The Independent fails to fact-check claim in story about ‘Jewish State’ proposal

As our posts noting CiF Watch-prompted corrections often demonstrate, beyond the UK media’s biased coverage of the region there lies another somewhat related problem – the failure to fact-check claims used to buttress their anti-Israel narrative.

A case in point is an article at The Independent by Ben Lynfield on May 2nd titled ‘Netanyahu’s Jewish state law angers Arabs‘, reporting on the prime minister’s proposal ‘to advance a constitutional Basic Law identifying Israel as a Jewish nation-state’.  While the article itself was predictably hostile to the proposal, and quoted critics who charged that defining Israel as ‘a Jewish nation-state’ would erode the rights of non-Jews, the following passage particularly caught our eye.

The Arab citizens of Israel, who number a fifth of the population, comprise Palestinians who remained behind when their compatriots were expelled or fled when Israel was established in 1948. They have the right to vote but regularly face discrimination from authorities. For example, while hundreds of new cities, towns and localities for Jews have been established since 1948, not a single new Arab town has been created.

First, Lynfield’s claim that hundreds of towns and cities have been built “for Jews” is, at best, highly misleading, as new Israeli cities, towns and localities generally do not distinguish between Jews, Muslims, Druze, Christians or members of other faiths.

Additionally, his claim that “not a single new Arab town has been created” since 1948 is false. In fact, there have been 7 new towns built specifically for Israeli Bedouins. (Bedouins are a sub-group within Israel’s Arab minority.)

Human Rights Watch:

in 60 years [there] have been seven towns that the government planned and constructed for Bedouin residents of the Negev


Between 1965 and 1990, Israel indeed built seven new towns, which were able to absorb half of the Negev Bedouin…

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):

State-planned [Arab-Bedouin] towns…were set up in the 1960s and 1970s: Hura, Kseifa, Laqia, Arara, Rahat, Segev Shalom and Tel-Sheva.

We don’t know what led Ben Lynfield to believe that there were no Arab towns built since 1948, and why Indy editors didn’t fact-check the passage in question, but the claim is clearly inaccurate. 

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27 replies »

  1. Sorry for the deflection, Adam, but an annotation to the Snowden-Assange link
    Die britische Journalistin Sarah Harrison, die Snowden im Sommer 2013 bei seiner Flucht von Hongkong nach Moskau begleitet hatte und als engste Beraterin von Wikileaks-Gründer Julian Assange gilt, beschrieb bei der Republica, dass sie nun ihrerseits in Berlin lebe. Anwälte hätten ihr dazu geraten, da sei bei einer Einreise in ihre Heimat Großbritannien Befragungen durch Behörden zu erwarten habe. Sie könne gleich bei der Einreise festgehalten werden. In Berlin fühle sie sich wohl, schließlich lebten hier schon andere “Exilanten”, die nicht mehr in den USA oder Großbritannien arbeiten könnten. Es gebe in Berlin schon eine Gemeinschaft, sagte sie.

  2. Hundreds of new cities, towns and localities for Jewish Israelis and only seven for non-Jewish Israelis who make one quarter of the population???

    • You missed the point Harry. Israel builds its towns and cities for all its citizens. There is nothing specifically ‘Jewish’ about them.

      • I would respectfully like to point out that I regularly post on this site as Moshe, have done for sometime and no one else appears to have used this name or claimed to have pre-dated me on here as Moshe.

        I did NOT post the above comment even though I agree with it. I don’t see why I should change my name (which is my Hebrew name) so I would appreciate it if you could make it clear by some slight alteration of your ID that you are not me.

        Even CIF doesn’t permit two posters to have the same name.


  3. Arab towns have been considerably enlarged and modernized. Visit Faradis, near Zikron Yaakov, Abut Tor, Abu Ghosh and many others to see.

