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•    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
•    Reprinting Western Anti-Semitic Tracts
•    Anti-Semitic/Anti-Jewish Literature with Islamic Roots
•    Literature Based on Mixed Sources

A huge wave of anti-Semitic literature continues to sweep the Arab and Islamic world.

The current profusion of anti-Semitic literature in the Arab world is far from a new-born phenomenon, having deep roots that go back to the rise of Nazism in Germany and the period following the Arab defeat in the 1948 war against Israel.

Since the Iranian Revolution and the spread of extremist Islam in the region, anti-Semitic books with Islamic roots have boomed. Alongside continued “imports” of anti-Semitic European
“classics”, a “local produce” of anti-Semitic literature spiced with Islamic content is flourishing, and is being exported to Muslim communities in the Western world, including in the UK and the United States, and Islamic countries outside the immediate boundaries of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

In this literature, the boundaries and distinctions between Israel, Zionism and Judaism have deliberately become totally blurred. Israel was and still is, from the anti-Semitic Arab and Muslim viewpoint, the “front line” of the Jewish people and Zionist movement worldwide, which support it and empower it to confront the Arab and Islamic world. (1)

What are the objectives of the Arab/Muslim regimes and the academic researchers, clerics and politicians, who support this “hate industry” of anti-Semitic literature? Why is it that so much energy is spent on pseudo-scientific and pseudo-religious research, based on forgery, prejudices and endlessly recycled and unfounded nonsense? As in the past, the contemporary “hate industry” constitutes an effective means of mobilizing popular support in the hands of dictatorships striving to channel the feelings of embitterment and frustration of their impoverished and suffering populations. It also serves as a valuable tool, among a host of others, used in the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian struggle; and it reflects the basic unwillingness to accept the existence of the State of Israel and the challenge posed by the Zionist Jewish state in the very midst of the Arab and Muslim world.

One should by no means underestimate the significance of this widespread “hate industry” and the damage caused by it in the short and the long term. This literature does not remain confined to mosques and university campuses. It reaches far beyond the circles of dubious intellectuals and extremist clerics. It enjoys widespread circulation and popularity throughout the Arab and Muslim world as well as the Muslim communities in Europe and the Western world.

It is therefore not surprising that during the last decade, books such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion appeared in updated editions in Arab and Muslim countries, as part of a new “rage” of anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish publications. New editions have been released in Egypt (1994), in Iran (1994), and in Lebanon (2000), and “exported” to the Palestinian authority and the Israeli Arab communities, as well as to Arab and Muslim countries, where they served and still serve elements who oppose peace and normalization.

This “hate industry” may serve to justify or even encourage Palestinians or other Muslims to engage in murderous terrorist attacks against Israelis and Jews. The anti-Semitic literature points to the “Jewish danger” as the main threat to Islam, to which holy war (jihad) is the only response. It sometimes goes as far as explicitly advocating violence and murderous attacks against Jews. Potential terrorists are nurtured by anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish propaganda originating from Islamic extremism, which portrays the Jews as descendants of apes and pigs, worshippers of the calf and of Satan, and cursed, unclean and impious people, whose ambition is to desecrate mosques. In some cases Islamic anti-Semitism has been seen to join forces with “mainstream anti-Semitism”: some suicide bombers were found to have kept copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and were obviously convinced they were conducting a struggle against a Jewish world-embracing conspiracy that poses a direct threat to the Muslim nations. (2)

1 - Yossef Bodanksy, Islamic Anti-Semitism as a Political Instrument (Tel Aviv: Tamus, 2000) page 46 (in Hebrew)
2 - Hadassah Ben-Itto, The Lie that Wouldn’t Die – A Hundred Years of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Tel Aviv: Dvir Publishing, 1998) pp 338-339. (in Hebrew)
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