Anti-Semitism in Qatar has come under the spotlight of rare international television, with a Qatari official refusing to make an outright denunciation of hate speech demeaning the Jews of the world, some of whom are rife in the state-backed media of Doha.
Pew Research Center estimates 5.3 million Jews live in the United States, accounting for approximately 2.2 percent of the U.S. adult population.
Anti-Semitic incidents have generated headlines over the past couple years and have contributed to a ongoing trend. In 2017, after getting bomb threats, 11 Jewish community centers were evacuated and nearly 200 headstones were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. Qatari officials, knowing all this, still refuse to denounce anti-semitism and hate speech against Jewish American communities and Jews in general.
In an interview on the German Deutsche Welle channel, Qatari Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lolwah Al Khater also refused to publish a blanket condemnation of assaults on Israeli citizens by Hamas ‘ Islamist group.
Her responses were likely to do little to deflect criticism of Qatar, which hosts the Gaza Strip-ruling Hamas leadership and whose influence lies heavily in media outlets perceived as promoting antisemitism.
Asked about hate speech preachers on the Qatari government’s payroll, one of whom defined Jews as “deceptive, lying, evil, fornicating,” Ms. Al Khater said these remarks were “inappropriate and discriminatory.”
Last month, the state-funded Qatari news station Al Jazeera was pressured to remove an Arabic-language video created by its social media department that questioned the massacre of six million Jews in the Second World War and encouraged conspiracy theories about Jewish command of global press and finance, reinforcing falsehoods that had gained momentum by supporting Arab regimes in Middle East.
Al Jazeera is perceived to be shying away from taking a clean line against anti-Semitism and hate speech despite the video’s withdrawal. Several of its prominent journalists openly sympathize with the Muslim Brotherhood, whose ideology is partly anti-Semitic.
Since the conflict between Qatar and its Arab neighbors started two years ago, the channel had also adopted a pro-Iranian position glossing over the stance of Iranian-backed forces in Syria.
Ms Al Khater refused to acknowledge the attacks on Israeli citizens by the Qatari- and Iranian-backed Hamas party as terrorism without connecting the assaults with what she identified as terrorism against the Palestinians by Israel.