The following sentence in a Guardian report by their Jerusalem correspondent Oliver Holmes (“Benjamin Netanyahu becomes longest-serving Israeli PM”, July 20th) uses a truncated quote by Benjamin Netanyahu, thus egregiously distorting the meaning of his words.
In the latest election in April, he was accused of appealing to racist voters when he stated Israel was “not a state of all its citizens”, referring to the country’s minority population of Palestinian citizens.
To demonstrate how this is misleading, all you have to do is go back to how the Guardian itself originally reported on the comments, in a March 10th AFP report published on their website.
Here’s the relevant section:
“Israel is not a state of all its citizens,” he wrote in response to criticism from an Israeli actor, Rotem Sela. “According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – and only it.
“As you wrote, there is no problem with the Arab citizens of Israel.They have equal rights like all of us and the Likud government has invested more in the Arab sector than any other government,” he said of his rightwing party.
As you can see, the March 10th article includes the same quote, but provides important political context (he was referring to the nation state law which defines Israel as a Jewish state) and, most importantly, included Netanyahu’s clarifying comments stressing that Arab citizens of Israel “have equal rights”.
In contrast, the partial quote used in the July 20th article by Holmes, along with the lack of relevant context, leaves the false impression that the prime minister was using racist rhetoric by suggesting that Arabs are second class citizens.
The truncated quote significantly alters the true meaning and significance of the prime minister’s words, and thus fails to adhere to the Editors’ Code, which demands that newspapers avoid publishing inaccurate, misleading or distorted information.