Italian Jews Take Legal Action Against Video Game Encouraging Palestinian Terror Against Israel
A video game in which players adopt the role of a Palestinian terrorist whose mission is to kill as many Israelis as possible is the subject of a legal challenge in Italy on the grounds of incitement.
Released in September 2021, the “Knights of Al Aqsa” video game centers on a young Palestinian named “Ahmed” who has just been released from a prison term in Israel. Ahmed’s goal in the game is to kill Israeli soldiers and government agents using a variety of weapons, including semi-automatic rifles, knives and axes.
Three pro-Israel associations in Italy have now filed a complaint with the public prosecutor in the Asti region, asserting that the game violates Italian laws against terrorism, racial incitement and the denial and abuse of the Holocaust.
A statement from the lawyers representing the pro-Israel groups highlighted the gory violence that distinguishes the game alongside its promotion of antisemitic tropes. Comparing the game’s imagery to “Nazi and fascist propaganda,” the statement observed that “the target to be eliminated is always the Jew, marked by the Star of David.”
Developed by Nidal Nijm — a 37-year-old Brazilian whose father fought with the Palestinian Fatah terrorist organization — “Knights of Al Aqsa” is easily downloaded from Steam, a popular online gaming platform with over 120 million active users monthly.
In an interview last year with the Palestinian Quds news agency, Nijm claimed that he had nothing against Jews, but that “Zionism” was the main cause of anti-Jewish prejudice today. “Valiant hero! Take your revenge with the dagger,” the game exhorts. “The blood of the oppressed calls you. Resistance is not terrorism.”
The game has been strongly criticized by other developers as well as by Jewish groups. Last September, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) called for a boycott of the Steam platform until the “Knights of Al Aqsa” was removed. “There is no question that this game glorifies Palestinian terror against Jews and is not a neutral exercise,” Efraim Zuroff, director of the SWC’s Israel office, said at the time.