A Mis-Leading Story About Israel? Surprising!

by 3:50 PM 0 comments
Open letter to NPR regarding this story

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a regular listener of NPR, and I contribute to my local station KQED at the member level. I consider NPR my main source of news, and trust it’s reporting to be un-biased.

I was shocked to hear on Morning Edition this morning, as a precursor to the actual story covering the Israeli elections, that “Palestinians can’t vote in the upcoming (Israeli) elections.” Actually, many Palestinians do vote in these elections. There are even Palestinian members of the Knesset. The Palestinians that can’t vote in the election are those that aren’t living within the limits of Israel, and the reason that they can’t vote is that they’ve chosen to have their own government, the Palestinian Authority. This was mentioned during the story proper, but anyone who just heard the lead-in would have the impression that Palestinians are barred from voting because of their ethnicity, which is not the case.

When the story proper was reported on, a Palestinian Israeli couple was interviewed, but the reporter didn’t clarify that they can, in fact, vote in Israeli elections. He instead repeated that Palestinians can’t vote in Israeli elections.

The “Middle East” story a few days prior was careful to mention both sides of the issue: although Israeli Jews are being attacked by rocks while trying to commute via light rail in Palestinian neighborhoods, Palestinians are upset because a boy was viciously murdered by Israelis early last summer. Okay. But I didn’t hear anything today about how the Israeli government is not at fault for the fact that the Palestinian Authority hasn’t provided schools for their children, as the story implied. Did Steve Inskeep check with the Israeli government to find out why the project manager went to prison? Because “opposing Israeli settlements” in itself is a feeling, not a crime. How did he express that opinion to land himself in prison?

The builder claims it’s a political act of defiance (presumably against Israel) to build a school. Palestinians in the West Bank have chosen to be under the government of the PA, and because of this, Israel can’t take responsibility for the lack of public schools.

The Israel-Palestine situation is extraordinarily complicated, but there’s no reason to add to this confusion with shoddy reporting. I’m concerned because, as I wrote, NPR is my main news source. I happen to know about a few issues, Israel included, from secondary sources, but I trust NPR to inform me about most world news without fact-checking the stories. If the journalism covering Israel is this poor, what other mis-information am I receiving?

Please issue a retraction for the lead-in to this story, and consider taking a more balanced approach in the future when covering any issue.

Thank You,

Marina Gafni

Marina Gafni

Marina Gafni is a 28-year-old speech pathology student. She lives with her husband in San Jose, CA.

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