Itamar Marcus is the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), established in 1996 to gain an understanding of Palestinian society through the monitoring of Palestinian Arabic language media and schoolbooks. As the leading organization monitoring and reporting on the media of the Palestinian Authority, PMW has documented in detail the contradictions between the image the Palestinians present to the world in English and the messages they communicate to their own people in Arabic. Mr. Marcus addressed the Middle East Forum on Tuesday, November 21. The following is an account of Mr. Marcus' briefing, as reported in the Evening Bulletin.
Marcus Discusses Hate Education
by Joseph Puder
December 4, 2006
Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), spoke at Philadelphia's Union League last Tuesday, as a guest of the Middle East Forum/Bob Guzzardi Lecture Series.
Marcus, a resident of Efrat, Israel, is on a U.S. tour to acquaint Americans with the hate education produced and delivered by Palestinian Authority (PA) to its people - with a particular focus on children. His powerful presentation was accompanied by vivid images and words of Palestinian clerics, children and political leaders.
"The Palestinian Authority," Marcus said, "preaches peace and incites war." Explaining this phenomenon, Marcus asserted that his organization's main focus is to expose "the contradiction between what the PA says in English to the Western world, and what it says in Arabic to its own Palestinian people."
"We wanted to know," Marcus continued, "what the PA is delivering to its people and especially to the children." PMW analyzed music videos, crossword puzzles, children's pages and sport pages of newspapers, and other cultural and social phenomena. The examples of which PMW found were shocking, including a crossword puzzle with the clue: "Name of a city in occupied Palestine that our Qassam missiles hit ... " The answer - Ashkelon or Askelan, in the Arabic form. Then there are the soccer teams named after suicide bombers, a summer camp for girls named after the first female suicide bomber Wafa Idrissi, a soccer field funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and named after a Black September terrorist named Salah Khalaf.
Under the PA, children are taught to hate Jews. Programs stigmatize Jews with hateful labels that echo and support the teachings of the religious authorities. A program with Tarabisho, a charming talking puppet, teaches preschoolers that, "You cannot trust the Jews." A child in the studio then shouts, "All of us join Tarabisho, and say to everyone: Watch out! You can't trust the Jews, because they can strike us suddenly at any moment. (PA TV Aug. 23, 2004)"
Dealing with the impact of the Hamas victory in last January's elections, in which Hamas won 76 seats out of 132 in the Palestinian Parliament, Marcus pointed out Hamas' uncompromising views on the conflict with Israel and quoted excerpts from the Hamas charter that included: "Palestine has been an Wakf land (Islamic trust, J.P.)." Accordingly, all of Palestine is part of the Islamic domain. The conflict, Marcus emphasized, is no longer a nationalist struggle but a religious war because, as the charter states, "God wants it that way" or put differently, it is not our (Hamas) choice, but God's command.
The Hamas charter specifies, "Islam is in conflict with the Jews." Dr. Ahmed Yousuf Abu Halabiyah, member of the Palestinian Sharia (Islamic religious law) Rulings Council and Rector of Advanced Studies at the Islamic University stated July 28, 2000 on PA TV that, "The hour of resurrection will not take place until you will fight the Jews and kill them." Hamas operatives that send suicide bombers to Israel to kill innocent civilians - mainly women and children, "do not see people with flesh and blood." Their only consideration is that "this is God's opinion."
The Hamas charter has 105 references to Allah, 33 quotes from the Quran, six from the Hadith and seven mentions of Muhammad. By way of contrast, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) charter has none of these references. Recent poll findings presented by Marcus indicate that a vast majority of Palestinian youth wanted an Islamic State. Yet, interestingly, polls also indicate that those educated under Israeli control (before Oslo, J.P.) wanted democracy, while those educated since the PA took control sought an Islamic state. In short, the Palestinians have targeted their education toward the de-legitimization of the Jewish state.
Marcus went on to discuss the role the Palestinian academic community played, in injecting something akin to "replacement theology." He showed a video clip from PA TV of an academic discussion with three leading Arabic archaeologists who negated the Jewish connection to Jerusalem (the Western Wall), any ancient connections to the Land of Israel (asserting that any connections only began in the 16th century) and claimed that the Palestinians are direct descendants of the Canaanites and Hebrews.
Anti-Semitism, the denial of the Jewish state's right to exist and martyrdom are constant staples on PA TV. PA clergy, academics and public officials present unending messages of hate and intolerance. Sheikh Ibrahim Mudayris, head of the Association for Memorizing the Quran at the PA Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, in a sermon on PA TV Sept. 10, 2004 exclaimed, "The hour of resurrection will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims kill them. The Muslims will kill the Jews, rejoice!" The same Sheikh Mudayris charged on PA TV, June 4, 2004 that, "Every time Muhammad came back from his raids, he would find treachery and betrayal by the Jews of Medina, since treachery and betrayal are two character traits of the Jews' nature ... that their descendants inherited from their ancestors until today."
Every agency of the PA serves as a motivating force for the encouragement of suicide killing and martyrdom. Programs on television, radio and in mosques exhort their listeners with messages such as "Oh hero, your enemies seek life, and you seek death." Muhammad Dura, the young boy accidentally killed, most likely, by PA snipers in an exchange of fire with the IDF, is continually immortalized on TV. He has become the PA's poster-child for Shahidism (martyrdom) as he is shown floating in heaven with the message "I am waving to you not in parting but to say follow me."
Marcus underscored today's reality in the PA as he quoted from Hitler's Mein Kampf, "If you want adults to be killers, teach the youth hate."
"The Israeli Left" Marcus charged, "is in denial." They are like "gamblers that double their debt." Likewise, the Israeli media was in denial about the level of PA hate education - an issue that was integral to the Oslo Accords and which should have been monitored from its inception. Only after the recent Intifada, Marcus said, was the Israeli media finally willing to accept PMW materials. And, Marcus added, although the U.S. Congress tightened its rules for aiding the PA, "serious loopholes still exist," especially in the absence of any moderate voices on PA TV."
Marcus' trip to the U.S. is two-fold, to educate and to gain additional support so that PMW can expand its outreach and distribution.