Arab Media Blames Jews and Israel for Involvement in Lebanese Assassination
New York, NY, March 1, 2005 … As the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri continues, with world attention refocused on the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, newspapers in the Arab world have zeroed-in on their favorite scapegoats: "The Jews" and Israel.
In recent weeks, the "blame the Jews" drumbeat – a perennial theme in the Arab press – has intensified with editorial cartoons offering up hateful, stereotypical portraits of Jews and Israelis scheming and plotting to destabilize Lebanon and hide the "evidence" of their involvement in the al-Hariri killing, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which monitors anti-Semitism in the Arab media and issues periodic reports on its findings.
"Whenever there is a major event that focuses attention on the Arab world's internal problems, it is commonplace for some in the Muslim and Arab press to focus the blame on Jews and Israel, and that is exactly what is happening now," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "This is the latest example of a trend in the Arab world to portray Jews and Israel as the agents of chaos and destabilization.
"Just like we saw after the 9/11 attacks on America, editorial cartoonists in the Arab media are more interested in spreading warped conspiracy theories blaming their favorite scapegoats – the Jews – than they are on turning the mirror on their own societies," added Mr. Foxman.
Examples of recent editorial cartoons blaming Jews for the Lebanese assassination include:
- In a cartoon labeled, "Investigation committees concerning the assassination of al-Hariri," a blindfolded man with a magnifying glass is on the ground searching for clues. He is surrounded by four Jewish Stars of David. (Ar-Ray, Jordan, February 24, 2005).
- A stereotypical black-hatted Jew is shown running away from a tree, representing Lebanon's national symbol, which has been felled with an ax (Tishrin, Syria, February 17, 2005).
- A large eye labeled "Lebanon" sheds a teardrop for "Hariri" while the world watches. Nearby, smoke rises from a burning pile of trash and forms the Star of David (Al-Watan, Oman, February 15, 2005).
"The Jews in the cartoons are portrayed with the crudest stereotypes imaginable," said Mr. Foxman. "At a time when Israel is seeking to make peace with its neighbors, and of increased hopefulness with the Israeli-Palestinian situation, it is shocking that Jews and Israel are once again in the sights of the Arab media."
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.