"It is startling and extraordinary that you have published a full article on refugee politics in Israel and yet in more than eight hundreds words failed once to mention the Palestinians. Under no standard of journalistic professionalism can this possibly be justified."
Dan Taylor, Managing Editor, CTV News
Tia Goldenberg, Reporter, Associated Press
Dear Dan Taylor and Tia Goldenberg,
I am writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, cjpme.org) to express concern about your September 3 article, “Israel’s Netanyahu says he wants Eritrean migrants involved in violent clashes to be deported.”
It is startling and extraordinary that you have published a full article on refugee politics in Israel and yet in more than eight hundreds words failed once to mention the Palestinians. Under no standard of journalistic professionalism can this possibly be justified.
For several decades, the Palestinian refugee crisis has been a conspicuous feature of world diplomacy. Your article explains that “the issue of migrants . . . has long divided Israel.” That’s quite an understatement.
You could have added that Israel’s current finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, celebrates the creation of the Palestinian refugee crisis by the armed forces which established Israel in 1948. This representative of the Government of Israel told Palestinian Arab members of the Knesset that their parents, too, should have been expelled and made into refugees, and that these parliamentarians live in their historic homeland only “by mistake – because [founding Israeli prime minister] Ben-Gurion didn’t finish the job and throw you out in 1948.”
For you to suppress this, and to erase the Palestinians from a lengthy piece about migrant and refugee politics in Israel, is in 2023 a conspicuous journalistic error.
We insist that you add a paragraph to the following effect, to flesh out what you identify in this article as the “infiltrator” debate:
Ever since hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes in 1948, when Israel was established, hostility to returning Palestinian “infiltrators” has been official Israeli policy. Netanyahu’s discussion of cabinet plans for “illegal infiltrators” evokes this wider policy of exclusion, which Israel notoriously enforced with live ammunition during the Palestinians’ 2018 Great March of Return.
Readers familiar with the situation will be aghast at the separation you attempt to introduce between anti-African and anti-Arab sentiment with Israel’s governing coalition. Readers unfamiliar with the situation deserve more credible journalistic coverage.
There is palpable irony in the split-screen discussions of (1) Israeli treatment of those who have migrated to the country from elsewhere and (2) Israeli treatment of people indigenous to the country who are excluded en masse. To refuse to connect these discussions is bizarre.
We expect that some language such as we propose will be added to your story, which is otherwise (with its glaring omission of the Palestinians) simply incomplete and inaccurate.
If you wish, feel free to reach me by phone at 438-380-5410.
PhD, University of Exeter
For Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East