• Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) | Photo: C4I

“I Bear the Insult ‘Goebbels’ as a Badge of Honour”

editor - 16 August 2023

Palestinian Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub called Itamar Marcus the ‘Goebbels of the 21st century,’ referring to the Nazi propaganda minister during World War II. Itamar: “Rajoub accuses us of spreading lies, but we only expose the shocking truth. I bear his insult like a badge of honour. We reveal things about the Palestinian Authority they prefer to keep hidden.”

“Every child wants to be a martyr.” “The Jews are the descendants of monkeys and pigs”. “We love death as others love life”. These are not statements by fringe fanatics, but they are statements—in Arabic—on the official media outlets of the Palestinian Authority, often made by leaders of the same authority.

Itamar Marcus is the founder and director of ‘Palestinian Media Watch’ (PMW), a research institute that monitors Palestinian Authority-controlled media: radio, television, newspapers, textbooks and online broadcasts. A team of PMW Arabic translators spends many hours a day monitoring, translating and analysing various media from the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas. The translated material is published by PMW and used to expose the abuses worldwide. They do this because Palestinian leaders use different messages to the international community in English than to their own citizens in Arabic. PMW notes that the Palestinians are lied to and brainwashed on a large scale by their own leaders. The PA tells its people that the Jews are so evil and racist that the whole world hates them. Children are urged to become martyrs for Allah, for the ‘Palestinian cause’. PMW brings these practices to light and raises the issue in international politics and media.

Recently PMW exposed another shocking example of the Palestinian Authority’s glorification of terror. Two Palestinian terrorists murdered an Israeli woman, Lucy Dee, and her two daughters, Maia and Rina, in April this year. A month later, when the terrorists were caught and killed in a shootout, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh posted pictures of the two murderers on his Facebook page with the words, “Glory and eternity to our righteous martyrs.” The PA sees the murder of three innocent women as a glorious way to achieve eternity. Fatah posted a video on its Facebook page of a 10-year-old girl reciting a poem: “You are not made for happiness but for martyrdom.” Itamar: “Inciting children to martyrdom is pure child abuse. It is crucial for the future of Israeli and Palestinian children that we bring this to light.”

Why did you start PMW?

Itamar: “We have to go back thirty years in history to answer this question. In 1993, the Oslo Accords were signed between Israel and the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organisation). The Palestinian Authority (PA) was created as the official representative of the PLO. For a moment, there was hope for a peaceful solution. But barely a year later, Palestinian suicide bombings began. I hired two Arabic translators, and from my parents’ house in Jerusalem, we watched Palestinian television broadcasts. No one in Israel had the faintest idea that the PA’s messages in the international media were very different from what they presented to their own people.”

“I decided we should focus on what the Palestinian leaders are teaching their children. Palestinian children on TV called on other children to become martyrs, to murder Israelis with machine guns. Religious leaders were already calling for a genocide of the Jews.”

“When I started PMW in 1996, we had no idea where this would lead to. As early as 1998, we published a report on incitement in Palestinian textbooks. The information was there, but before PMW started, nobody was aware or took it seriously. I kept hoping that politicians and journalists would listen and wake up. Clearly, the Palestinian leadership never had the intention of genuinely pursuing peace. Most Israelis realise this now. But because the government did not take the signals seriously at the time, we had to pay an incredible price for our naivety: 2,000 deaths.”

How do the Palestinian leaders react to what you are doing?

“They have nicknames for us. Jibril Rajoub (a prominent Fatah leader) once called me Goebbels, referring to the Nazi propaganda minister. The comparison is, of course, bizarre because Joseph Goebbels spreads lies while we expose the lies. It’s sad, but coming from his mouth, I take this insult as a badge of honour. Hanan Ashrawi (a prominent Palestinian MP) once said: “PMW waits until a Palestinian opens his mouth, and then they pounce on it.” The PA once wrote in an article about us: The fact that the PA is not happy with us proves to me that we are on the right track, that we are doing something right, revealing what they prefer to keep hidden.”

What is the impact of your work?

“I speak in parliaments all over the world. Recently I was in Norway, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium. Soon I will be speaking in the US Congress and in Ireland. Everywhere I go, I meet government leaders and members of parliament and point out the shocking facts of Palestinian indoctrination and their child abuse. And that regularly leads to changes in foreign policy and condemnations of violence.”

You have been doing this work for almost thirty years now. When is your work done?

“When the world recognises that the PA is not a peace partner. Leaders around the world make the crucial mistake of fighting the symptoms rather than the cause. For example, they say: “Is there incitement in Palestinian schoolbooks? Then we will correct those books.” But this does not solve the underlying problem. These are not isolated mistakes of the Palestinian leadership; it is a reflection of their policy. If they change the books because we force them, they will teach hate elsewhere. They encourage terror, they give bonuses to terrorists, they raise their children in hatred, and they proclaim that Israel will be destroyed. They really believe this. There must be a new leadership, enforced by the international community.”

What can people do to support your work?

“PMW is a non-profit organisation; we live on donations. You can support our work financially. But you can also do more. I meet people all over the world who tell me that they have been using and distributing PMW materials for years. My call is: go to our website www.palwatch.org and sign up for our newsletter. Study our material and forward it to journalists and politicians. If you read articles accusing Israel, please contact these journalists and forward our material to them. Not every journalist who writes negatively about Israel hates Israel. Many of them are simply misinformed. The same goes for many politicians and ministers. Every time you inform someone, you make sure the truth comes out. This is the best way to help Israel.

Watch the full interview: