July 24, 2017
News Press Release

Major ZOA Monograph Condemning Anti-Semitic New Tillerson State Dept. Report- ZOA Calls for Sec’y of State Tillerson’s Resignation

State Dept. Report Wrongly Blames Israel for Palestinian Arab Violence; Whitewashes PA Incitement and Payment to Arabs to Murder Jews; Condemns Israel’s Anti-Terrorism Efforts and Jewish Communities in Judea/Samaria; Fails to Acknowledge Jerusalem is in Israel; and Adopts UN and Soros-Funded Anti-Israel NGOs’ Fabrications; ZOA Praises Cong. Roskam (R-IL) for Urging Amending Report
Sec. of State Rex Tillerson

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and Elizabeth Berney, Esq. released the following monograph:

 In light of the U.S. State Department’s new, bigoted, biased, anti-Semitic, Israel-hating error-ridden terrorism report, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) calls on Secretary of State Tillerson to resign. This Tillerson State Department Report blames Israel for Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks on innocent Jews and Americans, ignores and whitewashes the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) “pay to slay” payments to Arabs to murder Jews, and among other travesties – contradicts both President Trump’s insightful Riyadh speech, and Ambassador Haley’s outstanding work at the United Nations.  President Trump’s courageous speech in Riyadh placed the blame for terrorist attacks against innocent Jews, Christians and Muslims squarely where it belongs: on barbaric extreme Islamist ideologies.  The president appropriately demanded that we “honestly confront the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires” and “cut off the financial channels” that enable terrorism.  And at the United Nations, President Trump’s outstanding Ambassador Nikki Haley has been doing wonderful work pushing the United Nations to retract its biased, defamatory, anti-Semitic anti-Israel reports and activities, and UNESCO’s statements attempting to remove from Israel millennia-long Jewish sites in Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria.  (See, e.g., ZOA Condemns Anti-Israel UN Report – Praises Trump Admin’s Condemnation of It,” Mar. 16, 2017; and “ZOA Condemns UNESCO for Anti-Semitic Erasure of Jewish People’s History in Hebron,” July 7, 2017 (praising Amb. Haley).)

Accordingly, the ZOA urges the U.S. State Department to retract and correct the defamatory, biased anti-Israel portions of its “Country Reports on Terrorism 2016” (issued July 2017), including the portions of this report that:  (1) Blame Israel and IDF anti-terrorism efforts for Palestinian Arab terrorism against Israelis; (2) Ignore, whitewash, and minimize the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) incitement against Jews, Israelis and Americans; (3) Ignore the PA’s $355 million of annual “pay to slay” payments made to Arabs  to murder Jews – and re-characterize PA “pay to slay” payments to terrorists as “reintegration into society financial packages”; (4) Minimize Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks against Israelis; (5) Make false and exaggerated claims of Israeli “settler” violence against Palestinian Arabs, based on fabrications by the Soros-funded discredited anti-Israel NGO Yesh Din and the UN (which also based its anti-Israel allegations on the same discredited sources); (6) Treat Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria, etc. as separate entities from Israel; and (7) Ignore and minimize Qatar’s state sponsorship and funding of terrorism. 

Cong. Roksam (R-IL): “State Dept. report includes multiple findings that are both inaccurate and harmful to combatting Palestinian terrorism… it portrays the PA as innocent peacemakers far removed from being the source of terrorist activity.” 

ZOA also praises and thanks Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) for writing a letter to Secretary of State Tillerson, pointing out and asking the Secretary to amend the “demonstrably false assertions” in the 2016 State Dept. Country Report on Terrorism.  Among other things, Rep. Roskam wrote:

At the highest level, the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership incites, rewards, and, in some cases, carries out terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis.  In order to effectively combat terrorism, it is imperative that the United States accurately characterize its root cause – PA leadership. . . .”

The State Department report includes multiple findings that are both inaccurate and harmful to combating Palestinian terrorism.  This report wrongly insinuates Israeli security measures on the Temple Mount and a stalled peace process as key forces behind terrorism.  Most egregiously, it portrays the PA as innocent peacemakers far removed from being the source of terrorist activity. . . . This assertion [that explicit calls for violence are “rare” and the PA “leadership generally does not tolerate it”] is demonstrably false.  The PA does not only tolerate terrorist attacks against Israelis but it also incites, rewards, and memorializes those who carry out these horrific attacks. . . .”  (Cong. Peter Roskam letter to Secretary of State Tillerson, July 20, 2017.)

It is extremely disappointing that the current State Department has added biased anti-Israel language to the State Department’s annual country report on terrorism.

