Times of London

Times of London again falsely alleges Israeli bill will make Arabs 2nd class citizens

As we noted in two posts yesterday, Times of London editors chose a headline for a Nov. 24th article by Gregg Carlstrom which mischaracterized a proposed bill designed to enshrine Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” as one which would make Arabs “second class citizens”.

The article with the erroneous headline – based merely on a characterization of the proposed bill by some critics – appeared in the print and online editions of the paper.


Times of London print edition, Nov. 24


It was also the featured story on the Times of London home page last night.


Today, Times of London again misled readers by using a similar headline conflating opinion with fact, in a new article by Catherine Philp.



Times of London, Nov. 25


Further, under the “Latest News” tab on today’s home page of their site, they again use the erroneous headline.

Recent News

Times of London home page, Nov. 25


As we noted previously, under two versions of the bill Netanyahu’s cabinet voted to approve on Sunday, the law – which would need to be approved by the full Knesset – would establish “national rights” for the Jewish people (such as the right of Jews to immigrate to Israel), while maintaining “equal individual rights for all citizens” regardless of religion.

(It’s notable that the Guardian was much more careful in editing Peter Beaumont’s article on the proposed bill, using the accurate headline: ‘Israeli cabinet approves legislation defining nation-state of Jewish people’.)

The Times of London headline appears to be a violation of the accuracy clause of the (UK) Editor’s Code, which demands that the press “must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact”, and we’ll update you when their editors respond to our complaint.

56 replies »

  1. Its good to see that the Guardian is not always seen as a haven for pure anti-Semitism by this blog!

    I do think that the Times should put all references to Arabs being second class citizens in quotation marks or inverted commas to signify it is taken from a quote by some in Israel who oppose the bill.

    Your assertion that the bill would maintain “equal individual rights for all citizens” regardless of religion is subjective and takes at face value a government notice. There are significant voices within Israel that disagree with that and as such, in the interest of balance, should be removed from this piece.

    • “Your assertion that the bill would maintain “equal individual rights for all citizens” regardless of religion is subjective and takes at face value a government notice. There are significant voices within Israel that disagree with that and as such, in the interest of balance, should be removed from this piece.”

      Fair argument. However, while I think it’s fair to say that the law may be unnecessary, or divisive (and, though unlikely to pass the Knesset, designed for the politicial purpose of shoring up Bibi’s right wing base) I’ve yet to see one legal analysis which provided a concrete, substantive example of how the civil rights of Arabs would be eroded. If you’re aware of any, please forward it.

      • I would add to support your comment, that in pluralistic society such as Israel, civil rights can be broken down to show inequality of application or even relevance, but that overall , and with all complexities factored back in, Israel in fact does safeguard and protect citizen’s rights: An Arab Muslim being refused for a position as a Rabbi in a synagogue, even if qualified in Rabbinic Studies, but refused Semicha on the ground that he is not Jewish is discriminatory, but not likely to affect the fabric of society, or to be an issue of “second-class” status. Similarly laws to protect minorities is bound to have an uneven application against a majority in the minorities’ favour doesn’t put anyone into second class status, but upholds the rights to establish equality. The laws of contract, tort, trust law etc operate without regard to ethnicity, race, religion etc. That doesn’t mean that the society’s structure and individual or group prejudices may not adversely affect individuals or minorities. That is a feature in most democratic societies, where matters are debated and pressure groups lobby for changes to redress imbalances, often resulting in creating other issues, as appears to be the case, with regard to the proposed bill.

        Unfortunately the term “second class” is so often misused and is highly subjective, that it effectively a polemical comment to demonise Israel.

        • An Arab Muslim being refused for a position as a Rabbi in a synagogue, …
          About three years ago there was a huge scandal regarding police corruption – Christian, Druze and Muslim police officers got stipend from the government for learning and graduating from rabbinical seminaries….

      • Lol… The bill would grant “national rights” to Jews but not to Christians, Muslims and Druze. But Adam Levick would have us believe that this is equality. Does he think his readers are completely dumb?

