The Scary Growth of Terrorist Propaganda

In just a single week, two governments took long overdue steps to label all branches of terrorist groups as part of the same poisonous tree. It was not without reason.

On November 19, 2021, the United Kingdom announced that it would add the political wing of Hamas onto the list of terrorist groups, joining the military branch which already had the designation. On November 24th, the government of Australia announced that it was adding all branches of Hezbollah to its terrorist list. They joined many countries in recognizing that the entirety of these organizations mobilized forces of hatred and terror, and facilitated the actual attacks of its military wings.

The propaganda arms of the two groups – al Aqsa and al Manar – are no longer fringe sources of extremism. They have been growing in popularity and are now at parity with more mainstream Muslim Arab media.

Al Manar is the media arm of Hezbollah in Lebanon. It routinely puts out the statements of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah demonizing the United States and Israel. The group defines itself as the official Islamic resistance of Lebanon to combat the atrocities and invasions of western powers.

Al Aqsa is the media arm of Hamas. It also defines itself as the official Islamic resistance of the Palestinian people against western and Jewish forces, advocating violence in its various programming.

Dateal Arabia & Al Jazeeraal Manar & Al Aqsa
Sept 200572.5%4.8%
Sept 201060.7%16.8%
Sept 201536.2%25.4%
Sept 202127.3%25.5%
Media viewership in Gaza over time. Gazans preferences for terrorist sources has grown according to Palestinian polls

As the table above shows, the preference for the programming of mainstream media like al Arabia from Dubai and al Jazeera from Qatar has dropped dramatically, even though those media outlets also demonize the west. The Gazans have become drawn to more radical calls for terrorism.

While the Gazans preference for violence against Israelis surpasses West Bankers, the trend lines for watching terrorist television is much the same in the Palestinian Authority-ruled areas.

Dateal arabia & al jazeeraal manar & al aqsa
Sept 200568.2%8.0%
Sept 201070.5%9.1%
Sept 201528.6%13.0%
Sept 202126.6%23.2%
Media viewership in the West Bank over time. West Bankers preferences for terrorist programming jumped significantly this year according to Palestinian polls

The spike in West Bankers watching Hamas media has a lot to do with Palestinians dislike of PA President Mahmoud Abbas from the rival Fatah party, his cancelling elections earlier this year and Hamas’s missile attacks against Israel in May, a war crime celebrated by West Bankers as a defense for Jerusalem. But the overall trends are much the same as in Gaza: Palestinians are now watching terrorist television at the same rates as mainstream Arabic media.

The United Nations long ago realized that terrorist propaganda fuels violence, but it primarily focused attention on ISIS and al Qaeda and their usage of social media. Hopefully the recent actions of Australia and the UK in labelling the political and media arms of Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations will help reduce the vile calls to violence.

A picture taken on November 12, 2018, shows a ball of fire above the building housing the Hamas-run television station al-Aqsa TV in the Gaza Strip during an Israeli air strike after a barrage of rocket fire from the enclave. Israeli security group Shin Bet accused al Aqsa journalists of using codes and being agents in attacks on Israel (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

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Excerpt of Hamas Charter to Share with Your Elected Officials

The New Salman Abedi High School for Boys in England and the Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel Soccer Tournament in France

Summary: The western world will really have to worry about home-grown terrorism when the local community proudly honors the terrorists.

The Terrorists

On May 22, 2017, Salman Abedi detonated a bomb that killed 22 people attending an Ariana Grande concert in Machester England. The dead included children who went out for a fun evening to enjoy some live music.

On July 14, 2016, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a truck through a crowd in Nice, France, killing 84 people. The dead included children and families out enjoying fireworks on Bastille Day.

On March 27, 2002, Abdel-Basset Odeh detonated a bomb in the middle of a Passover seder in Netanya, Israel, killing 30 people. The victims included Holocaust survivors enjoying a festive Passover dinner.

On March 11, 1978, Dalal Mughrabi shot and killed an American photographer taking nature pictures on a beach; then fired on a taxi killing all of the passengers; and then ultimately blew up a school bus full of kids on the way to school along a coastal road in Israel.

The Celebrants

The Islamic State claimed credit for the Manchester England bombing saying that “a soldier of the caliphate planted bombs in the middle of Crusaders gatherings.” ISIS made a clear reference to “Crusaders,” non-Muslims who came to the Middle East to block the establishment of a Muslim “caliphate.”

ISIS also claimed credit for the attack in Nice, stating that “one of the soldiers of the Islamic State,” carried out the attack.

