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Israelis wrongfully accuse Ma’an of producing video advocating for anti-Israeli violence

Aug. 2, 2017 9:12 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 3, 2017 11:02 A.M.)
A screenshot of the controversial video.
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Far-right Israelis denounced Ma’an news agency on social media on Wednesday for publishing an article about a song advocating for violence against Israelis, erroneously claiming that the song itself was written and produced by Ma’an.

On Tuesday, Ma’an’s Arabic-language site posted an article entitled “A song in Hebrew for the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” reporting that a Hebrew-language video clip called “Defending Al-Aqsa” was being shared on social media, and clarifying that neither the singer nor the songwriter were identified.

The song threatened the use of violence against Jewish Israelis, with lyrics such as “Intelligence, soldier, settler, and police/ I’ll attack, stab, and smash you,” and calls to “cleanse Palestine of Jews.”

Ma’an General Director Raed Othman has confirmed that Ma’an did not produce the video, but had only written about its existence.

Both the article and the video have since been removed from Ma'an online platforms.

However, a number of Israel supporters shared a link to one of Ma’an’s Youtube accounts -- on which the news agency uploads all videos it links to on its website -- showing the video out of context and claiming that it was created and condoned by Ma’an.

Ma’an has long been accused by far-right pro-Israeli groups such as NGO Monitor and PalWatch of “tendentious anti-Israel statements,” and of “presenting an entirely biased and distorted view of the conflict” for reporting on Israeli war crimes and human rights violations.

Israeli authorities have claimed that a wave of violence that first erupted in October 2015 was caused largely by “incitement” among Palestinians through social media, with hundreds of Palestinians -- including activists, journalists, novelists, and poets -- detained over such claims.

Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon as reasons for outbreaks of violence. Many Palestinians have also pointed out that Israeli violence has continued to shape everyday life in the occupied territory, regardless of any recent “upticks” in clashes or attacks.

Meanwhile, a February report released by the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement 7amleh documented that slanderous, provocative, and threatening posts made by Israelis against Arabs and Palestinians had more than doubled in 2016, reaching 675,000 posts made by 60,000 Hebrew-speaking Facebook users -- without only very few cases being opened against Israelis.
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