombing and groups like Hamas, are essentially a good, benevolent and open hearted group of people who wish to live in democracy and freedom, side by side with their Jewish brothers?

Oh, good. It had been a full day since I started a disagreement with a Conservative, and I hadn't been accused of being on the side of the terrorists yet. My worldview was in the process of being challenged. Thank you for saving me the trouble.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 18, 2003 11:10 PM

Kimmitt,

In the exerpt quoted above you were not being accused of being on the same side as the terrorists. You were accused of being naive. You doth protest too much.

Oh, and by the way, Mary is not a conservative. You can learn something about her here.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 19, 2003 01:16 AM

Arlene writes: "Michael Turner--(and Kimmett)"

I hope that's not an attempt to equate my positions with his. In any case, to insinuate that I'm defending Mahathir against charges of anti-semitism (he's obviously anti-semitic), is to engage in the sorts of distortions that I decry in my post.

"This is by no means the first time Mahathir has passed out copies of "The International Jew" or Protocols. And yes, the former excerpts and builds upon the latter. Just google mahathir and protocols."

I didn't find any "other" instances, and I did look. And in fact, I didn't find any instance of Mahathir either personally handing out copies, or endorsing the distribution of them. Perhaps you can help me out? Citations, please? Your post is conspicuously devoid of them.

I suppose we should rely on the wealth of information found here, an obviously unbiased source, where it's claimed that "in 1983, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was printed in Malaysia", with no mention of a publisher or a translator, or for that matter of a news report, much less of Mahathir being behind the publication or distribution.

"Another favorite of his is to blame the Asian economic meltdown on the Jew George Soros."

If it were a "favorite" of his, he would have done it repeatedly. As far as I can tell, he did this once, hinting at a Jewish conspiracy, then backed away from the antisemitism of the comment. He did, of course, blame Soros; Soros was, however, only one of many engaged in speculative attacks on the ringgit, and if it hadn't been him, it would have been someone else (including, probably, some Malaysians.) Mahathir is an economic idiot as well as an antisemite; but how that justifies saying whatever you like about him is quite beyond me.

"Maybe you don't remember the response of the Egyptian government to criticism of its exciting TV series "Horsemen without a Horse" ..."

My recollection or the lack of it has nothing to do with the specifics of Mahathir's comments, or exactly how extreme his antisemitism is.

"See, that's the frightening part--the defenders of this ancient canard BELIEVE it!"

What frightens me is that you, Arlene, fall prey to the same sort of hysteria when it comes to Mahathir. Why is true-believerism wrong when he engages in it, but OK when you do it?

"Like the Iraqi arabic instructor (I think it was at UC Berkeley), who refused to take a position on whether the Protocols were "true", because that hasn't been determined, and most people believe in their essential truth where he comes from."

Not that it's relevant this discussion (which I thought was about whether, as Michael Totten puts it, Mahathir is a "genocide-monger" who personally distributes The Protocols) but Klein's accusation was that Mr. Kadhim actually asserted that the book was historical truth. This is disputed in a story in the campus newspaper. The accusation was made by a student who has been cited for assault by the campus police for her behavior at a pro-Palestine rally, and who has been the subject of complaints by her fellow students in the Arabic class, and has been described by one classmate as "extremely belligerent."

As for Mr. Khalid's refusal to voice an opinion at the time, perhaps my own experiences on the U.C. Berkeley campus around the time of the invasion of Lebanon might be enlightening: I saw a pro-Israeli student who had been arguing with an Arab student forcibly remove film from the camera of a bystander who had snapped pictures of the Arab. The Arab student had burst into tears, in anger, insisting that the photographer destroy the film. The Israel defender actually did expose the film, explaining, "this could get him killed in his own country." Mr. Kadhim's lack of interest in taking a position may simply be his lack of interest in getting into deep trouble back home.

"So Mahathir's forward-looking message is to get smart, and use 'their' own methods to ultimately defeat them, and all the governments they secretly control. Wow! Y'know what? I think that so long as this conspiracy theory underlies policy judgements in the third world, those judgements will not be fully rational."

I think as long as you believe that "third world foreign policy" is made by octogenarian eccentrics on their last legs, politically, you should be kept far away from circles in which responses are architected.

"I don't know [how]to fight it"

Gee, how about starting with fact-checking?

"...it's a self-sustaining paranoid loop."

I'll take your word for it, you're obviously more in that loop than I am.

"But we have to address it, and aggressively."

Yeah? So aggressively that campus cops have to intervene?

"Final question: for persons who accept the Protocols as reflecting a true Jewish conspiracy to rule the world, what would a balanced Israel/Palestine policy look like?"

No, wait a minute, I get the final question: for those of you who believe that the Moon is made of green cheese, what kind of space program do you think we should have?"

If you want to understand how Arab governments use antisemitism to maintain the status quo, there's a great place to start: Harkabi's Arab Strategies and Israel's Response. Not much has changed since Harkabi wrote in 1977. A reasonable conclusion from his thinking: It's hard to imagine a greater disaster for most despotic Arab governments than the actual defeat of Israel. Thus, Saudi princelets who take Master's degrees in the U.S., and get fighter pilot training and Swiss bank accounts will support whatever foreign policy will keep the conflict alive. They almost certainly know that The Protocols are crap. They tolerate the propagation of this crap not because they want to see the destruction of Israel, but because they need the myth of its eventual destruction kept alive, to keep the Arab Street from flying at their own throats.

