Editorial cartoonists in the Arab world are using direct or borderline anti-Semitism in their portrayal of the presumptive US presidential candidates as lackeys of the Jews and Israel, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued Wednesday.
"The American elections have provided an excuse for the Arab media to promulgate perverse, bigoted and age-old conspiracy theories that portray Israelis and Jews as controlling the candidates," the ADL said.
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“The US Presidential Candidates: Cartoons in the Arab Media” cites numerous examples appearing in newspapers across the Middle East. The ADL said the cartoons "ignore the issues of the campaign and instead engage in hate-filled characterizations of Jews and overt racist stereotypes".
ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said, “From Gaza to Ramallah, from Bahrain to Damascus, from Cairo to Riyadh, the press has unleashed a fusillade of virulent anti-Jewish images accusing Senators Barack Obama and John McCain as handmaidens of the Jews or the Israel lobby.”
"Once again, the Arab media does not miss an opportunity to promote classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of Jewish control over Washington, the media and the democratic process," he said.
Foxman, who is currently in Israel, added: “Their aim is not to provoke discussion or challenge ideas, but to spread horrific stereotypes of Jews. Some cartoons also use classical racist stereotypes to portray Senator Obama.”
He noted that ADL provided the report to the McCain and Obama campaigns, saying, “We are confident that the candidates reject these disturbing images and messages in these political cartoons from the Arab world.”
A sampling of cartoons highlighted in the report include:
- “The Wagon to the White House,” showing Senator Obama popping out of the pant-seat of a Jew (Ar-Risala, Palestinian Authority).
- “The American Elections,” showing Senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain all vying to catch a cauldron of snakes, dangled over their heads by an evil Jewish Grim Reaper (Tishrin, Syria).
- “Zionist Lobby,” which shows Obama in the pocket of a stereotypical vicious, bearded, black-hatted Jew (Akhbar al Khalij, Bahrain).
The League’s report includes cartoons and statements appearing in the Arab press this summer. It includes editorial cartoons appearing in Palestinian Authority and Hamas-affiliated newspapers, and in newspapers in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.