Israel Resource Review 27th May, 2005


Congress Mulls Conditions for Aid to P.A.
Ori Nir
Washington Correspondent, The Forward

Congressmen are deciding whether to demand that the Palestinian Authority take concrete steps to stop anti-Israeli incitement as a condition for American aid to the territories.Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives are considering attaching such conditions to the additional financial aid that President Bush intends to grant the P.A. in his 2006 budget, congressional sources said.

Lawmakers are alarmed over reports from pro-Israel organizations documenting a proliferation of anti-Israeli and antisemitic statements in the Palestinian media, schools and mosques.Palestinian incitement "is going to be a very big issue for Congress as we move ahead to the next few years," said Ester Kurz, director for legislative strategy and policy at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential pro-Israel lobby.

Several members of Congress, she said, may demand "some kind of linkage" between additional aid and stopping incitement."We are still several weeks away from considering the 2006 budget on foreign aid," Kurz said, "so a lot will depend on [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's] visit to Washington [this week], and on what the administration will request" in terms of aid to the Palestinians.Senator Hillary Clinton zeroed in on the incitement issue during her speech Tuesday in Washington at Aipac's annual policy conference.

"We must continue to be vigilant about monitoring hate and incitement and antisemitism not only by the Palestinian Authority but throughout the Arab world," said Clinton, a New York Democrat. "We must continue to shine a bright spotlight on these messages of hatred and these enticements for martyrdom in these textbooks and on the media that take young minds and twist and pervert them and create a new generation of terrorists and insurgents".

The Forward has learned that two lawmakers, Republican Senator John Sununu of New Hampshire and Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman of California, are demanding that the U.S. Agency for International Development explain the anti-Israeli and antisemitic content in the textbooks.

Money from USAID, which is the vehicle for allocating American aid to the Palestinians, does not pay for the production or printing of the textbooks, but it does fund construction of schools in the West Bank and Gaza. An aid to Sherman, Don McDonald, confirmed that Sherman is sending letters on the issue to USAID and the State Department.The demands for stronger Palestinian action to curtail hate-filled rhetoric come at a time when incitement in the P.A.-controlled media has actually dropped. Several Israeli officials recently said that Abbas, also known by his nom-de-guerre Abu Mazen, is taking significant action to curb such expressions of hatred."Since Abu Mazen [became] chairman, I think there [has been] a decrease in the incitement in the [Palestinian] media," said Major General Amos Gilad, who directs the Israeli military's political department. But, Gilad added, incitement in Palestinian schools and mosques is still plentiful and "the minds are poisoned on a daily basis."In elementary-school Palestinian textbooks, Gilad said, "there is no Israel. Terrorists are heroes. Their portraits look at you from any wall. There is an industry of glorification" of terrorists."That's why," he said, stopping the incitement should be a "precondition" of any future agreement with the Palestinians.Members of Congress are particularly concerned about disturbing content in Palestinian textbooks. They have been receiving a steady flow of information on the topic from one Israeli organization in particular, the Israel Resource News Agency. The agency regularly provides congressmen with controversial selections from Palestinian textbooks. One 10th-grade textbook cited by the agency identified the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' — the century-old antisemitic forgery alleging a worldwide Jewish conspiracy — as the manifest of the Zionist movement. Textbooks still feature maps that do not identify Israel.

The agency's director, David Bedein, said that he and his colleagues recently briefed senior officials in the White House on Palestinian incitement and have held five sessions on Capitol Hill during the past two years.In preparation for Abbas's Washington visit, Bedein said, his organization has been sending out a daily update, instead of its usual weekly report, to American lawmakers on anti-Israeli incitement in the territories."Of course we are doing it because of the Abu Mazen visit," Bedein said.

Several other recent developments have focused attention in Washington on inflammatory public rhetoric in the Palestinian territories. One was the appearance of a link to the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" on an official Web site of the P.A. The link was removed from the site after it was harshly condemned by American Jewish organizations.

On May 13 Palestinian national television carried a sermon delivered by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiras of Gaza City, a cleric known for his fiery speeches, in which he called Jews "a virus resembling AIDS." He accused Jews of committing bigger crimes against Palestinians than the Nazis committed against Jews, contended that the Nazis were only reacting to crimes that the Jews committed against Germans, and yearned for the day when everything in the world "will rid itself of Jews." Following outraged reactions from across the world, Palestinian leaders denounced Mudeiras. Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Shaath called for the sheik's dismissal and promised to prevent the future broadcast of similar sermons on Palestinian television.

Commentaries in the Palestinian press also condemned Mudeiras.

Some experts say that even if Abbas and other Arab leaders take decisive steps to fight incitement, it will take time to undue the damage of earlier propaganda. "You are talking about a long-term endeavor," said Yonah Alexander, a veteran terrorism expert who co-directs the International Law Institute in Washington."These are societies that have been conditioned for generations to believe conspiracy theories and lies," Alexander said. "What you need is no less than a cultural transformation."The point seemed to be hammered home by a recent study on Arab perceptions of the United States conducted for the Council on Foreign Relations, an influential think tank. The study was based on a series of focus groups with university graduates in three Muslim countries: Egypt, Morocco and Indonesia. The findings stunned the report's co-author, Craig Charney.Among many of the respondents, Charney said, anti-Americanism was fed by antisemitic stereotypes. "We did not plan to write about this subject. we didn't even have any questions in our questionnaire about it. But it kept coming up spontaneously,"

Charney said."Many Arabs spoke of Jewish omnipotence in the United States".

