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August 5, 2015 0

Egypt’s New Interest in its Jewish Past

There has been much dis­cus­sion about  the recent Egypt­ian TV drama The Jew­ish Quar­ter, which depicts the Jew­ish com­mu­nity in Egypt in the 1940s through a love story between a Jew­ish woman and a Mus­lim Egypt­ian army officer.

ADL noted that despite some expec­ta­tions that it would depart from the usual anti-Semitic canards typ­i­cally found in Ramadan-period pro­duc­tions, The Jew­ish Quar­ter divides Egypt­ian Jews into two cat­e­gories:  “good” Jews and “bad” Jew.  The good Jews are loyal to Egypt and sup­port its war against Israel while Zion­ist Jews, are depicted as wicked, liars, evil and try­ing to betray Egypt.

At the same time, as flawed as The Jew­ish Quar­ter is, it appears to reflect a new inter­est among Egyp­tians in its once-thriving Jew­ish community.

Exam­ples include, the 2012 Egyptian-made film, Jews of Egypt , which doc­u­mented the  his­tory of the com­mu­nity and a num­ber of recent arti­cles which have exam­ined the Jews’ his­tor­i­cal role in the country’s success.

the jewish quarter egypt

“No one can deny the role played by Egypt’s Jews through­out its his­tory, a role con­sid­ered vital and impor­tant”, noted one arti­cle pub­lished in Egypt’s Al-Wafd news­pa­per (July 21), adding that “They’ve always been part of Egypt­ian cul­tural and social fab­ric”. Other news­pa­pers go even fur­ther in their superla­tives as they invoke promi­nent Egyptian-Jewish fig­ures from the past, such as leg­endary singer Layla Murad (who later con­verted to Islam and was out­spo­ken in her crit­i­cism of Israel),  a fea­ture about whom was recently pub­lished in the country’s Al-Yawm As-Sabi news­pa­per (July 13): “She is the voice of love in her days, in ours and in every day”, says the arti­cle. “She is capa­ble of bestow­ing upon you pos­i­tive energy through which to face life’s futil­ity; capa­ble of mak­ing you sense the beauty of life; and capa­ble of cre­at­ing a new heart between your ribs, one that will know a new mean­ing of love and life.”

Why is there now this renewed inter­est in Egypt’s Jew­ish com­mu­nity of seven decades ago?  An arti­cle pub­lished (July 18) about The Jew­ish Quar­ter TV series in Egypt’s most widely cir­cu­lated daily – Al-Ahram – sug­gests one pos­si­ble answer, which is that it’s not about the Jews in and of them­selves. Dr. Hala Mustafa writes, “Nat­u­rally, this isn’t a his­to­ri­og­ra­phy of Jew­ish pres­ence in Egypt, but rather a demon­stra­tion of one fea­ture of Egypt­ian cul­tural lib­eral legacy. It is char­ac­ter­ized by diver­sity, wealth and plu­ral­ism in their fullest sense and exceeds the imme­di­ate polit­i­cal con­text. Jews were only part of a big­ger sys­tem which embraced cit­i­zens of non-Egyptian ori­gins and for­eign emi­grants, such as Greeks, Ital­ians, Arme­ni­ans, French and oth­ers. This nat­u­rally led to a mix­ture of West­ern and Ori­en­tal cul­tures, even­tu­ally pro­duc­ing a dis­tinct tol­er­ant Egypt­ian culture.”

It seems that in the midst of Egypt’s tremen­dous insta­bil­ity, with the country’s lead­er­ship mov­ing from sec­u­lar to Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and back again to a sec­u­lar regime; fight­ing Islamic ter­ror in Sinai; strug­gling over the country’s very ethos, the Egypt of the 1940’s sim­ply rep­re­sents a more lib­eral and tol­er­ant coun­try that some long for in these times of reli­gious extrem­ism and Islamic polit­i­cal awakening.

Whether this new inter­est will endure, much less trans­lates to a new approach to Jews and the Jew­ish State, remains to be seen.

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January 15, 2015 0

Anti-Semitic Conspiracies Continue In Aftermath Of Paris Attacks

Con­spir­acy the­o­ries blam­ing Jews and Israel for the ter­ror attack at the Char­lie Hebdo office in Paris con­tinue to sur­face in the U.S. and abroad.

