As director of Palestinian Media Watch, Itamar Marcus believes there can never be peace “as long as the Palestinian Authority is educating its adults and children to see Jews as the enemies of Allah who deserve to be destroyed.”
That message will be central to “Palestinian Media: The Inside Story,” the speech he will deliver on Sunday, Sept. 11, at the JCC of Central NJ in Scotch Plains at a program sponsored by the Israel Support Committee of Central New Jersey.
A New York native and now a resident of the West Bank settlement of Efrat, Marcus was appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to represent Israel in negotiations with the PA on incitement. He founded PMW in 1996.
NJ Jewish News interviewed him by e-mail in advance of his speech.
NJJN: What is the purpose of Palestinian Media Watch?
Marcus: PMW’s goal is to uncover and expose to the general public and decision-makers around the world the activities, teachings, ideology, and goals of the Palestinian Authority. When we find hate and terror promotion, we expose it so it can be condemned and eliminated. When we find peace promotion, we expose that as well so it can be reinforced.
NJJN: How do you go about doing your research?
Marcus: PMW’s staff of nine Arabic language specialists monitors the Palestinian world, analyzing sporting events, cultural activities, educational activities, children’s TV broadcasting, crossword puzzles in the official newspapers, leadership statements, and everything in between. By studying the Palestinian Authority from all these perspectives, from the leaders down to the children, we have our finger on the pulse of the Palestinian Authority.
NJJN: How many publications, websites, and broadcasts do you monitor?
Marcus: PMW monitors the three PA daily newspapers, two Palestinian TV stations — one Fatah TV and one Hamas TV — numerous websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts of Palestinian officials.
NJJN: Do you find a broad spectrum of opinions and content in the materials you look at? How would you characterize the range of opinions? What is the essence of their content?
Marcus: Unfortunately, we find a very narrow range in the Palestinian Authority messaging, and it’s expressed in so many different ways. Take terror glorification, for example. A Palestinian leader will call a terrorist a hero, the religious figure will call him an Islamic martyr, and the [PA] Ministry of Sports and Ministry of Education will name sporting events and schools after the terrorists. Recently we exposed that the most important religious figure in the Palestinian Authority, [PA president] Mahmoud Abbas’s personal adviser on Islam, taught on official PA TV that Jews and Satan have been working together throughout history and that Israel is “Satan’s project.”
NJJN: Is it fair to say many or all of the Palestinian media favor terrorism and wish to destroy Israel?
Marcus: The Palestinian Authority tells the world in English that it is against terrorism, but it teaches its people that killing Israeli civilians is legitimate and even heroic because it is protected by the UN, which voted many years ago that Palestinians have the right to “use all means” to achieve their “rights.” Palestinian Authority leadership tells its people that this includes killing Israeli civilians, and they have said this many times. Abbas, who is perceived by the international community as a “moderate,” is the one who has repeatedly raised the salaries that the PA rewards terrorists who are imprisoned by Israel. He said about the recent terror wave, where Israelis were killed by cars and knives and guns, that this was a “peaceful and popular uprising.” Accordingly, the most admired heroes in Palestinian society are terrorists who have killed the largest numbers of Israelis.
NJJN: Do any Palestinians favor negotiations with Israel? A two-state solution?
Marcus: The majority favors negotiations with Israel for a two-state solution. But the majority sees that as a stepping stone to Israel’s destruction. Fatah leader Abbas Zaki once said on television that the PA goal is actually to destroy Israel but they say to the world that they want the 1967 borders, because everyone knows that Israel can’t survive the [pre-Six-Day War] borders. He added, “You can say it to yourself; you can’t say it to the world.”
NJJN: Does Palestinian Media Watch have a political slant of its own? If so, does it view the content of Palestinian media through the lens of its own viewpoint?
Marcus: PMW has no political slant. No person who applies to work is questioned about their ideology. We have writers and researchers who support all different perspectives. What unites us is a recognition that there can never be peace as long as the Palestinian Authority is educating its adults and children to see Jews as the enemies of Allah who deserve to be destroyed. We all agree this must be exposed at the highest levels internationally. “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.”
NJJN: What will your message be to those who attend your talk?
Marcus: First, I want people to be informed. I will show them children’s broadcasting from Palestinian TV, educational materials, and even news from the world of Palestinian sports. All of this will give them an accurate picture of the true nature of the Palestinian Authority.