Just when you think you’ve seen just about everything; in this case I’m talking about that video of the Palestinian children’s show featuring a costumed Mickey Mouse character. An awful lot of you have watched this footage, posted on websites and then played on television news shows. For the few who haven’t, the squeaky-voiced Disney icon is shown encouraging Palestinian children to become martyrs in the struggle to achieve worldwide domination — starting with the destruction of Israel.
This message isn’t new by the way. The ruling Palestinian party, Hamas, produces music videos that encourage the youngest children to become suicide bombers. The Hamas website for children is filled with the same hateful fanaticism. Public-service announcements on Palestinian television feature a boy in heaven, supposedly killed by Israeli soldiers, calling out to other children to follow him through martyrdom.
We hardly ever hear about this stuff though. What made the Mickey Mouse video go viral, to use the Internet term, was its use of an image we’re all familiar with. We know Mickey Mouse as a symbol of childhood happiness and innocence. It’s shocking to see this image used to encourage children to become terrorists.
It’s even more shocking given the current political situation. The Palestinian people are suffering badly right now. The flow of international aid to them has been slowed — because their government refuses even to pretend it will stop trying to destroy Israel.
Nevertheless, support has been growing in the U.N. and Europe for restoring financial aid. The two competing Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, had agreed to stop killing one another and get back on message — blaming Israel. Once again, the international press was parroting the notion that Palestinian violence is caused by Israel’s security fence and border checkpoints. The tide seemed to be turning.
So, naturally, somebody decided it was the perfect time to launch a murderous new kid’s show. Some people never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
But the Internet has changed things in good ways and bad. In the old days, Yasser Arafat could condemn terrorism in English and promise more attacks in Arabic — and almost no one would hear about it. In this new age, one subtitled video posted to the web can get the world’s attention and trigger international repercussions.
That’s a good thing but, of course, the same technology can also be used for evil. According to press reports, the six New Jersey terror plotters were immersed in extremist videos and propaganda from pro-jihad websites. Their message of hatred is so powerful and widespread that it persuaded grown men, living in the United States, to give up their own lives to murder Americans.
Think how much more effective this type of propaganda must be when it is aimed at children. Now think about an entire generation of Palestinians, Pakistanis, Iranians, and others — saturated with this message their whole lives. That’s the real message we should take from that Mickey Mouse video.
© ABC News
Audio of this commentary can be listened to here.