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August 23, 2016

Arab Media Outlets Falsely Label 1969 Al-Aqsa Mosque Arsonist as “Jewish”

August 21st marked the 47th anniversary of the arson attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by Australian Christian fundamentalist Denis Michael Rohan. Rohan said that God had asked him to set fire to the site, saying he would be made a “king of Jerusalem.” The Mosque was seriously damaged by the fire, and Rohan was tried, found insane, and committed to a mental institution. Temple Mount

While it has been well-documented that Rohan was a Christian, some Arab media outlets have described him as Jewish and an Israeli settler, seemingly in an effort to blame Jews for being behind the arson attack.

Here are some examples:

Al-Quds, editorial, August 22, 2016 (Palestinian Authority)

“Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of the crime of the arson of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque by Australian Jew Denis Michael (Rohan). He had the audacity to carry out his loathsome act under the cover of the Israeli occupation authorities, in an attempt on their part to try to find out the Palestinian reaction, as well as that of the Arab and Islamic Worlds. This, as a step in a series of subsequent steps over the course of years – no, decades – leading to its destruction and the building of the alleged Temple in its place.”

Filastin, “Arson of Al-Aqsa No. 47”, by Yussuf Rizqa, August 22, 2016 (Gaza)

“Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of Denis Michael’s arson of the Al-Qibli (Chapel) part of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. Denis Michael was a fanatic Australian Jew, who had come from Australia to occupied Palestine with the objective of deliberately setting Al-Aqsa Mosque on fire.”

Al-Masriyun, August 21, 2016 “The Al-Aqsa Fire … the Fire is Still Burning” (Egypt)

“On the morning of August 21st 1969, two years of the occupation of Jerusalem, Australian Jew Michael Denis Rohan set fire to the Qibli Chapel on the Temple Mount…”.

Al-Jazeera, August 21, 2016 (Qatar)

On the section dedicated to The Arab Reality show on Al-Jazeera, it says the following:

“It should be noted that The Arab Reality episode coincided with the 47th anniversary of  the burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque at the hand of an Israeli settler who carried out his act, leaving the successive Israeli governments the task of completing the Judaization of the holy city.”

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August 22, 2016

Middle East Press Review: July-December 2015

Anti-Semitism is widespread throughout the Arab and Muslim world, manifested in many segments of society. The Anti-Defamation League monitors and documents anti-Semitic cartoons and articles, which appear daily in the Arab media. This publication is the latest compilation of select anti-Semitic caricatures and themes, and includes examples from July-December 2015.

Newspapers across the Arab and Muslim world continue to feature anti-Semitic caricatures and themes, with stereotypical depictions of Jews that include big noses, black coats and hats. Many promote age-old global Jewish conspiracy theories, including control of the US and international governments, blood libel, the use of animal imagery – rodents, dogs, snakes, and octopuses – and Nazi analogies to portray Israel and Jews as sinister predators.

Filastin, August 2, 2015 (Gaza)

Filastin, August 2, 2015 (Gaza)

A number of current events themes are highlighted in this compilation, including:

  • Cartoons relating to the horrific Duma murder of Palestinian infant Ali Dawabsheh by Jewish extremists.
  • Cartoons accusing Jews of being behind global instability, including Jews depicted as responsible for the terrorism and genocide being perpetrated by ISIS.
  • Cartoons depicting the recent Palestinian violence in Israel – the so-called “knife Intifada” – with Israelis in stereotypical Jewish garb as victims of Palestinian stabbings.

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January 22, 2016

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is Still…..A Jew

Saud Al Shureem anti-semitic Tweet

Saud al-Shuraim’s anti-Semitic tweet about the Jewish-Iranian alliance

Over the past month, escalating tension in the Middle East between Iran and the Arab Gulf States helped fuel a resurgence of anti-Semitic statements and conspiracy theories about a supposed link between Israel and Jews to Iran.

Angered by Iran’s increasing influence in the region, prominent Arab figures including politicians, religious leaders and journalists have accused Jews and Israel of secretly supporting Iran and Shi’a Muslims in their war against the Sunni Muslim world.

Just last week, prominent Saudi scholar, Saud al-Shuraim, an Imam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca wrote the following statement on his Twitter account: “It is no wonder the Safavids [Iranians] ally with Jews and Christians against Muslims because history testifies that this is the case. What is strange are the minds which took too long to understand this fact.”

Some went as far as accusing “the Jews” of orchestrating Iran’s war against the Sunni Muslim world. Jordanian online news agency Ammon News published an article on January 19, titled “Iran started its holy war on the Sunnis with the blessing of the Jews.”

The online publication, Al Khaleej Affairs, which specializes in Arab Gulf States’ Affairs, interviewed Iraqi Sunni activist Falih Al Shibly on January 21 to talk about the Iranian involvement in Iraq. In the interview Al Shibly claimed, “Unfortunately, there is ignorance in the region about the Jewish supported Persian plot.” He added that “This plot is against all Arab countries from the Arabian West to the ‘Arabian’ Gulf.”

Other anti-Semitic accusations included conspiracy theories that the Jewish lobby in the U.S. is responsible for driving America’s policy in Iran’s best interests. Dubai Police Chief, Dahi Khalfan, whose bizarre statements in the past included accusing the Jews of being linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, claimed on January 18 that President Obama is of Shi’a roots and “the sons of Zion” [the Jews] helped him  reach presidency to “bring Iran and America closer.” Khalfan’s statements were widely circulated in the Arab world.

Such a claim about Jewish support for Iran was the subject of several tweets by former Manager of the Dubai Government Media Office, Dherar Belhoul Al Falasi, on January 11. He claimed that Jews revere Iran because it is considered a “holy” country in Judaism. He wrote “Jews revere Iran more than ‘Palestine.’”

The terrorist organization ISIS is capitalizing on this anti-Semitic trend as well. The featured article in their most recent English-language magazine Dabiq issue included a 14-page screed linking Jews and Shi’as. The back cover of the magazine also featured a full page image of Jews praying in a synagogue with a clear reference to the Jews of Isfahan in Iran.

This anti-Semitic rhetoric is more than just a delusional perspective. It is a tool that has been used time and again to galvanize Arab public opinion.

These conspiracy theories also fail to recognize both the very real threat Iran represents to the Jewish state and the centrality of anti-Semitic propaganda in the ideology embraced by Iran’s ruling regime. It is ironic that such accusations emerge while Iran is organizing  an international cartoon contest–on the Holocaust.

Tension between Iran and the Arab world has a long history, but it has escalated notably over the past few months as a result of the Iran nuclear agreement and growing concern among Arab Gulf States about Iran’s expanding regional influence and its involvement in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Arab world. Both sides have used the media to propagate anti-Semitic accusations against the other through the lens of their own agendas. It seems that  Shi’as  and Sunnis can agree on one thing: blaming the Jews for their problems.

In the past, ADL documented a number of similar conspiracy theories in the Arab world including that ISIS has Jewish roots and that Israel and Jews are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

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