TIME magazine’s 2019 list of the world’s 100 Most Influential People, published on Wednesday, includes the self-professed “proud” anti-semitic prime minister of Malaysia, who has publicly disparaged Jews as “hook-nosed.”
The magazine praised PM Mahathir Mohamad, who took office on May 2018, for coming out of retirement after ruling Malaysia for 22 years, adding:
The formidable old warhorse dazzled during a grueling campaign, gathering vast crowds; his reliance on core values united electoral groups, and his age inspired trust in a grand man of politics.
Citing the PM’s decision to liberate the 71-year-old former leader of the opposition Anwar Ibrahim, who is expected to replace Mohamad, TIME credits him with re-establishing democracy “in a country that almost teetered into totalitarianism.”
In an October 2018 interview with BBC, Mohamad described Jews as “hook-nosed” and denied the Holocaust that killed millions of them.
“There are many races in this world, I have said nasty things about them but they never accused me of being anti-this or anti-that,” he declared in response to criticism about his anti-semitic tendencies.
Asked about his derogatory comments, he doubled down, saying, “They are hook-nosed.”
“If you are going to be truthful, the problem in the Middle East began with the creation of the State of Israel, that is the whole truth,” the Malaysian prime minister also said. He again went on to cast doubt to the Holocaust.
The Malaysian PM has on multiple occasions welcomed the anti-semite moniker, saying he is glad to be one.
In Kuala Lumpur in 2003, the PM reportedly proclaimed, “I am glad to be labeled anti-Semitic.”
“How can I be otherwise, when the Jews who so often talk of the horrors they suffered during the Holocaust show the same Nazi cruelty and hard-heartedness towards not just their enemies but even towards their allies should any try to stop the senseless killing of their Palestinian enemies?” he asked at the time.
As Prime Minister, he banned Israel from participating in a Paralympic swimming qualifier taking place in his country for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics before his government announced that Malaysia would no longer host any event that invites the state of Israel to participate at all.
In September 2018, some at the United Nations applauded the PM after his tirade against Israel during the General Assembly, the world’s biggest stage for peace and diplomacy.
Muhamad told the U.N.:
The world does not care even when Israel breaks international laws, seizing ships carrying medicine, food, and building materials in international waters. The Palestinians fired ineffective rockets which hurt no one. Massive retaliations were mounted by Israel, rocketing and bombing hospitals, schools and other buildings, killing innocent civilians including school children and hospital patients.
The world rewards Israel by deliberately provoking Palestine by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It is the anger and frustration of the Palestinians and their sympathizers that cause them to resort to what we call terrorism.
Attempting to arouse more friction between Palestinians and Jews, he argued that the creation of the Israeli state is the “root cause” of Islamic terrorism.
The majority of countries at the U.N. are pro-Palestine.