Australian Antisemitism in Arabic
Aug 30, 2019 | Ran Porat
Farah News and the evil Jews
An Australia-based Arabic-language online news and commentary platform is spreading viciously antisemitic content. An investigation into the Farah NewsOnline website has uncovered articles depicting Jews as an evil force conspiring to subdue humanity, caricatures featuring Nazi propaganda motifs against Israel and conspiracy theories about Zionism as a plot for world domination.
What is Farah News?
Farah News Online (www.farah.net.au) is a news portal publishing in Arabic and English. It is based in Sydney, and was established in December 2008. The website claims it is “managed by a group of qualified people and is updated around the clock.” It contains barely any original content, but rather republishes reports, articles and poems mainly originally published in Middle Eastern media, with some material from Australian sources, such as press releases by the Lebanese Embassy in Canberra, community notices and ads.
Farah News’ mission statement attests to its commitment to “objectivity, moderation and accuracy.” The disclaimer notice also emphasises that the website “does not accept any legal or moral responsibility for what is published on its pages of opinions, articles and comments. What is published [solely] represents the viewpoint of the writer”.
According to an Australian records search, the domain name for the website is registered to Rafic Dehaibi, owner of TPP Wholesale Pty Ltd and the C.H. Stop N Save store in Liverpool, New South Wales.
Website analytics suggest that Farah News is being viewed by up to 250 unique visitors a day, each reading two pages on average (the homepage being one of them). The Facebook page associated with the website is quite popular, with more than 17,000 followers as of August 2019.
Despite the claim on the Farah News website that it has “no relation with any political party or any foreign country”, it does seem to be aligned with Lebanon’s March 14 Alliance movement, which opposes Syrian and Iranian intervention in Lebanese politics, including by the Lebanese Shi’ite terrorist organisation Hezbollah.
The dangers of “Zionism, its lies and false myths”
Farah News exhibits a very noticeable anti-Israel editorial line, with many articles and stories attacking Israel on a regular basis.
Take for example, an article published on July 28, written by Mohammad Seif El-Dolah, the head of the Egyptian group called “Egyptians against Zionism,” detailing various ways to combat the Trump Administration’s anticipated “Deal of the Century” peace plan.
El-Dolah calls for launching a campaign that would explain “What is Zionism, its lies and false myths, the emergence of the World Zionist Organisation and its history and sources of strength and factors of its continuation and success” – as well as to educate people about the alleged connection between Zionism and colonialism and to warn about “the dangers and threats posed by the Zionist entity to the entire Arab nation in all its diasporas without exception, not only in Palestine.”
Another author published on Farah News is Dr. Moustafa el-Leddawi – a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip refugee camp of Jabaliya, who was expelled to Lebanon by Israel’s Rabin government in the 1990s following repeated convictions for terrorist activities as a Hamas operative. El-Leddawi has a long history of antisemitic and violent public statements and articles. For example, he argued in 2015 that Jesus was the first Fedayeen(Palestinian warrior) while the Jewish messiah is a terrorist. That same year, he repeated the blood libel slur that Jews kill children – in his version, Palestinian children – during Passover in order to drink their blood.
Despite all this toxic background Farah News Online continues to run El-Leddawi’s articles. In his “Israeli arrogant joys and dreams of poisoned Zionism” (July 23), El-Leddawi warns Israelis that “the Arab and Islamic nation” will wake up from sleep “to regain past glory.” They would be joined by the Palestinian people “who would confront [Israel] with their resistance which does not lie, and its past sacrifices were not in vain, determined to the victory, it would not be let down”.
Finally, a caricature republished on Farah News from an Arab source shows Israel as a flesh-eating piranha fish, eating the leg off an Arab (or Palestinian) fisherman, holding a rod with the symbol of peace, an olive leaf, as a bait. The depiction of Jews as an evil animal is a classic antisemitic motif called zoomorphism, which was popular in Nazi propaganda against Jews – and remains common in anti-Israeli Arab caricatures.
