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PA daily accuses PMW of “distortion” for correctly translating its crossword puzzle

Itamar Marcus  |
Official PA daily accuses PMW of “distortion”
for correctly translating a crossword puzzle...
17 years ago
The paper claims it made a typo in 1999
and PMW should have known it was a typo

Crossword puzzle clue in the official PA daily in 1999: 
Clue: “Jewish Center for commemorating 
the Holocaust and the lie” 
Solution: “Yad Vashem” 
(The World Holocaust Remembrance Center) [Feb. 18, 1999]
by Itamar Marcus
In its attempt to find an example to support its accusation that Palestinian Media Watch “distorts” the Palestinian Authority media, the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida had to search back 17 years to find what it claims is such an example. Hafez Barghouti, former editor of the PA daily, wrote last week that PMW’s “media monitoring distorts Palestinian statements and articles, takes them out of context.” The example he found to support this charge was something PMW reported in 1999.
Strikingly, the PA daily admits that PMW translated correctly back then, but claims that what the PA daily wrote in 1999 was a typographical error.  According to the PA daily, PMW was "inciting" and “distorting,” because we failed to understand that the paper meant something other than what it had written.
The “distortion” that the PA daily is claiming is as follows. In 1999, PMW reported on the following crossword puzzle clue in the official PA daily, which denied the Holocaust, referring to Israel’s Holocaust museum as a center commemorating “the lie.” At the time, this was a standard PA message:


Feb. 18, 1999:
Clue: “Jewish Center for commemorating the Holocaust and the lie”
Solution: “Yad Vashem” (i.e., The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel)
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 18, 1999]
PMW pointed out at the time that this clue was a play on words. Israel's commemoration of the Holocaust is called in Hebrew “Yom HaShoa Ve HaGevura” - “Holocaust and Heroism Day.” In Arabic the words for “heroism” -“butula,” and “lie” - “batel,” are similar. Soon afterwards, PMW held a press event in the US Congress with members of Congress which showed this crossword among numerous examples of PA hate messaging. The Palestinian use of a crossword puzzle clue to promote Holocaust denial was shocking and got picked up by the US media.
Hafez Barghouti, then the editor of the PA daily, is now slandering PMW because he claims we did not read their minds 17 years ago and recognize their “misprint”:
“They [PMW] went as far as taking advantage of a misprint in a crossword puzzle and considered it incitement, as there was a question about a Holocaust and heroism monument called 'Yad Vashem,’ and the typesetter made a mistake and wrote ‘the lie.’ This ‘grave' incident reached news agencies and radio stations, and Yasser Arafat summoned me to explain the circumstances.”
However, PMW rejects the current PA justification that it was a “misprint”. At that time, PA Holocaust denial was taught to children and adults by educators and in the official PA media and the fact that it appeared in a crossword puzzle was consistent with PA messaging.
Some examples:

Official PA TV history lesson: Dachau and Auschwitz were "cleansing sites"

"Lies surfaced about Jews being murdered here and there, and the Holocaust. And of course these are all lies and unfounded claims. There was no Dachau, no Auschwitz! [They] were cleansing sites... They began to publicize in their propaganda media that they were persecuted, murdered and exterminated... Committees acted here and there to establish this entity [Israel- Ed.], this foreign entity, implanted as a cancer in our country, where our fathers lived, where we live, and where our children after us will live. They always portrayed themselves as victims, and they made a Center for Heroism and Holocaust. Whose heroism? What Holocaust? It is our nation which is heroic, the holocaust was against our people."
[Educational program "Pages From Our History" Dr. Issam Sissalem, history lecturer, Islamic University Gaza, Palestinian expert on Jews and Judaism, PA TV, Nov. 29, 2001]
Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: The claim six million Jews were cremated in the Auschwitz death camp is a lie for propaganda purposes

"The issue of the Holocaust rises again.  It defies disappearing over its half-century because the Zionist propaganda has converted it into a means to produce political and economic benefit... A recently published book by an American researcher, discusses the Holocaust.  Employing scientific and chemical evidence, it proves that the figure of six million Jews cremated in the Nazi Auschwitz camps is a lie for propaganda, as the most spacious of the vaults in the camp could not have held even one percent of that number ... The question now discussed in the halls of the universities and the renowned publishing houses in the world's capitols is: Has this hen reached its expiration date, which lays golden eggs for the Jews everywhere? ...  Of course there are those who claim that the Jews actively participated in directing European feelings against them. When Zionism cannot find an enemy to separate and repel the Jews, it invents such an enemy; and so was the case with the Holocausts.”
["Marketing Ashes," by Hiri Manzour, official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
April 13, 2001]
Official PA TV broadcast a children's play featuring child actors portraying "dead" Palestinian children, accompanied by narration saying that it was the Israelis who did the Holocaust and burned Palestinians in ovens:

"They are the ones who did the Holocaust, their knife cuts to the length and the width of our flesh. . . They opened the ovens for us to bake human beings...  And when an oven stops burning, they light a hundred [more] ovens. Their hands are covered with the blood of our children." 
[PA TV, March 25, 2004]
Since PA ideology and messaging then was to actively deny the Holocaust, PMW was correct to show that PA Holocaust denial appeared even in a crossword puzzle. For the PA to now 17 years later claim that they intended to recognize the Holocaust in 1999, when PA messaging at that time was to actively deny the Holocaust, is clearly false.
Finally, the fact that the PA daily had to search as far back as 1999 to find even one example of an alleged PMW distortion is a credit to PMW and the accuracy of our translations and research over the years.
The following is a longer except of the PA daily’s attack against PMW for translating correctly in 1999:

“The Palestinian media monitoring by Israel distorts Palestinian statements and articles, takes them out of context, and markets them mainly to the American government as Palestinian incitement. One day [years ago], President Mahmoud Abbas summoned me to his office when he was still secretary of the [PLO] Executive Committee, and told me that Israel is using the [issue of] incitement against us, and every time we sit with [then US Secretary of State] Madeleine Albright and [American diplomat] Dennis Ross to discuss an important issue, they tell us that [the official PA daily] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida has published this and that, and that so-and-so wrote this and that. I said: There is an Israeli department for monitoring Palestinian media and statements that distorts articles, takes them out of context, and spreads them among the Americans as though they [the articles] are inciting and Antisemitic. They went as far as taking advantage of a misprint in a crossword puzzle and considering it incitement, as there was a question about a Holocaust and heroism monument, 'Yad Vashem’ (i.e., The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust), and the typesetter made a mistake and wrote ‘the lie’ (the words are similar in Arabic: “heroism” -“butula,” “lie” - “batel,” -Ed.). This ‘grave' incident reached news agencies and radio stations, and Yasser Arafat summoned me to explain the circumstances of this great uproar. I explained to him the truth of the matter, and after an investigation it turned out that it was an unintentional misprint, as the original word was ‘heroism.” Nevertheless, Abbas told us to pay attention as there is no need for all this unjustified uproar against us. The Israelis bring up the issue of incitement daily, which they carry it out verbally and in practice, and market it throughout the world.” 
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 6, 2016]

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