At a rally in Orlando, Florida shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump's historic declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an activist at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-sponsored event ranted, "[Jews] are the crappiest piece of shit on this planet."
The activist was Said Lufti, uncle of Rasha Mubarak, Orlando Regional Coordinator for CAIR-Florida, and one the protesters in attendance, many of whom were wearing keffiyehs [checkered men's headscarves] and waving Palestinian flags.
"You [Jews] are baby-killers. You Jesus-killer...You Christians, walking behind Jesus-killers... Jesus's blood [is] on your hands... You crucified Jesus!... Record me! You are Jesus-killers!... Jesus' blood on this piece of crap Jew [the man filming the clip] hands. And [addressing a non-Jew behind the camera] you're walking with him? You are a Christian?... Your people [the Jews] killing everything that walks on this planet..."
Despite US President Donald J. Trump's assurance that his giving presidential approval to the Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1995, was not tantamount to a delineation of borders, Lufti's comments illustrate that the true enmity towards Israel based on long-standing, deep-seated Jew-hatred. This will not surprise anyone who follows the material being taught in schools, preached in mosques and spread by the media in Muslim-majority states whose regimes exercise total control over their populaces.
Take the Palestinian Authority, for example. Since its inception in 1994 – the result of the Oslo Accords, which earned PLO chief and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat the Nobel Peace Prize -- it has been feeding its citizens a steady diet of hatred, particularly, but not exclusively, against Israel and Jews. According to the research organization Palestinian Media Watch (PMW):
"Using media, education, and cultural structures that it controls, the PA has actively promoted religious hatred, demonization, conspiracy libels, etc. These are packaged to present Israelis and Jews as endangering Palestinians, Arabs, and all humanity. This ongoing campaign has so successfully instilled hatred that fighting, murder and even suicide terror against Israelis and Jews are seen by the majority of Palestinians as justified self-defense and as Allah's will. The PA presents Jews as possessing inherently evil traits. Jews are said to be treacherous, corrupt, deceitful and unfaithful by nature. These Jewish 'attributes' and traditions are presented as the unchangeable nature of Jews. Forgeries and fiction masquerading as history are used to document and support the libel that Judaism is in essence racist and evil. Jews are said to be planning and executing heinous crimes, including burning Palestinians in ovens, murder, using prisoners for Nazi-like experiments, and more. If unchecked, these crimes constitute a mortal danger, not only to all Muslims and Arabs but to all of humanity.
"The PA assigns responsibility to the Jews for all the problems in the world: Wars, conflicts and civil wars are all said to be triggered by Jews. Indeed, the oppression suffered by Jews throughout history is presented as the legitimate response of nations seeking revenge for the injury caused them by the Jews living among them. The creation of the State of Israel is said to have been a European plot, in order to be rid of their Jews and save Europe from the evil of Jewish presence in their countries."
A 2015 PMW report on the indoctrination of children in the PA revealed that dozens of schools, sports events and summer camps have been named after terrorists, who are honored as heroes and held up as role models. The report documents passages in PA schoolbooks teaching that Muslims must fight Israel and Jews, in accordance with Islamic law, and that Israel's existence must be rejected. Children are taught that Israel will eventually be eradicated, and that Jews – "descendants of apes and pigs" -- are cursed by Allah.
Palestinian leaders and spokespeople repeatedly deny allegations of incitement, and tell Western politicians and the media that the accusation is an Israeli fiction. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post in December 2004, for example, Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi claimed, "There's not a single anti-Semitic word in the textbooks."
The constant bombardment of violent messages conveyed to Palestinian children in school and on TV, however, is part of a concerted effort on the part of the PA leadership to rewrite the history of pre-state Israel, for the purpose of forging a national identity that did not exist prior to the 1967 Six-Day War – and to brainwash Palestinians into believing that any and all of their plight is the fault of "occupiers" -- of the entire land of Israel -- whom Europe sent to the region in order to rid itself of its own Jewish burden.
