From The National Post
Puppets preach hate on Hamas TV
Michael Higgins, National Post Published: Thursday, October 01, 2009
Palestinian Media Watch A screengrab shows a bear on a Hamas TV show, the bear calls for the slaughter of jews.
A Palestinian children’s program is using a bear puppet that talks about “slaughtering” Jews, according to the Israeli watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch.
The character on Hamas TV is the latest in a series of puppets and cartoons used by the weekly show Tomorrow’s Pioneers to promote anti-Semitism and incite violence, said media watch director Itamar Marcus.
The show, which started in 2007, became popular in the Arab world when it began to feature a Mickey Mouse-type character, he said.
“This Mickey Mouse character was teaching killing and murder and slaughter and destruction of Jews. In fact, he was also teaching conquest of the West as well,” Mr. Marcus said.
When media watch, a pro-Israeli organization that monitors Palestinian media, highlighted the story the subsequent international attention led to the character being killed off.
“They had the Mickey Mouse character killed on TV. They had an Israeli kill him and he became a Shahid [martyr],” Mr. Marcus said.
He said since then there have been three more characters, Nahul the Bee (who also became a martyr) and a bunny character called Assud, who in the show was killed during the Gaza war.
“Every time Israel was responsible,” he said.
The latest character is a giant bear, Nassur.
Mr. Marcus said during the show, which also features a real presenter called Saraa, the bear uses two different words for “slaughter” to describe how to rid Israel of Jews.
During the show a child also phones in and talks about wanting to kill Jews for the death of his father.
The program was shown on Al-Aqsa TV, more commonly called Hamas TV, last week.
“All the adult messages of ‘It’s good to die for Allah; it’s good to fight the West; we are going to conquer the West; it’s important to kill the Jews,’ all these adult messages that often come through religious leaders and political leaders, the kids are getting through these cartoon and gigantic puppet characters,” Mr. Marcus said.
In recent years, Hamas has been using mass media to spread its message. In addition to a satellite TV channel, it owns a radio station and newspapers. A German-trained director also released a feature film produced by Hamas earlier this year; reports said he hoped to enter it in the Cannes Film Festival.
Tomorrow’s Pioneers has been widely criticized by media watchdog groups.
The TV station did not return calls for comment.
When the show launched, the station’s deputy manager told CNN that it was about Palestinian children.”They express their feeling regarding what they witness – if it’s occupation it’s about that, and about the prisoners and how to lead the world,” the deputy manager was quoted as saying.
Media watch was set up in 1996 to “gain an understanding of Palestinian society through the monitoring of the Palestinian Arabic language media and schoolbooks,” its website says.