Syria, long one of Israel's most intransigent enemies, entered face-to-face negotiations with Israel at the 1991 Madrid Conference, with subsequent bi-lateral negotiations held at the State Department in Washington and at the Wye River Plantation in Maryland. No public negotiations have been conducted since February 1996. With the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Wye Memorandum in October 1998, the United States declared the hope of progress on the Israel-Syria track and has expressed a willingness to reengage in these negotiations.
Should Israel and Syria return to the negotiating table, the basis of the talks will be territorial compromise by Israel in return for Syria establishing normalized relations with the Jewish State. Following the precedent set in the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and the interim agreements with the Palestinians, such normalized relations will include a commitment to speak out against and prevent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement in the government-controlled Syrian media. (There is no independent media in Syria.)
Syrian Daily Al Baath,
October 21, 1998
There are frequent anti-Semitic articles and caricatures in the Syrian media, including classical anti-Semitic stereotypes, comparisons of Israel with the Nazis and Holocaust denial. After Roger Garaudy, the French Holocaust denier, was invited to Damascus by the Ministry of Information, the government-owned newspaper Tishrin praised Mr. Garaudy for "exposing the lies of the Zionist movement which exaggerated what happened to Jews during the Second World War for political purposes." A recent theme is the "international Jewish conspiracy" behind the Lewinsky affair. Commenting on the situation in August 1998, Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass (the author of the widely available book The Matza of Zion, which attempts to prove the 1840 blood libel against the Jews of Damascus) declared, "it is a plot fabricated by worldwide Zionism." Mr. Tlass claimed a "Jewish lawyer" told Kenneth Starr about the Lewinsky affair, concluding "all this definitely proves that worldwide Zionism and particularly American Jews are in the service of Israel."
The following is a compendium of recent anti-Semitic statements and caricatures in the Syrian media.
- "We all know how the Nazi Germans administered their affairs, as they had many scientific, technological and industrial achievements. The Nazi seizure of power resulted in a tragedy for the nations of the world. The question is, will the fate of the Israelis today be different from the fate of the Germans then? Though via force one can maintain facts on the ground exactly as it was in Nazi Germany, which annexed unto itself most of the territory of Europe and many territories in Africa and Asia, but Hitler disappeared in the end and the battles in El Alamein, Normandy and Stalingrad became the symbol of the defeat of Nazi Germany."
Syrian Daily Tishrin,
March 15, 1997
- May 19, 1998 Damascus Radio
- "The same theory of making demands by which Netanyahu operates was also supported by Adolf Hitler in his time, who ignored decisions of the United Nations and did not take them into account. Indeed, he displayed a great deal of arrogance and conceit, the results of which are known. The Israelis must ask themselves if there is any difference between Hitler's policies and Netanyahu's current policies and whether they have come to terms with these policies while ignoring the results that occurred in Nazi Germany."
- April 28, 1998 Damascus Radio
- "The efforts made [by the European Union] for two years [to promote the peace process] failed only because they sought to flatter Netanyahu and speak to him logically and sensibly, which is in definite contradiction to Talmudic tales Netanyahu believes in and to his despicable racism. There is no doubt that the European countries are more aware than all the other countries of the world of the danger inherent in a person who is motivated by hostile tendencies and expansionist aims. We do not think that they have forgotten the dangers and the destruction stemming from flattering Hitler and from refraining from extricating themselves from the Nazi aspirations. We do not think that Hitler was more extreme or more aggressive than he was. If there is a difference between them it is only in capability."
- April 20, 1998 Damascus Radio
- "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."
- March 19, 1998 Al-Baath
- "Netanyahu's radical government approved Israeli pharmaceutical companies carrying out tests of medicines, (which were proven injurious) on Arab prisoners in Israeli jails. 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.' Israeli labs and institutions are currently completing a shocking research whose purpose is to pave the way for 'progress' which has heretofore never existed in the sphere of racist biology, as planned by Nazi Hitlerism. The terrible examinations also recall those carried out on the Blacks in the U.S. by racism American groups."
