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October 07, 2009

What the New York Times Can Learn from Aladdin Elaasar

Egyptian author Aladdin Elaasar says that it is difficult for Muslims and Arabs to speak out against anti-Semitism. "Those who dare to sing anything other than the official tune," he notes, "can find themselves accused of apostasy, tarnishing the image of their country, arrested, tortured and dismissed from their jobs."

That doesn't stop him from trying, though. In the Oct. 6 Jerusalem Post , Elaasar tackles the phenominon head on. He writes:

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, many Arab regimes have taken a hard-line against it, conveniently recycling crude anti-Semitic images for their public. ...

Amazingly, fundamentalist groups find themselves using similar rhetoric to that of state-owned media across the Arab world. The result has been the demonization and dehumanization of the Jewish people, and Israelis in particular, in the eyes of many who belong to the Muslim faith. Hate speech has found its way into state-sponsored textbooks, brainwashing generations since the early forties.

Ironically, two days before the publication of this piece by an author who had much to lose for exposing anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incitement, another journalist with no such fears essentially whitewashed the phenomenon Elaasar sought to reveal.

Writing in the New York Times Magazine, Samantha M. Shapiro summarized Palestinian children's programing as follows:

On the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, the Palestinian Authority’s official channel, the longest-running children’s program is a slow-moving talk show hosted by a young woman who sometimes reads storybooks aloud into the camera or watches, in real time, as an artist painstakingly paints a parrot. The official Hamas channel, Al-Aqsa television, has several children’s shows, and Al-Aqsa’s director of children’s programming, Abu Amr, told me the network is considering starting a station devoted entirely to children. Al-Aqsa TV’s most famous (and infamous) children’s program is “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,? in which Saraa, a Palestinian girl, and several animal characters teach ideological lessons: why it is bad to speak English and good to memorize the whole Koran; how the Danes are infidels who should be killed. Occasionally an animal character will die as a martyr for Palestine.

Well actually, the program is infamous because of the very "demonization and dehumanization of the Jewish people, and Israelis particular" that Elaasar described.

As CAMERA's most recent article notes:

Hamas TV repeatedly shows images of Mickey Mouse and other cartoon characters "resisting" the evil Zionists, being slaughtered by them and urging revenge. More than "how the Danes are infidels" Hamas TV preaches the need for Palestinian children to eliminate the filthy Jews. In one episode, for example, a bear puppet teaches his young audience that "we want to slaughter" the Jews, and that if they don't leave Israel peacefully, "we'll have to slaughter them." (See the chilling video here.) In a different episode, the puppet told the children that he will be a jihad fighter and carry a rifle. Another of the show's characters, a Bugs Bunny look-alike, once bragged that he will "finish off the Jews and eat them." PA TV children's shows routinely teach that Haifa, Tiberias, Jaffa and other Israeli cities are part of "Palestine" and that "resistance" (terrorism) is laudable.

The rest of the Shapiro's piece was devoted to a (generally interesting) discussion of the history of the Israeli and especially Palestinian programs linked to Sesame Street, meaning that other Palestinian programs indoctrinating children to hate were, as seems to be normal for the Times, ignored altogether.

(Apparently she saves her discussions of anti-Semitism for articles casting doubt on the ADL's concerns about anti-Semitism.)

Posted by GI at October 7, 2009 02:42 PM


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