By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
BERLIN – France became the first European government on Wednesday to order the French-owned satellite station Eutelsat to stop its broadcast of the Hamas Al-Aksa program because of violations against European anti-hate laws. Al-Aksa programs “incite hatred or violence for reasons of religion or nationality,” said French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero.
Al-Aksa TV has produced a children’s show with a warlike Mickey Mouse character urging children to wage holy war against the US and Israel. In March, the US Treasury Department designated Al-Aksa a “global terrorist entity.”
Alexander Ritzmann, a senior terrorism analyst from the European Foundation for Democracy (EFD), which played a key role in convincing French authorities to shut down Al-Aksa’s operation, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the ban on Al-Aksa “is the first important step. The next step is to cease Al-Aksa broadcasts from Arabsat (Arab Satellite Communications Organization).
“There can be no doubt: These broadcasts radicalize its viewers and put European citizens – particularly of a young age – at risk,” said Ritzmann. “Al-Aksa TV continues to be available in Europe via Arabsat, whose largest shareholder is the government of Saudi Arabia. European governments and citizens should also demand that Arabsat drop Al-Aksa TV from its offering.”
The Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM), a broad-based group monitoring terrorist-funded media, welcomed the French decision.
Said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which founded the coalition in 2004: “Taking Al-Aksa TV off the air demonstrates that incitement to violence and support of terrorism will not be tolerated in Europe.“