        • I don’t think but definitely know that you are a certified cretin. Are you one of Levick’s readers?

  2. When incidents occur such as the murder of the four rabbis and Israeli policeman in the Jerusalem synagogue the other day let there be no doubt that the journalists who have fanned the flames of hatred are just as guilty as the monsters who actually performed the evil deeds.

    • BagelBoy, I might agree with you, but I doubt very much whether the perpetrators of those horrific murders were much influenced by the Times, the Guardian or the BBC. I would say that they were swayed far more by PA TV and the preachers in their own mosques who are free (if not positively encouraged) to say what they want about Jews and Israel.

      • Labenal writes:

        “BagelBoy, I might agree with you, but I doubt very much whether the perpetrators of those horrific murders were much influenced by the Times”

        It feeds a virulent poison into the bloodstream of the Islamofascists. These leaders you refer to are given much succour and encouragement by the knowledge that the West is on their side in Islam’s eternal battle against “the Jews”.

        And even if not one person took a blind bit of notice of their outpourings these journalists are just as guilty.

        • Very true BagelBoy. I didn’t mean to minimise the responsibility these journalists have for their professional duties or to minimise the impact that major organs in Western countries can have far outside their home borders, merely to say that such influence in this particular act can only have been, at most, peripheral.

  3. Please read and support our cause! Justice to real Britons:

    British nationality law gives citizenship rights under certain circumstances to people who are descendants of Electress Sophia of Hanover, even if neither they nor their ancestors were born and have ever been to Britain.

    Therefore a person born in Britain to non-Britons does not have the same rights as a descendant of Electress Sophia of Hanover! Britons are therefore Second class citizens. Under this law Britian is NOT a democracy.

    This is a racist blood-based law that should be abolished. Until then Britain is a racist pariah state and should be boycotted as such.

    See the law here:

    • Nice try, but this Act was repealed by the Nationality Act 1948, so the class of people who can now rely on this is extremely limited.

    • I agree with you Eva, that the plight of Jews (and other minorities) in Muslim countries is far worse than that of Arabs (and other minorities) in Israel, and that the media routinely overlook the blatantly discriminatory policies in those countries.

      However, if this proposed Act does indeed enshrine anti-Arab discrimination in Israeli law, then it is certainly newsworthy. As said above, I don’t know enough about this to comment on whether that allegation is true.

      • This law isn’t quite a law yet, so in essence the press complaining about this bill (which is actually 1 of 3 bills drafted all with the same intentions and emotions and such, but still drawn up by legislators) is really the press complaining that elected officials in Israel would write such a bill in the first place. And so that would make the Press mad at the entire democratic procedure in Israel.

        As far as I know, the Israeli Supreme Court has overturned Knesset bills and political orders. And that’s at the end of a 1-2 year travel for these bills.

        Considering how the Press portrays this law with the racially charged allegations of Apartheid combined with violent imagery of dead bodies in open caskets, I wouldn’t trust this source for telling me the weather let alone navigating the waters of Middle East diplomacy for me.

      • Once again I am in agreement with Labenel as I was three threads ago. I find the existence of this Bill rather worrying but I don’t know enough about it to have an informed opinion.

        There has been a great deal of comment from posters but as far as I am aware no supporter of the Bill has responded to the polite requests by Labenel and myself for a proper explanation as to why they support it.

        One thing I can say with certainty is that the UK does not grant equality to everyone. If an African man or woman born in a former Portuguese colony who has never set foot in Europe, let alone the UK, arrives in the UK they are automatically allowed to live in the UK permanently as EU citizens because when Portugal granted her colonies independence her colonial subjects were granted Portuguese citizenship, which means they are now EU citizens. As such they can marry anyone eligible to get married but with no residency rights in the UK and legally from then on that person’s spouse can also live permanently in the UK/EU.

        This is why there is such a widespread network of bogus marriages in some cities of England involving non-UK female EU citizens and men from Pakistan and some other countries ostensibly visiting for a holiday and somehow getting married to women they have never met until the ceremony and may both be unable to speak to each other intelligibly..

