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...

  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    Did you know that in the entire Bible, only one birthday is mentioned and it is that of Pharaoh? And did you know that according to some scientists, by accepting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it is impossible to prove or disprove that the sun is the gravitational center of our solar system? In his new book, REBBE, best-selling author Joseph Telushkin reveals many surprising and sometimes shocking details as he chronicles the life and teachings of the charismatic Rabbi [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Mitzvos New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    JNS.org – Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Iced coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese bureka: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, asked themselves: Why not launch a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything—and that means everything—goes for five shekels, or about $1.50. They’d seen the concept take off in Tel Aviv, where [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday. Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America. The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Skokie, Il-born 25-year-old Erin Heatherton (Erin Heather Bubley) is rocking the modeling world. And in a new interview accompanying a cover spread for Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine, she says Jewish moms are “constantly trying to set her up with their sons.” Imagine that – who would have thought? “The moms, they’re doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, what city – grandmothers, too,” she admitted. “But I’m probably going to do that too one day.” Heatherton was [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Israel First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    Some 15 Turkish university professors and lecturers will take part in a first of its kind seminar at Holocaust museum Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies starting next week. The trip is especially significant as Holocaust denial is rampant in the Arab world. A Palestinian professor was recently forced to resign after he led a trip to the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Participants in the week-long program at Yad Vashem will experience in-depth tours of the museum’s archives and [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.