On March 23rd the BBC News website’s Middle East page published an article titled “Netanyahu apologises to Israeli-Arabs over election remarks“. Readers are told that:
“Apologising for his comments he [Netanyahu] said: “I know the things I said a few days ago hurt some Israeli citizens.
“My actions as prime minister, including massive investment in minority sectors, prove the exact opposite.
“I think, similarly, that no element outside the state of Israel should intervene in our democratic processes.””
Readers are not however told to whom the apology was made, in what circumstances or how it was received. The only clue to that comes in the form of the reaction of the leader of the Joint Arab List which the BBC did find fit to promote.
“The Joint List alliance of Arab-dominated parties rejected the apology. […]
Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint Arab List – an alliance of Israeli Arab-dominated parties that united for the first time and secured 13 seats at last week’s election, told Israel’s Channel 10: “We do not accept this apology.
“It was to a group of elders and not to the elected leadership of Israel’s Arabs. I want to see actions, how is he going to manifest this apology? Will he advance equality?””
Readers of this article will be unable to put Odeh’s claim that his party represents “the elected leadership of Israel’s Arabs” into its correct context because since the final results of the election were announced, the BBC has not clarified to audiences that in fact a quarter of the Arab MKs in the incoming Knesset represent other parties: Likud, Meretz, Yisrael Beitinu and the Zionist Union. Neither are BBC audiences aware of the fact that the BBC’s monochrome portrayal of Israeli Arab voters does not reflect the complete picture.
Netanyahu’s apology was made at the Prime Minister’s official residence, to which representatives from the various minority communities in Israel were invited. Readers can see for themselves below how his words were received by the invitees – and ponder the fact that whilst the BBC chose not to report that aspect of the story, it did find it necessary to report Ayman Odeh’s reaction and to repeat the White House’s criticism of Netanyahu’s original statement.