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Report: Arab Anti-Semitism 1999-2000

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Anti-Semitism in Arab Countries 1999-2000

 This is one of a series of reports prepared by the Stephen Roth Institute relating to Arab Anti-Semitism.

The Arab media’s representation of Israel and the Jews did not change during 1999 and anti-Semitic manifestations generally continued unabated. Toward the end of the year, following the renewal of Syrian-Israeli negotiations, the campaign of anti-Semitism seemed, paradoxically, to intensify, especially in the Syrian press, and to turn, as commentator Charles Krauthammer wrote, into “raw, brute, anti-Jewish calumnies” (Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2000).

The peace process seemed to provide new grounds for anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish rhetoric. Along with recurrent anti-Semitic themes in the Arab mainstream and Islamist press, such as the invidious characteristics of the Jews and Zionism and the inevitable demise of the State of Israel, a major discourse interwoven with anti-Semitic motifs emerged on the issues of normalization and globalization. Anti-normalization was not confined solely to demonization but was accompanied by attempts to revive the Arab boycott and by the organization of anti-normalization movements in Egypt and Jordan, which even called to abrogate the peace treaties.

The debate on normalization is also linked to globalization, the New World order, the new Middle East, and the market economy and its impact on Arab societies, and is part of an even wider ongoing discussion on reform, liberalism, democratization and human rights in the Arab world.

 

GENERAL ANALYSIS

 

The Arab media’s representation of Israel and the Jews did not change during 1999 and anti-Semitic manifestations generally continued unabated. Newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was greeted, especially among Islamists, with suspicion and the claim that he was no better than former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (al-Liwa’, 2 June; 11 Aug.; al-`Ahd, 23 July). Toward the end of the year, following the renewal of Syrian-Israeli negotiations, the campaign of anti-Semitism seemed, paradoxically to intensify, especially in the Syrian press. At the same time, Hamas and Hizballah leaders reached a decision during a meeting reportedly held in Iran in October, to launch attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets throughout the world. Hamas reiterated its pledge to jihad after the expulsion of four of its leaders from Jordan in November (Ma`ariv, 13, 14 Oct.; 24 Nov.; Yedi`ot Aharonot, 13 Oct.).

The Arab media, and especially the Egyptian press, continued in 1999 to be preoccupied with allegations of anti-Semitism made by Israel and by Jewish organizations such as the ADL. Egyptian journalists Ahmad `Amir, Wadie Kirolos and Rajab al-Bana insisted that Egypt’s position toward Israel was not a product of anti-Semitic beliefs but a reaction to Israeli policies and deeds. Egyptians were neither enemies of the Jews or of Judaism nor racists, they said. Egyptian society differentiated between Judaism and Zionism, and was historically tolerant toward its Jews as it was toward any other religious group (al-Ahram Weekly, 14 Jan.; October, 7 March; al-Ahram, 16 Nov.).

Fully aware of the negative connotations of the term anti-Semitism, Arab writers constantly attempt to deny the charge and distance themselves from it, seeking to present it as a weapon exploited by Israel and Zionism against their enemies and against anyone who disputes their views. Zionists used the “Semitic story” to prove the purity of the Jewish race, claimed Egyptian journalist and caricaturist `Adil Hammuda, “but this is false since the Arabs are also Semites so how could they be anti-Semites?!” (October, 31 Jan.). No word in the political dictionary enjoys such importance as the term ‘anti-Semitism’, wrote a Jordanian journalist and reversed the charge: if the Arabs were to enumerate the crimes committed by Zionism against them during the last century they would discover by the same Zionist token that Israel was an anti-Semitic entity “that commits aggression and which is based on discrimination and racial cleansing” (al-Aswaq, 7 Aug.).

Nevertheless, in an article entitled “Jews and Muslims in the Post-Israel Middle East,” `Azzam Tamimi, an Islamist scholar living in the United Kingdom, dealt candidly with Muslim hatred of the Jews, tracing its historical origins and assessing its future development. Tamimi admitted that Arab and Muslim thinkers “through a re-reading of history aided by a re-interpretation of the sacred text [the Qur`an]… sought to prove that Jews, by virtue of some inherited characteristics, have always been corrupt and ill intentioned.” They also adopted Christian anti-Jewish writings and the idea of the global Jewish conspiracy from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and some even interpreted the Qur`anic narrative vis-à -vis the Israelites and the Jews in light of The Protocols. Tamimi explained that this perception of the Jews was an aberration of the traditional Islamic approach and a result of the Zionist endeavor, which managed to embroil Judaism in its “intrigues in order to bestow religious legitimacy on itself and gain the support of world Jewry.” Hence, Zionism bore full responsibility for this shift. Massive Western support and the weakness of the Arabs and Muslims had enabled the Zionist project to succeed in fulfilling its goals, but its continuation was no longer ensured, Tamimi concluded. The retreat of the West, coinciding with Arab and Muslim awakening and domestic crises within Israel, would terminate the Zionist endeavor and the State of Israel (published on 27 June in msanews.mynet.net/Scholars/Tamimi/). Tamimi did not mention the word anti-Semitism in his article although he referred to the major themes characterizing Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism.

This chapter will focus on the above-mentioned themes as manifested in the Arab press during 1999.

 

RECURRING ANTI-SEMITIC THEMES

 

Several anti-Semitic themes, adopted from traditional Christian anti-Semitism, reappeared again in Islamist, as well as mainstream, publications: the image of the Jew as Shylock and his inherently negative traits; the blood libel; the Talmud as the religious and ideological basis of Jewish thought; the continued expansion of international Zionism and traditional Jewish enmity to Islam.

 

The Image of the Jew as Shylock and His Negative Traits

Alarmed by the renewal of the peace talks between Syria and Israel in November, the Syrian literary magazine al-Usbu` al-Adabi, the weekly of the Syrian Arab Writers Association headed by staunch opponent of the peace process `Ali `Aqla `Arsan, revived the Shylock image, the blood libel and the Talmud in its attack on Israel. On 27 November, it published the article “Shylock of New York and the Industry of Death” by Jbara al-Barghuti, which claimed that the world had known more than one Shylock throughout history and referred to the “new Shylock of New York,” who allegedly drew “the elixir of his hatred and evil from all the extremism and fundamentalism on earth,” did not conceal his real intentions, and was not ashamed of his evil deeds and his sins against humanity. The new Jewish Shylock, the writer contended, permeated the world and operated in America’s shadow.

