One of the primary objectives of the Palestinian Authority (PA) after its establishment in 1994 was to delegitimize Israel. These efforts were evident throughout Palestinian society and involved various channels including television, schoolbooks, and culture. The delegitimization of Israel incorporated various hate messages, especially the denial of Israel’s right to exist.
The academic community was likewise recruited to this undertaking. Professors, religious academics, teachers, and schoolbook authors are all participating in this hate promotion. Certain academics are chosen by the PA to indoctrinate the people using such public venues as PA TV and, particularly, educational broadcasting.
In 1998, PA historians held a conference in which they devised a policy of historical revisionism. The developing PA educational system would not aim to teach historical truth but rather to convey a political history aimed at denying Israel’s right to exist in the Land of Israel. Palestinian academics, recognizing the futility of attempting to erase the documented history of the Jews, instead adopted a different solution of literally stealing the identity of the Jews by identifying ancient Hebrews as both Arabs and Muslims and denying their connection to today’s Jews of the state of Israel. Another component of the negation of Jewish history is the denial of modern Jewish experience-including the horrors of the Holocaust.
Many PA academics have gone beyond the theoretical “struggle.” They teach that the killing of Jews by Muslims is a precondition of world redemption. Because Jews are inherently evil and an existential danger, their annihilation is justified self-defense, a service to humanity, and an enactment of God’s will.
Palestinian Authority Policy
One of the primary objectives of the Palestinian Authority (PA) after its establishment in 1994 was to delegitimize Israel. These efforts were evident throughout Palestinian society and involved various channels including television, schoolbooks, and culture. The delegitimization of Israel incorporated various hate messages, especially the denial of Israel’s right to exist. It also employed myriad libels, including the assertion that Israel intentionally kills Palestinians through shootings and even burning in ovens.
The PA also chose to ideologically confront Israel by using its media to promote hatred of Jews in general. The Authority initiated a virulent anti-Semitism designed to delegitimize Jews, Judaism, and Jewish traditions. As a result, anti-Semitism is now endemic to PA society. The academic community was likewise recruited to this undertaking. Professors, religious academics, teachers, and schoolbook authors are all participating in this hate promotion.
Academic anti-Semitism in the PA has numerous components, including the total revision of ancient Middle Eastern history to erase all records of Jewish presence in the Land of Israel. This reinforces the PA’s policy of trying to legitimize its denial of Israel’s right to exist by presenting it in academic trappings.
Thus, Palestinian academics portray Jews as inherently different from others, possessing innately evil traits. Educators and academics follow the lead of the PA politicians and distort and malign Jewish tradition as inherently evil. They link it directly to the “treacherous behavior” of which they accuse Jews today. Forgeries and fiction masquerading as history are likewise used to “prove” the libel that Judaism is inherently racist and evil. These purported Jewish attributes and traditions are presented not as behavior that can be improved but as the unchangeable nature of Jews.
This chapter does not consider all of PA academia. It focuses, however, on those academics chosen by the PA to indoctrinate the people using such public venues as PA TV and, particularly, educational broadcasting.
Revising Ancient History
In 1998, PA historians held a conference in which they devised a policy of historical revisionism. Dr. Yussuf Alzamili, head of the History Department at the Khan Yunis Government Educational College, presented the approach of the developing PA educational system. The goal would not be to teach historical truth but rather to convey a political history aimed at denying Israel’s right to exist in the Land of Israel. Thus, at the conference, “Alzamili called on all universities and colleges to be active in the writing of the history of Palestine and not to enable the defiled and the enemies to distort it…or to enable legitimacy for the existence of Jews on this land.”
Historians eager to follow this lead were regularly featured on PA TV’s educational programs. They fabricated an entire Palestinian Arab history, packaged it with academic credibility, and erased Jewish history from the land.
The challenge to PA academics was considerable, since much of the Jewish historical record has continuous independent and archeological documentation. Even Islam recognized the Hebrew narrative to a great degree. Hence the Palestinian academics, recognizing the futility of attempting to erase the documented history of the Jews, instead adopted a different solution of literally stealing the identity of the Jews by identifying ancient Hebrews as both Arabs and Muslims and denying their connection to today’s Jews of the state of Israel.
