CONDEMNATION OF ANTI-SEMITIC STATEMENTS BY MAHATHIR MOHAMAD
(Senate - October 17, 2003)
Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I rise this evening to call the Senate's attention to a despicable expression of hatred that occurred in Malaysia yesterday. In his address to the opening of the 57-nation summit of Islamic nations, Malaysia's Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, urged Muslims around the world to unite against the Jews who he says rule the world by proxy.
Dr. Mahathir is a man known for his incendiary public condemnations of the United States, Israel, and the western world. Yesterday, his rhetoric escalated, or should I say degenerated, to a new level of hate. Using the foul canards Hitler and other anti-Semites have repeated throughout history, he accused the Jewish people of gaining control of the most powerful countries.
He said ``they, this tiny community, have become a world power,'' and he urged the 1.3 billion Muslims throughout the world to fight this ``enemy.'' That is his definition. How was the speech received? According to today's New York Times, it got a standing ovation from the kings and presidents, sheiks and emirs, including key U.S. allies, gathered in Malaysia's capital, Putrajaya. I believe these comments are likely to encourage violence against Jewish people worldwide, and especially in Israel.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) charter calls for creating a favorable atmosphere for the promotion of cooperation and understanding between member states and other countries. But how can it be so, if the Prime Minister's remarks aptly capture the views of the OIC members? After all, they gave him a standing ovation. One has to wonder if they really want to promote peace between their nations and western democracies.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia, a country with one of the world's biggest Muslim populations, essentially expressed an open invitation for hate crimes and terrorism. Therefore, I am introducing a resolution that puts the Senate on record as repudiating Dr. Mohamad's loathsome remarks to the OIC.
My resolution also asks President Bush, who will be traveling to Southeast Asia next week, to repudiate Dr. Mohamad's vile sentiments when the two participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, on October 20.
I am pleased that Senator Smith, Senator Feinstein, Senator Clinton, Senator Corzine, Senator Boxer, Senator Daschle, Senator Dodd, Senator Schumer, Senator Hatch, Senator Murray, Senator Coleman, Senator Wyden, Senator Brownback, Senator Reid, Senator Leahy, Senator Graham of Florida, Senator Bayh, and Senator Chambliss are all cosponsors of my resolution.
I believe the leaders of the Muslim world should be encouraging mutual tolerance and understanding between people of different faiths. Instead, Dr. Mohamad's anti-Semitic remarks will only serve to undermine the peace and security people of all faiths seek so earnestly.
I send a resolution to the desk and ask for its immediate consideration. This resolution has been cleared, as I understand it, on both sides.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the resolution by title.
The legislative clerk read as follows:
A resolution (S. Res. 247) calling on the President to condemn the anti-Semitic sentiments expressed by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the outgoing prime minister of Malaysia.
There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution.
Mr. LAUTENBERG. I ask unanimous consent the resolution and preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The resolution (S. Res. 247) was agreed to.
The preamble was agreed to.
The resolution, with its preamble, reads as follows:
S. Res. 247
Whereas the outgoing prime minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, has become notorious over the years for his virulent opposition to Israel;
Whereas Dr. Mahathir opened the 57-nation, October 2003 summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Malaysia by characterizing Israel and Jews around the world as ``the enemy'' who ``rule the world by proxy'';
Whereas Dr. Mahathir's anti-Semitic remarks are despicable and will serve to incite further sectarian violence; and
Whereas President George W. Bush will be traveling to Thailand to attend the October 20-21, 2003, meeting in Bangkok of the leaders of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which Dr. Mahathir will also be attending: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate--
(1) thoroughly repudiates the damaging rhetoric of the outgoing prime minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, which makes peace in the Middle East and around the world more elusive; and
(2) calls upon President George W. Bush, on behalf of the United States, to condemn Dr. Mahathir's injurious sentiments when the President and the prime minister meet to attend the October 20-21, 2003, meeting in Bangkok of the leaders of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New York.
Mrs. CLINTON. Mr. President, I thank my distinguished colleague, the Senator from New Jersey, for introducing this resolution in such a timely manner. I was proud to be an original cosponsor. I believe it is essential the Senate and our Congress be on record standing against hate and bias and discrimination, and particularly the kind of anti-Semitism that flowed at the meeting yesterday in Malaysia.
I join with Senator Lautenberg in urging the President to raise this directly with the Malaysian Government and with the other participants in the APEC meeting. I appreciate the quick action of Senator Lautenberg in ensuring our Senate could go on record while this meeting is still occurring.
Source/Publisher: U.S. Library of Congress
http://thomas.loc.gov [search Bill Number "S. Res. 247"]