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August 22, 2016

Middle East Press Review: July-December 2015

Anti-Semitism is widespread throughout the Arab and Muslim world, manifested in many segments of society. The Anti-Defamation League monitors and documents anti-Semitic cartoons and articles, which appear daily in the Arab media. This publication is the latest compilation of select anti-Semitic caricatures and themes, and includes examples from July-December 2015.

Newspapers across the Arab and Muslim world continue to feature anti-Semitic caricatures and themes, with stereotypical depictions of Jews that include big noses, black coats and hats. Many promote age-old global Jewish conspiracy theories, including control of the US and international governments, blood libel, the use of animal imagery – rodents, dogs, snakes, and octopuses – and Nazi analogies to portray Israel and Jews as sinister predators.

Filastin, August 2, 2015 (Gaza)

Filastin, August 2, 2015 (Gaza)

A number of current events themes are highlighted in this compilation, including:

  • Cartoons relating to the horrific Duma murder of Palestinian infant Ali Dawabsheh by Jewish extremists.
  • Cartoons accusing Jews of being behind global instability, including Jews depicted as responsible for the terrorism and genocide being perpetrated by ISIS.
  • Cartoons depicting the recent Palestinian violence in Israel – the so-called “knife Intifada” – with Israelis in stereotypical Jewish garb as victims of Palestinian stabbings.

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August 19, 2016

The Living Memory of a Lynching

How an Injustice Committed Over 100 Years Ago Inspires Our Commitment to Justice Today

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This blog orig­i­nally appeared on Medium

Leo Frank

This week, we mark a somber anniversary of the 101st anniversary of the lynching of Leo Frank, a Jewish businessman sent to Georgia to manage his family’s pencil factory. This lynching took place at a time of rampant anti-Semitism in the South and more broadly in American society. So it was no surprise that when a young Christian girl was found murdered on the property, fingers were pointed at the outsider Frank. Despite a lack of evidence, and in part due to an environment of incitement, Frank was found guilty and sentenced to death.

When the governor of Georgia subsequently commuted Frank’s sentence from capital punishment to life imprisonment, a mob was enraged by this act of mercy for a Jew. At midnight just over 100 years ago, they tore Frank from his prison cell at the Milledgeville State Penitentiary and hung him on a tree in Marietta. Photographers captured the grotesquerie for posterity.

The sham trial and brutal lynching were an injustice and a wound whose pain still sears the Jewish community. It was an isolated incident for the Jewish community, but just one of thousands of lynchings carried out against black Americans during that time, murders that still scar our national psyche. And it was a moment in time that made clear the need for ADL, which had been founded in 1913.

In this moment, our founders huddled in Chicago and laid out a charter for a new organization they called the Anti-Defamation League. They wrote that it would be energized by a simple mission: “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure fair treatment and justice to all.”

These activists set out to address a mission which eventually led ADL to address the systemic discrimination and pervasive prejudice that kept Jews from achieving full equality in the United States. Decades later, this led to the break down of quotas that kept Jews out of higher education and the tearing down of cultural barriers that prevented our community from participating fully in American life. Their passion prompted our work to unmask hate groups and expose bigots. It motivated our commitment to use education to tear out hatred at its roots. It drives our work today to understand anti-Semitism around the world and to use innovation to identify and call out hate in all its forms.

Basically, the ADL could not have saved Leo Frank, but we since have endeavored to build a world where this kind of lynching never again would take place.

In 2016, the American Jewish community certainly has overcome many of the obstacles that once held us back. We now possess a degree of political power and social capital that was unimaginable in the early twentieth century. To a large extent, the open anti-Semitism that was woven into the culture of a prior generation has been pushed out of the realm of polite conversation. But it has not gone away.

Anti-Semitism remains a potent force and a persistent problem in our society, even if it now assumes different forms. In an age of filter bubbles and personal news feeds, self-selecting communities traffic in anti-Semitism and reinforce each other’s conspiracies. We also encounter this hatred in radically different ways on social mediaon our college campuses or even on the wrestling mat in the Olympics.

