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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:

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March 13, 2015 1

Under Attack, ISIS Threatens Jews and Israel

Screenshot from the ISIS video

Screen­shot from the ISIS video

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) increas­ingly finds itself under attack in Iraq and Syria, it has used the mur­der of an indi­vid­ual it alleges was a Mossad spy to threaten Jews and Israel and thereby attempt to rally its supporters.

Anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sen­ti­ments are reg­u­larly uti­lized as tools by ter­ror­ist groups includ­ing ISIS to build sup­port and mobi­lize followers.

The mur­der is depicted in a video with nar­ra­tion promis­ing to con­quer Jerusalem, prais­ing the killing of Jews, and refer­ring to anti-Semitic vio­lence in France. Like the threats ISIS issued against Israel this sum­mer, it main­tains that the group is cur­rently occu­pied in Syria and Iraq but aspires to attack Israel in the future.

Some quotes from the video include:

  • “O Jews, Allah has gifted us with killing your fol­low­ers in your own strong­hold in France”
  • “As for the near-term, you will wit­ness the legions of the Khi­lafa pound­ing your lands and your fortresses. They will lib­er­ate Jerusalem from your filth, by Allah’s permission”
  • “Today we say to you, the Islamic con­quests have begun, and the Jews have become fright­ened because the promise is near.”
  • “So we fight in Iraq and our eyes are on Jerusalem”

The video’s vic­tim, an Arab-Israeli named Mohamed Musal­lam, is shot on cam­era by a boy who appears to be between 10 and 12 years old. Both the boy and the man super­vis­ing him are appar­ently French cit­i­zens, accord­ing to offi­cials and news reports. Some experts believe that the man is Sabri Essid, report­edly the half-brother of Mohammed Merah. Merah is respon­si­ble for a 2011 shoot­ing in a Jew­ish school in Toulouse, France, that left four dead, includ­ing three children.

At its con­clu­sion, the video also names 13 other indi­vid­u­als, all of whom have Arab names, who it claims are spies for Israel. Sev­eral appear to be Musallam’s fam­ily mem­bers, includ­ing his father and brother. The video pro­vides their names and maps their addresses. It also pro­vides sev­eral pic­tures for most of the indi­vid­u­als it named. This infor­ma­tion was reposted in a JustPaste.it doc­u­ment that was also shared on Twitter.

Accord­ing to his fam­ily, Musal­lam had trav­eled to Syria to join ISIS but later changed his mind and wanted to leave the group.

An ISIS supporter on Twitter wrote "Here is teh good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomorrow-God's willing - those cubs will kill the Jews."

An ISIS sup­porter on Twit­ter wrote “Here is the good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomor­row — God will­ing — those cubs will kill the Jews.”

Some ISIS sup­port­ers attempted to ensure the video was seen by Israelis by pro­mot­ing the link with a trend­ing Hebrew-language hash­tag that trans­lates to “the end that they don’t tell you.”

ISIS sup­port­ers online also responded to the video with addi­tional anti-Semitic sen­ti­ments. One sup­porter, for exam­ple, tweeted, “For those who said why don’t you fight Israel. Here is the good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomor­row — God will­ing — those cubs will kill the Jews.” The term cubs is a ref­er­ence to youth being indoc­tri­nated to sup­port ISIS, such as the boy in the video. ISIS mil­i­tants are some­times referred to as lions.

ISIS and its sup­port­ers have used anti-Semitism and threats against Israel to appeal to fol­low­ers on mul­ti­ple occa­sions, includ­ing through  threats against Israel this sum­mer, a video issued in June 2014 that threat­ened Jews, and in a promi­nent speech by ISIS spokesman Mohammed al-Adnani that alleged Jews con­trol U.S. for­eign pol­icy and are respon­si­ble for Amer­i­can inter­ven­tion in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS sup­port­ers have also recently estab­lished a cyber-alliance with anti-Israel hack­ers in an attempt to increase cyber-attacks on behalf of ISIS.

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March 11, 2015 0

For Many Israeli Voters, It’s “The Economy, Stupid”

On March 17, Israelis will flock to the polls in order to elect their Knes­set mem­bers and Prime Min­is­ter. Being a rel­a­tively young demo­c­ra­tic state at the heart of the Mid­dle East, Israel faces chal­lenges in var­i­ous spheres – secu­rity, soci­ety, econ­omy, health, edu­ca­tion etc. And while secu­rity has tra­di­tion­ally been the focus of Israeli elec­tions, — and cer­tainly leads in the head­lines abroad – in recent years Israeli vot­ers and can­di­dates have shifted their focus to the economy.

This new focus comes in the after­math of the 2011 social protest in Israel when hun­dreds of thou­sands of Israelis took to the streets in protest of the cost of liv­ing, and the result­ing mete­oric rise in the 2013 elec­tions of the Yesh Atid party, who ran with the motto “Where’s the money?”

IsraelEvent_candidate_graphic

In the cur­rent cam­paign, eco­nomic issues have taken hold.  In addi­tion to Yesh Atid, for­mer Likud MK Moshe Kahlon estab­lished his Kulanu party, focus­ing almost exclu­sively on the finan­cial hard­ships of daily Israeli life. Sim­i­larly, the ultra-orthodox Shas and Yahad par­ties, which have tra­di­tion­ally stressed eco­nomic issues, are also cam­paign­ing  on these same cost of liv­ing issues.

In a Chan­nel 2 poll from two months ago, 57% of respon­dents said that eco­nomic issues would guide what party they voted for, com­pared to 25% who said they would be guided by secu­rity poli­cies.  Sim­i­larly, a poll pub­lished on The Marker web­site found that 61.5% of the peo­ple regarded cost of liv­ing as the main cam­paign issue, while 28% viewed the strength­en­ing of Israel’s deter­rence and secu­rity as the core issue.  In media inter­views,  “unde­cided” vot­ers say most of their ques­tions and con­cerns relate to the social and finan­cial gaps in soci­ety and the high cost of living.

As Yesh Atid chair Yair Lapid said a num­ber of days ago: “the elec­tions are over the shop­ping cart”, mean­ing how Israeli afford their daily lives, and less about secu­rity chal­lenges they may face in the future.

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