Arab TV show based on anti-Semitic forgery

Oct. 23, 2002 at 4:32 PM

CAIRO, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The star of an Arab television series to be broadcast during the holy month of Ramadan Wednesday defended basing it on the Elders of Zion, regarded by experts as an anti-Semitic document forged by the tsarist Russian police.

Muhammad Subhi told United Press International the 30-part series, titled "A Knight without a Horse," was not anti-Semitic but, "an artistic work meant to show the Zionist plots against the Arab nation."

The Israeli authorities have denounced the series for promoting anti-Semitic fabrications and Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior has said the production is in contravention of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace accord, which calls on both sides to prevent incitement against each other.

A special committee formed by Egyptian TV recommended going ahead with the program without changes, ruling that "it does not oppose the Jewish religion but exposes the Balfour Declaration and the Zionist plan to occupy Palestine."

Broadcasting the series is set to begin on Egypt's Channel 2 on the first day of Ramadan that should fall on Nov. 6. It will be shown at peak viewing time in Egypt.

The series tells the story of an Egyptian popular hero, Hafiz Najib, who lived in the 19th century and fought the British forces occupying Egypt. The series ends with the Balfour Declaration of 1917 in which the British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour announced support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

Subhi considers the declaration to have been an English Zionist conspiracy not only favoring a Jewish homeland but also aimed at partitioning the Arab world.

In the series, Najib's struggles take place in the context of plots to control the world attributed to Jews in the spurious Protocols.

In 1993, a Russian court declared the Protocols to be an anti-Semitic forgery. Contemporary evidence shows that it was written by Tsar Nicholas II's secret police in 1903.

The document claims to be an agreement by a group of Jewish elders meeting in Switzerland in 1897 to plot Jewish hegemony through the destruction of Christian civilization. It was first published in Russia shortly before the 1903 Odessa pogrom directed against Jews in the Black Sea port city.

Subhi told the weekly Rose al Yusuf the series, based on a number of what he called historical documents, including "The Protocols of Zion," traced the roots of the Zionist movement and its efforts to establish a homeland for the Jews.

While Jews consider "The Protocols" to be "fabricated propaganda distorting their image, Subhi told Rose al Yusuf, "I checked and found that 19 out of 24 protocols in the book were effectively achieved."

In the past, Subhi has praised Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah for rejecting calls to normalize relations with Israel and said he wished the Arabs had a leader like Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

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