The Jewish Joke, by `Adil Hammuda, was published in Egypt in 1999 and reviewed by Mahmud `Abd al-Shakur in a three-part article in the Egyptian weekly October. The book claimed to be an attempt to get acquainted with “the Jewish personality” through jokes. The jokes were said to prove that there were “a thousand Shylocks,” so why, the writer wondered, did the Jews deny what Shylock symbolized. The major traits revealed in the jokes were greed, envy, stinginess, a superiority-cum-inferiority complex and courage mixed with cowardice. The jokes were classified into political, historical, religious, anti-Semitic and other categories. One category dealt with jokes from the Nazi era which, according to the writer, reflected more than anything the complex Jewish personality, including misery, innocence and exploitation (October, 17, 24, 31 Jan.; for more on Jewish traits, see al-Istiqlal, 26 Feb.; al-`Ahd, 27 Aug.; al-Sabil, 12 Oct.).

 

The Blood Libel

In an unprecedented attack in an Omani paper, journalist Shawqi Hafiz wrote of those who like their matzos “baked withuman blood.” Eating Jewish matzos with Christian blood, he explained, was the best way to restore health and rejuvenate the sexual lust of old men. To support his claim, Hafiz referred to Najib al-Kilani’s book Blood for the Matzah of Zion -- a tract based on the 1840 blood libel in Damascus, in which the Jewish community was accused of murdering Franciscan Brother Toma in order to bake their matzos with his blood. Israel submitted an official protest to the Sultan of Oman (al-Watan, 19 April; Ma`ariv, 5 May). Al-Barghuti’s article (mentioned above) charged that the blood of the Iraqis, descendants of the Canaanites, was used in the matzah of Israel, which was “kneaded with American weaponry and the missiles of hatred pointed at both Muslim and Christian Arabs” (al-Usbu` al-Adabi, 27 Nov.).

 

The Talmud as the Religious and Ideological Basis of Jewish Thought

“The Role of the Talmud in the Composition of the Jewish Mentality” was the title of an article by Ahmad Khalid, who attributed Jewish behavior to religious legacies that made up the bizarre and alien Jewish mentality. The Talmud, the second holy book after the Old Testament, consolidated this mentality with feelings of superiority together with hatred and hostility toward humanity (al-Sabil, 16 March; see also al-Usbu` al-Adabi, 27 Nov.). These beliefs caused the Jews to view other peoples as inferior animals, to seduce them by any means and to commit adultery with their women (October, 24 Jan.).

 

International Zionism and Traditional Jewish Enmity to Islam

The power of the Jews and “international Zionism” continued to be a favorite theme in the Arab media. Titles such as “The Jews Control the United States” (al-Sabil, 11 Jan.), “The Jews and Modern American Literature” (al-Hayat al-Jadida, 24, 26, 30 Jan.), “The Growing Danger of Anti-Semitism in America” (al-Hayat al-Jadida, 22 June), “The Full List of Jews in the American Administration” (al-Sha`b, 29 Jan.; Filastin al-Muslima, June) and “This is How the Jews Control the United States” (al-`Ahd, 21 May), appeared in publications of all ideological shades. In all these articles the Jews are represented as possessing absolute control over the American administration, economy, media and culture. They also claim that similar patterns of control are exercised in Russia, where there is growing Jewish influence over the economy and over key political positions (Filastin al-Muslima, Feb.; al-Hayat al-Jadida, 15 March; al-`Ahd, 18 June, 6 Aug.). Their attempts to penetrate China, which they perceive as the new “New World,” (al-Hayat al-Jadida, 15, 16 June), as well as the Arab and North African economies, especially those of Tunisia and Morocco, are claimed to be increasingly successful (al-`Ahd, 11 June; October, 20 June).

World Jewry registered another triumph with the election of Ruth Dreyfus as the first Jewish Swiss president, asserted Raja `Isa in the Jordanian mainstream daily al-Ra`y. This, he claimed, was an aggressive act of international Zionism, and “a link in the chain of worldwide Zionist takeovers through the finance market,” after it had succeeded in milking one-and-a-half billion dollars from Switzerland and was demanding similar compensation from insurance companies. The Swiss ambassador to Jordan protested in a letter published a few days later (al-Ra`y, 5, 11 Jan.). Some of the articles tried to prove that the Jews abused their power. They alleged that Jews were involved in the assassination of President John Kennedy, who refused to succumb to their demands to develop nuclear weapons, and exerted pressure on the American administration by infiltrating Mossad agents into the White House (October, 3 Jan.; 7 March; al-Ra`y, 7 Jan.; al-Hayat al-Jadida, 5, 7 March; Filastin al-Muslima, Sept.).

Perhaps the strongest accusation against international Zionism and Israel is their alleged hatred of Islam and Muslims at large. Thus, they are perceived as being behind all the disasters and crises which have befallen Arabs and Muslims around the world, and as collaborating with all forces seeking to harm them. Israel allegedly aided the Russians against the Muslim rebels in Chechenya and Dagestan, and the Serbs in Kosovo against the Albanians in order to erase the Muslim presence in Europe (News Network International, 16 Jan.; al-Hayat al-Jadida, 25 Jan.; al-Sabil, 1 March; al-Sha`b, 2 March; al-Ahram, 4 Sept.; al-Liwa’, 8, 22, 27 Sept.; 1 Dec.). Further, Israel sows division and fuels conflicts between Christians and Muslims in southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and “Palestine” [referring to the dispute in Nazareth between the Christian and Muslim communities over the Muslims’ intention to build a mosque on the ground adjacent to the Basilica of the Annunciation] (al-Hayat al-Jadida, 1 March, 20 June; al-Sabil, 27 April; al-Liwa’, 22 Sept.; 27 Oct.; al-Naba’ al-Watani, 7 Nov.; al-Sha`b, 9 Nov.). Israel was even accused of causing the earthquake in Turkey in August as a result of secret explosions it carried out in the Sea of Marmara (al-Liwa’, 24 Nov.). Writing on an Israeli/Zionist connection with every crisis involving Muslims, Egyptian pro-Islamist writer Mustafa Mahmud cited the Qur`anic verse (“The Table,” 64), which speaks of Jewish hostility toward the Muslims until Judgment Day. “Hostility will be met by hostility,” he predicted, and as “God turned them into an easy prey for persecution and torture during the Nazi period,” they will be abandoned by all their allies including the United States once their treachery and deceit is discovered (al-Ahram, 4 Sept.; al-Liwa’, 22 Sept.).

