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"During the 1930s, too many Americans were silent in the face of rising antisemitism, with tragic results," said Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff. "Our generation must not repeat that error. We must speak out against antisemitism today, whenever and wherever it erupts."
The rabbis' letter was sent to the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, D.C., on October 24, 2005. Two days later, the Embassy issued a statement announcing that the series has been canceled.
Those who signed the Wyman Institute's letter included national Jewish leaders such as Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff, vice-president of Reform Judaism's Hebrew Union College. Orthodox, Conservative, and Reconstructionist rabbis also signed the letter.
The antisemitic television series, called "Al-Shatat," portrays Jews conspiring to assassinate world leaders, cause stock market crashes, and provoke world wars, as part of a plan to conquer the world, based on the notorious antisemitic forgery, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." One episode depicts Jews murdering a Christian child in order to use his blood for Passover matzos. Another episode shows Jewish leaders helping the Nazis slaughter Europe's Jews, in order to win world sympathy for Zionism.
The 29-part series had been running on the Al-Mamnou television channel in Jordan, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). In recent years, the series was also aired on Hezbollah's Al-Manar Television and on Iranian Television.
In their letter to Jordan's king, the twenty-four rabbis wrote: "We fear that these horrifying libels could incite viewers to hatred and even violence. Jordanian citizens, especially young people, should not be inculcated with such messages and images, which undermine your noble efforts to promote peace ... Your Majesty, the words you spoke at our meeting last month gave us hope. Please do not allow Al-Mamnou to shatter that hope by broadcasting incitement to hatred."
The letter also suggested that Jordanian Television should air the Holocaust movie "Schindler's List," which Jordan and other Arab countries refused to show when it came out, in 1994. (For the full text of the letter, click here.)