New York, NY, April 8, 2004 … On the eve of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's scheduled meeting with President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has issued a new report exposing the use of anti-Semitic caricatures, stereotypes and images in Egypt's media and wider society.
"Anti-Semitism remains deeply ingrained in Egyptian society and continues to be a destabilizing force in the Middle East," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and author of Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism (HarperSanFrancisco, 2003). "In Egypt, anti-Semitism remains virtually unchallenged by government leaders while mainstream publications give voice to the most vicious anti-Semitic caricatures and canards imaginable."
ADL has shared its report with key members of the Bush Administration and members of Congress who serve in leadership roles dealing with foreign affairs and Middle East policy.
According to the report, Anti-Semitism in Egypt: Media and Society, articles and caricatures in the Egyptian media routinely feature anti-Semitic depictions of Jews as stooped, hook-hosed, money-hungry and conspiratorial. Israeli leaders are depicted as Nazis. Articles deny or diminish the Holocaust. Anti-Israel and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories frequently surface, with references to the infamous anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and modern incarnations of the medieval blood-libel charge.
In January 2004, Egypt hosted its annual book fair in Cairo, the largest literary event in the Arab and Muslim world, which attracts thousands of people and includes books from all over the Arab world. Among the books displayed at the fair were those containing overtly anti-Semitic text, Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about Jews.
ADL has met with President Mubarak on several occasions to urge the Egyptian government to speak out against anti-Semitism in media and society. "President Mubarak has shown a disturbing unwillingness to even acknowledge the extent of problem," said Mr. Foxman.
ADL's report documents selected examples of anti-Semitic articles and caricatures that appeared in Egyptian newspapers from July 2003 through February 2004. Several common anti-Semitic themes were apparent, including conspiracy theories of Jews wanting to control the world, Jews controlling the Western governments and Jews controlling the world media; comparisons of Jews and Israelis to Nazis and comparing Zionism to Nazism; illustrations of stereotypical Jews along with Jewish religious symbols, such as the Star of David.