Thursday, 23 June 2016 16:26

May - Media Monitoring Highlights

From the minimisation of antisemitism on Bloomberg News to the anti-Jewish hatred expressed by an anti-Islamophobia icon, from the “burning of the Jew” as a Easter traditional celebration to the antisemitic rant of boxing champion Tyson Fury, these May highlights are an overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.

From the minimisation of antisemitism on Bloomberg News to the anti-Jewish hatred expressed by an anti-Islamophobia icon, from the “burning of the Jew” as a Easter traditional celebration to the antisemitic rant of boxing champion Tyson Fury, these May highlights are an overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.


5718501186 c327920901 bDate of publication: April and May 2016

Media Outlets: Greek National Tourism Organisation, Nafpaktianews, Lesvos Post


  • The spectacular burning of the Jew tonight
  • Litany and the burning of Judas in Evinokhori


Description of the antisemitic content:

“Burning of the Jew” or “Burning of the Judas” is a traditional practice of Easter celebration in some areas of Greece. It consists in the burning of an effigy of Judas, the Disciple of Jesus Christ who betrayed him, according to the New Testament of the Christian Bible. This year the Greek National Tourism Organisation presented this custom in its official website as part of the Greek Easter attractions despite ΚΙΣ (the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece) and the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church have repeatedly demanded this custom to be abolished 

About the source:

The Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) is the governmental department for the promotion tourism in the country of Greece. It functions under the supervision of the Hellenic Republic Ministry for Culture and Tourism. After noticing the promotion of the custom in the official website, ΚΙΣ reacted with a letter of protest addressed to GNTO, which removed the article from the organisation’s website.

Local media outlets have reported the events, considered as a part of the Easter celebration. The real “perpetrators” are the local authorities and the Christian communities that keep organising and practicing this antisemitic custom despite the protests.

Myth Debunked:

Although Jesus’ disciples were all Jewish, it is specifically the name “Judas” that is automatically associated with “Jew” in New Testament times and later on. For Christianity, Judas became the personification of the “evil, treacherous, money-grubbing Jew”. The myth that Jews killed Jesus was first found among some Fathers of the Church between the 2nd and the 5th centuries. As Romans began to convert to Christianity, they naturally tended to clear the responsibility of Rome for the death of Jesus and promoted the idea of the Jewish responsibility because the Sanhedrin decided to hand over Jesus to the Romans. The prevalence of the myth that Jews killed Christ has caused massive waves of confiscation, deportations and extermination of Jews by Christians in the following centuries. Only in 1965 did the Church deny the collective responsibility of Jews in the death of Christ, in the declaration “Nostra Aetate”. 


french highlight

Date of publication: May 2016

Media Outlet: Twitter, @DjamelBoumaaz (account suspended) 

Description of the antisemitic content: 

The Twitter bio mentions the anti-Jews laws of the 30’s and the 40’s: “dogs and Jews prohibited”. The other tweets are Holocaust denialist and antisemitic.


  • “#Khan2016 > And the award for the best scenario goes to: Holocaust, for the 70th time. Congrats to Schlomo”. (Khan refers to the Jewish family name “Kahn” or “Cahn” as well as the Cannes festival of Cannes – the pronunciation is the same in French).
  • “My son and his nightmares because of the Holocaust, is it normal? I told him to not be afraid of things that don’t exist at all…”
  • “You know the story of the Jew who throws money out of the window? #israel #torahnotmyvoice”

About the source:

Djamel Boumaaz is councillor of Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole and municipal councillor of Montpellier. At the end of May a Twitter account, now suspended, on his name was opened and published several antisemitic tweets. Djamel Boumaaz claims that the account on his name was false and filed a complaint for identity theft. There is an ongoing investigation. Boumaaz caused outrage when, on the day against homophobia this year (18th of May 2016), he removed the LGBT flag from the city hall of Montpellier

Myth Debunked:

These tweets are particularly virulent and deny the Holocaust in a humoristic tone, with the help of hashtags and puns. It draws mainly on stereotypes about Jewish people, i.e. the family name “Khan” in reference to the Jewish identity (actually, the right spelling should be Kahn or Cahn), the Hebrew surname Shlomo, the antisemitic stereotype about Jews and money. The Shoah, the systematic murder of 6 million Jews during WW2, is described as a “scenario” (also an “award-winning” scenario, hence referring again to the antisemitic stereotype of Jewish power) and as something that “does not exist”.



