The false incitement campaign as reflected in Syrian cartoons
A cartoon featured in Syrian daily Tishreen (February 11): a stereotypical-looking Jew digging near the Dome of the rock is about to pull the pin of a grenade that will blow up the Middle East . The same cartoon also appeared on the Hamas website.
A cartoon featured in Syrian daily Tishreen (February 14): a stereotypical-looking Jew digging under the foundations of the Dome of the Rock, presumably with the intention of tearing it down.
1. On February 9, Radio Damascus broadcasted a vehemently anti-Semitic sermon given by the imam of Al-Uthman Mosque in Damascus . The broadcasting of the sermon is Syria ‘s contribution to the false incitement campaign about the earthworks at the Mugrabim Ramp in Jerusalem .
2. The Syrian version of the incitement campaign blends anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incitement. Thus, for example:
a. In the sermon broadcasted on Radio Damascus about the campaign for the �liberation� of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jews are said to break agreements, hate peace, betray Allah and his prophet, take away Muslims’ dignity, money and blood, and strive for killing and bloodshed throughout history. The preacher states that Arabs and Muslims face a �tough, crucial campaign�, calling upon them to unite together and fight against Israel and the Jews (see Appendix for details).
b. A Syrian television channel claimed (February 6) that Israel had destroyed several parts of the Temple Mount . In a massive procession held in Damascus , thousands of protestors took to the streets carrying pictures of Bashar al-Assad, miniature models of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and posters that condemned �the crimes of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people and its holy sites� and that called for the liberation of the Golan Heights (Syrian News Agency, February 13).
c. One of the government ministers who attended the abovementioned demonstration told the television reporter that � Jerusalem is a red line. We shall not allow those [i.e. the Jews] who killed the prophets to destroy also the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Destroying the Mosque is only the beginning, after which they will destroy the Church of Nativity and other churches as well� (Syrian Television, February 13).
False incitement on Syrian national television:
� Israel destroyed several parts of the Temple Mount �
3. While it is not the first time such sentiments are expressed in the media, the anti-Semitic incitement broadcasted on Radio Damascus this time is particularly vehement, as already mentioned. It should be noted that anti-Semitism abounds in the Syrian regime. This was true in the days of President Hafez Assad and it is still true nowadays, under Bashar’s regime. In recent years, Syrian anti-Semitism was reflected in articles (and cartoons) in the press, anti-Semitic television movies, and anti-Semitic books�including new editions of �The Protocols of the Elders of Zion�. 1
4. Anti-Semitic incitement in Syria makes no distinction between criticizing the State of Israel and spreading hatred against the Jewish people using �classic� and Islamic anti-Semitic themes . It should be noted that Syrian media are under strict government control, meaning that anti-Semitic incitement in its various forms is published with the regime’s approval and as part of its policy .
Excerpts from a Friday sermon given by Abdallah Rabih at the Al-Uthman Mosque in Damascus (Radio Damascus , February 9, 2006)
1. On February 9, at 12:09, Radio Damascus broadcasted a sermon given by Abdallah Rabih, the imam of the Al-Uthman Mosque in Damascus . Excerpts from the sermon follow.
2. The Jews �break agreements and betray Allah and his prophet. That is their religion, and their ancestors’ religion, and that is their history. They take away our blood, our money, and our dignity. Jews are Jews, wherever and whenever they are. Their hatred of peace is deeply rooted in their soul and their history�a history replete with abuse, aggression, bloodshed, slaughter, occupation, and falsification.�
3. Arabs and Muslims face a crucial, tough campaign involving the Al-Aqsa Mosque. �History proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that Palestine and the land of Jerusalem are Arab. Al-Aqsa belongs to the Arabs and the Muslims.� The preacher calls upon Muslims to make all possible efforts to unite. �We are facing a sly enemy,� he says, �who skillfully maneuvers between assault and retreat, who is backed by great powers [insinuating to the US ] that support it through thick and thin� The massacres perpetrated by the Zionists in Palestine throughout history are messages [dripping] with blood, [calling upon] all Arabs and Muslims to wake from their slumber.�
4. �Our nation must be strengthened both militarily and politically. The whole nation must be mobilized so that we can resist�mentally, ideologically, and culturally�the dream of Greater Israel � From the Tigris to the Euphrates, from the cedars [i.e., Lebanon ] to the palm trees [i.e., Egypt ]�. �If they [Zionist governments] fight us [with] Judaism, we shall fight them [with] Islam; if they fight us [with] the Torah, we will fight them [with] the Quran� Resistance to the Zionist plan is a religious duty and the need of the hour. It is a matter of life and death��