Monday, August 6, 2012

Bir Zeit Convention: Teaching American Children Hate

In Gaza and in the West bank, the culture of Jew-hate is well inculcated in children, through the educational system, the media, and through popular culture

From the Israel project

Palestinian leaders continue to promote a culture of hatred against Israel. Using media, education, and cultural structures that it controls, the PA has actively promoted religious hatred, demonization, conspiracy libels, etc. These are packaged to present Israelis and Jews as endangering Palestinians, Arabs, and all humanity. This demonization goes on in violation of the Oslo II agreement and the Road Map for Peace which explicitly called for an end to incitement.

The Palestinian Authority and the ruling Fatah Party, led by Mahmoud Abbas, name schools, summer camps and football tournaments after Palestinian terrorists while Palestinian politicians have propagated incitement over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. They also deny any Jewish historical connection to the Land of Israel or to sites holy to Jews.

The PA presents Jews as possessing inherently evil traits. Jews are said to be treacherous, corrupt, deceitful and unfaithful by nature. Forgeries and fiction masquerading as history are used to document and support the libel that Judaism is in essence racist and evil. Jews are said to be planning and executing heinous crimes, including burning Palestinians in ovens, murder, using prisoners for Nazi-like experiments, and more

Sadly, the extremist rhetoric of the Middle East is equally at home outside the region. The 11th Bir Zeit Convention, held in the San Francisco Bay Area was promoted as a family event- but along with a trip to Great America, arts and crafts, comedy shows, pool parties, the program included an unhealthy dose of intolerance.

From an article in the J weekly by Guy Herschmann

...instead of a warm family atmosphere, I witnessed chilling anti-Israel extremism. Children were indoctrinated with anti-Israel and intolerant rhetoric. An emerging generation of activists was trained to proudly use deceit and manipulation to promote a “one-state” solution that has no room for Israel..."

Guy attended 2 panel discussions “Palestine: One State vs. Two State Solution” and “BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) on American Campuses”. Of the first panel, he writes:

"The panel’s featured speakers were the Rev. Naim Ateek and the Rev. Don Wagner, both from Sabeel, a Jerusalem-based ecumenical Christian group known for its hostility to Israel. Panel moderator Ramiz Rafeedie called all supporters of Israel “your enemies.” He warned that advocating a one-state solution could alienate potential allies because it attacks the legitimacy of Zionism, so he advised audience members to refine their arguments to win supporters.

Ateek described a future Palestinian confederation with Jordan and Lebanon as a remedy for a two-state stalemate. “We need to have a third intifada,” he stated, adding that it should be “totally nonviolent.” Wagner contributed classic anti-Semitic canards, saying that Congress is “sewn up” by Zionists. Ateek’s closing statements summed up the tone of the convention: “We say no. We adamantly reject the two-state solution at any price.

The second panel, “BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) on American Campuses” was equally extreme.

Dina Omar, a Berkeley graduate and student at Columbia, joined Nora Barrows-Friedman, who writes for Electronic Intifada and al Jazeera, in laying out BDS strategies and goals.

Omar urged the audience to get BDS branded as “just one piece of a larger question of social justice.” She advocated outreach to any and all religious, racial and ethnic groups, economic justice groups, and environmentalists to insert BDS — the collective punishment of Israel — into all progressive causes. Displaying Occupy Wall Street and Free Tibet flyers emblazoned with BDS slogans, Omar urged students to “use your institutions’ symbols, rhetoric, and propaganda … to turn or flip the message or to insert your message in however subversive a way you can.”

Barrows-Friedman called the message that “people just … need to get along” an Israeli plot against Palestinians.

The speakers advised against reaching out to pro-Israel students, especially if they are Jewish. When asked whether there are any Jewish groups with whom BDS activists can work, Barrows-Friedman, who is Jewish, responded, “It depends on your level of tolerance.”

Tolerance was in short supply at the 11st Bir Zeit Society Convention. From a pamphlet distributed over the weekend, from the extremist organization "If Americans Knew"

"Those who recognize the critical importance of Israeli-Palestinian peace and truly seek a decent future for both peoples must recognize that the demand that Hamas recognize "Israel's right to exist" is unreasonable, immoral and impossible to meet"

Intolerance. Incitement. Hate. Coming to a neighborhood near you.

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