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11/24/03 - INCITEMENTS TO ANTI-SEMITISM - 2003-11-25

On November 15th, suicide terrorists set off bombs at two synagogues in Istanbul. Some two dozen people -- Jews and Muslims alike -- were killed. On the same day, a Jewish school building near Paris was destroyed by arsonists.

Such outrageous acts draw support from incitements to violence against Jews that are becoming common again in the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere. One of the most egregious examples is a dramatic series being shown by Al-Manar, the television station of the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah. Titled “Al-Shatat,” or “Diaspora,” the thirty-part series was produced in Syria and is being transmitted to the Middle East and other parts of the world by satellite.

U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli cited a gruesome scene from a recent episode. It falsely portrays the killing of a Christian boy as part of the celebration of the Jewish religious holiday, Passover. This, as Mr. Ereli makes clear, is the infamous “blood libel”:

“This is a libelous presentation, by Al-Manar, which is the domestic and satellite TV station of the Hezbollah party. It is despicable and merits the strongest condemnation possible. Such venomous anti-Semitism has absolutely no place in the civilized world.”

This Hezbollah series is reminiscent of one shown last year on television stations in Egypt and other countries. It was called “Horseman” [or “Knight”] without a Horse.” The preposterous theme in both dramas is that Jews have long been plotting to take over the world. And in both cases, the sponsors of these ugly incitements to hatred chose the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to show them to the public.

Such broadcasts would not be possible without the backing or at least the approval of Middle East governments. In the case of “Al-Shatat,” that means Syria and Lebanon. The question one really should ask is, why would these non-democratic governments want to foment hatred of Jews?