Tag: Antisemitism

Antisemitic row provokes uproar in Pakistan

Jemima Goldsmith, who divorced Imran Khan in 2004

Jemima  Goldsmith is only a quarter Jewish on her father’s side – but antisemitic mud sticks. From the time of her marriage in 1995 to Pakistani cricketer-turned-PM Imran Khan, Jemima has been dogged by antisemitic attacks. To call someone a Jew is a popular tactic in Muslim countries to discredit politicians – and Maryam Nawaz, who leads her father’s political party,  is no exception. This article in the Times contextualises the current spat between Nawaz and Goldsmith by drawing attention to the persecution of Pakistan’s Jews, but wildly exaggerates the remaining numbers. Of  3,000 in 1948,  today there are perhaps 10 ‘secret’ Jews, not 800. (With thanks: Lily, Laurence)

Nawaz, who leads her father’s political party, launched into an antisemitic tirade at the prime minister and Goldsmith, the daughter of the late business tycoon, Sir James Goldsmith.

“My son is the polo team captain and is bringing honour to Pakistan. I didn’t want to bring children into it, but the way you’re talking, you’re going to get a fitting reply,” Nawaz said. “He is Nawaz Sharif’s grandson, not Goldsmith’s. He is not being raised in the lap of Jews.”

The comments provoked a horrified response from Goldsmith, who married Khan, the World Cup-winning cricketer, in 1995. The couple, who divorced in 2004, have two sons, Sulaiman Isa, 24, and Kasim, 22.

“I left Pakistan in 2004 after a decade of antisemitic attacks by the media and politicians (and weekly death threats and protests outside my house). But it still continues,” Goldsmith tweeted.

The row has provoked uproar in Pakistan, with partisan supporters leaping to the defence of Khan or Nawaz. Unflattering paparazzi shots of Goldsmith began circulating on Pakistani Twitter, along with references to “Jew kids”.

Like other religious minorities, Jews in Pakistan have faced discrimination and violence over the past century. Hundreds emigrated to Israel when it was founded in 1948, a year after the partition of India created Pakistan.

Islamabad does not have formal relations with Israel in protest at its occupation of Palestinian land. Local media estimate the number of Jews still living in Pakistan at about 800, but the few who openly admit their faith place that number at fewer than 200.

“Pakistani politics at its finest,” lamented a column in the newspaper Dawn. “Our politicians have regressed and instead of attacking their opponents, they’re going after their children.”

Nawaz has refused to back down, responding to Goldsmith’s remarks with another attack on Khan. “You have only your ex to blame,” she said on Twitter.

Read article in full

Moroccan singer ‘has no problem’ with Jews

To accuse an Arab of being a Jew is a tried and tested means of discrediting him. But Morocco has a long tradition of popular antisemitism, as per the expression ‘Yehudi hashak’ (Jew, pardon me).  By claiming he has no problem with people who think he is Jewish, Moroccan singer Hamid El Hadri  may be pushing back against this longstanding prejudice. Clip via MEMRI (with thanks: Lily):

Hamid El Hadri: ‘Jews are good people’

Moroccan singer and musician Hamid El Hadri responded to speculations that he was Jewish, saying that perhaps he looks Jewish, and he has no problem with that, but he is a Muslim. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on Chada TV (Morocco) on July 12, 2021. Hadri continued to say that he considers Moroccan Jews as brothers and believes that everyone is free to choose their own faith. He added that the Jews “are good people who love their country.”

Interviewer: “Some people saw this picture and said Hamid El Hadri is a Moroccan Jew.”

El Hadri: “Maybe. Perhaps I look Jewish, but this something I have no problem with. I believe that Moroccan Jews are our brothers, and I have some friends from among them who are like brothers to me. I believe in the freedom of everybody to choose their own faith. I am a Muslim – I pray and I have performed the Hajj.


“The Moroccan Jews are part of Moroccan society. They are good people who love their country. They respected their religion and they loved their Moroccan spirit.”

See clip


Cairo Book Fair still purveying Antisemitism

The good news is that the Gulf States, bound by the Abraham Accords,are not pumping out antisemitism at their book fairs. The bad news is that Egypt, despite its Peace Accord with Israel, still displays  ‘hate literature’ at this year’s Cairo Book Fair. Article by Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the Jerusalem Post:

An Arabic edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Ziyon

The Simon Wiesenthal Center annually monitors the shelves of seven Arab Book Fairs for incitement to hatred and violence. We send our findings to the Frankfurt Book Fair, where measures are taken to ban the listed offenders. COVID-19 closed down some of the Arab fairs, but until last year, Abu Dhabi was among the offenders. This May, in the spirit of the Abraham Accords, that book fair was totally clean. This was not the case of Egypt, however, where the ongoing fair hosts 1,218 publishers in 756 stands representing 25 countries, led by Spain, whose ambassador recently waxed lyrical regarding Hispano-Arab literature.

