(January 30, 2019 / JNS) The Palestinian Authority last week removed a photo from the website of one of its ministries because it showed a meeting of P.A. officials in which bottles of a popular Israeli juice were visible on the table.
For friends of Israel, it was another in a long series of mildly amusing incidents in which P.A. officials have gone to absurd lengths to slight the Jewish state. It was all the more entertaining because it exposed the blatant hypocrisy of P.A. officials who call for boycotts of Israeli products while they are enjoying Israeli products.
It also fits into a narrative that friends of Israel have been repeating for decades, but which the Arabs never accept: If the Palestinian Arabs would just realize that peace is good for them, they could be enjoying delicious Israeli foods, having easier lives thanks to advanced Israeli technology, be exposed to the latest agricultural techniques and so on.
I have a different take on stories about P.A. boycott advocates who violate the boycott. I say: Wait, that doesn’t make any sense. The Oslo accords obligate the P.A. to have friendly relations with Israel. It’s not allowed to promote a boycott of the Jewish state. J Street and The New York Times keep telling us that we can trust the P.A., that it wants peace, that it honors the treaties it signs. So why is the P.A. so blatantly violating the accords it already signed?
Meanwhile, the official P.A. newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida last week featured remarks by leader Mahmoud Abbas resurrecting the blood-libel accusation that Israel “poisoned Yasser Arafat.”
Wait, that doesn’t make any sense. Separate teams of French, Swiss and Russian scientists have investigated the poisoning accusation and never found evidence to support it. Peace Now and the United Nations have been assuring us for years that Palestinian leaders are reasonable, rational people. So why are the P.A.’s leader and official newspaper knowingly propagating such baseless lies?
And don’t forget the little matter of such falsehoods blatantly violating the Oslo accords. The accords obligate the P.A. to refrain from “hostile propaganda” against Israel. Accusing Israel of murdering the P.A.’s most beloved leader surely qualifies as “hostile.” So why does the P.A. keep violating the accords? What happened to all those promises that it can be trusted to honor the agreements that it signs?
Also in the past few days, a rally was held in Tulkarm—under Abbas’s official auspices—to honor convicted Palestinian murderer Maher Younes, while the Bethlehem branch of Fatah (the ruling party, chaired by Abbas) posted photos on its Facebook page glorifying teenage terrorist Ahmed Sanagrah.
Wait, that doesn’t make any sense, either. The proponents of creating a Palestinian state keep telling us that it’s safe to create such a state because the P.A. is against terrorism. They say Hamas is the bad one, while the P.A. is moderate. So if the P.A. is against terrorism, why do its leader and ruling party keep glorifying, sheltering and paying terrorists?
By the way, when Abbas spoke at the United Nations earlier this month, he proclaimed the P.A.’s “commitment to international law and legitimacy and to a peaceful solution.”
And that makes perfect sense. Abbas is truly bilingual. When he speaks to Western audiences, he uses all the right words that they want to hear. He sounds peaceful, reasonable and moderate. But when he speaks to his own people, he literally speaks another language: the language of hatred and violence. It’s the kind of language that gets innocent people killed.
There was a time, not so long ago, when it was almost impossible to find out what was being said by Palestinian Arab leaders in their own media. Every once in a while, something would leak out. But by and large, the world news media did an effective job of keeping Americans in the dark about what Arafat, Abbas and the others were saying.
That’s all changed, thanks to Palestinian Media Watch, which exposed the above-cited outrages and so many others. By exposing the P.A. leaders’ true words, PMW has affected U.S. and European policy towards the P.A. and in some cases has led directly to reductions of Western aid to the PA. Palestinian Media Watch is a uniquely worthwhile organization, and it deserves to receive a level of support from Jewish federations comparable to what is given to various other Israel-based agencies that do good work. Now that would make a lot of sense.
Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” is available on Amazon.