Jewish group protests Dr M's talk in New York campus
Published:  Sep 24, 2019 6:40 AM
Updated: 7:35 AM

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's appearance at New York's Columbia University slated for tomorrow has been met with resistance from a Jewish lobby group protesting his "anti-Semitic" views, according to the New York Post.

The World Jewish Congress on Twitter highlighted its president Ronald Lauder's reported remarks against Mahathir and the university's move to allow the premier to speak on campus.

Lauder labelled Mahathir as an "anti-Semitic world leader" and said the university should not be giving space to a person with such views.

"It is nothing short of astounding that a university that prides itself on being a place of tolerance and inclusion will be handing the microphone over to a leader who has described Jews as 'hook-nosed'," Lauder said, referring to Mahathir's speech at the 73rd UN General Assembly in 2018.

"Mahathir has also been quoted saying that the 'Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them'," he added.

'Columbia University should be ashamed'

Lauder said Columbia University should be "ashamed" of its decision to welcome Mahathir.

"It is no surprise that incidents of anti-Semitism are on the rise in New York City when it is being preached from the stages of one of its premier universities," he added.

According to the New York Post, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger had defended Mahathir's scheduled appearance as part of their World Leaders Forum to speak on the rule of law and multilateralism.

Mahathir is also expected to accept questions from the audience and Bollinger reportedly said academic institutions should be prepared to confront controversial issues.

He added that the university’s invitation to Mahathir was "neither a validation or endorsement" of his views.

"I find the anti-Semitic statements of Mahathir to be abhorrently contrary to what we stand for, and deserving condemnation.

"Nevertheless, it is in these times that we are most strongly resolved to insist that our campus remains an open forum and to protect the freedoms essential to our university community," Bollinger was quoted as saying.

Mahathir's latest visit to New York City is in conjunction with his address to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly this Friday.

Earlier this year, he had defended his remarks about the Jews after critics, including Turkish author and journalist Mustafa Akyol, said he was being disrespectful.

Mahathir received flak from numerous quarters after telling the Cambridge Union that the Jews he knows are only his friends because they are unlike others from the community.

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