Anti-Semitism is prominent in the Arab world’s print and broadcast media. It appears in many forms, including derogatory statements about Jews, comparisons of Israel with Nazi Germany, denial of the Holocaust, and the recitation of traditional blood libels accusing Jews of engaging in ritual murder and cannibalism.
In Saudi Arabia, where news organizations generally are either government-controlled or are owned by members of the royal family, anti-Semitic comments generally are focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Terminology such as “Jews,” “Zionists,” and “Israelis” at times are used interchangeably, and criticism of Israel often extends to all Jews.
- A December 1, 2005 cartoon that appeared in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Yawm newspaper featured a Star of David with the words “Born to Kill.”
- References to the idea of “Jewish control over the world” and supporting the infamous forgery, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, appeared in the Saudi newspaper Ar-Riyadh on March 6, 2006.
- On January 13, 2006, a cartoon in the Al-Yawm newspaper depicted Jews as thieves, calling them “God’s Cheater People” (rather than “God’s Chosen People”).
- On April 24, 2006, a cartoon in the Al-Medina newspaper depicted the treads of an Israel Defense Forces tank forming a swastika.
- A June 6, 2006 article in the Al-Hayat newspaper likened Israeli government actions toward Palestinians to “the Nazi manner of killing, starvation, and racial segregation….”
- A July 27, 2006 article in Ar-Riyadh expressed “many doubts regarding the Nazi Holocaust” and enumerated supposed similarities between Zionism and the Nazi regime.
- Government-owned and -sponsored media in Saudi Arabia also published pieces alleging that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Jews, Zionists, or Israelis.
In Egypt, print and broadcast media alike have been saturated with anti-Semitic themes since prior to Israel’s advent. Egyptian media commonly depict demonic images of Jews and Israeli leaders, stereotypical images of Jews along with Jewish symbols, and comparisons of Israeli leaders to Hitler and the Nazis. Such themes are not limited to Egypt's fringe media outlets, but are commonplace even in the nation's largest government-run daily newspapers: Al-Ahram, Al-Akhbar, and Al-Gumhuriya. For example:
- On June 23, 2001, columnist Mustafa Mahmud wrote the following in Al-Ahram: “What exactly do the Jews want?! Read what the Ninth Protocol of 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' says: 'We have limitless ambitions, inexhaustible greed, merciless vengeance, and hatred beyond imagination. We are a secret army whose plans are impossible to understand by using honest methods. Cunning is our approach, mystery is our way....' The ultimate goal ... is to destroy the world and to build it anew according to the Zionist policy so that the Jews can control the world ... and destroy the [world's] religions.... Israel is the real problem, she is the radical, she is racism, and she is the religious blindness. Israel is the plague of our time ... and a terrorist state."
- On August 7, 2006, in Al-Ahram, the Grand Mufti Ali Gom’a criticized Israel’s military action in Lebanon, claiming that Israel’s “lies have exposed the true and hideous face of the blood suckers who...planned [to make] a matzo using human blood.”
- On September 13, 2006, Al-Ahram published an opinion column titled, “Who Is the Nazi Now?” which said, “The war that Hitler led against the Jews was an excuse through which the Zionists justified their colonizing of Palestine.... But the Jews, who escaped from oppression, oppressed the Palestinians…and thus, the victims of the old Nazis became the new Nazis....”
- On March 17, 2007, Al-Gumhuriyya published a cartoon depicting Uncle Sam (symbolizing the United States) being strangled by a Jewish serpent. In historic European anti-Semitic imagery, the snake often was used to portray Jews.
Syrian media are likewise rife with anti-Semitic articles and depictions. For instance:
- "The same theory of making demands by which [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu operates was also supported by Adolf Hitler in his time ..." - Damascus Radio (April 28, 1998)
- "The arrogant behavior encountered by European emissaries to the Middle East when they visit Israel is reminiscent of the arrogance of Nazi Germany.... Netanyahu is following in Hitler's path." - Al-Baath (March 19, 1998)
- "What goes on in Israeli jails is reminiscent of Nazi crimes against humanity. Besides the torture and the insufferable conditions, the Israeli jails have become a field for carrying out deadly scientific experiments on Arab prisoners, to serve the racism goals of Israeli racist supremacy and to realize their dream of the 'Chosen People.'" - Syria Times (November 4, 1997)
- "Our enemies, especially the Jews, lack all principles and virtues such as justice and honesty. The Jews distort all the facts in order to achieve their goals." - Dr. Ziad Al-Ayubi on Damascus Radio (June 19, 1998)
- "Their [the Jews'] history is full of devising conspiracies, even against the countries in which they live, whose citizenship they bear and whose benefits they enjoy. … [This is] why the hatred of Jews consequently increased so severely." - Damascus Radio (September 2, 1998)
- A January 31, 2006 in Al-Thawra accused the Israeli government of genetically engineering the avian flu virus in order to damage “genes carried only by Arabs” and thus, “to realize the Zionist goal of harming the Arabs.”
- A March 7, 2007 cartoon in the state-owned newspaper, Teshreen -- with the second largest distribution in the country -- depicts an Israeli soldier reading The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion while stabbing an Arab.
