ADL Issues First Report in New Series Exposing Arab Media's Anti-Semitism
New York, NY, November 5, 2003 … Concerned with the ongoing surge in hateful anti-Semitic images in the Muslim and Arab press – a problem compounded by the debut last week of an anti-Jewish series on Arab satellite television – the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued the first in a new series of reports documenting the extent of this "troubling and worsening problem."
Released in conjunction with ADL's 90th Annual National Commission Meeting in New York City, the ADL report Anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim World: October 2003 exposes anti-Semitic articles and cartoons appearing during the 10-week period ending October 31 in Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
"Anti-Semitism in the Arab world has always been troubling, but now it is a worsening problem. The failure of the international community and Arab nations to address this problem is serious," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and author of the new book Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism (HarperSanFrancisco, 2003). "The fact that we are dealing with a phenomenon that is not on the fringes, but in the mainstream of many Arab and Muslim countries, makes the danger very great and immediate. The anti-Semitic images are especially of concern because in Arab nations with low levels of adult literacy, people are getting daily doses of anti-Jewish stereotypes through the cartoons."
Copies of the League's report are being distributed on Capitol Hill, and ADL communicated its concerns this week to Secretary of State Colin Powell, urging the United States to press the issue with those Muslim and Arab governments whose media regularly promote and rationalize anti-Semitism. The report is the first in a new series of reports in a broader effort by ADL – a leader at the forefront of exposing anti-Semitism in the Arab world – to demonstrate to world leaders and diplomats how serious and prevalent anti-Semitism is in Muslim and Arab nations.
Anti-Semitic images in the Muslim and Arab media demonize Jews as animals, compare Jews and Israelis to Nazis using symbols such as the swastika, parrot conspiracy theories of Jews wanting to "control the world" and alleging "Jewish control" of the U.S. government. The Arab media frequently repeat the medieval blood libel charge and call up sinister stereotypical images of Jews as hooked nosed caricatures with black coats, hats and skullcaps. Some articles attempt to deny or diminish the extent of Jewish suffering in the Holocaust. Others spread conspiracy theories about Jewish or Israeli involvement in 9/11.
- In Lebanon, Al-Manar TV, a satellite station operated by the terrorist group Hezbollah, has begun airing a multi-part anti-Semitic series based on the infamous 19th Century anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The series, titled "The Diaspora" is being aired during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at a time when TV viewership peaks throughout the Middle East.
- The Muslim and Arab media used the deadly attack on the American convoy in Gaza to spread dangerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Editors and columnists for the daily Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "and his generals" orchestrated the attacks, which killed three Americans. The director of the Voice of Palestine radio went further, suggesting that the bombing was carried out by the Israeli government in an effort to "expand its war of genocide." And the English-language Arab News in Saudi Arabia featured a virulently anti-Semitic cartoon, with a menacing stereotypical Jew in black hat placing a flower on a dead American while holding a bloodied knife behind his back.
- Conspiracy theories about Jewish or Israeli complicity in the September 11 terrorist attacks continue to appear in mainstream Arab newspapers. On October 29, 2003 the Qatari daily newspaper Al-Watan featured an anti-Semitic cartoon repeating the Big Lie. The image shows a Jewish Star of David crashing through three skyscrapers in Gaza, as a Palestinian Arab thinks to himself, "Now we know who committed September 11."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.