Malaysia Leader Denies Bush Rebuked Him
Sat Oct 25
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has
repeated his claim that Jews rule the world by proxy, and accused U.S.
President George W. Bush of lying if he said he rebuked Mahathir for the
Mahathir and Bush met briefly last week on the sidelines of a Pacific
Rim leaders' summit, a few days after the Malaysian leader caused a
furor by saying in a speech that "Jews rule the world by proxy. They
others to fight and die for them."
Speaking to reporters later, Bush said he told Mahathir the remarks were
"divisive and unnecessary" and made clear that he found them
Mahathir denies Bush reprimanded him.
"I'm now told that Bush said he rebuked me," Mahathir was quoted
saying in the New Sunday Times newspaper. "That is the biggest lie of
Mahathir, who has been a feisty critic of Bush and the U.S.-led fight on
terrorism, said Bush merely explained why his administration had used
strong language to condemn his remarks about Jews.
"If he had rebuked me, I'm quite sure I'd have reacted in my normal
I would have rebuked him also," he said.
Mahathir said he was unperturbed by Bush's version of events but took a
swipe at the president's credibility, using the U.S.-led invasion of
Iraq as an example.
"If you can tell a lie about the existence of weapons of mass
destruction and go to war because of it I'm not surprised if he is
prepared to lie about what he said to me," Mahathir was quoted as
Mahathir, 77, is retiring at the end of the month. During more than 22
years in power, Mahathir has become known for outspoken, provocative
comments, especially about what he sees as Western domination of
developing countries and U.S. policy in the Middle East.
His comments about Jews brought strong condemnation from the United
States, the European Union, other countries and Jewish groups. The Simon
Wiesenthal Center urged foreign companies to boycott investment in
Malaysia because of what it called Mahathir's "serial
Responding to the criticism after returning from a four-nation overseas
trip, Mahathir called the threat economic "blackmail" and said he
prepared to weather some economic damage for making the comments.
"I don't think we should allow ourselves to be blackmailed by
was quoted as saying.
Mahathir repeated his assertion that his remarks were reported out of
"The press belongs to the Jews and their power is so great that people
are afraid to criticize them," he was quoted as saying. "On the
hand, you can accuse Muslims of being terrorists ... and Europe does not
"But because I said what is true _ that the Jews control the world
through proxy _ I don't see why people should get annoyed with this. It
is absolutely true."