Thursday, November 12, 2020

‘Palestine Media Watch’: A Zionist Trumpet for Undermining Palestinian Culture and Sports

  


 

Issam Khalidi

 

   The more Israel is internationally criticized for its repressive and brutal practices against Palestinians, the more it creates circumvented malicious methods and means to cover and justify its behavior and continue achieving its dreams. It shamelessly fabricates lies and spreads them as facts in order to defame and demonize Palestinians, tarnish their image, and portray their rejection of the repugnant Israeli occupation as terrorism. Of course, one of these means is Palestine Media Watch.

In one of her visits to the US, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi mentioned this organization:

 

“And then there are toxic organizations, as you know, and they have been very effective in distorting the Palestinian message on reality … You have the PM Watch which is also waiting for any Palestinian to open his or her mouth, and they attack. [1]

 

     Israel has always been successful in spreading its propaganda on the basis of “Repeat a lie often enough and it comes the truth”. This way it could gain sympathy of the international community and appear as a victim who fells between the claws of violent ‘Palestinians’ who, in fact are victims of the Israeli occupation. And this is nothing new. This lies in the colonial nature of Zionism. In 1928, Arthur Ruppin, described by an Israeli writer as the “godfather” of Zionist colonization in Palestine, wrote:

 “It became clear to me how hard it is to realize Zionism in a way compatible with the demands of universal ethics. I was quite depressed.”[2]

   This wasn’t uttered by antisemitic leader, a Jew hater, but by an ardent Zionist thinker and leader. For a long time, deceit was part of the Zionist mentality, and a habit that followed by successive Zionist and Israeli leaders. Later Moshe Sharett, Israel’s first Foreign Minister and later a Prime Minister once said “I have learned that the state of Israel cannot be ruled in our generation without deceit and adventurism."[3]

 

  Palestine Media Watch was founded in 1996. It reflects the true Israeli intentions in peace process, and its plans to continue its occupation and accelerate the expansion of settlements in the West Bank. And despite security coordination with Israel and the  failed concessions made by the PA in peace negotiations, this trumpet continued to demonize every aspect of Palestine and Palestinians including PA.  Because nothing is enough to satisfy Israel’s appetite for expansion and its sadist behavior for humiliation and injustice.   

   PMW’s founder, and director Itamar Marcus is a settler who moved from New York to live in the Israeli colony of Efrat, which is built on stolen Palestinian land near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, a war crime. He was interviewed for the anti-Muslim film Obsession and has associations with notorious far-right Islamophobes like Geert Wilders and David Horowitz. He is also published by the Gatestone Institute, an extreme think tank notorious for disseminating hoaxes designed to stoke hatred and fear of Muslims.

 

     Viewing PMW’s website, the first thing that comes to mind is as if the Nakba (“catastrophe” of 1948) did not occur, when 750.000 Palestinians were forced to flee Palestine, leaving everything behind, land, homes, villages that were looted and destroyed. This site legitimizes the 53-years of Israeli occupation, the expansion of Israeli settlements, the continued construction of the apartheid wall, military closure of the Jordan Valley and the annexation of East Jerusalem, the killing of thousands of kids and young men many of them in cold blood, and the 13-years of Israel’s siege of Gaza that has condemned its 1.9 million inhabits to terrible conditions. At the end, PMW is part of the Israeli repressive machine, and its main mission is to justify it.

     There is no ideology is capable of interpreting facts according to its own interests like Zionism. Oxford Dictionary defines resistance as the refusal to accept or comply with something. Palestinian resistance does not differ from any other resistance against occupation and colonialism such as the French resistance against Nazi Germany occupation or the Algerian long struggle against French colonialists, or others. Resistance is a right of all peoples to stand against forces of repression, injustice, and humiliation. The Israeli dictionary is full of misleading conceptions, it defines Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation as violence and terrorism and non-violent struggle of BDS as antisemitism. Zionism is the only political ideology that disagreement with it is a hate crime.

  Also, the use of the term ‘violence’ by Western press confirms the existence of the occupation which is the main generator of violence, not the other way around. Violence does not come out of nowhere. Obviously, Israel wants to keep the Arabs silent in the face of its oppression, and if they resist, then they will be labeled as terrorists. This explains the mentality of all colonial powers.

 

   In one of his essays Muhammad Hallaj mentioned that “Israel’s attack on the development and expression of Palestinian culture has covered the whole spectrum of cultural activity: education, journalism, literature, art, folklore, and even the symbolic representations of the Palestinian national community.” This also included sports as part of Palestinian culture. [4]


  Israel considers virtually all Palestinian parties and organizations to be terrorist organizations including Palestinian Olympic Committee and PFA which were accused by PMW of naming sports games and tournaments after ‘murders’, those who sacrificed their lives for freedom; who have been symbols and icons of struggle for Palestinian rights.

  Israel has been practicing terrorism and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians since 1930s.  I am very sure that Itamar and his toxic organization are well aware that there were Zionist terrorists who became prime ministers of Israel such as Menachem Begin who led the terrorist organization Irgun Zvai Le’umi, or Irgun (National Military Organization), and Yitzhak Shamir who led the Lohamei Herut Yisrael, or Lehi (Fighter for the Freedom of Israel). Lehi was also responsible for the assassination in September 1948 of Count Folke Bernadotte the United Nations Security Council's mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1947-1948. This assassination was condemned by UNSC as "a cowardly act which appears to have been committed by a criminal groups of terrorists." 

