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Jews as Viruses: The Arab View By: P. David Hornik
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Read almost any article about Israel and—unless, at the moment, it’s at war—the main topic is likely to be peace.

How should Israel make peace, and with whom?—separately with the Palestinians, or with the whole Arab world at once? With Fatah, or with Hamas, or with Fatah and Hamas together? By unilateral withdrawal or by a signed deal? By the two-state solution, the one-state solution, or some other formula? The Obama administration has said it is making Israeli-Palestinian peace a centerpiece of its policy. The European Union is currently suspending an upgrade of relations with Israel over concerns that it may not really want peace.

Indeed, the election of reputedly “hard-line” Israeli leaders like Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman is considered a blow to peace, and these leaders feel called upon, again and again, to affirm that Israel does want peace and explain how it intends to achieve it—the clear implication being that the Palestinians and the Arabs in general are just waiting for Israel to make the right move. 

But is that assumption justified? Rationally speaking, a new report by the Anti-Defamation League should be enough, by itself, to cast a lot of doubt on it.

“The swine flu epidemic has provided fodder for newspapers in the Muslim and Arab world to continue their broadsides against Israel,” the ADL notes.  “Editorial cartoonists for large circulation Arab and Muslim newspapers in several countries have picked up the swine flu theme as a means to depict Israeli leaders as racist pigs.” 

The report goes on to offer a sample of these caricatures, available at the linked page. Most of them come from Qatar, a country currently aligning with the radical, Iranian-led bloc, but there are also examples from the United Arab Emirates, a popular financial and tourist center in intensive contact with the West; Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994; and Al-Quds Al-Arabi, a pan-Arab daily published in London.

The one from the Jordanian daily Ad-Dustur, for instance, carries the headline “The Swine Flu Arrives to
Israel” and shows a Star of David with one of its points the head of a pig. A cartoon from Qatar’s Al-Watan, called “The Peace Process,” shows a dismayed Arab doctor sitting across the table from a pig with a Star of David on its flank. The same paper, in an opus called “The World Health Organization Is Warning of a World Epidemic—the Swine Flu,” shows Netanyahu with a pig’s snout beside a Star of David. In “The Racism Flu” in the UAE’s Al-Khalij, it’s Lieberman with the pig’s snout. And London’s Al-Quds Al-Arabi shows a panel of animals—a mad cow, a bird stricken with bird’s flu, and—the two pigs, Netanyahu and Lieberman.

Not surprisingly, and as the ADL mentions, this wave of swine-flu caricatures did not arise in a vacuum and is merely a latest variant of endemic anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic incitement in the Arab world (sites that keep track of it include those of MEMRI, Palestinian Media Watch, and the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center). As Itamar Marcus, head of Palestinian Media Watch, noted in a recent op-ed, “In Darfur and Rwanda, all that was necessary to turn a society of ordinary people into killers was to convince them that they were in danger, and that the people endangering them were less than human.” That Israel/Jews endanger them and are less than human is a message drummed into people’s heads throughout the Arab world, with—among many other modalities of hate—Jews/Israel regularly depicted, in addition to pigs, as snakes, cockroaches, rats, and the like.

The fact that American and European leaders, with their obsessive talk of peace and pressures on Israel, maintain a conspiracy of silence on this phenomenon—not to mention Israeli leaders, intimidated into compliance—is ultimately a sign of submission, one might say dhimmitude, before the Arab world’s economic power and perceived strategic importance. Not surprisingly, recent attempts by
Israel to “make peace” have resulted in suicide bombings, rocket barrages, and other forms of deadly terror.

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva. He blogs at http://pdavidhornik.typepad.com/. He can be reached at pdavidh2001@yahoo.com.

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