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Middle East Issues





The Washington Post: Palestinian Anti-Jewish Violence is an Israeli ‘Sensational Charge’


The Washington Post's “U.S. condemns video by Netanyahu” (Sept. 12, 2016, print edition) failed to mention the lengthy history of Palestinian Arab incitement and anti-Jewish violence against Israeli Jews. The article, contravening standard journalistic practice, dealt in conjecture as it tripped over itself to ignore and minimize Palestinian efforts to make the land Judenrein. 



The Post's Jerusalem bureau chief William Booth treated with thinly-veiled derision claims made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who in a Sept. 9, 2016 video, accused Palestinians of wanting to commit “ethnic cleansing” of Jews. The Post, after noting U.S. State Department dissatisfaction with the Israeli Prime Minister's remarks, called Netanyahu's comments “a pretty sensational charge—especially given the context. To many, the phrase ‘no Jews' raises the specter of Nazis and Nuremberg laws, of Judenfrei and the Holocaust.”



Yet, what is sensational is The Post's omission of crucial context. Beginning—but not ending—with Palestinian Arab leadership's cooperation with Adolf Hitler's genocidal Nazi regime.


Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Syrian-born founding father of the Palestinian Arab national movement actively collaborated with Hitler. As testimony at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal revealed, al-Husseini—who called himself the “Fuhrer of the Middle East”—was intimately involved in helping Hitler and his henchmen plot potential genocide of the hundreds of thousands of Jews who had lived in the Middle East for centuries, including in what would become Israel in 1948. After World War II, al-Husseini was wanted as a war criminal by Yugoslavia for recruiting SS divisions made up of Bosnian Muslims to murderJews, Serbs and othersin eastern Europe.

In fact, as CAMERA has noted, Al-Husseini's role in fostering anti-Jewish violence predates his partnership with Hitler: Britain, the ruling Mandatory power in pre-state Israel, held him responsible for Arab attacks against Jewish Palestinians in 1920 and 1921. Al-Husseini also orchestrated terrorist attacks against Jews in 1929 and from 1936-1939—the latter resulting in Britain closing the doors of its Palestine Mandate, established by the League of Nations to enable restoration of the Jewish national home. This trapped millions of Jews in Europe as Nazi power expanded.

Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), the entity that rules the West Bank, praised al-Husseini in a January 2013 ceremony as a “pioneer” and a hero. He remains a revered figure by many Palestinian Arabs as German scholar Matthias Kuntzel, among others, has noted.

Palestinian popular culture has also shown an affinity for Adolf Hitler. For example, as The Washington Free Beacon reported in 2015, a store in Gaza is named “Hitler” and features knife-wielding mannequins (“Palestinian Display Mannequins Wield Knives Outside ‘Hitler' Shop,” Nov. 2, 2015).

Put simply, the founding father of Palestinian Arab nationalism colluded with Hitler to bring about the ethnic cleansing of Jews—a fact which The Post, in its seeming haste to minimize Netanyahu's comments, should have noted.

Successive generations of Palestinian leaders have often expressed a desire to rid the land of Jews.

What's past is prologue

In addition to revering Nazis and Nazi collaborators, Palestinian Arab leadership has embraced al-Husseini's objectives and rhetoric. The first charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is currently headed by PA President Abbas, offers a good illustration. Written in 1964, it calls on Palestinians to “move forward on the path of jihad until complete and final victory has been attained, adding “the establishment of Israel” is “null and void…”

The 1968 version of the charter describes “Palestine” as the area encompassing the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel, declaring: “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase.” In other words, contra to what The Post's report implies, Palestinian leaders have called for the removal—via “armed struggle”—of Jews in the West Bank, and elsewhere. The PLO's charter has never been amended (for details see “The PLO Charter Still Calls for Israel's Destruction, Algemeiner, Aug. 21, 2013).

As CAMERA has pointed out (“A Comprehensive Collection of Jimmy Carter's Errors,” Jan. 22, 2007), Abbas' predecessor Yasser Arafat called for Israel's destruction and implicitly that of its Jewish denizens in, of all places, a March 29, 1970 Washington Post article. In it, Arafat stated, “The goal of our struggle is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromise (Washington Post, March 29, 1970).”

Calls from Palestinian leadership for Israel's annihilation run up to the present day. Hamas, the U.S.-designated Palestinian Arab terror group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since shortly after its 2006 electoral victory, has repeatedly—including as part of its charter—called for the destruction of Israel and the genocide of Jews. After Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal reiterated these goals in December 2012, a senior member of the Fatah movement that is led by Abbas, Azzam al-Ahmad, welcomed Meshaal's speech as “very positive (“Abbas' Fatah Praises Hamas' Call for Israel's Demise,” Algemeiner, Dec. 11, 2012).”

As Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a non-profit organization which monitors Arab media in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), the Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem, has noted, official Palestinian media frequently broadcasts images which erase Israel, including maps which depict all of the Jewish state as “Palestine (“PA depicts world without Israel”).”

Not for a lack of trying

Not content with omissions, The Post actively passed on opportunities to note Palestinian and other Arab efforts to destroy Israel. The paper states that “the West Bank has been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967,” but neglects to note that Israel has done so after the failed Arab-initiated 1967 Six-Day War which had as its stated goal the destruction of Israel.

Instead, the paper seeks to minimize the threat posed to Israel. The Post writes, “Obviously, the Palestinians today cannot ‘ethnically cleanse' any Jews.” If so, it's certainly not for a lack of trying as repeated wars and terrorist attacks against Jews indicate.

The Post seemed overly willing to provide Palestinian leaders with the benefit of the doubt, even delving into conjecture. The paper, apparently without evidence, claimed that Netanyahu's reference to ethnic cleansing “appears to be referring to a 2013 statement by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas,” which they noted, said “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of single Israeli—civilian or soldier—on our lands.”

However, as highlighted above, Palestinian leaders' definition of “our lands” includes all of Israel—a fact The Post omitted. Indeed, it is perhaps for this reason that Palestinian leaders have repeatedly rejected U.S. and Israeli offers for a “two-state solution” in exchange for peace with and recognition of the Jewish state in 2000, 2001 and 2008, among other instances, as well as proposals to restart negotiations in 2014 and March 2016. In keeping with its apparent standard practice, The Post failed to note these offers for their readers.

The Post pretends to read Abbas' mind, again

The Post's Booth—contravening standard journalistic practice—editorialized on Abbas' remarks. Booth pointed out that Abbas, in his 2013 remarks, “says ‘Israeli,' not ‘Jew'”—implying that Abbas could not have meant an “ethnic cleansing” of Jews. However, Palestinian leadership frequently uses those terms, along with Zionist, interchangeably. For example, as CAMERA has noted, Munir Maqdah, a Fatah military official, said in 1993 that his forces would continue fighting “the Jews and their agents,” promising that “sooner or later we will throw the Zionists into the sea.” Booth may discern a difference in language and motive, but there is little reason to think that the Palestinian leadership does.

If Booth was looking for an example as to what Netanyahu could have been referring to when speaking of ethnic cleansing, there are, as noted above, plenty of examples to choose from.

To make matters worse, the paper uncritically quoted Matt Duss of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, who claimed, “Palestinian leaders have made clear that Jews can be citizens of a future Palestinian state.” Duss cited as proof a statement by Hanan Ashrawi, “a top Palestinian leader,” who told Israeli journalists in 2014: “Any person, be he Jewish, Christian or Buddhist, will have the right to apply for Palestinian citizenship. Our basic law prohibits discrimination based on race or ethnicity.”

This is risible. How many Jews currently live in PA or Hamas-ruled territory? The Post doesn't say. Perhaps that's because these entities have endorsed policies to make the land under their purview Judenfrei. Abbas' Fatah party has called for the murder of any Palestinian who sells or rents land to a Jew. Fatah Central Committee member, Abu al-‘Einen, said in an Oct. 31, 2014 interview: “Some land brokers must be killed. I call upon our Palestinian people: Anyone who sells even an inch of our Palestinian land must be killed in the streets and Hanged on an electric pole.”

Skepticism from The Post towards Ashrawi's claims would have been warranted. As CAMERA has noted, she frequently makes inaccurate and distorted statements (see, for example “Hanan Ashrawi's Propaganda,” Nov. 8, 2000). Although the paper evidenced plenty of skepticism towards the Israeli Prime Minister's remarks and intentions, it seemingly had none for Palestinian officials and their apologists.

The Washington Post could have reported the story for what it was: the Israeli Prime Ministers condemnation of the ceaseless, bloodthirsty incitement by Palestinian leaders who consistently refuse both peace with and recognition of the Jewish state. A condemnation which came after months of a “stabbing intifada” unleashed after Abbas exhorted on official PA TV on Sept. 16, 2015: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.”

The Washington Post did not, at the time, report Abbas' incitement to violence. Given another opportunity to do so—or to examine the myriad of other examples of Palestinian anti-Jewish violence which perhaps informed Netanyahu's remarks—it passed, preferring instead to deal in conjecture, justifications, and an article cleansed of essential context.


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