Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir MohamadReuters

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Tuesday that Jews are "hook-nosed" and accused them of creating problems in the Middle East.

Mahathir, 93, the world's oldest prime minister, has been known for decades as an outspoken anti-Semite.

In an interview with the BBC's HardTalk program , Mahathir said: "“If you are going to be truthful, the problem in the Middle East began with the creation of Israel. That is the truth. But I cannot say that.”

When asked why he wrote in a book that he wrote that the Jews had hooked noses, he replied: “They are hook-nosed. Many people called the Malays fat-nosed. We didn’t object, we didn’t go to war for that.”

Last week, Mahathir told the UN General Assembly that the international community "rewards Israel" for breaking international law and oppressing Arabs.

Mahathir was sworn in as prime minister in May - nearly 20 years after his last term in office.

In 2012, he wrote in his blog that "Jews rule this world by proxy.” In 2003, he said at the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Kuala Lumpur that “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way. And we can only find a way if we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to plan, to strategize and then to counterattack. We are actually very strong. 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million.”