Tuesday, 24 June 2008

BBC distorts Jewish refugee issue on website

From Point of No Return blog:

"The good news is that the Jewish refugees issue has made the BBC website at last. The bad? The BBC has managed to distort and belittle their plight. Here are one reader's angry comments, interposed with the BBC article.

Jewish groups from around the world are meeting in London to highlight the plight of Jews who left their homes in Arab nations after Israel was founded.

[They did not 'leave their homes' - they were actively oppressed by the states in which they were citizens. Many were imprisoned, and their belongings confiscated. It would be more honest to say "driven from their homes"]

The conference organisers, Justice for Jews, say they want to ensure the story of Jewish refugees is told, alongside that of Palestinians.The American-based group says around 850,000 Jews lived in Arab nations before Israel was founded in 1948.

[It is not just "the American-based group" who gives these figures - these figures are widely and reliably documented. This phrasing gives an intimation that it could be an exaggeration - I can provide you with links to sites that document precisely how many Jews were driven from each country.]

It says most were forced to flee due to hostility when Israel was created.

[There are plenty of personal accounts online. If you wish I can put you in touch with some of those who were driven out in this way and have ended up living here in the UK]

Justice for Jews, which campaigns for compensation for Jewish refugees from the Middle East, says the international community has always focused on Palestinian refugees and never given due attention to Jewish refugees.The BBC's Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi says the subject is highly controversial as the numbers of Jews who left, and the conditions under which they left, are disputed.

[This is the first I have heard that that this is "highly controversial". Of course it does spoil the narrative of Palestinian refugees now it transpires that there were so many Jewish refugees, and they were actually absorbed into communities rather than kept as a political pawns. Could it be that the only refugees Magdi Abdelhadi wishes the world to know about are Palestinian?]

He says one undisputed fact is that Jews were part of Arab societies for centuries, where they were fully integrated in their societies, until Israel was established.

[They were part Arab societies, although many had dhimmi status. Dhimmi status, that of being a strictly second-class citizen, is not the same way as we understand 'fully integrated' in the UK. Magdi Abdelhadi is being disingenuous by somehow 'forgetting' this salient and crucial fact]

Some left because they were Zionists, others because of growing hostility towards them after the Arab-Israeli wars in 1948 and 1967, and there were also those who were encouraged to leave by the new Israeli state, our analyst adds.

[Jews, who had resided in the surrounding Arab states for centuries were 'reclassified' by the Arab states as Zionists, particularly at the time of the Six Day War. Having been thus labelled gave the Arab states a reason to oppress their loyal Jewish citizens. I feel you should maybe talk to some refugees who now reside here in UK because I know this flip assessment on the BBC site is both offensive and untrue.]

He says not all of them went to Israel - many went to France and America, where some of them still feel very passionately about the Arab cultures they grew up in."

An interesting anecdote from Ben Cohen on Z-Blog
See also:
How the Arab world lost its Jews, a book by Nathan Weinstock

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Thank you. My husband's family fled to Israel from Iraq. It's good to know that the Jewish refugee issue is getting attention, but let it then indeed be correct attention.