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June 19, 2013

Where Calling Someone A Jew Or An Israeli Is The Ultimate Insult

nasrallah-billboard-jew-lebanon-hezbollah

Nasrallah billboard in Tripoli, Lebanon

A billboard in the streets of Tripoli, Lebanon, insulting Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah demonstrates how even an enemy of the Jewish people like Nasrallah is subject to attack by his enemies as being a tool of the Jews.

The billboard, apparently placed last week in response to Hezbollah’s support of the Syrian government’s ongoing fight with Sunni rebels, shows Nasrallah with the Star of David on his turban, blood around his mouth and wearing a black eye patch, an apparent reference to the iconic image of Israeli military leader Moshe Dayan. The script below the image said “Your mask fell off, oh you murderer of children and women.”

The billboard is a reflection of a larger schism within the Muslim world between the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam. Both sides are invoking accusations of being a Jew or Israeli against the other as the ultimate insult.

Tripoli, a city with a majority of Sunnis, has experienced escalating sectarian tension in response to Hezbollah’s support for Syrian president Bashar Hafez al-Assad and his troops, which have been fighting Sunni rebels in Syria for over a year.

Images of the Nasrallah billboard have been widely shared on social media by those sympathetic with the Syrian rebels as well. Several Twitter users explicitly accuse Nasrallah of being a Jew, some claiming all Shia Muslims are allied with the Jews. It is a classic example of blurring the the line between anti-Israel and anti-Semitism propaganda.

Last February ADL issued a press release denouncing a similar conspiracy theory in the Middle East, which claimed the Muslim Brotherhood was secretly allied with Jews.

This past month, videos posted on YouTube showed demonstrators in Syrian cities chanting “Shia Shia oh you Jews… The army of Muhammad will return.” The slogan is a takeoff on the anti-Semitic slogan evoking the story of slaying thousands of Jews from the tribe of Khaiber in Arabia 1400 years ago.

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