Indeed, though open anti-Semitism remains largely taboo in the mainstream, we see haters often hiding behind a veneer of ‘political correct’ hostility, directing their animus toward the Jewish state rather than Jews as a religious group. But we recognize the double standards, overt demonization and the denial of the very right of the Jewish state to exist, a phenomenon also known as delegitimization. Despite all the grave injustices in the world, these are tactics only directed at Israel. They are reminders that what we are facing in a rising tide of anti-Zionism is little more than a modern version of the Oldest Hatred.

That is why ADL remains dedicated to our founding purpose. We never will relent in the fight against anti-Semitism. And that is why we also speak out against all forms of bigotry.

Some seek to portray ADL’s one hundred year commitment to fight hatred in all forms as a dilution of our focus. They say that ADL has lost its way. But we are not distracted by armchair critics who mischaracterize our work from the comfort of the sidelines. We know that our case is strengthened when we dare greatly, that we are stronger when we find common cause with others who also face hate.

The pursuit of partners does not mean that we will shy away fighting anti-Semitism whenever it comes from. ADL will continue to call out anyone who peddles in prejudice regardless of their party or station, whether it’s those seeking public office who resort to cartoonish slander or those who traffic in a modern version of the age-old blood libel.

And we will continue to stand by other communities who suffer from hatred and terror. That is ADL stood with the Sikh community after the murder of four worshippers at a Gurdwara in the summer of 2012. That is why in the wake of the massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last year, ADL launched 50 States Against Hate, to ensure that there are adequate hate crimes laws in all 50 states to protect marginalized communities. That is why we supported the LGBT community after the heinous terror attack perpetrated in Orlando earlier this summer. And that is why ADL will call outanti-Muslim bigotry and the worrying increase in violence targeting Muslim communities and places of worship.

Our tradition implores us: “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” On this anniversary, Leo Frank’s memory impels us to ignore the critics and fight ferociously against anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its forms. To paraphrase Dr. King, we recommit to the struggle because the work is not yet done.

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August 8, 2016

Israeli Athletes Encounter Hostility At Rio Olympic Games

The Olympic games, currently taking place in Rio, aim to bring together the best athletes from around the world in the spirit of promoting peace and unity through competitive sports. For Israelis, however, the Olympics will forever be tainted by the 1972 Munich games, where 11 Israeli athletes were brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists. These days, anti-Israel violence at the Olympics has been replaced by politics, with representatives from countries hostile to Israel going to great lengths to avoid any interaction with Israeli athletes.

On Friday, members of the Israeli Olympic delegation were physically blocked from boarding an opening-ceremonies bound bus by the head of the Lebanese delegation, apparently because he didn’t want his team to ride with Israelis. The Lebanese Minister of Youth and Sport praised the delegation head, whose actions were lauded in the Lebanese media, saying his actions were “principled and patriotic.” Following the incident, the head of Lebanon’s Olympic Committee was rebuked by the Olympic organizers.
Israeli Olympic Team

On Sunday, Saudi Judo fighter Joud Fahmy forfeited her first-round match against Christianne Legentil of Mauritius in order to avoid facing Israeli Gili Cohen in the next round (who Fahmy would have faced if she had defeated Legentil). The Saudi Olympic team tweeted that Fahmy withdrew because of “injuries” to her arms and legs, but the Israeli press reported that Fahmy was in fact not hurt and dropped out to avoid competing against Cohen.

A similar incident occurred during the 2012 London Olympics, when Iranian judo champion Javad Mahjoub, who was scheduled to face Israeli Arik Ze’evi, withdrew from competition, claiming health concerns. Mahjoub had previously acknowledged throwing matches to avoid competing against Israeli athletes.

In recent years, countries hostile to Israel, including Kuwait and Malaysia, have denied Israeli athletes visas to participate in international sporting competitions. The most infamous case was from 2009, when the United Arab Emirates denied Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er a visa to compete in an international tennis tournament in Dubai. A number of important tennis figures, including Venus Williams and Andy Roddick (who dropped out in protest), publicly condemned the UAE decision, and Pe’er was allowed to compete the following year, albeit with heavy restrictions.

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