The next generation of would-be Muslim leaders hopes to ride a wave of anti-Semitism and promises of eradication of the Jewish nation to power. And though in most cases the American governing class avoids publicly supporting them, there is one exception: Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is about to receive an official visit from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Anwar’s anti-Semitism is classic and unabashed; he thinks there are “Israeli intelligence personnel in the Police IT unit,” that Jews are controlling Malaysian foreign policy on Iran and “the Palestinian question,” and that his opponents have close ties to the “Zionist regime”–always the Zionist regime–and helped start a think tank for one of the Islamic world’s oldest terrorism organizations, among many other examples.
On the one hand, this is par for the course in the world of Muslim geopolitics. Egypt’s real opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood, purveyors of Islamic terrorism for more than 80 years, spawning Hamas in the 1980s. In Iran, Ahmadinejad’s opposition was led by Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who as prime minister two decades ago jumpstarted Iran’s nuclear program and has been an avid supporter of terrorism against Israel.
In Jordan, the opposition parties formed a coalition called the Executive Committee for Confronting Normalization with Israel to protest any and all, well, normalization with Israel. The only opposition the Russian leadership has to worry about is the Caucasus Emirate, a self-declared Islamist separatist government in the North Caucasus that has been able to direct terrorist attacks in the heart of Moscow, and who speak of defeating the Jews and even send terrorists to Israel’s borders to carry out that threat.
And although the Left has been romancing the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups, there has been nothing quite comparable to the public embrace Ibrahim has received.
In 1998, Anwar–who had served as deputy prime minister and finance minister to Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad–began challenging his mentor’s policies and was swiftly ousted from the government and put on trial for his troubles. This seemed to inspire an epiphany, and the new Anwar began advocating economic, judicial, and federal liberalization–exactly what Western ears love to hear.
He was invited to teach for a year at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. The deans there and his peers on the faculty must have been reading Ibrahim’s Web site, the home page of which declares him to be “the voice of democracy in Malaysia” alongside a picture of him unselfconsciously raising his fist in the air and smiling. A speaker of truth, he must be; a warrior for freedom and modernization–isn’t that what a “good Muslim” is supposed to say?