  4. Has nobody here heard of totally legal Israeli town’s Vaadot Kabalah (Acceptance Commitees), which in effect bar non-Jews from living in allegedly “mixed” towns/villages/cities?
    Or perhaps the state-salaried rabbis who urged Jews not to rent or sell to non-Jews?
    Then there’s the Kaadan family who wanted to live in still trying to live in Katzir despite Supreme Court rulings.
    And the much-vaunted Bedouin towns in the Negev were set up only to get them off land that the state wanted to appropriate. And none of these town gets the facilities afforded to equivalent Jewish ones.

    • ‘Jimmy’ are you the same person who on a different thread was pretending to be impartial and cursing both ‘pro-Israelis and pro-Palestinians’?

      Obviously we are privileged to witness the greatest conversion since St. Paul on the road to Damascus. Or the alternative is that your thin veneer of impartiality has worn off, if it ever existed.

      • I see that ad hominem is your way of not refuting inconvenient truths about Israel’s treatment of its non-Jewish citizens

        • ‘Jimmy’ I see you are not refuting the fact that you alleged impartiality has remarkably vanished.
          What a surprise.

    • Towns don’t have vaadot kabalah.

      Small communities like kibbutzim do, but towns and cities most certainly do not.

  5. There is truth as seen by most of the world including those being watched by this website and than there is the Zionist truth which happens to be the same as that of the watchers

    • Very good Boo Boo.
      But two questions.

      1) What about the truth of those watching the watchers of the watched?

      2) What would a liar and idiot like you know about the truth anyway?

    • Your posts are so surreal that they’re beginning to sound like the names of Captain Beefheart (RIP) tracks.

  6. Is the Zionist truth shrinking? or I get that feeling now that almost everybody is watched by the guardians of the Zionist truth. The Guardian, the Independent, Economist, The Telegraph and so on. The only one that has not been watched is the Daily Mail? Is it because it supported Fascism in Europe and Britain before the second world war?

    • Abu Hiddad — logic clearly isn’t your strong point –the only reason I imagine CiFwatch doesn’t run critical corrections about misleading articles in the London Daily Mail is because the Daily Mail’s news coverage of Israel is rather scant, rather than because of its rather dubious political and anti-Semitic history.

      However, It is not, in my opinion, a newspaper consistently sympathetic to Israel. Two of its columnists, Max Hastings and Andrew Alexander are decidedly hostile.

      Yes, the Daily Mail was a supporter of fascism in the 1930s — why would that make it immune from criticism from pro-Israel supporters in 2014? If a newspaper’s support for fascism in the 1930s really made it above criticism from pro-Israel supporters then, by your reasoning, most of the Arab press in the Middle East would be in the same position too.

  7. Moshe heard of Melanie Phillips? She writes frequently in the Daily Mail – Another reflection of the Zionist truth. Or is it you find difficult to criticize racist rags.

    • Abu Hiddad — as a matter of fact I have heard of Melanie Phillips — not merely heard of her but admire her as one of the most incisive and courageous journalists and writers in the Western world.
      You say: ‘She writes frequently in the Daily Mail’. No she doesn’t. She left the Daily Mail a long time ago, rarely discussed Israel in her column, and now writes for The Times. The same Times that has recently come under criticism here on CiFwatch for carrying inaccurate reporting about Israel.
      You ask me if I find it difficult to criticize what you call ‘racist rags’.
      No, Abu Haddad, I have no problem criticizing racist rags, which of course includes most of the Arab press, most of the Left-wing press and all of the neo-Nazi press.

  8. Racist rags like Abu NatziePampers are the preferrred objects of criticism here.

  9. Wonder why the Lefties at liberal cesspools like the Indy don’t ever ask how many Jewish towns have been built in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, etc., etc.?
    Never mind–we all know the answer. This is exactly the type of blatant hypocrisy and fundamental dishonesty about the Mideast which has unfortunately come to characterize propaganda rags like The Independent.

    These people in effect show their true colors by their very distorted, biased and ultimately highly inaccurate, reporting about the Mideast. Pathetic how much credibility formerly respectable publications like Indy have lost, in their zeal for pursuing a “politically correct” agenda.