Friday, July 18, 2008

Jewish refugees: The BBC replies to complaints

Denial is a river in Egypt - but it's also the default position of the BBC on Jewish refugees. More than one complainant has received the following standard reply to a BBC website news item some two weeks ago: Jewish refugees are 'disputed'. The good news is, however, that the BBC recognises that their correspondent Abdelhadi is not infallible, and that they will be commissioning more articles on this neglected issue. Let's hope we don't get more whitewash. (With thanks: Inna)

Dear Madam

Thank you for your comments regarding this report.

We are sorry not to respond sooner. The question of Jewish refugees from Arab states is a controversial and disputed one. This is clearly the case with Palestinian refugees. We therefore attribute numbers in this regard. In the case of Palestinian refugees, we would attribute to the UN. In this case we are attributing to Jews for Justice. (No such organisation - do they mean Justice for Jews from Arab Countries? - ed)

The matter of the number of refugees must depend on how you define a refugee. There are, of course, many accounts of oppression and violence obliging Jewish refugees to leave Arab countries. There are also accounts of Jews leaving because they wanted to live in a Jewish state and others feeling that they were pressured to do so by Jewish or Zionist groups.

Several readers asked what “integration” into Arab states meant and disagreed that that this could fairly describe the status of Jews in the Arab world. Magdi Abdelhadi appears to have overstated the case here – clearly many Jews were integrated into Arab society, but many other were not and their status as dhimmis restricted cited certain rights as well as offering certain protections.

This news article is too brief and not detailed enough, considering the wider issues and the history, and the fact that this issue is so little reported on. We are seeking to rectify this by commissioning background articles and features on the issue.

Middle East BBC News website

Inna T sent the following rejoinder:

If I read you right, the BBC Middle East News Desk feels that while Palestinians are unquestionably refugees, Jews probably left because they really had not a whole lot better to do. You know—they sort of felt like a stroll in the Middle East.

Oh, and some Zionist groups (which ones? Or is that question too factual for you?) told them to go for a stroll in the Middle East.


Anonymous said...

Whitewash and propaganda are what the BBC does these days. News is beyond them.

NPR and PBS are the only news agencies left (IMO).



Anonymous said...

NPR and PBS are just as bad as the BBC, in fact they take their cue from the BBC on coverage of Israel.

And they employ notoriously anti-Israel British propagandists such as Phil Reeves.