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Israeli activist monitors Palestinian messaging
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Israeli activist monitors Palestinian messaging

Itamar Marcus, head of Palestinian Media Watch, will discuss anti-Israeli rhetoric and incitement by Palestinian organizations when he speaks in Clark on Nov. 18.
Itamar Marcus, head of Palestinian Media Watch, will discuss anti-Israeli rhetoric and incitement by Palestinian organizations when he speaks in Clark on Nov. 18.

The Palestinian leadership’s threat to declare unilateral statehood is the most urgent issue facing Israel, said an American-born Israeli who monitors Palestinian media.

The Palestinian Authority is seeking international legal recognition of the 1967 borders even as it has convinced 81 percent of Palestinians that the Jewish state will eventually be wiped out, according to Itamar Marcus, head of Palestinian Media Watch, the nonprofit he founded in 1996.

Anti-Israeli rhetoric and incitement by Palestinian organizations will be Marcus’ theme when he speaks in Clark on Thursday, Nov. 18, at Temple Beth O’r/Beth Torah. The event, sponsored by the Israel Support Committee, a cooperative venture of area synagogues, is open to all. Nan Jacques Zilberdik, an analyst with PMW, will speak with him.

Marcus, who lives in Efrat, in Israel, established PMW in 1996. From his office in Jerusalem, he works with Zilberdik and Barbara Crook, a Canadian who is the group’s associate director and North American representative, and a team of translators fluent in Arabic and familiar with Palestinian culture.

They monitor, analyze, and publicize speeches by leaders of the Palestinian Authority, Fatah, and Hamas, as well as material in the media, and in school books.

PMW reports suggest that Palestinian leaders, despite pledges to the contrary, still countenance imams and broadcasters who encourage children to seek martyrdom, display maps with no mention of Israel, and claim that Palestinians held in Israeli jails are being tortured and used for Nazi-style medical experiments.

In a phone interview with NJ Jewish News on Nov. 5, just before leaving Israel for the United States, he said the group’s focus extends beyond the media to the culture as a whole.

At events like the one in Scotch Plains, and an Israel in Focus event in Los Angeles organized by the grassroots organization, StandWithUs, he said, he will show people how to defend Israel against overt and covert attacks.

Marcus was appointed by the Israeli government to represent Israel in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in the Trilateral Anti-Incitement Committee about a decade ago. He has presented his findings on Palestinian incitement to academic audiences, community groups, and lawmakers in Canada, France, Norway, and Australia.

“The impact is always excellent,” he said, “as people at that level do not deny what they can see and hear.” Some, however, are too fixed in their views to acknowledge what he shows them. “Our target audiences are those who will listen to the facts,” he said.

For more information on Palestinian Media Watch and examples of its reports, go to www.palwatch.org.

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