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January 22, 2016 2

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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November 17, 2015 1

Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories Crop Up In Wake Of Paris Attacks

In the after­math of the wave of coor­di­nated ter­ror attacks across Paris, con­spir­acy the­o­ries link­ing Jews or Israel with the attacks have begun to sur­face in the U.S and abroad.

al-alam-news-tweet-netanyahu-isis

Tweet from Iran­ian news chan­nel Al-Alam

Sup­posed links between Israel and the Paris attacks have been dis­cussed in inter­na­tional media outlets:

  • Iran’s Fars News Agency (FNA) pub­lished a report on Novem­ber 16 that read in part: “After the ter­ror­ist attacks in Paris, it was once again con­firmed that French Jews were informed that the tragedy would hap­pen. Just as it hap­pened in the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks 14 years ago, when Jews work­ing in the Twin Tow­ers did not attend to work.” The report added that “Zion­ist offi­cials wanted to exploit [the attacks] to achieve their spe­cific goals.” The report listed sev­eral con­spir­a­to­r­ial the­o­ries about Jew­ish respon­si­bil­ity for the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks.
  • On Novem­ber 14, Egypt-based Al-Asima TV inter­viewed Colonel Hatem Saber as an expert on inter­na­tional ter­ror­ism to com­ment on the Paris attacks. Saber sug­gested that Israel stands behind the ter­ror­ist attacks in Paris because France agreed to pro­vide Egypt with arms, which was con­sid­ered threat­en­ing to Israel.
  • A car­toon tweeted by the Iran­ian news chan­nel Al-Alam on Novem­ber 17, shows Israeli PM Netanyahu putting an explo­sive vest on an ISIS ter­ror­ist in the back­drop of the Eif­fel Tower.

    al-arab-tweet-israel-paris-attacks

    Tweet from Qatari news­pa­per Al-Arab

  • A car­toon depict­ing Israel as the dri­ving force behind the attack was pub­lished in Qatar’s Al-Arab news­pa­per on Novem­ber 17 and cir­cu­lated on Twit­ter. It shows Israel as the ulti­mate oper­a­tor of the small fig­ure in the pic­ture, which rep­re­sents terror.

These the­o­ries about the Paris attacks are sim­i­lar to past con­spir­a­cies that have been cir­cu­lated in the Mid­dle East about Israel being behind ISIS.

In the U.S., fringe anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rists, who rarely miss an oppor­tu­nity to exploit tragedies to pro­mote their hatred of Jews, blamed Jews or Israel for the attacks, much as they did after the Jan­u­ary ter­ror attacks in Paris.

  • Mark Glenn, a vir­u­lently anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist, posted an image on his blog The Ugly Truth on Novem­ber 15 of a dog think­ing “All the ISIS guys smell like Mossad” in a post titled “France should have beefed up anti-terror laws.”  In a Novem­ber 16 post on the attacks, Glenn wrote “Until peo­ple begin to grasp this sim­ple fact, that there is no such thing as a ‘good Jew’, and that Judaism–AT ITS CORE AND FROM THE MOMENT OF ITS INCEPTION–is and has been the embod­i­ment of religiously-induced men­tal ill­ness, the world will con­tinue to march at break-neck speed towards its own destruc­tion, the peo­ple of the Mid­dle East being its first vic­tims, and then every­one else, one by one, tak­ing their turn as well.”
  • On Novem­ber 16 in Vet­er­ans Today, a U.S.-based web­site that presents anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries as news, a Pak­istani con­trib­u­tor named Saj­jad Shuakat wrote in an arti­cle titled “Is Israel Behind Paris Attacks?” that “…we are liv­ing in a world of Zionist-controlled media which is very strong and what­ever it release [sic] by con­ceal­ing truth and prop­a­gat­ing Israeli inter­ests as part of the dis­in­for­ma­tion, impress the politi­cians and gen­eral masses in the whole world.”

    mary-hughes-thompson-anti-semitic-tweet

    Retweet from anti-Israel activist Mary Hughes-Thompson

  • Kevin Bar­rett, an anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist and fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to Iran’s Eng­lish lan­guage pro­pa­ganda news net­work, Press TV, wrote a Novem­ber 13 arti­cle in Vet­er­ans Today titled “Another French False Flag?” In the arti­cle Bar­rett states that “Since we now know the Char­lie Hebdo attack was a…false flag by the usual sus­pects (NATO hard­lin­ers and Zion­ists), can we safely make the same assump­tion about these new Fri­day the 13th Paris atroc­i­ties? I think we can.” Bar­rett added “The first ques­tion, as always, is: Who gains? And the answer, as always, is: Author­i­tar­ian insid­ers. Zion­ists. Mil­i­tarists. Islam­o­phobes. New World Order-Out-Of-Chaos freaks.”
mary-hughes-thompson tweet

Tweet from anti-Israel activist Mary Hughes-Thompson

At least one anti-Israel activist also linked Jews and Israel to the attacks:

  • On Novem­ber 14, Anti-Israel activist Mary Hughes-Thompson, co-founder of the Free Gaza Move­ment, tweeted that “I haven’t accused Israel of involve­ment. Still, Bibi [Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu] is upset about the Euro­pean set­tle­ment boy­cott. So who knows.” She also posted a car­toon on her Twit­ter page depict­ing an anti-Semitic car­i­ca­ture of a Jew­ish man say­ing “Merci [Thank you]” to an ISIS fighter, with the com­ment that “Every­thing is work­ing out as planned. Soon those White goyim will be on their knees.”

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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.

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