When asked about the proportion of Jews in American society, respondents' estimates ranged between 10% and 85%, though studies repeatedly put the figure at under 2%. Some participants in the focus groups thought that as many as 80% of American lawmakers and 90% of people in the media are Jewish."Even people who are better informed than others in their societies held such views," Charney said. "They truly believe it."

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Congressman Sherman Challenges Abbas on Anti-Semitism in Text Books
Contact: Marc Korman, Press Secretary

tel. 202/225-5911

May 25, 2005

[Washington, DC] Congressman Sherman met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and delivered a letter expressing his concern over anti-Semitic portions of Palestinian textbooks and a failure to promote peace in the region.

"The United States has provided $1.4 billion in aid to the Palestinian people since 1993. However, the US cannot continue to support the Palestinian Authority, whether directly or indirectly, if the education system does not create the conditions necessary for peace," Sherman wrote.

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Text of Letter Handed to Abbas by Congressman Sherman

May 25, 2005

For Hand Delivery in Person
His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian Authority

Your Excellency:

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the new Palestinian textbooks which the PA has introduced to several grades of Palestinian primary and secondary schools. Attached please find a copy of a small portion of what I am told is a new 10th grade history text titled History of the Modern Contemporary Word.

I have included page 63 of this text, which references the infamous forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and notes that through it, the Zionist movement had adopted the goal of "world domination."

More disturbing is that this may be indicative of the treatment that Jews and Israel receive throughout the new Palestinian textbooks - especially the universal failure in maps to note the existence of the State of Israel or to refer to places in the area by the names now universally recognized, such as Tel Aviv and Natanya. While Israel and peace is mentioned once in connection with the Oslo Accords, which is a commendable improvement, these concepts are mentioned nowhere else. I am also informed that the discussions of religious tolerance in the texts do not mention Jews specifically.

The shared goal of the Palestinian Authority, Israel, the US and the wider international community is a two-state solution, an Israel and an independent Palestine living side by side and at peace. It is imperative to condition Palestinian children to the existence of Israel and to at least not denigrate Jews or even the Zionist movement.

I know that Palestinian textbooks have been reformed over the past several years and that much offensive material has been eliminated. However, I urge you to ensure that references to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other inflammatory portrayals of Jews are removed from Palestinian texts. I also urge you to ensure that Israel's existence is at least acknowledged on maps and in discussions of Middle East peoples and geography. I also urge that you ensure that Palestinian textbooks include treatment of the Jewish people in discussions of religious tolerance.

The United States has provided $1.4 billion in aid to the Palestinian people since 1993. However, the US cannot continue to support the Palestinian Authority, whether directly or indirectly, if the education system does not create the conditions necessary for peace.


Rep. Brad Sherman

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An Appeal to the Conscience of the Jewish Media
David Bedein

May 27th, 2005

For the past four months, our news agency hired credible Arabic-language journalists to translate and provide the Jewish media with the content of the media of the new regime of Abbas, and place it on an a website,

This was done at a time when JTA did not have the budget to do so.

Our agency has also provided this material to members of the US Congress.

The Jewish media has by and large refused to relate to the content of Abbas's new regime, which showed a consistent message of virulent anti-semitism, anti-Americanism, advocacy of the absolute "right of return" and the continued inculcation of the Palestinian Arab people for war against the state and people of Israel.

Essentially,the Jewish media repeats the mistake of its initial coverage of Arafat during the seven year period of 1993-2000.

As a direct result of the Jewish media not warning the Jewish community of the diaspora of the real message of Abbas, twenty Jewish organizations met with Abbas, not knowing of the virulent message of hatred that emanates from the man who was and is the protege of Yassir Arafat.

The Jewish media had a responsibility to prepare the leaders of American Jewry for the nature of the man whom they were going to meet, and the Jewish media blew the opportunity.

We can recall that the lack of Jewish media coverage of Arafat's message led to a decision of the UJC to provide the Isaiah Award for Peace to Arafat in October 1999 - a decision which was rescinded after our agency reported the decision.

On a personal and professional basis, it would give me great pleasure to report expressions of peace, reconciliation and compromise that emanate from the official Palestinian Arabic language media. Unfortunately, I cannot do so, because it does not exist.

If the Jewish media had warned the world of Arafat's message, perhaps the US would not have nurtured that PLO terrorist, and perhaps some of more than 1000 people murdered in cold blood by the PLO would not have been murdered.

Now the Jewish media protects Arafat's protege, which may result in the US arming Abbas once again.

Please remember: Abbas is one of the authors of the PLO covenant which has never been amended/

That PLO charter is clear in its intention and its program: To exterminate Israel, using the strategy of phases that the PLO adopted in 1974, an amendment written by none other than Abbas.

And please remember that the new school books of the Palestinian National Authority are dedicated to the memory of Haj Amin Al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem who lived with Adolf Hitler and who was the mentor of Arafat and Abbas.

The Jewish media has a choice: to report the reality of Abbas's new regime, or to report on all of those State Department cronies who speak and relate to the fact that he wears a nice suit and says the right things in English a the White House.

The question is whether the Jewish media will adopt a position of integrity on the matter of Abbas.

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