Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jewish group slams Utusan for sowing anti-Semitic hatred

PETALING JAYA: A global Jewish organisation has hit out at the Utusan Malaysia newspaper for propagating anti-Semitic hatred. The paper had claimed in its editorial that the Bersih 2.0 rally was an opportunity for Jews to infiltrate into Malaysia’s national affairs.

B’nai B’rith International, a Jewish humanitarian organisation, called the allegation “preposterous” and “offensive” and which only serves to perpetuate an anti-Semitic attitude.

“Though no specific plot was mentioned in the editorial, the accusation of a possible Jewish interference in Malaysia’s internal affairs is an outlandish claim that promotes anti-Semitic attitudes,” said a statement on its website.

It added that that this claim was “especially harmful” as spreading such messages in a government-backed paper only lends more legitimacy to such arguments.

“As many Malaysians rely on government-backed media outlets for news and information, this destructive claim is likely to be the only information some citizens receive on this issue,” it added.

On July 18, Utusan had carried an editorial linking the Bersih 2.0 rally to pro-Jewish groups. It said that supporting the demonstration can assist the alleged motive of “pro-foreign parties who are trying to control the country”.

It further cautioned: “Muslims and Malaysians should not allow any party especially Jews from interfering in the affairs of this country.”

Prior to the July 9 rally, the Malay daily had also carried headlines linking Bersih 2.0 – which had staged the rally demanding for clean and fair elections – with Communism and being funded by international Christian organisations.

B’nai B’rith International also denounced the so-called “Jewish link”, saying it is a separate development in internal politics.

B’nai B’rith president Allan J Jacobs said: “Turning an internal call for reform into a forum for religious prejudice is unacceptable, and serves only to induce anti-Semitic sentiments.”

Echoing that sentiment, its vice-president Daniel S Mariaschin said: “It is completely without foundation to attempt to vilify Jews totally unaffiliated with an internal reform movement”.

B’nai B’rith claims to be the oldest operating Jewish service organisation. It has nearly 100
000 members and supporters in 50 countries.

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