There has been a sharp rise in anti-Semitic and anti-Israel political cartoons in Arabic newspapers following the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The ADL highlighted cartoons from Arabic-language publications in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran.
Recent cartoons used themes that “invoked anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of Jewish control of US foreign policy” or “included dehumanizing depictions of Israel as a beastly animal,” the New York-based watchdog group said.
The cartoons ranged from portraying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump as snakes plotting the takeover of the Temple Mount to the devil holding an American flag with the stars replaced by Stars of David.
Other images showed a pig marked by a Star of David resting on the American flag and Trump cleaning blood off the teeth of a wolf adorned with a Star of David.
Last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was hospitalized reportedly suffering from pneumonia, was pictured reading a newspaper which prominently carried a large cartoon on its back page showing an Israeli soldier taking a baby’s milk away from her and ramming poison down her throat instead.
The cartoon referred to reports — since cast into question — that 8-month-old Gaza resident Layla Ghandour died from inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli troops during violent protests on the Gaza border with Israel.
Trump’s December 6, 2017 decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the embassy there was met with widespread anger in the Arab world, prompting calls for mass Palestinian protests against the shift in US policy.
In particular, tensions along the Gaza border have been high since March 30, which marked the start of a series of violent protests along the security fence, known collectively as the “March of Return.”
A total of at least 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israel since the protests started, according to the Gaza health ministry, which is run by the Islamist terror movement Hamas.
The violence reached a peak on May 14 — the day of the US embassy relocation to Jerusalem — when over 40,000 Palestinians took part in an “unprecedentedly” violent riot along the border, according to the army, as well as smaller protests the next day.
The Gaza health ministry initially said at least 62 people were killed over the two days and a Hamas official said at least 50 of them were members of the terror group.
During the clashes thousands of demonstrators burned tires, threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli troops across the fence and, in a few cases, engaged in armed battles with the IDF.
Israel says its actions — and in particular the use of live ammunition — are necessary to defend the border and stop mass infiltrations from the territory. Israel accused the Hamas terror group of encouraging the protests and using them as cover to attempt to carry out terror attacks, including firing at troops and attempting to breach the border fence.
Agencies contributed to this report.