Media monitor charges daily incitement by PA
January 23, 2013
Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, worries about the radicalization of the Palestinian people, particularly the youth.
In a recent phone conversation from Israel, he described textbooks, children’s shows, and even summer camps that glorify terrorists, demonize Israelis, and erase Israel from maps.
The result is a shift in attitudes that he blames squarely on the Palestinian Authority, whose often-incendiary media and textbooks his organization has been monitoring and analyzing since 1996. “We have been trying to point out for years that the Palestinian Authority internally, in Arabic, has always been radical,” notwithstanding recent media reports suggesting otherwise, he said.
Marcus will describe the gap between Western and Palestinian media when he joins a panel of experts at an Israel Advocacy Summit in Whippany on Sunday, Feb. 3 (see sidebar).
“The myth that the Palestinian Authority is moderate is just that, a myth, when it comes to internal Arabic affairs,” said Marcus, who was raised in New York and now lives in Efrat.
He offered examples from PA-owned media outlets glorifying terrorists like Ibrahim Hamed, who is serving 54 life sentences for bombings, including attacks at Café Moment in Jerusalem and the cafeteria at The Hebrew University. He cited an essay in a children’s magazine in which a young girl recalls a dream in which Adolf Hitler called the Jews a scourge on humanity. On a PA-sponsored children’s television show, he said, children are taught that “Zion is the enemy, a Satan with a tail.”
Palestinian Media Watch has presented this evidence to lawmakers in the United States, the European Union, Britain, and Australia, sometimes with effective results. For example, shown the children’s magazine, UNESCO leaders withdrew their funding; moreover, Marcus said, representatives from a number of Western European nations “have been horrified when they see what they are funding.”
Marcus agrees with recent reports that the PA is weakening as Hamas regains strength, suggesting that for many Palestinians, there is ultimately little difference between the two. Where some analysts say the PA has lost credibility because it has been unable to deliver on promises of statehood, Marcus says the real reason is to be seen in its message.
“The Palestinian Authority is weakening because they have not given the people a choice,” he said. “They offer only the same message of hatred” as Hamas.
And he thinks that a moment when peace was possible may have passed. “When Israel’s essence and the Jewish people’s essence is constantly targeted, hatred will not go away with a border adjustment,” he said.
Asked about the voice of moderate Palestinians, he said, “There are such voices, but the Palestinian Authority squashes them.”
He cited Hamadi Jebali and Khaled Abu Toameh — former writers for Al Fajr, an Arabic daily newspaper formerly published in Jerusalem — who have complained that the paper is a house organ for the PLO. Marcus also pointed to a recent Palestinian television talk show in which the sound was muted every time a guest offered even mild criticism of the PA.
Marcus said he believes the best response is exposure and to work toward getting countries around the world to cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority in no uncertain terms until the culture of hatred that exists is changed.
Advocating for Israel
THE ISRAEL ADVOCACY Summit, a forum presenting tools to counter assaults on Israel’s legitimacy, will take place on Sunday, Feb. 3, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus, Whippany.
In addition to Itamar Marcus, keynote speaker will be Michael Curtis, author of Should Israel Exist? A Sovereign Nation Under Attack by the International Community.
Panel discussions will focus on responding to misinformation and false accusations at the UN; the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement; college campus advocacy; media monitoring; and advocacy at the local, state, and national levels.
An authority on Palestinian ideology and policy, Marcus represented Israel in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on incitement in 1999 and has presented analyses of Palestinian ideologies to members of the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament and to the parliaments of other countries.
Distinguished professor emeritus of political science at Rutgers University, Curtis is highly regarded as an expert in the fields of political theory, comparative government, European politics and the Middle East, and the history of anti-Semitism. Also the author of Religion and Politics in the Middle East, he was for many years president of American Professors for Peace in the Middle East and editor of the Middle East Review.
Panelists will include Lauren Applebaum, director of U.S. communications, The Israel Project; David Dabscheck, deputy managing director, Israel Action Network; Rabbi Noam Marans, director of interreligious and intergroup relations, American Jewish Committee; Elliot Mathias, executive director, Hasbara Fellowships; David Michaels, director of United Nations and intercommunal affairs, B’nai B’rith International; and Steve Stotsky, senior research analyst, CAMERA.
The summit is free and open to the public. It is being sponsored by the Community Relations Committee of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and New Jersey American Jewish Committee in partnership with area synagogues and organizations.
Registration is requested; visit www.jfedgmw.org/summit or call 973-929-3064.