By Arieh Stav
Has the Peace Process Really Dampened Arab Hostility?
The subject of Arab hostility to Israel touches upon the foundations of the Jewish State and its ability to survive in the Middle East. Up until the early 1970’s, the assumption that such enmity was both deep and all-encompassing, and that Israel could do little about it, had been commonly accepted.
The late Yehoshafat Harkabi, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Intelligence in the 1950’s and later a professor of international relations at the Hebrew University, made the dominant academic contribution to substantiating the idea of unrelenting Arab hostility in his book, The Arab Position in the Israel Arab Conflict (Tel-Aviv, 1968). Harkabi systematically surveyed the various vehicles of public expression in the Arab world: the electronic and printed news media, literature, folklore, religion, government propaganda, and education. Harkabi discovered a hostility the depth and comprehensiveness of which can only lead one to the conclusion that Israel would have no choice but to rely for its survival on force of arms for the foreseeable future.
An illustrative example of the national consensus among Jews in Israel concerning Arab intentions is the following excerpt from the autobiography of the late Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir:
I never for a moment doubted that the real aim of the Arab countries had always been, and remains today, the total destruction of the State of Israel, and that even if we withdrew far beyond the 1967 borders, to some tiny enclave, they would still try to destroy us … We are duty-bound to admit this truth; we are duty-bound to clarify it to all men of goodwill who are inclined to evade it. We must face this truth in all its harshness, so that we may continue to tap, among ourselves and among the Jewish people, all the resources necessary to overcome our enemies …
However, after the Yom Kippur War, as relations began to form between Israel and Egypt in the direct negotiations leading to the Sinai disengagement agreement, the impression began to take hold that the wall of Arab enmity had at last begun to crack. The Camp David Agreements between Israel and Egypt were in fact seen as a manifestation of such a decline in Arab hostility. These agreements provided for Israeli withdrawal from the entire Sinai Peninsula, thus removing, in the Israeli perception, the grounds for Egyptian hostility; in exchange, Egypt, the largest and most important Arab country, accorded Israel formal recognition.
Thirteen years later, in November, 1991, it seemed as if the wall of enmity had once again been breached, with the commencement of talks in Madrid and the inauguration of what became known as the Peace Process. The Israeli government has taken far-reaching steps pursuant to this process, steps that are so far outside anything that can be construed as the national consensus, that they have rent the Israeli body politic asunder in a controversy the bitterness of which can be glimpsed in the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Israel has signed a peace treaty with Jordan, which meant giving up its historic claim to Transjordan. Israel has signed a “declaration of principles” with the PLO, in accordance to which it has agreed to the division of western Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel), including a waiver of the historic Jewish claim to Judea and Samaria, the cradle of the Hebrew nation and the raison d’etre of Zionism. Israel has agreed to discuss the transfer of the sovereignty of the Old City of Jerusalem, its ancient capital and the City of David, to a foreign power. And Israel has declared its willingness to a withdrawal, either partial or complete, from the Golan Heights, and its return to Syria.
Thus, the Government of Israel has not refused to accede to a single Arab request made in the peace talks. With Israel’s sweeping removal of all obstacles her Arab adversaries had claimed she had put up, blocking the way to peace, and her acceptance of the Arab slogan, “Land for Peace,” one might have expected that the manifestations of enmity described in Harkabi’s book would become a thing of the past, or at least subject to a long-term down-toning. However, a perusal of the available literature on the attitude toward Israel of the Arab states in general, and Egypt in particular, indicates that not only have Israeli concessions failed to lead to a moderation of Arab enmity, but they appear to have actually exacerbated it. What we are witnessing, then, is a state of affairs whereby Arab rulers declare their willingness to sign peace agreements with Israel (and even do so, as in the cases of King Hussein and Yassir Arafat), while at the popular level (as in the mass media) and especially among the intelligentsia, the level of hostility toward Jews has actually risen.
The recentness of developments with Jordan, the Palestinians, and Syria precludes a historical perspective in their regard. In the case of Egypt, however, such perspective is possible, and three books devoted to the issue of Egyptian hostility toward Israel since Camp David have seen publication. Dr. Rivka Yadlin, of the Hebrew University, examines the depth of anti-Semitism in Egypt in the 1980’s, revealing a depressing picture reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Prof. Bernard Lewis finds a parallel between the anti-Semitic venom in the Arab world in general, and Egypt in particular, and the late Middle Ages and the Nazi period. Prof. Raphael Israeli, of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, whose study compares Egyptian hostility toward Israel before and after Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem, summarizes his findings thus:
The most striking surface impression one is tempted to form after digesting the above material is that Sadat’s peace initiative has not really effected any change in Egyptian, let alone Arab, attitudes towards Israel. Moreover, judging from the Egyptian caricatures and articles written in the post-November, 1977 era, one might even be led to believe that the level of hostility Egyptians felt with regard to Jews and Israel may have been heightened.
The collection we see is intended to give an indication of how Israel and the Peace Process are reflected in Arab political caricature s, which, in the Arab world, where half the people are illiterate, is a direct and authentic reflection of public sentiment – as well as a powerful shaper of it.
1. Arab Unity – Tsabah el-Hir, Egypt, June 12, 1986
Israel, by its very existence, is a threat to the goal of the Arab nation – unity.
Arab Unity – Roz el-Yusuf, Egypt, June 5, 1967
“The Zionist midget” is about to be destroyed in the powerful arms of Egypt and Syria. The destruction of Israel is a condition for Arab unity, but the dispute still has a regional character. This caricature was published the day the Six Day War broke out, which lends the caricature legitimacy, as it serves the war effort.
Arab Unity – A-Sha’ab, Egypt, May 30, 1989
The caricature accompanies an article calling for war against Israel, the “Zionist entity,” as a precondition for Arab unity. In contrast to the message conveyed in the previous caricature of 1967, the message here is of a world-wide conflict. Here, the target is not just Israel, but all Jews. The Jewish fangs are aimed at all humanity, and the Arabs, under Egyptian leadership (note the world with a kaffiyeh) have the task of eliminating the scourge. This is 11 years after Camp David.
Deification versus Demonization: Unity of Contrasts in Image of the Jew
The caricature, as an exaggerated graphic depiction of the physical or spiritual characteristics of its object aimed at rendering it ludicrous or absurd, has always been a part of the visual arts. Nevertheless, throughout the history of caricature, from ancient Greek a Roman burlesque through the venomous drawings of Honore Dumier, from the grotesqueries of Leonardo da Vinci and Durer through a hundred and fifty years of political and social caricature in England’s Punch, the anti-Semitic caricature recurs as a leitmotif. It exceeds the usual bounds of caricature, in both content and form, just as hatred of Jews is sui generis, in that it exceeds the pathological range of xenophobia.
The anti-Semitic caricature derives its content from a negation, religious, moral, racial, social, and political in character, that is unique among the forms of caricature. As such, it is aimed, not at individuals, but at the entire Jewish people. Furthermore, it alone among forms of caricature, presents its object as the antithesis of the esthetic ideal of Western culture. And finally, the anti-Semitic caricature is unique, especially in its Nazi and Arab expressions, in that it presents its object, the Jewish human being, both as an individual and in his generality, as worthy of physical annihilation.
Hence, the anti-Semitic caricature is entirely devoid of the element of humor inherent in caricature as an art form. Humor, even at its most pungent and mocking, aims at maintaining a delicate balance between a person and his environment, by keeping a reasonable sense of proportion. Satire, even at its most venomous, retains an important constructive element. Humor, then, is a salient manifestation of humanism, tolerance, and rational thought. Comedy, in contrast to Aristotelian “fear and pity,” releases accumulated emotional tension through laughter, thus rendering the objects of its ridicule, such as Falstaff and Don Quixote, pathetic figures who arouse pity and compassion.