One leading historian, Jirar al-Qidwa, chosen by Arafat as an adviser and today chairman of the PA Public Library, has been featured regularly and prominently on educational TV and was a major promoter of this “replacement” ideology. Although historical records confirm that the first presence of Arabs in the Land of Israel was after the Muslim conquest in the seventh century C.E., Al-Qidwa unabashedly and emphatically turned the Hebrews of the Bible into Arabs: “Regarding the Israelites [of the Bible], they were Arab tribes and among the purest…. And believe me, in Allah’s name, that my blood has more of the Israelites’ blood and the blood of the ancient Hebrews than does the blood of Netanyahu and Sharon.”
Prof. Issam Sissalem, chairman of the History Department at the Islamic University of Gaza and host of PA TV educational programs for many years, has also been a driving force of this historical revision:
[Biblical Hebrews] were primitive shepherd tribes. They had no history. Titus slaughtered them, and this land was cleansed of those fools…the ancient Hebrews were destroyed, utterly decimated. Actually, they were foreigners in this land. They were primitive Bedouin from the Arabian desert. This land is ours. Jerusalem and every one of her stones are ours. They [the Jews] are liars. Their allegations are lies and are worthy of scorn and ridicule.
Turning the ancient Hebrews into Arabs was not enough for the PA, and the religion of Islam was attached to all biblical characters with similar fervor. Therefore, even though Islam was first introduced by Mohammed in the seventh century, long after ancient Judaism, the academics denied the existence and legitimacy of ancient Judaism by turning it into Islam. As Al-Qidwa stated:
Judaism is not a religion in the full sense of the word, and is not a nation at all…. Where does this religion come from? The source of Judaism is the Mosaic Law…which is the continuation of Islam of our master Abraham…. Several researchers…have found in the Bible [Torah], when translated correctly, texts that prove that it is the continuation of Islam.
Denying the central place of Jewish worship was likewise critical to this replacement ideology, as was the denial of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. Sissalem, in his weekly program with children in the TV studio, explained that the tradition of the Temple in Jerusalem was based on “Jewish lies”:
Girl asks Sissalem: “Tell us about the Night Journey and Ascent to Heaven and the Al-Buraq Wall that the Jews falsely claim as the Wailing Wall and hold ceremonies there.”
Sissalem: “That’s the place where Mohammed went to Heaven, and it is part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Zionist enemy falsely claims that this wall is part of the so-called ‘Temple.’ This is a deceitful lie.”
Girl 2: “We hear many claims by the Jews that Solomon’s Temple is located in Jerusalem under the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Is this true?”
Sissalem: “This is the biggest lie in history by those liars.”
This revisionism, initiated in 1998, continues unabated until today. During Ramadan broadcasting in October 2006, Dr. Hassan Khader, founder of the Al-Quds Encyclopedia and regular TV host, repeated the claim that the Jews have no ancient historical connection to the Western Wall of the Temple:
The first connection of the Jews to this site began in the sixteenth century…. The Jewish connection to this site is a recent connection, not ancient…like the roots of the Islamic connection…. Who would have believed that the Israelis would arrive 1,400 years [after the beginning of Islam], conquer Jerusalem, and make this wall into their special place of worship, where they worship and pray?
The purpose of this revisionism, as expressed by Alzamili in 1998, was not academic accuracy but was inherently political-namely, to deny the “legitimacy for the existence of Jews on this land.”
Following this lead, many academics did not leave the political conclusions to the TV viewers but stated them explicitly. For example, after repeating his denials of any Jewish connection to the land, Sissalem announced the political implications: “They [Jews-Israelis] are like a parasitic worm that eats a snail and lives in its shell. We will not let anyone live in our shell!”