tyson fury

Date of publication: 13 May 2016

Media Outlet: YouTube and Twitter

Description of the antisemitic content:

British professional boxer Tyson Fury was filmed making antisemitic comments in a video posted online. In this rant, an hour-long clip, he said: “Zionist, Jewish people ... own all the banks, all the papers, all the TV stations”. This was followed by some tweets regarding his views on Jewish people. One tweet (now removed) stated: “I see all the Zionist media outlets are on my back, because I speak the truth! u will all see the truth soon enuf, they killed my lord jesus.”

About the source: 

Tyson Fury is a world heavyweight boxing champion from Britain. After sparking outrage, Fury has apologised for his offensive comments. Fury had previously been accused of sexism and homophobia. Last year, many called for him to be dropped from the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year shortlist after a video emerged of the new heavyweight boxing champion making a series of sexist remarks. In the comment section of YouTube, many people agreed with him and published more antisemitic statements saying the government lies and that Jews control finances and media.

Myth Debunked:

Tyson Fury’s antisemitic tweets draw on two main myths: the myth that Jews control the media, the banks and the businesses, and the myth that Jews killed Jesus Christ. Regarding the first myth, in almost every country that Jews have lived in, they have been a small minority and have experienced centuries of persecution. The success of a handful of Jews, such as the Rothschilds, is falsely perceived as the condition of the majority. There were far more revolutionary Jews than bankers in Europe in the 19th century. Regarding the second myth, already addressed in the first Highlight above, only in 1965 (!) did the Church deny the collective responsibility of Jews in the death of Christ, in the declaration “Nostra Aetate”. The Media Diversity Institute ridiculed Fury's claims with a cartoon by Ruben Oppenheimer. 




Date of publication: 4 May 2016

Media Outlet: Bloomberg


Headline: “Europe's Haters Aren't So Focused on the Jews Anymore”


Description of the antisemitic content:

The article dangerously minimises the reality of antisemitism today. One of the many unfounded assumptions in the article is that when discrimination and violence against one group increases, then it decreases for another group. 

The article uses the result of a new study as the truth, and misuses the statistics. To document a drop over only one year during a long-term period of heightened incidents of antisemitism is ludicrous.  

In addition, as it can be seen from the controversy around leftist antisemitism, the problem does not necessarily correlate strictly to incidents of violence. Still, the author draws no distinction between different types or sources of antisemitism, instead he writes in a purely dismissive tones about ‘the new antisemitism’, linking to a Wikipedia article which he apparently did not even read, as even that piece points to various types of antisemitism which do not all manifest in the same way.

“The wave of so-called new antisemitism of recent years largely stemmed from anti-Israeli rather than racist beliefs, and had often been linked to the persistence of such attitudes among the growing Muslim population. Yet data from the 2015 report on global anti-Semitism, published on Wednesday by Tel Aviv University's Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, clearly show that as the refugees started coming in by the tens of thousands per day starting about a year ago, Europe became a safer place to be Jewish.”

“Along with a general tightening of security after the Paris terror attacks last year, this shift to second place in line for unwanted attention has benefited European Jews.” 

About the source:

The author is Leonid Bershidsky, who writes for the Bloomberg view. He is based in New York, but he makes false claims about antisemitism in Europe. Bloomberg is a major global provider of 24-hour financial news and information, including real-time and historic price data, financials data, trading news and analyst coverage, as well as general news and sports, based in New York.

Myth Debunked:

