- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 11, 2006

With all the sanguinary indignation in the Arab world about a cartoon in a Danish newspaper, it is of more than passing interest to examine cartoons in the Arab media, bearing in mind there is no free press in the Arab world.

Tom Gross, a Middle East media analyst has collected cartoons published in seven Arab countries (Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Syria and Egypt) and from the Palestinian Authority. A number of these countries are so-called moderate or allied to the West.

Most print media in the Arab world are under the full or partial control of the ruling regimes, Mr. Gross points out.

One cartoon from the Jordanian newspaper Ad-Dustur (Oct. 19, 2003) depicts the railroad to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau — but with Israeli flags replacing the Nazi ones. The sign in Arabic reads: “Gaza Strip or the Israeli Annihilation Camp.” This compares Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians with Nazi actions toward Jews. This goes with the widely propagandized and contradictory Arab line that the Holocaust never happened. Jordan is supposedly a moderate country at peace with Israel.

In a cartoon from Al-Watan newspaper in Qatar (June 23, 2002), Ariel Sharon is shown watching on the sidelines as an Israeli plane crashes into New York’s World Trade Center. The Arabic words alongside the Twin Towers are “The Peace.” This cartoon spreads the widely held myth in the Arab world that Israel and the Jews — and not al Qaeda — were responsible for the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Another cartoon, from Arab News (April 10, 2002), shows Ariel Sharon wielding a swastika-shaped ax to chop up Palestinian children. Arab News is a Saudi-based English language daily run by the Saudi regime.

In September 2005, even supposedly moderate Arab states like Qatar continued their anti-Semitic propaganda. One carton on Sept.27, 2005, in Al-Watan (Qatar) shows Israeli jets over Gaza in the form of a swastika. Another gruesome Internet cartoon from the site of Omayya Joha shows an Israeli soldier who has chopped off the foot of a Palestinian man. The soldier is holding up a bloody hand to the camera and orders “No photographs.” Omayya Joha is one of the staff cartoonists employed by Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, the Palestinian Authority’s official daily newspaper. Her cartoons regularly appear in the official Palestinian press.

Another cartoon shows Ariel Sharon sitting in a large cup overflowing with blood. This cartoon, also by Omayya Joha, appeared in Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, the Palestinian Authority’s official daily newspaper, on April 22, 2003.

In a cartoon from Akhbar Al-Khalij (Bahrain) (June 10, 2002), the anti-Semitic caricature of a Jew on the right says: “Say: ‘I hate the Arabs!’ ” and President George W. Bush, made to resemble a parrot, repeats: “I hate the Arabs, I hate the Arabs.”

Another cartoon from the Internet site of official Palestinian Authority cartoonist Omayya Joha, showing alleged Jewish control (in the form of snakes) of the United States. The snake was often used as a symbol to portray Jews in historic European anti-Semitic images.

A cartoon, from May 13, 2005 (a month when many Western papers claimed the Palestinian Authority media had adopted a more moderate tone), shows a Jew impaling the northern region of a map of the Islamic world with the flag of Israel, with blood spurting out. At the lower end there is what appears to be an Arab man hanging upside down, holding a white flag of surrender. This cartoon appeared in Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, the official daily newspaper of the Palestinian Authority.

The Syrian newspaper Al-Ahram (May 29, 2002), published an anti-Semitic caricature of a Jew with a long beard and hooked nose, filling the “World Media” with “Zionist Media” propaganda, while in the background bombs fall on the Moslem al-Aqsa shrine on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. This cartoon repeats the lie that Israel has damaged the al-Aqsa complex.

Another cartoon with text in English designed for a foreign audience, was posted on the official Web site of the Palestinian Authority State Information Center on April 6, 2003. The Palestinian Authority State Information Center regularly posts anti-Israel and anti-American cartoons, including this reiteration of the anti-Semitic blood libel that Jews kill non-Jewish children.

The Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram al-Arabi (June 8, 2002), showed not only members of the Likud Party murdering Arabs, but longtime Labor Party leader and Israeli “dove” Shimon Peres applauding with bloody hands. The U.S. Senate has approved a $1.84 billion aid package for Egypt for 2006.

A cartoon is from Al-Watan (Qatar), May 13, 2003, shows the U.S. and Israel eating from two sides of an apple labeled “the Arab states.” This cartoon notably was published in Qatar, home of the influential al Jazeera TV network.

A cartoon from Arab News, depicts rats wearing Stars of David and skullcaps. They scurry back and forth through holes in the wall of a building called “Palestine House.” Arab News, an English-language daily widely read by expatriates in Saudi Arabia, is widely regarded as moderate. It is published by a state-owned Saudi corporation. The imagery in the cartoon may well be inspired by a well-known scene from the Nazi film “Jew Suess,” to which it bears a close resemblance, in which Jews are depicted as vermin to be exterminated as a mass.

Arnold Beichman, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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