Arab cartoons continue to vilify Israeli leaders

ADL report shows newspapers in Arab, Muslim world consistently portray Israel's prime ministers in hateful, anti-Jewish ways.

December 24, 2010 01:53
2 minute read.
Arab cartoons of Israeli leaders.

Arab cartoons 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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NEW YORK – A new report issued by the Anti-Defamation League Wednesday illustrates that newspapers in the Arab and Muslim world consistently vilify Israel’s prime ministers, often in hateful, anti-Jewish and inflammatory ways.

The report, “Personalizing the Conflict: A Decade of an Assault on Israel’s Premiers in the Arab Media,” states that by cartoon and caricature, publications in the Arab world have deliberately and consistently sought to demonize Israeli leadership since 2000.

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“Political caricatures are a visually powerful medium and have a profound impact on public opinion,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a press release. “The harsh demonization of Israel’s political leadership in the Arab media is another form of incitement against the Jewish state and its people. In Arab societies, there is virtually no alternative to the images of Israeli leaders as blood-thirsty, monstrous Nazis with aspirations of carrying out war crimes or controlling the region and the world.”

The report, prepared by ADL’s Israel office, includes cartoons that appeared in the mainstream daily newspapers of Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and other nations. Israeli leaders are routinely portrayed as Nazis, as bloodthirsty butchers, devils, and vicious or leeching animals such as attack dogs, worms and serpents.

These mainstream newspapers are often under direct or indirect government control, implying that the governments in question endorse the controversial imagery.

Ariel Sharon, Israeli prime minister from March 2001 through April 2006, attracted the most vilification in the Arab press, consistently portrayed as a murderer with bloodied hands, eating Palestinian children, drinking their blood and butchering them. Sharon was frequently compared to the Nazis and Adolf Hitler.

Ehud Barak drew comparisons to Hitler and Slobodan Milosevic, surrounded by skulls or dead Palestinians. Ehud Olmert was portrayed as a Nazi, swastikas on his uniform, or a killer of Palestinians and Lebanese in the 2006 Lebanon War.

In recent months, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been portrayed as the devil, holding the US government hostage.

While the level of vitriol is not entirely unexpected, Foxman said, he noted that it constitutes yet another form of anti-Israel incitement, and that it often plays on anti-Jewish themes to the point that each prime minister is virtually indistinguishable from the other.

Examples cited in the ADL report include Netanyahu with devil’s horns and an olive branch in his mouth (Egypt); Netanyahu holding Obama at gunpoint with a gun shaped like a menorah (Qatar); Netanyahu as a butcher chopping up Palestine (Saudi Arabia); and a bloody Netanyahu eating a Palestinian child (Gaza).

The complete report, with many examples of the cartoons, can be found at–semitism/media/57 360-english-cover-revised-Full.pdf.

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