Palestinian Media Watch
|Purpose||Media watch group|
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW; Hebrew: מבט לתקשורת פלסטינית) is an Israel-based nongovernmental organization and media watchdog group. Founded in 1996 by Itamar Marcus, Palestinian Media Watch documents cases of incitement in Palestinian media. It describes itself as "an Israeli research institute that studies Palestinian society from a broad range of perspectives by monitoring and analyzing the Palestinian Authority through its media and schoolbooks."
Reports to Western political bodies
After a period during which Palestinian television was airing music videos promoting martyrdom and encouraging violence against U.S. troops in Iraq, in 2003 Itamar Marcus testified in front of a U.S. Senate committee hearing to discuss the phenomenon. Marcus characterized one of the videos shown at the hearing as "Palestinians...glorifying the killing of American soldiers" and calling on Iraqis "to kill American soldiers." American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee communications director Hussein Ibish agreed that another video encouraged Palestinian children to commit suicide but said that only 3% of Palestinians watch Palestinian television and that a seven-minute peace song was also being aired regularly.
In 2007, Palestinian Media Watch presented the U.K. Parliament Select Committee on the European Union with evidence pertaining to Palestinian schoolbooks it said reject Israel's right to exist, glorify terrorism, and inculcate youngsters with hatred for Israel.
A report Palestinian Media Watch presented to the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 2008 indicated that the Palestinian Authority was engaging with enemies of the United States on a shared platform of hatred toward the U.S. The report argued that under such circumstances the creation of an independent Palestinian state would contribute to the undermining U.S. efforts toward world peace.
In 2011 Palestinian Media Watch presented U.S. congressmen with a report indicating that more than $5 million of U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority was being used to pay salaries to Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel on terrorism-related charges. The report also cited instances of the Palestinian Authority glorifying the perpetrators of terrorist attacks against Israelis.
Reports to Israeli security bodies
In 2012, Haaretz reported that as a consequence of Israeli intelligence agencies having reduced their own real-time monitoring of mainstream Arab-language media, Palestinian Media Watch and the Washington, D.C.-based Middle East Media Research Institute provide the Israeli government with coverage of anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian media. The Prime Minister's Bureau has stated that prior to the government citing information furnished by the two organizations, the source of the material and its credibility are verified.
Use by mainstream press
International media regularly cite and quote PMW translations as accurate representations of Palestinian Arabic-language media. News organizations that cite PMW as a source include: Chicago Sun-Times the Associated Press, The Telegraph and The Washington Post.
In 2007 widespread criticism was generated around a children's television program, Tomorrow's Pioneers, aired from Hamas-run studios in the Gaza Strip. The program employed a Mickey Mouse-inspired figure in order to instill anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment and promote a message of Islamic dominion among children. Palestinian Media Watch, together with the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), were the first to raise concerns in relation to the show.
A Palestinian Media Watch report from 2012 stated that a puppet show performed in front of Palestinian children and sponsored by the United Nations-funded organization Burj al Luq Luq Community Centre and Society called on children to take up arms in lieu of cigarettes. A separate report from the same year stated that two television hosts from the Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA), an organization that receives funding from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office, Save the Children U.K. and Cordaid, described suicide bombers as "the greatest role models for us" during a weekly TV program. The Burj al Luq Luq website was subsequently taken offline, and Save the Children U.K. launched an investigation into PYALARA.
In early 2013 a report by Palestinian Media Watch indicating that the Palestinian Authority glorified acts of terrorism against the State of Israel sparked debate in Norway over the latter's contribution to the PA of some $52.5 million annually. NRK, the Norwegian public broadcasting network, used the PMW report in its coverage and stated that according to the Norwegian Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities a Palestinian television channel, partly controlled by the Palestinian Authority, occasionally conveys hatred and demonization towards Israel. NRK reported that programs broadcast on Palestinian television praise prisoners involved in killing Israeli civilians. NRK also conducted a survey of its own in Jerusalem and the West Bank, finding among other things that several Palestinians believed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion forgery is authentic and that it reflects "Jewish plans" for world domination. The Norwegian Holocaust Center, which also contributed money to the Palestinian Authority, said PA TV demonized Israel and spread antisemitism.