Needless to say, the anti-Semitic expression is the antithesis of humor. The particular subject addressed is of secondary importance; the form is the message. Ernest Gombrich put the matter succinctly when he said that the caricature of a Jewish face is a “visual interpretation of the contours of a face that will never be forgotten, and which the victim, as if bewitched, would carry with him forever.”
The anti-Semitic caricature, like the yellow badge, is aimed at fixing the mark of Cain upon the Jewish brow. Hence, the term “caricature,” as used here, bears no relation to the idea of an anti-Semitic illustration; if the term “caricature” is used here, it is only for lack of a better term. For example, even the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the most extensive survey of human knowledge, which contains a comprehensive survey of caricatures, does not even mention the anti-Semitic caricature.
Hatred of Jews has changed in appearance over time, but it has been an ever-present specter in Jewish history over the ages. Arab anti-Semitism and its reflection in caricatures, even if not entirely the same as Western anti-Semitism, is nevertheless a continuation, and an imitation, of it. Hence, Arab anti-Semitism can be seen as a link, the final one at present, in a long historical continuum. As such, it is to be presented under the backdrop of the three previous peak periods of Western anti-Semitism: the late Middle Ages, the modern period, and Nazism.
The Middle Ages: The Anti-Semitic Libel vs. Esthetic Innocence
The late Middle Ages are usually considered one of the peak periods of anti-Semitism. Indeed, beginning with the destruction of entire Jewish communities in the First Crusade, at the end of the eleventh century, and from there on to the wholesale massacres of European Jews during the Black Death in the middle of the fourteenth, and finally, the expulsions and pogroms that were the lot of virtually every Jewish community in Europe at the end of the fifteenth century and early part of the sixteenth, the late Middle Ages were certainly one of the darkest periods in the annals of the Jewish people. So much so as to justify the claim that “Christianity is not anti-Semitic. It is anti-Semitism.”
The Dualism of Christian Dogma in Respect of the Jews
The dogma of the Christian church in respect of the Jewish people, on both the individual and national levels, had been split, at least since the fourth century, by a doctrinal quandary. On the one hand, the Christian church declared itself the heir of Judaism, but could not claim complete victory while Judaism was still in existence, just as an heir cannot actually inherit his legacy as long as the legator is still alive. Hence, complete fulfillment of Christianity’s legacy would require either the total destruction or Judaism, or the conversion of all Jews. Such an ontological negation of the Jews, which served as the basis of the inference that they were worthy of annihilation, could be found in the writings of Bishop John Chrysostom, of Antioch (345-407), one of the most influential preachers of his time.
On the other hand, the final elimination of Judaism would have meant the removal of the witness of Christianity’s triumph. The issue had been raised towards the end of the fourth century. The dominant Christian theologian of the time, St. Augustine (354-430), decided the matter his famous statement, “Necessarii credentibus gentibus,” that is, the Jews were “necessary to bear witness,” and should not be annihilated.
Denigrating Content vs. Restraint in Form
Medieval artists faced an esthetic dilemma engendered by the dualism of Church doctrine in respect of the Jews: How to depict the wickedness of the Jew, without actually negating his very humanity. The solution was a unique combination of anti-Semitic libel without physical distortion.
As we have mentioned, anti-Semitism reached a peak in the late Middle Ages, a peak that was exceeded only during the Nazi period. However, no doubt to the surprise of one inured to a demonic depiction of the Jew in caricatures, illustrations from that period are generally devoid of distortion or any physical attribute that detaches the Jew from his environment. In other words, religious libel – yes; theological accusation – yes; but under no circumstances dehumanization in the secular sense of the term, which might deny the Jew his very right to live, and thus bring about the demise of the Jewish people.
The result, paradoxically, was that anti-Semitic medieval drawing (the term “caricature” is inappropriate, given the esthetic standards of medieval art) was imbued with a high degree of esthetic innocence. The image of the Jew, even under the cruelest and most warping of circumstances, from the standpoint of the Christian ethos, such as the motif of the blood libel, or the Jewish swine (die Judensau), does not lose its human form. The Jewish image is usually depicted with objectivity and restraint, only being recognizable as a Jew by such hints as a pointed hat or oval badge. Such pointed digression from the classical principle of unity of form and content is no doubt unique in the annals of Western art.
4. Die Judenspiess – Wood Engraving, Strassburg, 1541.
This picture is from an anti-Semitic booklet aimed at ridiculing Jewish moneylenders. The artist was fully aware of the purpose of his engraving, which nevertheless contains no distorted physical reflection of the Jew or his family. In fact, the mother shown rocking her child in the cradle imparts human warm and softness to the libelous character of the basic message. Since the Jews shown are at home, there is no need for special identifying marks, such as the oval badge, which the artist has, in fact, forgone. One sees an objective depiction of a typical room in a home, rendered in faithful detail, without malice. Yet what the engraving lacks is made up for in the accompanying caption, which reproaches the Jew for his devious ways. Such integration of objective illustration and venomous accompanying text is common genre of anti-Semitic art in the later Middle Ages.
The Modern Period – Unity of Form and Content
The emancipation, with the conferral upon European Jews of equal rights, the denial of which had for centuries been an ironclad law enjoying both theological and cultural imprimaturs aroused sharp antagonisms from the emerging lower middle class, the petit bourgeo. Such antagonism should not have been unexpected. The bourgeoisie, which derived its legitimacy from the French Revolution and would soon be the dominant force in European civilization, was then in its formative stage and felt more threatened than any other social stratum by Jewish competition. There were many reasons for this: the rapid entry of Jews into the focus of European awareness by the end of the eighteenth century; their role in British colonial expansion, as well as in the financing of wars in the Napoleonic period; their impact upon German culture (and thus indirectly upon pan-Germanic trends), particularly their central role in the arts and society of Vienna, the hub of the Hapsburg Empire; their critical role in the accelerated urbanization of eastern and central Europe, and in industrialization and the concomitant expansion of banking. These were all factors in a rising recrudescence of anti-Semitism the depth, breadth, and virulence of which were manifest in direct proportion to Jewish assertiveness, along with a rising Jewish radicalism.
In the new era of emancipation, secular anti-Semitism received its ideological imprimatur from philosophers of the stature of Fichte in Germany, from the thinkers and writers who had midwifed the French Revolution, such as the circle associated with Jean Jacques Rousseau, and more than a few Encyclopedists. Towering above them all in venomous wit was Voltaire, who competes with Fichte for recognition as the father of secular anti-Semitism.
It appears, though, that no one had engendered a more virulent anti-Semitism than Karl Marx, who took the Christian theme of the Jew as a seeker of ill-gotten gains to its nadir of Mammon-worship as integral to Jewish existence. For Marx, the Jew symbolized the hated capitalist system – the source of society’s woes; hence, the remedy for mankind’s woes was its emancipation from its Jewish traits. In his Zur Judenfrage (“Toward the Jewish Question”), Marx put the matter thus:
The chimerical nationality of the Jew is the nationality of the merchant … What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly cult of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly god? Mammon…. The emancipation from huckstering and from money, and consequently from practical, real Judaism, would be the self emancipation of our era.
