Robert Berstein has an Op-Ed in today's Washington Post that shows just how truly desperate Israel's cheerleaders have become. Bernstein, a founder of Human Rights Watch who now seems to hate human rights, responds to the push for Palestinian statehood by recycling the tired argument that it is Palestinian words that are driving the conflict, not the Israeli boot on their necks. Here's the nut:
The real obstacle to long-term peace is the endless and overwhelming words of hate and incitement to genocide effectively spread to Arabs and Palestinians. One example is the textbooks given to millions of children in Saudi Arabia, distributed in the Arab world and beyond, that label Jews “monkeys and pigs.” This continues to foment discord, radicalism and violence.
The "monkeys and pigs" link goes to a 2008 article about a book used in the UK. It's unclear whether they are still being used today, or how exactly this is relevant to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it is too bad Bernstein doesn't mention that current Israeli school books do much the same thing.
Most notable in the piece is Bernstein's source. He commends the reader to "be aware of the work of Palestinian Media Watch," explaining, "the group, an Israeli research institute focused on monitoring the messages of all aspects of Palestinian media, has detailed some of the deception of the Palestinian Authority, even during moments of peace talks." What Bernstein doesn't mention is that Palestinian Media Watch is run by the Islamophobic settler Itamar Marcus.
Marcus has worked for years to present the Palestinian people as a homicidal death cult in an effort to derail a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His work has been debunked multiple times, and he is quite open about his agenda. As he told the Daily Bruin:
The Palestinian media is the window to Palestinian society. We want to understand their society. What the teachers are telling the children is the way the next generation is going to see Israel – either as a neighbor or as an enemy to be fought. That’s why we study what we do and why we put so much focus on things like sporting events for children and summer camps for children. If the kids are growing up with the belief that Allah wants them to kill Jews, then the border adjustments today and the peace treaty are not going to hold water when these kids grow up.
When you tell your children that their role is to die in this conflict, young children, that is child abuse. Particularly when you understand the political goals here: to make Israel look bad. You tell your children to get killed so you can … then say, “Look! The Israelis are killing our children.”
Sounds like a reputable source to me.
Well the Economist isn't buying Bernstein's article, and hopefully other readers aren't either. Having already made his biases known, it's no surprise Bernstein would rely on Israeli settlers for his sources. The scandal here is that the Washington Post gave him a platform to do so.