U.N. expresses rare criticism on Palestinian hate speech and incitement

The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva expressed rare criticism over the Palestinian Authority’s hate speech in school textbooks and in its media.

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September 1, 2019 10:22
2 minute read.
PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas – not saying anything about the elections, but working behind th

PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas – not saying anything about the elections, but working behind the scenes?. (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva expressed rare criticism over the Palestinian Authority’s hate speech in school textbooks and in its media, and voiced concern regarding the use of racist language by state officials.


The report was adopted on August 23 and became public last Thursday. The committee mentioned within the report the existence of hate speech “in certain media outlets, especially those controlled by Hamas, social media, public officials’ statements, and school curricula and textbooks, which fuels hatred and may incite violence, particularly hate speech against Israelis, which at times also fuels antisemitism.”

According to the report, the committee called on the Palestinian Authority to combat hate speech and incitement to violence, including on the Internet and by public figures, politicians and media officials, “and remove any derogatory comments and images from school curricula and textbooks that perpetuate prejudices and hatred.”

The committee recommended that the Palestinians will amend their legislation, in particular, “the Penal Code of 1936 and the Jordanian Penal Code of 1960, the Press and Publication Act, the Cybercrimes Act and Presidential Decree No. 8 on the Strengthening of National Unity and Prevention of Incitement.”

In addition, the committee called to ensure that these laws are not used to “intimidate, harass, arrest, detain and prosecute journalists, human rights defenders and political opponents for exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

The committee requested that the Palestinians will submit information about the implementation of its recommendations within a year.
 
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, said in response that “now the UN also recognizes the unfortunate reality the PA condones incitement and antisemitism. The Palestinian education system, with its hateful rhetoric, leads to youths murdering innocent Israelis. Removing this disgusting content from textbooks is a necessary step in the fight against terrorism.”

According to UN Watch, 18 independent experts reviewed the Palestinian record and those of six other countries at a session that ended on Thursday, when they issued their findings.

“What happened this week was unprecedented,” said UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer in a press release. “Since 1974, when Yasser Arafat and the PLO were welcomed into the United Nations, this is the first time that the world body’s spotlight was officially placed on Palestinian racism, discrimination and antisemitism. Accountability is always the best disinfectant.”

“Sadly, despite their signing of UN treaties, the Palestinian side failed to show any sense of accountability, instead, repeatedly pointing the finger at Israel as an excuse,” he added. “The Palestinians declined to explain why, for example, their newspapers and websites publish grotesque caricatures of Jews that look straight out of Der Sturmer. UN Watch regrets the Palestinian attempt to politicize the review session.”


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