Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad. (AP/Annice Lyn) AP/Annice Lyn
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad

Why is one of America’s most esteemed universities giving a platform to someone who spews hatred of Jews and discriminates against the State of Israel?

By United With Israel Staff

On September 25, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is scheduled to speak at Columbia University in New York City. A petition by the Columbia Global Leadership Forum has been created to prevent the self-described proud anti-Semite and Israel-hater from addressing students.

In 2012, the prime minister declared, “I am glad to be labeled anti-Semitic.”

The 94-year-old Mohamad is known for his public denial that six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust as well as spreading anti-Semitic stereotypes and anti-American sentiments.

The petition, entitled “No to antisemitism at Columbia! No to Dr. Mahathir Mohamad,” denounces the speaker for his “distasteful anti-Semitic views” and bigoted statements. While the petition has nearly 1,200 signatures, it seeks at least 1,500.

It notes that Mohamad “has a right to his opinions and to express them, no matter how repugnant they are,” but should not be allowed to present them on a university campus. “It is granting the credibility of one of America’s most prestigious universities to a vile anti-Semite and shakes even further the already fragile sense of safety and belonging of Columbia’s Jewish students.”

The petition states that speaking at a university “is a privilege, not a right. This is not a matter of free speech, or of scholarly freedom. It is a matter of basic academic decency.”

It ends with a call to Columbia University President Dr. Lee Bollinger to ensure the “safety and well being of Columbia’s Jewish students.”

As recently as June, Mohamad said during a talk at Cambridge Union in the United Kingdom, “I have some Jewish friends, very good friends, they are not like the other Jews, that’s why they are my friends.”

Following the statement, laughter from the Prime Minister’s delegation erupted.

This prompted a tweet from the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), “Freedom of speech is not a joke when it incites hatred against one people.”

Malaysia also bans Israeli passport holders from entering the country.

In 2019, in a so-called show of solidarity with the Palestinians, Malaysia banned Israeli athletes from participating in the World Para Swimming Championships.

Mohamad is not only anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, he is also anti-United States. He has claimed that Muslims were not responsible for the the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, but rather that the U.S. staged the events.

Sign the petition against Mahathir Mohamad speaking at Columbia University.