Jolly Christmas: BBC celebrates ‘return’ of a ‘lost tribe of Israel’ — and not a word about Palestinians’ right

Israel/Palestine
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Members of the Bnei Menashe tribe (Getty Images)

The BBC Newshour graced Christmas by honoring an American-Israeli, Michael Freund, who allegedly has made prejudice melt away. But the newfound tolerance is not toward Palestinians. No, it’s toward “lost tribes” of Israel. Freund, who is also a hero to Glenn Beck, leads a group that works to bring Indians to Israel and the occupied territories: 

Dozens of members of an Indian tribe said to be lost descendants of ancient Israelites have emigrated to Israel after the government lifted a visa ban.

Some 1,700 of the 7,200-strong Bnei Menashe already arrived nearly a decade ago after a chief rabbi recognised the community as a lost tribe in 2005.

Israel stopped issuing visas to the group two years later but recently reversed the policy.

Some critics have questioned the authenticity of the tribe’s claims.

The community says it is one of the lost 10 tribes of Israel who were exiled when Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th Century BC…

Around 50 people landed in the city of Tel Aviv on Monday.

Bnei Menashe first settled in the West Bank settlement Kiryat Arba because, as people of color, they weren’t welcome in Israel. But the BBC story glorifes Freund and Israel by saying that bigotry against such truly Jewish people has vanished, allowing Bnei Menashe to move to Israel proper, near Akko.

Freund says that he’d first thought Bnei Menashe’s claims were nuts, but was soon convinced otherwise, and is now thrilled that Israel has learned to welcome the sect. Yet the print version doesn’t portray half the insult of the radio story.  The BBC says nothing about Israel’s racism in using Jewish immigrants to thwart an anti-Palestinian “demographic threat,” or even asks whether the drive to quash Israel’s debate about the “tribe”‘s Jewishness was designed to drive Palestinians out. And not a word about the Palestinian right of return to the communities and villages from which they were chased in 1948. Many of them were Christians.

What a mockery of the spirit we welcome on Christmas, whatever our faiths: ”Peace on earth, goodwill to” all. This BBC distortion soured an hour of my holiday with family yesterday morning, as well as that of Phil Weiss with his.  Why air such a travesty? 

 

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