Israel and the rest of the West hoped that the U.S.-brokered Oslo Accords and subsequent "peace negotiations" – all involving concrete Israeli concessions in exchange for Palestinian promises – would shift Palestinian attitudes towards Jews and the Jewish state. The aim was for the Palestinians to begin the process of self-governance, on the path to full-fledged independent statehood.
Rather than engage in institution-building, which the United States, Europe and even Israel funded with billions of dollars, PA President Mahmoud Abbas – Arafat's successor – made no effort to reform Palestinian civil society, including the education system. In fact, as a new IMPACT-se study reveals, textbooks for the 2017-2018 academic year are even less tolerant of Jews and Israel, and even more filled with incitement to violence in the name of Allah than in the years before.
As is noted by the authors of the report, which examines books from Grades 5-11 (an expanded study, on Grades 1-12, is underway), this year marked the completion of the first comprehensive reform of the Palestinian curriculum since 2000, when the PA published its first curriculum after the Oslo Accords. Before then, children in the West Bank and East Jerusalem studied the Jordanian curriculum; those in Gaza were taught with Egyptian textbooks.
The preliminary findings of the report – titled "Reform or Radicalization: PA 2017–18 Curriculum -- are extremely bleak:
Radicalization is pervasive across this new curriculum, to a greater extent than before.
The curriculum exerts pressure over young Palestinians to acts of violence in a more extensive and sophisticated manner. The discourse is couched in terms of nationalist and religious martyrdom, across science, literature, history and religious education textbooks.
One example is a science lesson that teaches about the use of slingshots. Seventh-graders are told: "During the first Palestinian uprising, Palestinian youths used slingshots to confront the soldiers of the Zionist Occupation and defend themselves from their treacherous bullets." The assignment is to answer the questions: "What is the relationship between the elongation of the slingshot's rubber and the tensile strength affecting it? What are the forces that influence the stone after its release from the slingshot?"
This version of the PA curriculum educates for a long war of attrition against Israel which stands out as the axis mundi of Palestinian identity, connecting its various dimensions into one ideology. With a comprehensive and oft-stated justification for defensive (obligatory) jihad, the curriculum's focus appears to have expanded from demonization of Israel to providing a rationale for war.
The crux of this report is education for war and against peace with Israel.
(Image source: Palestinian Media Watch)
All of the above long preceded Trump's declaration on Jerusalem. Warnings across the world that it would spark violence were only partially accurate. Although the rockets from Gaza, flag-burning in Ramallah, and "Days of Rage" in the Middle East, Europe and North America have been taking place as predicted, they are simply the latest phase in an ongoing attempt to undermine Israel's very existence. Assertions that Trump's move has "sabotaged the peace process," therefore, are completely false. When educators employ blood libels to provide a rationale for terrorism against innocent Israelis – and the PA leadership backs this up by paying salaries to terrorists and their families -- the only process going on is one of war.
The irrational hostility expressed by Palestinians such as Lufti – the activist in Orlando accusing Jews of "killing Jesus" and "everything that walks on the planet" – has nothing to do with a statement made by the president of the United States. Nor is the popular chant at pro-Palestinian rallies -- "From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, Palestine Will Be Free" – a critique of Israeli governmental policy. Both are imbibed from sermons and schoolbooks.
On December 5, the day before Trump gave his Jerusalem speech, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Taylor Force Act, which:
"prohibits certain assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 from being made available for the West Bank and Gaza unless the Department of State certifies that the Palestinian Authority is taking steps to end acts of violence against U.S. and Israeli citizens perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control, such as the March 2016 attack that killed former Army officer Taylor Force; is publicly condemning such acts of violence and is investigating, or cooperating in investigations of, such acts; and has terminated payments for acts of terrorism against U.S. and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been convicted and imprisoned for such acts, to any individual who died committing such acts, and to family members of such an individual."
Disincentivizing Palestinian violence by withholding funds is valuable. However, it does nothing to shift the internal Palestinian mindset that makes outside legislation necessary in the first place. Until the Palestinians make their peace with the existence of the state of Israel, they will forge ahead in their jihadist battle against it, as they are taught to do in school.
Ruthie Blum is the author of "To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the 'Arab Spring.'"