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Saturday, 16 November, 2002, 16:34 GMT
US raps Egypt over 'harmful' series
A woman walks past a poster for Horseman Without A Horse
US officials are keeping a close eye on the series
The US says Egypt has done "great harm" to its reputation by broadcasting a controversial television series in which "an anti-Semitic forgery is treated as fact".

The State Department said it had serious concerns about some of the episodes of the 41-part Horseman Without a Horse which is being aired across the Arab world.


This broadcast does great harm to Egypt's reputation - we will continue to express to the Government of Egypt our serious concern over this matter

Nancy Beck
US State Department
Shortly before the broadcasts began last week, Egyptian officials assured Washington they would not allow any anti-Semitic material to be broadcast after the US and Israel requested the series be banned.

The series is billed as a chronicle of the Arab struggle against colonial rule and against the establishment of the state of Israel.

Its producers have insisted that while the series draws from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion - a forged document describing an alleged Jewish plot for world domination - it is not anti-Semitic.

'Serious concern'

US monitors found no objectionable material in the first episodes but the assessment changed when the series began depicting scenes from the Protocols, a US official said.

"We are very disappointed that a Government of Egypt television station would air a programme that includes scenes treating the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an anti-Semitic forgery, as fact," said State Department spokeswoman Nancy Beck.

"This broadcast does great harm to Egypt's reputation. We will continue to express to the Government of Egypt our serious concern over this matter.

"This kind of programme does not continue to the climate of mutual understanding and tolerance that the Middle East so needs," she added.

The State Department became involved after the US-based Jewish pressure group, the Anti-Defamation League, wrote to it, describing the series as the "latest manifestation of an ongoing pattern of anti-Semitic incitement in the Egyptian media".

See also:

07 Nov 02 | Middle East
20 Oct 00 | Middle East
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