04 May, 2010

Anwar using APCO Worldwide contract as an excuse to spin a dark conspiracy theory of Jewish control, Zionist plots, and subversion in Malaysia ?

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's recent outburst against the government for saying that it had appointed a pro-Israel public relations firm, APCO Worldwide, and that the Royal Malaysia Police had engaged the services of former Israeli agents for an information and communication project has come under fire from an American right-wing website.

Rachel Motte, writing in The New Ledger, an American web publication which publishes right-of-centre opinions, said Anwar had now effectively trashed his old friends in Washington and had used the APCO Worldwide contract as an excuse to spin a dark conspiracy theory of Jewish control, Zionist plots, and subversion in Malaysia.

She also said that his lieutenants had alleged, among other things, that the government had engaged a company that had a close tie with the Zionist regime in Israel in reference to the information and communication project.

In her article, "The Reversal of Anwar Ibrahim", she identified Anwar, whom she described as a charismatic firebrand of a politician, for the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Malaysia.

And she said this was also not the first time that "he has gone down this road" and that he "has a history of Jew-baiting (prejudice or hostility against Jews) when expediency calls for it".

Citing an example, she said that in 2008, with the general election approaching, Anwar had mentioned in an interview with IslamOnline that he had evidence to prove that the government was backing the Jewish lobby in the United States and even some parties inside Israel.

Motte said it was to the credit of the Malaysian electorate that Anwar's opposition coalition failed to win a majority in the election.

She said that upon Anwar's release from jail about 10 years ago, he went to Washington D.C. and spent the past decade cultivating a genteel, enlightened image in the West.

"Otherwise informed American observers of foreign affairs have adopted him as an exemplar of liberal Southeast Asian and/or Muslim democratic governance.

"Just a few years ago, he was invited to teach for a year at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, from which he cultivated the acquaintances of eminent Jewish Americans like Paul Wolfowitz - as a means of showing just how far behind him was his own militant Islamist past.

"Indeed, as recently as 2008, (former vice president) Al Gore -- usually a savvy and perceptive man -- could be found posting on his blog in defence of Anwar's dignity in the face of criticism.

"That's big-name Western approval one can't buy -- but one can work hard for it with the right enemies and media outreach inside the Beltway (a phrase that is used to characterise parts of the real or imagined American political system and is named after the interstate highways that encircle the American capital)."

Motte also noted that Anwar's cultivation of relations with influential Jewish Americans gave rise to a perception that if one were to ask a well-informed American as to who the liberal democrat was in Malaysia between 1999 and 2009, he or she might well have said, "Anwar Ibrahim."

"But does Anwar Ibrahim's portrayal of himself outside Malaysia match Anwar Ibrahim's actions within his own country?" she questioned.

Unfortunately, Motte said, Anwar had decided to make his mark in domestic Malaysian politics -- away from CNN, Al Gore, and Johns Hopkins -- as an anti-American, anti-Semitic demagogue.

Motte wrote that "in looking for America's friends in the Muslim world, it's often difficult to know the Good Guy from the Bad Guy."

"But it's a good rule of thumb that the politician promulgating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is not a friend of America," she said in reference to Anwar.

Motte said the events of the past few months in Malaysia had made crystal clear a strange role reversal: it's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who is whipping up anti-Semitic sentiment -- and it's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who is, for better or worse, standing firm with President Barack Obama and the United States.

The writer asserted that it was often hard to figure out who were America's real friends and allies in the Muslim world, aside from the King and Queen of Jordan, a handful of emirates in the Gulf, and the Saudi royals.

"Take the strange case of Malaysia, for example. The Malaysian state and its ruling party are broadly constructive and cooperative with the United States -- but its political opposition is another story. And that's the reverse of what often gets portrayed in Western media," she pointed out.

Motte said the "present Malaysian leadership is pro-business, pro-American and prepared to stand up and be counted in the Muslim world as a strategic U.S. ally."

During the recent Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, she said, Najib also pledged to assist the US on numerous fronts.

Motte said Malaysia's reputation as a majority-Muslim nation known for moderation and stability had been hard won in this decade, and a result of the leadership of the present prime minister and his immediate predecessor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

-- BERNAMA

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