David BedeinThe writer is director of Israel Resource News Agency and heads the Center for Near East Policy Research, author of Genesis of the Palestinian Authority and Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA Policies Reconsidered.
Imagine, if you would, that a nascent nation-state, somewhere in the world, was in formation, and that it had taken on these features:
Selling land to a Jew would be a capital crime.
* Its new constitution would not allow for any juridical status for Judaism. Jews would not even be allowed to live in the country.
* Selling land to a Jew would be a capital crime.
* The new school system would inculcate children to make war on the Jews.
* Those who murdered Jews would become the national heroes of the new country.
* Their designated head of state earned his Ph.D. on the thesis that six million Jews were not really murdered during World War II, and that the Zionists were actually allies of the Nazis.
The reaction to such a news item would be an outcry from Jewish groups that monitor and react to anti-Semitism as a matter of policy. Yet, we have seen no outcry from these groups in the case of the proposed Palestinian state, even though it possesses all six characteristics listed above.
Others have expressed their deep concern about the anti-Semitism of the nascent Palestinian entity. Four years ago, this reporter covered a briefing for a visiting United States congressional delegation provided by the Vatican representative to Israel. Archbishop Pietro Sambi warned US lawmakers that the new Palestinian Authority's approved state constitution, funded by USAID, provided no juridical status for any religion other than Islam in the emerging Palestinian Arab entity.
The Papal Nuncio also warned that the Palestinian Authority (PA) had adopted Shariah law. Islamic nations that have adopted Shariah have mandated the absolute supremacy of Muslims over non-Muslims as matter of law.
Archbishop Sambi provided our news agency with the PA constitution, with the hope that Jewish groups that monitor anti-Semitism would object to the US-funded Palestinian state constitution. It never happened.
Archbishop Sambi initiated a study of the new PA textbooks, which the Vatican determined to be anti-Semitic in nature. And so, at the recommendation of Archbishop Sambi, the Italian government pulled its money out of the Palestinian Ministry of Education's textbook project.
This past May, Dr. Arnon Groiss, a researcher at the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, made a presentation for European diplomats in Brussels showing how PA textbooks, instead of educating for peace with Israel, promote the violent struggle for liberation against Israel. From these textbooks, Groiss showed that the PA curriculum teaches the following fundamentals:
* Jews are foreigners and have no rights in Palestine.
* The Jews have a dubious, and even murderous, character.
* Israel is an illegitimate usurper that occupied Palestine in 1948 and 1967.
* Israel is the source of all kinds of evil done to the Palestinians.
* Peace with Israel based on reconciliation is not to be sought. A violent struggle for liberation is encouraged instead.
* The exact area to be liberated is never restricted to the West Bank and Gaza alone.
* Jihad and martyrdom are glorified, and terrorist activities against Israel are implicitly encouraged.
* The West is imperialist, aspires to world hegemony, directs a cultural attack against Islam and supports Israel.
The list of accusations against Israel appearing in the new Palestinian Authority schoolbooks includes more than 25 items, including the following:
* Israel contributes to Palestinian social ills and family violence.
* Israel causes the increase of drug abuse cases in Palestinian society.
* Israel pollutes the Palestinian environment.
* Israel usurps Muslim and Christian holy places.
* Israel strives to obliterate the Palestinian national identity and heritage.
This reporter asked spokespeople of the Israeli Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Defense Minister if they would ask a new Palestinian state to cancel its anti-Semitic curriculum. The spokespeople for the Israeli government provided a clear answer: "This is not on the agenda."
The spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked for the question in writing three weeks ago, confirmed that it was received, and will not respond.
Ask a new Palestinian state to cancel its anti-Semitic curriculum.
Questions were then posed to Jewish organizations who monitor anti-Semitism - the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, B'nai Brith, the Anti-Defamation League, the Religious Action Center of the UAHC, the World Jewish Congress, the Institute for Public Affairs of the OU, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Each group was asked if they would request that the American and Israeli governments condition aid to the Palestinian Authority on the nullification of the anti-Semitic constitution and curriculum of the Palestinian Authority.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center responded. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Director of the Wiesenthal Center, wrote: "You have raised an issue that was supposedly addressed during the Oslo process and unfortunately no Israeli government or US administration held the Palestinian leadership accountable. The current questions you raised are important enough that we will urge that the Global Forum on Antisemitism take it up...."
Archbishop Sambi, now the Papal Nuncio in Washington, who has not been afraid to take a clear stand on the issue of official Palestinian anti-Semitism, should be asked to join that forum.
As for the other groups, they should break their silence on this critical issue.