 

Jewish Racial Purity, Ethnic Cleansing and the Re-Writing of History

Another theme which figures prominently in the anti-Jewish rhetoric is the allegation that the Jews and Zionists distorted the Old Testament and their own history to prove their racial purity and their historical rights to Palestine. It is also seen as part of an effort to cleanse Palestine of any traces of its Arab and Islamic heritage, which accords with the traditional Jewish enmity toward Islam. This theme is becoming increasingly dominant in the re-writing of the history of Palestine by Palestinians or other Arabs. Their arguments are not necessarily anti-Semitic, but they are relevant to the discussion of the Arab perception of the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially when they are represented in the context of the Jews’ war against the Muslims and Islam.

The Jews, one of the articles said, claim to maintain the purity of their race and Zionism cherishes this myth, but in fact the Jews of today are not the descendants of the Children of Israel. Moreover, already then, according to their own sacred books, they intermarried with the local Canaanites, Hittites and Philistines (October, 25 April). `Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri, the notorious Egyptian expert on Jewish studies, published an eight-volume encyclopedia, The Jews, Judaism and Zionism (al-Yahud, wal-Yahudiya wal-Sihyuniyya -- Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq, 1999), on the history of the Jews since antiquity. The project, for which he was awarded the Cairo International Book Fair prize for 1999 by President Husni Mubarak, reflected his former works, which claim, basically, that the Jews are not a nation (al-Hayat, 23 Jan.; al-`Alam, May; al-Ahram al-`Arabi, 14 Aug.).

Another Egyptian writer complained that the Arabs failed to exploit the fact that only a fraction of today’s Jews were descendants of the Children of Israel. This, he said, could undermine the Zionist argument which linked their political movement with the ancient history of the Israelites in order to justify their occupation of Palestine (al-`Arab al-Yawm, 5 Aug.). Al-Ahram al-`Arabi (22 May) claimed that Anita Shapira’s study on the religious impact on the Zionist movement provides further proof of the Zionist leaders’ baseless historical claims to Palestine.

The Kosovo crisis and the subsequent Albanian repatriation provided the pretext for intensifying the accusation of Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Arab papers compared Israeli behavior to that of the Serbs toward the Albanians, and criticized the international community for turning a blind eye to the Palestinian re. Egyptian journalist `Abd al-`Azim Hammad even thought that the issue of alleged Israeli ethnic cleansing had moved from the realm of academia to that of diplomacy, when hopes for applying the Albanian precedent to the Palestinian case were raised during President Mubarak’s visit to the US in the spring (al-Hayat al-Jadida, 4 April; al-Ahram Weekly, 15 July).

In addition, in the context of Israel’s alleged attempts to erase Arab and Islamic traces in Palestine (October, 6 June; al-Sha`b, 3 Aug.), first and foremost in Jerusalem, it was claimed that there was a “satanic plot” to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque and rebuild the third Temple on its ruins (al-Sabil, 26 Jan., 18 May, 7 Sept.; Filastin al-Muslima, Sept.; al-Azhar, Oct.; al-Hayat, 1 Oct.; al-Liwa’, 27 Oct.; al-Naba’ al-Watani, 14 Nov.), and that Jews disseminated documents full of “lies and falsifications” concealing the Muslims’ historical and religious ties to the city (al-Sabil, 16 March; al-Ahram al-`Arabi, 24 April).

An article in October (3 Oct.), by Asima Janu, referred to an alleged actual event to prove the “campaign for the distortion of history.” She claimed that Barak had conditioned a visit to Syria for negotiations on the removal from an official hall of a beautiful artistic plate depicting the battle of Hittin, in which Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi vanquished the Crusaders -- a disturbing historical event for Israelis. She stressed that Roger Garaudy was among those who spoke explicitly about the myth of Israeli history, and of Israeli efforts to cleanse the Arab-Islamic heritage of heroes who called for jihad and the revival of Arab resistance.

 

THE ISLAMIST DISCOURSE

 

Faced with the challenges of political developments in the region and of normalization, the Islamists, namely Hamas, Hizballah, the Islamic Jihad and the Muslim Brothers in Jordan and in Egypt, reiterated their positions on the Arab-Israeli conflict and on Islamic-Zionist coexistence. Stemming from the conviction that their role was to keep “the flame of hatred burning,” their discourse continued to define the conflict as an irreconcilable and comprehensive struggle between Islamic civilization and the Zionist endeavor. Moreover, while the Jews were represented as the enemies of mankind, the Muslims were entrusted by God with the mission of redeeming the world from this “cursed gang” (al-Sha`b, 8 June; al-Wafd, 23 Nov.). The Islamist argument, as manifested in publications and statements, was therefore geared to prove the deviant character of Zionism and of the Jews, their hostility toward Islam and their inevitable demise, according to certain Qur’anic verses (al-Sha`b, 12 Jan., 8 June; al-Sabil, 16 March, 14 Oct.; al-Liwa’, 4, 25 Aug., 10 Nov., 1 Dec.; Crescent International, 1 July; al-`Ahd, 27 Aug.; see also specific series by Salah al-Khalidi in Filastin al-Muslima, Jan., Feb., April-June, Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec., and by Muhammad Hilal in al-Liwa’, 4 Aug., 15 Sept., 6, 13, 27 Oct.).

Lashing out at the Arab regimes after the renewal of the Israeli-Syrian negotiations, the mufti of the Palestinian Authority (PA) also cited these verses, pointing to the wrath of Allah on the Jews for their rejection of his signs and slaying his messengers (17 Dec. – www.al-aqsa.org). Islamist scholar Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, said in an interview to al-Istiqlal, the Islamic Jihad weekly in Gaza, that “there are many signs and glad tidings in the Qur`an that the Zionist power will recede sooner or later… [and] the Almighty will visit them with destruction and vengeance again” (al-Istiqlal, 20 Aug.; Palestine Times 99 [Sept.]; al-Sha`b, 9 April). Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah, considered the spiritual leader of Hizballah, also predicted that Israel had no future. “The international and regional balances, the weakness of the Arabs, and the Christians’ detachment from the issue of Palestine’s occupation by the Jews have led to the Jews’ control over Palestine. However… because of their mentality, they cannot become a natural entity in the region” (al-Mushahid al-Siyasi, 30 May, 6 June; al-Liwa’, 17 June).

The motif of Israel as a cancerous growth remained typical of the Islamist discourse. During a ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of Shaykh `Abd al-Karim `Ubayd’s kidnapping, Hizballah Secretary-General Shaykh Hasan Nasrallah rejected possible recognition of the “cancerous, racist, terrorist entity, which possesses a mentality of hegemony and control over the region” (al-`Ahd, 30 June), and claimed that there was no chance of its survival (Tishrin, 21 June). The strong belief in the demise of Israel even led `Azzam Tamimi, quoted above, to suggest that the Arab world should prepare itself for the post-Israel era. Yet, unlike his Islamist cohorts, he called for the revision and elimination of false concepts that make no distinction between Jew and Zionist, and for the restoration of the contextual interpretation of the Qur`anic text and the discrediting of conspiracy theory explanations of past and present events.

