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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The Media As Political Instrument:
Delegitimation, Not Normalization

In his 1987 book, Semites and Anti-Semites, the distinguished Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis notes that in regard to the anti-Semitic press in Arab countries, "The demonization of Jews goes further than it had ever done in Western literature, with the exception of Germany during the period of Nazi rule. In most Western countries, anti-Semitic divagations on Jewish history, religion, and literature are more than offset by a great body of genuine scholarship.… In modern Arabic writing there are few such countervailing elements."

In Egypt, the use of vicious anti-Semitic attacks has become an acceptable and familiar element of hostility against Israel. Such overt racist attacks have gone unanswered by the Egyptian intellectual or political leadership. Indeed, the government tolerates and perhaps even sanctions these attacks.

Lewis asks, "Given the scale on which all these activities are taking place, the question is no longer whether some Arab governments are pursuing anti-Semitic policies; the question is, why were these policies adopted, how far have they gone, and how deep is their impact."

With regard to Egypt, the answer to the last question is clear: the demonization of Jews, Judaism and Zionism not only impedes the development of normal Israeli-Egyptian relations and the rooting of the peace process, but is an affront to Jews in other countries as well as enlightened people everywhere who oppose racism.

Egypt and Israel have enjoyed many benefits from their 18-year peace. Egypt itself continues to play a crucial role in facilitating a reconciliation between Israel and Jordan, the Palestinians and the Gulf states. Yet 20 years after Anwar Sadat’s revolutionary visit to Jerusalem, there remains within Egyptian society, on the most basic level, a deep hostility toward Judaism, Jews and Israel. Until these deep-rooted anti-Semitic images and perceptions are corrected, there is little hope that Israel and Egypt will move beyond their "cold peace," toward a reconciliation which is accepted and encouraged by Egyptian society.

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1997 Anti-Defamation League