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Chapter

REPRESENTATIONS OF JEWISH AND ARAB


CITIZENS IN WESTERN SOCIAL AND MASS
MEDIA DURING TIMES OF DIASPORA:
CONSIDERING WORLD WAR II AND
THE WAR ON TERROR

Jonathan Bishop
Mixter, Freeman, Councillor, BSc(Hons), MSc, MScEcon, LLM, FRSS,
FRAI, FRSA, FInstAM, FCLIP, FBCS, SMIEEE, MIMarEST, MIET,
MACM, MCIJ, MCIPR, CITP, MarTech, AACS

ABSTRACT
Commonalities can be found in how countries have dealt with Jewish
refugees before and after World War II and how Arabs are being spoken
about during the War on Terror. Anti-Semitic sentiment towards Jews
around the time of the Nazis matches the Islamophobia sentiment
following the rise of ISIS. Antagonistic attitudes towards those of Jewish
ethnicity has persisted even today, with references to the holocaust being
pervasive on social media. Equally, attitudes towards Muslims has been
equally divisive on such platforms. During World War II there was emotive
language to the diaspora of Jews into the Holy Land and during the War
on Terror, attitudes to the diaspora of Arabs into Europe has been equally
distasteful. This paper investigates media representations of Jews and
Arabs in the 1930s and 2010s, concluding that many of the issues that were
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prominent in the lead up to World War II are also prominent during the
War on Terror.

INTRODUCTION
The aim of this chapter is to investigate the commonalities between letters
written to the editor of The Times in the early 1930s with those written on
Twitter in the 2010s. The reason for this study is that it has become evident that
much of the rhetoric towards refugees from Syria and Palestine during the War
on Terror, whom are mainly Muslim, are comparable to the rhetoric towards
Jews during World War II. Whether one starts with US Presidents George W
Bush or Donald Trump, the War on Terror has result in significant numbers of
deaths to those with an Arab ethnicity (Croft & Moore, 2010). Under the
leadership of the UKs Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, the
reference to Muslims as immigrants taking the welfare benefits of those low
income people that he would later go on to take away from (Kundnani, 2007),
was used to achieve the ends and likely resulted in the United Kingdom deciding
to leave the European Union and David Camerons subsequent resignation
(Howorth & Schmidt, 2016).
Letters to the editor have been argued to form part of the public sphere
the element of mass media that is open to the public for their own opinion and
not just those of the established journalists (Bentele and Nothhaft 2010; Flew
and Liu 2011; Gimmler 2001; Poor 2005). Some have argued that social media,
such as Twitter, forms part of the public square where the public no longer
have to see permission for their opinions to be published, they can publish it in
their own right (Tapscott and Williams 2006; Tapscott and Williams 2010). This
chapter, therefore, investigates whether there are any differences between the
letters that were chosen to be published in The Times in the early 1930s with
those that were published without any consent required by Internet users in the
early 2010s.

THE WAR ON TERROR AS PART OF WORLD WAR III


It is a premise that the War on Terror that started in 2001 after the 9/11
attacks (Sayer et al. 2008) and up to the point of the United Kingdoms EU
referendum is a pretext for World War III, as many of the small wars going on
between 2001 and 2016 are akin to those in World War II in the 1930s and
Representations of Jewish and Arab Citizens 3

1940s. The rise of the Nazis in Germany and holocaust of Jews is akin to the
rise of ISIS in Iraq, Syria and the Levant that has resulted in Muslim deaths,
and the killing of Palestinians by the Israeli regime occupying Palestinian
Territories is akin to the holocaust of Jews. The bombardments of Syria by
Russia in 2016 and the US in 2017 is akin to that of the Soviet Union and the
US at the end of World War II.

A STUDY OF THE PUBLIC SPHERE IN THE LEAD UP TO


WORLD WAR II AND DURING THE WAR ON TERROR
The aim of this study is to compare letters to the editor made in the early
1930s with social media postings in the early 2010s.

METHODOLOGY
A search was made of Letters to the Editor of the Times Newspaper for the
periods of 1930 to 1933. Words searched for included Palestine, Israel, Arab,
Jew along with the term refugee. The letters identified were then coded for key
terms that would be searchable via the social media platform Twitter to identify
tweets that were posted since the 2015 migration crisis up until immediately
after the EU referendum in the United Kingdom.

