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January 22, 2016

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is Still…..A Jew

Saud Al Shureem anti-semitic Tweet

Saud al-Shuraim’s anti-Semitic tweet about the Jewish-Iranian alliance

Over the past month, escalating tension in the Middle East between Iran and the Arab Gulf States helped fuel a resurgence of anti-Semitic statements and conspiracy theories about a supposed link between Israel and Jews to Iran.

Angered by Iran’s increasing influence in the region, prominent Arab figures including politicians, religious leaders and journalists have accused Jews and Israel of secretly supporting Iran and Shi’a Muslims in their war against the Sunni Muslim world.

Just last week, prominent Saudi scholar, Saud al-Shuraim, an Imam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca wrote the following statement on his Twitter account: “It is no wonder the Safavids [Iranians] ally with Jews and Christians against Muslims because history testifies that this is the case. What is strange are the minds which took too long to understand this fact.”

Some went as far as accusing “the Jews” of orchestrating Iran’s war against the Sunni Muslim world. Jordanian online news agency Ammon News published an article on January 19, titled “Iran started its holy war on the Sunnis with the blessing of the Jews.”

The online publication, Al Khaleej Affairs, which specializes in Arab Gulf States’ Affairs, interviewed Iraqi Sunni activist Falih Al Shibly on January 21 to talk about the Iranian involvement in Iraq. In the interview Al Shibly claimed, “Unfortunately, there is ignorance in the region about the Jewish supported Persian plot.” He added that “This plot is against all Arab countries from the Arabian West to the ‘Arabian’ Gulf.”

Other anti-Semitic accusations included conspiracy theories that the Jewish lobby in the U.S. is responsible for driving America’s policy in Iran’s best interests. Dubai Police Chief, Dahi Khalfan, whose bizarre statements in the past included accusing the Jews of being linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, claimed on January 18 that President Obama is of Shi’a roots and “the sons of Zion” [the Jews] helped him  reach presidency to “bring Iran and America closer.” Khalfan’s statements were widely circulated in the Arab world.

Such a claim about Jewish support for Iran was the subject of several tweets by former Manager of the Dubai Government Media Office, Dherar Belhoul Al Falasi, on January 11. He claimed that Jews revere Iran because it is considered a “holy” country in Judaism. He wrote “Jews revere Iran more than ‘Palestine.’”

The terrorist organization ISIS is capitalizing on this anti-Semitic trend as well. The featured article in their most recent English-language magazine Dabiq issue included a 14-page screed linking Jews and Shi’as. The back cover of the magazine also featured a full page image of Jews praying in a synagogue with a clear reference to the Jews of Isfahan in Iran.

This anti-Semitic rhetoric is more than just a delusional perspective. It is a tool that has been used time and again to galvanize Arab public opinion.

These conspiracy theories also fail to recognize both the very real threat Iran represents to the Jewish state and the centrality of anti-Semitic propaganda in the ideology embraced by Iran’s ruling regime. It is ironic that such accusations emerge while Iran is organizing  an international cartoon contest–on the Holocaust.

Tension between Iran and the Arab world has a long history, but it has escalated notably over the past few months as a result of the Iran nuclear agreement and growing concern among Arab Gulf States about Iran’s expanding regional influence and its involvement in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Arab world. Both sides have used the media to propagate anti-Semitic accusations against the other through the lens of their own agendas. It seems that  Shi’as  and Sunnis can agree on one thing: blaming the Jews for their problems.

In the past, ADL documented a number of similar conspiracy theories in the Arab world including that ISIS has Jewish roots and that Israel and Jews are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

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June 27, 2013

Accusations of Jewish Affiliation Precede a Lynching in Egypt

Anti-Semitic posters Egypt

A poster in Egypt deriding Shia Muslims as “stooges of the Jews.”

Earlier this week, an angry mob in a small village near Cairo attacked and lynched a group of Shia Muslims, a horrific episode that resulted in the murders of four men. The incident came two weeks after posters were widely displayed in the village accusing Shia of being “stooges of the Jews.”

Members of Al-Nour Party, an Islamist party and a member of Egypt’s governing coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood, reportedly displayed these posters on the walls of the village’s homes. One poster, circulated on Twitter, has the logo of Al-Nour Party on the top right corner of the poster.

The posters included images of outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is perceived as a symbol of the Iranian-led Shia expansion in the Sunni Muslim world, shaking hands with members of Neturei Karta, an extreme anti-Israel group. The photos represent an absurd attempt to demonstrate a “Jewish-Shia’a alliance” that is allegedly plotting to gain control over the Sunni Muslim world.

Two weeks after the posters first appeared, a hostile group of villagers attacked the house of a Shia family who lived in the village. Members of the small Shia community had gathered in the house to attend a religious ceremony led by Hassan Shahata, a prominent Egyptian Shia cleric. Four men were killed during the brutal attack, including Shahata himself.

Graphic images of the violence showed the mob dragging the bodies of the victims through the streets of the village while police officers watched from a distance.

A young daughter of one of the victims who witnessed the assault told a reporter from an Egyptian news agency, “Is this the form of religion they want to implement and they speak about? Even if we were Jews they shouldn’t have done this to us.”

Last week, a large billboard in Tripoli showed Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah with a Star of David on his turban and blood dripping from his mouth. The poster, the work of a rival Sunni group, was intended to demonize Nasrallah in the worst possible way: by characterizing him as a Jew. Indeed, linking one’s enemy to Jews is a theme of the rising sectarian tension in the Muslim world. The recent lynching incident is a reminder of the potentially brutal consequences of such accusations.

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