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Egyptian TV has begun broadcasting a month-long television series based on the ”Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a fabricated document that depicts Zionism as part of a Jewish plot to rule the world.
There have been international appeals to keep the series off the airwaves, including criticism from the U.S. State Department. Officials there have told Egypt and other Arab governments that their state-run television stations should not air the series.
”We don’t think government TV stations should be broadcasting programs that we consider racist and untrue,” said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.
The series, called ”Horseman without a Horse,” purports to portray the history of the Middle East from 1855 to 1917.
It tells the story of an Egyptian man fighting British imperialism and Zionism in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
According to a report in The Washington Times, the ”Protocols” text, falsely attributed to Jewish elders, is widely believed to be the work of the secret police in czarist Russia, who wished to turn public opinion away from internal criticism of Czar Nicholas II’s ruthless regime and toward a large and mostly poor ethnic minority. But researchers now believe the ”Protocols” were first devised in France, plagiarized from a political satire about Napoleon III.
Egyptian television is broadcasting the 40-part series in prime time during the fasting month of Ramadan, when television audiences peak. It’s airing on 22 Arab television stations.
The Anti-Defamation League, a New York-based group that tracks anti-Semitic activities, released a statement saying: ”Once again, the Arab media is demonizing Israel and Jews, and no one is speaking out. Arab leaders must put a stop to programming that appeals to ignorance, hatred and anti-Semitism.”
According to a report from Reuters news agency, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Jewish Democrat who represents a New York district in the House of Representatives, circulated a letter to other members proposing all U.S. military aid to Egypt be cut off because of the series.
He said aid should stop until Egyptian authorities ”have begun the road to peace with, and understanding of, other nations, cultures and religions.”
Jewish groups say the show, which was approved by the Egyptian Ministry of Information, breaches the 1979 Israel-Egyptian peace accord, which calls on both sides to prevent incitement against each other.
Egyptian Information Minister Safwat el-Sherif has denied that the series includes anything anti-Semitic.