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memri
January 8, 2010 No.
42

Anti-American, Antisemitic Egyptian TV Channel Announces Collaboration with German State TV

By: Yotam Feldner and E. Marcus*

Introduction

The Egyptian television channel Al-Faraeen began broadcasting on June 4, 2009, the day U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his speech in Cairo. The channel is officially owned by the Egyptian company Virginia,[1] but de facto is run by veteran journalist Tawfiq Okasha, who has hosted several shows on Egypt's state television network. Okasha, who hosts Al-Faraeen's flagship daily talk show and is the editor of several other shows, is a member of the ruling National Democratic Party and a member of Gamal Mubarak's Policy Committee which runs the party. He denies, however, that the channel is financed by the NDP.[2]

Al-Faraeen TV is broadcast by the Atlantic Bird 4A satellite, which is owned by the France-based Eutelsat company. Since 2006, Eutelsat has been partnering with Nilesat in the operation of this satellite. Atlantic Bird 4A can be received in the Middle East, North Africa, and southern Europe.

The channel deals with general issues, with an emphasis on Egyptian national identity, as is evident from the name of the channel – Al-Faraeen ("The Pharoahs") – and has a somewhat secular slant. Indeed, Okasha came under criticism even before the channel debuted, when he announced that the channel's policy was "not to allow women clad in the hijab to appear on the air."[3]

Collaborating with German State TV

On December 20, 2009, Tawfiq Okasha announced on the air that Al-Faraeen TV had signed a cooperation agreement with Germany's state TV network, to take effect January 2010. According to Okasha, Al-Faraeen TV would air four programs produced by the German network.[4]

Okasha claimed that the BBC and several U.S. broadcasting networks had also made offers, but that he had preferred the German offer, because, he said, unlike American society, "which is 350 years old… the roots of German and European society go back more than 4,000 years. Hence, there is a clear resemblance between the Egyptian and Arab roots, which go back more than 5,000-6,000 years – and especially the Egyptian roots, which go back 7,000-9,000 years – and the German European race, which goes back more than 4,000-5,000 years."

"The United States Was the Second Civilization to Be Founded on Blood"

Al-Faraeen TV, and Tawfiq Okasha in particular, take a blatantly anti-American approach. Explaining the decision to collaborate with German TV, Okasha said that U.S. civilization is the second in history – after Babylonian and Assyrian civilization – to be founded on blood. In another show, he explained how the U.S. had created "stars" like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and said that the U.S. had used Saddam Hussein against Egyptian president Anwar Al-Sadat in an effort to weaken his negotiating power vis-à-vis Israel.


Okasha, who calls the U.S. "Mama America," in reference to a well-known anti-American Egyptian theatrical show, referred to a bill adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives on December 8, 2009 requiring the U.S. president to report to Congress on anti-Americanism and incitement to terrorism on the Arab TV channels. According to Okasha, "American schizophrenia" is manifest in the fact that while the U.S. talks about freedom of speech, it attempts to restrict TV channels airing views that contradict its own views. Okasha said that the bill would lead to journalists being sent to Guantanamo, or to the establishment of a new prison for them. "I'm afraid I will be living in the new prison, because I have a loose tongue, and I call a spade a spade," he concluded.

· To view this clip, visit: http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=2340wmv&ak=null.

'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' and Jewish Control of the World

One of Al-Faraeen TV's weekly shows is "In Articulate Hebrew," moderated by Iraqi journalist Randa Samir. The show deals with Israeli issues, and generally focuses on articles published in Israeli newspapers or posted on Israeli websites, with a decidedly anti-Israel bent.

In one "long-awaited" show,[5] Ms. Samir hosted Sharif Hamid, a professor of Hebrew language and literature at Egypt's Al-Minufiya University, to discuss The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Quoting extensively from The Protocols, Samir and Hamid stress their "authenticity," claiming that the Jews planned to take over the world using the plots outlined therein. "Zionism, The Protocols, and the State of Israel are all tools used by the global Jewish movement, in order to realize its main goal of establishing a kingdom," said Prof. Hamid, adding that the aim of this Jewish conspiracy is "the establishment of a Jewish state which would rule the entire world through a new king, a descendant of David."

· To view this clip, visit: http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=2329wmv&ak=null.

Al-Qaeda's "Media Advisor"

Tawfiq Okasha twice interviewed a man called Ayman Al-Fayed, who claims to have been the Al-Qaeda media advisor from 1987 to 1993. In the interviews, Al-Fayed recounts how he traveled to Afghanistan and met with Al-Qaeda's leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

Al-Fayed claimed that Al-Qaeda was not responsible for 9/11, for the 1998 attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, or for the 2000 attack on the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden. According to Al-Fayed, there are "two Al-Qaedas" – one run by Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, which is harmless, and the other "an artificial, imaginary, American-made Al-Qaeda." It was the American Al-Qaeda, Al-Fayed contended, that was responsible for the long list of terrorist attacks. Al-Fayed also claimed that the Americans facilitated the attack on Pearl Harbor in an effort to convince the American people of the need to join the war effort. Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri, for their part, "were either killed or are held by the American forces," he added.

The Americans "are Hollywood people," Al-Fayed told Okasha. "Any 20- or 30-year-old guy playing with his computer can make you look like Osama bin Laden."

· To view this clip, visit: http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=2328wmv&ak=null

The Egyptian-Algerian Soccer Riots – An Israeli-Iranian Conspiracy

In the aftermath of the World Cup qualifying soccer match between Egypt and Algeria, held on November 18, 2009 in Khartoum, Sudan, riots broke out. Many Egyptian soccer fans were wounded by Algerian fans, leading to a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. In a November 22, 2009 show, Okasha presented his theory about the outbreak of riots, saying that it was an Israeli-Iranian conspiracy, financed by "Jewish money" and encouraged by the Qatari Al-Jazeera TV network. Okasha added that there were two reasons for this conspiracy: Iran's dreams of a Persian empire, and Israel's desire to cause economic damage to Egypt.

· To view this clip, visit: http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=2327wmv&ak=null.

Additional Al-Faraeen TV Clips

· Head of Al-Faraeen TV Bureau in Gaza: Israel extorts Germany; peace will bring about Israel's end: http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=2341wmv&ak=null.

· Faraeen TV show host Randa Samir's homophobic remarks: http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=2258wmv&ak=null.

· Faraeen TV's interview with translator of the Arab Anti-Discrimination Organization:

http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=2298wmv&ak=null

* E. Marcus is head of the Egypt desk at MEMRI TV; Y. Feldner is director of MEMRI TV.

Endnotes:

[1] According to Okasha, the board of the Virginia Company is headed by his mother Mufida Feki, his aunt Amani Feki and his sister Mamdouha Okasha, and he himself owns a major part of the company. http://www.washwasha.org/TestAjaxNews.aspx?secidMenu=3214.

[4] These would include a program on cars, a program dealing with technological issues, and a program portraying how people live in various European countries.

[5] The following week, Ms. Samir hosted a sequel show on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.