Another Muslim scholar, the director of the Washington-based United Association for Studies and Research, Ahmad Yousef, who saw no chance for coexistence between Islam and the Zionist enterprise, foresaw in its stead the emergence of an Arab and Islamic order in the Middle East, which would offer stability and peace for the Jews living in its realm (Ahmad Yousef, “Islamists and the Zionist World Movement” – msanews. mynet.net/Scholars/Yousef/sami.html).

 

REPRESENTATION OF THE HOLOCAUST

 

A caricature in the Jordanian mainstream daily al-Dustur featured Netanyahu and Barak accusing each other of being a Nazi, while an Arab bystander says with satisfaction: “I didn’t say a word!” (al-Dustur, 4 Feb.). The comparison of Israelis with Nazis and Israeli behavior with Nazi practices was a recurring theme in the Arab press; moreover, Holocaust denial appeared in various contexts. The Arab League censured Israel’s policy of razing Palestinian homes built without permits and said it was worse than Nazi Germany’s program to exterminate Jews (Reuters, 13 Jan. – infoseek.go.com). Netanyahu’s election campaign slogan, “A strong leader for a strong people,” was considered by the Saudi newspaper as projecting Hitler’s spirit and supremacy philosophy (al-Jazira, 2 Feb.). The Jews were allies of the Nazi gangs and the Israelis, who resembled the Nazis more than any other people, had adopted their oppression policy, wrote the reviewer of a new Egyptian book, The Massacres of the Egyptian Prisoners and the Jews’ Nazism, by Yasir Mash’ali (October, 6 June). Reporting on a US administration fund for Holocaust survivors, Egyptian paper al-Akhbar, accused the United States of ignoring the Palestinian victims’ rights and turning a blind eye to Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, which were no less barbaric than the “so-called crematoria” (al-Akhbar, 2 April).

In his book on the Jewish joke, mentioned above, `Adil Hammuda spoke of the Jewish tendency to indulge in self-pity, manifested by Yad Vashem. The Jews repeatedly relate what happened in the Holocaust in order to squeeze more money from the Germans, the Americans and Swiss banks. Hitler hated Jews and wanted to get rid of them but since no country was ready to accept them, he gave up the idea of deportation and began their extermination (October, 31 Jan.). Yad Vashem was defined in a word-puzzle in al-Hayat al- Jadida as “a Jewish center for memorializing the Holocaust and falsehood.” Following a protest by the Israeli government, Hafiz al-Barghuti, the paper’s editor, attacked the Israeli government for dealing with trifles and lending a vicious interpretation to a typological error, since the word falsehood (batil) and heroism (butula) in Arabic derive from the same root (al-Hayat al-Jadida,18 Feb.; 4 March; Ma`ariv, 12 July).

Arab papers reported on European events related to the Holocaust and to the Jewish response to them, such as the historians’ debate in Germany (al-Hayat, 10 Jan., 13 March), John Cornwell’s recent and much-discussed biography of Pope Pius XII, and the extreme right FPÖ’s victory in Austria. A special interest in Holocaust deniers was alevident, especially Roger Garaudy. He reportedly visited Iraq in September, where he lectured on the myth of the Holocaust, emphasizing also the US pursuit of Hitler’s goals for world hegemony and likening the Israeli leadership’s cooperation with the US to the Zionist cooperation with the Nazi regime (al-Dustur, 25 Sept.).

Commenting on the controversy in Israel over the new history textbooks for schools prepared by Eyal Naveh, Ahmad al-Qadidi compared Naveh’s thesis to Garaudy’s on the founding myths of Israel. Naveh and the new Israeli historians, who represent the changing Israeli mentality, he claimed, were even braver than Garaudy and should be tried under the Gayssot Law. Otherwise, he claimed, Garaudy, who was convicted under this law (see AWW 1998/9) should be aquitted (al-Dustur, 23 Sept.).

The arrest of Australian Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben in Germany in May was reported by Filastin al-Muslima (May). In November, Al-Ahram referred to his sentence, in an article entitled “The Holocaust a Lie… on an Internet Site,” which described the “vicious war” launched by the Jews against Toben for publishing a document on his Internet site denying “the Jewish claims” on the Holocaust. Toben, the paper said, was depicted as “anti-Semitic” -- “a traditional accusation,” leveled by the Jews at anyone who dared discuss the issue (al-Ahram, 3 Nov.).

Al-Hayat al-Jadida (9 March) reviewed a book by Dariusz Ratajczyk from Poland’s Opole University, who denied the use of Zyklon B and reportedly blamed Holocaust historians for turning the Holocaust into a religion. Al-Ahram al-`Arabi published a two-part article on the Leuchter Report, which it considered “a death verdict on the false legends told by the State of Israel” (al-Ahram al-`Arabi, 24 April, 1 May; the Palestinian weekly al-Manar published the same article on 3 May).

On the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of Adolf Eichmann’s execution, `Ifat Sa`id Mahmud wrote an article referring to Israel’s opposition to the publication of Eichmann’s memoirs and quoting British writer David Irving’s denial of the “mass murder myth.” Ending his article with an appeal to the New World Order conscience, he linked the Eichmann affair with the massacres in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechenya and Israel, wondering if those who committed them would ever be tried (October, 7 Nov.).

Muhammad al-Sammak, a Lebanese writer who participated in the inter-religious dialogue in the Vatican, took issue with John Cornwell, biographer of Pope Pius XII. He attacked the choice of picture on the cover of the book, which, he claimed, implied that the pope was pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic. This was not only misleading but was a betrayal of the trust of John Paul II, who had opened the Vatican archives for Cornwell. Pope Pius XII, al-Sammak claimed, had saved 850,000 lives but he was accused by the Jews of anti-Semitism. Pope John Paul II had made extensive efforts to bring about reconciliation with the Jews, but they had abused his trust by falsifying history and pressing him for additional concessions (al-Ahram, 17 Nov.; for additional discussions of books relating to World War II, Zionism and Israel, see al-Liwa’, 27 Oct.; al-Naba’ al-Watani, 21 Nov.).