Marxism, which certainly joins the monotheistic religions as one of the most prevalent, and comprehensive, dogmas in history, contained the bacillus of anti-Semitism as the image of the Mammon-worshipping capitalist, the mythological underpinning of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Thus Karl Marx, the grandson of a rabbi and scion of a long line of Talmudic scholars, became one of the greatest anti-Semites of the modern era, testimony to the verse in Isaiah, “Thy destroyers and they that made thee waste go forth from you.”
The Jew is now the enemy of the people, of society, of the working class. A satirical press, whose source materials are the vogue anti-Semitic caricatures, makes its appearance. Vienna’s Kikeriki, Simplicissimus in Munich, Libre Parole in Paris, and Pluvium in St. Petersburg are only a few of such wide-circulation papers a student of mid-nineteenth century European journalism would come across.
The Anti-Semitic Caricature as the Antithesis of Esthetic Canon
The change we have noted in the content of the anti-Semitic message previously prevalent in Christendom was accompanied by a sea change in its graphic manifestation; from now on, the object of anti-Semitic libel would be a burlesque of the human form. The esthetic principle of the unity of form and content is at long last satisfied. From now on, the Jew would be depicted as the antithesis of the Graeco-Roman concept of beauty, both masculine and feminine, which had become, under the impact of the Italian Renaissance, the dogma for all schools of plastic art – from the Neoclassicism of Jacques Louis David school, during the French Revolution and Napoleonic era, to the pre-Raphaelites of mid-nineteenth century Britain, and up to the worship of heroic nudes in the Belle Epoque at the fin de siecle. It is only by being fully aware of the ideal of beauty imprinted in the minds of the nineteenth century European that one can begin to understand the degree of denigration involved in the portrayal of the obese, flaccid, crooked-nosed, bow-legged Jew, with hairy body, protruding eyes, saliva dripping from the sides of his mouth.
Thus, it was in the nineteenth century that the archetypical Jew in anti-Semitic stereotyping that we know today, was given its final form, both esthetically and in content. The portrayal of Jews by the Nazi, Soviet, and Arab literature merely vary on that stereotype. However, it is an irony of history that the very same nineteenth century was among the most successful of periods in the annals of the Jewish Diaspora in demographic, as well as cultural, terms.
5. “Uradel” by Aubrey Beardsly
With the discovery of the Greek statue known since than (1920) as Venus de Milo and its exhibition at the Louvre, this Hellenistic masterpiece came to be considered the incarnation of feminine beauty, while admiration for classical Graeco-Roman beauty in Europe reached unprecedented heights. The proportions between the statue’s head, torso, and limbs were measured precisely and invoked as the final word in human physical perfection.
An example of the Jew being held up as the antithesis of such perfection is Aubrey Beardsly’s “Uradel.” The black mass with short legs, fat hands, head directly connected to the torso, the crooked, bulbous nose, intended to accentuate the ugliness of the profile, are all a caricature of the ideal of perfection. Beardsly, who took the mannerism of late nineteenth century European decadence to absurd limits, painted the antithesis to his own style, in Uradel.
6. “The Banker”, Simplicissimus, Munich, 1907
“The Banker” is the prototype of all components of the anti-Semitic caricature that would be aimed in the future at the Jewish financier, particularly the Rothschilds. Obese, thick-lipped, lustful for ill-gotten gains, with a crooked, bulbous nose, smoking a cigar, arrogant and cock-sure, he is ensconced in a well-cushioned divan adorned with Hebrew writing.
Nazism – License to Exterminate
The human divinity and the human devil … The Jew is the opposite of a human being, his antithesis … The handiwork of another god … The Aryan and the Jew … are as far from each other as the beast from a human being …The Jew is a hostile being, foreign to nature.
Ripping the Human Mask Off the Jewish Devil
Nazism, as an eschatological movement aimed at redeeming man, i.e., the Aryan race, through its vision of a Thousand Year Reich, brought about a Manichean showdown between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness. In the Nazi Weltanshauung, Nordic man, the embodiment of human perfection, faced the Jewish subhuman, the incarnation of evil.
The Nazi movement created a radical synthesis between Christian hatred of Jews and the anti-Semitism of the Enlightenment. From Christianity, the Nazis extracted the principle of the ontological accusation of original sin, which had been imprinted upon Jews, as a nation and individually. From modern European rationalism, they gleaned the entire collection of “Jewish” traits, which they claimed were genetically transmitted. Both sources of denigration of Jews were amalgamated into a “doctrine of race,” of the Gobineau-Chamberlain- Rosenberg school of thought.
Thus were the Jews classified separately from the human race, and inferior to it. They were “subhuman”, Untermenschen, or in German parlance, Rassenjude. They were not, however, the missing link between man and ape – that honor was reserved for the black race. The Jew was perceived as somewhat of a shifty-eyed, scheming subhuman, who is plotting to annihilate the German people as a preliminary step towards world rule. All this could be learned about the Jew from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which the Nazis viewed as part of the trilogy of Jewish holy, along with the Bible and Talmud.
It is worth noting here that the devil in human form, and the affinity between them, are a recurring, and highly important, theme in German folklore, art, and literature. Medieval demonology, Goethe’s Faust, the tales of the brothers Grimm, and Wagner’s reconstruction of Teutonic mythology are replete with the German legacy of dread, sadism, macabre depictions and grotesqueries to an extent that is unique among nations.
The idea of a Manichean life and death struggle between Aryan and Jew – after all, the existence of the one depends upon the annihilation of the other – had to be translated from an abstraction to a visual level, by means of fostering the Jewish stereotype. The matter was stated succinctly by G.L. Mosse, an authority on German ideology, thus:
The theory of racial differences can be understood not only in its mythical sense. The opposite is true – one could credit it to over-popularization by stereotyping. The Aryan man approached the ideal of German beauty. The Jew was his diametric antithesis. The two images reflected symbolically the polar tension between God and Satan.
Before the subhuman Jew could be dealt with properly, he first had to be unmasked, thus preventing the devil from using the camouflage of being “just like everyone else.”
What came to be known as the “Nazi caricature,” mainly through the caricatures of Philip Ruprecht (Fips) in Julius Streicher’s Der Sturmer, was merely a faithful expression of Hitler’s thoughts concerning the Jew as “the opposite of a human being.”
Der Sturmer – Graphic Depiction of the Subhuman
A comparison between the typical anti-Semitic caricature of the nineteenth century and illustrations in Der Sturmer yields the surprising result that, at least at first glance, Der Sturmer is less vulgar. Although Ruprecht portrays Jews zoologically (as vampire-bats, monkeys, worms, snakes, and octopuses), such depictions comprise a small portion of his output. Over a period of 22 years (1923-1945), Ruprecht produced close to 3,000 caricatures for Der Sturmer; his work constitutes a systematic and rigorous coverage of all possible aspects of evil, while punctiliously pursuing his leitmotif through the image of the Jew: the build of his body and contours of his face, while allowing for variations as the need arose.
Ruprecht’s Jewish faces basically comport with the Rassenjude idea of Semitic features, and made to look especially ugly, gloomy, threatening, and evil. His distortions are nevertheless kept within certain logical limits; he maintains a balanced dosage, so to speak, that is directly proportional to the Jew’s actual ability to hide the devil within him. The Jew’s character is particularly highlighted when compared with the Nordic ideal, which is likewise distorted to comport with the Nazi’s esthetic code.
