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November 17, 2015

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.


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.


    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.”


    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

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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March 27, 2015

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:

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