Egyptian television during Ramadan has long leaned toward the anti-Semitic, but this year’s sampling is virulent even by the country’s usual standards.
Set to broadcast during the season is the Egyptian television series “Khaybar”. The title is a reference to a Jewish oasis that in the 7th century was conquered by Mohammad’s army. The town’s Jews were subjugated and ultimately expelled. Chants gesturing toward Khaybar and implying future massacres have become increasingly prevalent at Islamist rallies, including in Egypt.
According to Yusri al-Gindi, the director of the new series, Jewish “treachery and conspiracies” remain current in contemporary life. He adds that, “These people have not changed one bit.”
Since March, the series has been profiled on a number of mainstream Egyptian television channels. Speaking to the station Al-Akhbar Al-Youm, series actor Ahmad Abd Al-Halim says that Jews think exclusively about “accumulating money.”
On Rotana Masriya, part of the Arab world’s largest entertainment company, the Rotana Group, actor Ahmad Maher says, “These people are oppressors, who do not honor their agreements. History shows that they are the people who disputed Allah. They are the slayers of prophets.”
In another preview on Dream TV – a prominent satellite channel on which Google executive Wael Ghonim made his famous plea during the 2011 Egyptian revolution – Maher adds that in the series, “We learn how [the Jews] raise their children… How they teach them to live their lives, in a vile, treacherous, depraved and Machiavellian manner.”
Gindi, the director, was even profiled on Al Jazeera Arabic’s website, in an article entitled “‘Khaybar’ reveals the machinations of the Jews.”
The first is that the Mohammed set up a state with equality between citizens, including Jews. The Islamic state is the finest with respect to equal rights and, what he would say, is “democracy,” in ways that modern man can learn lessons from. The second issue is that despite these civil rights, the Jews didn’t respond with equal goodwill. Instead, the Jews greeted the benign Muslim rule with with treachery and intrigue, and outright treason…
The Jews have been consistent with this opposition to their hosts, such as in Babylon, with the Romans in the Levant, in Tsarist Russia, in Arab states and in Hitler’s Germany. The current crisis experienced by the Arab world is, he says, the best witness to this fact, and here the series takes its modern meaning.
And in Asharq Alawsat, a leading pan-Arab daily published in London, journalist Mohammed Rouda noted optimistically that though “Khaybar” does not have “particularly high artistic or production value… This does not mean, however, that the series will not be a success.” Rouda offers not a word about the series’ hateful content.