7. One of Fips’s caricatures that brings this contrast out most successfully is entitled “Spring”, (April, 1934.) Opposite an incarnation of blond purity, perfection, pride, love of youth and straight posture, rises the black hulk of a Jew – soft, hairy, and evil. The bespectacled Jew, wearing a hat and heavy coat over a suit, is the antithesis of the joy of Spring being radiated by the two youths blending into bucolic surroundings. The simple use of the “light-shadow” (chiaroscuro) technique is right to the point, imparting to the Jew something of the fear bats have of the light of day. The caricature then, is a faithful reflection of Hitler’s description of the Jew as, “a hostile being, foreign to nature.” It is worth mentioning that the theme reflects part of the daily routine of the average German, who hence finds identifying with it easy. The caricature ’s double message is achieved completely. On the one hand, it engenders pride in, and a sense of identity with the two German youths. On the other, it arouses fear and hatred of the Jewish devil – the classical ingredients of anti-Semitism.
Instillment of hatred of the Jews into the minds of the Germans through the most comprehensive, concentrated, and purposeful indoctrination campaign in history was aimed at raising the German war effort in World War II to the level of a high moral calling in the struggle of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness. The harnessing of the entire German nation to the gigantic effort entailed in the task at hand required crude and effective propaganda at the gutter level. Der Sturmer fulfilled its assignment to perfection. By the end of the ’30’s, the polarization between the Nordic ideal and its Jewish antithesis had been completed. While the image of the Führer himself attained the mythological proportions of a Teutonic savior, the image of the Jewish subhuman was etched into the German consciousness as a human-like devil, the annihilation of whom is a precondition for the realization of the Nazi dream. The path to the factory-like annihilation of the Jews was now open, not merely from moral turpitude, nor for lack of inhibition or pangs of conscience, but rather as a rising up to a moral mandate of the highest order.
“The pinnacle of faith is the jihad.”
“We shall kill and be killed, we shall kill and be killed, …
Our brothers, heroes of the Islamic Jihad.”
Islam – From the Middle Ages to the Modern Period
Islamic hostility towards Judaism is not predicated upon theological roots, as is the case with Christianity. Mohammed was not Jewish and the Jews were not accused of causing his death. Hence, the Koran did not embrace the idea of an original sin analogous to the deicide. Furthermore, the Koran rejects Jesus’ divinity and the story of the crucifixion as a fabrication, something that never happened. Since there was no deicide, there was never any place for collective or inherited guilt, as in Christianity.
While Islam, as the most recent of the monotheistic faiths sees itself as the heir of its two predecessors, it is not the antithesis of Judaism. If it does intend to supersede Judaism (and Christianity), its supersession does not depend on the annihilation of Judaism, either physical or spiritual, as in the case of an heir who cannot come into his inheritance while the legator is still alive.
The inheritance has been made by virtue of a sweeping and a historical adoption of the Jewish heritage, and of Judaism itself, which was unfaithful – according to Islam – to its God and prophets. The Koran does invoke this putative faithlessness as evidence of Jewish wickedness, but it is a theological theme of only secondary importance to Islam. While Eretz Israel, the Land of Israel, is in the Islamic domain, it does not have any unique status, and is certainly not Terra Sancta, the Holy Land. Furthermore, Jerusalem, which was devoid of any significance during Islamic rule, is not mentioned in the Koran, or in the Palestinian Covenant. Thus, the degree of Islamic hostility towards Judaism is a far cry from the pathological fixation with, and ontological negation of, Judaism by the Christian church.
Classical Islam is free of the Christian phobia of the Jewish Satan, or of the Jewish well-poisoners and epidemic-spreaders of medieval Christian demonology. Even if such phenomena did exist in various localities in the Middle East, they never acquired the metaphysical content they did in Christianity.
The compulsive doctrinal preoccupation with Jews, as can be seen in the canonical writings of the Church fathers, papal bulls, ecclesiastic councils never obtained in Islam. The station in life of the Jewish dhimi at the bottom of the status scale of “protected peoples,” he existed in such a state of degradation and the threat he posed was so minute, there was no point even in paying attention to him at the theological level, beyond what had already been said about him in the Koran and Hadith.
The emancipation of the Jew and the challenge, cultural and economic, that he posed to his environment was also a phenomenon from which the Islamic world was far removed. The Middle East did experience anything analogous to the sharp disjuncture (“sharp” from the standpoint of historical time spans) which in Europe between the late Middle Ages and the Emancipation; that domain had not gone through an earth-shattering event even faintly resembling the French Revolution. At no time in history would the very concept of human equality, as had been advanced by John Locke in his treatise, A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689), ever have even been comprehensible to a Muslim mind.
The Islamic world, and the Middle East within it, had not only been spared a transformation of values such as that which had bestowed upon Western civilization the French Revolution. Neither had it ever taken an economic quantum leap such as the Industrial Revolution, with a stratum analogous to the petit bourgeoisie, a well-defined stratum that was in direct conflict with Jewish assertiveness. Hence, a secular anti-Semitism as had developed in nineteenth century Europe had never developed in Arab countries, and Arab imagery is devoid of an anti-Semitic archetype. For instance, the anti-Semitic racism of the Gobineau-Chamberlain-Rosenberg school never took hold in the Arab world, if for no other reason than that the idea, as understood by Willhelm Marr and his generation, had not yet divorced Jews from the Semitic race.
At the same time, the Islamic world was also totally devoid of those liberal and philo-Semitic elements that softened the impact of anti-Semitism, and made it possible for Jews to play such a central role in the cultural and economic development of Western civilization over the past two hundred years.
Hence, one is inclined to agree, then, with Bernard Lewis, that while the history of Islam is free of the anti-Semitic horrors of medieval Christendom, neither did it experience the uplift of anything comparable to Western liberalism and Jewish emancipation.
What theology did not provide, though, was made up for by historical reality.
Israel and the Ethos of the Jihad – The Roots of Arab Hostility
The Middle Eastern scholar, Prof. Raphael Israeli writes:
From the dawn of Muslim history, the jihad basically had one purpose: military operations aimed at expanding the sphere of the Islamic domain. Upon Islam was placed the universal obligation of taking control of the entire world, by peaceful means, if possible, by war, if necessary…. The jihad is an obligation for all Muslims…. The obligation of jihad remains in force, actually, as long as Islamic rule has not spread throughout the entire world, that is, “until the end of the world,” or “until the resurrection.” The immediate conclusion is that a state of peace with non-Muslims can only be a temporary matter, which is defined as a cease-fire, but without any obligation on the part of Muslims not to violate such an agreement, if it is to the advantage of Islam.
A corollary to the injunction of the jihad, and its manifestation in politics, is the territorial application of the sacred principle of “Muslim Sanctification,” the Dar el-Islam (House of Islam). This principle is in effect throughout territories under unchallenged Muslim ascendancy; the rest of the world is appropriately termed Dar el-Harb (House of War).
The Dar el-Islam, where all minority nationalities and religions that demanded territorial autonomy have been annihilated or repressed, spreads over an area of some 12 million square kilometers on two continents, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf. Those few who have survived are reduced in status to that of a dhimi, or protected persons, tolerated minorities that live by the sufferance of Islam.
Within the broad expanse of this Middle East, bordered by two oceans and three seas, is one sovereign non-Islamic entity, the Jewish State. As if this violation of the ethos of jihad were not enough, not only have the Arabs not been able to extirpate Israel, but every attempt they made to annihilate the “Zionist entity” has met with defeat on the field of battle. This is an intolerable affront to a culture that worships war as an ethos, and violence as a principle. The State of Israel is, then, an anomaly that contradicts the quintessence of the ethos of Islam, the jihad – it is geographically in the heart of the Dar el-Islam, while at the same time, a part of the Dar el-Harb.
