"It is deeply problematic and inaccurate to refer to Palestinian citizens of Israel as 'Palestinian Israelis,' a label they simply reject. In your headline, you employ the term 'Israel’s Palestinians,' and in the second paragraph, 'Palestinian citizens of Israel,' both deemed acceptable by the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) and the International Press Institute (IPI) as they emphasize the population’s Palestinian Identity. Yet, you adopt the term 'Palestinian Israelis' throughout the article, a label which wrongfully imposes the 'Israeli' identity on the country’s Palestinian citizens."
March 30, 2023
Tia Goldenberg, Journalist, Associated Press
Josef Federman, News Director Jerusalem, Associated Press
Anne Marie Owens, Editor-in-Chief, Toronto Star
Donovan Vincent, Public Editor, Toronto Star
Dear Ms. Goldenberg, Mr. Federman, Ms. Owens and Mr. Vincent,
I’m writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to request an immediate change regarding your news article titled “Israel’s Palestinians mostly sit out democracy protests,” published by Toronto Star (Associated Press) on March 30, 2023.
I sincerely appreciate your article about the absence of Palestinian citizens of Israel in Tel Aviv’s recent protests against Prime Minister Netanyahu’s judicial reforms. I have been following mainstream news coverage of recent events in Israel closely, and frankly, this article is one of very few that call attention to Palestinian citizens who make up more than 20 percent of Israel’s population. However, there are several issues with the article that require an immediate change:
- First, it is deeply problematic and inaccurate to refer to Palestinian citizens of Israel as “Palestinian Israelis,” a label they simply reject. In your headline, you employ the term “Israel’s Palestinians,” and in the second paragraph, “Palestinian citizens of Israel,” both deemed acceptable by the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA)[i] and the International Press Institute (IPI)[ii] as they emphasize the population’s Palestinian Identity. Yet, you adopt the term “Palestinian Israelis” throughout the article, a label which wrongfully imposes the “Israeli” identity on the country’s Palestinian citizens. I also note and appreciate that you use the terms “Palestinian citizens” and “Palestinians” throughout your article as well.
As such, I request that you replace all instances of the term “Palestinian Israelis” with “Palestinian citizens of Israel,” “Palestinian citizens” or just simply, “Palestinians.”
- Second, your article overlooks critical information regarding Netanyahu’s decision to pause the judicial reforms, which will have a major impact on Palestinian citizens of Israel. The reason that the far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir agreed to this legislative pause, rather than resign from the coalition, was in return for a commitment from Netanyahu to establish a “national guard” under Ben-Gvir’s control.
Haaretz, an Israeli publication, quotes the human rights group Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) in describing the national guard as “a private, armed militia that would be directly under Ben-Gvir's control,” and warns that “this is a police force that will first and foremost act in mixed cities, first and foremost against the Arab population [read: Palestinian citizens of Israel].”[iii]
Given that your article is highlighting the absence of Palestinians in these demonstrations, it is critical that this element of the story is included in order for readers to understand the immediate consequences for Palestinians due to the legislative pause.
As such, I insist that you update your article to note that Netanyahu agreed to establish a ‘national guard’ under Ben-Gvir as part of the compromise. I also consider it imperative that you mention the extremist, ultranationalist background of Ben-Gvir, and the threat that his militia force poses to Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Thank you for making these changes. Should you wish, you can contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information.
Policy Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
[i] Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA), “Tips and resources for covering issues related to Israel and Palestine,” May 24, 2021, https://ijnet.org/en/story/tips-and-resources-covering-issues-related-israel-and-palestine
[ii] “Use with Care: A Reporter’s Glossary of Loaded Language in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” International Press Institute, Oct. 23, 2013, p. 26, https://ipi.media/use-with-care-reporters-glossary-of-loaded-language-in-the-israeli-palestinian-conflict/
[iii] Noa Shpigel, “Ben-Gvir Agrees to Netanyahu's Judicial Overhaul Delay in Exchange for Israeli National Guard,” Haaretz, March 27, 2023, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2023-03-27/ty-article/.premium/ben-gvir-agrees-to-netanyahus-judicial-overhaul-delay-in-exchange-for-national-guard/00000187-23eb-d4ca-afff-33ebbc290000