The 2002 Passover seder massacre was celebrated by Palestinian Arabs broadly. “Everyone’s proud of him,” said his older brother, Issam Odeh. Palestinians later named a soccer tournament after him in his hometown of Tulkarem.

Dalal Mughrabi led a squad of Fatah fighters in her attack, the same political party as Yasser Arafat (fungus be upon him) and Mahmoud Abbas. She was celebrated at the time by Palestinian leadership and continues to be venerated by Palestinian Arab society today which names public squares and schools in her memory.

Palestinian students honoring Dalal Mughrabi
(Photo:
Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times)

One would imagine that ISIS is naming public squares and buildings after Salman Abedi and Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel in Syria and Iraq in a similar fashion.

The Reaction to the Attacks and Backers

The Prime Minister of England, Theresa May said “the spirit of Britain is far mightier than the sick plots of terrorists — and that is why the terrorist will never prevail.” She is pushing NATO to join the fight against ISIS that backed the terrorist attack. The United Nations Security Council held a moment of silence for the victims of the attack.

The UN Security Council also held a moment of silence for the victims in France a year earlier.

Many countries are fighting against ISIS, the backers of global terrorism. It is quite a different story for the backers of terrorists against Israel.

The UN did not hold moments of silence for Israeli victims. The global community did not seek to isolate Fatah or condemn its celebration of terrorists. Quite to the contrary. The UN Secretary General said that it stood with the Palestinians and not with Israel.

In 2002, the UN launched an investigation into BOTH sides of the conflict. That’s quite a process considering it is an active protector of the Palestinians and therefore has inherent bias. Consider that the UN does not investigate how France and the UK fight against terrorists at all.

Foreign or Domestic

The UK, France and other western countries look at terrorism as a foreign transplant. It emerges from the Middle East as a distorted form of Islam that lands on their shores.

Investigators of attacks quickly delve into whether the terrorist was an immigrant or native. Something foreign may seem distant. The chance of another attack is remote. However, a locally born radical might portend a future full of terrorism.

It is an understandable fear, but one still in the distant future.

When the local Muslim community of Manchester creates the Salman Abedi High School for Boys, or the city of Marseille, France names a large public square or soccer tournament after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the period of daily terrorism will be at hand. That is the present day in Israel that deals with an anti-Semitic Arab population that seeks a land free of Jews.

Will the UN and global community stand in solidarity with the innocent victims of terrorism then?


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Media Splits on Showing “Islamic Terrorism” and its Presence in Israel

The UN Fails on its Own Measures to address the Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism

Car Ramming from Islamic Terrorism Explodes as it Approaches its Second Anniversary

The US State Department Does Not Want Israel to Fight Terrorism

The Big, Bad Lone Wolves of Terrorism

Select Support in Fighting Terrorism from the US State Department

Double Standards: Assassinations

Eyal Gilad Naftali Klinghoffer. The new Blood Libel.

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The Countries that Acknowledge the Jewish Temple May Surprise You

The United Nations has been a hotbed of anti-Israel sentiment for decades. Whether the issue was war, terrorism, blockades, the security barrier, peace talks, settlements, refugees, etc., the vast majority of countries have been very vocal and very critical of Israel.

The UN also has a long history of ignoring Jewish rights to their sacred sites, as described in “The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land.” The various countries in the UN had a chance to add their own voices to that history.

In the fall of 2015, Palestinian Arabs claimed that Jews were going to overrun the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and proceeded to kill and attempted to kill dozens of Israelis. Those events made the countries at the UN focus on discussing the Temple Mount itself. Their comments  on October 22, 2015 were interesting.

DSC_0087
The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount above the Kotel,
location of the First and Second Jewish Temples

(photo: FirstOneThrough)

A Muslim Holy Site

Not surprisingly, the Muslim countries referred to the Temple Mount as an exclusively Islamic holy spot.

  • State of Palestine” called the location the “Haram al Sharif,” the Muslim name for the Temple Mount.
  • Angola discussed the “Al Aqsa Mosque,” which is Islam’s third holiest spot, located on the southern tip of the Temple Mount
  • Qatar mentioned the “Holy Shrine

Some countries went further, and stressed that the Temple Mount compound was important only to Muslims.

  • Maldives stated Haram al-Sharif must be restored.  Israel must stop altering the Islamic and Arabic character of the city
  • Egypt noted that the “Holy Shrine was extremely important to more than one billion Muslims worldwide,” and said nothing about Jews
  • Iran called the site “Haram Al-Sharif, and called for respect for the rights of Muslim worshippers to pray at that site in peace.

