The streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and every other city throughout Israel – and in communities outside of Israel with large Jewish communities – were calm over Shabbat despite the decision by several Arab TV satellite channels to begin airing an antisemitic mini-series during Ramadan called “Khaybar.” The program reportedly demonizes Jews, who are depicted as immutably “treacherous” and the “enemies of Islam” who “can’t be trusted”.
The series – produced by a Qatari media company and currently being aired in Dubai, Egypt, Algeria, Qatar and UAE – is described by the screenwriter and the film’s actors as simply demonstrating that “The Jews are the Jews…and still act according to their nature and corrupt any society in which they live.”
Though a prominent pro-Israel blogger, Elder of Ziyon, initiated a passionate campaign to draw attention to the series, the act of racist incitement has been ignored by major human rights organizations – characteristic of the silence by such self-described “humanitarian” groups in the face of poisonous anti-Jewish animus which is commonplace throughout Arab and Muslim countries.
Additionally, whilst the Guardian published over 100 reports and commentaries after the Muhammad cartoons controversy in 2005, and a similarly large volume of stories on the row last year over a brief trailer for an anti-Islamic film posted on YouTube called ‘Innocence of Muslims’, there has been nothing published at the Guardian or ‘Comment is Free’ about Khaybar.
Further, in contrast to the eruption of riots and violence over the Muhammad cartoons, which led to death threats against the cartoonists and riots in cities across the world resulting in over 200 people dead, and the reaction to the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’, which led to hundreds of injuries and over 50 deaths, there have been no reports of Jewish riots in reaction to the hideously antisemitic Khaybar broadcast.
While the narrow issue of the Guardian’s decision not to inform readers about an antisemitic TV series which will potentially be seen by tens of millions of Arab viewers is important – representing one example of their wider failure to report even the most extreme examples of antisemitic incitement within the larger Arab world – there is another important angle to this story worth exploring.
My observation regarding the dearth of anything resembling violence by Jews over the racist Arab series was not meant to be at all cheeky, but rather was an attempt to illustrate the absurdity of the ubiquitous refrain from Guardian Left commentators that the Israel lobby ‘intimidates’ elected representatives, exercises undue influence over the media and stifles debate over issues of concern to the Jewish community.
Whilst organized Jewry, and pro-Israel commentators, certainly use the power of the pen, lobby their representatives and use every other legitimate democratic means available to advocate for Israel and campaign against antisemitism, newspaper cartoonists who run afoul of ‘the lobby’ do not receive death threats from AIPAC; commentators who engage in antisemitic tropes don’t have to go in hiding for fear of retribution by philo-Semitic bloggers; and ‘spontaneous’ acts of mass Jewish violence do not erupt on the streets of Paris, London, New York, or Jerusalem when the religious sensibilities of Jews are offended.
Though it is of course true that the overwhelming majority of Muslims don’t resort to violence in response to cartoons, films or commentaries deemed offensive to Islam, the small minority who do engage in such anti-social and destructive behavior clearly create a chilling effect on Western journalists and opinion leaders – anti-democratic bullying and intimidation which simply has no parallel within the Zionist community.
- Blogger Spearheads Petition Urging Human Rights Groups to Condemn Anti-Semitic TV Show (algemeiner.com)
- Thoughts on the Guardian while at the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism (cifwatch.com)
- Guardian cartoonist draws upon antisemitic stereotypes in depicting Henry Kissinger (cifwatch.com)
- Anti-Zionism of fools: What Egypt and the Guardian can learn from Israeli democracy (cifwatch.com)
- Abu Qatada: a lesson for British Jews (cifwatch.com)
- Martin Rowson: Israel lobby uses antisemitism to silence critics of Zionist brutality (cifwatch.com)