Despite being exposed several times as a platform publishing extremism and antisemitism, Farah News, the Arabic-language Australian website, shows no signs of changing its ways. On the contrary, the disturbing trend of featuring such content has continued in full force over recent months.
As I documented in the September 2019 edition of the AIR, Farah News Online (www.farah.net.au) is a Sydney-based news portal in Arabic and English featuring almost exclusively non-original content previously published in Middle Eastern media. According to external analytic platforms, thousands of people visit the website monthly while its Facebook page had more than 17,000 followers as of November 2019.
Events in the Middle East are subject to widely disseminated conspiracy theories in the Arabic media there, and Farah News provides an Australian podium for such stories, including many with an antisemitic flavour. For example, which article was chosen to discuss the killing on January 3 of Iranian arch-terrorist Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force? An “analysis” by Syrian commentator Dr. Mouaffaq Mustafa Alsibai’, the author of several antisemitic texts published on Farah News, portraying the Jews as evil, corrupt and seeking world domination.
Alsibai’ writes that Soleimani was “an American agent par excellence”, while “[t]he relationship between America and Iran is intimate, organic, and has all serenity and endless friendliness !!!” The aim of both countries, he says, is “To eliminate Islam and Muslims and preserve the Israeli entity in Palestine […by] looking forward to the battle of Armageddon, and the descent of the Antichrist, in order to eliminate the Muslims and [so] the Jews and their helpers win !!!”
Abdel Rahman: The Jews are Turkish Khazars seeking world domination
Egyptian writer Amr Abdel Rahman is a regular columnist published on Farah News. As noted in my previous report, he is an admirer of conspiracy theories and does not shy away from overt antisemitism. Abdel Rahman claimed, for example, that Iran and Israel are conspiring together to control the Middle East, that Israel created and operates ISIS, and that the Jewish Rothschild banking family controls the world.
The same themes reappeared with a vengeance in two of his latest masterpieces. The first appeared on Farah News on Sept. 20 and was titled “How does America manage to ignite a mock war between the cousins [Iranians and Israelis] over the body of the Arabs!?” The second, republished on Farah News on Nov. 16, dealt with the killing of ISIS chief Abu Bakr al Baghdadi by US forces in late October.
In these texts, Abdel Rahman creates an imaginary world full of antisemitic fables. At the core of his stories is an expansion of the controversial 1976 book The Thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler, which falsely suggested that European Jews (known as Ashkenazi Jews) originated from the Turkish Khazar people, and thus have no connection with the Jews of ancient and biblical history. The fact that this theory has been refuted many times over with numerous different forms of evidence does not stop Abdel Rahman from enthusiastically adopting it, plus attributing to the Ashkenazi Jews/Khazars supernatural evil powers and vast influence over world history.
“The pagan [Khazar] elite infiltrated north into Europe, penetrated its thrones, controlled its church with its money and invented the Zionist Protestant doctrine, destroying the original Catholic faith of Europe in this era. The Khazars blended the doctrine of the originally corrupted Bani Zion [Jews] in one melting pot with the Hindu Vedic [religion] and added to it the rituals of pagan human sacrifices, to bring out [into] the world the mystical religion of the Khazar Jews.” The Talmud was used to create the “false” basis for Zionism, a movement which is “enemy of humanity and religion,” he adds. Even the Ottoman Turks were actually Khazar Jews, he claims.
According to Abdel Rahman’s delusionary scheme, Israel today uses its power in collusion with the US, UK, Iran and the Gulf states to impose their control on the Muslim world. This is done by evoking “artificial conflicts” between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, and by initiating the “Hebrew Spring”- the mass popular uprisings in the Arab world which started in 2011, otherwise generally referred to as the “Arab Spring”.
Both the Iranians and the Jews, argues Abdel Rahman vehemently, are “Aryan” cousin nations and this is why Teheran “open[ed] the doors of Iraq to Zionist and American colonisation.” The Iranian attack on Saudi oil installations on Sept. 14 was actually “secretly coordinated between the Pentagon and the US intelligence and Tel Aviv and Teheran,” Abdel Rahman insists.
Abdel Rahman’s doomsday fantasy does not stop there: the terrorist organisations ISIS and al-Qaeda are also pawns in this conspiratorial game, he says. The late ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was really a Mossad agent named “Shimon Elliot”, and he was not really killed in the US raid because Israel does not kill its own people. The reported new ISIS leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, is also part of the same ploy, he insists.
