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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

November 10, 2002

A horseless rider dragging a nation onto the road to imported bigotry

An Arab businessman in Ramallah denounces the Egyptian TV Protocols film. Wow.
The latest controversy to involve the Arab World concerns a TV program "A Rider Without a Horse" that started airing on Wednesday, Nov. 5th, the first day of the holy month of Ramadan on several Arab satellite channels. The source of the controversy is that the program is partly based on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", the old forgery originating in Czarist Russia. Naturally numerous Jewish groups, the US, Israel and other countries and organizations have requested that the program be banned from the airwaves, without avail. What was left out from the intense media coverage is that there is significant opposition within the Arab world for this program; this article will furnish an argument on why Arabs themselves should oppose such a program and why they should campaign to take it off-air.

Before delving in the reasons why Arabs should reject the program, it should be noted that program timing and medium could not be worse, broadcasting during Ramadan nearly guarantees audiences in the tens of millions, and the widespread coverage on the efforts to ban it has only widened its appeal. Another real danger is that there has been a great trend in Arab societies toward visual inputs of information, where satellite television programs sometimes serve as the only conduit of information to the Arab family, such a trend will ensure that such a program will have credibility and that it will be viewed as historical facts, which is exactly why it should not be broadcast in the first place.

The main reason why we as Arabs should reject this program and the text it uses, is that it is an imported piece of anti-Semitic bigotry that was forged in one of the darkest chapters in European history, it has nothing to do with historical facts and more importantly with Arab world's tolerant past where Jews were an integrated minority living in harmony with Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities. As a Palestinian currently living under a new Apartheid, I cannot but reject any ethnic stereotyping and demonizing such as advocated by the program, and I totally reject the notion that such programs will strengthen the support of the Arab world toward the Palestinians, any support generated by racism should be unwelcome by people suffering from it. It is very unfortunate that while we as Arabs have paid a heavy price for past European prosecution of Jews, we are currently importing and reviving the ugliest embodiments of that tradition of anti-Semitism.
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