Denying the Holocaust; Demanding a New One
Another component of the negation of Jewish history is the denial of modern Jewish experience-including the horrors of the Holocaust. As Sissalem stated on a PA TV educational program:
Lies surfaced about Jews being murdered here and there and the Holocaust. And of course these are all lies and unfounded claims. There was no Dachau, no Auschwitz! [They] were cleansing sites…. They began to publicize in their propaganda media that they were persecuted, murdered, and exterminated…. Committees acted here and there to establish this entity [Israel], this foreign entity, implanted as a cancer in our country…. They always portrayed themselves as victims, and they made a Center for Heroism and Holocaust. Whose heroism? What Holocaust? It is our nation that is heroic, the holocaust was against our people…. We were the victims. We will not stay victims forever!
PA anti-Semitism, however, goes beyond denying Israel‘s right to exist.
PA academics have also systematically built a case denying Jews the right to exist. As their expert witness, these religious academics bring Allah Himself, who is said to have sent a message through the Prophet Mohammed that killing Jews is a necessary step to achieve world redemption through resurrection.
Dr. Muhammad Mustafa Najem, a lecturer in Koranic interpretation at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University, taught in a televised PA sermon that Allah described the Jews as “characterized by conceit, pride, arrogance, savagery, disloyalty, and treachery … [and] deceit and cunning.” Just a month later the same academic again appeared on the PA’s official station, saying: “The Jews are Jews, and we are forbidden to forget their character traits even for a moment, even for a blink of an eye.”
Dr. Khader Abas, a lecturer in psychology at Gaza’s Al-Aqsa University, taught the origins of Jewish evil from a different perspective: “From the moment the [Jewish] child is born, he nurses hatred against others, nurses seclusion, nurses superiority….”
As part of this delineation of Jewish evil, the PA presents fictitious libels as authentic Jewish documents. Prominent among these is The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which the PA routinely treats as the Jewish plan for world domination.
Dr. Riad al-Astal, a lecturer in history at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, brought up the Protocols when discussing the rise of political Zionism in Europe. “What is known as the Zionist Renaissance,” he asserted, “grew and the seeds of what is called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion appeared at the end of the eighteenth century [sic]. They are the protocols that were presented in Basel [at the First Zionist Congress].”
A new Palestinian schoolbook, written by senior Palestinian academics, likewise taught children to view the Protocols as authentic: “There is a group of confidential resolutions adopted by the [First Zionist] Congress and known by the name ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ the goal of which was world domination.” After worldwide condemnation it was removed from the new edition of the book.
Academic discussions on educational TV routinely refer to the Protocols as authentic. Sheikh Attiyeh Sahar, chairman of the Department of Islamic Research at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, stated:
It must be known that this nation, the Jews, are willing to alter their religion in order to attain their demands…. in order to attain their goals, they are willing to turn away from their God and His Singularity, which was introduced to the world by their prophets. We also know that they changed the Bible and replaced it, because it does not serve their purposes, and they drafted the Talmud, as it is known, and came up, finally, with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Dr. Attallah Abu al-Farah, calling in to a talk show hosted by Sissalem, queried: “Can there be coexistence on Palestinian land between ourselves and the Jews, in light of their mentality that stems from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Dr. Issam?” Sissalem responded to A-Farah, who presented the Protocols as authentic, by calling him “My beloved friend…who is a learned expert…”
Painting Jews as Evil
Inherent to the purported Jewish program of domination is the planning and execution of massive crimes that endanger all humanity. Senior Palestinian academics regularly portray Jews as a threat to stable society and as responsible for all civil strife, financial crises, conflicts, and wars. They present Zionism, the movement to reestablish the Jewish national home in Israel, as a European colonialist plot to rid Europe of Jews and thus attempt to solve their own “Jewish problem.” The aforementioned Dr. Riad al-Astal asserted: “Britain’s first aim [in promoting Zionism] was to be rid of the Jews, who were known to provoke disputes and disturbances and financial crises in Germany, France, and other European states.”
The PA augments the picture of the evil nature of Jews by defining Jewish traditions and sources as evil. Judaism is said to be a racist, murder-promoting religion. In an educational broadcast, Al-Qidwa taught: “The commandments of their Hebrew Bible or their Talmud say that we are goyim-that is, non-Jews. [They] view all non-Jews as barbarians or as their servants, devoid of any human rights, and [one] may destroy them and kill them.”