Posted by: Michael Turner at October 19, 2003 03:45 AM

Michael Totten claims "Mahathir is now threatening Australia" on the strength of this alone:

"Dr Mahathir - already under fire for remarks this week in which he said that "Jews rule the world" - was responding to reported comments by US President George Bush saying Australia was America's "sheriff" in South-East Asia. "

[Mahathir]
"I can assure Australia that if it acts as a sheriff in this country it will be treated as a terrorist and dealt with as a terrorist," he said."

Did I miss something here? I read Mahathir's statement as a heated version of "Malaysia will attempt to defend its sovereignty and its citizens if Australia becomes America's police proxy and attempts to establish jurisdiction in Malaysia." And that's a "threat"? Against Australia, for arrogating to itself the right to be America's regional "sheriff"? And against an America that arrogates to itself a right to appoint Australia to that role?

How strange. I believe Michael Totten thought it "defamatory" not so long ago for anyone to suggest that the Bush administration had imperial ambitions, that it wanted to lord it over other countries.

That must be Old Totten -- this must be New Totten.

Michael Totten says Mahathir is "no friend of ours." Ergo, an enemy. Who was it who said "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler"?

Posted by: Michael Turner at October 19, 2003 04:06 AM

"Oh, good. It had been a full day since I started a disagreement with a Conservative, and I hadn't been accused of being on the side of the terrorists yet. My worldview was in the process of being challenged. Thank you for saving me the trouble."

I'm glad that your ideology's been reaffirmed. Now answer the question. If you can.

Posted by: Moe Lane at October 19, 2003 05:11 AM

Michael Turner, Kimmitt:

We have a saying where I come from:

If you put sugar on shit, you've still got shit.

I think the saying originated with Machiavelli.

You guys are trying to lay a thick pile of sugar on a stinking pile of shit. Give it up. You're embarassing yourselves and squandering what little credibility you may have in some eyes.

Posted by: HA at October 19, 2003 06:25 AM

Permit me to lay on a bit more of what HA, in his know-nothingism, calls a "thick pile of sugar." I would call it "real life being a wee bit more complicated than HA's knee-jerk reactions." Read on, then judge for yourself.

I think you can trace Mahathir's antisemitism to a combination of Japanese propaganda late in WW II and resurgent British imperialism afterward, during what what was called The Malayan Emergency.

The Japanese occupation forces in Malaya found that their Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere sales job wore thin pretty fast. So they resorted to veiled devil-you-know justifications for their own empire over those of the British, the Dutch and others. In particular, in the last two years of the war, they posited that both western capitalism and Russian communism were manifestations of the same international Jewish conspiracy. In SE Asia, they found native intellectuals who were willing to oblige in propagating this silly meme. One was the Indonesian nationalist (but Christian) G.S.S.J. Ratulangie, who was Swiss educated, and thus presumably aware of the uses of antisemitism in European politics. Despite his anti-semitic propanda collaborations with the Japanese, he was considered an important voice in post-war resistance to recolonization. Cultures that knew next to nothing of Judaism (except insofar as Islam is itself based on Old Testament teachings) were incited to hate and fear a people they'd had essentially no contact with. Mahathir, a Malay nationalist activist from at least 1946, must certainly have gotten an earful in his late teens.

The British reoccupation of Malaya after the war must have only confirmed what Malays thought the Japanese had been trying to tell them. Britain's Secretary of State for War, John ("Fascism Means War") Strachey strongly advised spending a great deal of money regaining a strategic hold on Malaya. The Treasury of Britain had been severely depleted by WW II, and dollar export earnings from Malayan tin and rubber were seen as justification in themselves. The Malay Emergency stretched out for years, and Mahathir was both a dissident and a medical student under British rule during those years. In this conflict, the British applied counterinsurgency techniques honed over centuries, and in fact found America's efforts in Vietnam, a little later, rather amateurish by comparison. Mahathir was only one of many who saw the return to British rule as a colossal humiliation, and it was during this time that his hatred for Europeans generally really festered. And what was the root of Europe but Christianity? And what was the root of Christianity but Judaism?

It's important to understand the East Asian perspective on victimization. For example, the Japanese don't call it World War II -- to them, it's the Pacific War. And prior to that war, the Japanese were able to make considerable headway, and enjoy a great deal of cooperation among the subjects of their empire, because they could always point to European domination as the alternative (which, after all, it was.) Even now, the main political split in Japanese politics on this issue is about whether Japan was a better Empire than the European ones it tried to supplant, or only approximately as bad. (Compared to a Britain that discovered it could grow its opium market and save on shipping costs by promoting the drug in China itself, you might say the Japanese had a point.)

For Asians, the touchstone of latterday evil and victimization is not The Holocaust. It's what has happened to them in this century at the hands of European colonial powers (much of which truly was very unjust), or at the hands of other Asian powers.

Add ignorance to this sense of victimization: most Asians simply don't understand what happened in Europe. In Japan, I know, they don't even teach their own WW II history very well. Some very mainstream publications, such as Focus and Marco Polo have published conspiracy theories and even holocaust denial. German-style Beer halls in Hokkaido have hung out swastika flags. Politicians have made odd comments to the effect that the Japanese are only the second most intelligent people in the world, the first being the Jews, who we Japanese have to watch out for. Things have improved since then -- in particular, holocaust awareness has grown by leaps and bounds since I first came to Japan to live -- but the uproar that such events caused in the West took many Japanese by surprise.

These are the sorts of things that would be taken with the utmost seriousness if they happened in, say, Austria, where people have absolutely no excuse. But the East Asian context is very different. Until recent years, there really hasn't been much emphasis on, or understanding of, what happened in Europe in WW II. A fairly accurate summary of the situation in Japan can be found in this interesting e-mail exchange with Akiyoshi Miyake.