Others were more extreme in their calls against Israel:

  • Saudi Arabia said that “Israel had failed to protect Islamic holy sites, demolished the gates of Haram al-Sharif and turned it into a prayer place for Jews.  Israeli extremists had set fire to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron
  • Kuwait described “attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque were an unprecedented assault against the inalienable religious rights of Muslims all over the world.   The OIC reiterated the historic and present Hashemite custodianship of the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, including Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
  • Morocco was alarmed at the situation of “Islamic holy sites. Jerusalem was the very essence of the Palestinian question and there could be no peace without clarifying the status of Al-Quds as capital of a Palestinian State.  Any harm brought against the Al-Aqsa mosque would heighten tensions.”

The surprise in the singular call of the Islamic character of the site, was that a single western country also only mentioned the Arabic and Muslim name for the site: the United Kingdom.

Just Holy Sites

Some countries avoided the controversy, like Spain, Chad, Nigeria, Norway, Korea and France, just referring to generic “holy sites.” Such language was impartial and neutral. That was perhaps logical in a tense and violent environment.

The Holy See mentioned that the location was sacred to “Judaism, Christianity and Islam.” An ACTIVELY balanced approach, which pulled all of the monotheistic religions to Jerusalem.

Turkey’s approach was a mix. Like the Holy See, it noted that “Jerusalem, a city sacred to Islam, Judaism and Christianity, should be treated with the utmost respect.” But then went on to attack Israel’s practices at the site saying that Israel was “targeting holy sites and all other provocative activities undermining the status and sanctity of Haram al-Sharif must immediately stop.  The Jordanian role as custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem was crucial for the preservation of Haram al-Sharif as an Islamic sanctuary.”  It would appear that Turkey was willing to acknowledge the centrality of Jerusalem to Jews, just not the Temple Mount.

Most countries like: New Zealand; Venezuela; China; Chile; the United States; Russia; Sweden; Lebanon; Malaysia; Guatemala; Brazil; Japan; India; Bangladesh; Costa Rica; Kazakhstan; Iceland; Botswana; Sri Lanka; Bahrain; Cuba; and Pakistan did not mention the holy site itself.

Yes, that many countries weighed in about the situation in Israel.

Three Countries Recognize Judaism at the Temple Mount

In the long list of world condemnation, there was a silver lining, and it came from the unlikeliest of countries. Three countries besides Israel, referred to the platform as the Temple Mount, recognizing the history of Jews at the location and the sanctity of the spot in Judaism.

  • Lithuania, a country not known for being a strong Israeli ally, said that the “Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount was a sacred place for both Muslims and Jews.”
  • Ukraine mentioned the Al Aqsa mosque, but then also said “It was important for both parties to find the courage to respect holy places in accordance with the principles specified in the fundamental international documents, particularly those of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the agreements that regulated the status of the Temple Mount complex.”
  • Zimbabwe also said that “Access to the Temple Mount and other holy sites must be preserved under the status quo arrangements.”

These are not remarkable statements by these three countries on their face. But to consider that dozens of countries – including Israel’s allies – would not recognize the centrality of the Temple Mount to Judaism, does make their statements noteworthy.

Ukraine has a long history of anti-Semitism, but it was among the few countries that referred to the site by its historic Jewish name.  The three countries did go on to chastise Israel for actions on the Temple Mount, but at least they had the decency to not ignore Jews and Judaism also.

Six months later, in April 2016 in Paris, UNESCO itself weighed in that there was no Jewish connection to the Temple Mount when it drafted 40 points of rebuke against Israel, that only referred to the Jerusalem site by Islamic and Arabic names 19 times.  This was very deliberate, as seen when UNESCO went through the courtesy of referring to the common names of other Jewish holy sites in discussing “The two Palestinian sites of Al-Ḥaram Al Ibrāhīmī/Tomb of the Patriarchs in AlKhalīl/Hebron and the Bilāl Ibn Rabāḥ Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem.”


Decades ago, several countries would not acknowledge the Jewish State, and many Arab countries to this day still refer to Israel as the “Zionist Entity.”  Much of the world is still so backwards, that it cannot even recognize the history of the Jewish people and the holiest spot for Judaism.

Send a note to the governments of Lithuania (misija.jt@urm.lt), Ukraine (uno_us@mfa.gov.ua) and Zimbabwe (zimbabwe@un.int) and let them know that their statements, while seemingly insignificant, meant a lot to a small nation with a little country in the middle of a hostile neighborhood and United Nations.

Consider sending a note to your home country and the UK (fax 212 745 9316)  as well, relaying your disappointment.  You are welcome to attach this article.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Names and Narrative: CNN’s Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa Complex Inversion

Active and Reactive Provocations: Charlie Hebdo and the Temple Mount

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

The Arguments over Jerusalem

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