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September 18, 2015

Violence on the Temple Mount in the Arab Media

For the past couple of months, the Temple Mount has been the focus of confrontations between Muslim worshipers and Jewish visitors. Encouraged by anti-Semitic invective in public statements by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in recent days this has escalated to violence by Muslim worshipers who have hurled stones, fireworks and metal bars at Israeli security forces. The Mount is the holiest site for Jews, and the third holiest Muslim site (after Mecca and Medina) known as Al-Haram Ash-Sharif. The responsibility for the Temple Mount is shared by Israel, which has sovereignty over the site, and Jordan, whose Custodian Ministry has managed the site since the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel.

The ongoing turmoil on the Temple Mount has escalated partly in reaction to an increase in Jewish visitation to the site and to highly politicized efforts by some Israeli politicians agitating to change the status quo and allow Jews to pray on the Mount (which is forbidden by the agreement with Jordan). In spite of these developments, nothing justifies the extreme reaction and violence on the part of the Palestinians.

In recent years, events on the Temple Mount have caused tensions between Jerusalem and Amman, which resulted in the recalling of the Jordanian ambassador to Israel and  populist calls within Jordan to expel the Israeli ambassador to Amman. The Jordanians claim Israel is attempting to change the status-quo on the Temple Mount by “Judaizing” the site. In response, an initiative was launched by the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement (Israel) called the Murabitat/Murabitun – a civil protest group whose goal is to provoke Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount. Their significance is mainly symbolic in that they peacefully demonstrate Muslim presence on the Temple Mount. Their name, derived from the Arabic root Rabata meaning “to station and stay in place”, testifies to their defiance against the Israeli sovereignty.

The charge that Israel is conspiring to take over the site has been a constant in Arab media for years, particularly in cartoons published in Arab newspapers and website.   Palestinian Authority leaders often issue incendiary statements alleging nefarious Israeli action, while also diminishing or even refuting the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Yet the imagery and language used in recent weeks represents an escalation of tensions over the Temple Mount. In an interview earlier this week with Palestinian TV and Sky News in Arabic, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Jews of defiling the Temple Mount: “Al-Aqsa is ours, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is ours, it is all ours. They have no right to defile them with their filthy feet, and we will not allow them,” he said.

There have also been a number of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel cartoons published which depict Israel as animals attempting to devour Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the invocation of classic anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews as thieves and using money to Judaize Jerusalem.

Here are some examples:

A cartoon published on September 14th in the Palestinian Authority’s Al-Quds newspaper depicts Israel as an alligator attempting to devour Jerusalem, represented by a woman, while a figure representing the Arab World says “We express our concern”.

alligatorAnother published on September 14th in Jordan’s Al-Ghad, shows Jerusalem being devoured by a giant bird representing Israel.

birdA cartoon published on September 12th in Qatar’s Ar-Raya newspaper, implies that Jews use money to Judaize Jerusalem.

Written on the right: “Rich Zionists’ expenditures.” Written on the left: “Rich Muslims’ expenditures.”

money in hatOn Twitter, under the hashtag of #al-aqsaisindanger, a cartoon was published on September 15th depicting a Jew stealing the Mosque behind the back of the Arab World. The cartoon’s headline: “The Israeli Military Rabbinate Published Pictures of Al-Aqsa Mosque without the Dome of the Rock”. And as the Jew is stealing the Mosque, the Arab figure is saying: “Don’t be afraid, we have the original picture!”

stealing temple mountUnder the same hashtag, another cartoon was published showing Israel stealing Al-Aqsa Mosque under a US umbrella.

stealing temple mount2Other hashtags include #alaqsaisburning and #shallnotbedivided (referring to an initiative to divide the time and place of the Temple Mount between Jewish and Muslim worshipers).