Admittedly, in the case of Islamic East Asia, there is a more direct coupling to the Middle East antisemitism propaganda complex, of course (at least as of the 1970s), but there's still one big difference: in East Asia, nobody has been at war with Jews, or had Jews living in their midst in any significant numbers. The appeal of international Jewish conspiracies comes from perceiving the West as Christian and overbearingly colonial, and Judaism as the soil from which Christianity grew. That appeal weakens to the extent that Western powers are seen as benevolent or neutral.

HA might like to call what I'm saying "pouring sugar on shit," but the fact is, there's a lot less shit here to pour anything on. If anything, I'm trying to dig their shit out from under your shit, the better to reveal the real problem. There's a lot more hope of reversing people's attitudes in East Asia precisely because they are neither obsessive nor hardened, except at the fundamentalist or fascist margins. This is, I believe, something I don't think you can say about much of the Arab world. It's a distinction worth making. But it's a distinction that could be lost if there's a rush to judgment of the kind that comes so easily to Michael Totten (not to speak of HA.)

Posted by: Michael Turner at October 19, 2003 08:19 AM

Michael Turner,

HA, in his know-nothingism

I know an apologist and narcissist when I see one.

I think you can trace Mahathir's antisemitism to a combination of Japanese propaganda late in WW II and resurgent British imperialism afterward,

Its all whitey's fault. Couldn't have anything to do with Islamic fundamentalism which predates British imperialism by about a thousand years. No way. Couldn't happen. Here's some news for you: Edward Said is dead. Spare me your occidentalism.

Even now, the main political split in Japanese politics on this issue is about whether Japan was a better Empire than the European ones it tried to supplant, or only approximately as bad.

Here are some facts to help them make up their minds:

http://www.tribo.org/nanking/
http://www.webcom.com/hrin/parker/c95-11.html

I've seen you hold up the Ottomon Turks as a "just" empire that the US should emulate. I've seen you make excuses for Saddam kicking out UN inspectors. I've seen you make excuses for Mahathir's blatant anti-Semitism. I've seen you blame our attack on the Taliban as an excuse to build a still-non-existent pipeline. I've seen you say the attack on Saddam was done so Bush and his cronies could walk off with a trillion dollars worth of gross oil receipts. Now I've seen you make excuses for Japanese imperialism. All done at great length with extraordinarily narcissistic know-everythingism.

Posted by: HA at October 19, 2003 09:51 AM

Michael Turner,

When George Bush said Australia was our "sherrif" (probably a poor choice of words), he was obviously talking about anti-terrorism, not imperialism. A sherrif is not a conquistador.

(Go ahead. Try to equate anti-terrorism and democratic nation-building with the French annexation of Algeria or the Soviet conquest of Poland.)

Then Mahathir equated anti-terrorism with terrorism. And saying that Australia, for being anti-terrorist, should be treated as a terrorist state, well, that's a threat. How do we treat terrorist states? With regime-change.

I repeat. Mahathir is no friend of ours. Surely he agrees with me.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 19, 2003 10:18 AM

Then Mahathir equated anti-terrorism with terrorism.

Mahathir equated violation of Malaysian sovereignity with terrorism, which isn't semantically useful but does have the virtue of at least equating two bad things, from his perspective.

I'm glad that your ideology's been reaffirmed. Now answer the question. If you can.

...and here comes the pile-on. Seriously, are you folks so completely incapable of defending your positions rationally that you are forced to sputter "terrorist simp!" every time someone does not share your policy approach?

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 19, 2003 11:22 AM

No, I’m not a conservative – (Thanks, Michael, for pointing that out ) Not that there's anything wrong with conservatives..

For the past two years I haven’t been able to figure out why, when confronted with obvious examples of religious bigotry, hostile intent and anti-Semitism, some people choose to ignore them or downplay them. Common excuses for statements like Mahathir’s are usually some version of ‘they’re just misunderstood – colonialism, imperialism and bad American foreign policy are to blame. Nothing to see here. Move along.’

I don’t think any of these ‘imperialism is to blame’ types have the same goals of the terrorists. I don’t think there are many who share their Islamist-imperialist view of a new Caliphate, a world ruled by Sharia law, executions for apostasy and infidelity, etc.

I just can’t figure out why, instead of shouting ‘Fight bigotry and religious oppression.’ some people shout ‘Ignore it! Please!’ Do they believe that fighting, violence and war are the greater evil - worse than the oppression, genocide, terrorism and totalitarianism that Islamic fundamentalists are currently inflicting on people around the world? Do they hope that if we give the extremists what they want, try to somehow get on their good side, they’ll leave us alone?

These are only my theories, and as I said, I don’t really understand this point of view. It would be nice if someone could explain it.

Posted by: mary at October 19, 2003 11:33 AM

Mary comments: "I don’t think any of these ‘imperialism is to blame’ types have the same goals of the terrorists."

Actually, they have the same goal but employ different methods to achieve that goal. The destruction of the liberal democratic capitalist Western order. Both, for many reasons, have a deep seated hate of how the Western world is politically and economically structured. Some hate liberal democracy. Some hate free market capitalism. Others hate Judeo-Christian theology. Some hate them all.

An evil unofficial pact has been made by extremists of both the left and right in the West and Islamic jihadists. It is a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I don't believe the Western extremists want the Islamic jihadists to win. They want the jihadists to weaken the West so the extremists can exploit the weakness and take over. They realize that Hitler and Lenin or any other extremist could historically only take control when society is weak and demoralized.