That sort of anti-Israel extremism escalates into blatant antisemitism in other content featured on Farah News.
Alsibai’: The Elders of Zion and ‘Bless the bagel’
Dr. Mouaffaq Mustafa Alsibai’ is a Syrian commentator with a documented history of antisemitism. His blog includes a series of articles called: “These are the Jews, demons of mankind” where, based on Quranic verses and Islamic scholarship, Alsibai’ depicts Jews as killers throughout history, describing them as “Human devils… There will never be peace with them”. According to his “analysis”, Jewish people today enjoy “superiority”, manifest “tyranny and possession of extraordinary power… and control of the nations of the world… dominate international resolutions… and make the world’s major powers… lay down to them.” Jewish power is “Quite similar to what the next Antichrist will possess… More supernatural powers … and bigger!!!,” he claims.
The same antisemitic slurs are featured in Alsibai’s article republished by Farah News (June 25), titled: “On the nature of the Children of Israel, spreading corruption in the land”. The article was published previously on several Arabic-language websites in Iraq and Egypt.
The true nature of the sons of Israel, explains Alsibai’, is evil and against God: “to seek in the land corruption… and bribe… to spread the desires and oppressions and evil… all categories of vice… and all kinds of very cheap pleasures… with the intention of destroying the human race.” He claims Jews seek this objective via “the shoving [of people’s] nose in the dirt and throwing it … in the quagmire of desires and pleasures … and burying [humanity] in the dissolution of vice… and burning it with drugs.” Thus, they “make [humanity] a toy in their hands… [and] move it as they like.”
He continues with this description of the Jews: “The[ir] characteristics of malice, slag, cheapness and greed and deception. And congenital and mental degeneration… and all have gathered in this category of humans [Jews]… Stubborn and elusive… he [the Jew] seeks with all his effort and strength .. to fight God and his messengers and prophets… and mock them… and even kill them !!!”
The Jews, says Alsibai’, are plotting and working hand in hand with the devil: “They know that human nature tends towards desires and physical pleasures, and that the demons of the Jinn [devil] encourage the sons of Adam to follow the path of lusts and decorate them and open wide the doors to them!!! … But Satan, the deceiver, and his assistants, the children of Israel, seek day and night, and with all temptations, to show the misfortunes of the sons of Adam and their sorrows… In order to ignite the fire of sedition.”
The shared aim of the Jews and Satan is no less than “the destruction of the human race… by all ways and means”, which include seduction and sexual promiscuity, Alsibai’ asserts. To prove the Jews’ malicious and conniving ways, Alsibai’ even cites the classic Russian antisemitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which he says, “confirms this evil course.”
The Jews “want to destroy religious and moral values… and break up social and family ties… and authentic connections of relations between people… and restrict it in food, drink and sex !!!”. Alsibai’ concludes his text by declaring triumphantly that “the children of Israel – the demons of mankind – control humanity, exploiting the weaknesses created in their bodies.”
Commenting on the article on the Farah Online website, a reader by the name of Ellison Fargblonget from the United States, is full of praise and antisemitic paranoia so extreme as to be comical. She writes that “we were intrigued (very interested) to read Mouaffaq Alsibai’s article about how the evil Jews are conspiring (working together) to destroy the human race”. Her own so-called “research” into the content of Jewish prayer, claims Ellison, is “proof of the Jewish plan to destroy the human race”, along with her “observation” that “when two Jews meet, they mutter (speak softly) ‘bless the bagel’, which Jews understand is code for destroy the human race.” Ellison signs off by thanking Farah Online “for having the courage to tell the truth and for all the wonderful work you do in Australia and around the world”.
In another article published on July 10 on Farah News, dealing with the concept of loyalty in Islam to God, family etc., Alsibai’ warns that the Shi’ite sect of Islam “are like the Jews in their hostility to Muslims”.
A week later, Farah Newsagain published another article by Alsibai’ (July 16) devoted to harsh criticism against the Palestinian terror group Hamas and the Iranian-proxy Lebanese terror organisation Hezbollah. Yet even in that context, Alsibai’ does not forget to spruik his desire to attack, eradicate and expel Jews.
