New York, NY, January 8, 2009 … As Israel's operation against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Gaza continues, expressions of anti-Semitism and offensive Holocaust imagery have "reached a fever pitch" in the Arab press, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Newspapers across the Arab and Muslim world have published editorial cartoons, articles and opinion pieces laced with age-old anti-Semitic themes, including blood-libel accusations and ugly stereotypical depictions of demonic large-nosed, bearded Jews plotting to rule the world. The articles and editorial cartoons have appeared in mainstream newspapers from Egypt and Jordan, to Syria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
ADL has released an online slide show of anti-Semitic cartoons on Gaza and a compilation of selected articles from the Arab press.
"The Arab press serves both as a powerful influencer of opinion and as mirror of the larger society, and as the conflict between Israel and Hamas plays out in the daily newspapers, anti-Semitism and Nazi comparisons have reached a fever pitch," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. "In this incendiary environment, where anger at Israel already seethes in the Arab street, cartoonists and editors are doing more than heaping invective on Israel. They are fueling a toxic mix of hatred -- for Israel, for America, for Jews, for the West – by dredging up anti-Semitism in its most lethal and virulent form."
From Riyadh to Damascus and beyond, readers of Arab newspapers are more likely to encounter swastikas and headlines declaiming a Palestinian Holocaust than they are to encounter balanced news, according to ADL, which monitors and translates the Arab and Muslim press from its offices in Israel. Editorial cartoons and banner headlines on the Gaza operation repeatedly draw on analogies to the Holocaust, both by accusing Israel of carrying out a Nazi-like campaign of extermination in Gaza, and by comparing Israelis and Jews to Nazis.
One of the most vicious cartoons, published January 7 in newspapers in Jordan and the U.K., depicted three Israeli leaders in full Nazi regalia under the headline "Israel Has the Reich to Defend Itself." A menorah above the cabal of leaders is emblazoned with a swastika.
Other cartoons show harshly stereotypical Jews dreaming of taking over the world, or controlling the United States government or the United Nations.