Ephraim Nissan

Middle East siren call: Jews genocide, in pictures

Image from a video released by Fatah (, glorifying the genocide of the Jews of the western Negev by Hamas on 7 October 2023, and, indeed, calling for more of the same. “Fatah’s Bethlehem Branch posted a video showing four images as a song plays in the background. One image portrays Israelis as a rat being trampled by a boot with the colors of the Palestinian flag on its sole” (ibid.).
Image from a video released by Fatah (, glorifying the genocide of the Jews of the western Negev by Hamas on 7 October 2023, and, indeed, calling for more of the same. “Fatah’s Bethlehem Branch posted a video showing four images as a song plays in the background. One image portrays Israelis as a rat being trampled by a boot with the colors of the Palestinian flag on its sole” (ibid.).

In my own academic writings, I have pointed out, time and again, the to and from of how Germany’s Herero genocide in Namibia, when a population was pushed into the desert to starve to death, supplied the WWI Ottoman ruling triumvirate with a blueprint for the Armenian and Assyrian (Nestorian) genocide. The Ottoman parliament had approved in 1915 a plan of deportation to be completed within one year. The regime boastfully declared, about the Armenians, that henceforth they could live in the desert, and nowhere else. The man responsible for the Armenian genocide, the regime’s strong man, Talat Pasha, was shot to death in Berlin after the war, and a debate in Germany’s newspapers, with justification supplied for what Germany’s Turkish ally had done to those supposed Eastern equivalent of Europe’s Jews, raised the prospect of exterminating the Jews, too. Eventually, Hitler remarked: “Who remembers the Armenians?”

Among the Arab population of the Levant and Iraq, and also Iran, Nazism in the Axis years was attractive for many. Hitler was popular among quite a few intellectuals or people who wrote and published. The word “Aryan” derives from Persian, in which it means “Iranian.” For example, the pre-Islamic Babylonian Jews, under Persian domination in the Talmudic period, were “an-Eran,” non-Iranic, rather than “Eran,” properly Iranic, given that they were not even Iranianized linguistically, as they spoke Aramaic. It was that sense, rather than the sense that Nazi Germany gave “Aryans,” that was adopted by Nazi sympathizers in Iran, as it was so flattering for them. Since the Axis years, there were some intellectuals, especially ones secularly inclined, who even in the sixties used being Aryan as a criterion of contempt for Jews and Arabs (and called the Royal House “Pahlevi” with the accent on the second syllable instead of on the last one, to rhyme with “Levi,” since the Shah was well disposed towards the Jews).

Ruhollah Khomeini, who was not a secularist by any stretch of the imagination, listened avidly to Radio Berlin. And this ideological adherence has been evident at least as early as his writings in the sixties. Just as Slovakia had Father Jozef Tiso, the cleric-fascist leader who ruled the Protectorate of Slovakia on behalf of Nazi Germany, Khomeinist ideology was a clerical hybrid with Nazi-Fascism, and still is. Bear in mind that upon his arrival back in Iran (courtesy of the French then president François Mitterrand), Khomeini had the most senior cleric in the country executed, as he wanted to occupy his chair. Khomeini had been promoted, within the clergy, partly out of regard for him, so he would be spared imprisonment for subversion, and indeed, for that reason he was sent into exile instead.

Khomeini was even more hostile towards the Jews than the Shia clergy traditionally had been historically and until recent generations been in Persia. As dictator, he said that the interest of the community of the faithful takes precedence over Islamic law, and he meant that if Nazi-fascist ends required violating religious jurisprudence, never mind, those ends and means are to take precedence. This is the reason why the Iranian regime is absolutely obsessed with Nazi Germany, and denies, mocks, reveres, justifies, and promises the Holocaust of the Jews.

The Western Allies, who nowadays don’t care about denazifying the Middle East (indeed, some in the West may even savor this unsavory situation, in this era of outsourcing, and to some, finishing the job with the Jews has been outsourced to the Middle East, one would suspect), during the Second World War attempted to dissuade the Iranians from supporting Hitler, using a poster that looks like an illustration in traditional art style to the epic poem “Shahnama” (The Story of the Kings). An evil young man, Zahhak, is the son of Merdas (this was the name of his reigning father, and it has nothing to do with what it sounds like in French, Italian, or Spanish). Ahriman, the devil in chief, persuades him to have his father killed. Then Ahriman in disguise kisses Zahhak’s shoulders, and two snakes appear, which cannot be cut off, since they reappear. Ahriman introduces himself as a medical doctor, and explains that every day, these snakes must eat two human brains, otherwise they would eat the brain of Zahhak himself.