Hamas’ mouthpiece Filastin al-Muslima (March) also dealt with the issue of restitution of Jewish gold, in an article by Mahmud al-Khatib, “Europe – A Prisoner of the Gold Fantasy and the Jewish Holocaust.” Pointing out Germany’s repentance for its crime with “massive and continued support to the Zionist state,” al-Khatib claimed that the Jews were not exterminated for being Jews but because they were a treacherous and conspiratorial group that opposed the Nazi regime, and it was for this that they were punished. Discussing the establishment of a committee in the Israeli Knesset to claim compensation for Jewish property in Arab countries, Jamil Mattar, director of Egypt’s Arab Center for Development and Futuristic Research, suggested that it should be taken seriously in light of the experience in Europe. “Israel and Diaspora Jewry have used moral terrorism, blackmail and threats of harsh economic sanctions to obtain compensation for the gold deposited in Swiss banks” (al-Ahram Weekly, 25 Feb.).

The Oscar awards granted to two films dealing with the World War II period and the Holocaust -- Robert Begnini’s Life is Beautiful and Steven Spielberg’s Sergeant Ryan -- led to a spate of articles on Jewish influence in shaping the film industry. While Majida Maurice censured Spielberg for being one-sided in his dealing with the past (al-Jumhuriyya, 25 March), Samir Farid cautiously examined the Arab approach to such movies, agreeing that the intense preoccupation with Jewish victims of the Nazis derives from an attempt to justify the establishment of the State of Israel. He suggested, however, that the local banning of such movies did not necessarily serve the Arab cause. The right Arab and humane approach, he contended, should be to condemn the persecution of Jews for being Jews, as well as persecution on religious or racial grounds, while independently presenting the Arab point of view in various ways (al-Jumhurriyya, 31 March).

The victory of the right-wing FPÖ in Austria in October and the Jewish/Israeli reaction to it were generally analyzed in the Arab press in an objective way. However, a few articles described Israel’s “hysterical” reaction and traced a consistent historical attitude toward Austria (see, for instance, al-Hayat, 16 Oct.; al-Ahram, 18 Oct., 9 Nov.). Jordanian al-Liwa’ wrote about the audacity of the Jewish lobby and Israel’s arrogance in their attempts to intervene in the internal affairs of an independent sovereign state. “Israeli behavior essentially continues the aggression of the Zionist movement and other Jewish organizations against the Palestinian people and Arab and Muslim rights,” and it dishonored states which accepted this intervention (al-Liwa’, 13 Oct.). Al-Hayat’s editor `Abd al-Wahhab Badrakhan suggested that Israel’s warning to Austria provided Arab countries with a “foretaste of the kind of things they can expect once they have peace with Israel.” Although he agreed that Nazism still existed, he doubted its return in the Hitlerite version.

The debate on the Arab approach toward the Holocaust, which reached a climax during Garaudy’s trial in 1998 (see AWW 1998/9), subsided in 1999. Nevertheless, Palestinian youth from the Balata refugee camp near Nablus said in an interview with an Israeli journalist that it was only after the beginning of the peace process that they had begun to understand the human tragedy of the Jewish people and empathize with it. Unfortunately, they added, the Jews they met did not share a similar empathy with the Palestinian tragedy (Ha’aretz, 28 May). Amin al-Mahdi, a member of the Egyptian peace movement, referred in his book The Democracy Crisis and Peace (see General Analysis, “Anti-Semitism as a Corollary of Globalization in the Arab World”) to Arab acknowledgement of the Holocaust. In fact, this was the first time that the issue was raised by the Egyptian peace movement. Al-Mahdi proposed the formation of a regional democratic peace parliament, and including in its founding declaration “a clear condemnation of the Holocaust and the suffering inflicted on the Jews, and at the same time a clear denunciation of the acts of terrorism perpetrated by Zionist circles and the State of Israel” (The Democracy Crisis and Peace, p. 258; Ha’aretz, 28 May).

 

SPECIFIC ISSUES OF CONCERN

 

In addition to the anti-Semitic themes common to all the Arab media, articles triggered by specific issues and events appeared in the anti-Semitic discourse of Egypt, Jordan and the PA. In Egypt anti-normalization became a code word for anti-Semitism; in Jordan a similar process, albeit on a different scale, was discerned, and in the PA the allegation of Israel’s deliberate poisoning of food and wells was a principal theme.

 

Egypt

Although twenty years of formal peace with Egypt effected a change in Egyptian-Israeli relations, the internal debate over the nature of these relations intensified after the collapse of the Soviet Union and follthe October 1991 Madrid conference. Two distinct camps emerged among Egyptian intellectuals on the issue of normalizing relations with Israel: anti-normalization and pro, the former being far more dominant. In 1999 the gap between them had widened and their tones had become more aggressive. The anti-normalization discourse is loaded with anti-Semitic overtones, combining conspiracy theories with Islamist motifs, whereas the peace camp condemns this approach not only for being deplorable as such but also as being stagnant and totalitarian, and consequently harmful to Egyptian society. The anti-normalization camp perceive the Arab-Israeli conflict as an existential rather than a territorial conflict, citing religious figures such as Egyptian Grand Mufti Nasr Farid Basil, Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi and the defunct al-Azhar Front, who ruled that any kind of relations with Israel -- trade, economic, cultural or social -- was canonically forbidden (al-Sha`b, 5 Feb.; 7, 14, 25 May; 30 July; al-Sharq al-Awsat, 17 March).

A main motif in the anti-normalization discourse was the threat of normalization to Egypt, in which Egypt as a leading Arab country and as a regional power was singled out and targeted by Israel. This argument, which might reflect a real or imaged fear of Israeli penetration into all walks of Egyptian life and loss of national and cultural identity, was used by the anti-normalization camp to exacerbate national sentiments against normalization. Even Steven Spielberg’s animated movie Prince of Egypt was rejected and banned as “a Zionist attack on Egypt,” defaming Egypt and distorting history (al-Hayat, 7 Jan.; al-Ahram al-`Arabi, 9 Jan., 6 March; al-Ahali, 2 June). An introduction to a new translation into Arabic of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, caused indignation in Egypt because it discussed the phenomenon of anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jews in history sympathetically. Muhammad Salmawi, editor of al-Ahram Hebdo and an opponent of normalization, described the translation as “a Zionist pamphlet,” and demanded an inquiry by the Ministry of Education (al-Ahram, 21 June, 12 July, 4 Oct.; al-Ahali, 4 Aug.).

The spectacle planned on the Nile and at the Pyramids for the eve of the new millennium was also the subject of attack. A golden cap, which was to be built on one of the Pyramids, was reminiscent to some Egyptians, probably opposed to the whole event, of a Jewish skullcap. This was also interpreted as an additional phase in the implementation of the Zionist scheme to rewrite and distort Egyptian history, particularly since the producer of the event, Michel Jerar, is Jewish (al-Sha`b, 24 Aug.; 19 October).

