Natan Sharansky's timing was perfect. On January 25, Sharansky, the ex-Soviet dissident and current Israeli cabinet member, presented a detailed report on the Palestinian Authority's promotion of anti-Semitism and genocide in its official media. He did so amidst the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and Israel's National Day Against anti-Semitism.
A day later, one of the co-authors of the report, Itamar Marcus, explained his findings to foreign diplomats in the Israeli parliament. The disturbing report compiled by the Palestinian Media Watch, titled "Kill a Jew-Go To Heaven," illuminates what Sharansky calls the PA's "culture of hatred."
After Marcus delivered his briefing, Sharansky seized on the Auschwitz anniversary in a statement to reporters, declaring that anti-Semitic propaganda poisons Palestinian society as it once did in Nazi Germany.
Is that an exaggeration? Not after perusing "Kill a Jew-Go to Heaven." The 20-page report outlines the three phases of anti-Semitism found in various PA-run media, including newspapers, radio, crossword puzzles, political cartoons, and school textbooks.
The first phase depicts Jews as subhuman. "The foundation stage defines Jews and presents them as different from others, possessing inherently evil traits," the report explains. This hatred is even disseminated to children. "Treachery and disloyalty are character traits of the Jews and therefore one should be aware of them," the Palestinian textbook Islamic Education for Ninth Grade says.
When such content was brought to the PA's attention in 1999, the U.S. government offered to fund the reprinting of that book and others. But the PA refused. The report also contains 20 segments from interviews with various individuals on Palestinian television who compare Jews to animals.
Jewish traditions are maligned in this phase as well. A PA daily newspaper, while blaming the drug problem in the PA on Israel, ran a cartoon of the Jewish menorah, replacing the seven flames with seven syringes.
The second phase portrays Jews as a threat to the existence of Palestinians in particular and the Arab world in general. "[The second] phase shows that these traits are not a private Jewish matter, but have ramifications for the entire world," the report reads. ". . . Jews are planning and executing heinous crimes. If unchecked these crimes constitute a mortal danger, not only to all Muslims and Arabs, but to all of humanity."
This phase also teaches that Jews control all media, which "they learned from the protocols of the elders of Zion," as one Palestinian newspaper wrote. It is also taught that murder is a part of the Jewish religion and Jews are responsible for all catastrophes on Earth. Most recently, Jews were blamed for the Indian Ocean tsunami.
Particularly disturbing are references to the Holocaust. The Al Hayat Al Jadida newspaper has blamed Jews for starting the Second World War and the Holocaust. One children's musical that ran on PA television last May claimed that the Jews built ovens during the Holocaust to kill Palestinians.
The third phase involves eliminating the threat of Jews by genocide. The PA promotes this as being both an act of self-preservation and for the good of the Arab world. "Kill them all, we won't leave a single Jew here," a Palestinian girl told PA TV in October 2000.
As the authors of the report point out, these calls for genocide are "neither the strategy of a fringe PA sect, nor the haphazard ramblings of private individuals behind doors."
Mahmoud Abbas, the new Palestinian president, has met with the state-controlled media and asked that they stop broadcasting anti-Semitic material. There has been some slowing, but the report demonstrates that such Nazi-like propaganda continues to be shown.
At the January 25 press conference, Sharansky dismissed the notion of any progress, and stressed that the PA needs to cease promoting all anti-Semitic themes: "The PA should pursue a policy of zero tolerance of any and all anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in Palestinian media to promote a detoxification of Palestinian society and enable a public acceptance of our two nations living side by side."
Rachel DiCarlo is an editorial assistant at The Weekly Standard.
By Rachel DiCarlo