Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has gained recent controversy for his comments describing Jewish people as ‘hooked nose’. Mohamad’s antisemitic rhetoric escalated to Holocaust denial and derogatory comments towards Israel, collectively denying the number of Holocaust victims and blaming the Jewish state for instability in the Middle East. As diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Israel are non-existent, Prime Minister Mohamad prohibited Israeli citizens from visiting Malaysia. This declaration came when Israeli paraplegic athletes were banned from participating in the International Swimming Championship which was meant to be hosted by Malaysia in 2019.
The Israeli government retorted to Mohamad’s comments by describing them as ‘shameful’ and ‘antisemitic’. The UK government equally condemned Malaysia, calling the ban on athletes a ‘fundamentally wrong’ move.