Furthermore, Israel constitutes a discontinuity between Arab Asia and Arab Africa at a particularly sensitive location: it borders on Egypt, thus preventing the premier Arab country from effectuating its hegemony in the Arab world, and further afield, in the Middle East. Hence, the various Arab epithets for Israel, like “cancer in the body of the Arab nation,” and “dagger in the heart of the Arabs,” may sound discordant to Israeli ears, but they accurately reflect the Arab viewpoint. Hassnein Haikel, a confidant of President Sadat’s and one of the most articulate thinkers in Egypt, has stated the matter thus:
Israel wants to be a barrier between Arab Africa and Asia, and that is the cause and the heart of the conflict between Egypt’s national plan to create a bridge between itself and the Arab bloc, and Israel’s national plan to sever that link….As long as the peace agreement does not take that into account, the peace will not be realistic.
Little wonder, then, that the questions of Israel’s defeat on the field of battle, as a strategic goal, and long-term preparations for war, are debated publicly in Egypt. An example of this, one of many, is the popular weekly Roz el-Yusuf, which faithfully reflects the views of President Hosni Mubarak. The paper’s entire January 23, 1995, issue was devoted to a discussion of the future war with Israel. Former War Minister Amir el-Hoydy was interviewed for the issue and, not troubling to mince his words, stated, “War is inevitable…The war is coming … The efforts and agreements being made today lead to war.”
As it makes its own military preparations, Egypt continues to pursue a long-term strategy of fostering a Palestinian nationalism aimed at denying the Jewish State legitimacy. It was on January 13, 1964 that President Nasser established the “Palestinian entity” which in time became the PLO, as a pragmatic step to advance his pan-Arabist ideas.
The Palestinian Covenant, the essence of the jihad presented as a set of political goals, is the canonical document the “Arab nation” is using as a tool to deal with the Israeli anomaly, and thus return Palestine into the fold of the Dar el-Islam. Hence, the Covenant declares the unity of the nation and the land; dismisses out of hand the legitimacy of the Jewish state, and declares pan-Arab cooperation aimed at extirpating Israel through armed struggle.
Roughly the same things, albeit with differences in emphasis, can be said about Syria. In the Syrian view, Israel has always been “Occupied South Syria,” and that is how it appears on Syrian maps and official publications. In the vocabulary of Syrian president Hafez el-Assad, the term “strategic parity with Israel,” is simply a euphemism for preparation for total war.
There is another difference between Arab hatred of Jews, and the range of Christian anti-Semitism, medieval, modern secularist, and Nazi. Both modern secularists and Nazi racists have had to invent their Jewish enemy almost out of thin air, rendering a marginal minority, vulnerable and devoid of any real power, into a threat of apocalyptic dimensions. Arabs, in contrast, face a real flesh-and-blood adversary who wields genuine power, in the form of a sovereign state that upsets what they consider the natural order and threatens the unity of the Arab world.
Hence, it is no wonder that the Arabs call their failure to commit an act of genocide in 1948, only three years after the Holocaust, in a somewhat grotesque inversion of meanings, the “Holocaust of 1948.” When they endeavored once again, in 1967, to throw the Jews into the sea, and this time around had their explicitly stated intentions amplified by all the means of modern communications, and were once again thwarted, they once again described the result as the “Holocaust” or “Catastrophe” of 1967. It was Nasser who best gave expression to the principles of Islam in apocalyptic imagery, when he described the War of Independence in 1953 thus: “In the history of man, there has never yet been an example like the holocaust of Palestine.” Two years later, he added, “It’s enough that you mention Palestine and you actually remind every Arab – nay, every free man – the greatest international crime that has ever been perpetrated in human history.”
The Arab world has produced an immense literature on the two “holocausts.” Such publications range widely in perspective: from self-flagellation to presentation of Israel as an outpost of Western neo-colonialism, against which the Arabs really fought in 1948 and 1967, rather than against the “Zionist dwarf”, as well as the theological argument that Israel is punishment meted out by Allah to Muslims for deviating wandering from their faith. We have not found in this immense literature a single trace of willingness to become reconciled with the existence of Israel as a sovereign entity, or with Zionism as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, to say nothing of reconciliation with the religious or moral idea of the people of Israel returning to their land. Deputy Egyptian foreign minister Dr. Mustafa Halil made sure to dampen the enthusiasm of Israelis and set matters straight for them in all that pertained to the peace treaty with Egypt. In a lecture at Tel-Aviv University in December, 1980, after warning his listeners that what he was about to say would be “frank and scientific,” he told them that
When we speak of the Jews, we never refer to them as a national entity…A Jew can be an Egyptian Jew, a German Jew, or a French Jew… We always relate to the Jewish religion strictly as a religion and not as the symbol of a national entity. Only as such can you (Israel) live in peace with your neighbors.
Fifteen years have passed, but the attitude that Israel is a transient phenomenon has not changed. A typical expression of such refusal to see Israel as a sovereign entity is its non-appearance on Arab maps. To this very day, Egyptians adamantly refuse to include Israel in maps of the Middle East, and continue to mark Eretz Israel as “Palestine.”
Hence, in contrast to the theological or racial hatred of Jews in the west, Arab anti-Semitism stands on the firm bases of both a social ethos and long-range strategic thinking. The various aspects of Arab anti-Semitism, its depth, scope and manifestations, have been thoroughly documented in the publications we have mentioned, from the comprehensive treatise of Yehoshafat Harkabi, through the books of Bernard Lewis, Raphael Israeli, and Rivka Yadlin.
The Arab Caricature – An Esthetic Imitation
Islamic canon law, as Jewish halakha, expressly forbids the making of any “graven image or picture.” Classical Islam has observed that proscription zealously; hence, Islamic culture is virtually devoid of figurative art. The visual arts, as an important cultural element in the Western sense, is relatively new in the Middle East, no more than a few decades. (The first Arab school for the fine arts opened in Cairo in 1908.)
The caricature, by definition, is the antithesis of the esthetic ideal, as such is manifest in the figurative arts. Therefore, since the spiritual world of the Arab had been devoid of visual art, just as it has long been imprinted upon the awareness of Western man, Arab caricature can be found to be an imitation, detached from the esthetic roots of Islam in general and of the Arab world in particular.
The archetypical eastern Jew, the Ostjude, with earlocks, crooked nose, and wearing a caftan and black hat, which served as the paradigm for anti-Semitic caricatures from the early nineteenth century, is not known in the Middle East. Such had never been the traditional dress of Jews in the Arab world and that is not how the typical Israeli is seen today by Arabs. A contemporary Egyptian artist never saw a Jew like the one he draws when he uses the Sturmer stereotype; he is just copying straight from the classic Central European anti-Semitic repertoire.
Taking a ready-made, off-the-shelf anti-Semitic caricature from Europe does more than free the Arab artist from the need to draw an authentic paradigm of his own. It is also a convenient way for the Arab propaganda machine to fulfill its primary goal of dehumanizing the Jew; it also renders Arab anti-Semitism an integral part of its European counterpart. The stereotype of the Jew conveys an identity between the image of Israel and the image of Judaism, as two sides of the coin of evil; after all, it is well-known that Israel’s only purpose is to serve as a forward post of the international Jewish conspiracy, as one learns from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Thus, anti-Semitism obtains an international imprimatur for the Arab position in a regional dispute, since it transforms Arabs into the advance guard in the war of humanity against the Jews.
