The US State Department has finally called out the anti-Semitism of the Palestinian Authority, in its newly-released annual report on international religious freedom.
The new report indicated that official Palestinian Authority media “carried religiously intolerant material” in its television programs that “denied a historical Jewish presence in Jerusalem” or referred to Jews as "evil."
The admission from the State Department comes in marked contrast to its stance on Palestinian anti-Semitism in previous years. In the past, the State Department had claimed that Palestinian denial of a Jewish connection to Jerusalem was mere "[criticism of] the Israeli occupation" rather than an expression of anti-Semitism, according to JNS. Similarly, Palestinian channels that did carry anti-Semitic material were dismissed as “non-official PA and non-mainstream,” according to last year's State Department report.
In addition, this year's report dropped claims that the PA was actively working to prevent anti-Semitic hate-speech. According to JNS, the State Department had previously asserted that the PA worked to "prevent [...] sermons with intolerant or anti-Semitic messages.”
Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Jay Sekulow welcomed the change in State Department policy. “Even though the Obama Administration and its State Department have a long history of false equivocations and threats of betrayal for Israel — our greatest ally in the Middle East — their report still points out the growing threats from anti-Semitism. The section on Israel notes the attacks on Israeli Jews, citing increased tensions and altercations at the Temple Mount — in addition to the deaths and injuries from Hamas terrorists and other Islamic jihadists,” Sekulow said, according to ACLJ.