The Imaginary Mahmoud Abbas

Leo Rennert
In a Dec. 4 dispatch, Washington Post Jerusalem correspondent Joel Greenberg reports, among other Israel developments, that Prime Minister Netanyahu's cabinet devoted part of its weekly meeting "to what was termed incitement against Israel by the Palestinian Authority, including a U.N. speech delivered last week by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas."

Readers who might be interested to find out what kind of incitement Abbas delivers against Israel would have been disappointed.  Greenberg simply doesn't report any examples or details of anti-Israel incitement by the Abbas-ruled PA.  And he's not the only journalist in the West guilty of such omissions.

Had Greenberg delved even a little bit into this topic, Post readers would have been informed about the kinds of anti-Israel incitement stoked by Abbas and organs under his control, including curricula in PA schools, on the official PA website, and in PA media.  Such as:

  • Israel has no right to exist as a state. There is only "Palestine" -- from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. So much for Abbas's pious commitment to a two-state solution. In reality, he poisons the minds of the next generations of Palestinians to aim for a one-state solution -- exclusively Palestinian.
  • Jews must be fought using all possible means, including terrorism.
  • A Facebook page in a PA school, titled "I hate Israel," replete with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish pictures.
  • A Facebook page in another PA school with quotes from Adolf Hitler: "I could have killed all of the Jews but I left a few so that you would know why I killed them."
  • A Palestinian student rewarded with candy for an exercise about a terrorist who killed Jews.

As for the contents of Abbas's speech at the U.N. when he sought recognition for Palestinian statehood, neither the Post nor most other mainstream media saw fit to inform readers and viewers that it was one long string of vicious and vituperative attacks against Israel, with descriptions of the Jewish state such as "racist," "murderous," "aggressive," "horrific," and a "colonial" power practicing "apartheid" and "ethnic cleansing."

So why would Greenberg and his colleagues across a wide swath of the Western media world paper over such lethal, Hitlerian incitement by Abbas?  The answer seems obvious: the media over many years have built up a faux Abbas whom they've marketed as a "moderate" leader and genuine peace partner.  Since he's anything but these things, they engage in self-censorship, erasing the real Abbas and substituting an invented one.

In this, they also reflect delusional diplomatic strategies by U.S. and European governments who are on a similar path when it comes to Abbas.  These entities operate on the spurious and dubious assumption that, given Hamas's forthright commitment to destroying Israel, Abbas remains as the only indispensable Palestinian leader.  Never mind that neither Abbas nor Hamas fits the bill.

Bottom line: most Western media and governments view Israel through a glass darkly, but Abbas through a glass brightly.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers.

In a Dec. 4 dispatch, Washington Post Jerusalem correspondent Joel Greenberg reports, among other Israel developments, that Prime Minister Netanyahu's cabinet devoted part of its weekly meeting "to what was termed incitement against Israel by the Palestinian Authority, including a U.N. speech delivered last week by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas."

Readers who might be interested to find out what kind of incitement Abbas delivers against Israel would have been disappointed.  Greenberg simply doesn't report any examples or details of anti-Israel incitement by the Abbas-ruled PA.  And he's not the only journalist in the West guilty of such omissions.

Had Greenberg delved even a little bit into this topic, Post readers would have been informed about the kinds of anti-Israel incitement stoked by Abbas and organs under his control, including curricula in PA schools, on the official PA website, and in PA media.  Such as:

  • Israel has no right to exist as a state. There is only "Palestine" -- from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. So much for Abbas's pious commitment to a two-state solution. In reality, he poisons the minds of the next generations of Palestinians to aim for a one-state solution -- exclusively Palestinian.
  • Jews must be fought using all possible means, including terrorism.
  • A Facebook page in a PA school, titled "I hate Israel," replete with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish pictures.
  • A Facebook page in another PA school with quotes from Adolf Hitler: "I could have killed all of the Jews but I left a few so that you would know why I killed them."
  • A Palestinian student rewarded with candy for an exercise about a terrorist who killed Jews.

As for the contents of Abbas's speech at the U.N. when he sought recognition for Palestinian statehood, neither the Post nor most other mainstream media saw fit to inform readers and viewers that it was one long string of vicious and vituperative attacks against Israel, with descriptions of the Jewish state such as "racist," "murderous," "aggressive," "horrific," and a "colonial" power practicing "apartheid" and "ethnic cleansing."

So why would Greenberg and his colleagues across a wide swath of the Western media world paper over such lethal, Hitlerian incitement by Abbas?  The answer seems obvious: the media over many years have built up a faux Abbas whom they've marketed as a "moderate" leader and genuine peace partner.  Since he's anything but these things, they engage in self-censorship, erasing the real Abbas and substituting an invented one.

In this, they also reflect delusional diplomatic strategies by U.S. and European governments who are on a similar path when it comes to Abbas.  These entities operate on the spurious and dubious assumption that, given Hamas's forthright commitment to destroying Israel, Abbas remains as the only indispensable Palestinian leader.  Never mind that neither Abbas nor Hamas fits the bill.

Bottom line: most Western media and governments view Israel through a glass darkly, but Abbas through a glass brightly.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers.