« Where's the Coverage? Rock-Throwing | Main | NYT Indicts Israel's Democracy... Again »

January 17, 2013

Why News Coverage of Incitement Matters

After the research organization MEMRI shared a video in which Mohammed Morsi, not long before he became president of Egypt, evoked an anti-Semitic slur by calling Zionists “the descedents of apes and pigs,? the amount of attention to the comments themselves was nearly eclipsed by the amount of attention to lack of reporting on the incident.

At Forbes, Richard Behar called out American press for largely (though not entirely) ignoring the revelation, and cited CAMERA’s new monograph documenting the New York Times' tendency to overlook anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement. And the Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg referenced the Forbes story when asking why Morsi’s anti-Semitic formulation had not been covered more widely.

The New York Times eventually did report on the video, along with another more explicit video showing Morsi calling on his countrymen to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews.?

This is important for several reasons:

• This type of hate speech is bad for Egyptian children and grandchildren, bad for Jews, and bad for Mideast peace prospects.

• The coverage raises hopes that the New York Times might begin covering anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incitement with the prominence it deserves.

• The ripples spread from the Times, to the White House and State Department, to editorials in major newspapers, all the way to Egypt, where Morsi’s office was forced to contend with the attention. (A spokesperson for Morsi probably didn’t convince many when he insisted the calls for anti-Jewish indoctrination were taken out of context.)

• With criticism coming from all corners, Morsi is unlikely to repeat his anti-Semitic slurs. Imagine, then, how the interests of peace could be advanced if Palestinian hate speech, which is no less vile than Morsi’s rant, was adequately covered in the US. More coverage could lead to more pressure on Palestinian leaders to cease the demonization of Jews and Israelis. Less incitement by the Palestinian governments (in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank) would mean less hate by the population of those territories, greater openness to compromise, and a future generation not nursed on hatred for the other.

Stay tuned for a CAMERA Op-Ed this weekend exploring the topic in greater detail.

Posted by GI at January 17, 2013 11:32 AM


I just read this great article which goes into detail about this.
Laughing off Jew-hatred
Our leaders ignore the obvious
January 16, 2013

With the vast publicity surrounding Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s 2010 description of Jews as “the descendants of apes and pigs,? have the left, academia and the human-rights community finally found a case of Muslim Jew-hatred too extreme to ignore?

Perhaps Morsi’s speech — urging his countrymen to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred? for Jews and Zionists — has sounded an alarm for those in the Obama administration who’ve so often argued that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are our friends.

Well, no. Obama spokesman Jay Carney condemned Morsi’s bigoted “language? — but reaffirmed official enthusiasm for the Egyptian president and his pro-peace role. Meanwhile, The New York Times wondered — without a shred of evidence — if Morsi really believed what he’d said. Against all odds, its editorialists suggested that becoming president might have made him “think differently about the need to respect? all people.

Unworried by his ‘apes and pigs’ comment: Egypt’s Morsi laughs yesterday in meeting with Sen. John McCain.
Yeah, he’s a new man. Right. The remarks must have been, you know, taken out of context.

Sorry: A virulent, hateful and dangerous anti-Semitism runs not just through Morsi the man but through much of the Muslim world.


* A few years back, Sheik Tantawi — then possibly the most influential religious leader in Sunni Islam and honored in many Western circles as a moderate — also denounced the Jews as “the enemies of Allah, the descendants of apes and pigs.? (He’s an expert of sorts; his doctoral dissertation was devoted to identifying the unflattering traits of Jews.)

* The Hamas charter incorporates verbatim sections from Hitler’s old favorite, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,? a forgery produced in late 1800s by the Czarist secret police.

* Mahmoud Abbas, the “moderate? Palestinian Authority leader, once penned a thesis arguing that Jews — for political purposes — deliberately inflated the Holocaust death toll from 1 million to 6 million.

* When Malaysia’s former prime minister, Mohammad Mahathir, denounced Jews in vile terms at a conference of top world Muslim leaders, he got a standing ovation and not one word of protest.

* Iran hosts an annual Holocaust-denial conference.

* And Saudi-sponsored educational materials loaded with Jew-hatred are distributed worldwide, including at some schools and mosques in the United States, Britain and other Western countries.

Pew Foundation polls have shown that — when asked whether they had a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable opinion of Jews — 99 percent of Jordanians and Lebanese said very unfavorable. In Morocco, 88 percent said either very or somewhat unfavorable; in Pakistan 74 percent, Indonesia: 76 percent.

One big Western blind spot concerns where this bigotry comes from. It didn’t start with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The “pigs and apes? language comes from (an arguably misinterpreted story in) the Koran. Militants use another story from classical Islamic sources— about Mohammed presiding over the beheading and mass murder of the Banu Qurayza Jews — to endorse their agenda.

But religious books of all faiths have controversial passages that modern and fair people must deal with. Islam need not support antiSemitism. Brave leaders like Khaleel Mohamed, Tarek Fatah, Bassam Tibi, Irshad Manji and others have sought to address the problem.

But most of the Muslim community, even leaders who should know better, have been collaborators. And many non-bigots never speak out because it would create problems with their more bigoted peers.

Morsi’s comments should not surprise. Several books have documented the deep roots of Jew-hatred in the Muslim Brotherhood. My own recent book, “The Sons of Pigs and Apes,? argues that there’s been a conspiracy of silence. The experts we count on — human rights groups, Middle East studies profs, social scientists, even governments — have been reluctant to criticize Muslims because the West is trying so hard to get along and to broker an elusive Arab-Israeli peace deal.

Plus, it’s not nice to identify flaws in any religion. You could get labeled an Islamophobe.

But identifying bigotry in the Muslim world doesn’t make you a bigot. It make one a realist.

It’s time for the ostriches to pull their heads out from under the sand.

Neil J. Kressel’s ‘The Sons of Pigs and Apes’: Muslim Anti-Semitism and the Conspiracy of Silence,? was published in November.

Posted by: Ken Kelso at January 18, 2013 03:30 PM

My op ed on Morsi's statements can be read at:

Posted by: David Singer at January 24, 2013 05:03 PM

Guidelines for posting

This is a moderated blog. We will not post comments that include racism, bigotry, threats, or factually inaccurate material.

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)