Israel To Protest Anti-Semitic TV Program

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:10 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - Israel intends to lodge an official complaint with the United Nations over a television program broadcast throughout the Arab world, which depicts, among other things, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon drinking the blood of Arab children.

The program, broadcast on Abu Dhabi television, aired over the weekend as part of a political satire series made especially for the Ramadan holidays. Shown on prime time television, the satellite station broadcast the program to millions of Arabs throughout the Arab world.

Among the scenes is one of Sharon offering a toast together with a grotesque-looking Orthodox haredi Jew, drinking the blood of Arab children. In another scene, Dracula bites "Sharon" and dies himself because Sharon's blood is poison. Also in the skit, Sharon is said to be preparing to bottle a new cold drink made from the blood of Arabs.

The program is not the first to revive the "blood libel" from the Middle Ages, when Jews were accused of murdering Christian children and using their blood to make Matza (unleavened bread) for their Passover holiday. Jews are forbidden, according to their law, from eating any blood.

"We intend to present an official complaint to UNESCO [which is] promoting the fight against incitement and a copy to the Secretary-General [Kofi Annan]," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Immanuel Nachshon.

Comparing the program to some of the worst anti-Semitic propaganda of the German Nazis in the 1930s, Nachshon said that the primary intent of making the complaint was to bring to the attention of the world the fact that Abu Dhabi television station is presenting such a program that is full of hatred and incitement.

"Sixty years after [Joseph] Goebbels and the [Nazi newspaper] the Sturmer, apparently someone in the Arab world has decided to pick up the flag of vicious anti-Semitism," Nachshon said.

Nevertheless, he added, that he was "more sad and worried than disgusted and angry" because of the affect that it will have on the Arab children.

"It's poisoning the minds of the little children with evil," he said.

Anti-Defamation League spokesperson in Jerusalem Laura Kam Issacharoff said that political satire aside, it was an "extreme example" of the anti-Semitism that is common in the press throughout the Middle East.

"We have seen a lot of really anti-Semitic caricatures but this is really outrageous," Issacharoff said.

"This is different," she said. "Using such intense anti-Semitism to get across an anti-Israeli viewpoint is beyond the pale."

Issacharoff noted that the program was shown during the dinnertime, family hour after the people have been fasting all day. The ADL will complain to Abu Dhabi she said.

"This certainly isn't a good sign," she said, in reference to the atmosphere in the Middle East. "It's definitely a trend, a new anti-Semitism, a way to get at Israel."

Two weeks ago, Israel established an international forum for the first time, under the direction of Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior, to combat what it is calling the "new" anti-Semitism or "Islamic" anti-Semitism.

The Foreign Ministry says it is now being used "as a tool to reach political goals and attack the democratic infrastructure."

Anti-Semitism, anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiments feature prominently in the government-controlled press throughout the Middle East.

But according to the Foreign Ministry, the conference against racism held in Durban, South Africa this summer ushered in a new trend.

In the run up to the U.N. Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, anti-Semitism burgeoned when Arab and Muslim states insisted that a final resolution include a number of contentious references to Israel and Zionism, the national movement on which the State of Israel was founded.