In terms of time and space, the Arab caricature exceeds anything previously known in the annals of the hatred of Israel over the ages. Never before has an entire civilization, spread over 22 countries, constantly, day after day for decades, in hundreds of newspapers, denigrated the image of the Jew and his country. Moreover, if we judge the Arab caricature in terms of virulence, we will find that it exceeds anything that preceded it, including the Nazi caricature, hitherto adjudged as embodying the nadir of the hatred of Israel.
It is precisely because of the eclecticism of the Arab caricature, given the lack of its own artistic roots, that it is a compendium of most of the elements of Jew-hatred over the ages. In content, contemporary Arab anti-Semitic caricature consists of late medieval libels. The ugliness and distorted physique of the Jew derive from the nineteenth and early twentieth century Jewish paradigm, while his dehumanization, as preparation for his annihilation, as a condition for Islamic redemption, derives from the Nazi period. The Arab caricature, though, takes one step further. The Arab pupil exceeds his spiritual master from Der Sturmer in openly declaring his intentions, something even the Nazis thought twice about doing. The Arab graphically depicts the actual extermination that is in store for Israel, if the opportunity presents itself.
It is well-known that Nazi abuse of the Jews, let alone extermination of them, was hidden from the view of the German public. Furthermore, in somewhat of a grotesque reversal of roles, the German people were presented as victims of Jewish hangmen. A fair portion of the thousands of anti-Semitic caricatures published in Der Sturmer is devoted to that theme; from the message thus conveyed, a reasonable reader could be expected to infer the necessity of exterminating the Jewish devil. However, this was never spelt out black on white. At one time, matters in Nazi Germany came to the point where there was an attempt to close Der Sturmer; on the one hand, many in the Nazi hierarchy felt its messages were too explicit, while on the other hand, the more fastidious among them felt it was too crude. In addition to wanting to keep the extermination from public view at home, there was anxiety in respect of world opinion. The Germans continued on that track even after they became aware of Western indifference to the fate of the Jews.
Tactical considerations, and alertness to subtleties of the sort just described are completely foreign to the Arab way of thinking. Depiction of the fate awaiting the Jews at the hands of their enemies, frankly, without guile or euphemism, recurs as a leitmotif throughout Arab caricature: The Zionist dwarf is torn to shreds by the Arab coalition that completely encircles it; the festering Jewish sore is excised with Sadam Hussein’s binary gas; Eichmann going down to his grave with satisfaction knowing that he had killed six million Jews; the peace process (in the form of a dove), is intended to lure the Jew over the abyss; the Arab advance guard of humanity cuts open the head of the Jewish snake; “Palestine” is the grave of Jews who immigrate to it, and much, much more.
The anti-Semitic Arab caricature, intended both to incite hatred of the Jew and to reflect it, playsa vital role in releasing the pent-up frustrations of a backward population trapped in a fatal cycle of hatred and fear. Yet there is another component of Arab anti-Semitism, one that derives from the jihad, as we have described. Israel is the enemy, and relations with it are the relations of war; agreements signed with Israel are at most a tactical move aimed at deceiving it. Hence, the caricature serves the aims of war, and in war, calling for the extermination of the enemy is legitimate.
Dominant Themes in Arab Caricatures
The caricatures below, which have been sorted by dominant theme into nine groups, are a limited selection from among hundreds of illustrations.
The materials included in this paper are within a time and geographic frame determined by the peace accords with Egypt and the peace process. Hence, Egyptian materials date from the Camp David accords, while materials from other Arab countries involved in negotiations, from the commencement of preparations for the Madrid Conference in 1991.
Hence, illustrations have not been included from Arab, or Islamic, countries designated “rejection states,” such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Algeria. It is nevertheless worth noting that caricatures from rejection states do not tend to be more venomous that those that appear in countries with which Israel is conducting negotiations; to a certain extent, they even tend to be more moderate. Their dominant theme is the foolishness of Arabs who fall prey to Israel’s wiles. However, as far as the demonization of the Jews is concerning, the Egypt, Jordanian, and Syrian press definitely exceed, in both virulence and frequency, what can be found in Libya, Algeria, or Iraq.
1st. The Peace Process as a Jewish Trap for the Arabs
The editor-in-chief of Economic Al-Aharam defined the peace process and relations with Israel as a choice between two possible outcomes: “Who will annihilate whom: they us, or us them.” The Arab press has adopted this theme, presenting the Peace Process as a symmetric dichotomy as follows: (a) It is a Zionist plot to destroy the Arabs, or (b) It is an opportunity for the Arabs to destroy Israel.
A1. Without a caption, El-Akhat, Saudi Arabia, November 26, 1992
El-Akhat is the principal newspaper in Saudia and the court organ of the royal family. The caricature shown was published a year after commencement of the Madrid Conference and five months after the Rabin government took office. By this time, the Israeli government had already indicated a willingness to take far-reaching steps towards meeting Arab demands of land for peace.
A2. “Children of Palestine”, A-Dastur, Jordan, April 11, 1994
The Palestinian child is a victim of Israel, depicted as a pair of cannibals who are about to cut him apart with knives, and apparently devour him (note the two cannibals salivating). The simplicity of the brutal message, and the extreme contrast between the innocent, frightened child, and the wickedness of the two monsters is among the salient characteristics of Arab caricature. (For the exact opposite, both in the content and form of the message, see illustration 1b.)
A3. “Israel and the Peace Process”, Roz el-Yusuf, Egypt, April 12, 1994
Israel depicted as a soldier with a hobnailed boot wearing a Wehrmacht helmet and a Nazi flag over the Star of David are the stock-in-trade of Roz el-Yusuf’s veteran caricaturist. All Israel aims for is to murder Arabs by duping them through the peace process and to poison the delicate sapling of peace. Cairo’s most popular weekly, Roz el-Yusuf is the official organ of the ruling party.
B. The Peace Process as an Opportunity to Destroy Israel
B1. “The Zionist Enemy Quarantines Gaza and the West Bank,” A-Sha’ab, Egypt, April 6, 1993
Until the Six Day War, Israel was perceived as just a nuisance, the extermination of which was just a matter time; hence, it was depicted as the “Zionist midget” or “dwarf” (see illustration 1, in the introduction). After that war, matters changed, and the Jewish state was seen as a satanic threat to the whole Middle East. An element of fear was now added to hatred, and the Israeli was portrayed as a monster armed from tip to toe. In recent years, though, this has changed once again, as Israel has begun to go back to “its natural size,” as President Sadat put it. This renewed view of Israel is reflected in the caricature shown here, with two children, one each from Gaza and the West Bank, about to cut up a terrified little Zionist with their knives (the opposite of this theme can be seen in illustration 2a).
B2. “The Peace Process”, El-Balad, Lebanon, December 28, 1991
The peace process is a swindle intended to lure Israel into a trap leading to its physical extermination. This theme is reflected in two caricatures, one from the Saudi press and one from the Lebanese.
The Lebanese illustration shows an Arab presenting a Jew with a dove, symbolizing peace. However, this is just for deceptive appearances; he really plans to cut the face of the Jew to pieces and seal his fate with the sword of Islam.
B3. The same theme in the Saudi paper El-Akhat, November 26, 1992
The Zionist monster can be seen running away from pursuing doves, shouting, “Help! They want to eat me up!” But the Jew is only looking backward, so he doesn’t see that he is running straight toward the edge of a cliff, the height of which is emphasized by a background of snow-capped peaks. Thus, the choice Israel has in the Peace Process is to either break its neck falling off a cliff or to be prey to an “Arab peace.”
