By Barry Rubin

Ah, the good old days. It’s March 1958. In Egypt, President Gamal Abdel Nasser is mobilizing the Arab street to overthrow more traditional or moderate regimes, spouting anti-Western demagoguery.

One of the main such is in Iraq, the government of Nuri al-Said.

How can the Iraqis compete with Nasser, knowing that they have to counter his propaganda or die? Simple! The Israeli boogy-man. (How things have–not–changed!) So an Iraqi newspaper publishes the photo below, a clumsy forgery to “prove” Nasser is really a Zionist agent who just held a meeting with Israeli General Moshe Dayan.

It didn’t do the Iraqi government any good. A few weeks later, a coup throws out the monarchy and the British-allied regime, replacing it is a radical Arab nationalist government with a lot of Communist influence. Nuri is brutally murdered. The Arab nationalist regime then massacres the Communists and five years later is itself overthrown. And so on.

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The scapegoating of Israel, falsification of material about that country, and prostituting of media in such campaigns is nothing new. But the game has now become worldwide. Those engaged in such pursuits might ponder how such efforts didn’t save those who engaged in them in the past.

I’ve found many fascinating items in the U.S. and British government records that show the Middle East hasn’t changed so much. But in those days before Photoshop, doing a credible job of faking photos was harder, as you can see. Thanks to Professor Michael Doran who came upon this in the National Archives.

 
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