Alleged Israeli schemes to destroy Egypt included various motifs. Israel was striving to damage Egypt’s reputation and its economic resources and to dominate its natural resources (al-Sha`b, 4 June; 10, 17 Aug.; al-Liwa’, 22 Sept.; al-Naba’ al-Watani, 7 Nov.); Israel was meddling in Egypt’s burgeoning relations with the US (al-Ahram, 5, 16 Nov.); Israel wished to establish a presence in Egypt through attempts to purchase buildings, build synagogues and reclaim nationalized Jewish property (al-Hayat al-Jadida, 25 Jan., 11 March; al-Wafd, 16 March; al-Musawwar, 29 March; al-Jumhuriyya, 30 March; al-Ahali, 12 May; al-Sha`b, 13 July); Israel infiltrates Egyptian society through mixed marriages. “The Marriage of Egyptian Girls to Israelis – a Phenomenon or a Conspiracy?” was reportedly the topic of a study and a seminar, held by the liberal Ibn Khaldun Center in Cairo. The study’s conclusions that the Mossad was not involved in encouraging such marriages and that the phenomenon was rare, were attacked as baseless (al-Hayat al-Jadida, 18 March; al-Liwa’, 25 Aug.; al-Majd, 18 Oct.).

In his book Documents of Zionist Conspiracies against Egypt (al-Mu’amarat al-Sihyuniyya `ala Misr bil-Watha’iq) (Cairo: al-maktab al-Masri al-Hadith, 1999), Jamil `Arif asserted that the first conspiracy against Egypt was at the time of the exodus of the Children of Israel, when they “stole" hundreds of tons of gold. He suggested claiming this gold from Israel, as Israel had forced Germany to pay for the crimes committed by the Nazi regime.

Anti-normalization was manifested also in Egyptian films. “A Girl from Israel,” produced by Ihab Radhi, is basically a love story between an Egyptian youth and an Israeli girl who meet in the resort town of Taba. Many of the film’s sub-plots derive from the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars and from the arsenal of negative Israeli stereotypes. The film became a box-office hit because of its anti-normalization stand and in spite of the reviews condemning it for its lack of artistic value and shallowness (al-Musawwar, 2 April; Ruz al-Yusuf, 9 April; Ma`ariv, 7 May; al-Iza`a wal-Televizyon, 3 July; al-Ahram al-`Arabi, 13 Nov.).

The peace conference held in Cairo on 6-7 July provided an occasion for a mini showdown between the contending camps. The conference, which hosted about 300 Egyptians, Palestinians, Jordanians and Israelis who called for advancing the peace process, was attacked vociferously by demonstrators who far outnumbered the conference participants. They called normalization a disgrace and appealed to Egypt’s national forces “to unite in combating submission.” A huge caricature of outgoing prime minister Netanyahu strangling the peace dove with one hand and wearing a swastika on his sleeve, hung on the wall under the caption “Hitleryahu.” The anti-normalization conference formed a new Egyptian association for fighting Zionism and normalization, headed by ex-minister Yahya al-Jamal, and aimed at “exposing Israeli schemes against Egyptian security and at establishing a center specializing in Zionist thought and its expansionist goals.” (al-Ahram Weekly, 1, 8, 15 July; Ma`ariv, 4 July; Yedi`ot Aharonot, 6 July; al-Hayat, 7 July; al-Ahali, 7, 14 July, 18 Aug.; al-Ahram al-`Arabi, 10 July, 14 Aug.; al-Sha`b, 13, 27 July; al-Ahram, 17 July; Filastin al-Muslima, Aug.; al-Liwa’, 4 Aug., 15 Sept.). The Egyptian left, which is led by some members of the peace movement, aligned itself with the opponents of normalization. The peace movement was dealt a further blow at the time of the conference with new revelations that Zionists had penetrated the Egyptian Communist Party since its inception, enabling the so-called Zionist network to determine the party line in accordance with Israel’s interests (al-Ahram al-`Arabi, 14 Aug.).

Another affair, which reflected the staunch resistance to normalization by Egyptian opposition groups such as the pro-Islamist Labor Party, was the Wali-Subur affair. Yusuf Wali, agriculture minister and deputy prime minister for several years, and Husayn Subur, director of al-Muhandis Bank from 1996, were systematically attacked in the party’s mouthpiece al-Sha`b for corruption and cooperation with Israel. These attacks contained endless anti-Semitic motifs, and Wali was even accused of having Jewish origins. Wali and Subur were presented as traitors and as part of an American-Zionist network, which aimed at undermining Egypt’s society and its human and natural resources, weakening Egyptian identity and facilitating Israeli penetration and domination. Agricultural projects and experimental farms were said to damage Egyptian produce through the use of hormones or pesticides that cause cancer, AIDS and tuberculosis. The Zionist network was described as an octopus, which sent its arms to various sectors of the Egyptian nation, sucking its blood and gathering intelligence. One caricature showed a black monster with a Star of David on its hat, smiling with lust at a plate with a chicken, representing Egyptian agriculture, carried by Wali (al-Sha`b, 26 May).

Wali and Subur filed a libel suit against three senior al-Sha`b journalists: Majdi Ahmad Husayn, editor-in-chief, `Adil Husayn (also the Labor Party’s secretary-general), and Salah Badiwi, and against the caricaturist `Isam Hanafi. The trial began on 15 May and the verdict was handed down on 14 Aug.. The defendants received two-year jail terms and a fine (al-Sha`b, 15 Jan.; 2, 5, 16, 19 Feb., 5, 9, 12, 23 March, 20, 23 April; 7, 11, 14, 21, 25 May, 4, 8, 15, 28 June, 20 July, 13, 17 Aug., 16 Nov., 7 Dec.; al-Hayat, 5 Jan.; al-Ahram, 27 Jan., 15 Aug.; al-Ahram Weekly, 24, 29 May; 8 July; al-Hayat al-Jadida, 5 Feb.; al-Jumhuriyya, 16 July; al-Ahrar, 16 July; Yedi`ot Aharonot, 15 Aug.; Filastin al-Muslima, Sept., et al.). The trial was undoubtedly political, and as al-Ahram Weekly wrote (24 May), normalization was on trial. Wali’s case was unique. Charges such as those leveled against him were for the first time heard in a courtroom. The issue on trial was not the numerous anti-Semitic motifs in the attacks on Wali, but his integrity and his right to hold different opinions without the risk of being labeled a traitor – a favorable theme in the anti-normalization discourse used against proponents of normalization.