In addi­tion to pre­vi­ously reported exam­ples, recent instances of Amer­i­can anti-Semites exploit­ing the tragedy to pro­mote hatred for Jews include:

Brandon Martinez's on Press TV

Press TV’s report­ing on the attacks

  • Paul Craig Roberts, an anti-Semitic syn­di­cated colum­nist, wrote an arti­cle on his per­sonal web­site claim­ing that there are sus­pi­cions “that the French shoot­ings are a false flag oper­a­tion.” Roberts iden­ti­fied sev­eral rea­sons for this, includ­ing “to sti­fle the grow­ing Euro­pean sym­pa­thy for the Pales­tini­ans and to realign Europe with Israel.”
  • On Jan­u­ary 14, in an arti­cle in the Nation of Islam’s The Final Call, Assis­tant Edi­tor Asha­hed Muham­mad cited a piece by Kevin Bar­rett titled “Paris Char­lie Hebdo Attack: Another Zion­ist False Flag?” and Paul Craig Roberts to claim that events in France could have been a false flag operation.
  • On Press TV, Iran’s English-language satel­lite news net­work, in a Jan­u­ary 13 arti­cle titled “Ana­lyst won­ders whether Cahrlie [sic] Hebdo mas­sacre was staged,” Bran­don Mar­tinez blamed “Zion­ists” for a num­ber of the world’s evils. For exam­ple, Mar­tinez wrote that Al-Qaeda and ISIS are “all out­growths of the same poi­so­nous American-Zionist impe­r­ial tree.”
  • On Jan­u­ary 12, on Vet­er­ans Today, a U.S.-based web­site that presents anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries as news, Senior Edi­tor Gor­don Duff pub­lished an arti­cle titled “Did Netanyahu Give France Their 9/11?” In the arti­cle, he describes the attacks as a “comic opera of care­lessly staged false flag ter­ror­ism” car­ried out by “the Mossad and the crim­i­nal banks, part of the pro-Israeli ISIS organization.”

Inter­na­tion­ally, sim­i­lar con­spir­acy the­o­ries have been pub­lished in some media out­lets and been pro­moted by var­i­ous individuals:

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek blam­ing Mossad for the attacks

  • Turkey: Accord­ing to a report from Anadolu News Agency cir­cu­lat­ing in the Turk­ish media, Ankara’s Mayor, Melih Gokcek accused Israel of being behind the Paris attacks. He made his state­ment dur­ing a con­fer­ence by the Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Party (AK Party) on Jan­u­ary 13. He claimed Israel was annoyed with the lower house of the French Par­lia­ment for vot­ing for the recog­ni­tion of a Pales­tin­ian state and with France’s vote in favor of a United Nations Secu­rity Coun­cil (UNSC) res­o­lu­tion call­ing for the same recog­ni­tion. “Israel cer­tainly doesn’t want this sen­ti­ment to expand in Europe. That is why it is cer­tain that Mossad is behind these kinds of inci­dents. Mossad inflames Islam­o­pho­bia by caus­ing such inci­dents,” Gokcek said.
  • Egypt: A for­eign affairs ana­lyst at Al Wafd daily news­pa­per was cited in a report by the paper on Jan­u­ary 12 as stat­ing: “The Israeli Mossad is behind the ter­ror­ist attack against Char­lie Hebdo French news­pa­per.” He added, “The Mossad planned the oper­a­tion, and pro­vided the attack­ers with weapons, and most likely the plan­ning of the oper­a­tion was done in the same Jew­ish [gro­cery] store which the attack­ers went to later.”
  • Egypt: Mohammed Tew­fik, a jour­nal­ist and for­mer mem­ber of the mil­i­tant al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, accused the Mossad of being involved in the Char­lie Hebdo attacks. His accu­sa­tions were included in a state­ment pub­lished by the Egypt-based Albawabh news web­site, on Jan­u­ary 12. Tew­fik stated, “The fast reac­tion by Israel to the attack, and Netanyahu’s trip to France, his request for France’s Jews to immi­grate to Israel, and his call to  estab­lish a new inter­na­tional coali­tion against Islamic ter­ror­ism, are likely [indi­ca­tions] of a Mossad involve­ment in this crime and an attempt to stick it to the Muslims.”

