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October 26, 2002

Anti-Semitic 'Elders of Zion' Gets New Life on Egypt TV

When this old nugget of anti-semitism is heard among citizens of a country, you can dismiss the few who believe this stuff as plain stupid. But when it becomes TV fare over state-controlled media, then you know that even a country that has in theory made peace with Israel is still to be viewed as dangerous , an enemy willing to incite its poverty-stricken religious zealots to take up arms against Jews and Israelis

AIRO, Oct. 25 — The images flash quickly across the television screen. They show a bloody face, Victorian men and women in a drawing room, soldiers wielding rifle butts. And a man in black hat with side curls and long beard.

An Egyptian satellite television channel has begun teasers for its blockbuster Ramadan series that its producers acknowledge incorporates ideas from the infamous czarist forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." That document, a pillar of anti-Semitic hatred for about a century, appears to be gaining a new foothold in parts of the Arab world, some scholars and observers say.

The series, "Horse Without a Horseman," traces the history of the Middle East from 1855 to 1917 through the eyes of an Egyptian who fought British occupiers and the Zionist movement.

It is divided into 41 episodes and will be shown nightly through the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins in about two weeks and guarantees maximum viewership because many Muslims congregate at home after breaking the daily fast.

With Egyptian state television and other Arab channels also broadcasting the series, the potential audience numbers in the tens of millions