Posted by: Reid at October 19, 2003 02:35 PM

Reid,

I think what you say is only true for the extremists. Some, I think, are just afraid to admit the existence of evil and full-bore totalitarianism. It is easier to think the fault lies on our side. Because if that is the case, the problem can be solved without violence. It is a comforting illusion.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 19, 2003 05:17 PM

Kimmitt - I've read through these posts and you have attacked and challenged the words of anybody who condemns Mahathir in here, yet you didn't spare a word to condemn Mahathir's speech and you went to great lengths to defend it, saying that perhaps Mahathir thought this, or thought that, or from his perspective you understand why he would say this, or that THIS is what he really meant etc etc.

You claimed that all Mahathir was saying is that Malaysia should advance technologically and abandon terrorism. I don't think that you can extract that from his speech at all, let alone assume that it was the basis of his speech.

Face facts - the speech was made at an Islamic summit. There were repeated references to Jews (as "the enemy" or "the oppressors") and Israel. Jews, and Israel, have no proximity to Malaysia itself.

It is therefore ludicrous to suggest that Mahathir focussed on promoting Malaysia's national interests - i.e technological advancement, economic growth and regional stability.

He was simply there to denounce Jews and identify them as an oppressive enemy.

It was a disgrace. I hope you'd agree with me.

Posted by: Jono at October 19, 2003 05:40 PM

Mahathir is an enemy; but possibly like Gorbachev was. He said the anti-Jewish stuff, and believes Jews and Europeans are the enemy. But other ideas include:

Europeans could do as they like – create the state of Israel to solve their Jewish problem; which divided Muslims could not stop.
Islam must modernize.
Muslims are treated with contempt and dishonor; Muslim countries are not truly independent.
Fighting over Palestine has been worse than nothing. We should have devised a plan that win us final victory. We must become strong.

I do think Kimmit, whom I usually disagree with, is more right on the most relevant points -- Mahathir is telling Islam to reform. To change. Yes, the purpose is to become strong, so it can win against the enemy, and cease being humiliated (it's important to recall that Truman's controversial support for the creation Israel feels like a humiliation).

If they reform their economies and military capabilities, w/o their social relations, they could, indeed, be very scary. But I suspect that in doing the Jew emulation of studying, in order to be smart/ thinking enough to kill the Jews, the Islamists who are successful will tend to have their hatreds reduced. Though this could well be wrong.

A lot of the time he strikes me more like a football coach, preping for the big game: if we want to kill 'em, we gotta work harder, practice smarter, execute better. Work work work; kill kill kill.

C'mon, we can reform Islam, but we gotta work smarter at it. Then we can succeed with the final solution, er, victory.

Perhaps Mahathir will say anything to get Islam to reform. Even: only if we reform can we kill the Jews.

While I sort of agree with Kimmit -- there's a huge death camp aroma here.

Posted by: Tom Grey at October 19, 2003 05:52 PM

Michael Turner-

A few links to follow up:
The first is a 1997 article/overview of Mahathir's anti-semitism, dating from the '60s. You will probably complain that it's inadequately sourced, but the references are specific enough if one wants to seek sources; no doubt the author would provide citations.

http://www.aijac.org.au/review/1997/2215/ed2215.html

This month is not the first time Mahathir's party is reported to have passed out copies of "The International Jew" at a major conference. If you think the party twice did this without direction, beyond mere assent, despite his attempt to differentiate his actions from his party's, I have a bridge to sell ;-)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030621/wl_nm/malaysia_politics_dc_2

I'm sorry I can't provide a source for the translated version that was probably distributed. Here are some English sources from Winds of Change, whose note reads:
" Online versions of Ford's book are quite common on neonazi and anti-Semitic websites, such as Radio Islam, Stormfront or, as here, JBBooksOnline - "A White Nationalist Literary Resource": "The International Jew - The World's Foremost Problem" (Henry Ford, JBBooksOnline, orig. 1920s). See also: "The International Jew - Anti-Semitism from the Roaring Twenties Revived on the Web" (ADL, July 1999) and "Henry Ford and the Jews" (Neil Baldwin Books, 2001"

This note has linktext, and can be found here

http://watch.windsofchange.net/03_0616_0622.htm

Also interesting:

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/malaise.htm

You seem to have missed my perhaps ill-expressed point. You agree that Mahathir is an anti-semite, but you see no relation between the applause his remarks received, the defense of those remarks as reflecting reality, and the two (among many) instances I cite to show how widely held this conspiratorial view is, and why that creates a problem. I agree that this sickness is less virulent in Asia than in Arabia. I further agree that Mahathir is not an "imminent threat"--he counsels patience, does he not? But there are those references to the Prophet's patience in his speech:

"We know he and his early followers were oppressed by the Qhuraish. Did he launch retaliatory strikes? No. He was prepared to make strategic retreats. He sent his early followers to a Christian country and he himself later migrated to Madinah. There he gathered followers, built up his defence capability and ensured the security of his people. At Hudaibiyah he was prepared to accept an unfair treaty, against the wishes of his companions and followers. During the peace that followed he consolidated his strength and eventually he was able to enter Mecca and claim it for Islam."

I am very uncomfortable with references to Hudaibiyah, though not, I think, hysterical. And I would hope you might enlighten me as to the nature of the "true-believerism" of which I stand accused.

As for Professor Khadim, I am not interested in, or concerned about, the he-said-she-said aspects. I am fascinated by his response to Eugene Volokh, which begins:
"As you know, this issue of authenticity and the identity of the author -- or authors -- of the Protocols has not been settled between the Middle Eastern disputants (that is to say, no one said to the other, "you are right.")

