In a recent interview to Malaysia’s New Straits Times newspaper, British anti-Occupation/BDS/Palestine activist Lauren Booth exemplified the manner in which the anti-Israel movement has increasingly come to accept virulent anti-Semitism as part of its attack on the Jewish state. She also gave Malaysians a simple message: say what you want, and if anyone accuses you of Anti-Semitism, just deny it.
After praising Malaysian ex-leader Mahathir Mohamad as a non-corrupt idealist, Ms. Booth was asked directly by the interviewer: “He’s been labeled an anti-Semitic in the Western press due to his views on Israel. Do you agree?”
Mahathir Mohamad, it will be recalled, has had a long history of making very public pronouncements of virulent anti-Semitic gospel, and was noted for having copies of “The International Jew" distributed to his party leadership. In 2003, he was internationally condemned after opening the meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), representing a billion Muslims worldwide, with a call to defeat the Jews, in which he said that Jews rule the world by proxy, and that they had invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy as ploys by which to control the world. At the time, Mahathir claimed that the criticism his comments provoked proved his point, as only Jewish-controlled newspapers would find his anti-Semitism offensive.
Lauren Booth’s response to the interviewer was a masterpiece of double-talk that Sir Humphrey would have been proud of:
A: If you speak to Dr. Mahathir, it is clear he has neither the personality nor the inclination to be an anti-Semite. He is a thoughtful, pious and philosophical man.
I want to tell the people of Malaysia not to be scared of being labeled anti-Semitic when criticising the unjust, disgraceful behaviour of the Israel regime.
The label ‘anti-Semite’ is applied deliberately to quash debate on the Israeli government and its army and we must not be afraid to speak out (on it).
The message is simple: anti-Semitism is acceptable to the anti-Israel movement, provided it is in an anti-Israel context and accompanied by some form of lame refutation. Booth quickly gave another example:
“Malaysia’s absolutely pivotal in leading the way in the international arena towards the non-acceptance of the state of Israel... And to add a proviso, that is not the same as saying every Jew should be pushed into the sea.”