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.”
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.” This wasn’t uttered by antisemitic leader, a Jew-hater, but by an ardent Zionist thinker and leader.
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 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 inhabitants to terrible conditions.
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 claims that disagreement with it is a hate crime.
Israel considers virtually all Palestinian parties and organizations to be terrorist organizations including the Palestinian Olympic Committee and PFA which were accused by PMW of naming sports games and tournament after ‘murders’, those who sacrificed their lives for freedom; who have been symbols and icons of the 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 such as Menachem Begin who led the terrorist organization Irgun, and Yitzhak Shamir who led the Lehi (Fighter for the Freedom of Israel). In addition to Palmach, Vaad Leumi and Haganah, these terrorist organizations played a pivotal role in the establishment of the State of Israel.
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 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.”
Certainly, Israel 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 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.
In one of its statements, PMW mentioned that it’s ironic to hear senior PA leader Jibril Rjoub (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.
First, Rjoub in his speech in Paris meant the international community, not the Israeli community. 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.
MW criticized Rjoub’s statement about normalization in sports with Israel:
[Jibril Rajoub] “conveyed blessings to all the Arab athletes who have refused to compete with Israeli athletes.”
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.
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.
– 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 (Rutledge.), as well as articles and essays on the subject of sports included at www.hpalestinesports.net