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Articles In Saudi Press: End The Antisemitic Discourse, Learn From The Jews' Success
Over the past month, the Saudi press has featured a number of highly unusual articles harshly critical of the antisemitic discourse in Arab and Muslim society, and calling to avoid its generalizations regarding the Jews. The articles argued that Koranic passages against the Jews only applied to specific groups during specific time periods, and should not be applied to Jews in general. They added that blind hatred of Jews everywhere has prevented Arabs and Muslims from learning the lessons of Jewish experience and advancement.
It should be mentioned that these articles came against the backdrop of a heated debate in Saudi Arabia over the issue of normalizing relations with Israel, which erupted after a July 2016 visit to Israel by a Saudi delegation headed by Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Anwar Eshki, chairman of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jeddah, and the publication of photos of the delegation with Israeli politicians. While Eshki claimed that he represented only himself and that "official Saudi elements did not know of the meeting in advance, as it was of a personal nature" and was the result of an invitation by the Palestinian Authority, he stressed that "the kingdom does not prevent anyone from holding such visits." He also did not rule out indirect Israeli-Saudi intelligence cooperation as part of efforts to combat terrorism.
The visit, which was seen as a Saudi step towards normalizing relations with Israel, sparked harsh criticism inside and outside the kingdom. Several hashtags attacking the visit were launched on social networks, including "Saudis Against Normalization." Likely as a response to the criticism, the Saudi Foreign Ministry distanced itself from Eshki, arguing that "people like Anwar Eshki do not represent us, have no ties to any governmental elements, and do not reflect the positions of the Saudi government."
However, despite this statement, and despite the Saudi regime's denial that the visit heralded normalization with Israel, the publication of Saudi articles attacking antisemitic discourse specifically at this time is no coincidence, and is likely meant to lay the groundwork for public acceptance in the country of normalized relations with Israel.
The following are excerpts from articles in the Saudi press attacking antisemitic discourse:
Date Posted: August 15, 2016
Indian Daily: Zionist Mossad, Hindu RSS Are Both 'Bent On Defaming Islam, Muslims, And Muslim Figures
A number of terror suspects have recently been arrested in India, especially in Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the state capital. These arrests, especially of Muslim youths radicalized to support the Islamic State (ISIS), were made by India's Anti-Terror Squad (ATS). For example, on July 24, in Maharashtra, the ATS arrested Shahid Khan, a 24-year-old from Parbhani district, and Naser bin Yafai Chaus, from Aurangabad. Similar arrests were also made earlier.
Additionally, Indian media has recently launched a major debate on televangelist Dr. Zakir Naik's role in radicalizing young Muslims. Naik's lengthy lectures, disseminated widely via YouTube, came under scrutiny following the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka in which nearly two dozen were killed. According to the Bangladeshi government, Naik had radicalized two of the seven terrorists involved in the Dhaka attack; as a result, his satellite network Peace TV, which broadcasts religious programs, was banned.
In this context, Roznama Urdu Times, an Indian daily published from Mumbai, featured a report titled "The One Weapon of Mossad, CIA: The Media Trial Of Muslims," arguing that the Mossad, the CIA, and the Hindu social service organization RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) are orchestrating a media campaign to discredit Muslim figures. Although the report did not mention Zakir Naik, it followed the media debate over Naik's sermons.
From the way it is written, it is unclear whether this report is an editorial or a news item, based on the statement by Indian Muslim politician Ashfaqur Rahman, the National Convener of the Rashtriya Janata Dal party. Most probably, it is a heavily editorialized news item.
Following is the translation of the full report:
Date Posted: August 14, 2016
Article In Palestinian Online Daily: The Claim That Jews Are The Descendants Of Apes And Pigs Is Foolish And Primitive
In his column in the Palestinian online daily Dunya Al-Watan (Alwatanvoice.com), Anwar Al-Waridi, a Palestinian poet and author living in Jordan, mocked Muslim clerics who scream about Jews being the descendants of apes and pigs, while Jews control Arab land and have been defeating the Arabs for the past century. According to him, this claim about the Jews is ridiculous, and is indicative of a backwards collective Arab mentality that underestimates the enemy.
Date Posted: August 10, 2016
Jordanian Friday Sermon by Sheikh Bashar Sharif: There Is No Difference Whatsoever between ISIS and Secular Arabs
Egyptian Author Muhammad Al-Mansi Qandil: The Israel Germ, Planted in the Arab Body in 1948, Is Responsible for the "Deformed" Arab Regimes
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