Completing this picture, worldwide outbreaks of anti-Semitism are described as the nations of the world acting legitimately to protect themselves from the threat posed by the Jews-or to take revenge. Psychologist Khader Abas expounded on this point on PA TV:
The Israelis brought it on themselves, I emphasize, brought on themselves in every society they lived, disasters and massacres. First, they concentrated money in their hands, denying it to others. Second, they spied against the nations where they lived. And the third important and basic aspect: they were condescending…. Thus the people of the societies they were in took revenge against them, or tried to punish them.
The Pact of Omar, which in 637 CE prohibited Jews from living in Jerusalem, was defended on PA TV by Al Quds Encyclopedia founder Hassan Khader: “If we presented this before a judge [today] he would renew this condition…. The solution is that no Jew should live there…. The prosperity of that city [Jerusalem] and of this land necessitates that no Jew should ever live there.”
The call to fight Jews solely because of their ethnicity is widespread. Dr. Ismail Radwan, professor at the Islamic University in Gaza, justifies the ongoing battle: “It is no coincidence that the Noble Koran mentions the story of Mohammed’s heavenly ascent while talking of the Israelites-as though Allah was preparing the Islamic nation that Jews will be in this land and as if He was addressing the Muslims: ‘O Muslims, prepare yourselves for the struggle with world Jewry.’”
Many academics have gone beyond the theoretical “struggle.” According to Dr. Ahmad Abu Halabiyah, rector of advanced studies at the Islamic University, on PA TV, the Jews are a threat and for that reason Allah demands they be killed:
The Jews are the Jews…. They do not have any moderates or any advocates of peace. They are all liars. They must be butchered and must be killed…. The Jews are like a spring-as long as you step on it with your foot it doesn’t move. But if you lift your foot from the spring, it hurts you and punishes you….
It is forbidden to have mercy in your hearts for the Jews in any place and in any land. Make war on them any place that you find yourself. Any place that you meet them, kill them.
PA academics teach that the killing of Jews by Muslims is a precondition of world redemption. The PA promotes this belief by repeatedly propounding in its print and television media the following Hadith, a tradition attributed to Mohammed: “The Hour [Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and kill them. And the Jews will hide behind the rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: ‘O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!’”
On 10 January 2005, Dr. Khader cited this Hadith mandating the killing of all Jews everywhere. This came just two weeks after he devoted an entire TV lecture to analyzing this Hadith and concluded that its demand for committing genocide was specifically directed at the Palestinians: “Allah meant our land and our people and meant our trees and our stones.”
Muhammad Abd al-Hadi La’afi, responsible for religious instruction in the Office of the PA Wakf, likewise wrote of the impending extermination of the Jews: “The battle with the Jews will surely come…. The Prophet spoke about it in more than one Hadith, and the Resurrection will not come without the victory of the believers over the descendants of the monkeys and pigs and with their annihilation.”
The Palestinian Authority’s academic anti-Semitism has built an extensive case against Jewish existence, which starts with denying the authenticity and legitimacy of both the Jewish nation and religion. Through libels, lies, and stereotyping, this endeavor in anti-Semitism portrays Jews as a genuine threat to humanity. Because Jews are inherently evil and an existential danger, their annihilation is justified self-defense, a service to humanity, and an enactment of God’s will.
Although the PA is not reticent about its anti-Semitic ideology and plans, the world remains mostly apathetic except for an occasional criticism of what is called “incitement.” Indeed, the world finds this ideology so repugnant that many simply choose to deny the existence of PA anti-Semitism and repackage it as anti-Zionism, an ideology they find more palatable and even legitimate.
This indifference is directly reminiscent of the world’s response to Hitler’s open calls for genocide against the Jews. As Justice Robert H. Jackson, chief U.S. counsel to the Nuremberg Trials, wrote: “We must not forget that when the Nazi plans were boldly proclaimed, they were so extravagant that the world refused to take them seriously.”