Conservative Review noted that “Conservative Review looked through the Obama-era State Department country reports on terrorism and found that the Tillerson-led assessment added the aforementioned anti-Israel language.  Last year’s report under Obama said the Palestinians argued that terrorism is sometimes caused by frustration over ‘occupation.’  But that report was much less accusatory because it makes clear that the position is reflecting the views of Palestinian officials, and not the U.S. government.  Tillerson continues to shock supporters of Israel with his pro-Palestinian policy promotion. . . .”  (“State Dept Blames Israel for Causing Palestinian Violence: Shocking New Report Says ‘Lack Of Hope’ Is A Cause Of Palestinian Violence,” by Jordan Schachtel, July 19, 2017.) 

The new State Department should be draining the swamp and expunging the anti-Israel false and biased pronouncements of the former administration – not making them worse.

Here are some of the specific egregious false anti-Israel statements in the new State Dept. countries report on terrorism:

Blaming Israel for, and Justifying Palestinian Arab Murder of Jewish Israelis:  The State Dept. report falsely blames Israel for Palestinian Arab terrorism against Israelis, saying:

“Continued drivers of violence included a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.

Lack of hope for achieving Palestinian statehood” is a phony excuse – not a “driver” of violence: the Palestinian Arabs were repeatedly given overgenerous statehood offers (in 1937, 1947, 2000 and 2008) – and each time rejected the offer and instead went to war against Israel.  The “drivers” of anti-Israel terrorism are the Palestinian Arabs’ genocidal, Islamist-fueled desire to eradicate the Jewish state and murder Jews, and the PA’s continual incitement and “pay to slay” payments. 

Notably, with regard to other countries, the State Dept. report blames terrorism on Islamist ideology, saying for instance: “a common thread through much of the terrorism observed in 2016 was adherence to violent extremist ideology put forth by a fundamentalist strain of Sunni Islam . . .”

In other words, only when the victims of terrorism are Jews and Israelis, does the State Department report blame the victims – instead of the perpetrators’ ideology.  That is a downright anti-Semitic double standard. 

“Settlement construction” (which is, in fact, minimal) is also a “blame the victim” phony excuse rather than a real reason for terrorism.  “Settlement construction” is an excuse that says that the very presence of Jews living in the historic and legally designated Jewish homeland justifies killing Jews.  Again, the State Department displays its anti-Semitic bias by citing no similarly absurd “drivers of terrorism” regarding any other victim country.

Curiously, the same bizarre phrasing and concept (that Jews living in or building homes in the Jewish homeland constitute “drivers” of nefarious activities) comes straight out of the false, biased UN reports that Ambassador Haley has been working and succeeding in getting the UN to retract.  For instance, the “UN Report of the Secretary-General on Israeli settlements – OHCHR” (Jan. 20, 2016) speaks of “[Israeli] Settlements as a driver of violations of international human rights.

Or perhaps it is not so curious that the State Dept. report’s false claims mirror those of the UN:  The State Department report admits that its claims about “settler violence against Palestinians” and ridiculously exaggerated number of such alleged attacks come from UN reports and the radical, anti-Israel NGO “Yesh Din.”  Those sources are actually identical: the Soros-funded (via NIF) Yesh Din and its collaborators provide the false information in the UN’s defamatory anti-Israel reports.  For instance, the above-quoted UN report repeatedly cites as its sources Yesh Din and its web of Soros-funded collaborators.  Yesh Din was created by the founder of the anti-Israel, pro-Iran-regime, pro-Palestinian-Arab, pro-Hamas group J Street), and is notorious for fabricating and spreading anti-Israel falsehoods. 

(See J Street, Ben Ami, and Ben-Or Consulting: The NGO Connection,” by Gerald M. Steinberg, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 28, 2009; NGO Monitor Report on Yesh Din; and DC Leaks “Presidents’ Office” Soros file documents containing Soros/OSF/OSI anti-Israel grantees and strategy, including “Arab Regional Office (ARO)-Presidential Portfolio Review, Palestinian Citizens of Israel-List of Portfolio Elements” (Aug. 6, 2015); and “Open Society Foundations – Arab Regional Office, Portfolio Review Document – Palestine/Israel International Advocacy Portfolio,” at pp. 3, 18-21 (Mar. 25, 2014).)

The State Department Report reliance on these fabricated anti-Israel sources is alarming and utterly irresponsible.