You suggest he waffled for fear of consequences at home were he to disavow "The Protocols". Interestingly, I thought he waffled so as not to upset his American hosts with the ugly truth that he did not. But either reading really makes my point about Arab/Moslem jew-hatred.

So no, I don't believe Mahathir makes third world foreign policy. I do believe that that speech, applauded and defended, is an expression of one of those 'root causes' that must be addressed, with both disapproval and explanation.

And there is no "r" in my name.

Posted by: Alene Berk at October 19, 2003 06:15 PM

Michael Turner-

A few links to follow up:
The first is a 1997 article/overview of Mahathir's anti-semitism, dating from the '60s. You will probably complain that it's inadequately sourced, but the references are specific enough if one wants to seek sources; no doubt the author would provide citations.

http://www.aijac.org.au/review/1997/2215/ed2215.html

This month is not the first time Mahathir's party is reported to have passed out copies of "The International Jew" at a major conference. If you think the party twice did this without direction, beyond mere assent, despite his attempt to differentiate his actions from his party's, I have a bridge to sell ;-)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030621/wl_nm/malaysia_politics_dc_2

I'm sorry I can't provide a source for the translated version that was probably distributed. Here are some English sources from Winds of Change, whose note reads:
" Online versions of Ford's book are quite common on neonazi and anti-Semitic websites, such as Radio Islam, Stormfront or, as here, JBBooksOnline - "A White Nationalist Literary Resource": "The International Jew - The World's Foremost Problem" (Henry Ford, JBBooksOnline, orig. 1920s). See also: "The International Jew - Anti-Semitism from the Roaring Twenties Revived on the Web" (ADL, July 1999) and "Henry Ford and the Jews" (Neil Baldwin Books, 2001"

This note has linktext, and can be found here

http://watch.windsofchange.net/03_0616_0622.htm

Also interesting:

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/malaise.htm

You seem to have missed my perhaps ill-expressed point. You agree that Mahathir is an anti-semite, but you see no relation between the applause his remarks received, the defense of those remarks as reflecting reality, and the two (among many) instances I cite to show how widely held this conspiratorial view is, and why that creates a problem. I agree that this sickness is less virulent in Asia than in Arabia. I further agree that Mahathir is not an "imminent threat"--he counsels patience, does he not? But there are those references to the Prophet's patience in his speech:

"We know he and his early followers were oppressed by the Qhuraish. Did he launch retaliatory strikes? No. He was prepared to make strategic retreats. He sent his early followers to a Christian country and he himself later migrated to Madinah. There he gathered followers, built up his defence capability and ensured the security of his people. At Hudaibiyah he was prepared to accept an unfair treaty, against the wishes of his companions and followers. During the peace that followed he consolidated his strength and eventually he was able to enter Mecca and claim it for Islam."

I am very uncomfortable with references to Hudaibiyah, though not, I think, hysterical. And I would hope you might enlighten me as to the nature of the "true-believerism" of which I stand accused.

As for Professor Khadim, I am not interested in, or concerned about, the he-said-she-said aspects. I am fascinated by his response to Eugene Volokh, which begins:
"As you know, this issue of authenticity and the identity of the author -- or authors -- of the Protocols has not been settled between the Middle Eastern disputants (that is to say, no one said to the other, "you are right.")

You suggest he waffled for fear of consequences at home were he to disavow "The Protocols". Interestingly, I thought he waffled so as not to upset his American hosts with the ugly truth that he did not. But either reading really makes my point about Arab/Moslem jew-hatred.

So no, I don't believe Mahathir makes third world foreign policy. I do believe that that speech, applauded and defended, is an expression of one of those 'root causes' that must be addressed, with both disapproval and explanation.

And there is no "r" in my name.

Posted by: Alene Berk at October 19, 2003 06:15 PM

Sorry about that!

Posted by: Alene Berk at October 19, 2003 06:21 PM

"I'm glad that your ideology's been reaffirmed. Now answer the question. If you can."

"...and here comes the pile-on."

Still not answering the question, I see.

Posted by: Moe Lane at October 19, 2003 09:19 PM

Alene writes: "A few links to follow up:
The first is a 1997 article/overview of Mahathir's anti-semitism, dating from the '60s. You will probably complain that it's inadequately sourced."

Actually, I ran across this article several times in my searches, and if I have a complaint in this context, it's not about the article, it's that your mentioning it amounts to continued insinuation that I deny Mahathir's antisemitism (when in fact, in this forum, I've provided what I think is a plausible analysis of that antisemitism's likely roots.) Notably, there's nothing in the article you cite that speaks of even a single instance of Mahathir partisans handing out copies of Ford's The International Jew, much less multiple instances.

This month [note: the supposedly-repeated incident in question was in June 2003] is not the first time Mahathir's party is reported to have passed out copies of "The International Jew" at a major conference. If you think the party twice did this without direction, beyond mere assent, despite his attempt to differentiate his actions from his party's, I have a bridge to sell ;-)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030621/wl_nm/malaysia_politics_dc_2

I tried this link (broken) then tried several Yahoo news searches on the June 2003, Mahathir, and gave up after about 10 minutes. I didn't find anything to suggest repeated distributions of The International Jew by UMNO partisans.

