Protesting Hate by Promoting Anti-Semitism

November 19, 2011 6:36 pm 1 comment

"Saturday Hunter," a virulently anti-Semitic film, is a recent hit in the conservative Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iranophobia,” an irrational fear of all things Iranian, has become the Islamic regime’s catch-all excuse for international criticism. Groups like the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the representative body of the world’s Muslim nations, are pushing for a United Nations resolution to ban denigration of Islam and other religions.
But hate towards Jews remains a key part of political speech and culture throughout Islamic countries, even those touched by the Arab Spring.
A “Million Man March against the Judaization of Jerusalem,” organized by Egyptian-American Imam Salah Sultan, is planned for Monday in downtown Cairo. Sultan, a former Columbus, Ohio imam who is the rapporteur of Jerusalem Committee of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, said that his organization would soon issue a fatwa “permitting the blood of Zionists.” He also stated that “there is no excuse for anyone to refrain from Jihad after God has removed the affliction, which obstructed us from jihad to liberate Palestine.”
Attaching the epithet of “Jew” or “Zionist” to hated leaders has been common of late, such as former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It is mean to portray repression as a Jewish theme. Old anti-Semitic libels and conspiracy theories are also combined with hate of Israel, to attempt to legitimize these attitudes.
Several recent examples from the Middle East Media Research Institute [MEMRI] highlight how this hate finds expression in popular political discourse. These examples serve as the tip of the iceberg, showing that even in countries without a significant Jewish population, anti-Semitism is rampant.
Saturday Hunter,” a virulently anti-Semitic film, is a recent hit in the conservative Islamic Republic of Iran. The story revolves around a boy who goes to live with his religious Jewish grandfather, who is a rabbi, after his Jewish mother marries a Christian.
The grotesque imagery of the film portrays religious Jews as murderers fighting a war against “infidels,” as the rabbi tries to brainwash his grandson into participating in the killing. He urges to boy not “to betray the Jews” and to “never reveal your inner thoughts to anyone,” as he tries to build a “war machine to take over the world.”
Managing Director Mohsen Sadeqi argues that his film is simply anti-Zionist, and that it is wildly popular with Iranian audiences. “It is natural that the Zionists are angry about the film screening which make us more strong-willed,” he told the Tehran Times. But in response to protest letters sent by Iran’s Jewish community to the government, which went unanswered, Sadeqi responded by saying that “Judaism is a symbol of evil” and that “movies like these will continue and will be filmed in the future.”
Syrian writer Osama al-Malouhi blends classic anti-Semitic lies with current events in an Oct. 26 article entitled “Syrian Blood for Matzas,” specifically how the Jews love the oppression of the Arab Spring protests. The piece was posted to website Sooryoon.net, a popular network of Islamists opposed to the embattled regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
In his article, Al-Malouhi claims that 80 percent of Israelis support Assad, which is why the world will not stop his crackdown on civilian protests. He then repeats false claims that Jews “are taking pleasure in watching Syrian blood being spilled. Perhaps the murderer [Assad] will [even] bring it to them for [their] matza,” he writes, in a reference to ancient blood libel that Jews bake human blood into their Passover food.
“Asking myself why Jewish support of Bashar increased [even] after they saw the rivers of Syrian blood this mass-murderer spilled in Syrian towns, an old image leapt to my mind, of Jews bleeding people and using their blood to prepare matzas,” Al-Malhouhi adds. “Logic does not accept this, but the facts prove it.”
The same hate is evident in an article for Kuwaiti daily al-Watan, written by journalist Abdullah Khallaf. Former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was actually a Jew, who was empowered as part of a Jewish conspiracy, Khallaf claims. Zionist agents contacted Gaddafi while he was studying in London and pushed to join a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world and to exploit Libya in particular.
“The violence with which he destroyed and killed tens of thousands, and the bombing of the [Libyan] people during his last revolution, indicate that he internalized the directives of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” Khallaf declared, trying to connect Gaddafi to a discredited anti-Semitic forgery. Gaddafi was also protected by “Jewesses,” a reference to his multiethnic female guard, and “wasted funds” according to supposed “Zionist” directives.
Lebanese columnist Bushra Gharz Al-Din invokes the Protocols to argue the exact opposite for local daily Al-Diyar. The Arab Spring is actually a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, Al-Din write, as prescribed in the Protocols.
“About 100 years ago, 300 of the most arrogant elders of Zion convened. [They were] members of 50 Jewish groups who held secret meetings at which they plotted how to enslave the world,” Al-Din writes. “[They instigated] revolution after revolution, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria, and what is yet to come will be even worse… After all this, the only question left to ask is: How long will we continue to let them [the Jews] toy with us, like puppets on hidden strings?”
Adolph Hitler’s anti-Semitic fantasies are also popularly cited. In September, Saudi columnist Khaled Al-Ghanami echoed accusations of Jewish conspiracies for a column in local daily Okaz, which has a circulation of several hundred thousand in the conservative kingdom. As proof for his conspiracy piece, “Liberalism – A Jewish Deception,” Al-Ghanami cites Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
“[Mein Kampf] contains many stories about the Jew who lurks in the shadows (according to Hitler), and whose calls for freedom and equality are nothing but diabolical plots aimed at weakening the state, causing anarchy, undermining security, and controlling the fate of the nations,” al-Ghanami writes. “This is because the Jew believes he is superior to others, and he dislikes manual labor, preferring to make the people his slaves by [giving them] interest-bearing loans.”
Even where journalists try to distinguish between Jews and Zionists, anti-Zionism is often tinged with hateful rhetoric.
In another MEMRI translated article from Qatar’s Al-Arab, Egyptian journalist Sharif Abd al-Ghani laments the popular custom of cursing Jews during Friday sermons. Despite admonishing common anti-Jewish attitudes in religious education and the Arab world’s mosques, Abd al-Ghani also states that local people believe they their curses have “fulfilled their role in the struggle against the Zionist enemy in the best way possible.” Even his positive examples of Jewish scholarship and invention appear to come from a 2006 Pakistani article entitled “Why Are Jews So Powerful?”
Examples of anti-Semitism in Arab media, such as the few mentioned above, remain rich in their conspiracies and varied in their accusations. They also match extremely low levels of positive feelings towards Jews, as shown in Pew opinion polls. Ultimately, the common denominator is that increasing freedom hasn’t killed anti-Semitism, and that the Arab world’s trend of hate continues to find new ways to express itself.

