Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), has indicated that he will pursue his U.N. campaign of Statehood-Without-Borders. With the help of scores of Muslim and Arab countries, Abbas’ carefully choreographed “diplomatic” campaign has already yielded full membership in UNESCO, and with the promise of support from as many as 130 nations at the General Assembly, he must certainly feel that the golden ring of full recognition for the moderate PA is not far off.
Perhaps. But while his brigade of three-piece-suit diplomats seems to have its terrain well-covered, Abbas has forsaken a key partner: Israelis. While treaties may be negotiated in the rarefied airs of international institutions, true peace is made between real people. Israelis, who tune into PA TV, are getting a totally different picture of where the PA is taking its people. They are watching in horror as young Palestinians are fed a nonstop diet of pre-genocidal hatred of their Jewish neighbors.
The latest evidence comes from this July 13, 2012, presentation on PA TV (translated by the respected Palestinian Media Watch) that features artist Abd Al-Hai Msallam and his pictorial take — proudly intended for all ages — on an unspecified “Gaza massacre.” The lurid painting depicts a reptilian-headed Israeli soldier devouring a Palestinian boy while he impales a Palestinian girl on his bayonet. This monster wears a skullcap with a Star of David, as do two baby monsters shown eating a pile of dead Palestinian children.
With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior American officials making their umpteenth pilgrimage to the Middle East to resuscitate the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, it would be comforting if such graphic anti-Jewish, anti-Israel obscenities were an aberration. Unfortunately, the painful truth is quite the opposite.
Since 2000, Palestinian cartoonists have made a cottage industry of dehumanizing portrayals of Israelis and Jews as dragons, vultures, spiders, rabid dogs, rats and, especially, “apes and pigs.” The popularity of the “descendants of apes and pigs” image for Jews may perplex the non-Muslim world, but its religious rationale is known even by toddlers in the Middle East. In one chilling segment on “The Muslim Woman Magazine” program aired on Saudi-Egyptian satellite television station Iqraa, a 3 1/2-year-old “real Muslim girl” was asked why she didn’t like Jews. Her reply: Because they are “apes and pigs.” Asked by the moderator, “Who said this?” she replied, “Our God.” Asked, “Where did He say this?” she replied: “In the Quran.” Indeed, the Palestinian campaign gains strength and legitimacy from the scores of books — including “Matzah of Zion,” a blood libel-endorsing screed authored by then-Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas, op-eds, Web postings, and even films throughout the Arab and Muslim world. They draw from both religious themes and from the genocidal propaganda motifs refined by Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia.
Bottom line: While Palestinian diplomats whisper sweet nothings about peace to Secretary of State Clinton, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and European leaders about coexistence, tolerance and peace, the PA serially depicts Israelis as nonhuman apes and pigs as well as cannibals and child-killer ritual murderers in league with the devil. The impact is felt around the world, with blowback on campuses, in churches, online and in newspapers, and on the streets of Europe and the Americas.
The Middle East — having imported the worst of modern Jew-hatred — is re-exporting it back to the Western world, where much of it originated. Pat Oliphant’s 2009 cartoon portraying Israel as a headless — and heartless — Nazi-like goose-stepping soldier pushing forward on a tank-like Star of David with ravenous teeth about to devour a cowering, defenseless Palestinian mother clutching her child appeared widely in American newspapers. Posters on U.S. campuses depicting a ravenous Israeli prime minister devouring a dead Palestinian child, under the caption, “Palestinian meat made in Israel by Sharon, slaughtered under Jewish rites under American license,” helped pave the way for later pro-Hamas demonstrations punctuated with calls for “Jews to the ovens.”
Today’s resurgent anti-Semitism is a global phenomenon that wasn’t invented by Yasser Arafat and isn’t monopolized by Hamas. Why, then, focus the spotlight on the Palestinian nexus with the dehumanizing and demonizing of Jews and Israel? Precisely because it’s the unspoken “deal killer” for the vision of Palestinian and Jewish states living side by side in peace and mutual self-respect. Tragically, the leading Palestinian institutions — whether Fatah, with its vision of a secular nationalist state, or Hamas, the spawn of Muslim Brotherhood religious fanaticism — are both profoundly infected by the cancer of Jew-hatred that also includes Holocaust revisionism and the denial of the Jewish people’s historic 3,500-year connection to the Holy Land.
A decade ago, Saudi Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, imam at Mecca’s Al-Haram Mosque, beseeched Allah to annihilate the Jews while urging the Arabs to give up peace initiatives with them because they are “the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the descendants of apes and pigs.” In a region now roiling in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, Mideast peace will remain a distant mirage unless and until the United States, the European Union and Ban Ki Moon put a price tag on Palestinian hate. In the meantime, another generation of frustrated Arab youth has been victimized by their own parents, teachers and leaders — and they and young Israelis will be the big losers.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Dr. Harold Brackman is a historian who is a consultant to the Wiesenthal Center.