Scout movement says its Palestinian branch not responsible for glorifying killer of American

Andrew Silow-Carroll

(JTA) — The world scouting organization said the Palestinian scout group that named a leadership training course after the killer of a dual American-Israeli citizen is not recognized by the movement or its official Palestinian branch.

In a statement sent on Sept. 2 and updated Sept. 8, the World Organization of the Scout Movement said the group behind the leadership course named in memory of the terrorist Baha Alyan was separate from its official branch, the Palestinian Scout Association, and as a result is not recognized by the world movement.

“We are extremely disappointed that the good name of both organizations has been abused in this way,” the movement said in its statement. “WOSM is the world’s largest youth movement with a strong commitment to peace and we will always take the strongest action to uphold these values.”

In its update, the movement said that the non-recognized group, The Palestinian Scout and Guide Association, runs the website in which notice of the leadership course appeared, while the sanctioned group, the Palestinian Scout Association, does not have a website.

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“Anything published on this website is not an official communication of the Palestine [sic] Scout Association” or the world movement, the statement said.

Alan Lakin, 76, and two other Israelis were killed in a stabbing spree by Alyan and an accomplice aboard a Jerusalem bus on Oct. 13, 2015. Last month, Lakin’s son, Micah Lakin Avni, sent a letter alerting the world scouting organization that the Palestinian training course is named in memory of Alyan, who was killed while carrying out the attack, and calls him a “martyr.”

The world scouting movement promised an investigation.

Micah Avni remains skeptical about the movement’s explanation. insisting that the Palestine Scout Association and the Palestinian Scout and Guide Association are one and the same. In an op-ed for The Times of Israel, he shared analysis by Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli organization, that suggests multiple overlaps between the two entities.

“I do not believe that the Palestinian Scout Association and the Palestinian Authority are telling the truth,” Avni wrote.

Palestinian Media Watch first highlighted the Palestinian scouts leadership course.