Sunday, December 02, 2018

Belated and banal BBC reply to refugee bias

 The BBC consistently ignores Jewish refugees although claiming to have reported on them. War ‘breaks out ‘ to cause the refugee problem although it is never clear who started it. Other pertinent facts are a ‘matter of opinion’.  Here is how the BBC replied to one complaint. It does not allow the complainant to take the case further:
Thank you for getting in touch about our video article entitled ‘After 70 years, who are the Palestinian refugees?’  and please accept our apologies for the long and regrettable delay in our response.

To take your points in order:

1: The Palestinian refugee is a consequence of the Arab decision to reject the 1947 Partition plan and declare war on the fledgling state of Israel. 

The article doesn’t purport to be a history of the refugee problem and is only a brief video – it does though say early on that the refugees were created “as a result of war in the Holy Land”, which is true.

2: The Palestinians are the only 'refugees' in the world permitted to pass on their refugee status to succeeding generations ad infinitum. 
All the rest come under the remit of UNHCR whose mandate is resettlement, not return. (This sentence was in fact part of the complaint-above- ed) Thank you for getting in touch about our video article entitled ‘After 70 years, who are the Palestinian refugees?’  and please accept our apologies for the long and regrettable delay in our response.

3: An even greater number of Jewish refugees (850,000) fled Arab states at about the same time in the opposite direction, most resettling in Israel, in a 'de facto' exchange of refugee populations.  They were resettled with minimal international aid. Yet the BBC has never devoted much coverage to them, even though some spent years in Israeli refugee camps. (The BBC would not dream of covering the 1947 India-Pakistan war without mentioning that refugees fled in both directions, so why does it deliberately omit mention of the Jewish refugees?)
 We have on several occasions reported the issue of Jews who fled or were expelled from Arab lands in 1948, but because these communities have long been absorbed by Israel, their fate is not undetermined in the same way as that of the Palestinian refugees, who continue to live by-and-large in refugee camps. Hence the issue of Palestinian refugees arises much more often than that of the Jewish refugees who found a home in Israel.
4: Lebanon denies Palestinians the right to citizenship, to own property, and to do certain jobs.
The report includes a sociology professor saying: “Take the case of Palestinians in Lebanon. This is the fourth generation; they don’t have the right to work, or to own properties.”
It also includes a refugee saying “I don’t have a passport, I don’t have anything.”
5: Palestinian insistence on 'the right of return' (a right unrecognised in international law for people who were not citizens of the country they left) perpetuates the conflict by giving the Palestinians unrealistic expectations. 
This is a matter of opinion, and as such we would not give such a view without attributing it to a voice from one side or another.
6: UNWRA must bear responsibility for encouraging terrorism and incitement among Palestinians in the camps.
 The point above is also applicable here.
7: This is the context in which Trump's decision to cease funding UNWRA must be seen. 
Again, this is an opinion, and we have reported numerous times on President Trump’s decision to stop funding UNWRA and the reasons given why.
Best wishes, 
Sean Moss
BBC News website
NB: This is sent from an outgoing email account which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this address. If you need to contact us please do so via our formatted webform quoting any case number we may have provided.) Again, this is not the purpose of the video, though we have reported this point previously. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-42857434)


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