Anti-Semitism in the Egyptian Media (1997)

Images and Accusations
Conspiracy Theories
The Media As Political Instrument

Related ADL Articles:
Anti-Semitism in the Egyptian Media: 2001 Update
Anti-Semitism in Egyptian Media (1998-1999)
Demonization of Israel in the Arab Media
Egyptian Anti-Normalization And Anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism in the Syrian Media
Anti-Semitism in Palestinian Authority

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Caricatures: Der Stürmer on the Nile

Of the many forms of anti-Semitic expressions in the Egyptian media, the most sinister and dangerous is the use of caricatures depicting Jews in classical stereotypes. These cartoons, often boldly displayed on newsstands, can inflame passions in a country where illiteracy is significant and where young people may not read the newspapers, but obtain a clear and distorted impression of Jews from the illustrations.

Such anti-Semitic caricatures in the Arab press invoke stereotypes of the Jew as wicked, dangerous and cunning. They not only reflect some Arab attitudes toward Jews, but they also have the capacity to incite hatred against their Jewish neighbors. The purpose is not only to vilify’ the Jew, it is also to remove any credibility to Israel’s intention to live in peace with its neighbors.

The characterization of Israelis and other Jews in the Egyptian press owes more to the 20th-century images in the Nazi propaganda organ Der Stürmer than any other source. The most common depiction is the stooped, bearded man wearing a black robe and with a long, crooked nose — the same distorted stereotype of a European Jew used by the Nazis and later found in Communist Russia.

During times of political tensions between Israel and Egypt the caricatures are at their most malicious. For instance, the Jew-as-Nazi theme predominated in the spring of 1996 when Israel moved into Lebanon following repeated Hezbollah rocket attacks across Israel’s northern border. At that time, AI-Goumhuriyya showed a cartoon of Hitler shaking Shimon Peres’s hand amid burning buildings with the ground scattered with skulls. Hitler says to Peres, "I made a mistake by not apprising the importance of American support."(cartoon example)

When allegations surfaced in mid-1995 that Israeli troops had killed Egyptian prisoners of war in 1956, Al-Ahram ran a caricature of an Israeli soldier, carrying a flag transformed from the Star of David into a swastika and gunning down unarmed Egyptians. In Al-Goumhuriyya, August 1995, Hitler say’s to retired Israeli General Ariel Sharon as both stand on bones and skulls, "My son, this is a crime that even I didn’t dare to commit." An October 1995 cartoon in the opposition Ros al-Yusuf presents an Israeli soldier, with a swastika overhead, a bloody knife in hand and the dates 1956 and 1967. The soldier holds up a mask of a smiling face of the new Israeli ambassador to Cairo. (cartoon example)

The threat of Jewish-Israeli economic domination is a common theme. (see "Conspiracy Theories") During the Cairo Economic Summit in November 1996, readers of Egypt’s major newspapers were treated to caricatures of a hooknosed, bent, black-clad man entering the Summit with a suitcase labeled "domination plots." The summit hall itself was depicted in the shape of a Star of David.

Accusations of Jewish-Israeli domination of the United States are also constant. (cartoon example) In February 1993 Al-Goumhuriyya showed the stereotypical short, bearded, hooknosed Jew telling U.S. President Bill Clinton, "We don’t want to bother you each time, so why don’t you give us the [U.N.] veto and we’ll use it whenever we need to!" A December 1994 cartoon in AI-Ahram depicts the stereotypical Jew crossing a gulf between occupied and unoccupied land via a bridge made of an American dollar. A May 1995 cartoon in Ros al-Yusuf shows a hooknosed, bearded man running away with Jerusalem, as the United States and other Arab nations look on benignly.

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1997 Anti-Defamation League