SWC Protests Saudi State Publication of 'Nazi Jew-Rat' Cartoon

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SWC Protests Saudi State Publication of Nazi Jew-Rat Cartoon

5 April 2005

The Wiesenthal Center had criticized the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report of Doudou Diene (its Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance) for its distinction between the campaign against antisemitism, on the one hand, and the danger of legitimizing anti-Zionism on the other.

In a letter to Doudou Diene, the Center's Director for International Liaison, Dr Shimon Samuels, protested a cartoon in last week's ArabNews (billed as the first English-language Daily Newspaper in Saudi Arabia).  This depicted rats wearing Stars of David skullcaps, scurrying backwards and forwards through holes in the wall of an edifice bearing the poster "Palestine House" (see www.arabnews.com/cartoon/).

Samuels stated, "This imagery copies the scene of the Nazi film 'Jew Suess' that depicts Jews as vermin, to be eradicated by mass extermination.  That scene, replicated in cartoons in the Hitlerist media, would be legally actionable today in most European courts."

ArabNews, with a circulation throughout the Arab World, Europe and the United States, is published by the Saudi Research and Publishing Company (SRPC), a State corporation. It owns "18 daily, weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines, all leaders in their respective fields in the Arab and non-Arab world."

Samuels asked Diene whether "the Saudi Government and its publishing group, according to your definition, [are] guilty of 'antisemitism' or 'anti-Zionism'?" The letter continued, "If you condemn Saudi Arabia for this cartoon to the 65th United Nations Commission on Human Rights, then an attack on Jews anywhere, by a hatemonger anywhere will be antisemitism.  If you do not, you will be legitimizing the anti-Zionist variant of Jew-hatred."

The Center suggested, "The scene will then be set for the resuscitation of the infamous 1975 General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with Racism and the unleashing of another wave of anti-Jewish assault around the world, with apparent UN endorsement."

Samuels concluded, "Mr Special Rapporteur, your public statement on this example of Saudi hate is a test for UNCHR integrity in combatting racism."

For further information, please contact Mr Samuels at +33 6 09 77 01 58.