To ridicule both organisations for their inability to win victories against the “Zionist entity”, he refers back to the Koranic record of the prophet Muhammad’s victorious battle against Jewish tribes in the city of al-Medina in the seventh century. He then states that Hamas and Hezbollah should follow the example from that battle, where the victorious Muslims, “displaced them [the Jews] in the [most] evil of displacements, expelled them the worst expulsion, abused them, and destroyed their homes… slaughtered the men of Quraizah [the Jewish tribe] and made their women prisoners.”
Abdel Rahman: Rothschilds’ world domination
Amr Abdel Rahman is a Farah Newscontributor, an Egyptian commentator, a fervent anti-Zionist and a fan of conspiracy theories. In 2015, he argued in a TV interview that the intelligence organisations of Israel, the US and the UK were behind the explosion of a Russian passenger airplane over the Sinai Peninsula (Metrojet Flight 9268, Oct. 31, 2015), which was almost certainly an ISIS terror act.
Farah Newsregularly features Abdel Rahman’s texts in the “Views and thoughts” section of the website. The fantasy extravaganza “The success of the Zionist-Iranian play – and the return of the pigs to the land of the Gulf!” was originally published on an Egyptian website before appearing on Farah News on July 21.
Abdel Rahman starts by explaining how Egypt is a hero for successfully “repelling the aggression of the ‘Deal of the Century’ [US peace plan] – despite the nose of the American Zionist enemy and his aides” in Turkey, Iran and several Gulf states. The recent Iranian aggression against oil tankers in the Persian Gulf is, according to the author, part of a joint US, UK, Iran and Israel secret plan.
Here Abdel Rahman alludes to the conspiracy theory – popular in the Arab world and one which also previously featured in Arabic newspapers in Australia – about how Iran and Israel are actually not enemies at all but instead are plotting together to take control of the Middle East. To prove this, he turns to the well-known antisemitic conspiracy theories related to the Jewish Rothschild banking family’s supposed control of the world and its ties with Zionism:
“Iran is a historical colony of the Rothschild family – the largest of the Khazar families of the Turks, the masters of the global economy, and they are the founders of the port of Bandar Abbas! [the launching site for Iranian attacks on tankers]”
According to Abdel Rahman’s version of history, the port of Bandar Abbas was funded by the British East India Company and “founded by the Zionist colonisation of Palestine with the funds of the Rothschild family, the owner of the company that had Persian privileges in the Arabian Gulf, British interests and influence that exists today!”
His conclusion? “The truth here is that the West and its ‘Israel’ did not and will not dare to strike Iran, because they are all cousins of one grandfather of Turkish-Arya-Khazari origin!”
The article is accompanied by an infographic image demonstrating the Rothschild family/East India Company conspiracy fable. The illustration, copied out of the sensationalist Indian magazineThe Great Game, maps the supposed “ties” between various Jewish banking families – Rothschild, Sassoon, and the Rockefellers [who are of course not actually Jewish] – and their non-Jewish partners who supposedly owned the East India Company. Expanding from anti-colonialist sentiment in India, the text in the illustration claims that these families “were given full control over a nation under consideration.”
Another conspiracy fanned by Abdel Rahman in this article (and one also published in some Arabic language newspapers in Australia) suggests that the Israeli intelligence organisation Mossad is the real power operating ISIS, using an agent by the name of “Shimon Elliott/the Baghdadi” as the leader of the terrorist organisation.
It is saddening to learn that over the past years some Australian media platforms in Arabic have become active accomplices in hate campaigns spreading antisemitism and extremism. It is high time for Australia’s legal authorities, and the law-abiding Arab citizens and organisations of Australia, to reject and suppress this unacceptable and undemocratic phenomenon.
Dr Ran Porat is a researcher at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University, a research fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Centre, Herzliya Israel and a research associate at the Future Directions International Research Institute, Western Australia.