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Anti-Semitism in the Arab Press: Expressions of Anti-Semitism in the Arab Press

(May 1999)

Anti-Semitic expressions have continued to appear in the Arab media during the past two months. Among the recurring motifs appearing in anti-Semitic articles were a comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany, minimizing the Holocaust/doubting whether it took place, accusing the Jews of gaining control of the world, attributing negative characteristics to the Jews such as Satanism, scheming and blackmail and even the use of the Christian blood libel.

- Egypt
- Oman
- Palestinians
- Morocco


The London-based ‘Al-Sharq Al-Awsat’ newspaper printed an article on 17 March, 1999 on the dispute among Egyptian religious scholars on contacts with Jewish clerics/statesmen. The dispute broke out following the meeting between Sheikh Al-Azhar, Muhammad Sid Tantawi and a rabbi by the name of Nada Sir. Dr. Yehieh Ismail, former secretary-general of the ‘Al-Azhar Religious Scholars Front’, wondered ‘why Sheikh Al-Azhar retracted the stands he had taken in the past towards the Jews and which were expressed in his doctoral thesis on ‘The Sons of Israel in the Koran and the Muslim Tradition’ .

This is a thesis which comprised dozens of Koran verses that exposed the Jews’ malicious character and reviewed the Jews’ current aspirations in the Islamic world, revealed in the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion', and their dreams for a ‘Greater Israel’ from the Nile to the Euphrates.

In its 31 March, 1999 edition, the establishment newspaper ‘Al-Gomhouriya’ published a special article in its cinema affairs column on ‘The Oscars and the Jewish Problem’. The article concentrated on two films - ‘Life Is Beautiful’ which won the prize for the best foreign film and the American film ‘The Last Days’ which won the prize for the best documentary. The author of the article is concerned that these films present the Jews as the only victims of the Holocaust, while everyone knows, he claims, that the Nazis’ victims were not only the Jews. ‘Only a ‘few million’ of the 50 million who were killed in World War II were Jews’, he maintains.

The establishment newspaper ‘Al-Akbar’ published an editorial on 2 April, 1999 expressing wonder that the U.S. permits a fund raising campaign for Holocaust victims to be held there. The article states that the U.S. turns a blind eye to Israel’s actions which almost reach the level of the Holocaust. According to the Jews, the Nazis executed millions of their people during the Holocaust. The newspaper clarified the fact that since the establishment of Israel in 1948 it has committed many criminal acts against the Palestinians, which are not less than the crematoria that ostensibly existed, in order to force them to leave their homes, similar to what the Serbian blood shedder Milosevic and his soldiers are doing against the Albanians in Kosovo.


In the 19 April, 1999 edition of the establishment newspaper ‘Al-Wattan’, an article was published by Shuki Hafez entitled, ‘The Commandment of Blood’ which refers to the Christian blood libel. Following is a quotation of the article: ‘There are those who prefer their matzos with fruit juice or with cocoa. Some like them baked with human blood, especially Christian blood. These are our cousins the Jews, who inherited this strange pagan idea together with a tremendous amount of foolish ideas from the Talmud and the rest of their ‘holy books’. The ‘religious’ motive behind all this is clear and explicit in the rabbis’ Torah: eating Jewish matzos baked with Christian blood is the shortest way to restore health and guarantee to bring back youth to an old man, in his relations with his wife ...’.


The ‘Al-Mithaq’ weekly published an article in its 26 March, 1999 edition entitled, ‘The Establishment in Islam’ by Mustafa Kamel Shawar, a lecturer at the Al-Sharia’ College in the Hebron University. Among other things, the article tells an anti-Jewish story from the early history of Islam which has anti-Jewish implications for modern times. According to the story, when Othman Bin Afan heard about the shortage of water among the Muslims he sent the Prophet Muhammad to buy a spring from a greedy Jew (Jasha) ... whose name was ‘Ruma’ ... The lack of water weighed heavily on the poor Muslims who had to buy water for money. ‘The shortage forced the people to give in to temptations. Ask the Jews of our time about this, how they treat people cruelly until they catch them in their nets, may Allah make war against them. Here is a student, for example, who has a month or two until the time of his happiness and the happiness of his family who waited a long time for this moment and here begins the bargaining and blackmail. There are many such examples, but let us return to the story of Othman: The Muslims used to draw two days’ water supply from the well and the Jew proposed to sell them the second portion for two thirds of the price of the first one. Only then did the generous Othman purchase the entire well for the Muslims...’.


The ‘2M’ station broadcast a program on 26 April, 1999 on the roots of the Palestinian problem. The program focused on the Dreyfus case which was defined as a ‘Jewish conspiracy for Zionist propaganda’. The day after the broadcast the ‘Liberation’ newspaper published an article by the journalist Slah Sbyea protesting that the Moroccan national channel broadcasts an item which fans hatred and spreads manure deriving from the dark sources of the French radical right-wing. The journalist also negatively compares the phenomenon of the hate-spreading article to rejecting the Holocaust.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry