egypt » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘egypt’
August 5, 2015 0

Egypt’s New Interest in its Jewish Past

There has been much dis­cus­sion about  the recent Egypt­ian TV drama The Jew­ish Quar­ter, which depicts the Jew­ish com­mu­nity in Egypt in the 1940s through a love story between a Jew­ish woman and a Mus­lim Egypt­ian army officer.

ADL noted that despite some expec­ta­tions that it would depart from the usual anti-Semitic canards typ­i­cally found in Ramadan-period pro­duc­tions, The Jew­ish Quar­ter divides Egypt­ian Jews into two cat­e­gories:  “good” Jews and “bad” Jew.  The good Jews are loyal to Egypt and sup­port its war against Israel while Zion­ist Jews, are depicted as wicked, liars, evil and try­ing to betray Egypt.

At the same time, as flawed as The Jew­ish Quar­ter is, it appears to reflect a new inter­est among Egyp­tians in its once-thriving Jew­ish community.

Exam­ples include, the 2012 Egyptian-made film, Jews of Egypt , which doc­u­mented the  his­tory of the com­mu­nity and a num­ber of recent arti­cles which have exam­ined the Jews’ his­tor­i­cal role in the country’s success.

the jewish quarter egypt

“No one can deny the role played by Egypt’s Jews through­out its his­tory, a role con­sid­ered vital and impor­tant”, noted one arti­cle pub­lished in Egypt’s Al-Wafd news­pa­per (July 21), adding that “They’ve always been part of Egypt­ian cul­tural and social fab­ric”. Other news­pa­pers go even fur­ther in their superla­tives as they invoke promi­nent Egyptian-Jewish fig­ures from the past, such as leg­endary singer Layla Murad (who later con­verted to Islam and was out­spo­ken in her crit­i­cism of Israel),  a fea­ture about whom was recently pub­lished in the country’s Al-Yawm As-Sabi news­pa­per (July 13): “She is the voice of love in her days, in ours and in every day”, says the arti­cle. “She is capa­ble of bestow­ing upon you pos­i­tive energy through which to face life’s futil­ity; capa­ble of mak­ing you sense the beauty of life; and capa­ble of cre­at­ing a new heart between your ribs, one that will know a new mean­ing of love and life.”

Why is there now this renewed inter­est in Egypt’s Jew­ish com­mu­nity of seven decades ago?  An arti­cle pub­lished (July 18) about The Jew­ish Quar­ter TV series in Egypt’s most widely cir­cu­lated daily – Al-Ahram – sug­gests one pos­si­ble answer, which is that it’s not about the Jews in and of them­selves. Dr. Hala Mustafa writes, “Nat­u­rally, this isn’t a his­to­ri­og­ra­phy of Jew­ish pres­ence in Egypt, but rather a demon­stra­tion of one fea­ture of Egypt­ian cul­tural lib­eral legacy. It is char­ac­ter­ized by diver­sity, wealth and plu­ral­ism in their fullest sense and exceeds the imme­di­ate polit­i­cal con­text. Jews were only part of a big­ger sys­tem which embraced cit­i­zens of non-Egyptian ori­gins and for­eign emi­grants, such as Greeks, Ital­ians, Arme­ni­ans, French and oth­ers. This nat­u­rally led to a mix­ture of West­ern and Ori­en­tal cul­tures, even­tu­ally pro­duc­ing a dis­tinct tol­er­ant Egypt­ian culture.”

It seems that in the midst of Egypt’s tremen­dous insta­bil­ity, with the country’s lead­er­ship mov­ing from sec­u­lar to Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and back again to a sec­u­lar regime; fight­ing Islamic ter­ror in Sinai; strug­gling over the country’s very ethos, the Egypt of the 1940’s sim­ply rep­re­sents a more lib­eral and tol­er­ant coun­try that some long for in these times of reli­gious extrem­ism and Islamic polit­i­cal awakening.

Whether this new inter­est will endure, much less trans­lates to a new approach to Jews and the Jew­ish State, remains to be seen.

Tags: , , , , , ,

March 27, 2015 1

Arab Media Cartoons Relating to the Israeli Elections and Tensions with the US

Fol­low­ing Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu’s elec­tion vic­tory ear­lier this month, and the increas­ing ten­sions in the rela­tion­ship between PM Netanyahu and Pres­i­dent Obama, news­pa­pers across the Arab world pub­lished a num­ber of related anti-Israel and anti-Semitic car­toons. Some rep­re­sent unhap­pi­ness within the Arab world over PM Netanyahu’s vic­tory, por­tray­ing him and the Israeli vot­ers as inher­ently vio­lent and racist, while oth­ers resort to the anti-Semitic stereo­type of Jews and Israel con­trol­ling Pres­i­dent Obama and the US government.

The car­toons reflect a wide­spread view within the Arab world that Israeli elec­tion results rep­re­sent a shift towards a more extreme right-wing stance on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which will ulti­mately result in dam­age to the Pales­tin­ian cause. They also high­light a belief that the rift in US-Israel rela­tions will ulti­mately fail to alter over­all US sup­port of and per­ceived bias towards Israel and its policies.

The fol­low­ing are some exam­ples of the car­toons published:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

February 6, 2015 7

Egyptian Minister Repeats Claim That Jews Created ISIS


An edi­to­r­ial car­toon fea­tured in the Egypt­ian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm on Feb­ru­ary 5, 2015, depicts the Jew­ish meno­rah as part of the Ara­bic word for ISIS (Daish).

Dur­ing a press con­fess in Cairo wel­com­ing the Mufti of Lebanon on Feb­ru­ary 5, the Egypt­ian Min­is­ter of Islamic Endow­ment, Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, repeated the con­spir­a­to­r­ial claim that ISIS not only serves Israeli inter­ests, but that its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, was raised by Jews and Israelis.

When asked about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)’s bar­baric exe­cu­tion of Jor­dan­ian pilot Muaz Kasas­beh, Gomaa said, “There were state­ments made by Israel that ISIS is pro­tec­tion for Israeli national secu­rity because it is the sword that will cut and tear apart the region’s states. Fur­ther­more, reports that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was raised by Jews and Israelis con­firm the size of the con­spir­acy against the region [Islam].”

ADL has pre­vi­ously doc­u­mented the growth of this con­spir­acy, sug­gest­ing that ISIS was cre­ated by the Jews and Zion­ists to tear Islam apart.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,