Anti-Semites have pro­moted such absurd the­o­ries to explain events in Syria, the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, the Sandy Hook Mas­sacre, and the 9/11 ter­ror­ist attacks. In the Mid­dle East, there are those that claim that ISIS and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood have secret alliances with the Jews or that the Jews cre­ated such ter­ror­ist groups for nefar­i­ous purposes.

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January 9, 2015 57

Anti-Semitic Conspiracies Predictably Surface After Paris Attacks

Update –Jan­u­ary, 15, 2015: For more exam­ples, see also: Anti-Semitic Con­spir­a­cies Con­tinue In After­math Of Paris Attacks

In the after­math of the ter­ror attack in Paris at the Char­lie Hebdo office, con­spir­acy the­o­ries blam­ing Jews and Israel for the attack imme­di­ately sur­faced in the U.S and abroad.

Image accompanying Kevin Barrett's Veterans Today article

Image accom­pa­ny­ing Kevin Barrett’s Vet­er­ans Today article

The sub­se­quent hostage sit­u­a­tion at a Kosher super­mar­ket in Paris, where at least four hostages were killed, will undoubt­edly feed into the con­spir­acy the­o­ries as they con­tinue to spread, as they often do after a ter­ri­ble tragedy.

In the U.S., anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rists, who never miss an oppor­tu­nity to exploit tragedies to pro­mote their anti-Jewish hatred, and two anti-Israel activists blamed Jews or Israel for the attacks:

  • Mark Glenn, a vir­u­lently anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist, wrote on his blog The Ugly Truth that “The mas­sacre in Paris as [sic] yet another False Flag event aimed at re-igniting and re-invigorating Judea’s declared war against Islam.” The state­ment is accom­pa­nied by an image of Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu with the cap­tion “…It will gen­er­ate imme­di­ate sym­pa­thy for Israel.”
  • On Vet­er­ans Today, a U.S.-based web­site that presents anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries as news, Gilad Atz­mon, an Israeli-born anti-Semite based in Lon­don, claimed that France some­how deserved these attacks due to actions he claims were pushed for by “the Jew­ish lobby group CRIF.” He also chas­tises France for “fol­low­ing the whims of The Lobby.” He posited, “It is quite prob­a­bly that this was another false flag oper­a­tion. Who could be behind it? Use your imagination…”
  • Kevin Bar­rett, an anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist and fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to Iran’s Eng­lish lan­guage pro­pa­ganda news net­work, Press TV, wrote an arti­cle in Vet­er­ans Today titled “Paris ‘Char­lie Hebdo Attack’: Another Zion­ist False Flag?” In the arti­cle Bar­rett describes the attack as Zion­ist “orches­trated” ret­ri­bu­tion for French for­eign pol­icy on Israel and the Pales­tini­ans. Bar­rett also implies that Israel is behind “Malaysian planes…falling out of the sky” as pun­ish­ment for Malaysian for­eign pol­icy on Israel, and that the 2011 attacks in Nor­way that killed 77 peo­ple were per­pe­trated by Israel against Norway’s Labor Party for its poli­cies on Israel.
  • Greta Berlin and Mary Hughes-Thompson, anti-Israel activists who co-founded the Free Gaza Move­ment (FGM), have also alleged Israel is behind the attack. Greta Berlin wrote on Face­book that “MOSSAD just hit the Paris offices of Char­lie Hebdo in a clumsy false flag designed to dam­age the accord between Pales­tine and France…Here’s hop­ing the French police will be able to tell a well exe­cuted hit by a well trained Israeli intel­li­gence ser­vice and not assume the Mus­lims would be likely to attack France when France is their freind [sic.] Israel did tell France there would be grave con­se­quences if they voted with Pales­tine. A four year old could see who is respon­si­ble for this ter­ri­ble attack.” Mary Hughes-Thompson posted on Twit­ter that “#Hebdo killings inde­fen­si­ble. Can’t help think­ing #JSIL Mossad false flag though….” JSIL is the acronym for “Jew­ish State in the Lev­ant,” a term being used by anti-Israel activists to equate Israel with ISIS.

