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April 1, 2014

Anti-Semitic Television Series Khaiber Wins Golden Award

Update – April 7, 2014: Khaiber also won the Golden award at Cairo’s Arab Drama Festival on April 6. More than 60 TV shows were featured in the festival.

The anti-Semitic television series Khaiber, which dramatized the subjugation of Jews in Arabia in the 7th century, was recognized with a “Golden Award” at the 13th annual Gulf Radio and Television Festival hosted in Bahrain last week.khaiber-khaybar-golden-award-bahrain

Dr. Samira Ebrahim Bin Rajab, Bahrain’s Minister of State for Media Affairs, presented the first place award to a representative of Echo Media Qatar, the company that produced Khaiber. The award was for best show produced by a private production company.

315 films, television and radio programs produced in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf were submitted to the festival. The slogan for this year’s festival was “Youth are the future of our media.” The festival is organized annually by the Persian Gulf Arab states to promote media cooperation and collaboration.

ADL first raised con­cern about Khaiber and its anti-Jewish themes in Feb­ru­ary 2013, immediately after reports from Qatar revealed the intention of Echo Media to produce the series and contract Yusri Al-Jindy to write the script for the series. Al-Jindy is known for his history of anti-Semitic writings. The show, which aired on several Arab television stations last summer, confirmed ADL’s concern by promoting various anti-Semitic themes.

By awarding one of the more high profile anti-Semitic productions last year, the festival and its hosts are sending a message that hatred is not only acceptable, but also worthy of recognition.

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February 27, 2014

Major Arab Newspaper Publishes “Anti-Jewish Slogans Are Not Islamic”

The decision to re-publish a critique of anti-Semitism by Al Quds Al Arabi, the third largest circulated offshore pan-Arab newspaper according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, could signal a move toward greater pluralism and diversity of views in the Arab press, which is often dominated by anti-Jewish and anti-Israel narratives.al-quds-al-arabi-sinem-tezyaparin-jew

Arab journalism has been a major platform for important debate and discussion about the question of religious intolerance in connection with discrimination against Muslims and the defamation of Islam. So far, however, it has been reticent to address the problem of religious intolerance more broadly, including anti-Semitism.

The article, written by Turkish journalist Sinem Tezyapar in September 2013 and titled “Anti-Jewish Slogans Are Not Islamic,” appeared on the London-based Arabic-language Al Quds Al Arabi website on February 24.

Al Quds Al Arabi, previously known for its hostile positions toward Israel, reportedly changed its ownership last year and replaced its editor. These changes may explain the decision to republish the article.

In her article, Tezyapar argues that anti-Jewish narratives contradict Qur’anic teachings and that Muslims are obliged to take a stronger position against anti-Jewish statements. “Jews are the descendants of Prophets like Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon (peace be upon them all),” she writes. “A Muslim cannot be silent in the face of those who try to annihilate the descendants of Prophets.”

The article rejects attempts to misuse some Qur’anic verses to promote anti-Jewish narratives and expresses clear support for, “The Jewish right to live in the Holy Land,” indicating that such a right “is granted in the Qur’an by God. God says; ‘And thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land.’”

“It is against the right conscience, and more importantly, it is against the Qur’an to tell Jews to go somewhere else,” she writes. In verse after verse, Tezyapar promotes a positive message to convey that “Muslims and Jews can live side by side in peace.”

Hopefully the decision by Al Quds Al Arabi to publish Tezyapar’s article is a sign that Arab media will find more opportunities to feature courageous and honest voices against all forms of religious hatred, including anti-Semitism.

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July 16, 2013

Latest Khaiber Episodes Establish Anti-Jewish Narrative

The first five episodes of Khaiber, the mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar television series that dra­ma­tizes the geno­cide of Jews in Ara­bia in the 7th cen­tury, have aired across the Arab world.khaiber-episodes-3-4-5

The first two episodes revealed the degree to which clas­si­cal anti-Semitic nar­ra­tives are being pro­moted in the program. The latest three episodes, described below, are a continuation of those themes.

ADL first raised concern about Khaiber and its anti-Jewish content in February 2013. In addition, ADL has exposed the program’s Egyptian writer, Yusri Al-Jindy, who has had pre­vi­ously depicted Israelis and Jews as blood­thirsty sav­ages, and the expressions of anti-Semitism by var­i­ous peo­ple asso­ci­ated with the production.

Episode 3

In this episode, several Rabbis are shown responding with anger to the news that a new prophet appeared in Mecca. One of the Rabbis, Al-Harith says, “We will reject him as we rejected Christ.”

The Rabbis then discuss testing Mohammed with a series of questions in order to verify his status as a prophet. However, most agree that even if Mohammed answers the questions correctly, they will not recognize him. “If we declare him a prophet, it would be against the interest of the Jews… can you guarantee that he will be of benefit to us, where is our interest in this?” Ben Akhtab, the Grand Rabbi asks. He then explains that it is in the interest of the Jews to create an alliance with the Meccans because the Jews require their power and money.

In addition, a blind Rabbi named Shas, who wears a large Star of David necklace, is depicted as a vicious person who is more concerned about money than religion. He reveals his hatred to Mohammed by saying that he is an “imposter and a liar.”

Episode 4

In this episode, Ben Akhtab conspires to kill the one “good” Rabbi in the show, who believes that Muhammad is a real Prophet (the Rabbi survives the assassination attempt). Ben Akhtab, also decides to make a deal with one of his Arab prisoners – in return for killing Mohammed, the prisoner will be granted his freedom (the prisoner escapes and avoids having to take part in the plot).

Episode 5

In this episode, the Jews create an alliance with Ibn Aubay, a prominent Arab leader whose ambition is to be the king of Yathrib and control the two rival Arab tribes who live there; the Al-Aws and Al-Khazra tribes.

When fighting erupts between the Arab tribes, Rabbi Shas tells Rabbi Ben Akhtab, “Let them kill each other until termination.” Ben Akhtab responds, “This is against our interests…. No for letting them terminate each other; Yes to creating an alliance with Ibn Aubay in order to become their masters.”

Ben Akhtab also claims, “The solution is in the papers of Jewish scholars; with any king or tyrant we must appease him, contain him, and connect our interests with his interests.”

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