When President Bush meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, Mr. Bush will need to emphasize to the Palestinian leader that his continued failure to act decisively against anti-Semitic incitement could have catastrophic consequences. Mr. Abbas needs to put an end — and not just halt for a couple of weeks or so — the obscenity which continues to be broadcast on PA Television, such as a May 13 sermon likening Jews to AIDS and calling for “the extermination of every single Jew.”
For the past 60 years, in Germany, advocates of Nazism and wearers of Nazi regalia in public have been subject to legal sanction, including arrest and imprisonment. In the Palestinian Authority, by contrast, it appears that people who advocate the modern-day equivalent of the Final Solution get a check from their elected government and are given the opportunity to appear on Palestinian public television.
Today, no Palestinian talks seriously, at least in a public manner, about banning the kind of raw anti-Semitic hate speech that is routinely heard from the likes of Hamas — which is right now, the second most powerful political party in the West Bank and Gaza, right behind Mr. Abbas’ Fatah. But Mr. Abbas needs to understand that he has to deal with this problem, and that the longer he delays attacking this political cancer, the longer it will continue to spread.
Ibrahim Mudeiris, the preacher who delivered the May 13 speech we quote from, is a paid employee of the Palestinian Authority. “Allah warned his beloved Prophet Muhammad about the Jews, who had killed their prophets, forged their Torah, and sowed corruption throughout their history,” Mudeiris said. “Israel is a cancer spreading through the body of the Islamic nation, and because the Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers.”
Mudeiris went on to describe how, over the centuries, European nations killed expelled and tortured the Jews because of the latter’s perfidy. As for the Nazis, Mudeiris suggested in his PA Television address that the Jews had the Holocaust coming: “It was the Jews who provoked Nazism to wage war against the entire world, when the Jews, using the Zionist movement, got other countries to wage an economic war on Germany and to boycott German merchandise. They provoked Russia, Britain, France and Italy. This enraged the Germans toward the Jews, leading toward the [Holocaust.]”
True, Mudeiris added, the Jews have been persecuted, but in some ways they are even worse than the Nazis: “But they are committing worse deeds than done to them in the Nazi war …The worst crimes in history were committed against the Jews, yet these crimes are no worse than what the Jews are doing in Palestine.”
But, he concluded, hope springs eternal: “Listen to the prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew.”
This speech is hardly a lone exception. The organizations MEMRI (www.memri.org) and Palestine Media Watch (www.pmw.org) document on their Web sites that this has been going one for years; the PMW site, in particular, shows that this problem has continued to fester since early February, when Mr. Abbas agreed to a cease-fire with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
After receiving a firestorm of criticism in recent days, PA officials denounced the incitement and announced some firings and staff shakeups in the PA media bureaucracy. That’s not enough. This kind of hatred is the antithesis of what President Bush is attempting to achieve. Mr. Bush is trying to create peace; but the kind of incendiary propaganda being broadcast by the PA media is creating a new generation of suicide bombers and jihadists. One of the major failings of the Oslo peace process from 1993-2000 was the reluctance of the Clinton administration to hold Yasser Arafat accountable for PA incitement. Mr. Bush needs to let Mr. Abbas know in no uncertain terms that he won’t be getting a free pass on hate speech.