- November 4, 1997 Syria Times
- "The rash behavior that European emissaries to the Middle East encounter when visiting Israel recalls the arrogance of Nazi Germany...Netanyahu is following the path of Hitler."
- March 19, 1997 Al Baath
- "I have explained all this to you so that we may be acquainted with our enemies and be aware of their evil deeds from a long time ago. In these days, all of us, Arabs and Muslims, must stand together against the Jews in the face of their lies, promises, threats and declaration so that they do not destroy the Arab home and the Muslim home. We must stand forth as did the Prophet against them so that we may be victorious. 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. How glorious will the day be when all of us join as one person against the enemies of history and mankind to restore them to their natural size, because if we stand up against them divided, this will be the end of mankind and human culture."
- June 19, 1998 Dr. Ziad Al-Ayubi on the "Religious Morning Discussion" on Damascus Radio
Syrian Daily Al-Thawra, October 1, 1998
- "There are some Arabs that live under an illusion. They are convinced that they have emotional barriers that can prevent them from having a comfortable relationship with Jews. And therefore, some of them tend to break down these barriers and claim that this is a very brave thing to do...But the psychological barriers on the other side [the Jews] are more deeply rooted and are higher because of their very high opinion of themselves. This is a historical hostility based on the Jewish hatred of the Arab. If this hatred was characterized in the past by tricks and schemes, it is manifest today in insolent and cruel murder with no remorse or word of sorrow."
- August 15, 1997 -- Al-Thura
- "...the American patron suffered insults, abandoned the initiative and the patronage and gave in to Zionist blackmail and sacrificed everything even the interest of the American people, in order to serve the Biblical plan."
- July 22, 1998 Al-Baath magazine
Syrian Daily Al-Thawra, June 14, 1998
- "As usual and whenever Israel's 'viewpoint' is different from America's in settling the conflict in the Middle East, the Zionist lobby, especially in the Congress, operates the machine of blackmail and pressure."
- January 25, 1998 Syria Times
- "The Netanyahu government has become convinced that the U.S. administration is unable to carry out any pressing role due to the Monica-gate scandal which began to shake the very foundations of the oval office. This scandal is undoubtedly the making of the Jewish lobby in the U.S. and it is run politically by the Zionists allied to the Likud-led government in Tel Aviv."
- September 14, 1998 Syria Times (English language)
Syrian Daily Al-Thawra, September 4, 1998
- "This is not unusual for the Jews who have connections with the Zionists. Their history is full of devising conspiracies, even against the countries in which they live, whose citizenship they bear and whose benefits they enjoy. U.S. President Clinton is acquainted with the example of the destructive role played by the Jewish lobby in the U.S. Anyone interested in documents from World War I can learn about the role German Jews played in organizing conspiracies to undermine Germany, harm its economy and weaken its capabilities, which deteriorated to the extent that it led to its defeat. Whoever studies these documents can also understand why the hatred of Jews consequently increased so severely."
- September 2, 1998 Damascus Radio
- "Monica is a Jewess, the lawyers who volunteered to defend her were Jews, Monica's friends who recorded the hot phone conversations between her and President Clinton were Jewesses and the 'Washington Post' newspaper which published the affair for the first time is a Jewish newspaper. Is it mere chance that Lewinsky kept the blue dress with the stain for almost two years and presented it as evidence of the connection with the President? The scheme was planned carefully from the beginning until the present. Her goal was to embarrass President Clinton, to blackmail him and weaken his status before Netanyahu's government."
- August 24, 1998 Tishrin Al-Usbu'a
- "The campaign of Jewish blackmail began in Switzerland and later extended to Germany, Romania and other Western countries. This raises many legitimate doubts concerning everything connected with the myth of the Nazi ovens used for the destruction of the Jews. Many authors and researchers around the world have concluded that all the stories about this matter were exaggerated and fabricated, since many Jewish officers served in the Nazi command, among whom several were close to Hitler. It is therefore impossible that any nation in the world would be compelled to pay reparations to fictitious victims for dubious tragedies..."
- November 7, 1998 Damascus Radio
Source: Copyright Anti-Defamation League (ADL). All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.