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

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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? 


Susie Kneedler

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19 Responses

  1. amigo on December 26, 2012, 10:02 am

    Israel “creating” facts on the ground.

    How Godly of them.

    Any Lost tribes of Arabs Jews making aliyah???.

    • amigo on December 26, 2012, 10:03 am

      Correction, Any lost tribes of Arab Jews making Aliyah???.

  2. Maximus Decimus Meridius on December 26, 2012, 10:06 am

    Funnily enough, those Indians look to me like…. Indians. ”Lost tribes”? Too absurd for words. And yet, expect more and more ‘lost tribes’ to be magically ‘discovered’ as the Palestinian ‘demographic threat’ looms ever more largely, and as it becomes ever more obvious that the Jews in the ‘diaspora’ of advanced Western nations might support Israel in an abstract sense, but would never in a million years actually move there in order for their ethnically correct selves to redress that terrifying ‘demographic threat’.

  3. dimadok on December 26, 2012, 1:02 pm

    ” as people of color, they weren’t welcome in Israel.”- what a nonsense, wrapped in Christmas spirit! And yes 7200 Bnei Menashe will surely make a demographic shift Israel needs so badly. Sigh…

    • Mooser on December 26, 2012, 2:49 pm

      “And yes 7200 Bnei Menashe will surely make a demographic shift Israel needs so badly. Sigh…”

      And may have traditional skills which will prove useful to Israel, so it’s a win-win, huh?

    • Talkback on December 27, 2012, 9:08 am

      dimadok says: “And yes 7200 Bnei Menashe will surely make a demographic shift Israel needs so badly. Sigh…”

      But wouldn’t they be a great asset to the Zionist fortified Mega Shtetl, if it was them commiting suicide which is the primary cause of soldier’s death since the 2. Intifada? Or make them live in Southern border towns where they can act as human shields to its Apartheid policies? The ZfMS can always use less educated rocket fodder who cannot dream about moving or emigrating to a less dangerous place.

  4. Avi_G. on December 26, 2012, 1:08 pm

    Yessir! Racism toward Jews of color is all but vanished in this here land of Israel. Yessir! First it was them lost Indian tribes and tomorrow it’s Ethiopian Jews in Dimona living in trailers. Yessir! No such thing as Israeli racism, especially not this time o’ year when all through the state not a Jew was stirring, not even a Yemenite stuck in Be’er Sheva.

  5. FreddyV on December 26, 2012, 1:12 pm

    I love this one!

    Some Christian Zionist preacher was staying in their village and had a dream that they were the ‘lost tribe of Menasseh’

    Pretty much sums up so called Biblical claims doesn’t it?

    • Ellen on December 26, 2012, 6:07 pm

      from the wikipedia link:
      The Bnei Menashe believe that the traditional Mizo-Kuki-Hmar harvest festival song in the Hmar language, “Sikpui Hla (Sikpui Song)” which features events paralleled in the Book of Exodus, such as enemies chasing them over a red-coloured sea,[11] quails,[12] and a pillar of cloud [11] is clear evidence of their Israelite ancestry.

      Do you think they also have the Jew Gene? You know, the genetic haploid sequence that are specific for only Jews and no one else?

    • JennieS on December 26, 2012, 11:29 pm

      Reminds me of “recovered memories” of alien abduction or Satanic ritual abuse.

      • Talkback on December 27, 2012, 9:10 am

        Or of inhaling to much odour of a burning bush.

    • LanceThruster on December 27, 2012, 2:30 am

      Log this right up there with God telling Pat Robertson Mitt Romney would win in 2012.

  6. Tzombo on December 26, 2012, 4:14 pm

    The BBC is occupied territory. BBC News used to be my number one news site, but now I hardly go there at all anymore.

  7. Mayhem on December 26, 2012, 5:35 pm

    Words born from resentment.
    And this absurd argument that a good news program about Israel must be counterbalanced by some Palestinian propaganda.

  8. ToivoS on December 26, 2012, 7:45 pm

    Israel is so desperate for WB cannon fodder that they will accept anyone who is willing to settle outside of the Green line as “jews” as long as they have no Palestinian ancestry. Of the 1.5 million Russians that they admitted it is likely that at least 1/3 of them are descended from Christians. What impressed me the most about this colonial occupation problem that the Israelis are facing is when some crazed Israeli rabbi converted a Peruvian Incas tribe to Judaism and sent them occupy WB settlements.

    Ethiopians, Indian Bnei Menashe or Icas, it makes no difference as long as they are willing to serve on the front lines in the WB to resist the demographic threat to Ashkenazi hegemony. What is so amazing about this whole nation building experiment is that the white Jews have become so racist they that are inviting these alien brown people in as their front line troops without any willingness to let them live in Ashkenazi communities (i.e Tel Aviv).

  9. Miura on December 26, 2012, 7:48 pm

    Mike Marqusee who is a frequent traveler to India has the low-down on this “lost tribe”:

    Such dogged irrationalism makes the People’s Temple in Guyana come across as a haven of reason:

  10. chinese box on December 27, 2012, 7:34 am

    Excuse me if I don’t shed tears of joy over this lost tribe…it’s a like a dystopian version of the rainbow coalition…I’m surprised Israel hasn’t transferred the African “infiltrators” from South Tel Aviv into some settlement on the West Bank yet.

  11. brenda at fol on December 29, 2012, 1:19 am

    There is a petition “The BBC Trust: Hold a Public Inquiry into Pro-Israeli Bias” which currently has 7852 signatures. Does the BBC report objectively or does it skew its reports with political bias? The debate has simmered for years, why not push for a proper investigation? It would be a challenge to get it right, but it could be worth the effort. Ask for an inquiry–our media, our responsibility.

  12. clubroma on December 29, 2012, 5:00 am

    The western media has appeased the State of Isreal for a very long time. This appeasement, from organisations like the BBC has allowed Isreal to kill/rape/ evict/ humiliate/denergrate, the Palestinian people for 50 years.
    Th BBC should be charged with collaborating in war crimes and human rights abuses.

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