The Conspiracy of Jews: The Quest for Anti-Semitism in Media Dakwah

THE EVENTS of September 11th were reported with different nuances by various Islamic publications in Indonesia. The daily newspaper Republika published the headline: ‘4,000 Jewish employees did not attend work at the World Trade Centre (WTC) on 9/11.’1 This newspaper, which has a primarily Muslim-readership, sought to draw people’s attention to a grand conspiracy theory behind the tragedy. In addition to reporting the alleged absence of Jews from their work on the day of the explosions, Republika also made related claims that Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, was prevented from visiting New York and his planned speech to the United Jewish Communities of New York in September 2001 had been cancelled.
Not only did Republika promote the idea of the so-called Jewish conspiracy concerning September 11th, but Islamic-based magazines such as Media Dakwah, Suara Hidayatullah and Sabili also repeatedly published claims relating to the Jews. As the official magazine of the modernist-Islamist group DDII (Dewan Dakwah Islamiyah Indonesia or Indonesian Council for Islamic Preaching), Media Dakwah has contributed to the creation and dissemination of Jewish conspiracy theories in the aftermath of September 11th. Several narratives detailing a Jewish conspiracy were published by this magazine accusing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of planting Saudi Arabian passports at the WTC, as well as saying the attack on the WTC must have been the work of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents because only Americans have the capability to explode WTC.3 The conspiracy stories pit the Jews against Islam as a part of its strategy to stigmatise Muslims around the world. Media Dakwah was not alone in such accusations as other Islamist mass-circulation media published these Jewish conspiracy theories along with other similar stories. 
Another event that helped fuel this Jewish conspiracy in the Indonesian media was the resignation of President Suharto in 1998. The Islamic magazine Siar published an interview with Suharto in which he blamed the international Jewish community for his downfall.5 He explicitly stated that a Zionist conspiracy was behind the 1998 Indonesian social-political unrest that forced his resignation. According to Suharto, as the world’s largest Muslim nation, Indonesia had been specifically targeted by Zionists.6 In addition, respected American researcher Jeffrey Hadler, who investigated anti-Semitism in colonial and post-colonial Indonesia, has located several publications that accused Zionist networks of infiltrating Indonesian politics late in Suharto’s tenure through direct and indirect machinations.
 Reformasi, which is as a symbol of resistance towards the Suharto dictatorship, has been described as Jewish in spirit.  I will examine Media Dakwah as a case study on how Islamic print media responds to issues related or unrelated to Jewish issues. Specifically, the following questions will guide the trajectory of this article: To what extent is the idea of a Jewish conspiracy alive among Indonesian Muslims today? Are there any theological or Koranic bases for supporting anti-Semitic attitudes? Are theological concerns driving anti-Semitism or, is it also related to the existence of Israel? What is the role of print Islam in constructing ideas about a Jewish conspiracy? In an attempt to answer these questions, I will first briefly sketch the existence of the Jewish community in Indonesia. Following this, the transformation of Masyumi9 that eventually led to the establishment of the DDII will be explored to demonstrate the ideological background of the magazine, Media Dakwah. I will then look at the magazine’s coverage of the divisive debate between cultural Islam and its opponents, to uncover how Media Dakwah has actively been involved in popularizing the Jewish conspiracy. Then, special attention will be given to theological concerns that have their roots in a few verses of the Koran and Hadith.10 Some Muslims used these sources to excuse and “rationalize” the violation of a long-held religious understanding against Jews. 
In order to understand the nature of stereotyping and how Media Dakwah represents Jews in its reports, I will employ contemporary poststructuralist theory. Finally, a conceptual framework of so-called “theories of conspiracy” attributed to Bale will be used in order to examine the extent of Media Dakwah’s belief in a Jewish conspiracy.11 Indeed, Bale’s article on conspiracy theories does not specifically comment on the subject of media, however, his theoretical constructs are useful in exploring the notions and practices of anti-Semitism12 and the belief in the Jewish conspiracy that appear in Media Dakwah.

By: Burhanuddin Muhtadi
SOURCE: The Conspiracy of Jews: The Quest for Anti-Semitism
in Media Dakwah BY Burhanuddin Muhtadi 

this is articel as reference in the reading of material


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