PETALING JAYA: Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah says he is "deeply disgusted" with the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry of accusing Malaysia for opposing the Olympic spirit and labelling Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as anti-Semitic.
On Thursday (Jan 17), Israel condemned Malaysia’s ban on Israeli participation in international sporting events it hosts and said the decision was inspired by Dr Mahathir's ”rabid anti-Semitism”.
Malaysia does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel and Israeli athletes have been barred from the World Para Swimming championships to be held in Sarawak.
The Malaysian Foreign Minister said that for more than half a century, Israel has continued to disregard the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, while committing inhumane policies and practices that are in clear violation of international laws.
The Minister reiterates that Malaysia has and will always be a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, underpinned by its long-standing commitment towards the restoration of Palestinians’ rights and freedom
It was reported that Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon had called on the International Paralympic Committee, which is organising the competition, to change the venue if it cannot persuade Malaysia to lift the edict.
“This is shameful and totally opposes the Olympic spirit,” Nahshon said in a statement.
Swimmers from some 70 countries are expected to compete in the July 29-Aug 4 championships in Sarawak, an important milestone towards next year’s Tokyo Paralympics.