New York – The ZOA has highlighted the gross hypocrisy exhibited by much of the Arab and Muslim worlds in demanding an apology from a Danish newspaper, Jylland-Posten, which published cartoons of Mohammed that offended Muslims, while they routinely demonize Jews, Judaism and the Jewish state of Israel in newspaper cartoons in their societies. The Danish cartoonist of the Jylland-Posten produced 12 caricatures of Mohammed, including one which depicted him wearing a turban made of bombs and has received death threats. Arab foreign ministers last month lashed out at the Danish government, issuing a statement expressing their surprise and indignation at the reaction of the Danish authorities (yahoo.com News, Jan. 5). Additionally, there were calls for a boycott of Danish products and, following the republication of the cartoon in a Norwegian publication, Magazinet, the 57-member nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) stated that it strongly denounces what the Norwegian newspaper has done by publishing again caricatures that mocked Prophet Muhammad (Jerusalem Post, January 20).
The Jylland-Posten apologized yesterday for publishing the cartoon and the Danish government and Arab League held discussions on the matter before agreeing to close the affair. The Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller stated, We naturally respect Islam as a major religion. The Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, also said that his government could not apologize on behalf of a newspaper, but said he personally never would have depicted Muhammad, Jesus or any other religious character in a way that could offend other people (Jerusalem Post, January 30).
The high sensitivity and anger shown by Muslim groups, the Arab League and the OIC contrast strongly with the deafening silence about and lack of responsiveness to the toxic depiction of Jews, Judaism and the Jewish state of Israel in newspaper cartoons in their societies. Newspapers across the Arab and Muslim world not only publicize Holocaust denial and vicious diatribes against Israel, Judaism and Jews but regularly depict these as monsters and satanic creatures. Below is a short list of vicious cartoons appearing in the last three years in the major Palestinian Authority (PA) newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Media Watch, January 7):
- Jan. 7, 2006 — An evil-looking caricature of a Jew depicted wreaking havoc beneath the Temple Mount and thus threatening the Dome of the Rock above.
- Sep. 3, 2005 – Text: Israel penetrates Pakistan — Israel in scare quotes, depicted as devious vermin trapping Pakistan in to its orbit.
- Apr. 10, 2005 — A Magen David shape is depicted turning the Dome of the Rock and an Arab in front of it in a prison.
- Feb. 5, 2005 – An Israeli soldier depicted as a Nazi, complete with helmet, shaking a blood-soaked hand with a clean-handed Palestinian.
- Dec. 10, 2004 — An Israeli flag, flying from the devils three-pronged spear and with a corner of its Magen David symbol transformed into a blood-soaked claw, wrapped like a coil around an injured dove of peace.
- Dec. 1, 2004 — Text: The search for terror is still ongoing — A figure representing the UN is seen wasting his time looking with a magnifying glass for terrorism while ignoring the figure of a monstrous ape with a caricature of Ariel Sharons face as the devil.
- Aug 2, 2004 – Jews in Judea Samaria are depicted as a Medusa-like serpent threatening an Arab.
- July 14, 2004 — An anti-Semitic stereotype of a hideous, hook-nosed Israeli soldier, with a uniform and helmet pattern of human skulls.
- April 20, 2004 — Ariel Sharon depicted as a wild bull, pierced with the spears of different Palestinian terror groups.
- March 22, 2004 — Ariel Sharon depicted eating Palestinian children from a bowl of childrens corpses.
- Oct. 11, 2003 — A European diplomat is confronted by Israel depicted as an enormous snake.
- Oct. 11, 2003 — An Israeli is depicted as a caveman dripping with blood.
- Oct. 9, 2003 — Israel is depicted as a crocodile about to devour a Palestinian.
- Oct. 4, 2003 — Israel is depicted as a wolf about to devour the Palestinian government.
- Oct. 4, 2003 — The world is depicted as an apple consumed from within by two worms — Israel and the United States, with the text on the apple: Arab world Israel to the USA: Be strong-weve got a lot of work to do.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, There is a deafening silence around the world about the constant incitement to hatred of Jews, Judaism and the Jewish state of Israel in the official government-controlled media of much of the Arab and Muslim worlds, especially in the societies that produce this venomous hate material. We have now witnessed the hypocrisy of how, on one hand, the Arab and Muslim worlds protest vociferously about a single series of offensive cartoon depictions of Mohammed, calling for action at the highest levels, threatening boycotts and demanding apologies yet, on the other hand, say nothing and do nothing about how their own societies are awash with Jew-hatred, including viciously anti-Semitic cartoons.
The list of cartoons provided above that demonize Jews in the crudest ways is merely a selection from a much longer list of examples provided by Palestinian Media Watch. Some examples we did not list include depictions of Israel as a rat, a Satanic figure, lice and as an octopus. It is clear that we are not dealing here with something that is merely offensive or even merely racist, but a particularly Nazi-like type of demonization and dehumanization that normally appears in the Western world today only in the publications of far right-wing hate groups and is frighteningly reminiscent of the infamous Nazi publication, Der Stuermer.
It is deeply ironic that the OIC chose to complain about the Danish cartoons of Mohammed when the OIC itself was addressed in 2003 by the outgoing Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr. Mahatir, who made one of the worst anti-Semitic speeches of recent times and then received a standing ovation from the delegates of all member states present. Clearly, the OIC thinks it right to criticize something offensive to Muslims while regarding vicious anti-Semitism as acceptable. Arab leaders like Egypts Hosni Mubarak, Jordans King Abdullah and Yasser Arafat have told American Jewish leaders that they allow freedom of the press, but this ignores the fact that Arab governments exercise much control over their media. Mubarak personally appoints newspaper editors to the Egyptian government-controlled press and journalists belonging to the PAs Al-Hayat Al-Jadida are on the PA payroll. Clearly, if Arab leaders were genuinely concerned about democracy and racism, they would take steps to prevent their media inculcating their societies with hatred and toxic ideologies.
It is vital, now that Hamas has won the Palestinian Authority elections and the issue of Palestinian hatred and violence has drawn public attention, that the fight against incitement to hatred and murder of Jews and Israelis is put on the agenda in any context in which Israel, the US and the world seeks to advance negotiations for ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. There can be no prospect of peace in the foreseeable future if Arabs and Muslims, particularly Palestinians, are fed a steady diet of hateful propaganda that depicts Israelis as monsters to be eliminated, not human beings with whom they must make peace.