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*This essay appeared in: Manfred Gerstenfeld (ed) Academics Against Israel and the Jews (Jerusalem, JCPA, 2007)
**The authors thank Palestinian Media Watch researchers Zachy Ben Hamo, Amiram Degani, Gidi Dorevitch, Dina Lisniansky, Dror Malelis, Ron Pichekhadze, and Hadass Ben-Ari.
 Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Criticism, Grade 12, 104, Mohammad Dahlan- Palestinian Television, 23 August 2006.
 Video clips, Palestinian Authority Television, January 2000-2006.
 Palestinian Authority Television, 25 March 2004.
 Al-Ayaam, 4 December 1998.
 J. al-Qidwa, PA TV, 5 June 1997.
 I. Sissalem, PA TV, 8 October 2001.
 J. al-Qidwa, PA TV, 3 November 1998.
 PA TV, 8 October 2001.
 Hassan Khader, PA TV, 13 October 2006.
 Al-Ayaam, 4 December 1998.
 I. Sissalem, Jerusalem through the Generations, PA TV, 17 April 2001, 21 November 2004, 21 December 2004.
 I. Sissalem, PA TV, 29 November 2000.
 In Arabic, “Allah” is the equivalent of the English “God.” When an Arabic writer or speaker refers to the god worshiped by Muslims, it has been rendered here as Allah. When the reference is to the god worshiped by Jews, it has been rendered as God.
 M. Najem, Friday Sermon, PA TV, 1 November 2002.
 Ibid., 6 December 2002.
 K. Abas, Media and Issue, PA TV, 14 April 2002.
 R. al-Astal, People’s Journey, PA TV, 28 December 2003. An official PA magazine reviewed a “scholarly” article about the Protocols: “The sixty-fifth issue of The Shahids was recently published by the Political Guidance…there is a chapter about a research paper titled ‘The Jewish Danger: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 1 December 2003.
 History of the Modern and Contemporary World, Grade 10, 2004, 60-61.
 PA TV, 10 September 2000.
 PA TV, 14 May 1999.
 Al-Astal, People’s Journey, 28 December 2003.
 J. al-Kidwa, Open Day Broadcast, PA TV, 2 March 2001.
 Abas, Media and Issue, 14 April 2002. As far back as 1998, the PA was teaching that Jews are responsible for anti-Semitism:
Corruption is in the nature of the Jews all over the world, to the point where only rarely do you find corruption that Jews are not behind…. If we take a look at history, we discover to what degree the Jews were exposed to loss and expulsion all over the world as a result of their ugly deeds and their wickedness. This is after their actions were discovered and their responsibility for the destruction of the land and its people caused the [local] people to start a war of annihilation against them. (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 11 July 1998)
 Hassan Khader, Meeting with Jerusalem, PA TV, 14 December 2004.
 I. Radwan, Friday Sermon, PA TV, 11 February 2002.
 A. A. Halabiyah, Friday Sermon, PA TV, 13 October 2000.
 Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, 2238-39; Sahih Bukhari, vol. 3, 1070, no. 276, 1316, no. 3398; Sahih Ibn Hibban, vol. 15, 217, no. 6806, and others.
 Hassan Khader, Meeting with Jerusalem, 27 December 2004.
 The Wakf, literally “Islamic endowment,” is headed by the PA religious establishment.
 M. A. al-Hadi La’afi, Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 18 May 2001.
 R. H. Jackson, Report of Robert H. Jackson, United States Representative to the International Conference on Military Trials, London, 1945 (New York: AMS Press, 1971).
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ITAMAR MARCUS is the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch. He was appointed by the Israeli government to be the Israeli representative (communication specialist) to the Trilateral (Israeli-American-Palestinian) Anti-Incitement Committee established under the Wye Accords. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Marcus served as research director of the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, writing reports on PA, Syrian, and Jordanian schoolbooks. He holds a BA in political science from City College of New York and an MA in Hebrew culture from New York University.
BARBARA CROOK is associate director and North American representative of Palestinian Media Watch. She teaches at the School of Journalism and Communications at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She holds an Honors BA in English literature from Queen’s University, an MA in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and is a Southam Fellow at the University of Toronto.