Press Release

Arab Press Cartoons On Obama-Netanyahu Meeting Rife With 'Vicious' Anti-Semitic And Anti-Israel Sentiments

New York, NY, March 22, 2011 … In the wake of the meeting between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 5, numerous editorial cartoons in Muslim and Arab newspapers across the Middle East were rife with malicious depictions of alleged Israeli and Jewish manipulation and domination of the American government, according to the Anti-Defamation (ADL)'s release today of a compilation of these cartoons.

The images promote conspiracy theories about alleged Jewish and Israeli control of the U.S. government, foreign policy and political system.

"Once again, a meeting between American and Israeli leaders, which focused on uniting allies behind common goals, becomes a launching pad for propagating age-old assertions of Jewish and Israeli power and domination in the Arab media," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Stereotypical images of Jews and Israelis who are acting as puppet masters, and thus are controlling and manipulating the American government, have no place in the Arab media. These newspaper cartoonists have been utilizing anti-Semitic and anti-Israel stereotypes for decades, and it is long past the time for these vicious cartoons to end."

Following the Obama-Netanyahu summit, editorial cartoons on the meetings between the two heads of state appeared in newspapers in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the U.A.E.

Some cartoonists demonized the meeting between the two leaders by portraying President Obama as a puppet or mouthpiece of Israel, and the so-called "Zionist lobby," and depicting themes of Jewish and Israeli manipulation and domination of the U.S. foreign policy and President Obama's reelection campaign. A cartoon appearing in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram Weekly's March 8-14 edition typifies these ideas: In the first frame, President Obama is shown walking up stairs with an outstretched arm. In the second frame, he is shown as a small figure inside the Prime Minister's shirt pocket, which has a Star of David illustrated on it.

Other recent examples of these themes include:

  • A smiling President Obama, shown dreaming of a ballot box adorned with an American flag, has his arm around Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose body is a nuclear missile and has a Star of David emblazoned on his tie. The caption reads, "Netanyahu-Obama Meeting." (Al-Madina, Saudi Arabia, March 8).
  • A kneeling President Obama is pleading before a ballot box that says "U.S. Elections," which is in front of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has a Star of David on his pocket and is juggling a ballot that says "Jewish Vote." (Tishrin, Syria, March 6).
  • Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has a Star of David on his sleeve, is roping the U.S. Capitol and a map of the U.S., which has cow legs and a tail. The caption reads, "Netanyahu in the U.S." (Al-Mustaqbal, Lebanon, March 7).

A recent ADL compilation of editorial cartoons published in Muslim and Arab newspapers last year, Arab Media Review: Anti-Semitism and Other Trends (July-December 2011), includes other examples of anti-Semitic caricatures sparked by recent events in Israel and the international arena such as the Palestinian bid for U.N. membership, the aftermath of the Arab