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Arab and Islamic Anti-Semitism

Raphael Israeli
Policy Paper No. 104,  2000


A mistaken perception has prevailed in public opinion which posited that as the peace process is unfolding and the Arabs get to know Israel and Jews more closely, the anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist and anti- Israel stereotypes that were rampant in Arab thinking, and consequently in their media and publications, might recede before they disappear.

In fact, experience since Sadat's "Peace Initiative" of 1977 and up until the present negotiations with the Palestinians and the Syrians has shown, that those hateful stereotypes far from shrinking, on the contrary, have been expanded and elaborated, drawing on "first-hand knowledge" to confirm and solidify the conventional derogatory attitudes that had taken root in Arab and Islamic thinking vis-à-vis the Jews.

Already in Sadat's times, when the Camp David negotiations showed signs of difficulties, Prime Minister Begin was likened in the Egyptian press to a "Shylock". Today, Tishrin, the mouthpiece of the Syrian regime, denies the Sho'ah and accuses Israel of "Nazi conduct" at the same time that it seeks to obtain far-reaching Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

"Schindler's List", a movie which had nothing to do with Israel and Zionism, has been banned in the entire Arab world, because it "proves" the veracity of the Sho'ah, at a time when Arab countries, including those at peace with Israel, hail as heroes, deniers of the Holocaust such as Garaudy of France. Anti-Semitic broadsides are rife in the Egyptian as well as the press of all the rest of the Arabs, which lend prominence to the Blood Libel, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other classical, European-originating, trappings of anti-Semitism.

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