The American Jewish Committee has an ongoing series of “animated shorts”, available in both English and Arabic, designed to explain Jews to Arabs. The series is called About the Jews (or عن اليهود), and episode 7 just dropped. It’s quite remarkable.
One major theme throughout the videos in this series is a favorable comparison of Muslim-Jewish relations in comparison to mean Europeans. If you watch the videos, you might notice how similar of a strategy it is to the tone that right-wing anti-Islamist Jews take when presenting to Europeans. These videos take an almost exact reversal of the “we share all these Judeo-Christian values, Muslims can be a real threat to that.”
Here’s the 48-second introduction video to the series (it does not count as one of the seven episodes):
This video, which features the words “AJC: Global Jewish Advocacy”, explains that the purpose of the series is to give Arabic speakers a chance to hear from Jews directly. Near the end is a friendly invitation: “please tell us what you think”.
That’s really great, I think I’ll use the comments section of these videos to do just tha-
The first actual episode of the series is a good introduction to the so-called “JQ”. It attempts to answer the age-old question: “Who are the Jews?” The animation is clear enough that you can tell what’s going on in the Arabic version even if you don’t understand the language, so I recommend giving it a watch. For a fun exercise, listen for the word “Yahood” (Jews).
“Since we consider ourselves a religion, a culture, and a nation, wherever we live in the world we feel like one big family. That’s our ‘ummah.” – AJC
I won’t embed all the videos here because some are more worth watching than others. Episode 2 is about “Jewish-Muslim relations”. The video is quick to mention the freedom of religion guaranteed by Muhammad’s Constitution of Medina, and to highlight the importance of Jewish figures in the Koran. In contrast to nice-looking Muslims being nice to Jews, Europeans are shown as large brutish cave men with big clubs. Gratitude is expressed to the (((Ottomans))) for taking in Jews exiled from Spain by Queen Isabella.
Want to take a guess as to what the third thing Jews have to talk about to Muslims? You probably guessed correctly – it’s the Holocaust (Al-Mahraqah). Again, you can mostly tell what’s going on in the Arabic version.
This video is very different from the other ones in the series. It’s free of any cutesy animations. It’s mostly a fancy photograph slideshow about the Nazis. The heart-wrenching music helps drive the point home.
Here’s the English version. There is again a focus on Arab/Muslim cooperation with Jews in the face of mean gentiles – such as Moroccan King Muhammad V sheltering Jews.
“Despite all the evidence, some people deny the Holocaust or minimize it’s magnitude. Some do this because they simply have not heard of the true story. Some people do this for antisemitic reasons, while others use it as a rhetorical tool in the fight against Israel. But all people of conscience must reject this distortion of history, and its manipulation for political purposes.” – AJC
Episode 4 is about Jerusalem, and why it’s so important to Jews. It goes over the history of the city, again focusing on the theme of mean gentiles vs. hospitable Muslims. The mean Romans and Byzantines kept Jews out, but the Caliph Umar welcomed Jews. The Crusader States were also mean to Jews, but then Saladin welcomed Jews in Jerusalem yet again.
“Again, it was a Muslim conqueror, Salah Al-Din, who allowed the Jews back.” – AJC
But then there’s a twist. After the formation of Israel, it was the Jordanians who held East Jerusalem and kept Jews from accessing their holy sites. But then East Jerusalem was taken by Israel in the 1967 war, but Jordan has a special role to play in the old city. There’s still conflict over the city, but the AJC hopes that these gay videos can help lead to mutual understanding and peace.
The subject of episode 5, the very fifth thing that Jews have to talk about to Arabs, is surprisingly the book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The reason for this might be that the Protocols are taken more seriously in the Arab world than they are here. The AJC refers to the Protocols as a “conspiracy theory” and handles it in the way most counter-conspiracists handle things they want to shut down: by suddenly switching to passive voice and a weird tense and saying “that’s been discredited repeatedly” without further explanation.
Here’s the English version:
“Twenty-four segments, called protocols, contain fictitious plans of a non-existent group of leaders called the Elders of Zion to corrupt the morals of the world, take control of international markets and the global press, and eventually destroy civilization.” – AJC
In case the viewer isn’t convinced that this document is a fraud, maybe this factoid will help:
“Numerous governments, scholars, and religious leaders have verified that the protocols were a work of fiction.” – AJC
That’s confusing, because a fraudulent document and a work of fiction are two different things.
“Nevertheless, the myth of Jewish world control never disappeared. Jews have been blamed for capitalism and its ideological opposite, communism. They’ve been called zealous nationalists who reject the international community and also devious globalists trying to dismantle nation-states.” – AJC
A viewer is supposed to take away from this that Jews being accused of two different things means that they can’t possibly be guilty of both or either of them. Interesting.
The video then moves to the present, noting some contemporary conspiracy theories and how they are similar to the allegations in the Protocols. Conspiracy theories such as “Jews caused the Syrian Civil War”, “Jews are to blame for 9/11”, “Jews are behind the rise of ISIS”, and “Jews are responsible for the spread of AIDS and the coronavirus”.
Episode 6 is about how Israel isn’t a place for just Jews. It’s a place where diversity is a strength.
The final, and newest episode, is about Jews in America. I wrote about part of this process earlier, but now with this video you can get the cute version.
Here is the English video:
“America’s spirit of freedom & pluralism also encourages Jews to take a wide range of views on every subject. … Even as so many Jews call the United States home,
they have dual loyalty problemsIsrael is important as their historic homeland.” – AJC
You can find all English videos in the series, as well as links to the Arabic versions, here. More Jew videos are planned for the future. Stay tuned!