Arab press more anti-Semitic than ever

ADL report notes marked increase in anti-Semitic content since cartoon riots.

anti semitic cartoon 298 (photo credit: Reprinted from
anti semitic cartoon 298
(photo credit: Reprinted from
The Muhammad cartoon controversy greatly increased the amount of anti-Semitic material in Arab and Muslim newspapers, according to a report issued by the Anti-Defamation League over the weekend. The report highlighted cartoons and opinion pieces that demonized Jews, Israel and the Holocaust in media across the Arab world and in Iran. The publications cited depicted Jews in "outrageous and deeply anti-Semitic caricatures and themes, including anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of Jews plotting to control US foreign policy and dominate the world," the report said. For example, in the government daily Al-Ittihad from the United Arab Emirates, a cartoon of a Jew holding the world at bay with a gun labeled "the Holocaust" was published on January 24. And, in an apparent reference to the Muhammad cartoons, on February 16 the Bahraini Akhbar al-Khalij ran a picture of an inkpot marked with a Star of David accompanied by a pen writing "cartoons harming Allah's messenger." While anti-Semitic tropes have long filled the Arab media, ADL Israel office spokesman Arieh O'Sullivan said the intensity of such material "skyrocketed" when Muslim rage exploded over the controversial Muhammad depictions carried in the Danish press and elsewhere. "Suddenly it caught on like wildfire and every newspaper started to print content that was anti-Semitic or Holocaust related," O'Sullivan said. He added that the worst of the conflagration seemed to be over, as the Muhammad cartoon uproar has died down. The report also included content from newspapers published before the Danish cartoon controversy erupted at the end of January - though the Muhammad cartoons were published in early fall - but the turning point came when an Iranian newspaper aped the Danish newspaper's Muhammad contest by sponsoring a competition for Holocaust cartoons, according to the ADL. ADL national director Abraham Foxman said that Muslim and Arab leaders have a "blind spot" and a "level of tolerance" for "blatant anti-Semitism" in the media. "While the Muslim world acts out violently in response to the Muhammad cartoons and suggests that Western freedom of speech has gone too far, the plain fact is newspapers in the Muslim and Arab world continue to engage in vicious stereotyping of Jews."