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Press Release

ADL: Jews Are Blamed As Myth Of Conspiracy Behind Anti-Muslim Film Takes Root Across The Muslim World

New York, NY, September 20, 2012 … The myth that an Israeli-American producer and group of Jewish investors financed the virulently anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims," despite being thoroughly debunked in the West, has taken root in the Muslim world and is mutating into new forms in the Arab media, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

In a series of virulently anti-Semitic cartoons and caricatures appearing in various countries across the Middle East in recent days, Jews, America and Israel are blamed for having conspiratorially created a film intended to offend Muslims and sow unrest and discord around the world.

"Now that the individual behind the anti-Muslim film that sparked the protests across the Muslim world has been identified as a Coptic Christian who misled the news media about his true identity, we had hoped that this myth would die down and quietly fade away," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Instead it has gone from a whisper to a scream. "This false notion that an Israeli American made the film with funding from 100 Jewish investors in an effort to mock Islam and sow violence across the Muslim world is turning into yet another big lie about the Jews."

According to ADL, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are taking form in statements from political and religious leaders, in addition to provocative anti-Semitic political cartoons appearing in newspapers in Algeria, Bahrain, Gaza, Iran, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

From Gaza to Cairo, Benghazi and Sudan, the wave of anti-American protests have also been marked by anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish slogans, as well as condemnations of Jews and Israelis for being the true parties responsible for the film.

"Many of the protesters have repeatedly sought to blame Jews and Israel for the production of the film and have injected virulent and violent anti-Semitic language into the protests," said Mr. Foxman. "While the main message has been starkly anti-American, throughout the Muslim world there is this potent undercurrent of anti-Semitism."

With offices in New York and Jerusalem, ADL monitors the Arab and Muslim media for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic images and expressions. In recent days, the League has amassed a collection of cartoons from Muslim and Arab newspapers parroting the myth of Jewish involvement in the film "Innocence of Muslims." Some examples include:

  • A man with a Jewish Star of David on his overcoat is cloaked behind an old-fashioned camera. Standing directly behind him is a man who is labeled, "US." The caption reads: "A joint vision of the production!" (Al-Bayan, United Arab Emirates, September 16).
  • A construction crane marked with a Star of David and labeled "Israel" uses a reel of film as a wrecking ball that strikes a wall labeled "United States." (As-Sabil, Jordan September 17).
  • A Jewish figure and Uncle Sam are adding test tubes filled with caustic chemicals on either side of a boiling laboratory flask labeled "Middle East." (Arab News, Saudi Arabia, September 17).
  • Two hands with shirtsleeves bearing Stars of David hold a movie clapper with blood dripping from the slate. The caption reads: "The Killing of the US Ambassador in Libya." (Ash-Shuruq, Algeria, September 12).

Various news media initially reported that the anti-Islam film, which provoked violence and demonstrations across the Muslim world after a trailer for the film was translated into Arabic and posted on YouTube, was the brainchild of a Jewish Israeli filmmaker who identified himself as "Sam Bacile."

Bacile claimed in interviews that the film had 100 Jewish backers who had invested $5 million in the effort. But days later it was revealed that Bacile was in fact pseudonym, and that the film was actually the work of a Coptic Christian man identified by the news media as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

The film sparked mass protests against U.S. embassies in at least 20 countries. The protest in Libya ended in the death of four U.S. embassy staff officials, including US. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. That assault that is now reportedly being investigated as a possible terrorist attack by a Libyan extremist groups timed to coincide with the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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