 In addition to Palmach, Vaad Leumi and Haganah, these terrorist organizations played pivotal role in the establishment of the State of Israel. 

    

     Of course, one of PMW’s missions is to cover and justify every aspect related to Israeli racism.  During football games, Beitar Jerusalem’s fans were chanting “Death to Arabs” as a form of celebration. Its fans attacked Arab shoppers and workers in Jerusalem’s Malha Mall which is next to Teddy Stadium, Beitar Jerusalem’s home stadium.[5] Beitar was founded by the revisionist Jabotinsky in 1926 emerged as a movement opposed to the workers' Histadrut in Palestine, and the members wore brown shirts as part of the movement’s fascist coloration. As for those who split from the (Haganah) in 1930 and established (Etzel) and (Lehi), they were members of (Beitar). Its members became involved in terrorist acts in Palestine in the 1930s.

This football club in specific has never had any Arab player on its ranks and, judging from ESPN’s report, doesn’t seem intent to enlist any player of non-Jewish origin.

Two Palestinian citizens of Israel who play on Israeli teams describe to ESPN the racism and violence they are subjected to by Beitar fans. Alaa Abu Saleh, who plays for Bnei Sakhnin, says “It’s like war.”[6]

 

  This contradicts what was stated in FIFA Statutes in Article 4:

"Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, disability, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion."

 

   Certainly, the Israeli lobby was capable to infiltrate FIFA. With the United States both had a hand in Infantino’s success at presiding over FIFA. Unfortunately, FIFA, after a long-awaited report, in 2017 it refused to take action against football clubs located in Israeli settlements, based on land stolen from Palestinians. “FIFA is intent on providing material support for Israel’s violations of international law amounting to war crimes against one of its own member associations,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel responded at the time.

    FIFA submitted to the allegation in a report by the discredited ‘Palestinian Media Watch’ accusing Palestine Football Association’s president Rajoub of “incitement and “glorification of terrorism” or of “not having condemned” supposed terrorism. FIFA did not reply to an email from Electronic Intifada asking why it took allegations from such an organization seriously, and why it had apparently taken two years for FIFA to launch its investigation.

   Israel’s persistent human rights violations would not be possible without the complicity or support of the international community. And what is really sad of course, is FIFA's collusion with Israel’s actions, which indicates FIFA's denial of its principles enshrined in its constitution.

  In one of its statements PMW mentioned that it’s ironic to hear senior PA leader Jibril Rajoub (head of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports) said at a football exhibition in Paris that sport is “a bridge of love and connection with the international community, considering that he has forbidden Palestinian players, coaches, and teams to ever engage in sports with Israelis. [7]

First, Rjoub in his speech in Paris meant the international community not the Israeli. Second, Palestinians are not ready to compete with Israeli teams and athletes under the shadow of occupation, but rather under an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.  

    PMW criticized Rjoub’s statement about normalization in sports with Israel:

[Jibril Rajoub] “conveyed blessing to all the Arab athletes who have refused to compete with Israeli athletes.”[8]

  In fact, Rajoub called on Arab and Islamic countries to stop any kind of sports normalization with Israel as long as they do not adhere to the Olympic Charter and do not recognize the right of Palestinian athletes to move, and boycott all sports and youth institutions that take from illegal settlements their headquarters, or those who operate or promote their activities inside the settlements.[9]

 

   This issue was addressed in a good manner by Israeli scholars Ofir Winter and Yael Gozansky, they noted the dilemma regarding normalization between Israel and Arab states since the founding of the PA:

      On the one hand, the PA depends on “normal” reciprocal relations with Israel, especially in the security and economic spheres, which involve daily interaction between the two sides. For this reason, since the Oslo Accords the Palestinians have been less conservative on the question of normalization than other Arab countries – even those that have signed peace agreements with Israel. On the other hand, despite the Palestinians’ relative flexibility, they have customarily taken action to restrain any display of normalization between Israel and Arab countries, particularly the Gulf states and the Maghreb countries, in order to retain leverage in negotiations with Israel over a permanent settlement.[10]

 

   At the end, no matter how much this organization tries to demonize the image of Palestinians, however, the truth will eventually emerge. This reminds us of what Abraham Lincoln said: “You may fool people for a time; you can fool a part of the people all the time: but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” What we see today is that many in this world became aware about the lies Israel propagates.

    Despite the prevailing perception about Jewish intelligence, the Zionists either stupidly ignore the laws of history, or they really realize them and pretend to recklessly ignore, unaware that in the end the oppressor always pays heavy price for his arrogance.


Issam Khalidi is an independent scholar living in Monterey,  California, is the author of History of Sports in Palestine 1900-1948 (in Arabic), One Hundred Years of Football in Palestine (in Arabic and English), co-edited Soccer in the Middle East, as well as articles and essays on the subject of sports included at www.hpalestinesports.net.

References:



[4] Muhammad Hallaj, Palestine: The Suppression of An Idea. The Link, January-March 1982. http://ameu.org/getattachment/bd9eac41-43af-44e5-b724-591678b20973/Palestine-The-Suppression-of-an-Idea.aspx

[5] https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/jalal-abukhater/watch-espn-documentary-exposes-israels-racist-football-club

[6] Ibid.

[7] https://palwatch.org/page/15757

[8] https://palwatch.org/page/17211

[9] https://wafa.ps/ar_page.aspx?id=4cnV03a854219256066a4cnV03


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