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July 1, 2016

Iranian Commemoration of Al-Quds Day Includes Anti-Semitic and Harsh Anti-Israel Expressions

Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, which takes place on the last Friday of Ramadan, was initiated in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic revolution in Iran, as a show of solidarity with the Palestinians and to assert the Islamic claim over Jerusalem. While events are held around the world, in Iran, it is often marked by a hateful demonstration of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment, manifest in government organized rallies and other activities. Before this years’ Al Quds day (July 1), Iran’s leadership rallied the country.  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei called its commemoration and support for the oppressed Palestinians an important religious duty.

The Islamic Propagation Coordination Council in a statement called for widespread participation in Quds Day demonstrations and asked them to repeat the same slogans “Death to America, Death to Israel and Death to international Zionism and Imperialism.” It was reported that in one Quds Day demonstration, placards were held up which called for Israel’s destruction by the year 2040, and people chanting “Death to America” threw stones at a mock Statue of Liberty. In advance of Al Quds day, Iran’s Fars news agency published a wave of harsh anti-Semitic and anti-Israel cartoons, some with classical anti-Semitic themes, such as Jewish world domination, depicting the world under the control of a Jewish/Israeli octopus, worm or spider:

Others are of a more anti-Israel nature, yet similarly conspiratorial in that they imply Israel is a part of a broader, if not global, U.S. plot. One depicts Israel as a dog operated by the U.S. against Gaza, while another shows the U.S. and an Arab figure – most probably representing the Saudi royal family who are bitter rivals of the Islamic Republic – forming together a Star of David, as though they are working in the service of Israel and the Jews.

Other cartoons depict an Israel on the verge of destruction.  One depicts an Israeli figure running away just before a dam with a Star of David collapses, as a result of a mass of people, with the caption “Death to Israel”. Another cartoon shows an Israeli soldier drowning in blood represented by the red part of the Palestinian flag.

Other cartoons demonize Israel by deforming the appearances of an Israeli soldier shown with satanic ears and with teeth shaped like nuclear missiles, while another of former Israeli president Shimon Peres depicts him as a demonic figure.

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June 16, 2016

Arabic-Language Social Media Glorify Tel Aviv Terror Attack

On Wednesday June 8th, two Palestinian terrorists opened fire in the Tel Aviv Sarona market, killing 4 Israelis and wounding another 6. This was the latest in a wave of Palestinian terror attacks against Israel that began in September 2015.

Shortly after the hideous attack, hash tags celebrating and glorifying it appeared on Arabic-language social media, including “The Ramadan Operation”, “The Tel Aviv Operation” and “The Carlo Salvo”, a reference to the Carlo machine gun which was used in the attack.

Cartoons and images circulating on social media referenced the fact that the attack coincided with Ramadan in order to give it religious significance. They suggested the attack was analogous to breaking the Ramadan fast, and used the slogan “We Were their Fast Breaking”  or “They Were Our Fast Breaking” (verbatim translation: “they broke the fast on/against us”).

While it is unclear how widespread these cartoons are, they do highlight a disturbing phenomenon of terrorists and their actions being glorified across social media. Here are a few examples of cartoons posted on Twitter:

Lieberman and Bibi

This cartoon is entitled “The Tel Aviv Operation” shows Israeli PM Netanyahu and Defense Minister Lieberman crying, while Netanyahu is saying that “They fasted and fasted” and Lieberman is responding “And broke the fast on us”.

Bullet

This cartoon shows a traditional Ramadan “Qatayif” dessert for breaking the fast, which is filled with a bullet.

While some more general images didn’t include direct reference to the attack, they were still categorized under the hash tag “The Ramadan Operation”. One such example showed an ultra-orthodox Jew with two rifles pointed to his head, with the caption “Blood=Blood”, “#kill-them”, “Death to settlers”. Another portrayed Israel as the “mother of terrorism”, showing it breastfeeding the Devil.

Blood

Israel as terrorist

 

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May 11, 2016

Iran’s Second International Holocaust Cartoon Exhibition Opens On May 14

On May 14, 2016, the second international Holocaust Cartoon Contest exhibition will open in Iran, with the first place winner – reportedly to be announced in June – receiving a large cash prize. According to reports in the Iranian press, the May 14th date was chosen to coincide with Nakba Day (catastrophe day), the term used by Palestinian to refer to the events surrounding Israel’s independence in 1948.

The contest reportedly received over 800 submissions from artists in 50 countries, and the exhibition will feature 100 works, as well as 50 profile cartoons on the subject of “Netanyahu”, a reference to the Israeli Prime Minister.

Auschwitz TracksDome of the Rock

 

 

 

 

 

In a recent New Yorker magazine interview, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denied accusations that the Holocaust contest is supported by the Iranian government. However, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute, the secretary of the NGO responsible for contest Massoud Shojaei Tabatabaei stated that the contest organizers cooperate with the Iranian Ministry of Culture, and that everyone in the Iranian regime “knows that this exhibition is highly respected.”

Iran held its first Holocaust cartoon contest back in 2006 under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, receiving 204 entries from Iran and around the world. During his tenure as President, Ahmadinejad repeatedly used his position to promote Holocaust denial, a practice that continues to this day in parts of Iran. The 2006 contest’s winning submission depicted Israel constructing a wall, painted with an image of the infamous railway leading to the gates of Auschwitz, around the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem. Other winners included images of Palestinians in concentration camp garb, the “myth of the gas chambers” and a Holocaust museum in the shape of a swastika.

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