Decision by India’s Zee TV to Broadcast Soap Opera with Hitler Title to Arab World “Unfortunate and Disturbing,” ADL Says

New York, NY, December 30, 2014 …The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed disappointment with the return of Adolf Hitler’s name in the title of the Indian soap opera “Hitler Didi” which is now being broadcast to the Arab world on Zee Alwan, a Dubai-based satellite television channel.

In response to ADL’s call to India’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises in 2011 to remove Hitler’s name from its title, the network subsequently apologized and formally announced that it would change the program’s name in response to the League's concerns that the use of the Nazi dictator’s name was inappropriate and offensive to Jews and Holocaust survivors.

“After the back-and-forth communication with India’s Zee TV executives about the offensive nature of including Hitler’s name in the title of their soap opera, and their commitment to change the name of the show, the network kept the original title, and made an unfortunate and disturbing decision to broadcast in the Arab world,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “The network went against their word after they reassured us they were changing the program’s name.”

Mr. Foxman added, “At a time when anti-Semitism in the Arab world is higher than any other region in the world, a well-known international entertainment conglomerate like Zee Entertainment Enterprises should be especially mindful of broadcasting hate-filled Hitler imagery to a public that harbors deep anti-Semitic attitudes.”

The show has been dubbed into Arabic under the title “Aukhti Hitler” and consists of a lead character who is a strict disciplinarian. The plot aims to explain the harsh attitude of the protagonist as a coping mechanism “to face life’s challenges.” The satellite broadcast to the Arab world began on December 17 and currently airs five times per week.

A recent ADL poll in 100 countries found that the highest concentration of respondents holding anti-Semitic attitudes was found in the Middle East and North African countries, where nearly three-quarters of respondents agreed with a majority of the anti-Semitic stereotypes tested.