(January 18, 2019 / JNS) Israel slammed Malaysia’s ban on Israeli participation in the Muslim-majority nation’s hosting of international sporting events, citing the choice was motivated by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s “rabid anti-Semitism.”
“This is shameful and totally opposes the Olympic spirit,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon in a statement. “Israel condemns the decision, inspired no doubt by Malaysia PM Mahathir’s rabid anti-Semitism.”
Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah responded on Friday, saying that he is “deeply disgusted” with Israel’s condemnation, and said 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.
The World Para Swimming Championships will be held in the Malaysian city of Kuching in July. The outcome will affect the competition of the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, which will host more than 600 swimmers from 70 nations.
Israel and Malaysia currently have no diplomatic relations. The latter’s leader, Mahathir Mohamad labeled Jews as “hook-nosed” last October and condemned Israel for creating chaos in the Middle East.