Despite the fact that it has been going on for years, incitement was never a key item on the cabinet's agenda prior to this week. The media, too, with characteristic Israeli restraint, discuss it only when forced. Like this week.
Military Intelligence once prepared a document for the media containing a collection of inflammatory statements and actions - including direct orders to carry out terror attacks - by Yasser Arafat. But Yitzhak Rabin's government - at a time when buses were being blown up - ordered that it be shelved. And the media, in defiance of normal journalistic urges, was happy.
Even when film clips were circulated openly, like the tape in which Arafat promised to launch a jihad once he succeeded in getting his Tunis Brigades back into Palestine, the Israeli media refused to broadcast his remarks. At that time, the Internet was not a viable alternative.
The media's professional obligation is to report on incitement. Instead, they ignore it. And, even worse, they whitewash it.
The journalistic vacuum has been filled by a nonprofit organization, Palestinian Media Watch, which shines a light on inflammatory material broadcast or printed in the Palestinian media.
And the Palestinian media, let us not forget, receive direction and guidance from their government, just as the media in other Arab and Muslim countries do.
But there is scarcely a media outlet in Israel that makes significant use of the video clips and press clippings that PMW distributes. After all, incitement contradicts the message that the media want to send about the Palestinians. If they do mention the organization, or others like it, it's only to stress how "right-wing" they are. Conceal the truth, their motto goes, so as to couch themselves in the "peace camp."
But it is precisely those who believe that peace is possible and that the Palestinians are partners who ought to be the first to tell the truth about the incitement and to rebuke their partners. For by ignoring it - or, even worse, by deliberately concealing the truth - they are undermining their own credibility, and above all, their own ideals.
After all, the public will eventually learn the truth, especially in the Internet era. Yet their powers of denial - or, more accurately, deceit - are infinite.
It's not possible to prove a direct connection between the massacre in Itamar and the daily incitement. The roots run much deeper than that. For years, entire villages were wiped out in Algeria - the death toll ran to over 300,000 - and thousands of babies had their throats slit. In Darfur, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Islamic world, people have similarly been killed in all kinds of sadistic ways. Palestinian incitement is an expression of this murderous tendency, not its cause.
Local and foreign human rights organizations, which are waging a worldwide propaganda campaign against Israel over every uprooted tree in the vicinity of Yitzhar, rarely discuss the atrocities committed throughout the Islamic world and report on them very sparingly. These atrocities don't fit the reigning political correctness, both in Israel and abroad, regarding Arab and Muslim murderousness.
Even the most basic journalistic urges aroused by the murder of a tiny infant are suppressed for the sake of upholding the last remnants of that delusional idee fixe, and in the (justified ) hope that the public's attention will be diverted from the political and moral significance of the murder to more recent events.
The massacre in Itamar cannot be denied, but it is eminently possible to downplay its importance, or to argue (gently, gently ) that the victims brought it on themselves. Even as the bodies were still lying in their pools of blood, the propaganda machine had already begun casting the blame on the victims' surroundings. How perverted. How utterly vile. Heaven, beg mercy for them.
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