The article misuses the sources it draws on. First, one year (2015) is not enough to conclude a general decrease in antisemitism. Second, the author, Bershidsky, ignores one key fact: the Protective Edge operation during the 2014 summer, in reaction to which massive antisemitic incidents took place in Europe at the same time. This showed how the importation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Europe has direct consequences for the Jewish communities in Europe, very often expressed in antisemitic attacks against the Jewish population. Third, Bershidsky refers to only one part of the report of the Kantor Center. The report states that “On the one hand, recent developments brought down the number of violent antisemitic cases perpetrated against Jews and Jewish sites, and on the other the nature of the violent cases have become more cruel, and the growing variety of verbal and visual antisemitic expressions, mainly on social media, became more brutal and insulting.” Still, the report adds that “it should be taken in consideration that 2014 was a very difficult year, especially due to the Protective Edge operation during the summer, and that the number of violent cases in 2015 is more or less equal to that of 2011”. The report further names three reasons for the decrease in violent cases: 1) the increase in special security measures 2) the arrival of more than one million refugees in Europe, thus shifting the attention to other forms of racism 3) it explains that, despite a decrease, the cruel and severe nature of each case escalated. The report concludes that “since the decrease in the violent cases does not compensate for the constant increase in insulting antisemitic verbal and visual manifestations and hostile atmosphere, Jews reconsider their future and their sense of belonging in their respective countries”.



putin hungary

Date of publication: Spring 2016

Media Outlet: Civil Kontroll


Headline:  “Putin issued an arrest warrant by George Soros and other financial terrorists”

Description of the antisemitic content:

George Soros and other businessmen with Jewish background is are framed in this article as conspirators against democracy and peace. “Soros has no more chance to play his dirty games and speculations together with Rotschilds, Rockefellers and other jackals, they want to see the global financial systems on their knees,” the article says. 

About the source:

The website Civil Kontroll presents itself as an independent movement of informal group whose members’ identity remains anonymous.  It says it does not provide or receive donations, works for protecting genuine interests of the “Nation” (without mentioning if this means Hungarian or other nationalities) against multinational and global forces and big capital. It says its members want to strengthen the civic control of the parliament, political parties and all levels of decision making, protect the poor. 

Myth Debunked:

George Soros is a billionaire businessman of Jewish descent. In antisemitic discourses Soros is often at the centre of conspiracy theories which states that Jewish people own and control the world’s finance. Like it happens with members of the Rothschild family, being affluent and influential individual, the references to Soros can be misused and may strengthen the clichés that all Jews are rich and powerful. 



israel is daesh

Date of publication: 07 May 2016

Media Outlet: Facebook account of Said Naji

Description of the antisemitic content:

A councillor in Belgium has shared a picture on Facebook (no longer available) calling for the boycott of Israeli goods to support the Palestinian people with the following description: “Yup Israel=ISIS=Hate=Inhumane”


About the source:

Said Naji is a councillor of the Socialist Party in Verviers, Eastern Belgium. 

Myth Debunked:

The latest trends in Get the Trolls Out monitoring of antisemitic events already showed the victim-abuser reversal  taking place in the comparison between the State of Israel and ISIS. It is well known that ISIS has made public accusations against Israel and previous deadly attacks (for example at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May 2014 and at the kosher supermarket in Paris in January 2015) have shown that Jews are key targets of ISIS terror. 



zakia belkhiri

Date of publication: 24 May 2016

Media Outlet: Facebook account of Zakia Belkhiri

Description of the antisemitic content:

Years before becoming a media icon against Islamophobia, Zakia Belkhiri posted on Facebook these antisemitic remarks: “Hitler didn’t kill all the Jews so we can remember why he would kill them” and “I hate them” after making a comment about Jews. 

About the source:

Zakia Belkhiri is a young Muslim woman who stood up to far right wing protesters. She  became famous for taking a selfie at a anti-Muslim protest of the right wing Vlaams Belang group in Belgium.  The photos of her selfies were shared by thousands of supporters around the world. After these antisemitic remarks emerged, Ms Belkhiri offered an explanation: "My opinion many years ago was meant on the zionist back then, that spread hate instead of love so to all the other jews peace be upon you!" She subsequently published a lengthy statement on Twitter apologising "to everyone in the Jewish community which I've hurt with my comments of several years ago."

Myth Debunked:

Zakia Belkhiri’s antisemitic tweets include the support of the Shoah (“Hitler didn’t kill all the Jews so we can remember why he would kill them”). It clearly shows that advocating against one form of racism does not prevent one from sharing racist judgments and statements about other people. This globally poses the difficult question of antisemitism in some anti-racist movements. Indeed, we have seen in our media monitoring and we have shown in our previous highlights that one expression of antisemitism is the reduction of the Jewish identity to the politics of the Israeli government. In the case of Zakia Belkhiri, the antisemitic statements are very clear and blatant.

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