May 18 update follows.
May 17, 2005
One of the single greatest failures of the American media in reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been ignoring anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement in Palestinian Authority schools, mosques, television, radio, newspapers, summer camps, public rallies, etc. This officially sanctioned Palestinian rejection of the Jewish state as illegitimate and evil has contributed more than anything else to the lack of reconciliation and peace negotiations.
PA Television Broadcasts
Each Friday, Palestinian Authority (PA) television broadcasts a weekly sermon from a different mosque. This past week, May 13, 2005, the sermon was by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris (also spelled Mudayris), a paid employee of the PA, in which he labelled Israel a “cancer,” the Jewish people a “virus resembling AIDS,” and called upon Muslims to “finish off every Jew.” MEMRI provided both a translation and a video link to the inflammatory rhetoric.
Yet, with the exception of Canada’s National Post which published excerpts of the hate-filled sermon, the mainstream media ignored it.
WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency, frequently incites against Israel, often with bizarre allegations of damaging Palestinian health, or by misreporting events in order to cast Israel as an aggressor brutalizing innocent Palestinian citizens.
Not only does the media remain mum on the outrageous incitement by WAFA journalists, but often quotes WAFA as a legitimate source.
Why doesn’t the media report about these outrageous and frightening examples of officially sanctioned Palestinian incitement? Why do journalists prefer to avoid discussion about Palestinian hate rhetoric, or impose a false moral equivalence if and when they do make mention of it?
According to New York Times ombudsman Daniel Okrent:
The paper’s seeming reluctance, for instance, to report evidence of incitement to racial or religious hatred derives in part, I believe, from a subconscious effort to stick to the noninflammatory middle and to keep things civil, even when civility leaked out of the conflict long ago.
But, as CAMERA discussed with Mr. Okrent, it is precisely the Palestinian “middle” –– official and mainstream –– that is the source of the anti-Israel campaigns, whereas the Israeli “middle” rejects the hate-mongering elements on its own fringes.
The media does have a role to play in reporting about the factors that threaten peace and security in the Middle East. As long as the media continues to ignore the most important one, it fails in its journalistic mission.
UPDATE: May 18, 2005
Reuters finally covered the story of Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris’s inflammatory sermon on May 18, 2005 to inform news consumers that the Palestinian Authority has shown “signs of action” against incitement.
For five days, the wire service that disseminates hundreds of stories a day included nothing about the heinous and shocking PA broadcast. Only when the Palestinian Minister of Information Nabil Shaath attempted to exercise damage control by informing Reuters he asked the Waqf to investigate Mudeiris and prevent him from delivering further sermons, did Reuters make any mention of the original incitement.
Most other news organizations and wire services are still ignoring the story. (Fox News’ Brit Hume mentioned the sermon in his May 17 broadcast.)