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August 23, 2016

Arab Media Outlets Falsely Label 1969 Al-Aqsa Mosque Arsonist as “Jewish”

August 21st marked the 47th anniversary of the arson attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by Australian Christian fundamentalist Denis Michael Rohan. Rohan said that God had asked him to set fire to the site, saying he would be made a “king of Jerusalem.” The Mosque was seriously damaged by the fire, and Rohan was tried, found insane, and committed to a mental institution. Temple Mount

While it has been well-documented that Rohan was a Christian, some Arab media outlets have described him as Jewish and an Israeli settler, seemingly in an effort to blame Jews for being behind the arson attack.

Here are some examples:

Al-Quds, editorial, August 22, 2016 (Palestinian Authority)

“Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of the crime of the arson of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque by Australian Jew Denis Michael (Rohan). He had the audacity to carry out his loathsome act under the cover of the Israeli occupation authorities, in an attempt on their part to try to find out the Palestinian reaction, as well as that of the Arab and Islamic Worlds. This, as a step in a series of subsequent steps over the course of years – no, decades – leading to its destruction and the building of the alleged Temple in its place.”

Filastin, “Arson of Al-Aqsa No. 47”, by Yussuf Rizqa, August 22, 2016 (Gaza)

“Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of Denis Michael’s arson of the Al-Qibli (Chapel) part of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. Denis Michael was a fanatic Australian Jew, who had come from Australia to occupied Palestine with the objective of deliberately setting Al-Aqsa Mosque on fire.”

Al-Masriyun, August 21, 2016 “The Al-Aqsa Fire … the Fire is Still Burning” (Egypt)

“On the morning of August 21st 1969, two years of the occupation of Jerusalem, Australian Jew Michael Denis Rohan set fire to the Qibli Chapel on the Temple Mount…”.

Al-Jazeera, August 21, 2016 (Qatar)

On the section dedicated to The Arab Reality show on Al-Jazeera, it says the following:

“It should be noted that The Arab Reality episode coincided with the 47th anniversary of  the burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque at the hand of an Israeli settler who carried out his act, leaving the successive Israeli governments the task of completing the Judaization of the holy city.”

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August 11, 2016

Tunisian BDS Conference Raises Questions About Qatari Involvement

On August 4th, the Qatar-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) launched a three-day academic conference in Tunisia titled “Boycott as a Strategy to Counter Israel’s Occupation and Apartheid: Present-day Realities and Aspirations.” The conference served as a reminder of BDS activists’ efforts to expand their agenda and further their goal of delegitimizing the state of Israel, but also illuminated potential rifts within the movement.

Panelists at the BDS conference in Tunisia

Panelists at the BDS conference in Tunisia

While ACRPS claims to be an independent research institute, it appears to have strong ties to the Qatari government. This could suggest that individuals closely affiliated to the Qatari government may be interested in playing a bigger role in advancing the BDS movement.

ACRPS registration documents list Sultan Ghanim Al Kuwari, a prominent Qatari businessman, as the founder of the Center. Reportedly, Al Kuwari, who is closely affiliated with Qatar’s royal family, is also listed as the director of several Qatari international media outlets. He is also described as the person in charge of extending the reach of the Qatari soft diplomatic power under the leadership of the Emir of Qatar. Furthermore, reports from previous ACRPS events present the Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani as a regular guest of honor at many of the group’s events.

The Qatari connection could raise the hackles of BDS activists who are skeptical of Qatar’s foreign policy positions, and are concerned that the country’s involvement would transform the grassroots movement into a ‘state branding’ project. On the first day of the conference, members of the Tunisian BDS chapter disrupted the session and protested against what they consider as the Qatari government’s connection. They also protested against the director of the ACRPS, Azmi Beshara, because he served as a member of the Israeli Knesset in the past, which the activists consider as an act of treason. An earlier statement on the official Facebook page of the Tunisian chapter of the BDS movement called fora boycott of the conference because the ACRPS and the conference itself “are sponsored by the Qatari government” which, according to the Tunisian chapter, is “one of the Arab governments most active in normalization with Israel.”

This BDS conference was built on a series of previous events hosted by the ACRPS and focused on questions about the objectives of the BDS movement and the role of the Arab states, émigré communities, and Palestinians. One speaker, Osama Abu Irshaid, the National Policy Director of American Muslims for Palestine, said “it is a must to transform the BDS movement into a system and a framework that will go beyond only boycotting corporations that support Israel to the de-legitimization of Israel as well.” ACRPS issued a paper supporting Irshaid’s goals.

Other speakers at the conference included Max Blumenthal, a prominent anti-Israel blogger, Peter Slezak, the co- founder of the Australian-based Independent Australian Jewish Voices, and Richard Falk, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.

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December 17, 2015

International Book Fair In Saudi Arabia Features Anti-Semitic Titles

jeddah-book-fair

Advertisement for the Jeddah International Book Fair

The Jeddah International Book Fair in Saudi Arabia, which hosts more than 350 publishing houses from 21 countries, appears to feature anti-Semitic books for sale.

The book fair, taking place December 12-22, includes on its “Book Lists” works such as My Awakening: The Jewish Influence in the United States by the notorious anti-Semite David Duke. Duke’s book, classified as “Political Science” on the list from the Dar Alfiker Al Mua’sir publishing house in Lebanon, is listed for SAR53 (US$14).

Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which served as a blueprint for the extermination of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust, is listed to be sold at the book fair for SAR45 (US$12). Classified as “History,” Mein Kampf, is on the list from Ibn Al Nafees publishing house in Egypt. A book titled Free Masons, The Jews and The Torahby Dr. Noman Al Samarayi, which promotes conspiratorial theories about a Jewish role in dominating the world, was listed for sale for SR8 (US$2).

The Jeddah Governorate, the Saudi Ministry of Culture, and a number of private sector corporations co-organized the book fair, which attracted more than 150,000visitors in its first three days according to the fair website.

Unfortunately, selling anti-Semitic books at book fairs in the Middle East is an ongoing problem. For example, another book fair in the region, the Doha International Book Fair in Qatar, which ended on December 12, also included anti-Semitic titles, such as the Arabic-language anti-Semitic Jewish Encyclopedia.

Featuring anti-Semitic titles in the right context may at times serve to expose their vicious nature. However, it is clear that in the case of the Jeddah Book Fair and several other book fairs in the region, such books are displayed to readers who may not be aware of the bigoted agenda behind such books. Including editorial language or contextualizing the books appropriately as hateful material is extremely important.

Over the past few years, ADL has documented the availability of similar problematic books at several book fairs in the region. Below are few examples:

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