Inter­na­tion­ally, such con­spir­acy the­o­ries have entered into more main­stream media and been pro­moted by var­i­ous individuals:

  • India: Mother Jones reported that Inter­na­tional Busi­ness Times India pub­lished an arti­cle that posited that the Mossad, Israel’s national intel­li­gence ser­vice, was to blame. “Although there is no way to ver­ify the claims that Mossad was involved, the back­drop in which the attack took place seems to indi­cate that they might be involved, many con­spir­acy the­o­rists have noted. Mossad is respon­si­ble for intel­li­gence col­lec­tion and has under­taken many covert oper­a­tions for Israel in Europe that aim to fur­ther their Jew­ish cause.” The arti­cle has since been replaced with an editor’s note stat­ing that the arti­cle alleg­ing this link “should never have been published.”
  • Tunisia: Tunisia Times posted an arti­cle on Jan­u­ary 9 on its web­site titled “Amer­i­can Resources: The Mossad is behind Char­lie Hebdo oper­a­tion in France” Accord­ing to the report, “Even­tu­ally, the Mossad hired Mus­lims from Ara­bic ori­gins to carry the attack to increase hos­til­ity towards Mus­lims worldwide.”


    Image from arti­cle in Egypt’s Al Dos­tor news­pa­per describ­ing the Mossad as car­ry­ing out the attack.

  • Egypt: Cairo-based daily news­pa­per, Al Dos­tor, pub­lished a report on its web­site yes­ter­day titled “Sur­prise… Accus­ing the Mossad of car­ry­ing out the oper­a­tion against the French news­pa­per Char­lie Hebdo.” Accord­ing to the news­pa­per, the Berlin-based Free Gaza move­ment accused the Mossad of exe­cut­ing the attack which tar­geted the head­quar­ters of the French satir­i­cal news­pa­per Char­lie Hebdo, and not any other ter­ror­ist group as it was reported.
  • Jor­dan: Rawafed News web­site pub­lished an arti­cle by Assad Al Azony on Jan­u­ary 8 titled” The tragedy of satir­i­cal Char­lie Hebdo… Search for Jews and the extreme French right wing [to be behind it]. Accord­ing to the arti­cle, “One must be cer­tain that Jews and the French extreme right wing exe­cuted this ter­ror­ist attack.”
  • Lebanon: Mid­dle East Panorama Media and News Agency pub­lished an arti­cle today on its web­site by Ahmed Al Shar­qawy titled “Char­lie Hebdo… Oh Arabs, be aware of the Zion­ist trap.” Al Shar­qawy claimed in his arti­cle that a pro-Palestinian Jew­ish friend who lives in France con­tacted him in the past warn­ing that the same news­pa­per is suf­fer­ing from a finan­cial cri­sis and that “Zion­ist Jews advised the news­pa­per to fab­ri­cate a bar­baric attack against the free­dom of expres­sion to increase its sales.”
  • Turkey: Coor­di­na­tor  of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood affil­i­ated orga­ni­za­tion Inter­na­tional Rabia Plat­form, Turk­ish jour­nal­ist Cihangir İşbilir, posted a com­ment on his Twit­ter account on Jan­u­ary 7, stat­ing “Alter­na­tive sce­nario: France angered Israel, because it would sup­port Pales­tine in the UN secu­rity Coun­cil. Mossad com­mit­ted the ter­ror­ist attack.
  • West Bank: Mazin Qum­siyeh, a con­spir­a­to­r­ial anti-Israel activist who has a his­tory of mak­ing anti-Semitic state­ments, sent an e-mail on Jan­u­ary 9 to his list­serv sug­gest­ing that the attacks in France may have been per­pe­trated by a state intel­li­gence ser­vice. He stated, “Whether this was yet another false flag oper­a­tion or by rogue ter­ror­ists not left alive to be ques­tioned, Zion­ists are milk­ing it to the best of their (very large) media abilities.”

Anti-Semites have pro­moted such absurd the­o­ries to explain events in Syria, the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, the Sandy Hook Mas­sacre, and the 9/11 ter­ror­ist attacks. In the Mid­dle East, there are those that claim that ISIS and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood have secret alliances with the Jews or that the Jews cre­ated such ter­ror­ist groups for nefar­i­ous purposes.

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