It is also shocking that the State Department report blames Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) anti-terrorism efforts “that Palestinians consider over-aggressive” for terrorism against innocent Israelis.  There is nothing “over aggressive” about the IDF’s anti-terrorism efforts, which are comprised of humane and eminently reasonable steps such as checkpoints (to check for weapons) and arresting terrorist cells.  The State Department report should praise Israel’s appropriate anti-terrorism efforts in Judea/Samaria, etc. – which prevent thousands of additional Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks on innocent Israelis!

And once again displaying its anti-Israel double standard, the State Department report never criticizes real “aggressive” anti-terrorism efforts by other countries.  The report never even mentions that Saudi Arabia beheaded and executed by firing squad 47 terrorists on just one day in January 2016  (“Anger as Shi’ite Cleric Among 47 in Mass Saudi Terrorism Execution,” Reuters, Jan. 2, 2016) and officially executed other terrorists at other times during the year.  And the State Dept. report merely notes that the UAE executed a terrorist, without calling this “overly aggressive.” Instead, the State Department report faults other countries for not being aggressive enough in stopping terror.  The State Department report attributes terrorism in other countries to “security vacuums” and inadequate anti-terrorism efforts by those other victim countries. 

The State Dept. report also levels other fallacious criticisms at Israel’s efforts to counter Palestinian Arab terrorism, including criticizing reasonable Israeli anti-terror laws and claiming that “ISF incursions into Palestinian-controlled Area A at times disrupted ongoing PASF counterterrorism operations.”  The IDF “incursions” are what stops thousands of terror attacks.

In addition, in a transparent effort to turn Jewish victims into culprits, the State Department report blames Jewish “settlers” for a March 2016 arson attacks against Palestinian Arabs in Duma, despite a contrary witness report and statements of by the investigating Israeli authorities.  (See, e.g., New Duma Fire Likely Not Jewish Arson Attack, Israeli Officials Say,” Times of Israel, Mar. 20, 2016.)

Ignoring, Whitewash, and Minimizing the PA’s Promotion of Murdering Jews:

The State Department report also misleadingly fails to mention that PA dictator Mahmoud Abbas’s incitement and falsehoods are responsible for “the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount.” 

PA President Abbas incited the 2015-2017 wave of terror by broadcasting on PA official television, Abbas’s website, and the PA’s Facebook site Abbas’s call for blood and martyrdom to “protect” those Jewish sites claimed by the Muslims.  Abbas declared: “The Al-Aqsa [Mosque on the Temple Mount] is ours. . . and they [Jews and Christians] have no right to defile it with their filthy feet.  We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem. . . . We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing.  Every Martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah.”  (“Abbas: We won’t allow Jews’ ‘filthy feet’,” Palestinian Media Watch, with video of official PA TV Sept. 16, 2015 broadcast.)

The PA has repeatedly rebroadcasted Abbas’s incitement to spill blood to prevent Jewish and Christian “filthy feet” from “defiling” the Jewish and Christian Jerusalem sites that the Muslims are claiming as their own (see, e.g., Fatah Facebook Rebroadcasts Abbas’ Call to Prevent Jews ‘In Any Way’ From ‘Defiling Our Holy Places,’ Following Terror Attack On The Temple Mount,” Palestinian Media Watch, with video of official Fatah rebroadcast on July 15, 2017) and similar incitement.  (See, e.g.,Fatah Threatens More Violence: ‘Rage for the Al-Aqsa Mosque!’,” by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, with video and transcripts of PA broadcasts, July 20, 2017.) 

Moreover, the PA feeds its population a diet of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic incitement and hero-worship of terrorists virtually every minute of the day on television, in newspapers, in government-controlled mosques, in cartoons, in street-naming ceremonies, in schools and clubs and textbooks, and more.  This incitement has become worse than ever in recent years.  (See, e.g., New Study Shows Abbas’ P.A. Still Inciting Hatred & Murder Of Jews,” Mar. 2, 2016; “ZOA: Make Key Demands of Abbas at Undeserved Upcoming White House Meeting: ZOA Urges: Demand Abbas Stop Incitement/Paying Families of Jew-Killers; End Hamas Alliance; Rename Schools/Streets Named After Jew-Killers,” Apr. 24, 2017; and “Palestinian Elementary School Curriculum 2016–17: Radicalization and Revival of the PLO Program,” by Eldad J. Pardo, Impact-se.org, April 2017; “ZOA Praises Hannity for Excellent Segment About Abbas and Other PA Officials Inciting Terror Attacks on Jews and Christians,” April 25, 2017.)       