Table 1. Themes identified from the letters to the editor

Topic Details Annex


Palestinian References to demonstrations in or about I
Demonstrations Palestine.
Assyrians in Iraq References to the indigenous group of II
and Syria people from Iraq and Syria.
Procurement References to trade, sales, business and III
Issues procurement.
Education References to education of Palestinians or IV
those preventing the education of
Palestinians.
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Colonialism References to colonialism either by the V


British or the modern state of Israel (as
opposed to the biblical one).
Five themes were drawn out of the letters to the editor, which are presented
in Table 1, from which Twitter was then queried to find how the same issues are
reflected in social media.

RESULTS
The results of the investigation showed some similarities and differences
between the letters to the editor from the 1930s and the social media postings
on Twitter in the 2010s.

Palestinian Demonstrations

One of the letters referred to Palestine demonstrations and these were easy
to identify in social media postings also. In view of the recent Arab
demonstrations in Palestine and their effects upon some sections of the public,
it will be refreshing, to those who may be inclined to discredit the growing
friendly relations between Arab and Jew is what was said in one letter to The
Times. Noteworthy peaceful demonstrations these days in Lebanon, Palestine
and Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, was what one tweet read.
Jeremy Corbyn was a veteran anti-Apartheid campaigner, joined Palestine
demonstrations going back years, champion of racism justice, migrant,
Thousands of Iraqis stage anti-government protest, another briefly said. It can
be seen from these statements how the situation in the Holy Land changed
following the imposition of a Jewish-led state in a territory that was called
Palestine in Roman and called Israel in Hebrew. The tone of the tweets conveys
a sense of discontentment, although one points to the fact that the
demonstrations in the Holy Land as well as well as other Middle East regions
were peaceful.

ASSYRIANS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA


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Evident in the letters to the editors from the 1930s were concern for the
indigenous Assyrians in Iraq and Syria. This was also the case in the social
media postings. The letter to The Times said, I do not think that the Assyrian
Christians are being fairly treated or fairly judged, followed by saying,
Assyrians have been settled their hereditary enemies: in many cases, they have
not received any land to work: they have been deprived of their position. The
tweets had a similar sympathy. Assyrians are the oldest race in Syria and Iraq
and they are one of the oldest who became Christian, one user said. The US
and the UK must help the Assyrians in both Iraq and Syria to rebuild their
communities at least as repentance for their sins, they said on another
occasion. Assyrians online only ever argue about land rights, but they need to
postpone that and start talking about Assyrians suffering in Iraq/Syria, another
user said. Syria and Iraq dont belong to Muslims around the world they belong
to Iraqi Syrians and indigenous assyrians are true owners, the same user said
on another occasion. It is quite clear from both the letter to the editor and the
tweets that people feel a moral wrong has been served by the non-consideration
of the rights of the Assyrians in Iraq and Syria, who were Christian natives prior
to the occupation of those countries by divided Muslim groups. The attitude in
all is that more should be done to support the Assyrians, who have greater claim
to the lands as they were there first.

Procurement Issues

Procurement was an issue in the letters to the editor, especially in relation


to British trade. This was also the case in the social media postings, but the
context was different. A Letter in the Times by a Palestinian said, The success
of British products in competitive events abroad gives a considerable stimulus
to overseas sales, and then said, British cars were notably successful last year
in the International Alpine Trial. The number of people discussing British
involvement in procurement relating to Palestine involved quoting news
articles.

Table 2. Statements on Twitter relating to procurement issues


and occasions mentioned

Statement Occasions
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so peaceful boycotts threaten community cohesion 1


and must be made illegal w/ no vote. Prevent does
what exactly?
This is how the British Government is justifying its 4
new ban on boycotting Israel
The statements and occasions are presented in Table 2. Whilst the letter to
the editor was clear of the benefits of British trade to the Holy Land, the tweets
were clear that such trade was allowing the state of Israel to literally get away
with murder.
Concern was raised by the tweets that the UK Government was not
supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) policies that some
local councils wanted to adopt to communicate to the Israeli government that its
actions are irreprehensible.