At the same time, Egyptian author Mansour Abdel Hakim was signing at the Dar Al Kitab Al Arabi (House of the Arab Book) stand, the fourth volume in his series The Great Secrets of Freemasonry – The World Hidden Government (in English and in Arabic). This demeaning book takes you through various conspiracy theories and the beliefs they promote, including one that says Jews divided the world into two parts: masters and slaves.

Each year in Frankfurt we present The Worst Offender Award. In 2019, it went to Iran for its books for four-to-seven year old children extolling “shehada,” suicide martyrdom. The runner-up award went to Egypt for a plethora of questionable editions.

Read article in full  »

Antisemitism plagues the Cairo Book Fair

Bensoussan: ‘Ashkenazim do not understand Arab antisemitism’

It may take another 15 years before French Jews living in their Ashkenazi bourgeois bubbles begin to  appreciate the full extent of Arab and Muslim antisemitism, warns historian Georges Bensoussan in this Israel Hayom piece questioning what the future holds for Jews in France. (With thanks: Lily)

Georges Bensoussan: Ashkenazim don’t know the Arab world 

 Moroccan-born French historian Georges Bensoussan was one of the first ones to warn of the Arab-Muslim antisemitism in France in a book he published in 2002. He was and continues to be boycotted in France due to his academic views on the matter. 

“The dividing line among French Jews in terms of experiencing antisemitism is connected to each person’s individual situation,” he said.

“Firstly, there is an economic dividing line: a Jew in Sarcelles felt the danger 20 years ago, and a Jews who live in Paris’ bourgeois neighborhoods will need 15 more years in order to understand the new face of antisemitism. 

 “There is also a Sephardic-Ashkenazi dividing line, which is must stronger than people think. Ashkenazis live with the memory of the Holocaust, while Jews who came here from North Africa are much more open and happy. 

 “The level of religiosity is also a dividing line: children who go to Jewish schools and Jews who go to synagogues are clear targets for antisemitism. Whoever does not have a Jewish appearance, is not observant, who has an Ashkenazi name and lives in a bourgeois neighborhood, cannot understand what antisemitism is. 

 “They don’t know the Arab world, they have not heard of the Farhud pogroms in Iraq, and therefore, when they talk about Arab antisemitism, they don’t understand what they are talking about. Moreover, compared to the Holocaust, Arab antisemitism does not look terrible.

Here in the neighborhood, there are Jewish schools, students walk around in kippahs and do not see an atmosphere of terror,” said Bensoussan, whose interview was conducted not far from where the Halimi murder occurred. 

 “The situation is worrying. In modern history, there always were Jews who chose to look the other way and not see the situation for what it is. The rise of Arab antisemitism caused Jews to congregate with themselves and separate from French society

Read article in full

More about Georges Bensoussan

The Moroccan pogrom of 1948 is still not commemorated

Last week was the 73rd anniversary of the brutal pogrom of Oujda and Jerrada, in Morocco. Yet there is widespread ignorance of this event, and no commemoration or memorial of it in Israel. Moreshet Marocco, reprinting an account first published in 2012, harks back to those fateful days: 

This map shows Oujda, on the border with Algeria

It was exactly 64 years ago, on Monday, [June 7, 1948] at 9:30 a.m., in the coal market in the city of Ujda, that a minor incident of attacking a Jew in broad daylight caused a loud quarrel and a great brawl between Muslims and Jews

Near the scene and after a short time, a Muslim was stabbed by a Jew. The victim’s stab woulds were  moderate, but soon the rumor spread: “A Jew murdered a Muslim!” That was enough to light the fire.
A mob equipped with destroyers, knives, etc., a river to the Jewish neighborhood “Shuk al-Yehud” to avenge the wounded Muslim, who was allegedly killed: five people were killed, four Jews and one Frenchman, dozens wounded, eighty-two shops were looted (sixty-seven were completely emptied) Houses were looted.

 Police and soldiers who were called to the scene of the disaster took control of the situation and dispersed the raging crowd to neighborhoods and villages around Oujda.
This event gave the signal for the terrible continuation: a bus full of bloodthirsty torturers drove to the village of Jarada, remote from Oujda, about fifty kilometers. 

These passengers, who arrived in the village of Jarada, spread rumors about Jews killing Muslims and destroying the roof of the Great Mosque tower in Oujda. An argument that began in the evening, between a Muslim and a Jew who sold him a lottery ticket, and continued in a brawl, ended in a horrific massacre committed by predators, in honest and innocent members of the community, laborers, manual laborers. These curses, indiscriminately and mercilessly, shed blood of old men, rewards of milk and also babies in the crib, stoned and slaughtered. 

The family of the rabbi of the community, Rabbi Moshe HaCohen Scully,  his mother, 52, his wife, 28, the five children (from 8 months to 13 years old), were slaughtered for the sanctification of God.
The number of 14 murdered was 38 (one of them non-Jewish), ten women, ten children, and eighteen men, and the wounded many dozens.

Read article in full (Hebrew)

More about the Oujda and Jerrada pogroms


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