In March, on his first visit to the Jewish state as president, Barack Obama exhorted Israelis to reach out to their Arab neighbors and see that "sometimes the greatest miracle is recognizing that the world can change."
But consider Egypt, where in 2011 a popular revolt swept away Hosni Mubarak's pharaonic dictatorship only to replace it with a Muslim Brotherhood-led theocracy. Through it all, one element of Egyptian culture has remained constant: its virulent anti-Semitism.
"Khaybar," a serial drama set to air during the holy month of Ramadan (starting on July 8), is Egyptian TV's latest piece of hate-melodrama. It depicts the Prophet Muhammad's conquest, in A.D. 629, of a Jewish community on the Arabian Peninsula.
"Khaybar, oh Jews!" is an oft-heard chant at Arab anti-Israel rallies. But just in case there was any doubt about the intended political message, the show's screenwriter, Yousry El Gendy, has gone on the record with the online news outlet Alyoum Alsabea to declare: "This drama will focus on the Jewish community and will show their traits, ideas and their maliciousness. Also, it will show the enmity between Arabs and Jews since the time of Moses." Ahmed Maher, a popular actor playing one of the Jewish villains, told the Al-Balad newspaper that "Khaybar" sets out to depict Jews as "the ugliest slice of humans."
"The show will be on when most Egyptian families are staying at home for Ramadan doing nothing but watching TV," Mina Rezkalla, a U.S.-based Egyptian activist told me. "The goal is completely outward anti-Semitism."
Thanks to Elder of Ziyon for the spot. More here.
What do you think the chances are of Jeremy Bowen, Jon Donnison, Wyre Davies or any of the other BBC Middle East journalists managing to bring this anti-Semitic series to the attention of the British people? Nil?