During the month of Ramadan, which ended on June 3, Egyptian television traditionally runs special miniseries, many of which air in other Arabic-speaking countries as well. Haisam Hassanein notes that in this year’s Ramadan programs, Jews were, as in the past, portrayed in a consistently negative light. While diplomatic and military ties between Cairo and Jerusalem have been stronger than ever in recent years, Hassanein also points out that the current regime has tightened its control of the media, so that these soap operas don’t merely reflect the judgments of media personnel:
Some of the major negative themes propagated to the Egyptian public this past Ramadan [include]: American think tanks, funded by Zionist businessmen, conspire against Egypt and have close ties with Israel; Israel works for the United States, which aims to make the Jewish state seem powerful in order to cajole regional leaders into buying American weapons and accepting the U.S. military presence; NGOs are suspicious entities that hire people from all over world, meaning there must be Israeli security agents and proxies among their ranks; terrorism in the Sinai is a Zionist plot to distort the image of Islam; Islamic State is an Israeli creation. . . .
Yet these themes contradict some of President Sisi’s own public remarks, perhaps reflecting the juggling act he feels compelled to perform in order to maintain domestic legitimacy, placate local religious institutions, and simultaneously bolster Cairo’s foreign relations. . . .
According to Annex III, Article V of the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, “the parties shall seek to foster mutual understanding and tolerance and will, accordingly, abstain from hostile propaganda against each other.” Building on that article, Congress should mandate that the State Department submit an annual report on anti-Semitic portrayals in Egyptian media and Washington’s efforts to combat them.