Here is an Allied propaganda couple of posters, with Hitler as Zahhak, Italy’s Mussolini and Jap[an’s Tojo as the two snakes, and the diminutive horned cook as the Devil. In the second cartoon, Hitler/Zahhak is shackled, defeated, led away by a hero (two heroes or saints watch froma mountain), and one can also see Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt, who ride while smoking what each of them usually smoked, in triumphant satisfaction. A young Egyptian Greek has started studying for a bachelor of arts degrees at Oxford in 1939, but come the war, he was seconded to the war effort: Kimon Evan Marengo (Marangos), aka “Kem,” was commissioned to draw a series of anti-Hitler posters, based upon Iran’s national epic, the Shahnamah. Arabic he knew, and they also taught him Persian. At war’s end, he was allowed an accelerated path to his degree, and he achieved it in 1946, with a thesis about the history and power of the political cartoon.

We next turn to “art” from a social media post dated October 7, 2023.

This WWII Allied anti-Nazi poster in Iranian art form and catering to Iranians is one of a series, drawn by ‘Kem,’ i.e. Kimon Evan Marengo, an Egyptian Greek, naturalized British, who was commissioned to prepare those posters by the British government. WWII Allied poster in Iranian art form, meant to dissuade from siding with Hitler. (Available on the Web by searching for WWII anti-Nazi posters.) Note the armband worn by the characters, including King Zahhak, the modern pistols carried by bodyguards, and the two snakes on the shoulders: these (who must eat human brains) identify the King as the arch-villain Zahhak, but he has Hitler’s face. The snakes on his shoulders have the faces of Mussolini and Japan’s prime minister Hideki Tojo. The horned cook is the Devil. This poster is now in the public domain.
Ending the Hitler-as-Zahhak poster series, in this poster he has been defeated, and is shackled and carried on the back of a horse, his crown fallen, while the two snakes, Mussolini and Tojo, hang down lifeless. Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt parade on horseback, calm and smoking, while saints are looking down from Heaven. The artist Marengo, originally Marangos, had Italianized his surname into the place of one of Napoleon’s victories, but a marengo is also the golden coin known in late Ottoman Jerusalem in Hebrew as Napoleon-zahav, ‘a golden Napoleon.’

Also note the cartoon unearthed by the excellent David Collier (the Sherlock Holmes doing sleuthing into contemporary antisemitism), at the end of his exposé. Collier found that a self-described London primary school learning support assistant (thus, in a role that assists children requiring special attention) had posted it on social media at noon on October 7, 2023, to the greater glory of what Hamas was doing. He shows Israel as surrounded by a round defense wall, while rockets painted with the Palestinian flag are exploding and utterly destroying the place. The survivors, all men dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jews, are rushing into the sea, swimming or rowing. Whoever shouts about the genocide that he attributes to the Jews, he wants it, naturally against the Jews. The post was made by that non-titular London primary school teacher, with a Middle Eastern name, but various individuals with Anglo-Saxon names expressed approval (as Facebook “likes”).

A London primary school learning support assistant posted this cartoon and comment on social media at noon on October 7, 2023, in order to celebrate the genocide of the Jews, all dressed as religious Jews to stress Jewish identity as being the motive for the genocide. Note the ‘like’ and heart-shaped approval on the part of persons with Anglo-Saxon names. A learning support assistant, in the UK, works alongside a teacher, and helps children who need special attention. This Facebook post was unearthed by the UK-based investigative journalist specialized in exposing antisemitism, David Collier, in his report of October 30, 2023,

During the YIVO webinar about the Nazi root of Hamas ideology, hosted by YIVO in New York on February 26, 2024, Prof. Jeffrey Herf pointed out that Hitler had stated that the Jews intended to exterminate the German, and that therefore he was going to exterminate the Jews. Western democracies chose to disregard those overtly stated intentions. And this is still the case today, when Iran and its proxies such as Hamas, and even what the Palestinian Authority tells its populace, and participants in hate marches in Western cities, proclaim the same.

I am now trying to complete a book about anti-Jewish and anti-Israel imagery in the aftermath of the October the 7th atrocities, and I have come across startlingly instructive visual material. The sheer quantity and quality of the posters and cartoons produced in the Islamic countries and the West by haters of Israel and of the Jews, in order to delegitimize either or both, during the first quarter of the 21st century rivals, this is my impression, the quantity and quality of the output of WWII Allied efforts at visual propaganda. Add to this, media bias and even outright falsification: have a look at David Collier’s report from early March 2024, about the grotesque, sometimes even hilarious extent of, yes, falsification at a particular BBC studio, BBC Verify:

In this op-ed, I have shown the cartoon and Facebook post unearthed by David Collier, and like him, I shudder at the idea that a learning support assistant here in London, one whose task is to look after children who need special attention, has been overtly glorifying a genocide against the Jews. In London, the hate marches held every Saturday since October the 7th refrain, to ensure soft treatment from the London Metropolitan Police, from as explicit calls as have been heard after October the 7th at demonstrations in Milan: “We don’t want borders! We want to kill Jews!” And this, many years later than Rome first heard from protesters: “Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the gas! (Ebrei al gas!)”