The crash of Egyptian Air Flight 990 into the Atlantic off the coast of Nantucket on 31 October, which resulted in the death of 217 people including 106 Americans, provided another pretext for attacking Jews and Israel. The Israeli Mossad and American Jewish groups were accused of plotting the event. The allegation was not only confined to opposition papers but reached the higher echelons of the Egyptian parliament. The Mossad, allegedly targeting 33 high-ranking Egyptian officers who were on board, was said to have infiltrated the American control tower and deflected the airplane from its course, so that it could be hit by a missile. Moreover, the Jewish lobby, which controlled the American media, was accused of distorted, biased and hostile coverage of the incident. This conspiracy theory meshed well with the theme of Israel’s hostility and militancy toward Egypt specifically, and with the theme of the Jews’ traditional animosity toward Muslims. The Israel Foreign Ministry rejected the charges, dismissing them as “mendacious and baseless” (al-`Arab al-Yawm, 11, 12 Nov.; al-Ahram, 13 Nov.; al-Naba’ al-Watani, 14, 21 Nov.; al-Sha`b, 16 Nov.; al-Liwa’, 17, 24 Nov.; al-Sabil, 23 Nov.; Israel Foreign Ministry response to Egyptian accusations, 21 Nov. Daniel Pipes, “EgyptAir Probe Uncovers Anti-Americanism,” and Naiem A. Sherbiny, “The Egypt Air Crash: A Muslim View,” Civil Society, Dec.; MEMRI, Egyptian Reactions to the EgyptAir Investigation, Dispatch No. 62, 6 Dec.). The Egyptian reaction to the air crash was also harshly criticized by Tarek Heggy, an Egyptian economist and academic and by Chicago-based Palestinian Ray Hanania. They attacked the conspiracy theory as an excuse for cultivating ignorance and passive behavior, which were exploited by undemocratic governments to cover up “an ugly truth” (al-Ahram Weekly, 11 Nov.; “Stereotypes and the Politics of So-Called Terrorism,” 18 Nov. – www.hanania.com).

 

Jordan

The fifth anniversary of the Jordan-Israel peace treaty was marked in October, with “great irony,” wrote the liberal Jordanian journalist Rami Khouri. On the one hand, Jordan was disappointed by the lack of economic progress but on the other hand, Israeli industrial ventures were seen as a threat to Jordanian industry and to its independence. The Jordanian anti-normalization committee, composed of opposition political groups and professional associations, such as the engineers association, warned that it would publish a black list of Jordanians who committed “the crime of normalization” (al-Sabil, 16 March, 6 April; 18 May, 31 Aug.; al-Hayat al-Jadida, 9 May, 2, 29 June; Jordan Times, 26 Oct.). The second “popular conference for the defense of the nation and the struggle against normalization with the Zionist enemy” took place in September under the chairmanship of Ishaq Farahat, a prominent member of the Jordanian Muslim Brothers. Three months later, the Association Against Zionism and Racism (AZAR), headed by Layth Shubaylat, an ardent opponent of the peace process, held its second annual meeting (al-Majd, 20, 27 Sept.; “Azar,” Special News Bulletin, 8 Dec. - msanews).

In October the Jordanian Press Association disciplinary committee expelled three Jordanian journalists for visiting Israel at the invitation of Haifa University. The three -- Sultan al-Hattab, a columnist in the official paper al-Ra’y, `Abdallah Hasanat, editor of The Jordan Times and Jihad al-Mawamni, a columnist in al-Dustur -- were reinstated after they published an apology and signed a statement promising to fight normalization. Reporting on the affair in the Islamist Jordanian weekly al-Liwa’, Egyptian commentator Fahmi Huwaydi described the “so-called acquaintance visits” to Israel as a new bid`a – an Islamic term denoting a heretical innovation which actually did not contribute to “knowing the enemy.”

Rami Khouri, on the other hand, expressed concern about the anti-normalization trend and considered it “political gangsterism” (al-Dustur, 24 Sept., 20 Oct., 3 Nov.; al-Sabil, 5 Oct.; al-Quds, 14 Oct.; Jordan Times, 26 Oct.; al-Liwa’, 10 Nov.; Ha’aretz, 19 Nov., 8 Dec.). The Anti-normalization Committee initiated a campaign for the release of Ahmad Daqamsa, the soldier, who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997 at the Jordanian-Israeli border (see ASW 1997/8, p. 189) (al-Sabil, 15 June). Sulayman al-Tara`ni, in al-Sabil (14 Sept.), expressed the view, shared by many, that Daqamsa was neither a terrorist nor a murderer but a national hero, who should be commended for his action.

The confrontation between a Jordanian parliamentarian delegation and a group of settlers in Hebron on 9 October fuelled a wave of anti-Israel statements, which acquired anti-Semitic overtones. The Jordanian delegation, headed by the president of the Jordanian parliament `Abd al-Hadi al-Majali, which visited the PA as a guest of the Palestinian parliament, was not permitted to enter the Cave of the Patriarchs without undergoing a security check. While the delegation was arguing with the security forces, a group of settlers reportedly interfered and violently interrupted the visit. This incident played into the hands of the anti-normalization groups, which unanimously denounced Israel and called for closure of the Israeli embassy in `Amman, abrogating the peace treaty and releasing Ahmad Daqamsa as well as Hamas detainees in Jordan. (al-Ra’y, 10, 11, 12, 13 Oct.; al-Quds, 10, 12, 14 Oct.; al-Hayat, 10 Oct.; al-Ahram, 10 Oct.; al-Sabil, 12 Oct.; al-Dustur, 18 Oct.; al-Watan al-`Arabi, 22 Oct.). The incident revealed that the Jews did not respect agreements and treaties, and Israel was not fit to bear the responsibility of protecting the Holy Places, wrote Sultan al-Hattab (al-Ra’y, 11 Oct.). Hasan Sa`ud al-Nabulsi called not to forget the crimes of the Jews, and apologized to Nazism for being compared with Zionism, since “it does not deserve such a bad description” (al-Ra’y, 13 Oct.; Ha’aretz, 14 Oct.).

Enraged by the meek Arab response to Israeli actions and negligence of the Holy Land, several articles called for increasing visits to Jerusalem and revoking the religious edict forbidding Muslims from carrying out the pilgrimage to its Holy Places. Only such a step, insisted Sultan al-Hattab, would expose Israel’s failure to comply with international law by preventing free access to the Holy Places of all denominations (al-Ra’y, 12, 13 Oct.).

