Anti-Semitism on the rise as Islamists complete 'Arab Spring' takeover

Sunday, January 22, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

It was long argued that bringing democratic freedom to the Middle East would greatly lessen or even eliminate regional Muslim hatred for the democratic West, and in particular for Israel and the Jews.

That theory was put to the test over the past year as dictatorships were toppled from Libya to Egypt to (almost) Syria. It did not receive a passing grade.

Instead of softening their attitude toward Israel and the Jews, democratic freedom has led to the rise of Islamist forces and a seeming explosion of anti-Semitic discourse in the newly free nations.

That was the conclusion of a study by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University that was presented to the Israeli Knesset by Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein on Sunday.

"[While] the popular uprisings in the Arab world do not represent a general change in attitude towards Israel, Zionism and the Jews it seems the anti-Semitic discourse and incitement have become more extreme and violent," read the report. "Charges of an international Jewish conspiracy have been a central motif in the anti-Semitic propaganda that has accompanied the Arab Spring uprisings."

As an example, the report pointed to the numerous libelous declarations by clerics affiliated with Egypt's new ruling parties, as well as religious edicts forbidding Egyptian Muslims from signing agreements with "monkeys," a common reference to Jews.

Meanwhile, the final tally of votes in Egypt's first free election since the ouster of former dictator Hosni Mubarak confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist al-Nour Party will dominate the legislature. The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party won a commanding 38 percent of the vote for the 332-seat parliament. Al-Nour, which is arguably even more radical than the Muslim Brotherhood, won 29 percent of the vote.

The most immediate implication of the election results is that the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Nour will now exercise enormous influence over both the selection and the decisions of a 100-person committee tasked with drafting Egypt's new constitution.

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