Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Palestinian incitement

One of the joys of summer camp is learning silly songs and chants. In Gaza, the kids at Hamas run summer camps learn a different kind of chant. “Kill!” shouts the instructor. “Kill,” the kids shout back. “Slaughter! Blow up! Charge!”

Then the children double-time out to the drilling square, where they learn martial arts, practice taking prisoners and putting mock guns to their heads, and are taught to hate Israel and America.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” a journalist asks one of the campers, in a report carried on Israel’s Channel 10 (http://tinyurl.com/5ht83o). “A holy warrior,” he replies.

Hamas is running 300 such camps this summer, attended by 50,000 children.

Islamic Jihad runs similar paramilitary summer camps for 10,000 children. At the Islamic Jihad camps, the kids play at firing terrorist missiles. An Islamic Jihad operative assured Ynet news that the children were not exposed to real rockets but to ones made of plastic (http://tinyurl.com/6kpqqj).

Another Gaza camp, run by Popular Resistance Committee, doesn’t make do with toys. Britain’s Sky News reports that children as young as ten are drilled with AK47s and run “an obstacle course, crawling under barbed wire and leaping through hoops of fire while their instructors fire live bullets overhead.” The children also practice ambushing a car and executing the driver (http://tinyurl.com/5fe33e).

The Canadian media haven’t reported this. Indeed, outside Israel, the media pays little attention to Palestinian incitement against Israel – with exceptions of course. Canada’s mainstream media all reported on the Hamas television show for pre-schoolers “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” which used a Mickey Mouse look-alike to teach hatred of Israel and America and belief in eventual Islamic domination.

Evidently, aiming Jihadist propaganda at such young children was sufficiently vile to catch the media’s attention. But vicious propaganda is the norm, not the exception, in the Palestinian territories.

The New York Times gave its readers of glimpse of this last April with a front page story by Steven Erlanger that detailed some of the raw Jew-hatred preached in Gaza mosques and broadcast on Hamas television (http://tinyurl.com/2fap29).

Erlanger had been the Times Jerusalem bureau chief for four years, but significantly, he waited until he was leaving to show the true face of Hamas. Could be he didn’t feel safe writing about it earlier.

Certainly, reporters tread carefully around “militants.” In 2004, David Schlesinger, Reuters' global managing editor, explained that his news agency avoids words such as "terrorist" so that its reporters in the field "can be protected" (http://tinyurl.com/5jtrkz). That is, they don’t call terrorists, terrorists, because if they did, the terrorists might kill them.

The New York Times article, while unsparing of Hamas, went easy on President Abbas’s Palestinian Authority. This points up another reason the media doesn’t report on some incitement. Who wants to say nasty things about a Palestinian who actually favours peace?

However, while not as bad as Hamas, the Palestinian Authority continues to incite hatred. In July, the PA’s official newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, printed three wholly invented stories of Israel conducting Nazi-like experiments on Palestinian prisoners (http://tinyurl.com/6lej5l).

Meanwhile, WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency, carried a ludicrous report of Jews sicking giant rats on Jerusalem’s Arabs. Twice as big and breeding four times as fast as regular rats, these super rats are immune to poison and, somehow, are seen only by Arabs, presumably having been bred to leave Jews alone (http://tinyurl.com/5bprwz).

Other media may not report on Palestinian incitement because it doesn’t fit their ideological blinders. The British newspaper the Guardian, for example, includes Seamus Milne, an apologist for Hamas, on its editorial board. Milne describes Hamas as a “pluralistic” organization (http://tinyurl.com/65vvpk). Meaning, I suppose, that Hamas murders Palestinians, as well as Jews.

The Guardian’s sympathy for this terrorist organization can also be seen in the list of “Useful Links” it gives readers on its “Israel and the Palestinians” page. One link is to the web page of Hamas’s military wing. These would be the people who pass out sweets when they succeed in blowing up a busload of Jews (http://tinyurl.com/6krldr).

The media may also avoid reporting on Palestinian incitement because they feel it wouldn’t be fair. A few years ago, CBC television devoted a news segment to Israel’s complaints that the Palestinian Authority was inciting hatred: broadcasting music videos that glorify suicide attacks, airing Friday sermons calling Jews the descendents of apes and pigs, and so forth.

Apparently to balance the report with some bogus Israeli equivalent, the CBC found a bit of graffiti on a wall in Jerusalem saying “Kill the Arabs.” The news segment also included a long interview with PA spokesmen asking, who’s to say what’s incitement and what’s legitimate criticism? And, hey, I guess that’s right. From the viewpoint of an Israel-hating fanatic, what could be more legitimate than killing Jews?

But mostly, I suspect the media doesn’t report on Palestinian incitement because it’s not new; it’s never-ending. On “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” the Mickey Mouse character has long since been murdered, shot in the back by an Israeli agent.

The mouse was replaced by a bumblebee who told his young audience to "follow the path of Islam, of martyrdom and of the holy warriors." The bee was martyred earlier this year and replaced by Assud the rabbit who told children in his first episode: "I, Assud, will get rid of the Jews, Allah willing, and I will eat them up" (http://tinyurl.com/5wz3fy)

It’s a pity the media doesn’t report more on Palestinian incitement. Land can be negotiated, but I fear this blind hatred of Jews and of Israel may have killed any chance of peace for another generation at least.
A slightly shorter version of this article appeared in the August 14, 2008, Jewish Tribune (http://tinyurl.com/65s2tg), a community paper published weekly by B'nai Brith Canada.