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Anti-Semitic Imagery at Egypt Protests Draws Yawns from Western Media

Whether or not it represents the advent of freedom for Egyptians, the current protest movement clearly represents the advent of the total banalization of anti-Semitism in the Western media. (Also read Bruce Bawer at the Tatler: "CNN: See no evil")

by
John Rosenthal

Bio

February 2, 2011 - 9:36 am

Careful observers of media coverage of the protests in Egypt will have noticed a certain symbol turning up in the protests again and again — typically scrawled on a photo or caricature of Hosni Mubarak. The symbol in question is, namely, the Star of David. In a post for the Weekly Standard blog, I commented yesterday on the appearance of the below caricature on the front page of the German daily Die Welt.

The caricature was clearly visible in the background of a larger photo showing an Egyptian soldier being carried triumphantly on a protestor’s shoulders.

Neither the accompanying article nor the caption to the photo made any reference to anti-Semitic and/or “anti-Zionist” sentiment among the protestors.

But it is not only Germany’s Die Welt that has managed the unusual feat of documenting, but not seeing the evidence of anti-Semitism amidst the protests in Egypt. Here some further examples of the same motif, depicting Hosni Mubarak with a Star of David scrawled on his forehead or over his face. The implication that Mubarak is a stooge of Israel and/or “the Jews” is obvious.

(Reuters photo; source: Die Zeit)

(video still; source: MSNBC)

(AP photo; source: The Daily Beast)

(unattributed image; source: Politically Incorrect blog)

Note that of the various media from which these images are taken, the only one to comment explicitly (and critically) on the significance of the image is the German blog Politically Incorrect. Politically Incorrect is regularly attacked in the mainstream German media for allegedly being “right-wing extremist.” (The Daily Beast uses the AP photo in a context that implies recognition of the hostility to Israel, but that in fact minimizes the threat.)

Readers may also have heard about Hosni Mubarak being hanged in effigy in Tahrir Square in Cairo yesterday. In fact, three effigies were hung or otherwise abused by protestors. The below image of one of them comes from the German-language Swiss television network SF.

(video still; source: Schweizer Fernsehen)

The effigy appears to be a representation of Omar Suleiman, who was recently named vice president by Mubarak. (The Mubarak effigy is to the left in the video.)

The use of the traditional symbol of Judaism to express hatred and contempt could hardly be described as anything other than anti-Semitic. And yet despite the clear visual evidence that it exists, this aspect of the protests has been almost entirely ignored by the reports in the Western media.

The current protest movement may or may not represent the advent of liberty and democracy and all things good for Egyptians. This remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: it represents the advent of the complete banalization of anti-Semitism as far as the Western media is concerned.

John Rosenthal writes on European politics and transatlantic security issues. You can follow his work at www.trans-int.com or on Facebook here.
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