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June 17, 2015

White House Hosts Conference on Combating International LGBT Hate Crimes


On June 12, the White House hosted a “Conversation on Combating Bias-Motivated Violence against LGBT Persons Around the World.”  Bias-motivated violence against LGBT individuals remains disturbingly prevalent, as documented by a May 2015 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics Act report.  The problem is compounded by inconsistent definitions of hate crime and inadequate hate crime data collection efforts, according to a 2013 ADL/Human Rights First report on hate crimes in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) region.

Randy Berry, the State Department’s Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons,announced a number of new Administration initiatives at the conference, which fell during LGBT Pride Month.  He highlighted existing partnerships and pledged to expand international law enforcement training and technical assistance, as well as efforts to empower civil society and LGBT education and advocacy organizations. The Administration will continue to draw on existing expertise across the US Government to enable organizations and agencies abroad to request assistance to launch new local and national initiatives.

The White House program included panels focused on the impact of community-based organizations, the role of law enforcement and the judiciary, and government actions and best practices – which was moderated by ADL Washington Counsel Michael Lieberman.  The meeting built on a December 2011 Presidential Memorandum on “International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons.” Federal agencies – especially USAID, the Justice Department, and the State Department – have done a lot of work on the issue.  The State Department released a report in May 2014 detailing its progress on carrying out the President’s Memorandum.

ADL works to address discrimination and violence against LGBT individuals in the United States and abroad, filing amicus briefs in Supreme Court cases, conducting workshops and training for educators and law enforcement officials, and encouraging the collection of hate crime statistics that help local and federal law enforcement track and address this issue. ADL representatives also helped craft the seminal OSCE publication, Hate Crime Laws: A Practical Guide, and maintain relationships with many human rights groups to track anti-Semitism, hate crimes, and violence and discrimination against LGBT persons at home and abroad.  ADL Washington Office Director Stacy Burdett, who also attended the conference, leads that work.

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July 1, 2014

Iran Broadcasting Enters Ramadan With Anti-Semitism


Screen shot from IRINN documentary aired June 30, 2014

In the lead up to the start of the month-long Muslim holiday Ramadan, which is often characterized with high television viewership following the break of the day’s fast, Iran’s broadcasting authority, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), has aired interviews and documentaries promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of Jewish control over Hollywood and a nefarious Jewish-Zionist plan to use sorcery against Iran.

IRIB is the state-run broadcaster in Iran that uses its media platform to promote the regime’s anti-Israel and anti-Semitic ideology to the public. In the past, IRIB has used the Ramadan holiday and the high nightly television viewership to broadcast anti-Semitic films and television series.

In an interview with a Tehran University professor and Islamic scholar Valiollah Naghipourfar on June 27, 2014, a series of outlandish anti-Semitic conspiracies were made accusing Jews of using sorcery and witchcraft. When asked by the interviewer on IRIB’s Channel 1 if Iran’s enemies can use jinns, supernatural beings in Islamic theology (known as ‘genies’ in the Western lexicon), to gather intelligence and spy on Iran, Naghipourfar responded that, “Jews have a very strong connection with jinns and sehr [magic].” Naghipourfar added that the majority of Jews are “sorcerers” who can send jinns to gather intelligence and spy on Iran on behalf of the Israeli government.

Three days later, IRIB’s 24-hour news network, Islamic Republic of Iran News Network (IRINN), aired a short documentary, called “Zionist Aspirations to Control the West.” The documentary promoted anti-Semitic canards of alleged Zionist and Jewish control of U.S. politics and policies, Hollywood, and academia.

The documentary employed the terms “Zionist” and “Jewish” interchangeably, claiming that one of President Obama’s biggest supporters is Goldman Sachs, “America’s largest banking network that has no non-Jewish owners and who are all Zionists and supporters of Israel.” The documentary also shows a graphic of the globe with a Star of David superimposed on it followed by the logo of AIPAC, claiming that the most powerful lobby in the U.S. “works for the interests of another country and everyone knows which one.” Pictures of several high-ranking officials in global finance, such as former chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke and former IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, were depicted as the Jewish hands in control of the global economy.

