The Independent continues to lead the British media pack when it comes to story selections – including those which don’t focus on the conflict with the Palestinians – designed to paint Israel in the worst possible light. Here’s a recent example from the Indy’s Israel page of two gratuitously negative stories published within a day of each other focusing on sexually related oppression within Israeli society.
The Nov. 30th article, by Charlotte England, cites activists’ claim that Israel is “becoming a safe haven for paedophiles thanks to the country’s unique Law of Return”, and later alleges that “32 paedophiles in their …have moved from countries around the world to Israel over the past decade.”
However, further down in the article, readers learn that The Law of Return does not apply to Jews with “a criminal past, likely to endanger public welfare”, and quotes Jewish Agency spokesperson Avi Mayer explaining that “a convicted sex offender would certainly be [barred from the Law of Return] and would thus be prevented from immigrating to the country.”
Tellingly, the original version of the article had to be corrected by editors for falsely suggesting “that paedophiles could potentially enter Israel as tourists” and stay indefinitely.
The Dec. 1st article, by Peter Walker, similarly includes an extremely misleading element.
The headline (Israeli parliament decides to ban miniskirts) could lead readers to believe that the Knesset outlawed miniskirts in the entire country, when in fact the “miniskirt” ban narrowly applies to MKs and visitors to the Knesset building. (UK Media Watch complained to Indy editors over this misleading headline.)
Here’s the opening of the article:
The revised dress code at the Knesset applies immediately to everyone entering the building, officials said on Wednesday.
“Entrance to the Knesset is permitted only in appropriate attire,” stated a notice on the official Knesset website. It stipulates there should be no tank tops or spaghetti tops, cropped tops, shorts or three-quarter length trousers, ripped trousers, shirts with political slogans, short skirts or short dresses, flip-flops or open-back clogs, were to be worn in parliament, by “adults and youth aged 14 and over”.
Further in the article, we’re told that “the dress code had already existed” and was merely revised to be less ambiguous.
What readers aren’t told, however, is that the Knesset’s rules on attire are not unique. In the UK, for instance, men are asked to wear “a shirt and tie”, while women are expected to dress “in smart businesslike attire”. As in Israel’s Knesset, the British Parliament also bans shirts with political slogans.
Moreover, the article also attempts to use the “miniskirt ban” to advance a broader narrative of Israeli misogyny, which reminds us that the stories not only mislead by commission, but also by omission – lacking important context regarding Israel’s undeniably progressive record in protecting the rights of women, children and families.
Once again, we see how the Independent continues to distinguish itself as the most consistent purveyor of biased, misleading and ideologically driven anti-Israel content within the British media.