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Talking with Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch

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My guest today is Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch. Welcome to OpEdNews, Itamar. Please tell our readers what Palestinian Media Watch is and why you felt compelled to create it.

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PMW was established 14 years ago. Since then, we have been reading the three daily Palestinian newspapers, watching and video recording Palestinian Authority official TV and studying all their schoolbooks. Our goal is to get an accurate picture of the internal Arabic language Palestinian world and especially what Palestinian leadership is saying to their children. We feel that if there is to be peace, it has to start with children and has to be founded on peace education. Therefore, what children are being taught in schools and what they are learning from music videos and children's media are a better indicator of the real beliefs and goals of the leaders, and will also determine if we have peace in the next generation.

Our conclusion, unfortunately, has been that there are two different worlds: the English language world for foreign consumption and the Arabic language for internal consumption and there is often no resemblance between the two.

How different is that from what goes on in Israel? You enjoy real freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Israel. So, Arabs, and especially Palestinians, are often vociferously attacked in the Israeli media, aren't they?

Arabs and Palestinians are never attacked in Israel for what they are. In fact, in Israel, it is against the law to incite. Palestinians are verbally attacked for terror promotion and terror support. After the terror attack in 2008, in which 8 Israeli teenagers were murdered by a Palestinian terrorist who murdered them while they were studying in a high school library, the New York Times reported that 84% of Palestinians supported the attack and killings. This is the kind of thing that makes Israelis angry and critical of Palestinians. The Palestinians have named summer camps and soccer tournaments for kids after Palestinian suicide terrorists. This likewise brings anger and condemnation.

Did something specific happen fourteen years ago to impel you to create PMW?

Israel and the Palestinians were at the beginning of a peace process but, instead of bringing peace, under the new Arafat-led Palestinian Authority, terror was worse than ever before. There had never been a suicide bomber in Israel until Yasser Arafat was allowed into the region. We felt it was necessary to see if the peace Arafat was promoting in English was also being promoted in Arabic.à ‚¬ ¨Unfortunately, we found that the worst of our suspicions and fears had been correct. In Arabic, Palestinians were being fed systematic anti-Jewish and Israel hate propaganda. The good will that had been built between Israelis and Palestinians for many years was being undermined by this continuous demonization under the new Palestinian Authority.

So, who reads PMW? Aren't you preaching to the choir (those who support Israel)? And doesn't everyone else just look at PMW as another propaganda tool for Israel?

Just the opposite. PMW is not seen as propaganda because the only opinion we express is the need for peace education. Aside from that we just let the Palestinians speak for themselves.

When we exposed, for example, that Palestinian Authority had been using music videos on TV to indoctrinate its children to aspire to die as child martyrs; that they would go to child martyr heaven with Ferris wheels and where children play with kites, everyone left and right was horrified. And PMW did not have to express any opinions. We just showed the PA TV videos at a hearing in the Senate. Hillary Clinton called them "child abuse". Not only wasn't it propaganda but the main beneficiaries of PMW were Palestinian children, because two of the worst Palestinian Authority propaganda videos promoting the glory of death as martyrs were taken off PA TV the next day.

PMW is doing a service to anyone interested in peace.

In a sermon on official Palestinian Authority TV in January this year, the cleric preached:

"The Jews, the enemies of Allah and of His Messenger, enemies of humanity in general, and of Palestinians in particular " The Jews are the Jews. Even if donkeys would cease to bray, dogs cease to bark, wolves cease to howl and snakes to bite, the Jews would not cease to harbor hatred towards Muslims" The Prophet says: 'You shall fight the Jews and kill them"'" [PA TV (Fatah), Jan. 29, 2010]à ‚¬ ¨

How can any reasonable person not condemn and not fight to eliminate that hate speech? How can any reasonable person not understand that Palestinian hate speech that calls for murder in the name of a religion will destroy the chance for peace?

There are Palestinians and Muslims who have spoken at conferences after I have spoken, who make a point of condemning the material I have shown and the hate propaganda that the Palestinians expose their society and children to.

Why are you in Washington right now?

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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