        However, if a UK-born UK citizen who lives in the UK, marries a non-EU citizen (other than a Channel Islander or Isle of Man native) the UK citizen’s spouse receives no residency rights unless they already have them and cannot remain in the UK and faces deportation if they try to remain (even if pregnant).

        If a US citizen without residency rights arrives at Heathrow Airport, the passport officer will stamp in their passport ‘No entitlement to free medical services/no entitlement to public assistance.’ even if the US citizen is married to a UK citizen resident in the UK, They don’t stamp that in the passports of many other nationalities who have no obvious links to the UK and are not close allies. So essentially a UK citizen’s marriage rights are grossly inferior to those of foreigners.

        • It emphasises, in the face of global demonisation and attempts at delegitimisation, Israel’s status as the homeland-state of the Jewish people. That’s good enough for me.
          The claims that it would demote Arabs to ‘second-class’ status are simply more of the same demonisation and attempts at delegitimisation: they have no substance. The bill is supported even by some senior figures in the Christian Arab community.
          I tried to email the Times at the foreign news address listed on their website. My email bounced back. I would have expected this from the Guardian, but the Times is apparently beginning to move in that direction.

      • “However, if this proposed Act does indeed enshrine anti-Arab discrimination in Israeli law, then it is certainly newsworthy”
        That would, of course, be terrible and quite unsupportable.
        (There is a rumor that there are other “people,” i.e., not Jews or Arabs, who have Israeli citizenship. Concerns?)
        …and just how does this bill (these bills) enshrine discrimination in Israeli law?

        So far, what I see here is an extremely inflammatory headline in a British newspaper which simply draws such a conclusion.

        • To Jeff, Leah and Moshe. Firstly, I am aware it is only a bill and not yet an Act. I apologise for the loose use of language in my earlier post.

          Secondly, I have since read a very helpful piece by BICOM (it’s on their front page for all to read) which has assuaged most of my fears. Essentially, this Bill, if passed in the form Netanyahu recommends, has no effect whatsoever on the civil or legal rights of anybody, Jewish or not. It appears to be merely an attempt to codify the basic constitutional framework under which Israel was established – to put in print and to set in bold letters, if you like, the foundation that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people (which is a long way from saying that Arabs or anyone else should or would be treated any differently from Jews in Israel).

          As Israel is a democracy, of course, this law (should it be passed) can be altered or revoked by any future Knesset should it see fit, so opponents need not worry that it is somehow “anti-democratic”.

          There – I have educated myself, and will continue to watch the progress of this bill with interest.

  4. I’ve got a hard copy of today’s Times in front of me and I see that it has a further piece on this topic – a leading article on p 28- not mentioned in the above post: ‘A Poor Law: Israel must not condemn its Arab minority to second-class citizenship’. It makes the same kind of halfbaked points as the other items mentioned above.

  5. There’s a good overall analysis of this issue by Haviv Rettig Gur in the TOI:
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-the-jewish-nation-state-kerfuffle-much-ado-over-very-little-substance/ Three points are crucial:
    (1) the cabinet didn’t accept the two bills discussed as they stand but rather that they’d be subsumed into a new government bill (as yet unwritten) that would among other things insist that ‘…Israel is a democratic state, established on the foundations of liberty, justice and peace envisaged by the prophets of Israel, and which fulfills the personal rights opf all its citizens, under law’
    (2) a small group of politicians/think tank types in the mid-2000s put together proposals for defining Israel formally as a Jewish state in response to Arab Israeli initiatives that sought to end Israel’s unofficial connection with Jewish self-determination. One aim was that, if Israel defines itself as the Jewish nation state, then demands that Abbas recognise it explicitly as such becomes unnessary, for simply accepting Israel’s right to exist would imply it.
    (3) The call for a bill like this was included in Kadima’s manifesto for the 2009 elections, and so Livni is being disingenuous now in the comments she’s making.