Similarly, al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden is not really dead, since he was really working for the US government. NATO is also involved in the ploy, while leading Western media platforms are controlled by UK and US foreign intelligence agencies “to promote the scenario of lies and Zionist media terrorism to distort Islam and all the messages of heaven,” in Abdel Rahman’s telling.
Al-Dola: Holocaust denial and “racist Zionism”
Another Egyptian featured as a Farah News contributor is Muhammad Saif al-Dola – an Islamist with extreme anti-Israeli views. He is the founder of the movement “Egyptians against Zionism” and has ties to the Islamic Labour Party, which in the past was connected to the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Dola held a senior advisory position under Muhammad Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who was briefly Egypt’s President in 2012-2013. The titles of his publications and lectures include: “Oh my son, this is our Zionist enemy” and “We will not recognise Israel.”
Farah News chose to provide its readers with al-Dola’s series of articles titled: “Palestine and the Israeli lies” (Sept. 1 and 9), originally published in the Egyptian Al-Shaab (“The People”) newspaper, affiliated with the Islamic Labour Party.
The aim of the articles, explains al-Dola, is to review the “enormous arsenal of myths, myths and lies that the Zionist movement unleashed to mislead world public opinion. These are false myths that are unmatched in their falsity, incompetence and misinformation.” His “research” is based on what al-Dola labels “a few elite Western thinkers,” listing Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, anti-Zionist British Marxist John Rose, author of Myths of Zionism and Israel: The Hijack State, as well as the extreme anti-Zionist Israeli-born academic, Ilan Pappe.
The articles list assumptions, ideas and theories related to Zionism and Judaism which al-Dola then attempts to refute. For example, “the racist myth about [Jews being] God’s chosen people. Its incitement to the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews, [on] which contemporary Zionist rabbis base all their Fatwas [rulings] legitimising killing and liquidating Palestinians.” Antisemitism, he argues, “was nationalised and monopolised by the Zionist movement in its favour and considered that the Jews are the only persecuted race in the world – it is a very racist position.”
From there, al-Dola rapidly slides down the ugly and slippery road of Holocaust denial. He talks about “the myth of the Holocaust” and “the lie of hostility between Zionism and Nazism”, insisting there was “cooperation between Hitler and the leaders of the Zionist movement.” Finally, the number of Jewish victims in the Holocaust was “exaggerated and overblown.”
In his view, “the Hebrews” of the bible were a tribe that historically assimilated into other nations, and they are not related to “European Zionists who settle Palestine today.” The origins of the latter? You guessed it: the Khazars. “But despite all these hard facts”, insists al-Dola, “the Zionist movement and Western colonialism invoked the name of one of these extinct groups of history and fabricated false stories, history and myths around them to justify their colonial settlement project to usurp Palestine.”
The theme repeats itself when al-Dola discusses (in his second article) the Israeli Law of Return (which awards immigration rights to Israel to all Jews). The basis for this law, says al-Dola, is “the strangest and most trivial allegations. All that they say about the Babylonian exile and the so-called diaspora are nothing but myths.”
Part two of the series is focused on “modern Israel lies”, which are “a series of myths and lies that surrounded Palestine and its cause, promoted the occupation and justified or colluded with it.” In the “analysis” that follows, al-Dola simply repeats well-known anti-Israeli fabrications such as that Israel is “merely an advanced strategic military base for the West led by the Americans” and “the largest and most dangerous terrorist entity in the region.”
Al-Dola is especially aggressive in his attack on Israeli democracy. “The lie of the ‘oasis of Israeli democracy’ testifies to its lie of hundreds of massacres, war crimes, genocide, murder and assassination that the Zionist forces have not stopped committing against the Arabs in Palestine and abroad since before the 1948 war to this day.” While Israeli Arabs suffer “utmost racism”, the relations of Jewish citizens of Israel and the state “are governed by the laws of pirates and thieves, which stipulate the legitimacy of killing and looting others, while applying the rules of fair distribution of spoils among themselves,” he insists.
The reality of blatant and open antisemitism being disseminated over a long period by this Australian website in Arabic is beyond dispute. In response to the work exposing their dangerous editorial policy, Farah News’ editors have recently elected to personally attack me for accurately documenting what they are unequivocally doing, instead of taking responsibility for their own actions and following the laws and minimum standards expected of an Australian media outlet. This is yet another reason why Australian authorities should be investigating Farah News.
Dr. Ran Porat is a research associate at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University, a research fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya and a research associate at the Future Directions International Research Institute, Western Australia.