Out of touch on incitement

From the Jerusalem Post:

Palestinian incitement continuing unabated

D-G Kuperwasser hints that US is opposed to recreating incitement monitoring c’tee.

The US is currently opposed to the reestablishment of the long defunct Israeli-US-American committee to monitor incitement, Strategic Affairs Ministry director-general Yossi Kuperwasser intimated on Sunday.

In a briefing to reporters following a cabinet meeting where he brought the most recent “incitement index” to the ministers’ attention, Kuperwasser said both Israel and the Palestinians expressed a willingness to set up the committee, though “we don’t hang much hope on it.” A “third party,” whom he did not identify, but which was clearly the Americans, was not interested, he said.

Diplomatic officials said that the US did not feel that at this time, with the diplomatic process at a stalemate, the establishment of a committee to look at cases of incitement would serve a constructive purpose.

Let’s see if I have this right. While there is nothing happening about peace talks, there’s no point in looking at incitement? Er, come on guys. Maybe the incitement is why there is nothing happening about peace talks. Maybe? Just a teensy weensy bit of a contributing factor?

What does Mr Kuperwasser say:

The bottom line, Kuperwasser said, is that Palestinian incitement is “going on all the time,” adding that the phenomenon is “worrying and disturbing.” He said that at an institutional level the Palestinian Authority was continuously driving three messages home: that the Palestinians would eventually be the sole sovereign on all the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea; that Jews, especially those who live in Israel, were not really human beings but rather “the scum of mankind”; and that all tools were legitimate in the struggle against Israel and the Jews, though the specific tool used at one time or another depended on a cost-benefit analysis.

Kuperwasser provided the ministers with abundant examples of Palestinian incitement culled – with the help of the Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI – from Palestinian television, newspapers and textbooks.

It’s a bad situation, it’s being going on for some time, and there will be no progress unless this incitement stops or is somehow overcome. (All suggestions welcome.)

Note this important point: the official incitement by the PA is against the Jews. Everything is legitimate against the Jews. No political camouflage in use here; just simple anti-semitism. It baffles me why the USA cannot see this for the ball burster of the problem that it is. Or, if they do see it as a problem, what they think should be done about it. Ignore it and it will go away? Much as I do not want to enter the fiery pits of USA politics, Obama deserves a right royal kicking for this attitude. It was ok for him to go to Egypt and deliver smooth accommodating messages and extend a hand in friendship and peace. But it’s not ok for him to say or do anything about this rampant hate? It’s glaring shortcomings like these that make me wonder if it is Obama who cannot see clearly, or his advisers.

Meantime, to give the full picture from the other side:

Koby Michael, the deputy director-general at the Strategic Affairs Ministry, refuted claims that similar types of incitement could be found in the Israeli media or in statements by various politicians against Palestinians.

He said the major difference was that in Israel the incitement was not institutionalized.

There is a need, Michael said, to distinguish between institutional incitement, which exists in the PA, and examples of incitement by individuals in Israel. Likewise, he said, there was a difference between incitement created by the media – which he said is the case in the PA – and acts of incitement reported by the media, as often happens in Israel

Kuperwasser said that the incitement created an “ethos of conflict and encourages” continued hostility to Israel. Saying that east Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine is not incitement, Kuperwasser said, but saying that Israel is engaged in ethnic cleansing is, he said by way of illustration.

In other words, Israel has its nutters and haters, too. But there are crucial differences. Such attitudes are neither official nor part of the day to day media. And such attitudes are always openly criticized and condemned. (It’s democracy, and people are entitled to their free speech, even if we disagree with them.) If anything, the media in Israel is almost a one way stream of self criticism about how we could do things better.

And as for the view from the very top:

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the cabinet meeting there were “two important things” in the incitement index.

First, he said, “the index constitutes an important clarification and reminder of where we live. Usually, we wait for crises in order to be reminded of our environment. The index sheds light and helps us prepare ourselves and avoid the mistake of not understanding whom we are dealing with, who cooperates with and initiates this awful incitement.”

The Palestinian leadership, Netanyahu said, “was bequeathing this incitement to the coming generations and is preventing them from holding a dialogue of peace, the result of which is that it is itself incapable of adopting a dialogue of peace.”

And secondly, Netanyahu said, the index shows that the root of the conflict is the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish people’s right to a homeland in Israel. “We have seen horrific things here, which – inter alia – define Jews as those who poison wells, and which lay the groundwork for harsh and brutal deeds.

We must bring this to the attention of the governments of the world, especially ahead of the upcoming UN General Assembly,” he said.

Like they care.