Emad Alsafar, the program director of the Palestinian television channel, denied the charges of demonization and antisemitism stating that Palestinians took issues with the occupation, not with Jews. He said that in live broadcasts undesirable views are occasionally expressed, but there is an effort to correct these in retrospect. Norwegian State Secretary Torgeir Larsen admitted that Palestinian Media Watch had presented examples of antisemitism but stated that these were examples and that PMW had their own agenda in presenting the material. In relation to an additional NRK report on claims made by PMW that the Palestinian Authority pays monthly salaries to Palestinians convicted of terrorist activities including murder, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry felt it important to state that PMW is on the right wing of Israeli politics and that its founder, Itamar Marcus, resides in an illegal settlement in the West Bank. Norwegian MP Peter Gitmark subsequently called on his parliament's scrutiny committee to investigate the matter of what he called Norway's "indirect" contribution to Palestinian terrorism.
In 2013, an Israeli family sued Palestinian officials for responsibility for "incitement against Israel which led to “terrorist” attacks against Israel and Israelis" in a Tel Aviv district court. Itamar Marcus was called as "expert witness", but Judge Dalia Gannot found Marcus “incompetent” as such. The Media Watch further argued that “the PA follows an explicit policy of incitement against Israel and the Jews,” but Judge Gannot found that to be unproven. The case against the Palestinian officials was dismissed.
In December 2010 YouTube removed Palestinian Media Watch's channel from its servers. The channel, which featured videos of Palestinian incitement against Jews and Israelis, was shut down for airing hate speech. Itamar Marcus stated that the move was triggered by a video showing a Hamas terrorist urging Palestinians to "drink the blood of Jews." The channel was reactivated later in the month after supporters expressed outrage over its removal.
According to a 2012 article in Haaretz, Palestinian Media Watch and its founder are associated with Israel's right wing, and the majority of information furnished by PMW relating to Palestinian incitement is of a professional nature. The organization is funded by the Michael Cherney Foundation.
In an opinion piece for The Hill, Hanan Ashrawi of the Palestine Liberation Organization accused Palestinian Media Watch of having close links with the Central Fund of Israel, which she said was involved in funding "some of the most extreme elements in Israel's settler movement." Ashrawi stated also that the PMW definition of incitement included "any action or statement critical of Israeli policy" such as nonviolent actions against Israeli occupation or in support of Palestinian rights. In an article for CounterPunch, Samah Sabawi described PMW as a right-wing propaganda site.
Australia's former ambassador to Israel Ian Wilcock, in an opinion piece for The Australian, said of Palestinian Media Watch that it "does an outstanding job of bringing attention to what the Palestinian Authority and related organisations are saying in Arabic, as opposed to the usually more temperate comments made in English for the world outside the Middle East." As examples Wilcock stated that the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was prominent in the ideology of the Palestinian Authority, that a Palestinian Authority youth magazine had featured a young woman dreaming of explaining to Adolf Hitler why she killed Jews, and that a Palestinian Authority newspaper had referred to Passover as "the holiday of the apes."
In February 2015, PMW director was awarded the Abramowitz Israeli Prize for Media Criticism. The announcement made on the Jerusalem Post said:
"PMW’s work both within Israel as well as in its presentations abroad, in the media, parliaments and other platforms not only provides the Israeli people and allies abroad with an essential service, but by its very existence constitutes a profound critique of the Israeli media. PMW’s work should have been carried out by the Israeli media."
