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Rothman letter would urge Abbas on incitement

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A letter circulating in the U.S. Congress would urge the Palestinian Authority to crack down further on televised incitement.

The letter, circulated by Rep. Steven Rothman (D-N.J.) among his colleagues in the House of Representatives, refers to a Jan. 29 broadcast by an unnamed Nablus imam, or preacher, who says that "Jews will always be Jews. Even if donkeys cease to bray, dogs cease to bark, wolves cease to howl, and snakes cease to bite, the Jews will not cease to be hostile to the Muslims."

The letter to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, urges him to "condemn this imam and his statements in the strongest possible language. We also request that you clarify the editorial position of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation with respect to incitement of any kind. We further respectfully request that you share with us the steps you have taken and will take to ensure that this type of incitement will not happen again."

The letter also commends Abbas for steps he has taken so far to stem incitement. In 2007, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad cut off government funds to a slate of preachers known for their incitement.

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