News that the U.S. Congress had passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) bill was met with angry and anti-Semitic reactions in Saudi Arabia and a number of other Arab countries. The bill, originally introduced in December 2009, was passed in the Senate on September 28, 2016; it allows victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to bring civil lawsuits against Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies such as Kuwait, UAE and Egypt expressed “great concern” over the new law, and some in the Saudi and Arab media reintroduced old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish influence over the bill’s passage – and the “Jewish plot” behind the 9/11 attacks.
The Saudi daily newspaper, Al Riyadh, published an op-ed on October 5 titled “We and America” which reads in part, “We should not exclude the strong role of the Israeli and Jewish lobby behind this law for the sake of harming the kingdom, weakening it economically and sabotaging its distinguished relationship with America.”
The Saudi newspaper Alsharq published an article by Khalid Al-Saif headlined “Before and After JASTA, the America That I Hate.” In his article, Al-Saif claims that the U.S. formed terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. He also added that these terrorist groups achieve the goal of protecting Israel.
“The Jews Behind Every Crime,” an anti-Semitic diatribe by the Kuwaiti newspaper, Alrai, published Thursday October 6, cited a conspiratorial claim that the CIA and Israeli Mossad executed the 9/11 attacks. “There are hundreds of evidences to prove the reality of this Zionist game which was intended to blame the Muslims for its results,” the piece reads.
Twitter users in Saudi Arabia created several hashtags, including “#WashingtonDidSeptember11,” to perpetuate the same theory. A number of Twitter users shared a video, translated into Arabic, featuring Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan saying “There were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks.”
One Twitter user posted this poem in Saudi dialect:
Oh Congress may your hands get paralyzed… your senates may be remembered with evil
Three quarters of you conspire as a group… they are Jews so if they hate Islam they have an excuse.
Controversial Dubai Police Chief Dahi Khalfan also weighed in, Tweeting, “hostility to Saudi Arabia should be criminalized like anti-Semitism.”