By the way, one finds references, in the same breath as the June 2003 UMNO conference, of the availability of The Protocols at a U.N Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa. In accounts that bother to draw a distinction, we find that the supposed chants of "Kill the Jews" and sales of The Protocols actually occurred at a partly-concurrent NGO conference nearby, not at the U.N. conference. In no case so far, however, have I been able to determine if the availability of The Protocols or of The International Jew was tied to Mahathir, or Malaysia; in fact, I haven't even been able to tell if the availability of this book was even antisemitic in intent at the NGO Forum -- it may well have been on display to illustrate how antisemitism is still dangerously alive, for all I know. Certainly, if The International Jew or The Protocols had been available at the actual UN conference, it would have been mentioned in from The American Jewish Committee.

Alene: " sorry I can't provide a source for the translated version that was probably distributed."

some English sources from Winds of Change ....
This note has linktext, and can be found here

http://watch.windsofchange.net/03_0616_0622.htm

This is yet another report of the same, single incident in June 2003. You're not adding to existing information, here. Remember your words: "This isn't the first time" that Mahathir's UMNO partisans were reported to have handed out some such book.

Alene: "Also interesting:

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/malaise.htm"

Only if you've been living under a rock. I guess we just get better Asia coverage here in Japan than wherever you are.

Alene: "You seem to have missed my perhaps ill-expressed point. You agree that Mahathir is an anti-semite, but you see no relation between the applause his remarks received, the defense of those remarks as reflecting reality, and the two (among many) instances I cite to show how widely held this conspiratorial view is, and why that creates a problem."

Well, actually what I see is that Malaysian foreign service people are apologizing for their senile crackpot leader, even as Mahathir himself seems unapologetic. At the same time, if you read other comments I've made on this thread and elsewhere, you'd know I was well acquainted with the phenomenon you're describing.

I agree that this sickness is less virulent in Asia than in Arabia. I further agree that Mahathir is not an "imminent threat"--he counsels patience, does he not? But there are those references to the Prophet's patience in his speech:

[Koran parable, snipped to save space.]

The meaning of that parable in context depends on how Mahathir defines ultimate victory. As I mentioned earlier, he seems (ambiguously) to be pushing the U.S.-sponsored Middle East Roadmap in this swan-song speech. If the goal is a Palestinian state, he's not that far from Ariel Sharon's position these days. Is he a maximalist? Has he ever advocated the destruction of Israel? I can't tell from this speech.

Alene: "....enlighten me as to the nature of the "true-believerism" of which I stand accused."

I'm sorry, you do sound more rational here, but when people start flinging around unsupported assertions riddled with errors of fact, I have to assume that it's in defense of some strongly held belief that they don't want to examine very closely.

As for Professor Khadim, I am not interested in, or concerned about, the he-said-she-said aspects.

You are apparently not even interested in verifiable facts, much less hearsay: Khadim is not a "professor", he was a graduate student instructor in an Arabic language course. Here's the best update I've been able to find. I'm sure you can see what their obvious source of bias would be, but they don't seem to have a big problem with Kadhim.

You suggest he waffled for fear of consequences at home were he to disavow "The Protocols".

Yes, and note that Kadhim is reported to have fought against Saddam in Shi'ite uprisings, unless you believe certain wonderfully balanced sources reporting the opposite, and supporting Klein's now-dismissed claims. (By the way, I found the above link about Kadhim's reported Saddam-resistance activities in a curiously objective and disturbing blog entry that many people here would do well to read.)

"Interestingly, I thought he waffled so as not to upset his American hosts with the ugly truth that he did not. But either reading really makes my point about Arab/Moslem jew-hatred.

Which I don't deny. All I do is point out (as you seem to concede) that there are worthwhile distinctions to be made between, say, Saddam's Iraq and Mahathir's Malaysia. If we don't start differentiating our thoughts, words and actions on the basis of such distinctions, the trend against the U.S. will only worsen. You can fight fire with fire, but you can't fight fire by pouring gasoline on it. And when Totten says Mahathir is a "genocide-monger," that's gasoline. When he says that Mahathir personally handed out these books, when it's only some UMNO party officials reportedly doing that, that's also some pretty hi-octane stuff Totten's pouring. Here in Japan, "officials" of the dominant party are often much farther apart ideologically than, say, any two GOP loyalists; I don't know what the spectrum is in the UMNO, so I don't know what it means when "officials" of Mahathir's party are seen handing out books like these.

"So no, I don't believe Mahathir makes third world foreign policy."

It appears that he doesn't even make Malaysian foreign policy at this point.

"I do believe that that speech, applauded and defended, is an expression of one of those 'root causes' that must be addressed, with both disapproval and explanation."

Most predominantly-muslim countries are dictatorships, or are still fitfully shedding the trappings of dictatorship (in the case of Indonesia and perhaps Malaysia.) Most of them are former colonies of European powers. Most were ill-treated as colonies, usually with a very racist ideological justification for what amounted to a resource-extraction business case. Most have, since "liberation," been dominated by strong leaders with cults of personality and a wide streak of anti-colonial anti-European rhetoric running through their state ideologies. And many of the richer ones have gotten rich by continuing to sell natural resources to the West. I think if you look for "roots", you'll find that they branch widely. But there wouldn't be roots without soil. Can hundreds of years of exploitation be remedied overnight? Not while we're dependent on their oil, and their natural gas, and other resources, because the money will continue to go to the wrong people. What's the one Gulf State democracy? Bahrain? And only after they ran out of oil?

And there is no "r" in my name.

That, at least, appears to be a fact. Apologies.

And correction: above, I might have said the Susanna Klein was cited for assault on pro-Palestinian demonstrators, but the above-linked Jewish Bulletin article says this: "Klein was cited for suspicion of battery after spitting on a pro-Palestinian demonstrator at a rally in April. The charges were quickly dropped, and Klein said she had been physically menaced by pro-Palestinians prior to the incident." The only part where the credibility obviously drops here is obvious: it starts with "...and Klein said...."