  6. I would add that, constitiutionally, the British Monarch is automatically the head of the Church of England and while Church and State have been formally separated (so the Queen’s powers are effectively largely (though not entirely) merely ceremonial), the UK is still formally a Protestant State. This is in no way controversial. I should also add that Catholics (and Jews for that matter) have, in the not too distant past been treated very much as second-class citizens in the UK.

    The Irish Constitution, meanwhile, begins “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred, We, the people of Éire, Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial…” If that isn’t a Catholic State, then I don’t know what is. That too is in no way controversial.

    Of course, both Iran and Pakistan contain the word “Islamic” in their very names. That isn’t controversial.

    Many other Arab countries enshrine Islam as the state religion, and some very clearly DO make non-Muslims second-class citizens (if they permit them to be citizens at all – I’m looking at you, Saudi Arabia). This too is not controversial.

    Bearing all this in mind, a cabinet discussion that MAY enshrine the basic understanding that Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people (a fact recognised by the British government as long ago as 1917 in the Balfour Declaration, lest we forget) whilst also enshrining the principal that ALL Israelis are entitled to the same civil and national rights, really shouldn’t be controversial either.

    Should it…?

    • I believe as well that the Greek Constitution names Greek Orthodox as the official religion of Greece.

      So far Abu Mazen has refused to recognize Israel as the Jewish State, while saying he recognizes Israel. I believe that, at least in part, this proposed law is to put pressure on him. Up till now he’s had it both ways.

      This from EoZ:

      “Palestine”‘s constitution:

      ARTICLE 4

      1. Islam is the official religion in Palestine. Respect and sanctity of all other heavenly religions shall be maintained.
      2. The principles of Islamic Shari’a shall be the main source of legislation.

    • The British recognised no such thing as a ”State” for the “Jewish people” (Ashkenazim European Zionist Jews, mostly Poles), even had they had the legal authority to do so, which they did not have.

      They duplicitously promoted the idea of ‘homeland’ but intentionally never defined it, leaving it necessarily vague. International law gets to decide what they mean, not you. And it had spoken: a Just settlement for the Palestinians and no illegal occupation and settlement of native Palestinian land.

      And the many security council resolutions, very much legally binding!!!!, for the Palestinians right of return.


      • You wouldn’t recognise a thought if your life depended on it.
        Hint: your illiterate and ignorant ramblings, every single word of which is garbage, do not count as thoughts. Not human ones, any road.
        Here’s a thought, though: maybe ‘Tamara’ is a reasonably intelligent gorilla tapping randomly on a keyboard to produce the idiotic mishmash we see above?

      • TamTam can’t read either. The British recognised Israel as the Jewish people’s “HOMELAND” (which is what I said), a fact acknowledged by the League of Nations when they gave the British the Mandate a few years later.

        And, by the way, all contemporary records show that when they said “homeland” they meant “state”, but couldn’t say so for fear of inciting the Arabs into violent protest. Plus ca change.

        • Show me these ‘contemporaryrecords’ you’d just invented….. you can’t magic up sources lol

          League of nations has been long superseded…. Ever heard of UN resolution 194, 242, 694 to name but a few!

          Me thinks Sir is in a bit of a bind;)

          • LoN resolutions, unless expressly rescinded, were taken over by the UN.
            I bet you don’t even understand what (e.g.) 242 says.
            Another piss-poor attempt at mimicking human discourse by the ridiculous ‘Tamara’.

          • Oh dear, poor He/She/It ‘Tamara’ is now so retarded that they can’t spell ‘Tamara’ anymore.

            Either take your medicine or better still go and play with your balloon on a stick on a motorway, a busy motorway.

      • Actually not quite Labernal. The term “homeland” was used in place of the word “state” by Herzl. In his negotiations to find territory for the Jews within the Ottoman Empire, for fear of offending the Sultan, “homeland” was used in discussions. The term stuck.
        It is clear from those attending the Cabinet meeting 1917, and who spoke after the Balfour Declaration, that an eventual sovereign Jewish State was what was clearly being envisaged. Much nonsense has been written about this subject including the reference to Palestine being the Homeland and whether the term “homeland IN Palestine” meant not all of Palestine. All of which has been debunked by learned research.