The “Elders of Zion” are making a comeback in Australia’s Arabic media

June 14, 2019 by Dr Ran Porat
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In 2019, classic antisemitism is alive and kicking in some pockets of Australia, including locally published Arabic media.

Dr Ran Porat

Pierre Sema’an is a leading columnist at the popular Australian, Arabic-language El-Telegraph newspaperEl Telegraph claims to be the “largest Lebanese and Arabic daily newspaper in Australia”.

Over the past few years, my research has shown that Sema’an consistently uses his El-Telegraph column as a platform to spread conspiracy theories and antisemitic fables about Israel as documented in this article published by the Australia/Israel Review in September 2018.

In January 2018, Sema’an repeated the popular trope among extremists that Israel, as well as the US and Saudi Arabia, created and now run the terrorist organisation ISIS.

In June that same year, he enthusiastically argue that a Iran and Israel collude with the aim of  dividing control of the Arab world between them.

Earlier this year, after notorious antisemitic conspiracy theorist David Icke was refused entry to Australia. Sema’an defended Icke, stating that he is convinced that “a world government that enslaves all people, abolishes all religions and imposes all human freedoms and rights” was behind the decision to exclude him.

Then, following March’s horrendous Christchurch massacre, Sema’an wrote in his column that this event was a stage in a global ideological war, which included a struggle between “political Zionism” and Nazism, as prophesized by 19thcentury conspiracy theorist Albert Pike.

In his latest article published last month and titled “Will Iran’s threats turn into a devastating war (the backdrop of what is happening in the Middle East)“, Sema’an digs deep into the roots of classic antisemitism.

Discussing the tensions between Iran, the US and Israel, he recounts conspiracy theories claiming the Jews, represented by the wealthy Rothchild family and the so-called Elders of Zion, control the world’s governments and are executing a gradual plan to gain global domination.

“In the year 2000, the Rothschild family controlled all the banks of the world except seven countries”, opens Sema’an, and since then Rothschild family members have utilized their powers over Western governments to initiate wars in the remaining places (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Sudan) to establish their dominance there as well, he says.

Today, according to his deranged fantasy, only Cuba, North Korea and Iran stand free of the Rothschild family’s control.

The Rothschild family’s supposed strong support of Israel “politically, financially, militarily and economically”, continues Sema’an, “is noticed indirectly by the decisions of the United States, European countries, the Commonwealth and others, which are supportive of Israel and Zionist policies. The Rothschild family has installed many heads of state and leaders such as [Emanuel] Macron in France, [Justin] Trudeau in Canada, [Donald] Trump in the United States and others”.

Pierre Sema’an

In Sema’an’s fable, everything comes back to the US sanctions against Iran and the intensifying pressure on Teheran, which is aimed at subduing Iran “to come under the control of the Rothschild family of Zionism, financially, economically and politically”.

In truth, the Iranian Ayatollahs are pursuing a violent regime of terror through their proxies in the Middle East, are violating UN Security Council resolutions to develop long-range ballistic missiles and continue to threaten they will ramp up Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Sema’an claims Australia and Israel have special rolesdirected by a mysterious world government. While Australia is to command the Asia-Pacific as part of this grand plan, Israel is destined to control the Middle East, and no one is allowed “to fail this plan, facilitating Israel’s control of its wealth and allowing it to impose its conditions on neighbouring Arab states.” Israel is allowed to practice an expansionist policy, says Sema’an, so it can reinstate the Kingdom of David “from the Euphrates to the Nile” as promised by God to Abraham.

In the finale of his published article, Sema’an’s sources are exposed, when he specifically, and unashamedly, points to the “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” – the antisemitic forgery created by the Tsarist Russian regime portraying a Jewish plan for global domination, notoriously used in Nazi propaganda. “The Elders of Zion are deeply aware of the importance of the role that Israel is supposed to play in the region [The Middle East]. They are working hard to achieve long-term goals that ensure Israel’s safety on the one hand and create the right atmosphere for extension and expansion”.

Sema’an, a Maronite Christian,  ends his article with a religious prophecy, with a Christian missionary flavour.  “Israel may have come close to announcing the coming of its ‘Messiah’ … or perhaps it will repent and hesitate ‘that it has failed to read the eternal truth that Christ will come back again.’ And He will be the ‘Messiah of the last Judgment’ who gives his peace to all nations”.

El-Telegraph is an influential Australian publication, reaching a sizable number of Australia’s Arabic-speaking Lebanese-descendant population, particularly in Sydney. It is published a few times a week and claims to be a credible and respectable news source. The editor-in-chief of El-Telegraph, Antoine Kazzi, received an OAM in 2017 for his contribution to journalism in this country.

So why does this respectable newspaper and its celebrated editor allow an extremist like Sema’an to use El-Telegraph as a platform to spread hate, lies and antisemitism? Why do they endorse and encourage this fringe figure, allowing him access to the readership of one of Australia’s leading ethnic paper?

This situation must not be allowed to continue.

Dr. Ran Porat is researcher and lecturer at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University and a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Centre, Herzliya, Israel.

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