KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — PKR has accused Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of having close ties with Zionists and pro-Israeli US leaders back when he was prime minister, stating that these were well-recorded facts.
Dr Mahathir had yesterday labelled arch rival Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a Jewish sympathiser and a leader who disregarded the plight of the Palestinians. The former prime minister was responding to Anwar’s recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, in which the latter expressed support for “all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel.”
In a statement today, PKR communications director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (picture) said Dr Mahathir had “twisted” Anwar’s remarks, and that the former PM had conveniently forgotten his “close ties” with the US and pro-Jewish lobbyists.
“Anwar has explained that his statement in the Wall Street Journal played up by Umno and their media is consistent with a two-state solution which is an initiative accepted by the Arab world, Malaysia as well as Hamas, who are Palestinian freedom fighters.
“Mahathir might seem to be against Zionists and the West but he actually has a good relationship with them, to the point where he was willing to sign a private military agreement with America in 1984 — the Bilateral Training and Consultation Agreement (BITAC) which enabled the US to conduct military training in Malaysia,” said Nik Nazmi.
The PKR leader claimed that Dr Mahathir paid Jack Abramoff, a Zionist lobbyist, US$1.2 million (RM3.7 million) to arrange a meeting with former US President George W. Bush shortly after Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister.
“This has been admitted by Dr Mahathir himself,” said Nik Nazmi, adding that Abramoff had close ties with Bush as well as Israeli extremists.
The Seri Setia state assemblyman said that according to a Newsweek article Abramoff collected funds for the Jews in Israel to be used in their fight against the Palestinians, and that he (Abramoff) eventually pleaded guilty to charges of corruption and fraud in 2006.
“It looks like Dr Mahathir stills harbours his old grudge against Anwar. He and the Umno leadership cannot seem to stop their slander just so it could be a distraction from numerous scandals that have plagued them,” he added.
Anwar has since clarified his remarks by saying he was referring to a “two-state solution”, and that his support was also contingent on Israel respecting the aspirations of Palestinians.
Dr Mahathir had also claimed that his former protégé had close ties with many US elected representatives who were Jews, and that he was their “friend”, and named Paul Wolfowitz as one of them.
Wolfowitz, a former US Secretary of Defence and World Bank president, is of Jewish descent.
Anwar came under heavy fire from Umno and its media after his statement was published by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
The opposition leader was forced to defend himself by stressing that his remarks in the newspaper meant that he supported a two-state solution, which he said was mentioned by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman when the latter addressed the United Nations General Assembly in September last year.
But Anifah responded by saying Anwar’s interview “clearly shows full support for all actions taken by Israel to protect its security, unless he is accusing the Wall Street Journal of making a mistake.”
Muslim-majority Malaysia is a staunch supporter of Palestine and has no diplomatic ties with Israel.
Muslim politicians have long vied for support from Malays by denouncing what they say are inhumane acts of aggression by Israel towards its neighbour.
Anwar has previously been attacked as a supporter of the Zionist movement due to his interaction with prominent Jewish figures in the West.
But the opposition leader turned the tables on Umno and Barisan Nasional in 2010 when he claimed public relations firm APCO Worldwide, then contracted by Putrajaya, was responsible for both the 1 Malaysia and 1 Israel campaigns.