December 12, 2003 No.

Al-Shatat: The Syrian-Produced Ramadan 2003 TV Special

During October-November 2003, a 29-part Syrian-produced Ramadan special 'Al-Shatat' (Diaspora) was aired by the Lebanese Hizbullah-affiliated Al-Manar television station. The series shows the purported history of the Jews and the evolution of Zionism. In the coming weeks, MEMRI will release a video compilation of highlights from the series. The following is an overview of 'Al-Shatat:'

The Story

According to 'Al-Shatat,' the Jews have sought to control the world for many centuries, via a secret global Jewish government. Since the 19th century, this secret government has been led by the Rothschild family.

Under this government's leadership, the Jews were directly responsible for the following: starting the Russo-Japanese war; assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo; starting WWI; starting WWII; the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; helping Hitler annihilate the Jews of Europe; helping the Nazis annihilate 800,000 Hungarian Jews in exchange for the release of 2,000 wealthy German Jews; toppling the Ottoman sultan; deposing Czar Nicholas II; starting the Kishinev pogroms; ritually murdering a Christian child in Rumania and using his blood for matzos; torturing and murdering a Jew who married a Christian; murdering Czar Alexander III in Russia; causing the English stock market to collapse following the Battle of Waterloo and again during WWI, in order to make millions of pounds (for the Rothschilds); spying for Germany against France (Dreyfus); inventing chemical weapons (Chaim Weizmann) and selling them to both the Germans and the English; refusing to accept elderly Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis into Palestine; murdering 100 people in Egypt during military training prior to WWI; deposing British prime ministerLord Asquith; sinking a boatload of Jewish refugees en route to the U.S.; murdering emigrating Jews who tried to turn back to Europe; murdering many other characters in the series in a variety of ways; and numerous other catastrophes and criminal deeds.

The Syrian Government's Assistance in Producing 'Al-Shatat'

The series was produced by the Syrian company Linn. Leading Al-Manar officials said that Al-Manar had also been involved in the production.

The Syrian government denied reports [1] that Syria's official television had been involved in producing the series. However, the credits at the end of each episode show that the Syrian government itself assisted in the production; Special thanks are given to "The Defense Ministry, the Culture Ministry, the Damascus Police commanders, the Archaeology and Museums Administration, Damascus District, Aleppo District, Tartus District, [and] the Tartus Port Administration."

Production costs for the series ran to $5.1 million. Al-Manar personnel and the series' producers said they planned to translate it into Hebrew, English, and Farsi. [2]

When the series began filming, the producer was 'Azmi Mustafa, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin. But following conflicts with the Linn company, he was replaced by Nazir 'Awad, who received credit as the producer.

Not Yet Broadcast on Syrian TV

Even though Al-Shatat is a Syrian production, it has not yet been broadcast by official Syrian television, despite reports of Syrian promises to do so. [3]

The series' scriptwriter met with Syrian Information Minister Ahmad Al-Hassan and with Public Authority for Radio and Television Director General Riyadh 'Isma to ask that it be shown, but it was not aired during Ramadan because, according to Syrian government sources, the editing was not completed in time. As Director-General 'Isma explained, "As long as they haven't sent the series in full, we cannot show it. [First] we screen it for the censor." [4]

It appears that following the strong international criticism of Al-Shatat, Syriapreferred that it be shown only on Al-Manar. Syrian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Bushra Kanafani told Al-Hayat that "the series was a private production, not a public production, and official Syrian television is not screening it - which refutes the claims [by critics of the Syrian government]." She added: "Private Israeli and American companies produce films rife with racism, incitement, and insult to Arabs and Muslims." [5]

The Series is Based on Historical 'Truth'

The series was written by Dr. Fathallah Omar, lecturer at the University of Aleppo, and Syrian historian Dr. Suheil Zakar was appointed to check its historical accuracy.

The series' creators repeatedly notified viewers that everything they were seeing was the truth. They also stressed that the series was not in any way based on 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.' Al-Manar deputy director for production affairs Nasser Akhdhar stated: "This series presents nothing but the truth. It is based on over 250 sources by Jewish and Israeli authors, and is not based at all upon books written by Arab and Muslim authors. The series has no connection to the so-called 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion.'There is a large group of documents on which this series is based, in a most objective way." [6]

Apparently, the series' creators were preparing themselves for criticism, in light of last year's Egyptian Ramadan series that focused on the Protocols. For this reason, they included a disclaimer at every opportunity, stating that the series was based not on the Protocols but on books and documents by Jews and Israelis.

Nevertheless, not only did the plot of the series focus on a secret Jewish global government as described in the Protocols, but Episode 22 actually did deal with it. In this episode, the "global Jewish government" convenes to celebrate the deaths of 1,000,000 in WWII, and their leader explains why killing Europe's Jews served the goals of their secret government: "T he higher the number of Jews killed in this war, the more we will be able to convince the world that the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion'is nothing more than a lie invented by the Christian world to increase people's hatred for the Jews. After public opinion is persuaded that this book is nothing more than a lie, we will launch a secret and quiet offensive to prove the truth of this book, until the world again fears us deep inside, and will be defeated by us without a war. Now, a toast in honor of this great war. " [7]

Numerous times, the series' creators mentioned names from the list of sources on which they claimed it was based.