As the first decade of this century turned into the second, I was taxied from Rome’s airport to a law school at the University of Camerino, up in the Appennine mountains. It was a summer school, and I had to deliver a lecture, to a public of lawyers, judges, psychologists, and academics. It so happens that right before me, a general of the Carabinieri delivered his own lecture, and it was he, O rarest of honors for me as a speaker, who set up my PowerPoint presentation… but he didn’t remain to listen, as his subordinates came to fetch him away in a hurry.

One bridge in Rome we traversed was restored with bas reliefs glorifying Mussolini, and right in front of you, you would read his title in huge characters: “DUX” (actually, in ancient Roman fashion, “DVX”). As we went through the Parioli posh neighborhood, for many decades now home to young far rightists, a poster caught my attention. It was of Forza Nuova, a neo-Nazi group. It called for forceful support for the struggle in the Holy Land (Terrasanta). On top, it showed a Palestinian flag in the forefront, leading an army of black flags (of the far right of Europe). The far right and far left have joined forces. During the years when Jeremy Corbyn was the Labour leader in Britain, Nick Griffin, the historical leader of British neo-fascists, declared his support for Corbyn. And now that the far-left George Galloway, the most extreme anti-Israel member of Parliament Britain ever had, is an MP again, Nick Griffin has expressed his support for him.

To many in the West, the very existence of a sovereign national state of the Jews is irksome. As Magda Teter, in her research about parallels in the history of Western anti-Jewish and anti-Black ideas has pointed out, the coming into being, in 1804, of Haiti as a sovereign Black state in the Americas, provoked an outpouring of propaganda even further inferiorizing and delegitimizing Black people as a race. Now, in an age that is both hedonistic and self-righteous, the anti-Jewish acts of genocide on October 7, 2023, have enabled many in the West to do away with a mask of conventional respectability, and they are clamoring for more of the same.

As Alvin Rosenfeld has recently written in, Hamas’s “murderous deeds on that day were meant to debase and kill Jews and rally others to collectively put an end to the Jewish state, a strategic objective that recalls some memorable words of the Hungarian Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor, Imre Kertész: ‘The antisemite of our age no longer loathes Jews; he wants Auschwitz.’ Today’s most passionate antisemites continue to loathe Jews and, for that very reason, want Auschwitz”.

On March 5, 2024 while on the bus, I saw on the glass window of a shop specializing in money transfers, and apparently catering to customers whose background is in Muslim countries, a small leaflet with the Palestinian flags, and the now standard slogan of stopping the “genocide” supposedly carried out by Israel in Gaza. Clearly, there is a cognitive dissonance. An Arabic adage says: “Wawi halal, wawi haram?” “How come one jackal is unclean/defiling/forbidden (which in Islamic law it is), whereas another jackal is permitted?” That is to say, how galling it is you are making exceptions when it suits you. As a British academic of Indian descent, Camila Bassi, an admirable far leftist who sides with the Jews, has shown in her book (published in June 2023), Outcast: How Jews Were Banished From the Anti-Racist Imagination, left-wing academics have reached a stage such that, whereas they claim that settler-colonial societies (the real ones!) like Australia are a fait accompli and they (including Australian far leftists!) accept them, Israel deserves nothing less than a genocide, because they hold traditional notions about the Jews being uniquely evil.

In both the Middle East and the West, a huge amount of efforts, and even much artistic talent, has been invested in anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda, and this has mushroomed during the 21st century. And it’s often quite competent artists who produce such material. This is why they manage to powerfully convey toxic notions. Some visual motifs introduced in the late 19th century are still with us, in antisemitic propaganda. Much more clever images have been churned out during the 21st century. They’ll stay with us for generations, I fear, but the very idea is that we Jews ought to no longer have any future generations. It is as stark as that.

About the Author
Dr. Ephraim Nissan has extensive experience as an academic scholar, and as such he has worked in three countries. He has been in London for decades now. He has authored and published more than six hundred publications, in journals or at international conferences, or as chapters in books, and he has also published books he has authored or edited. He also has extensive editorial experience for journals.
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