B4. “Terror”, A-Rai, Jordan, November 22, 1993
In the short time between Rabin’s shaking hands with Arafat (September 13, 1993) and the publication of this caricature, Arabs managed to murder 14 Israelis. Thus, A-Rai, Jordan’s principle newspaper, shows Prime Minister Rabin drowning in Jewish blood, only his head still above level; it captioned the caricature simply as “Terror,” which is composed of a Star of David and a swastika. By the date this caricature was published, Israel was already in advanced negotiations with Jordan for a peace agreement.
2nd. Israel – A Judaeo-Nazi Entity
In light of the widespread admiration for Nazism in the Middle East, denigration of Israel by means of an unqualified identification of it with Nazism – the swastika appears almost daily in the Arab press as an identifying symbol for Israel – may be surprising at first glance. On the level of explicit statement, especially since the Six Day War, the identity “NaZionist” gained wide currency. This was because it was a recurring theme both in the Soviet press, which had a considerable impact on Egypt and Syria, and in the Western press, particularly during the “Peace to Galilee” campaign and the Intifada. Comparing Jews to Nazis is no longer taboo, as it had been for a period of grace after the Holocaust, and there is little surprise in Arabs leading the trend. However, in the case of Arabs, a solution to the irony is also to be sought in the interstices of a psychopathology involving a split identity, consisting simultaneously of both hatred and admiration. Either way, .the idea of Judaeo-Nazism is one of the central recurring themes of Arab propaganda.
C1. Hitler: “I also preferred suicide to having the disgrace of the things I did advertised.” Rabin: “We are not ashamed of what we’ve done.” A-Dastur, Jordan, June 22, 1993
The evil of Rabin, who is holding the severed hand of an Arab child, exceeds that of Hitler, who committed suicide, lest the disgraceful things he’d done be broadcast far and wide, something that doesn’t even cross the mind of the Israeli prime minister, who is not ashamed of what he’s done. The illustration was published in June, 1993, in A-Dastur, one of the two most important newspapers in Jordan. This was already during advanced peace negotiations, and after Israel had announced its willingness to recognize Jordanian rule over the Temple Mount.
C2. “The Crimes of Zionism”, Tishrin, Syria, April 15, 1993
The list of crimes committed by the Zionists is longer than that of the Nazis. The date of publication, April, 1993, is after the Israeli government declared its willingness to from most of the Golan Heights, on the basis of the assumption that “Syria has reached a strategic decision concerning peace with Israel.” (Shimon Peres)
C3. “Israel Über Alles”, El-Gumhuria, Egypt May 25, 1994
Israel is a Nazi-like entity that uses a Nazi salute, tramples on skulls, and sends its hob-nailed army out goose-stepping on Wehrmacht-like campaigns of conquest. The caption is an adaptation of the German national anthem, “Deutschland Über Alles.” The illustration was published in the highly influential government paper, El-Gumhuria, nine years after the signing of the Camp David accords.
The theme of the demonization of the Jew is an old one, having been well-known from the symbolism of the medieval Jewish Satan, from nineteenth-century allegories about exposing the Jewish Satan from behind a human-like mask, and from Nazi caricatures (see illustration 2 in the introduction). Demonization is intended mainly to present the Jew as an anti-human of satanic powers, war against whom is part of the struggle of the forces of light against forces of darkness. Such Arab demonization is a continuation of the historical trend.
D1. “The Zionist Devil”, A-Taura, Syria, March 4, 1993
This grotesque illustration of the devil (dancing?) includes the insignia of Judaism: skullcap, a Star of David, a menorah, and a Bible. This is the way A-Taura, one of two official newspapers of the ruling party in Syria, sees Israel, close to a year-and-a-half after the commencement of peace talks.
D2. “The Zionist Devil”, A-Dastur, Jordan, September 30, 1994
The Jordanian paper A-Dastur printed “The Zionist Devil” (wearing a medal with the likeness of Prime Minister Rabin) in September, 1994, in other words, three years into advanced negotiations, and a short time before the signing of the peace accords.
D3. “The Zionist Devil”, A-Dif’a, Egypt, June 26, 1990
Israel as Frankenstein is the original contribution of the Arabs to the demonization genre. It appears safe to assume that the caricaturist did not bother reading the book by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein’s creator. He apparently thought that with a name like Frankenstein, he was Jewish.
The purpose of creating an identity between an object of hatred and “lower” animals is the fostering of an instinctive hatred of that object that is divorced from rational thought. Such identification is either by means of animals that arouse atavistic dread, or with pests that are to be exterminated. In any event, the intention is to deny the enemy any semblance of humanity, thus rendering his annihilation implicitly understood, just as spraying bugs or trapping rats is undertaken without moral inhibition or pangs of conscience.
Zoomorphy, in the sense described above, was altogether marginal to medieval anti-Semitic illustrations. In the nineteenth century, Jewish capitalists began being identified with the figures of the octopus and snake, a motif that became more recurrent after publication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Zoomorphic portrayal of Jews took a quantum leap during the Nazi period. The octopus and snake themes received impetus, being joined by the blood-sucking Jewish bat and vampire. It nevertheless behooves one to note that the identity between Jews and animals earmarked for extermination was often indirect and circumstantial, rather than explicit. For example, a scene of rats scrabbling in garbage cans and immediately afterwards a shot of Jews from Polish ghettoes left it to the viewer to draw the inescapable conclusion himself. Hence, the role of awareness and logical deduction in Nazi propaganda. The Arab caricaturist does not concern himself with such subtleties. To the extent that there is any substance to his work, it is entirely secondary; the form is the message. Needless to say, Arab work in this vein exceeds all that preceded it, in scope and quantity.
Zoomorphy is among the most common motifs in anti-Semitic Arab caricature. The animals that appear most often are the snake, octopus, the spider, the mad dog, the locust, and the worm.
E1. “The Snake”, A-Rai, Jordan, January 15, 1994.
E2. “Locusts!!!”, El-Gumhuria, Egypt, April 5, 1990.
E3. “Locusts After its Victory”, A-Taura, Syria, July 23, 1992
Locusts destroying grain harvests is one of the oldest fears of the Middle East. Hence, according to Egypt’s El-Gumhuria, immigration from Russia is comparable to a huge swarm of locusts descending upon Arab lands. Anyone who wants a close-up shot of the pest can see one in action in Syria’s A-Taura. Identification of Israel with locusts in Egypt, which is among the poorest countries on earth and which is being crushed by the indescribable burden of a population explosion, is a typical example of the paradox of anti-Semitic denigration.
E4. “The Unity of the Countries of the Nile Basin”, A-Sha’ab, Egypt, July 4, 1995
The unity of countries of the Nile basin (Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and the Congo) is contingent upon the destruction of the Jewish octopus. The Nile Conference of July, 1995 discussed division of Nile waters. The issue of Israel had never even been raised. However, the newspaper’s reportage on the conference was adorned with this illustration.
F. The Blood Libel
As we have mentioned, even though the blood libel in the Christian sense is devoid of theological roots in Islam, it has enjoyed wide dissemination and is one of the motifs of Arab anti-Semitic propaganda.
The man responsible for conferring on the blood libel “canonical” status was Syrian war minister Mustafa T’las. T’las conducted a “study” of the well-known blood accusation made in Damascus in 1840, and, after verifying all the allegations made then, wrote a book entitled, The Matzoth of Zion. “The book sets forth in minute detail, and with scientific exactitude, the Jews’ blood ritual, in which they slaughter Christians and Muslims so they can mix their blood into matzoth for Yom Kippur” (sic) (from the back jacket of the book). The book led to the conferral upon T’las of a doctorate. It was published by the Syrian government press, and became a best-seller in the Arab world, including required reading in the Syrian army.