Some cartoons described ways in which Al-Aqsa is victimized by Israel, including one cartoon published (Sep. 16) in Jordan’s Ammon news site, which shows the bleeding Mosque sawed in two by Israeli soldiers, under the title “Storming the Temple Mount.”

cutting up JM

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July 14, 2014

Disturbing Online Messages Say #HitlerWasRight

The popularity of some disturbing Hitler-related hashtags on Twitter has grown in reaction to “Operation Protective Edge,” Israel’s response to the latest round of rocket attacks from Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.HitlerWasRight-hitler-gaza-israel-twitter-hashtag

Many of these responses have included the hashtags #HitlerWasRight and #HitlerDidNothingWrong, such as:

  • “World needs another Hitler! #HitlerWasRight #SavePalestine #SaveGaza”
  • “#HitlerWasRight but he did one thing wrong he let other Jews to live, and they are massacring #Palestinians today”
  • “#HitlerWasRight #HitlerDidNothingWrong we need a clone of #hitler for #jews #Israel @IsraeliPM”

This online outpouring of anti-Semitism initially appeared in the context of the recent series of Nazi and Holocaust references that flooded social media after Germany’s 7-1 victory over Brazil in the World Cup semifinals. Some of those wishing to protest Israel’s operation in Gaza have piggybacked on this phenomenon, referencing both Germany’s World Cup victory and Gaza in their #HitlerWasRight and #HitlerDidNothingWrong tweets:

  • “Germany won the World Cup- Israel has won murder, destruction and disaster. #iSupportGaza #HitlerWasRight? He did what Israel does now”
  • “I am supporting #Germany because #HitlerWasRight he killed jews with this reason #GAZA #GazaUnderAttack #WorldCuptFinal2014Brazil”
  • “2014 FIFA World Cup CHAMPIONS! ***GERMANY*** #PrayForGaza #HitlerWasRight #JewsAreHumanEnemy #JewsAreRealTerrorist”

Invoking Hitler and Nazi Germany to demonize Israel is not limited to social media. Blatantly offensive comparisons have appeared at a number of anti-Israel protests in the U.S. Below are just a few examples:

  • At a protest orga­nized by the Mil­wau­kee Pales­tin­ian Sol­i­dar­ity Coali­tion, one young woman held a sign that read, “Don’t Do To Pales­tini­ans What Hitler Did To You.”
  • At a pro­test­ in Cleve­land, one sign depicted Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu with a Hitler mus­tache and a Nazi flag juxtaposed with an Israeli flag.
  • At a rally in front of the Israeli Con­sulate in Chicago, among the many signs were sev­eral that accused Israel of per­pe­trat­ing a Holo­caust: “End the Pales­tine Holo­caust,” “It was Wrong in Auschwitz, it is Wrong in Gaza!” and “Gaza Concentration/Starvation Camp, Designed, Man­u­fac­tured, Fre­quently Bombed and Man­aged By Israel.”    

A recent ADL poll of anti-Semitic attitudes in 100 countries found that knowledge about the Holocaust varies widely depending on the country. In the survey, 54 percent of those polled globally responded affirmatively when asked if they had heard about the Holocaust in Europe during World War II. Another 35 percent of those polled indicated they had no knowledge of the Holocaust, and 10 percent responded “don’t know.”

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May 6, 2014

Mahmoud Abbas’ Official Website Features His Holocaust Conspiracies

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued an important statement last week calling the Holocaust “the most heinous crime.”  We hope this statement will filter down into the Palestinian educational curriculum.mahmoud-abbas-holocaust-books-nazi-zionism

The moral clarity and impact of his statement, however, is obscured by the availability of books suggesting the Holocaust was orchestrated by some kind of Nazi-Zionist alliance on Abbas’ official presidential website

Eighteen books written by Abbas are available on his official presidential website in a section called, “A collection of Mr. President’s Books.”

In one the books, titled The Other Face… The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism, Abbas argues that Hitler “had the primary role in establishing the ‘Zionist Entity’ in Palestine” by allowing “Zionists to build a strong economy and providing facilities for those with capital so they can transfer their money to Palestine… without [Hitler’s support], Jews couldn’t leave Germany.”

He also claims that anyone who tries to explore this secret relationship will “face an end no better than the end of Adolf Eichmann,” a reference to the Nazi leader who was executed in Israel for his role in the Holocaust.

Another book written by Abbas available on the website is called, Zionism… The Beginning And The End. On page 97, Abbas wrote, “Zionism and Anti-Semitism are two faces of the same coin.” Abbas described a form of anti-Semitism called “Contracted Anti-Semitism” which he defines as Zionist leaders working with State officials in different countries to stimulate anti-Semitism in order to force the Jews to immigrate to Israel.

There is no better time than now for the bibliography to be removed from the Presidential website.

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