(January 22, 2019 / JNS) During a 40-minute meeting in Vienna on Monday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad that anti-Semitism is “unacceptable.”
Kurz, 32, also told Mohamad, 93, that Austria is a “friend and partner of Israel.”
This comes as Malaysia banned Israel from participating in the Muslim-majority nation’s hosting of international sporting events, with the former citing the choice was motivated by Mohamad’s “rabid anti-Semitism.”
Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah responded on Friday, saying that he is “deeply disgusted” with Israel’s condemnation, and that it is the Jewish state that has “violated the Olympic spirit.”
“For more than half a century, Israel had continued to disregard the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, while committing inhumane policies and practices that were in clear violation of international laws,” he added.
Israel and Malaysia currently have no diplomatic relations. Mohamad labeled Jews as “hook-nosed” last October and condemned Israel for creating chaos in the Middle East.
Nonetheless, World Jewish Congress applauded Kurz for standing up to Mohamad.
“Kurz has proven throughout his tenure, through both words and actions, his commitment to the security and well-being of the Jewish community, as well as his immense support for the State of Israel and its flourishing bilateral relations with the Austrian government,” said WJC president Ronald Lauder.
“Mohamad, on the other hand, has proven the very opposite,“ he added, ”trumpeting blatantly anti-Semitic and unacceptable tropes and stereotypes, in direct contradiction to his country’s own diverse cultural fabric and strong standing within the international community, as well as supporting discriminatory measures directly targeting representatives of the State of Israel, such as the objectionable exclusion of Israeli Paralympic athletes from an upcoming competition to be hosted by Malaysia.”