During Mahathir's years as prime minister he made extreme anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic statements, some of which achieved wide resonance. Mahathir nurtured anti-Semitism in a Malaysia that was without Jews. On 27 January 1981, in a speech in Saudi Arabia, he urged regaining the Palestinian lands by force since Israel was not invincible. He also, as will be discussed, vilified Israel at major venues.
In June 1983, Mahathir issued a statement attacking Israel for its incursion into Lebanon and calling it "the most immoral country in the world." In October 1983, at the OIC's Sixth Conference on Palestine held in New York, Malaysia expressed concern about Israel's renewed activities in Africa and called for their immediate halt. Malaysia opposed establishing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and supported the resolution at the Jerusalem Conference of the OIC (New York, April 1984) to sever ties with any country that moved its ambassador to Jerusalem.