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Jewish World Review Dec. 13, 2002/ 8 Teves, 5763

Richard Z. Chesnoff

Richard Z. Chesnoff
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'Reality TV' Arab-style |
CAIRO Anwar Sadat must be turning over in his grave. The late Egyptian president dreamed Egypt would live in peace and prosperity with Israel. But 25 years after Sadat's historic peacemaking trip to Jerusalem - and 21 years after Islamic extremists assassinated him for his courageous effort - Sadat's dream is a shambles.

Egypt's peace with Israel is little more than ice-cold diplomatic formality, and Egyptians, whose Islamic beliefs have become increasingly militant, treat Israel like the 11th plague. It's not just that they have scrubbed all economic, scientific and agricultural cooperation with Israel, or that Egyptian maps rarely show Israel. It goes deeper. Egypt's state-controlled media have become the region's prime purveyor of crude and old-fashioned anti-Semitism. The poisonous message: Jews, and especially Israelis, are not people to make peace with.

That's from a nation the U.S. gives $2 billion a year to promote Mideast peace.

Consider "Horseman Without a Horse," the 41-part TV series that was the rage in Egypt and on 14 Arab networks during the recent Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Based largely on the notorious "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a long- discredited anti-Semitic forgery, it charges that there's an international Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.

If your TV is on the blink, newsstands in Cairo sell cheap Nazi-style paperbacks accusing Jews of everything from committing ritual murder to purposely spreading AIDS in the Arab world. Even Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" is available in an updated Arab translation. And Egyptian newspapers are filled with despicable cartoons of "the accursed Jews."

As Israeli Arab-affairs analyst Ehud Yaari puts it, "Anti-Semitism has become the last word in the Arab entertainment industry."

On Al-Manar, the Hezbollah TV station in Lebanon, Ghazi Hussein, a former adviser to the late Syrian President Hafez Assad, uses his program "The Spider's House" to attack Jews for their "lying, treachery and greed" and to promise that "Israel will be obliterated."

In Syria, local TV is running a dramatic series, "The Collapse of Legends," whose central premise is that there is no archeological evidence to support the stories of the Old Testament - which itself is a forgery by rabbis to give the Jews a claim to the land of Israel.

As for the Holocaust - well, that just never took place.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has jumped on this bandwagon. His Palestinian TV is running a series of phony documentaries to disprove the "myth" that any Jewish temple ever stood in Jerusalem. The message: The Jews have no business in the Holy City.

In Saudi Arabia, school textbooks regularly malign both Jews and Christians as untrustworthy. The most frightening part of this pattern is that it is fomented in large measure not by medieval-minded theologians, but by younger, educated, so-called liberal Arabs.

Their message, says Yaari, is that "there is no possibility of making peace with the Jews - not because of any political argument or clash over territory, but because that nation is ... unfit to be counted among the human race."

It is an excuse for a continued Arab war of extermination. The U.S. must speak out.

JWR contributor and veteran journalist Richard Z. Chesnoff is a senior correspondent at US News And World Report, a columnist at the NY Daily News and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Demoracies. His latest book, recently updated, is Pack of Thieves: How Hitler & Europe Plundered the Jews and Committed the Greatest Theft in History.

Richard Z. Chesnoff Archives

© 2002, N. Y. Daily News