Israel is pushing back at what some in the country are calling a growing propaganda war by Palestinians and their supporters to incite anti-Israeli sentiment.
A new report by the Israeli government accuses the Palestinian leadership of encouraging conflict by indoctrinating their people—especially youth—with the idea that the Jewish state has no right to exist. One method they point to is using textbooks that praise resistance against the "occupiers," ignore Jewish history, and promote the idea that all of the land that makes up present-day Israel should return to Arab hands.
The Palestinians have countered that Israel isn't without blame either when it comes to the conflict, citing instances such as one in which an Israeli Army Radio host said, "Islam today is the most terrible disease raging around the world." But the authors of the report are quick to say that most of the mishaps mentioned by Palestinians come from the fringes of Israeli society, while such rhetoric is commonplace in the Palestinian territories.
JN1 asked European Jewish Parliament Member Joseph Villem Van Den Bergh to weigh in on the war of words as Palestinians gear up for another bid at international recognition, this time at the UN General assembly, where they will seek non-member observer status. He said he believes Palestinians have a well-functioning propaganda campaign that is able to grab headlines and smear the Jewish state.
MEJP Joseph Willem Van Den Bergh: The media only sells what is sensation. They don't say, oh it was a nice sunny day in Tel Aviv Today. No. Only when there was a riot somewhere. And the Palestinians are good at making sure there is a newsworthy event somewhere. These people, their ministry of propaganda is their only functioning ministry."
At an annual event in Washington to honour the late Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the US House of Representatives, former US Ambassador to the European Union Stuart Eizenstat described a growing wave of anti-Semitism in the form of unfairly targeting Israel, especially at the United Nations, where more than half of the resolutions condemning human rights violations were aimed at Israel—a number he said is way out of proportion of other countries responsible for egregious human rights abuses.
Jewish and Israeli leaders are now warning that growing extremism among Islamist leaders is making anti-Israel sentiment more and more commonplace in the international debate and is hurting the cause for peace.