Posted by: Michael Turner at October 20, 2003 02:48 AM

I write: "HA, in his know-nothingism..."

HA: "I know an apologist and narcissist when I see one."

Well, HA, keep piling on the ad hominems, maybe eventually one of them will stick.

Me: "I think you can trace Mahathir's antisemitism to a combination of Japanese propaganda late in WW II and resurgent British imperialism afterward,"

HA: "Its all whitey's fault."

Isn't this fun? I very explicitly lay a great deal of blame with Japanese imperialists, and all HA can hear is PC-talk about how white people are the only evil people in the world.

"Couldn't have anything to do with Islamic fundamentalism which predates British imperialism by about a thousand years. No way."

Since there is so little in the Koran that can be called antisemitic (and since what there is has been repudiated by moderate Muslims who point out that the Old Testament is similarly 'antisemitic'), I guess I'd have to say, No, it doesn't have much to do with Islam per se, however much it may have to do with latterday fundamentalism. Mahathir is not a fundamentalist (clues: he shaves, he wears a tie) so once again, HA, you're off the point. (How far? Next galaxy, I think.)

"Couldn't happen. Here's some news for you: Edward Said is dead. Spare me your occidentalism."

Here's some news for you, HA: everybody dies, and the real questions outlive us all.

Me: "Even now, the main political split in Japanese politics on this issue is about whether Japan was a better Empire than the European ones it tried to supplant, or only approximately as bad."

HA: "Here are some facts to help them make up their minds:

http://www.tribo.org/nanking/
http://www.webcom.com/hrin/parker/c95-11.html"

You can accept the maximum figures for the Nan King Massacre (and all atrocities committed by the Japanese Empire) and still come up far short of the number dead over the centuries from the depredations of colonial powers. The repeated famines in Indonesia under the Dutch as they expropriated farmland for export cash crops are probably around 20 times the upper Nan King figure.

"I've seen you hold up the Ottomon Turks as a "just" empire that the US should emulate."

Please point out where I said that the U.S. should emulate the Ottoman Empire. As for the Ottoman Turks being "just", they did, in fact, appreciate the value of the rule of law (as long as it was their law). They meted out justice with great cruelty at times, but not randomly. You were right, of course, to bring up the Armenian genocide, but if so, I'm right to bring up the millions killed in Asia by the United States since the mid-1940s. The exceptions don't always prove much about the system.

HA: "I've seen you make excuses for Saddam kicking out UN inspectors."

There's no way you could have seen me do that because what I was really pointing out was that the inspectors left when Clinton was about to bomb Baghdad. Obviously, you weren't paying attention; too busy flinging around wild accusations, I guess.

HA: "I've seen you make excuses for Mahathir's blatant anti-Semitism."

Theories and explanations are not excuses.

HA: "I've seen you blame our attack on the Taliban as an excuse to build a still-non-existent pipeline."

I never said that was anything but a contributing factor to how we pursued that war (which was clearly very much about uprooting Al Qaeda, as I pointed out), and I debunked the notion (advanced at the time by a Unocal executive) that Afghanistan was prohibitively rugged terrain. If that pipeline doesn't exist yet, it may well be only because the real precondition Unocal has always wanted -- political stability -- still hasn't been achieved yet, despite a widespread impression among Americans (fostered by the Bush administration) that the U.S. takeover has delivered peace and democracy.

HA: "I've seen you say the attack on Saddam was done so Bush and his cronies could walk off with a trillion dollars worth of gross oil receipts."

"Gross oil receipts"? "Walk off with"?? Words in my mouth again. I've said that the oil is a huge incentive, especially when you consider that Al Qaeda sympathizers might be in power in Saudi Arabia sometime soon no matter what the U.S. does, meaning that an alternative supply (like Iraq's $1 trillion worth, an amount you thought laughable because of your apparent inability to look up numbers and do arithmetic) will become very important. Bush & Co. do not have to walk off with anything near the entire amount -- the political capital from simply having benefitted GOP donors like Halliburton, Bechtel and others, while keeping oil prices under more control over the next decade, is quite sufficient, I would think. I'm sure. however, that they'll try to go for a little more than that, given the opportunities. The noncompetitive allocation of contracts early on, to Bush administration cronies, should be indicative enough of how oil industry greed plays into all this.

HA: "Now I've seen you make excuses for Japanese imperialism. All done at great length with extraordinarily narcissistic know-everythingism."

Gosh, I'm real sorry, HA, but complex stuff like what you find in real life sometimes means long complicated explanations (which are not necessarily excuses). Sometimes it even means looking up numbers and doing arithmetic. But history is not a bedtime story.

Posted by: Michael Turner at October 20, 2003 03:38 AM

Still not answering the question, I see.

Still not abandoning the intellectually bankrupt knee-jerk reaction, I see.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 20, 2003 01:28 PM

Michael Turner,

Well, HA, keep piling on the ad hominems, maybe eventually one of them will stick.

Keep piling on the non-sequiturs and maybe one of them will stick. I don’t see many folks here succumbing to your arguments outside of the Kimmitt and Smokey amen chorus.

Since there is so little in the Koran that can be called antisemitic (and since what there is has been repudiated by moderate Muslims who point out that the Old Testament is similarly 'antisemitic'), I guess I'd have to say, No, it doesn't have much to do with Islam per se, however much it may have to do with latterday fundamentalism.

