Hate Not Taught on Both Sides

In a lengthy feature article today entitled “Mideast Violence Moves to the Home Front; For Israelis and Palestinians alike, conflict spills over into other circles of life,” correspondent Tracy Wilkinson makes absurd equivalences between the expression of violence in Palestinian and Israeli societies. Drawing a false comparison, Wilkinson writes: “Everywhere, children are learning about hate. Life seems cheap.” Futher along in the article, she elaborates: “Both societies report a growing acceptance of violence. Palestinian children revere suicide bombers; Israeli children chant ‘Death to the Arabs!’ on school playgrounds.” At no point does Wilkinson discuss a critical distinction between the two cases.

In Palestinian society, the media teaches children to revere suicide bombers. In other words, the hate and violence is an institutionalized part of the establishment. For example, state-sponsored Palestinian television featured a Ramadan special on Dec. 6 in which Dr. Mustafa Najem gave a sermon saying Jews are “cursed . .. the brothers of monkeys and pigs, with a stream of curses that will continue until the Resurrection” (translatedby Palestinian Media Watch). Although individual Israelis may harbor violent and hateful views, such attitudesare not promoted by a government controlled press or state appointed religious or political figures.

While Wilkinson refers euphemistically to the “often bellicose media,” she does not discuss the daily, widespread phenomenon of official Palestinian incitement, which is a fundamental factor in the violence. And, though she neglects to attribute Palestinian violence to Palestinian incitement, she frequently cites Israeli actions — “occupation,” closures, checkpoints, demolitions, the killing of a child — as contributing to Palestinian violence.

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