Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad often expressed anti-Semitic sentiments. But a conference last week in Kuala Lumpur suggests that the country’s new leader, Abdullah Badawi, will be taking a more pro-active approach to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Badawi is calling for a global campaign to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state: “If a global campaign could be launched, not unlike the (one) against apartheid in South Africa, (it) might indeed succeed in influencing the concerned parties to achieve a peaceful resolution.” It should be remembered that Malaysia still refuses entry for Israeli citizens, a completely unacceptable situation.
Israeli peace group Gush Shalom issued a statement during the three-day event stating that economic pressure – among other means – rather than violence is the only long-term solution to the conflict. Perhaps we are seeing the beginnings of an organised campaign to force Israel to end its oppressive occupation once and for all. America will never be that honest broker, despite the vast rhetoric suggesting otherwise.