You hear it all the time: If only the Israelis and Palestinians would make peace, the rest of the world would follow. The next time you hear it, remember that the Palestinian version of Mickey Mouse preaches death to Jews and Americans.
There can be no peace with a culture like that.
The article about Farfur, the clone of Walt Disney's gentle Mickey, in the New York Daily News on Tuesday was a shock to many New Yorkers. He sings and dances on Hamas' children's TV show "Tomorrow's Pioneers" about the need to eat right, pray - and kill. That Hamas comprises most of the Palestinian government shows Farfur is no rogue character - it is sponsored by the very people Palestinians elected to represent them.
To those who monitor the sewage spewing from Arab media, the only shock about the report is that many Americans don't grasp the depth of depravity. Television, newspapers and the Internet daily urge violence in the name of Islam. Cartoons and music videos are used to brainwash children.
The goal, openly stated, is to enlist children in the "culture of martyrdom" - to die fighting and killing the enemies of Islam. Suicide bombers are glorified and promised everlasting paradise. Grade-school textbooks fill children with dreams of a glorious death.
There is nothing remotely like it in our culture. Violence, especially ethnic, racial and religious violence, is universally condemned and carries extra punishment in America and much of the West. Even nasty speech is a no-no. Don Imus got booted to the curb even though he apologized for his overtly racist and sexist barbs. In most Mideast countries, Imus would be called a Western lackey, a sympathizer with the infidels, if that's the best he could come up with.
Organizations such as the Middle East Media Research Institute (www.memri.org) and Palestinian Media Watch (www.pmw.org.il) have been warning for years about the twisted nature of public discourse in Arab and Muslim countries. Their Web sites, complete with videos and translations of material from Muslim media, offer chilling examples of the daily diet of the death culture. I have visited those sites and it is absolutely shocking to see how Arab and Iranian mainstream media promote violence and anti-Semitism.
The sheer volume of this sickening garbage makes it clear that we are a long way from peace. The images, which shift easily from cartoon violence to grisly videos of the real thing in Iraq and elsewhere, illustrate the linkage. While we in the West endlessly study and debate the impact of video games on children's behavior, the merchants of hate in the Mideast have no doubt. They know that using violent images is a surefire way to raise a new generation of madmen.
What can we do about it? Maybe nothing - except be smart. We can start by dropping any pretense that we are not at war, or that Islamic terror will stop if only we get out of Iraq. The problem preceded our invasion, and it will last beyond the resolution. Whatever we do in Iraq, we shouldn't fool ourselves about the nature of the enemy or its goals.
We also have to accept that it is wrong and hypocritical to blame Israel for Arab violence and to insist that the solution is for Israel to make concessions to pacify its enemies. Israel's first duty is to protect itself. If Palestinians want peace, they have to abide by the basic rules of civilization. Playing Mickey Mouse games with violence isn't one of them.