Chirac and Matahir

This thing got a lot of attention from US rightist blogs. I was rather puzzled why would do something like that, no credible explanations were advanced. Now, via Mark Kleiman, I learn it was apparently all wrong. Should have guessed.

Remember Jacques Chirac’s intervention in support of Mahathir Mohammed’s anti-Semitic rantings? The one condemned here, as throughout the blogosphere? Well, it seems not to have happened.

The story appears to be as follows. After Mahathir Mohammed’s speech at the OIC summit, it was proposed that a condemnation be inserted in the final report of a meeting of EU chiefs of state. But EU procedures don’t provide for such statements in those reports. Instead, a statement was made, on behalf of the EU, in a formal address by Silvio Berlusconi, who holds the rotating presidency. (The irony of a politician elected with neofascist support denouncing someone else for anti-Semitism was, one assumes, passed over in decent silence.)

But newspaper reports suggesting that Chirac had somehow supported Mahathir Mohammed by suggesting that the condemnation be part of the Berlusconi address rather than the conference report were immediately seized on by Israeli politicians, who have good reason to be annoyed at Chirac on other grounds, and by some Jews in the U.S. including professional kvetch Abraham Foxman of the ADL. That gave the Maylasian prime minister the opportunity, which he quickly seized, to pretend that Chirac was supporting his views.

However, Chirac (unlike another G8 Chief of State I can think of, who waited longer to speak out and chose to hide behind a spokesman in issuing a rather tepid statement that the remarks in question were “divisive and wrong,”) wrote a prompt and fairly tough letter to Mahathir Mohammed, telling him that his remarks had “attracted strong disapproval, not only in France but throughout the world,” and telling him that despite his government’s rejection of claims of anti-Semitism, he remarks “could not but be condemned by those who preserve the memory of the Holocaust.”

5 thoughts on “Chirac and Matahir

  1. “There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right. They believe that things can only get worse. The Muslims will forever be oppressed and dominated by the Europeans and the Jews. They will forever be poor, backward and weak. Some believe, as I have said, this is the Will of Allah, that the proper state of the Muslims is to be poor and oppressed in this world.”
    Cited from http://www.yourish.com/archives/2003/mahathir.htmlthe speech Mahathir gave.
    This Mahathir is a dictator. The mere fact that he ruled his country for 25 years suggests strongly in direction already (compare with Mugabe Denktash Castro…). But let’s not conentrate on what Chirac said or did not say about him.
    I sure dislike what he says (especially on Jews) but it is not that outright anti-semitism that is suggested everywhere. It’s despair what we see here.
    He even said “We also know that not all non-Muslims are against us. Some are well disposed towards us. Some even see our enemies as their enemies. Even among the Jews there are many who do not approve of what the Israelis are doing.”

    Concerning problems with countries with a majority of the people praising Allah or Mohammed we should not forget that it’s always dictators using the Islam for their purposes: we should focus on the dictators not on their use of the Islam.

  2. If this was all just an “anti-French smear campaign”, and if Chirac really was the heroic figure that Mark Kleiman makes him out to be (rather than a canny politician who understood just how bad the fallout from his initial opposition to a statement was getting), why did Mahathir see fit to thank him for his understanding? And if Kleiman’s claims about EU procedures are correct, why is it that the same EU could violate these same procedures to condemn Austria when the FP? first got a share of power?

    Mark Kleiman is simply doing a run-of-the-mill Democratic Party hit-piece on Bush here, rather than getting to the heart of some deep truth that “righty blogs” have somehow missed. Kleiman’s piece is as worth taking seriously as Krugman’s on this same issue, i.e, not at all.

  3. Thanx very much David for helping others understand that the spineless, war-losing, filthy, non-bathing, perfidious, pussy-like, declining, faggish, nukeable, armpit-haired, Saddam-loving cheese-eating surrender monkeys are not necessarily salivating would-be nazis overwhelmed with joy everytime they see suicide bombings killing Israelis on TV.

    Thanx for that.

    Your words are a drop in an ocean of hate.

    Mais merci quand m?me !

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