F1. “The Jew Sucking the Blood of the American People”, El-Itihad, Egypt, March 9, 1992.
F2. “The Blood of a Palestinian Child as a Mother’s Day Gift”, A-Dastur, Jordan, March 22, 1994.
F3. “Mrs. Shamir: ‘Why Are You Throwing Out the Girl’s Blood? I Need it to Bake Matzoth.’” El-Bian, Bahrain, March 21, 1990.
F4. “The Jewish Cannibal,” Tsaut el-Kuwait, Kuwait, February 10, 1992
The Jewish cannibal plans to devour all humanity after chewing the bones of the Arabs dry. (See the map of the world on the cannibal’s napkin.)
G. Israel – A Criminal Entity
The theme of Israel as a criminal entity whose sole raison d’etre is evil occasionally contains various secondary themes that had appeared in previous motifs, such as Naziism, the blood libel, demonization, etc. However, the principal message, according to this theme, is the delegitimation of Israel as a sovereign entity, since its very existence is a danger to human well-being.
G1. “Israel”, El-Gumhuria, Egypt, May 16, 1990
Israel is a drunk soldier who daydreams about conquering the whole world (note the globe over his head), and as such is holding an atomic bomb. The mountains of skulls are the fruits of his handiwork, and his symbol is the swastika. This in an Egyptian newspaper, 11 years after the signing of the peace accords.
G2. Without a caption, El-Aharam, Egypt, May 23, 1992
The Jewish monster is withholding water from the Arabs. In Egypt, where the caricature was published, water resources per capita are over 400 percent greater than they are in Israel – some 1200 cubic meters in Egypt, compared to 250 cubic meters in Israel. The illustration accompanies an article on Middle Eastern water problems.
G3. “Preservation of the Environment”, El-Akhbar, Egypt, June 26, 1992
In June, 1992, an international conference on the environment was held in Cairo at which the dangers to the planet from air pollution were discussed. The Egyptian press immediately found the culprit. The spectacle of the world holding its nose because of Jewish stench is almost certainly a “recycling” of that old allegation from the Middle Ages.
G4. “43 Years Since the Establishment of Israel”, El-Akhat, Saudi Arabia, May, 18 1992
The 43rd anniversary of Israeli independence is a source of deep concern, since Israel’s very existence is a factor in global instability. Half a year later, after a severe earthquake in Egypt (December, 1992), the popular daily El-Wafad claimed (December 27, 1992) that the natural catastrophe was the doing of the Israeli Mossad. The paper urged the Egyptian government to press claims against Israel at the International Court of Justice, at the Hague.
H. Israel and the United States
The motif of relations between Israel and/or Jews, and the United States takes the well-beaten path of Soviet caricatures on the subject, with an Arab twist. According to this view, the American people in general, and the administration in Washington in particular, are nothing but tools in behalf of Jewish schemes. Hence, the rule that the American, whether depicted as the United States in its generality, or by figure of the President, will never deviate from the permitted norms accepted caricature, just as the Jew will always be depicted as a monster.
H1. “Akhbar el-Yum”, Egypt, April 7, 1984
The Israeli monster holds Hart and Mondale, both of whom seek the Democratic presidential nomination, in his pockets.
H2. “Talks Between Israel and the United States”, El-Gumhuria, Egypt, February 6, 1993
This is how the Egyptian paper sees Prime Minister Rabin’s visit to President Clinton. Clinton is portrayed within the accepted bounds of caricature, with mildly exaggerated facial features. Yitzhak Rabin is totally devoid of any semblance to his actual self, appearing in a classical Sturmer-like stereotype.
9th. Israel as the Grave
The theme of “Palestine” as the grave of Israel and the Jews serves to alleviate Arab distress over Israel’s very existence, prosperity, and strength, which palpably contradict the principles of Islam. The motif of a “grave” is a graphic expression of the following claim made by Dr. Yihye el-Rahawi in El-Akhbar, the organ of Egypt’s Liberal (!) Party, on July 19, 1982:
When the State of Israel was established and was extended recognition by many, in both East and West, one of the factors of such recognition was the desire of people, East and West, to rid themselves of as many representatives as possible of this human mistake called “Jews.” Behind this motive was another, ulterior one: to concentrate them in one place, so that they could be cut down at the proper moment.
The theme of the grave is hence a fitting graphic summary of the totality of Arab anti-Semitism, which focuses on the destruction of the Jews as a precondition for the deliverance of Islam and the unity of the Arabs, pending fulfillment of the goals of the jihad.
I1. “The Zionist Coffin”, A-Dastur, Jordan, October 22, 1990
The Jordanian newspaper depicts Russian immigrants landing in Israel, which is a coffin in which they will meet their end.
I2. “To Israel” Al-Aharam, Egypt, February 17, 1990
Egypt’s Al-Aharam presents a variation on the same theme. However, the fact that Yitzhak Shamir shows the dug grave that is Israel full of the skulls of murder victims leaves open the possibility that the artist meant Arab murder victims.
Peace does not lie in charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of the people.
 Despite these conclusions, Harkabi eventually became an enthusiastic proponent of territorial compromise, as a means of satisfying Arab demands and achieving peace.
 Golda Meir, My Life, Tel-Aviv: 1974.
 The three books, in chronological order of publication, are: Semites and Anti-Semites, by Bernard Lewis (1986: New York); Peace is in the Eye of the Beholder, by Raphael Israeli (1987: Mouton Publishers). Anti-Zionism and Anti-Judaism in Egypt, by Rivka Yadlin (1988: Jerusalem).
 In contrast to the books by Israeli and Yadlin, only one chapter of Lewis’s book is devoted to anti-Semitic manifestations in Egypt after Camp David. Most of his book deals with a broad historical analysis of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
 From the Italian, caricare – to exaggerate, to overemphasize.
 E.H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion: Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation (Princeton: 1960).
 That, at any event, is how Arthur Herzberg sees it in, The French Enlightenment and the Jews, 1968.
In 1820, the Jewish population of Europe numbered 2.7 million, while by 1900, the number had grown to 8.7 million. This represented growth of 322 percent, while the entire population of the continent grew by only 222 percent, in the same period (from 190 million to 423 million). “Population,” in The Encyclopedia Judaica.
 Hermann Rauschning, Gesprache mit Hitler (Europa Verlag: 1940).
 George L. Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology (New York: 1964) p. 95.
 Collection of oral laws, opinions, sayings and stories attributed to the Prophet Mohammed, collected and published in the ninth century.
 On January 23, 1995, on Palestinian Authority television broadcast, in the wake of the previous day’s bomb attack at Beit Lid, which left 22 dead. Arafat had originally blamed Israel for deliberate provocation. However, after the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for planting the bombs, Arafat lauded the action.
 “Adon Hahesder ve-Adon Hajihad” (The Master of the Agreement and the Master of the Holy War), Nativ, April 1994.
 In an interview; Roz el-Yusuf, May 18, 1992. Quoted by Yohanan Ramati in “Mitsra’im – Ha’oyev Hamesukan Mikulam” (“Egypt – The Most Dangerous Enemy of All”) Nativ, April 1993.
 Introduction to Battleground, by Shmuel Katz (Tel-Aviv and New York: 1985) p. 282. A somewhat different version appeared in News Views (Jerusalem) February 1, 1981.