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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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May 19, 2016

Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Exhibition Opens

Iran’s newest “Holocaust contest” exhibition opened on May 14 in a gallery in Tehran. According to Iranian news reports, the contest received over 864 submissions from participants around the world.  Of those, 150 cartoons from 50 countries were accepted, with representation of cartoonists from Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Peru, Syria, Turkey and Yemen, among others.

Contest organizer Masoud Shojai Tabatabaei insisted the event was not to deny or celebrate the Nazi Holocaust, but to call out the “Holocaust” being witnessed with “the big killings by the Zionist regime in Gaza and Palestine.”Iranian Holocaust Cartoon

Of course this is not the first such contest held in Iran, nor the first time the Iranian government and its organs have politicized, denied and abused the memory of the Holocaust and its victims.

In the exhibition, the cartoons are divided into two themes. The first relate to the Holocaust; the second compare Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Hitler. Photos from the exhibition reveal cartoons featuring swastikas and other anti-Semitic imagery.

The contest has earned the condemnation of the State Department (“abhorrent”), UNESCO (“goes against the universal values of tolerance and respect”) and the German Foreign Ministry (“the murder of 6 million men, women and children during the Holocaust, for which we Germans bear guilt and responsibility, must not be abandoned to ridicule”).

The contest winners will be announced on May 30.

If you’re wondering how much one can earn from a cartoon lampooning or diminishing an act which killed six million Jews, it is reported that the winning cartoon will be awarded a sum of $12,000.

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November 13, 2015

A Religious Ruling Forbidding the Killing of Jews Sparks Controversy

A  recent video featuring a Muslim religious leader issuing a ruling forbidding the killing of Jews has sparked controversy on social media. The video shows Jordanian Salafi Sheik Ali Al-Halabi giving a lesson to a group of students. One of the students says to the Sheik: “The Jews in Palestine – some say it is permissible to kill them under any circumstances.” The Sheik replies: “One who protects you, provides you with electricity and water, and transfers money to you; one for whom you work and whose money you earn – you will double-cross him, even if he were a Jew?! This sort of killing is permissible during confrontation, during a declared war, whereas when there’s mutual trust and you double-cross and kill him – this is not permissible.”

The student then asks if this also applies to armed soldiers walking in the street, to which the Sheik replies “The same answer. Let me ask you a question: ‘Does a gunman walking in the street kill every Muslim he sees?” The student replies “No.”

Another student asks the Sheik if it were true that they [Israelis/Jews] don’t attack unless attacked first? The Sheik answers that while he didn’t know, that is what “the brothers in Palestine informed us.” However, the Sheik adds, “this general ruling – one shouldn’t think we thus defend the detested Jews, but this is the reality. Otherwise, if they killed anyone they saw, no one would remain in Palestine.”

Headline: "A Salafi Sheik in Jordan forbids killing the Occupation's soldiers!"

Filastin newspaper (Gaza), November 3, 2015 Headline: “A Salafi Sheik in Jordan forbids killing the Occupation’s soldiers!”

Perhaps unsurprising, the Sheik’s comments sparked a wave of angry reactions on Facebook, where the Sheik was targeted with hateful posts including: “His face indicates he is of Jewish origin,” “This garbage, who refers to them as sheiks?,” “God’s curse upon you and your likes, it is not permissible to kill the Zionists because they transfer you money and food,” “I spit on sheiks, shave off your beard and make it a broom for the toilet,” “It is permissible to kill you, may God kill you and your likes”.

Following the angry reaction to his comments, Sheik Al-Halabi clarified his ruling, saying “The Jews are usurping occupiers, a double-crossing and treacherous people who are deceptive and cunning. They killed the messengers and the prophets … Jihad against the Jews is an obligatory one, incumbent upon every Muslim state and upon every Muslim who accepts Allah as his Lord and Islam as his religion.”

Another religious leader, Sheik Abu Himam, who was present at Al-Halabi’s lesson, also renounced the prohibition against killing Jews. In a November 7th video, Sheik Abu Himam says: “I emphasize and reiterate that it is permissible to kill the Jewish occupier, and that it is legitimate for our people in Palestine to defend [themselves] in every means and in every way which enables them to repel this enemy and kill them to the extent that they can.” He adds that “Our lofty and sublime Salafi method is known for its fidelity to those who believe and for being devoid of polytheism, atheism, and oppression, first and foremost of which are the descendants of apes and pigs, the Jews.”

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