1 Comment

  • There is a great irony here that is apparently invisible to the writer. Claiming that Iranians nefariously portray Israeli Jews as unjustifiably violent, he fails to understand that this is exactly what hasbara propaganga is doing in the west – deliberating creating negative stereotypes about Muslims, Palestinians and Iranians to keep American opinion on their side. Some of the worst anti-Muslim propaganda, in fact, has its origins here.

    This is clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Theater US & Canada New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    In his new play Mr. Goldberg Goes to Tel Aviv, playwright Oren Safdie tackles an issue that he has a major concern with: the relationship between Israelis and left-leaning Diaspora Jews with their “I know better” critical views. At the heart of the one-act play is Tony, a Jewish and gay Palestinian sympathizer who expresses strong anti-Israel sentiments when the play begins and at one point even sides with a Palestinian terrorist who holds his captive. Tony, who is also an [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    A Jewish comedy troupe released a parody video on Wednesday of Taylor Swift’s hit song Shake It Off in which they joke about taking extensive time off from work for Jewish holidays. “And the goyim gonna stay, stay, stay, stay, stay. And the Jews are gonna pray, pray pray, pray, pray. I’m just gonna take, take, take, take, take. I’m taking off,” goes the chorus for I’m Taking Off. Menachem Weinstein, the video’s lead singer, is the creative director at [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    JNS.org – The 75th anniversary of the premiere of “Gone with the Wind” on Dec. 15 presents an opportunity to examine the Jewish influence on one of the most popular films of all time. That influence starts with the American Civil War epic’s famed producer, David O. Selznick. Adjusted for inflation, “Gone with the Wind” remains the highest-grossing movie ever made. It earned the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture, the same honor another Selznick film, “Rebecca,” garnered in 1940. Selznick [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Music US & Canada EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    Matisyahu got candid in an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner on Monday about his religious and musical journey – after shedding his Chassidic skin, yarmulke, long beard and all – from the start of his career in 2005 when he became a reggae superstar with hits King Without a Crown and Jerusalem. The singer-songwriter embarks on his Festival of Light tour this month, an annual Hanukkah event that stops in Montreal, New York, and other cities before ending in San Juan, [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Personalities ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    JNS.org – It was an era of steel strings, guitar heroes, and storytellers—high on heroin, rebellious. Outlaw country music, the hallmark of Nashville’s powerful and angry music scene of the 1970s, was the brew of greats such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt. But there is another, little-known music hero of that era: Daniel Antopolsky. A Jewish lad from Augusta, Ga.—the son of immigrants who settled in the south and ran a hardware store on Main Street—the [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi replaced Israeli star Gal Gadot as the female lead in the new Ben-Hur remake, Hollywood.com reported on Tuesday. The Homeland actress will play Esther, a slave that Ben-Hur sets free and falls in love with. Gadot quit the movie when it became clear that filming conflicted with her schedule for the Man of Steel sequel. The Israeli actress plays Wonder Woman in the superhero film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Actor Jack Huston takes on the [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.