In Iran, similar anti-Semitic images are found in the national press:
- On October 20, 2006, Iranian Channel 1 aired The Land of Wishes, an Iranian science fiction film featuring an evil queen, adorned with a large Star of David, sitting on a throne in the “Black House” (which also is marked with a Star of David). The queen is depicted as enslaving the masses.
- In December 2004, Iranian national television began broadcasting a series called Zahra’s Blue Eyes, in which characters portraying Israelis are shown kidnapping Palestinian children to harvest their body parts for transplant, a variation on the age-old blood libel.
- In fall 2006, the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri, which receives subsidies from the Iranian government, co-sponsored a Holocaust cartoon contest, for which it solicited submissions from around the world. Ultimately, the publication awarded a $12,000 prize to a Moroccan cartoonist who drew a picture of an Israeli crane erecting a wall of concrete blocks around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest site. The blocks bear sections of a photograph of the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Nowhere is Jew-hatred more pronounced than in the media of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Especially noteworthy is the anti-Semitic content of many programs aired by the government's official television station, PA TV, which is enormously influential in shaping the worldview of the Palestinian people. PA media routinely depict Jews as treacherous, corrupt, deceitful, and unfaithful; as the enemies of Allah; and as the cursed descendants of monkeys and pigs. Significantly, these Jewish “attributes” are presented not as behaviors that can be altered, but as part of the perdurable nature of the Jewish character. PA media outlets contend that Jews must be fought, subjugated, and ultimately annihilated -- as a service to God and humanity alike. Some examples of anti-Semitism in PA media include the following:
“The Hour [of Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims kill them. The Muslims will kill the Jews, rejoice!” - Sheikh Ibrahim Mudayris (PA TV, September 10, 2004)
“And the rock and the tree will say: Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!” - Dr. Hassan Khater (PA TV, January 10, 2005)
“Allah described them [Jews] in His Book, characterized by conceit, pride, arrogance, rampage, disloyalty and treachery … deceit and cunning…” - Dr. Mahmoud Mustafa Najem (PA TV, November 1, 2002)
“Every time Muhammad came back from his raids, he would find treachery and betrayal by the Jews of Medina, since treachery and betrayal are two character traits of the Jews’ nature ... that their descendants inherited from their ancestors until today." - Sheikh Ibrahim Mudayris (PA TV, June 4, 2004)
“The Jews are Jews, and we are forbidden to forget their character traits even for a moment, even for a blink of an eye.” - Dr. Mahmoud Mustafa Najem (PA TV, December 6, 2002)
“From the moment the [Jewish] child is born, he nurses hatred against others, nurses seclusion, nurses superiority…” - Psychologist Khader Abas (PA TV, April 14, 2002)
“Praise be to Allah, who has cursed [the Jews], the brothers of monkeys and pigs.” - Dr. Mahmoud Mustafah Najem (PA TV, December 6, 2002)
“Those who are the reason for every disaster of the world ... These are the Jews, Allah’s curse be upon them.” - Sheikh Ibrahim Mudayris (PA TV, September 24, 2004)
“They [the Jews] are the ones who did the Holocaust... They opened the ovens for us to bake [Palestinian] human beings. They destroyed the villages and burnt the cities. When an oven stops burning they light 100 [more] ovens.” - PA TV (May 25, 2004)
“The Israelis brought on themselves ... in every society they lived, disasters and massacres: First, they concentrated money in their hands, denying it to others. Second, they spied against the nations where they lived. And the third, important and basic aspect they [behaved as though they] were superior. These three elements created hatred [of Jews].” - PA psychologist, Khadar Abas (PA TV, April 14, 2002)
“Corruption is in the nature of the Jews all over the world ... Their intense love of money and its accumulation is common knowledge, and the way they get it does not interest them, and they are liable to exercise degradation and the most lowly of methods in order to achieve their goals.” - Nasser Ahmad (Al Hayat Al Jadida, July 11, 1998)
“The Jews will not rest until they ignite the whole world with the fire of their conflicts ... The Jews are behind any conflict that can cause world destruction.” - Sheikh Ibrahim Mudayris (PA TV, December 12, 2003)
“All weapons must be aimed at the Jews, Allah’s enemies, the cursed nation in the Koran, whom Allah describes as monkeys and pigs.” - Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Maadi (PA TV, August 3, 2001)
“The Jews are the Jews.... They do not have any moderates or any advocates of peace. They are all liars. They must be butchered and must be killed ... It is forbidden to have mercy in your hearts for the Jews in any place and in any land. Make war on them any place that you find yourself. Any place that you meet them, kill them.” - Dr. Ahmad Abu Halabiyah (PA TV, October 13, 2000)
“All the weapons must be aimed at the Jews, Allah’s enemies, the cursed nation in the Koran, whom Allah describes as monkeys and pigs ... Nothing will deter them except the color of blood in their filthy nation ... unless we blow ourselves up, willingly and as our duty, in their midst.” - Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Maadi (PA TV, August 3, 2001).
Adapted from: "Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism: A Report Provided to the United States Congress," by U.S. Department of State (2008);
"Anti-Semitism in the Egyptian Media," by The Anti-Defamation League (2009); "Anti-Semitism in the Syrian Media," by The Jewish Virtual Library; and "Kill a Jew -- Go to Heaven", by Rachel DiCarlo (February 8, 2005).