Economist

The Economist bizarrely alleges ‘decades-long Israeli ban on Arabic songs’ (UPDATE)


 (A Nov. 27th article in The Economist, titled ‘The Economist Explains: The status of Arabic speakers in Israel‘, included the claim that “Arabic songs were banned from Israeli radio for several decades.”

economist-claimHowever, we could no find no evidence that this is even partially true. Indeed, the only other place we could find a version of this claim was in a 2015 article published at Middle East Eye – but the claim (unsurprisingly) is not sourced.

Indeed, the evidence suggests there couldn’t possibly have been such a ban (yet alone one “for several decades”) on Arabic songs.

On the website of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA), there’s this on the history of Arabic radio:

The domestic Hebrew station broadcasts included, until 1956, programs in Arabic. After the Sinai Campaign, Kol Yisrael in Arabic split from the Hebrew station, and in 1958 began broadcasting as an independent network (which would later become known as Reshet Daled).

In fact, IBA aired an Arabic music program called “Arabic Orchestra” from 1948 until 1993 on Arabic Kol Israel (Radio D).

We’ve contacted editors at The Economist, and asked that they correct the erroneous claim.

UPDATE: Shortly after contacting editors at The Economist, they responded and upheld our complaint.  The sentence in question was removed and an addendum was added noting the change. 

4 replies »

  1. They’ve corrected and even noted it. It now characterizes it as “seldom”.
    As an anonymous, unacountable “no byline” publication, they only name “A.V.” in Jerusalem.
    does anybody know who s/he is?

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