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Jewish World Review
Dec 22, 2011
/ 26 Kislev, 5772
Mideast Deception: Palestinian double-speak
Richard Z. Chesnoff
If they ever gave an Oscar for double-speak, the Palestinian political leadership might well win it hands down - or at least with both sides of its mouth . When they speak in English, French and any other non-Islamic language, every one from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas down loudly proclaims the need for two states to peacefully share the Holy Land - one Palestinian and one Israeli. Invariably they then go on to condemn violence and call for an end to anything that promotes hatred between "good neighbors".
Problem is when they preach in Arabic to their own Palestinian public - most notably its school age population - the same leaders and officials switch to a decidedly different message, one that loudly glorifies terrorists, demonizes Israelis and Jews and totally rejects Israel's right to exist.
Don't believe me? Pick up "Deception: Betraying the Peace Process", a new study by Israeli academics Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, heads of a Jerusalem watchdog group called Palestine Media Watch. http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=950. Recently launched in New York at a luncheon hosted by Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and veteran civil libertarian Bob Bernstein, "Deception", carefully analyzes a full year's stack of cultural, educational and general media clippings and resources in which the Palestinian Authority is seen systematically promoting messages of hate - not the Geneva Accord or the need for negotiations with their neighbors. Indeed, says co-author Marcus, " "their purpose is to undermine the peace process with Israel".
Take Palestinian printed government Holy Land maps. Not a one shows anything called "State of Israel" - even within the UN's 1948 borders, let alone the 1967 lines the Palestinians now say they want. Every inch of land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea is "Palestine". On top of that, school children are steadily taught in school and on "educational" television that Israeli cities like Jaffa (part of Tel Aviv), Haifa, Ashkelon, Beersheba, Ashdod, Tiberias, etc are all "Palestinian". The long Jewish connection to Holy Land history is ignored - often denied. Even President Abbas managed "forget" it when he spoke in October before the General Assembly, highlighting the Christian and Muslim ties to the Holy Land - but completely omitting the Jewish ones that preceded them by centuries.
Palestinian terrorists - most of them killed in attacks on Israelis - are constantly honored as "brave martyrs". Squares, parks and schools are named after them. Children parade to celebrate them. One such ":martyr", 19 year old Dalal Mughrabi, a young women who in 1978 helped murder one American and 37 Israelis - 13 of them children - is the lauded subject of a pop song regularly played on Palestinian Authority television.
Then there's the Palestinian Authority funded monthly educational magazine for children Zayzafuna. Written in part by by the magazine's staff, it also includes essays and poems contributed by children. Much of Zayzafuna's content is positive and educational. But when it comes to portraying Israel and Jews, Zayzafuna changes its tone. It suddenly glorifies Holy War against Israel and praises Martyrdom.
One horrific example: a recent essay submitted by a teenage girl in which she dreams she meets several historic personalities including Adolph Hitler. In her dreams she asks the Fuhrer if he is "the one who killed the Jews?" Hitler responds: "Yes. I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world."
"Unless the PA stops presenting terrorists as role models, and Jews and Israelis as inherently evil, and unless they stop educating their people to imagine a world without Israel, there is no chance of achieving authentic peace," authors Marcus and Zilberdik declared in a recent statement.
Noted Hebrew University professor Shlomo Avineri agees. "It's not what the Palestinians tell CNN or the BBC, it's what they teach their children."
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JWR contributor and veteran journalist Richard Z. Chesnoff was Senior Correspondent at US News & World Report, and is now a columnist at the NY Daily News and the Huffington Post. A two-time winner of the Overseas Press Club Award and a recipient of the National Press Club Award, he was formerly executive editor of Newsweek International. The paperback edition of his critically acclaimed book, "Pack of Thieves: How Hitler & Europe Plundered the Jews & Committed the Greatest Theft in History" is now on sale. (Click on cover above to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.
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© 2009, Richard Z. Chesnoff