Last month, when Israel was celebrating its 60th anniversary, I complained to the BBC that its news reports insisted on putting a dampener on the festivities by juxtaposing them wth the lamentations associated with the 'Palestinian 'nakba'. The flipside of the Palestinian nakba, I argued, was surely the nakba of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries. At first the BBC confused my complaint with someone else's gripe about the expression 'Palestinian land' and sent me the wrong pro-forma reply. Now I have just received a second reply, which though more relevant, leaves me more bewildered than ever.
"The specific issue of Palestinian refugees was mentioned in the context of the peace process. It is generally seen as one of the key stumbling blocks to finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We have covered the issue of Jewish refugees in the past, however, it is not something that is generally viewed as a central issue in the peace process in the same way the Palestinian refugee issue is. Should the issue of Jewish refugees become an integral part of the negotiations in the Israeli-Arab peace negotiations or a stumbling block thereto, we would of course look at them in a more in-depth fashion.
Overall, whilst focusing on the celebrations in Israel it seems fair to have mentioned the contrasting marches being held by Palestinians at the time."
So there you have it. The BBC claims to have covered Jewish refugees in the past, but forgive me if I can't recall when. It does not consider the Jewish refugeees important enough to be mentioned, and certainly not as important as the Palestinian refugees. If Jewish refugees were to make a real nuisance of themselves - become a 'stumbling block' - then the BBC might sit up and take notice.
Update: reader Inna T has sent the following email to Mr McCullough at the BBC:
"Basically, you’re saying that until Jews start hitting and killing people, you really don’t care about Jewish refugees. Well, I have some wonderful news for you. A Jew hit a Palestinian couple with a baseball bat yesterday. This (along with the B’Tselem movie depicting the hideous violence) was widely shown on the BBC. So, now that a Jew has made a nuisance of himself, could we please have some coverage about Jewish refugees?"
But Inna, these Jews were just being colonialist Zionist imperialist oppressors.The bat-wielders should have remembered to wave the deeds to their lost homes in Baghdad and Tripoli while jangling the keys, to get their message through to the BBC!