WOSM: Lies, Damned Lies, and The Baha Alyan Leadership Course

WOSM, the World Organization of the Scout Movement, has been sold a pack of lies by the Palestinian Scout Association (PSA), regarding a “leadership training course” they held called  the Martyr – Leader Baha Alyan Course. The Palestinian Scout Movement was accepted as a full member of WOSM in April. Baha Alyan, as readers of this blog will recall, murdered peace activist and educator Richard Lakin and two other men on a Jerusalem bus in October.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) Director Itamar Marcus, gathered information about the course and sent it to the WOSM, with a letter demanding that this body cancel the PSA’s membership.

I too, contacted the WOSM, via their Facebook page demanding they disassociate themselves from a troupe that glorifies terror against my people. I received no response. Friends and readers also wrote to various entities within the WOSM. One friend, for instance, wrote to Boy Scouts of America, telling them that if they did not do something about this, he would be turning in his Eagle badge, a cherished memento from childhood.

With the help of a parent from my son’s Israeli scout troop, I discovered that the Israeli Scout Movement, Tzofim, is only patterned after the Boy Scouts, and is not actually a member of the WOSM. Delegates of Tzofim, however, are sent to the States each year to receive training from the “real” Boy Scouts. The parent who helped me gather this intel thought it curious that the Arabs have been accepted as full members of the WOSM, while Tzofim remains on the outside margins of the movement. It is not clear to either of us if this is by choice, or by default (because Jews).

PMW had an update today on the story. WOSM responded by saying the troop that held the Baha Alyan “leadership course” had nothing to do with the Palestinian Scout Association and therefore nothing to do with WOSM.

This, of course, is a lie. One that was cooked up by the Palestinian Scout Association, who, when confronted by the WOSM said, “Oh, no. That wasn’t us. That was the Jerusalem Scout Commission. They have nothing to do with the Palestinian Scout Association. They’re a branch of the Palestinian Scouts AND GUIDES Association. An entirely different horse which has nothing to do the World Organization of the Scouts Movement.”

The lie was regurgitated by the WOSM in a press release:

The website on which the original article [about the Alyan course] was published belongs to a group which calls itself ‘The Palestinian Scout and Guide Association’ which is not recognised by WOSM. This is the Arabic heading used on the website. The recognised group in Palestine is the ‘Palestinian Scout Association.’… Our recognised group has not been able to secure a domain name in Palestine and therefore does not have a website, which adds to the confusion.

Spokesperson for the WOSM, Stephen Peck, in an email to PMW’s Itamar Marcus, added:

The website of the Palestine Scout and Guide Association uses our symbols and branding to give themselves credibility and to give credibility to their views. You will understand that in the current climate, there is little we can do about that… The spokesperson for the Palestine Scout Association is Tawfeeq Salem who is the Secretary General.

This too, is a lie, told to the WOSM by representatives of the Palestinian Scout Association. As PMW states clearly on its website:

Evidence:

  1. The Palestinian scouts have only one name in Arabic: The Palestinian Scouts and Guides Association.

WOSM’s spokesperson Stephen Peck was informed by the PSA that there are two different organizations with two different names, and this is not true. The WOSM-recognized PSA’s name in Arabic is literally “Palestinian Scouts and Guides Association” – the name that WOSM was told by the Palestinian scouts is a different organization. See for example “Director of the Scouts and Guides leader Tawfeeq Salem.” [Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 29, 2016]  Tawfeeq Salem is the person WOSM recognizes as the legitimate PSA Secretary General. This name, “Palestinian Scouts and Guides Association,” appears on WOSM’s website, in official WOSM events, and in the Palestinian media.

There is only one name. There is only one organization.

I urge readers to go see the wealth of information at PMW, proving without a doubt that the Palestinian Scouts and Guides Association and the Palestinian Scouts Association are one and the same and that this troop definitely is a member of the WOSM in good standing, and under these auspices, held a “leadership training course” named for Baha Alyan, an Arab terrorist who murdered three Jews in October, one of them, the peace activist Richard Lakin.

I spoke to Itamar Marcus:

Judean Rose: What will be your next move regarding this matter? Is the WOSM paying attention to you? Are they going to take this matter seriously?

Itamar Marcus: They are taking this seriously. I am convinced they were misled and actually believed the Palestinian Scout Association. I expect that they will review this and take necessary steps. Their spokesperson has informed me that they will review this and reply to us.

***

I really hope so.

Meantime, I’m told PMW will be issuing a bombshell update on this matter later this evening (hint: think footage), so stay tuned to this space.

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