John Kerry lauds Malaysia as modern, innovative and multi-faith model
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry lauded Malaysia Friday as a modern, innovative and multi-faith model for the world, heaping praise on a country the United States regards as a valuable Muslim ally.
On the final day of a curtailed Asian tour in which he has filled in for U.S. President Barack Obama, Kerry said Malaysia’s young people were an inspiration for the Arab Spring.
“Here in Malaysia, people of different heritages have been in conversation for a long time,” Kerry said in a speech to mainly young entrepreneurs in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
He cited the symbolism of Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers – the world’s tallest twin skyscrapers – having blended modern engineering, traditional Muslim design, Malaysian vision, a U.S. architect and Asian builders.
“Together, they… are a soaring reminder that Malaysia is much more than a marketplace. It is a human and economic mosaic – and it is a model for the world,” Kerry said.
The National Post, last year:
In Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, politicians and civil servants devote a surprising amount of time to thinking about Israel, 7,612 km away. Sometimes they appear to be obsessed by it. Malaysia has never had a dispute with Israel, but the government encourages the citizens to hate Israel and also to hate Jews whether they are Israelis or not.
Few Malaysians have laid eyes on a Jew; the tiny Jewish community emigrated decades ago. Nevertheless, Malaysia has become an example of a phenomenon called “Anti-Semitism without Jews.” Last March, for instance, the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department sent out an official sermon to be read in all mosques, stating that “Muslims must understand Jews are the main enemy to Muslims as proven by their egotistical behaviour and murders performed by them.” About 60% of Malaysians are Muslim.
In Kuala Lumpur, it’s routine to blame the Jews for everything from economic failures to the bad press Malaysia gets in foreign (“Jewish-owned”) newspapers.
The leaders of the country assume that Jews and Israelis deserve to be humiliated as often as possible. In 1984, the New York Philharmonic cancelled a visit because the Malaysian information minister demanded that a composition by Ernest Bloch, an American Jewish composer who died in 1959, be eliminated from their program. In 1992, an Israeli football player with the Liverpool team was refused permission to play in Malaysia; the team cancelled the visit. The government banned Schindler’s List, calling it anti-German and pro-Jewish propaganda. The same government later decided it could be shown if seven scenes were cut. Steven Spielberg refused, so the government removed all his films from Malaysia’s screens.
In 2003, the prime minister’s political party gave delegates to the United Malays National Organization copies of Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic book from the 1920s, The International Jew, a favourite of Hitler, translated into Bahasa Malay.
I’m not bringing this up to make Kerry look stupid. I’m mentioning it because, as we’ve seen by the refusal so far of HRW and Amnesty to condemn the “Khaybar” TV series, the people in the West who should be in the forefront of condemning Muslim and Arab antisemitism have abdicated that responsibility.
Muslim antisemitism is a given, or it is justified as a natural response to Israel’s policies (or existence,) or whatever.
The problem is that by not expecting Muslims to live up to the same standards that are expected of everyone else, the West is enabling this attitude.
Arab and Muslim antisemitism is not anomalous – it is mainstream. And part of the reason is because Westerners tend to look the other way.
Muslims and Arabs aren’t children. They aren’t brain damaged. Like everyone else, they will act the way they are expected to act. And the only way to make them change their attitudes is by shaming them, by forcing them to face consequences for their actions. Nothing will ever change by us dismissing the uglier aspects of Muslim and Arab culture as just “one of those things.”