I suppose it is unfair to single out Islam for its anti-Semitism when it demands hatred of all infidels. I’ll leave it to the readers to peruse these links and decide for themselves whether Islamic anti-Semitism is a latterday phenomenon.

http://www.answering-islam.org/
http://www.secularislam.org/
http://www.faithfreedom.org/

Mahathir is not a fundamentalist

Maybe not in the context of Islam, but Mahathir makes Pat Robertson sound like a moderate. Would you also defend Robertson?

Here's some news for you, HA: everybody dies, and the real questions outlive us all.

And Saidism is dying with its creator. He had the wrong questions and the wrong answers.

The repeated famines in Indonesia under the Dutch as they expropriated farmland for export cash crops are probably around 20 times the upper Nan King figure.

So what you want us to believe is that Mahathir is too stupid to understand the difference between Judaism and Dutch colonialism? That he sees some kind of linear progression form Judaism to European colonialism and it is therefore understandable that he would think the Jews must pay for that? That’s really what your argument boils down to after carving away all the non-sequiturs. And it sounds even more idiotic the way you put it.

I'm right to bring up the millions killed in Asia by the United States since the mid-1940s. The exceptions don't always prove much about the system.

You could, but if you’re trying to imply that America is somehow immoral or criminal in waging those wars, you’d have explain how we were wrong to fight global wars against fascism and communism. I’ll remind you that the followers of these ideaologies are responsible for the deaths of more than 100 million and the enslavement of billions. Given your unblemished track record of defending evil, I wouldn’t put it past you.

Theories and explanations are not excuses.

True. But you’re not offering theories and explanations. You’re offering excuses.

Bush & Co. do not have to walk off with anything near the entire amount -- the political capital from simply having benefitted GOP donors like Halliburton, Bechtel and others, while keeping oil prices under more control over the next decade, is quite sufficient, I would think

This is so obviously bogus you should be embarassed to suggest it. They could have achieved the same or better results by going to Baghdad in ’91. They didn’t. They could have achieved the same or better results by extorting Saddam. They didn’t. They could have achieved the same or better results by overthrowing the Saudis. They didn’t even though they would have been justified to do so after 9/11. And all these things could have been done without the political risk of attacking Saddam. So what you are arguing is that Bush & Co chose the course of action with the least payoff and the highest risk. That’s bullshit and you know it. It may convince the ANSWER cabal, but not rational people. Your weak and losing arguments are a good sign of your desperation. Maybe you should plead with MJT to have me banned again so you won't be pointed out for the fraud you are.

Posted by: HA at October 21, 2003 04:21 AM

"Still not answering the question, I see."

"Still not abandoning the intellectually bankrupt knee-jerk reaction, I see."

You first, Kimmitt.

Moe

PS And you're still not answering the question.

Posted by: Moe Lane at October 21, 2003 08:28 AM

HA reads me so wrong it's not even worth the effort to respond point by point. (As if I'm defending Mahathir's gross antisemitism? Instead of explaining why East Asian jewish conspiracy theorizing is a different, and potentially far more tractable, situation than it is in the Middle East, and with different roots? How does he jump to these conclusions? This is bizarre.)

I'll just take if from the bottom, and leave it there:

HA wrote: "Maybe you should plead with MJT to have me banned again so you won't be pointed out for the fraud you are."

A clarification for other readers:

I didn't "plead" with Totten to have HA banned, I challenged Totten to live up to his own supposed standards of civility (which of course he himself violates all the time.) Totten said he'd "kick my ass" off his forum if I couldn't be civil. I wrote back saying I would continue posting as "Treasonous Fucking Bastard" (what HA called me) until HA got kicked off as confirmation of Totten's supposed standards of civility -- which would have been quite justified since HA owned up explicitly, in the same thread, to being out to offend, not inform. Totten, if he felt, could also have kicked me off at the same time. That would have been his right, obviously. Instead, here we are, both me and HA. And to this day, Totten has only quibbled about HA's "treasonous," taking no obvious exception to the "fucking bastard" part. Despite his high standards of "civility."

Oh, and HA's response to this challenge of mine was to accuse me of advocating "censorship." When I made the reasonable point that it's Totten's blog and he's not the government and he can do what he wants with it, including kick me off any time, HA backed down. I guess HA's going from the overheated rhetoric C-word to "banning" out of some dim recollection of that climbdown from his hysterical and irrational denunciation. Gosh, maybe sometimes HA does think for two seconds about what he writes? Stranger things have happened.

Posted by: Michael Turner at October 22, 2003 08:40 AM

I don't want to kick anyone out of the comments. But I would appreciate it if those few who have a difficult time arguing in good faith could at least try once in a while.

I haven't banned anyone yet, but if I get sufficiently annoyed, if someone repeatedly drags down the level of discourse for entire threads, I will.

Here's what that means. Be nice to me. This is my house. And be nice to my other guests, too. If you wouldn't walk into my backyard at a party and insult me and my friends, then don't do it on my blog either.

I appreciate the comments section, and if it gets taken over by jerks and the reasonable people leave, then I won't like my comments section any more. And that's not going to happen.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 22, 2003 10:51 AM

PS And you're still not answering the question.

The question is so grossly offensive that the act of either asking it in the first place or supporting its discussion is depraved.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 23, 2003 05:47 PM

"The question is so grossly offensive that the act of either asking it in the first place or supporting its discussion is depraved."

I do love these little snapshots of your world that you give unto us, Kimmitt: I really do. You attempt to, umm, provide a nuanced look of the pronouncements of an anti-Semite, some very ticked-off people ask you if you're providing this nuance for the same reasons that you also defend the Palestinians, umm, vehemently... and that's somehow depravity.

That's a, umm, fascinating position to take.

Moe

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