A Jan. 31st article at The Independent’s BuzzFeed style website (i100) tried to tie President Trump’s new ban on immigration from seven Muslim countries to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
After providing a few paragraphs of background on Trump’s policy, the i100 journalist (Jarjas Zatat) awkwardly pivots to Israel.
For Palestinians, freedom of movement is a challenge. Palestine has been subject to over fifty years of Israeli military occupation…
Israeli law requires everyone to carry an ID pass – Israeli citizens and permanent residents tend to have a blue cover. Residents of the West Bank and the Gaza strip tend to have green covers. Palestinians wishing to travel abroad are required to apply for a visa. In the case of Hashem, his parents made an appointment with the US consulate in Jerusalem for Friday, so that they could travel to the US for their son’s graduation.
On Friday, when mosques in Jerusalem hold prayers, people over the age of 60 are generally allowed inside the city. According to Hashem, despite the fact that both his mum (60) and his dad (65) had their permit, a letter from the US consulate and all other “proper documentation”, the father was prevented from crossing the checkpoint at Bethlehem into Jerusalem. As a result, they missed their appointment, and could not get a visa.
He talks about it in his Facebook post.
We’re later informed by i100 that “his parents were successful in passing Bethlehem checkpoint” and will be able to make his graduation in Earlham College, Indiana (where he’s a Rhodes Scholar) after all. (Of course, we don’t know why his father was initially unable to pass the checkpoint in the first place.)
First, contrary to the suggestion by the i100 journalist, Israelis also require a visa when travelling abroad to most countries.
Moreover, the update by Hashem – an active member of the pro-terror, extremist group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) – is chock full of propaganda to evoke Trump ‘Muslim ban’ comparison that isn’t critically examined by i100. For starters, he makes the nearly unintelligible claim that an “Israeli ban against Palestinians of all faiths has been in place for decades”, a “ban”, he then surreally claims, has “escaped scrutiny from the international community”!
However, Trump’s ban on citizens of seven foreign countries from entering the US represents a completely different dynamic than what he’s trying to describe in the Palestinian territories. There’s no Israeli “ban” on Palestinians. There are checkpoints and other security measures erected to prevent terrorism on both sides of the green line, but tens of thousands of Palestinians pass into Israel each day to work, visit family and receive medical care. Further, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are free to travel anywhere in Israel and in the territories.
But, of course, the elephant in the room ignored by i100 is the fact that it is Israelis who are strictly banned from entering 16 Muslim majority countries. (In fact, many of these countries ban non-Israelis who merely have an Israeli stamp in their passport.)
Additionally, Israelis are forbidden from entering major Palestinian cities (Area A) in the West Bank. Indeed, ror Israelis, freedom of movement throughout most of their region is not merely a “challenge”. It’s practically impossible.
To be fair, the i100 journalist is not alone in her selective reporting. The deafening silence by most progressive commentators – in the context of the debate about the ‘Muslim ban’ – over the decades long ‘Jew ban’ in much of the Muslim world is ubiquitous, and represents another example of the egregious double standards infecting so much reporting about the region in the UK media.
It seems reasonable to ask those speaking out most passionately and eloquently in the press and on social media against Trump’s ban to at least show consistency and hold Muslims in the Middle East to same moral standards they hold non-Muslims in the West.
You can Tweet the journalist @NtheodoraK to express your concerns about the article.
As always, when communicating (including on Twitter) with journalists, editors or presenters, be polite and stick to the facts.