Over at The Arabist, Issandr El Amrani announces happily that the PA is “finally” kicking “back against Israel’s Hasbara.” As it turns out, the story is about “a new initiative by the PLO Delegation to the United States to track anti-Palestinian incitement in Israeli media and society and publicize it to American journalists, officials and politicians.”
Amrani reproduces an e-mail that contains a “Monthly Report on Israeli Incitement” for January 2012. According to the e-mail, the report “seeks to highlight major incidents of Israeli incitement in public, media, and governmental spheres that occurred in January, in an effort to urge the Israeli government to condemn and redress incitement against Palestinians.”
Except for two “price tag” incidents that resulted in property damage, the “major incidents of Israeli incitement” that are listed in the report include a letter by Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin conveying New Year’s greetings to the Jordanian Parliament speaker, who took offense at a reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Another example for “major incidents of Israeli incitement” provided by the report is a statement by Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, where Lieberman expressed the view that it was crucial to “manage” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as long as it could not be solved.
That is a particularly preposterous example since the view expressed by Lieberman is widely shared. If Lieberman is guilty of “incitement”, so is Ha’aretz columnist Ari Shavit, and so is the well-respected American analyst Walter Russell Mead, who commented on Shavit’s piece and argued:
It may be time now … for a step [that] for many in the peace-process industry has long been unthinkable: to think about managing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rather than ending it outright.
Unsurprisingly, Lieberman is listed for yet another instance of “incitement” because he mentioned his view that a future agreement with the Palestinians should include “territory and population exchanges” – which, contrary to what is often asserted, is an idea that was not invented by Lieberman, but was already formulated in the mid-1990s by a left-wing researcher.
Last but not least, it is rather hypocritical for Palestinians to denounce the illustration of an ancient story with a photo showing the Temple Mount without the Dome of the Rock – after all, it is commonplace for Palestinians to deny the existence of the Jewish Temple.
It is noteworthy that similar examples of “Israeli incitement” have been reported previously, and it turns out that as far as the Palestinian monitors are concerned, it even qualifies as Israeli incitement if Israel’s prime minister objects when the Palestinian president goes to visit a convicted terrorist who was released in exchange for Gilad Shalit.
Apparently anything goes when the noble goal is kicking “back against Israel’s Hasbara” – and when you think about it, there is a nice Orwellian flavor to saying it’s incitement to protest the glorification of terrorism.