Paris, 5 June 2023
Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, has followed the content of seven annual Arabic book fairs and media in the Arab world.
In a webinar of the Middle East Forum (MEFORUM), its Financial Fellow, Jordan Cope, presented a remarkable classification of Sunni and Shia state-sponsored media.
Qatar’s Al-Jazeera and Turkey’s TRT are both widely considered as supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, a pan-Islamic political movement.
Shia Iran has PressTV in Europe and HispanTV in Latin America. Both are part of the Iranian regime propaganda machine, regularly spreading antisemitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial.
Non-state Shia media outlets include Hezbollah’s Al-Manar, based in Lebanon. As an example of its rhetoric, its Director was quoted, talking about an Israeli Prime Minister: “We want to get close to him, not to interview him, but to kill him.” Al-Manar is considered a “specially designated global terrorist entity”, thus banned, among others, by the US, France and Germany.
Also internationally designated “terrorist organization” Hamas has its own Al-AqsaTV, based in Gaza, renowned for its incitement to violence and antisemitism, especially in its children show “Tomorrow's Pioneers”.
“Other than in Israel... freedom of expression in the Middle East is limited,” noted Cope.
Focussing on the network Al-Jazeera, its English version was to be quite different, supposedly balanced.
Samuels recalled, “an Anglo-American Press Association meeting in Paris, with a new Editor of Al-Jazeera English... I asked whether the antisemitic Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who was frequently present on Al-Jazeera Arabic, would also appear in the English edition...” giving examples of his sermons:
- Praising Hitler: “He managed to put them [the Jews] in their place, even though they exaggerated this issue”;
- Describing the Holocaust as “Divine punishment” to be repeated, thus calling openly for genocide;
- Condoning Palestinian suicide bombings against Israeli civilians;
- Calling to “take revenge against the enemies of Islam”, specifically “the Jews”;
- Appeals to “kill Zionists and Jews, down to the very last one...”
The budding Editor was emphatic that in its English edition – regarding Middle East political content – there was to be “no hate here!”
Al-Qaradawi died in 2020 in Qatar, at the age of 96.
“Though the Sheikh is absent, Al-Jazeera Arabic, and even English, still carry the seeds of hate,” concluded Samuels.
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