- Dovere, Maxine (19 May 2012). "Exposing the Palestinian media". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Pincus, Walter (30 August 2007). "Plan for Terror Screening of Aid Groups Cut Drastically". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- "Palestinian Hamas takes Mickey". BBC News. 9 May 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Kershner, Isabel (20 December 2011). "Finding Fault in the Palestinian Messages That Aren't So Public". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Friedman, Matti (23 December 2011). "UNESCO cuts funds for Palestinian magazine". The Guardian. AP. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- "About Us". Palestinian Media Watch. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- "Transcripts: Paula Zahn Now". CNN. 30 October 2003. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- "Memorandum by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)". Parliament of the United Kingdom. March 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Keinon, Herb (16 April 2008). "PMW: PA cozying up to America's enemie". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Keinon, Herb (26 July 2011). "'US paying salaries for jailed Palestinian terrorists'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Ravid, Barak (31 January 2012). "Officials: Israel outsources monitoring of Palestinian media after IDF lapse". Haaretz. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- Huntley, Steve (7 September 2014). "Decimated Hamas makes ludicrous claims". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- Huntley, Steve (28 February 2015). "Huntley: Verdict affirms blood-soaked history of Palestinian terrorism". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- Deitch, Ian (3 November 2010). "Israel takes aim at Palestinian 'incitement'". Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- Deitch, Ian (15 August 2007). "PETA Critiques Hamas TV for Animal Abuse". Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- "Russia vows to support Palestinian UN membership bid". The Telegraph. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- Simmons, Jake (27 April 2014). "Palestinians reward terrorists from British aid". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- Pincus, Walter (30 August 2007). "Plan for Terror Screening of Aid Groups Cut Drastically". Washington Post. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- McGregor-Wood, Simon (17 July 2007). "Bye, Bye Mickey! Hamas TV Abuzz Over Nahoul the Bee". ABC News. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
But after the widespread criticism, Hamas eventually killed off Farfour the mouse, and it was done in brutal, predictably political style.
- "Mickey Mouse Rip-Off Spreads Hamas Message". CBS News. The Associated Press. 11 February 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Shubert, Atika (10 May 2007). "Hamas kids TV show with militant mouse to air Friday". CNN. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Kalman, Matthew (12 February 2008). "Hamas launches TV Bugs Bunny-lookalike who declares 'I will eat the Jews'". Mail Online. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Quinn, Melissa (13 June 2012). "UN-backed NGO urges kids to replace cigarettes with guns". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Burke, Solomon (13 June 2012). "PA, EU, and UN Affiliated Orgs Sponsor Hate-Filled Programs For Palestinian Youth". The Jewish Press. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Ya'ar, Chana (14 June 2012). "PMW's 'Puppet Show' Report Shuts Down PA Website". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Strand, Tormod (2/10/2013). "Palestinsk tv sprer jødehat og demonisering av Israel" [Palestinian television spreading hatred and demonization of Israel]. NRT (or: Google translate). Retrieved 2013-03-15. Check date values in:
- "Norway questions funding of PA after Palestinian Media Watch findings". The Jewish Chronicle (Pittsburgh). JNS.org. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- Shwayder, Maya (14 February 2013). "Salaries For Suicide Bombers: Western States Unwittingly Fund Terrorist Activities In Palestine, Says Report". International Business Times. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Norwegian MP concerned over Norway's "indirect" funding of Palestinian terrorism". Norway News. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Norwegian Holocaust Center Accuses PA TV of Anti-Semitism". The Jewish Press. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- Ryland, Julie (12/02/2013). "Norwegian holocaust center accuses Palestinian TV channel of anti-Semitism". The Norway Post. Retrieved 2013-03-15. Check date values in:
- Strand, Tormand (2013-2-28). "Hevder palestinske myndigheter lønner fengslede terrorister" [Claims Palestinian Authority pays imprisoned terrorists]. NRK (or: Google translate). Retrieved 2013-03-15. Check date values in:
- "Norwegian MP concerned over Norway's "indirect" funding of Palestinian terrorism". TheCommentator. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Israel court rejects media watchdog 'incitement' charge, 12/09/2013, Ma’an; also cited in Palestinian Media Watch’s “biased” director no expert, rules Israeli court, Asa Winstanley, 09/13/2013, Electronic Intifada
- Friedman, Ron (20 December 2010). "YouTube removes Israeli media watchdog's channel". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Friedman, Ron (20 December 2010). "YouTube reactivates Palestinian Media Watch channel". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- "Michael Cherney Foundation in Support of Palestinian Media Watch". cherfund.org/. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
- Ashwari, Hanan (05/11/10). "Stop the rhetoric and let’s start talking now". The Hill. Retrieved 2012-09-26. Check date values in:
- "Hamas and the Missing Video". counterpunch.org. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
- Wilcock, Ian (11 September 2012). "Anti-Semitism still a roadblock to peace". The Australian. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- "Media Comment: Acknowledging excellence". JPost. 4 February 2015.
- The Abramowitz Israeli Prize for Media Criticism
- New 'alternative Zionist fund' supporting right-wing settler groups, Uri Blau, 06.01.12, Haaretz