Interspersed with scenes from Schindler’s List, the documentary also claimed that Jewish and Zionist control of Hollywood have built their stature by exploiting the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, comparing it to when “the Children of Israel built the golden calf during Moses’ absence and began worshipping it.” The narrator added that, “Zionist elites even say that non-Jews are not recognized as human beings and only Jews have importance.”

The month of Ramadan is a time when many Muslims around the world take time to reflect on their faith through prayer and fasting. Ramadan is also prime time television season for many countries in the Arab and Muslim world when multimillion dollar television series are aired nightly after the end of the fast.

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August 1, 2012

Anti-Semitism Pervasive in Ramadan Television Programs

During Ramadan, the Muslim holy month observed by fasting and prayer, many satellite channels in the Arab world broadcast special programs for the occasion that are rife with anti-Semitism and harsh anti-Israel expressions. These series are generally very popular and receive broader viewership than programs aired throughout the rest of the year.

Here are some examples taken from the more popular shows that have aired since the start of Ramadan this year:

Firqat Naji Attalah

The bank robbers disguise themselves by dressing as Hasidic Jews.

This nightly series is widely aired throughout the Middle East and depicts Israelis in classic anti-Semitic fashion. A Middle East broadcast network, MBC, promoted the show saying it will “surprise the audience with the sweetest jokes about the ‘cheap Jew.’”

The show revolves around the character of Naji Attalah, a diplomat working in the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv who decides to take revenge on Israel by robbing an Israeli bank. A scene in the first episode portrayed an Israeli bank manager speaking Arabic with an Iraqi-Jewish accent. He offers Naji Attalah a cup of coffee that contains little coffee and no sugar. He then attempts to cheat Attalah while counting his money, an attempt to portray an image of the frugal and cheating Jew.

The staff at the Egyptian embassy is portrayed as unhappy about dealing with Jews. While they recognize that they are required to deal with Israelis as part of their job, they are portrayed as being hateful towards them.  In one scene, a driver for the Egyptian embassy exclaims, “When Hamas or Hezbollah launch a missile on them [Israelis], one’s heart jumps out of joy.”

The main character is played by famous Egyptian actor Adil Imam, whose performance has been hailed as an amusing mockery of Jews’ alleged frugality.

Ashab il-Sabt

This bi-weekly show is aired by Ar-Rahma, a Salafist channel based in Egypt that features an anti-Semitic professor at Tanta University in Egypt. The professor, Dr. Mohammed Jalal Idris, allegedly a specialist in Hebrew literature, uses the show as a podium to propagate the conspiracy theories espoused in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and other hateful theories about Judaism.

The program features live call-ins from viewers who ask Idris about Jews and Judaism. In one instance Idris was asked if he knows of a Jewish plan to control the Muslim holy city of Madina. He responded that Israel has submitted a request to Saudi Arabia for compensations worth millions of dollars on behalf of the Jews who lived in Madina 1400 years ago. Idris then added, “Egypt should request compensations from Israel for the gold the Jews stole from Egypt,” referring to the Exodus story in the Bible.

Il Hukm Ba’d il Muzawla

This Candid Camera-style show, which airs on the Egypt-based An-Nahar TV, provokes irrational and blatantly anti-Semitic reactions from its guests. In one episode, for example, a popular Egyptian public figure was informed that he was being interviewed by a French channel. The interviewer pretended that she was an undercover Israeli, gradually slipping into an Israeli accent and asking political questions related to Israel. The interviewee became convinced that he had been set up and attacked the producer, shouting “son of a dirty Jewish mother.” Other guests also have brutally beaten the staff when led to believe they were Jews.


The Hezbollah TV channel, al Manar, is broadcasting a new season of last year’s successful series – “The Victorious.” The series tells the story of the Israeli invasion of South Lebanon and the suffering of the Lebanese people. The narrative is extremely anti-Israel and regularly portrays Israeli commanders as conspiring against the Lebanese leadership and people. In one of the scenes, an Israeli commander says to his colleague: “This is the happiest day – as we ‘finished’ with our enemies in Sabra and Shatila.”

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