However, the State Department report fails to report the reality that the PA constantly incites anti-Israel, anti-Jewish hatred.  Instead the State Dept. report whitewashes Abbas and the PA by falsely claiming:

The PA has taken significant steps during President Abbas’ tenure (2005 to date) to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence.  While some PA leaders have made provocative and inflammatory comments, the PA has made progress in reducing official rhetoric that could be considered incitement to violence. Explicit calls for violence against Israelis, direct exhortations against Jews, and categorical denials by the PA of the possibility of peace with Israel are rare and the leadership does not generally tolerate it.” And “PA President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his commitment to nonviolence . . .”

Ignoring, Whitewashing and Re-characterizing as Humane and Beneficial the PA’s Paying Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars to Arabs to Murder Jews:

The State Dept. report also omits the $355 million per year that the PA gives to terrorists and terrorists’ families as a reward and incentive to murder Jews (and visiting Americans), as well as guaranteeing these Jew-killers and terrorists top government jobs when they leave prison. This is not merely PA policy but is enshrined in their law.

Instead, incredibly, the State Department re-characterizes these heinous “pay to slay” payments as “reintegration into society financial packages,” saying: “As part of a policy codified in 2003, the PA provided financial packages to Palestinian security prisoners released from Israeli prisons in an effort to reintegrate them into society and prevent recruitment by hostile political factions.”

This omission and re-characterization is unconscionable – especially because the State Dept. report repeatedly discusses how to eliminate the funding of terrorist activities – in other countries.  Once again, the State Department applies a different standard that enables terrorism directed against Jews and Israelis.

The State Department is well aware that the PA is continuing its pay to slay payments.  (The PA has in fact increased these payments.)  Immediately after Secretary Tillerson testified before Congress that Abbas had assured him that the PA intended to cease certain payments, PA officials publicly confirmed that the PA, in fact, intends to continue its “pay to slay” payments, perhaps using another name.  (See ZOA: PA’s Abbas Lied to Sec’y Tillerson – They Still Pay Arabs to Murder Jews,” June 15, 2017.)       

Falsely Minimizing Attacks on Jews and Jewish Casualties:

Incredibly, the State Dept. report minimizes Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks on Jews, Israelis and Americans by claiming that after April 2016, merely “sporadic lone offender stabbing, shooting, and vehicular attacks against Israelis continued.”  The State Dept. report also grossly understates the situation by merely claiming: “Attacks in 2016 resulted in the deaths of five Israeli citizens, including two dual U.S.-Israeli nationals, and three ISF officers.” 

The number of Israelis, etc. murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists in 2016 was four times the number claimed in the State Dept. report, plus hundreds of Jews were wounded – many extremely seriously – by Palestinian Arab terrorists in thousands of attacks during the year – not to mention the fear and stress of possible terrorist attacks, stabbings, shootings, car rammings, that Israelis feel every day. And, since September 13, 2015, Palestinian Arab terrorists have murdered 52 innocent Jews, Israelis and Americans, and injured 789 innocent Jews, etc. in terrorist attacks. (“Wave of Terror, 2015-2017,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 19, 2017.)  Thus, these were not merely “sporadic” attacks, as the State Department misleadingly characterized them. 

It is also particularly offensive that the State Dept. report juxtaposes woefully understated Jewish casualties of Palestinian Arab terror attacks against completely fabricated Israeli/settler extremist terrorist “incidents” (discussed above) to give the false impression that most often the Jews are the terrorists.  In fact, the Palestinian Arabs are the terrorists and the Jews are the victims.

Here are the actual 2016 data and casualties perpetrated by Palestinian Arab terrorists:

  • In January 2016, 5 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks. In the major shooting attack on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv two civilians were killed as well as a taxi driver who picked up the attacker near the scene. Two Israeli civilians were killed in stabbing attacks.
  • In February 2016, 3 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks. The decrease in terror attacks was manifest mostly in Judea and Samaria: 107 attacks, compared to January’s 126.
  • In March 2016, terrorists killed one foreign national (in a stabbing attack in Jaffa on 8 March) and injured 26, 9 of which were injured in the abovementioned stabbing attack.  Among the non-fatal casualties, 13 civilians and 13 security forces personnel were wounded.
  • In April 2016, terrorist attacks caused 18 non-fatal casualties, most of which (16) were injured in an IED attack in Jerusalem on 18 April.  In addition, on 3 April, one civilian was injured in a stabbing attack in Rosh HaAyin and one border-police member was injured in a firebomb attack in Isawiya (Jerusalem).
  • In May 2016, terrorist attacks did not result in any fatalities. However, 12 Israelis – 4 civilians and 8 security personnel – were injured.
  • In June 2016, five Israelis were killed and 21 injured. Most of the fatalities were registered during the shooting in Tel Aviv on 8 June that left four dead and 15 wounded. An Israeli teenager was stabbed to death on 30 June in Kiryat Arba, Hebron, and another civilian was moderately injured.  Non-fatal casualties include 2 civilians who were injured in a vehicle ramming attack near Qiryat Arba (24 June); a member of the security forces in a firebomb attack in Isawiya, northern Jerusalem, (29 June); 2 civilians in a stabbing attack in Netanya on 30 June.
  • In July 2016: 316 terrorist attacks; 1 person murdered and 17 injured. There were 6 stabbings or attempted stabbings, 6 shooting attacks, 1 ramming attacks, 8 pipe/roadside bombs, 231 stone-throwing incidents, 51 petrol bombs. Several attacks occurred in Jerusalem; the rest in Judea and Samaria.
  • In August 2016: 414 total attacks (the increase compared to July is mostly from stone throwing): 5 stabbing (including attempts), 3 shooting, 9 pipe/roadside bombs, 339 stone-throwing; 34 petrol bombs (Molotov cocktails)

In September 2016: 480 total attacks: 14 stabbings or attempted stabbings; 3 shootings; 1 ramming attack, 11 roadside bombs/grenades; 365 stone-throwing attacks, 63 Molotov cocktails.

  • In October 2016: 410 total attacks: 6 stabbings or attempted stabbings; 10 shootings; 1 ramming attack, 10 roadside bombs/grenades; 265 stone-throwing attacks, 71 Molotov cocktails
  • In November 2016: 423 total attacks (mostly stone-throwing): 5 stabbings or attempted stabbings; 2 shootings; 0 ramming attacks, 12 roadside bombs/grenades; 346 stone-throwing attacks, 41 Molotov cocktails.
  • In December 2016: 258 total attacks; 6 stabbings or attempted stabbings; 8 shootings; 1 ramming attack, 5 roadside bombs/grenades; 199 stone-throwing attacks, 27 Molotov cocktails.

(“Wave of Terror, 2015-2017,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 19, 2017.) 

Insulting and Demeaning Israeli Sovereignty and Judaism:

The State Department report also insults Israeli sovereignty and Judaism.  The “Israel” section of the State Dept. countries report is labeled “ISRAEL, THE WEST BANK AND GAZA, AND JERUSALEM” – as if Israel’s capital Jerusalem and Jewish homelands in Judea/Samaria are a separate entity from “Israel.”  In addition, the report contains a separate section called “The West Bank, and Gaza, and Jerusalem.”  No other country is treated this way:  Other countries simply list the name of the country.  It is only the capital of the Jewish State that the U.S. State Department tries to carve off from the rest of the country.

The State Department report also uses the biased term “West Bank” – a name invented by Jordan in 1950 to de-Judaize the areas known for millennia as Judea and Samaria.  It’s about time for the State Department to use the correct term: Judea and Samaria. 

The State Dept. report also refers to the Temple Mount as “Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount,” to de-emphasize the millennia-long Jewish connection to Judaism’s holiest site.

Ignoring and Minimizing Qatar’s Role in Financing Terror:

The State Dept. report almost never mentions Qatar’s role in financing terror.  The sole exception characterizes Qatari financial support for a terrorist operation as a doubtful “accusation.”  (The State Dept. report states: “The Egyptian government accused Muslim Brotherhood fugitives in Qatar of providing financial and logistic support [for a December 2016 bombing of Coptic Christian worshipers] while IS Egypt subsequently claimed the attack and warned of additional attacks to come.”)

Qatar has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, which has resulted in other gulf nations imposing sanctions on Qatar.  Instead of whitewashing Qatar’s involvement in financing terror in its report, the U.S. State Department should place Qatar on the U.S. State Department’s “state sponsors of terrorism” list.  (See, e.g., ZOA: Since Qatar Funds Terror Groups, Trump Should Cancel Qatar Airways’ License and More,” June 12, 2017.)

This is an extraordinarily anti-Semitic, Israel-bashing report filled with falsehoods that the US Govt. must amend and retract immediately. The ZOA has lost all confidence in Secretary of State Tillerson in his ability to promote President Trump’s Mideast policies, be fair to our greatest ally, the Jewish State of Israel, and to fight the scourge of Islamist terrorism. Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah and ISIS must be thrilled with this Tillerson publication.  ZOA calls for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s resignation.