In the State Department's inaugural annual Report on Global Anti-Semitism released last month, a total of 25 examples of anti-Semitism were cited from the Middle East. One third were based on research from Memri's Anti-Semitism Documentation Project.
Egypt was criticized for an increase in anti-Semitism in its media. One example cited is a March 18, 2004 article by Abd Al-Wahhab'Adas, deputy editor of Al-Jumhuriya, who accused Jews of perpetrating the Madrid terrorist attacks. Also noted was the placing of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" in the Alexandria Library in December 2003 in an exhibit on Jewish holy books. The section on Lebanon criticized "Al-Shatat," a television series based on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" broadcast in 2003 by the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV. Syrian government ministries were also cited for involvement in creating the series, and the Syrian regime was condemned for ongoing anti-Semitism in its media.
The United Arab Emirates was praised in the report for closing the Arab League think tank called The Zayed Centre, in August 2003. It was noted that it was closed due to the publication of reports with anti-Jewish themes, and for hosting speakers who promoted these views. In response to the State Department, the UAE's deputy prime minister, according to the Khaleej Times, "accused the authors of the report of choosing to mimic ... charges made by MEMRI."
Some critics of the report noted that the section devoted to the Middle East was mostly a whitewash of the rampant hatred of the Jews in the Arab world. The following are some notable examples, which could have been included:
* In Egypt, Hussam Wahba, a columnist for the religious Egyptian weekly magazine Aqidati, published by a foundation linked to Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party, wrote an article on August 10, 2004, based upon blood libels and accusing Judaism of promoting ritual murder: "The Talmud also says 'Kill anyone who is not Jewish, even if he is pious ...' The Talmud says that 'it is righteous for a Jew to kill a non-Jew with his own hands, because whoever kills a non-Jew is offering a sacrifice to God.' "
* In Lebanon, leading clerics and government officials commonly express anti-Semitic statements. Al-Manar TV hosted the secretary-general of the Islamic Universities' Association, Dr. Ja'far Abd Al-Salim, on April 22, 2004, for a discussion about Jews. Sheikh Sabonji explained: "Those responsible for all civil strife and other problems throughout history were the Jews. This is verified by anyone who has read Jewish literature and history." He added: " 'The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion' clearly refer to this. All the pornographic films in the world are made by Jewish companies, and the same goes for drugs."
* Saudi Arabia should be considered the most anti-Semitic nation in the region. The report stated, "there were frequent instances in which mosque preachers ... used strongly anti-Jewish language in their sermons," but mentioned a "decline in frequency" in anti-Jewish language in sermons. There was, however, no decline in hatred of the Jews expressed in religious programs on Saudi government TV (to view, visit www.memritv.org).
Saudi government publications also continue to espouse hatred of Jews. For example, a journal titled Al-Jundi Al-Muslim ("The Muslim Soldier"), which is published by the Religious Affairs Department of the Saudi armed forces, released an article on May 1 in its "Know Your Enemy" section. The article was titled "The Jews in the Modern Era," and here's a passage: "The majority of revolutions, coups d'etat, and wars which have occurred in the world ... are almost entirely the handiwork of the Jew ... in order to implement the injunctions of the fabricated Torah, the Talmud, and the 'Protocols [of the Elders of Zion'], all of which command the destruction of all non-Jews in order to achieve their goal - namely, world domination."
While there was criticism of this report by organizations fighting anti-Semitism, it was an important first step in monitoring incitement against Jews in the Middle East. Unfortunately, statements by leading Arab figures, such as mufti Ikrimeh Sabri on Al-Majd TV last week: "Anyone who studies 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' and specifically the Talmud will discover that one of the goals of these protocols is to cause confusion in the world" point to the fact that next year's report will also have countless examples of anti-Semitism to choose from within the Middle East media.
Mr. Stalinsky is the Executive Director of The Middle East Media Research Institute.