Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sternthal - NPR Jaffa Story Alleges Israeli Plot to Eradicate Arabs

Tamar Sternthal
CAMERA Media Analysis
20 November '11

Sheera Frenkel's Nov. 18 NPR news report charges Israel with a purported agenda "to have a purely Jewish state and to get rid of all Palestinians, the ones in the West Bank and in Israel," as one of her main interviewees puts it. Frenkel bases her alarmist story on three cases of vandalism and the distortion of terminology, among other misrepresentations ("Attacks Target Palestinians in Israeli Towns").

Host Renee Montagne introduces the broadcast:

In Israel, tensions are rising between the country’s Jews and the Palestinian Arab citizens, who make up about 20 percent of the population. Over the past few months, several Arab sites in Israel have been vandalized by militant Jews who’ve left graffiti such as Death to Arabs. Sheera Frankel reports.

Frenkel reports:

Over the last few months, there have been a series of attacks targeting Palestinians within Israel. In October, a mosque in the northern Arab village of Tuba Zangaria was torched and a Muslim cemetery [sic] was vandalized and tombstones smashed. At both sites, graffiti was found linking the attacks to Israeli settlers from the occupied West Bank.

Avia says she came to the protest because she was shocked by what was happening. She speaks in English as she points out that many right-wing Israelis use different terms for Palestinians that live within Israel.

Avia: They don’t call them Palestinians. They call them Israeli Arabs. That’s their way to erase their Palestinian identity, okay, and kind of contain them within Israel. But the agenda is to have a purely Jewish state and to get rid of all Palestinians, the ones in the West Bank and in Israel.

Misrepresentation of Terminology

Avia’s assertion, which Frenkel wholeheartedly accepts, that the term "Israeli Arab" is a derogatory term used by "right-wing Israelis" is patently absurd. In fact, a broad swath of Israel, as well as non-Israelis, use this accepted terminology. While in recent years some Israeli Arabs have in fact prefered the term "Palestinian," and some members of the Israeli far-left (as well as, apparently, NPR as of late) have adopted this terminology, "Israeli Arabs" is most commonly in use. Even groups on the left, such as the New Israel Fund , refer to Arabs in Israel as Israeli Arabs. Moreover, Avia herself even signed a NIF petition which refers to Israel’s Arab population as Israeli Arabs. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, which can hardly be considered right-wing, regularly uses the term Israeli Arab, and the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, mentioned in Frenkel's broadcast as fighting against alleged racist practices in Jaffa, also uses that language. Outside of Israel, Al Jazeera apparently has no problem with the term, nor does NPR itself. (For example, Terry Gross and John Powers used the term on "Fresh Air," Feb. 25, 2010, and Robert Siegel likewise referred to "Israeli Arabs" on Jan. 19, 2010, and on July 23, 2009). Are Ha’aretz, the New Israel Fund, Al Jazeera and NPR also guilty of being right-wing outfits bent on erasing Palestinian identity because they refer to "Israeli Arabs"?

A September 20, 2011 Al Jazeera Headline

(Read full "NPR Jaffa Story Alleges Israeli Plot to Eradicate Arabs")

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