Education

Education was a minor issue in the letters to the editor, and formed part of
the social media postings. The fact is that, so far from the education of girls
being neglected, apart from the many girls being neglected, apart from the many
girls schools maintained by non-official bodies, great strides have been made
by the Palestine Government in the progress of female education since the
British Occupation, one letter said. We can expect the #Bullt USA to bomb
the crap out of Israel for preventing girls education.. NOT, one tweet said. I
respect ur feelings. But I as Pakistani believes she never stood 4 Palestine girls
education, another said. Congrats to our friends at @DSMT2 for their recent
fantastic fundraiser to support girls education in #Palestine, a further tweet
said. The tweets make clear that despite many Muslims not supporting education
of girls that Palestine is committed to changing that. On the contrary, it was
argued that the state of Israel was not supporting education of girls and that there
was cynicism that the US would not do anything about this because it had a
policy of supporting Israel, despite its atrocities against the Palestinians.

Colonialism

Colonialism was an issue discussed in both the letters to the editor and
social media postings, albeit the context was very different. A letter to The
Times said, Successful colonial development depends on two elements the
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men of the high purpose and the capital to support their effort, followed by it
saying, Palestine is at present mainly an agricultural country, but its industries
are growing and will rapidly absorb new immigrants. Table 3 presents
statements from Twitter relating to colonialism.
Table 3. Statements on Twitter relating to colonialism

Statement
Colonialism, dispossession, ethnic cleansing in 21C #Palestine must
STOP! #ICC4Israel #BDS

Amira Hass: Israeli colonialism, plain and simple [] #palestine #israel


#BDS #jerusalem

Israeli business promotes colonialism as coexistence. [] By:


@walzerscent #Palestine
Yesterdays worst abused race, Jews, have become worst abusers in
Palestine. Once the victims of Colonialism have

There seemed to be a general attitude that Israel was treating the lands
assigned to the Palestinians as their own in a way attributable to the way the
British operated in their colonies. It is quite clear that Israel are seen as bullies
to say the least, and that the capital referred to in the letter is now represented
as an abusive power held by the state of Israel.

DISCUSSION
This study has sought to compare letters to the editor of the Times in the
1930s with social media postings on Twitter in the 2010s. It has found that many
of the same issues discussed in the 1930s in the lead up to World War II are like
those being discussed during the War on Terror.
The study identified a number of themes, which included tweets relating to
Palestinian demonstrations, Assyrians in Iraq and Syria, procurement Issues,
education and colonialism. A theme running throughout the tweets was a
resentment to how the state of Israel which wants the Holy Land to be
occupied only by Jews regardless of the claims to it my Assyrians and Muslims
has been treating the Palestinians. Their actions have been described as
colonialism and there have been attempts to promote the boycotting of their
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goods. It is quite clear that demonstration that take place in the Holy Land are
against how the Israeli government is treating the Arabs and Assyrians.
The letters from the 1930s generally showed the Holy Land as a contented
nation in which there were improving relationships between Arabs, Jews and
the British. What happened since then the carving up of the Holy Land by the
British with internal support has destabilised the region and meant that those
who want the Holy Land to be a Jewish-only state have got a foothold in the
region so that they are able to ethnically cleanse the Arabs and Assyrians.
If one looks at the global political situation surrounding the War on Terror,
then one can see there is little difference between it and World War II. The War
on Terror might therefore be better seen as World War III. The use of chemical
weapons by the Nazis within concentration camps to ethnically cleans Jews can
be seen as a pretext for US involvement in World War II in the same way the
use of chemical weapons in Syria during the War on Terror can be seen as a
pretext for the USs use of its Massive Ordnance Air Blast (i.e. The Mother of
All Bombs) in Afghanistan following its bombing of a Syrian Airbase.
It might seem almost unbelievable that in the space of 60 years the
holocaust, segregation and condemnation of Jews would have been replaced
with the same towards Muslims. However, that is the reality of the situation that
has come about since the War on Terror. As can be seen from this study, the
same contempt and concern towards the Jews is now being shown towards
Arabs and other Muslims. The series of small wars across the world, such as in
Crimea, Syria, Libya and other territories affected by the Arab Spring and
interference of Western and Russian powers, means the War on Terror might be
better renamed World War III.

ANNEX I PALESTINE DEMONSTRATIONS


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ANNEX II ASSYRIANS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA


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ANNEX III - PROCUREMENT ISSUES IN PALESTINE


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ANNEX IV EDUCATION IN PALESTINE


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ANNEX V COLONIALISM
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