At the beginning of each episode, the bibliographical list was shown: " The Torah; The Talmud, The Memoirs of Theodor Herzl; The Jewish Encyclopedia, The Babylonian Talmud; The Zionist Idea; The Religious Law of Zion; The Jewish State, by Herzl; The History of the People of Israel; The First Israelis; The New Israelis; A Letter to the Pagans; The Hidden Treasure of Talmudic Rules; and The Controversy Regarding Zion."

Furthermore, in press interviews, the creators mentioned additional sources that they claimed supported the historical statements made in the series. Scriptwriter Dr. Fathallah Omar said that the story of Jeanne, Herzl's madame paramour, was drawn "from the book 'The New Israelis,' by Zionist author Yossi Melman [sic]." [8] In an interview with the German news agency DPA, Dr. Omar mentioned two additional sources: Douglas Reed's book 'The Controversy of Zion' and 'The Jewish Encyclopedia,' by Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Masiri of Egypt.

Dr. Suheil Zakar, who supervised the series' historical accuracy, mentioned several sources that he claimed supported its historical statements. Among them were Charles Carter's book 'The Emergence of Yehud in the Persian Period' and Amy Dockser Marcus's 'The View from Nebo: How Archaeology is Rewriting the Bible and Reshaping the Middle East' (which Dr. Zakar called 'The Rewriting of the Torah').

For those interested in the Zionist-Freemason connection, Dr. Zakar recommended 'Pawns in the Game' by William G. Carr (in Arabic, the book's title is 'Pawns on the Chessboard'). He also recommended 'My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding,' by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.

In the same interview, Dr. Zakar explained: "Al-Shatat was not based on 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' at all, even though I read the Protocols several times… During my historical verification of the script, I scientifically examined everything said in it, and I hope that anyone who casts doubts [on its historical accuracy] will show proof instead of shouting… The time has come for us to enter into our battle against Zionism, armed with science. This conflict is not only for the sake of the Arabs and the Muslims, but for the sake of all humanity."

Later, Dr. Zakar discussed the Jews' influence in the U.S., which the series addressed, albeit not extensively, by referring to 'Benjamin Franklin's Speech,' whose source is a 1935 piece of Nazi propaganda: [9] "Regarding the Jews in America, their control of the money, media, and political decisions frightened some of the American leaders, such as President [sic] Benjamin Franklin, who tried to include in the Constitution sections against Jewish control. But they failed, and it is noticeable that every time the Jews sense that an American leader has the desire and intent to liberate America from their control, they entangle him in scandals, and his end is bitter and bad. This is what happened, for example, with Presidents Nixon and Clinton, and with a great number of Congressmen." [10]

Al-Shatat: Anti-Semitic or Pro-Peace?

Al-Shatat's creators completely reject the claim that their series is anti-Semitic. Al-Manar's deputy director for production affairs Nasser Al-Akhdhar stated that there was no way the series could be anti-Semitic, because every single person who participated in the production, editing and broadcasting of the episodes was a Semite. [11]

Scriptwriter Dr. Fathallah Omarinsisted that the series promoted peace. In one interview, in an effort to refute accusations that the series incited to and encouraged violence, Dr. Fathallah said: "The series cannot, under any circumstances, lead to violence and terror, as [some] are trying to present it. On the contrary: It is a scientific step in the direction of the peace process, because it exposes the precepts of the Talmud to the eyes of the entire world, and as a result the peoples of the world will be able to know what traps and catastrophes the hate-filled Zionists are preparing for them. Then, these catastrophes will be spared them, and as a result, security and peace will prevail…" [12]

[1] For example, 'Adli Sadeq, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), November 11, 2003.

[2] Al-Jazeera television (Qatar), November 10, 2003.

[3] Al-Jazeera television (Qatar), November 10, 2003.

[4] Al-Hayat (London), October 30, 2003.

[5] Al-Hayat (London), October 30, 2003.

[6] Al-Jazeera television (Qatar), November 10, 2003.

[7] Al-Manar television (Lebanon), November 20, 2003.

[8] Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), October 29, 2003. Melman is a correspondent for the Israeli Haaretz daily, and never authored such a book.

[9] These forged statements appeared in a 1935 volume of the German antisemitic book "A Handbook on the Jewish Question." It alleges that Benjamin Franklin expressed opposition to Jewish immigration to the United States during a recess in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1789 [the convention was actually held two years earlier], and his comments were supposedly recorded by the South Carolina delegate Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, in his diary. For the statements see Egyptian Government Weekly Reproduces Nazi Propaganda Forgery

[10] Kul Al-Arab (Israel), November 21, 2003 .

[11] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), November 11, 2003.

[12] Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), October 29, 2003.