 

The Palestinian Authority

With the signing of the Wye accords in November 1998, the number of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic expressions in the Palestinian press and in the PA leadership’s rhetoric, decreased somewhat. Nevertheless, the “Zionist octopus” influence, the comparison of Zionism with Nazism and the preoccupation with the Jewish and Israeli psyche were prevalent themes in the media (al-Hayat al-Jadida, 18 Jan., 6 Feb., 3 June; MEMRI, Palestinian Leadership Renews Calls for Violence, Dispatch No. 29, 22 March; al-Quds, 4 July; Washington Post, 18 Nov.; Boston Globe, 22 Nov.). The trilateral American-Israeli-Palestinian committee on the prevention of incitement, terrorism and violence, established following the Wye accords, did not convene regularly, but the Israeli members of the committee endeavored to increase the US administration’s awareness of the problem of incitement to hatred in PA media and in school textbooks. The report of the Jerusalem-based Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) on PA schoolbooks prompted the US Congress to demand that UNRWA review them. UNRWA has begun investigating. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) responded angrily, stressing that Israeli textbooks also contained negative stereotyping of Palestinians (Yedi`ot Aharonot, 23 July; Ma`ariv, 28 July; ADC, Insidious Pro-Israel Propaganda Campaign Focuses on Palestinian Textbooks, 11 Aug.; CMIP, Newsletter, July – www.edume.org). Head of the Palestinian National Guidance Directorate `Uthman Abu Gharbiyya, contested the accusations. In a statement published in al-Hayat al-Jadida (1 March), he explained the meaning of incitement as a call to violence against innocents, but accused the Israelis of using the allegation in order “to kill our people’s spirit and erase our heritage, our truths, our history.” Al-Liwa’ (13 Oct.) also considered the pressure on the PA to amend its textbooks as an attempt to rewrite history according to Israeli interests.

The most prevalent anti-Semitic theme in the Palestinian media was the accusation that Israel was intentionally polluting water reservoirs and wells in the territories, and smuggling into the Palestinian markets various contaminated goods which caused cancer and birth defects. These charges were also made by Palestinian officials, who threatened to file a complaint with the international court in The Hague against Israel for dumping liquid waste in the Palestinian areas and harming the environment (October, 7 March; al-Sabil, 6 April; al-Hayat al-Jadida, 16 March, 3 April, 9 Nov., 14 Dec.; Hatzofeh, 11 Feb. 2000; Response, Winter/Spring 1999). Suha `Arafat echoed these allegations in a speech in Ramallah on 11 Nov. during Hillary Clinton’s trip to Israel and to the PA. She said that the Palestinians had been “subjected to the daily and extensive use of poisonous gas by Israeli forces,” which had led to an increase in cancer among women and children, and that about 80 percent of Palestinian water resources in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip had been contaminated by chemical wastes. `Arafat’s remarks, which caused a minor diplomatic scandal, were promptly condemned by the Israeli government, the White House and by Jewish organizations. The ADL labeled them part “of a continuous pattern of conspiracy theories” and propaganda that echoes “the centuries-old anti-Semitic canard of Jews poisoning Christian children” (ADL press release, 11 Nov.; Reuters, 12 Nov. – Yahoo! News; al-Hayat, 12, 15 Nov.; al-Ahram, 13 Nov.; Washington Post, 18 Nov.; Boston Globe, 22 Nov.; Ha’aretz, 5 Dec.).

Embarrassed by the incident, the PA apologized for Suha’s utterances, but some Arab and Palestinian commentators did not share “the hysterical reaction,” and applauded Suha’s courage in spelling out a “well known truth,” and expressing “what every ordinary Palestinian knows and feels” (al-Hayat, 14 Nov.; al-Manar, 15 Nov.; al-Naba’ al-Watani, October, 21 Nov.).

 

CONCLUSION

 

Anti-normalization manifestations became integral to the anti-normalization discourse throughout the Arab and Muslim world. They reflected rejection of the reconciliation process with Israel, which continued to be seen as the ultimate “other,” identified with the West and supported by it. These reactions were only partly dictated from above and seemed to stem from more widespread popular sentiments. Surveys of Arab opinion confirm that there is little desire for peace with Israel. Much of the Arab world still dreams of Israel’s elimination (Boston Globe, 22 Nov.). According to a survey carried out at the end of 1999 by the Washington Institute among 1,600 Jordanians, Egyptians, Lebanese and Palestinians, about 80 percent thought that the conflict should continue and about 54 percent wanted Israel to eventually disappear from the Middle Eastern map (Ma`ariv, 5 Nov.). Arab writers also tended to differentiate between the attitude of the governments making peace with Israel and thus “surrendering” to its will, and the vast majority of the Arab peoples. Hasan Duh, in the Egyptian opposition paper al-Wafd (23 Nov.), claimed that 99 percent would reject the existence of Israel. Similar sentiments were voiced in the Jordanian daily al-`Arab al-Yawm (15 Jan.) by Muhammad As`ad Buyud al-Tamimi and in Hizballah’ weekly al-`Ahd (27 Aug.).

 

 

NOTES ON SOURCES

 

Mainstream

al-Ahram (Egyptian daily), al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), October (Egyptian weekly), al-Aswaq (Jordanian daily), al-Usbu` al-Adabi (Syrian weekly), al-Watan (Omani daily), al-Hayat al-Jadida (PA daily), al-Ra`y (Jordanian daily), al-`Alam (monthly, published in the UK), al-`Arab al-Yawm (Jordanian daily), al-Ahram al-`Arabi (Egyptian weekly), al-Hayat (daily, published in the UK), al-Wafd (Egyptian daily, identified with opposition), al-Mushahid al-Siyasi (monthly, published in the UK), al-Jazira (Saudi daily), al-Akhbar (Egyptian daily), al-Dustur (Jordanian daily), al-Naba` al-Watani (Egyptian weekly), al-Manar (PA weekly), al-Jumhurriyya (Egyptian daily), al-Sharq al-Awsat (daily, published in the UK), al-Ahali (weekly, identified with Egyptian left), al-Musawwar (Egyptian weekly), Ruz al-Yusuf (Egyptian weekly), al-Ahrar (daily, identified with Egyptian liberals), Jordan Times (Jordanian daily), al-Majd (weekly, identified with Jordanian opposition), al-Quds (PA daily), al-Watan al-`Arabi (weekly, published in France).

 

Islamist Sources

al-Liwa’ (Jordanian weekly -- Muslim Brothers), al-`Ahd (Lebanese weekly -- Hizballah), al-Sabil (Jordanian weekly -- Muslim Brothers), al-Istiqbal (PA weekly -- Islamic Jihad), Filastin al-Muslima (monthly, published in the UK -- Hamas); al-Sha`b (Egyptian bi-weekly -- Muslim Brothers), al-Azhar (Egyptian monthly), Palestine Times (monthly, published in the UK -- pro-Hamas).

Source - http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/asw99-2000/arab.htm

 

 

 

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