A prominent cleric in the United Arab Emirates has claimed Israel is a supporter of Qatari television network Al-Jazeera, saying the station was a “weapon of the Jews.”
“Control of the media is one of the weapons used for the destruction of the Islamic nation on the religious and national levels,” Wassim Yousuf said on Abu Dhabi TV in June.
“This is why Shimon Peres went hand in hand with the Al-Jazeera network,” he added, in comments relayed by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
Yousuf did not make clear how he believed Peres, the late prime minister and president, had cooperated with the Qatari channel.
“Media was the first weapon of the Jews in their efforts to make the Muslims doubt their fait,” Yousuf said.
He then went on to discuss alleged scheming by Jewish tribes in ancient Medina.
“Look at the wickedness of the Jews,” he said. “They did not want a war because they were a minority in Medina. They did not want a war, and nor did they want an alliance with the Arab tribes.
“So they wanted another weapon –- the media. They would pretend to believe in Islam at night and renounce it in the morning. This would lead the companions of the Prophet Muhammad to doubt him, and they would renounce Islam and abandon Muhammad. See how they relied on the media.”
He went on to claim Jews rely on “falsification of facts” to reach their goal. “When they heard a news item, they would add a hundred lies to it, thus falsifying the facts.”
This, he said, was also the Jewish strategy today.
Qatar and its Al-Jazeera network have been under fire in the Arab world recently, with Saudi Arabia and its allies placing a crippling embargo on the emirate.
With the support of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, the Saudis announced on June 5 they were suspending all ties with Qatar, accusing it of support for extremist groups — a claim Doha denies.
They closed their airspace to Qatari carriers and blocked the emirate’s only land border, a vital route for its food imports. They also ordered all Qataris to leave and their own nationals to return home.
Last week Riyadh laid down a list of 13 demands for Qatar, including ending Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the closure of Al-Jazeera television, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate.
The Arab world has often blamed Zionism and Judaism for various woes — from the Islamic State and financial crises to pornography, AIDS and even Sesame Street. Media-encouraged anti-Semitsm is thought to be rife in the Muslim world.
AFP contributed to this report.