Over 15 months on BBC Arabic corrects on Israel’s citizenship law

A post by CAMERA Arabic.

As part of the November 2022 wave of BBC Arabic corrections prompted by collaboration between CAMERA Arabic, CAMERA UK and The Jewish Chronicle, the BBC has finally resolved a pending complaint concerning a July 2021 report about Israel’s citizenship laws.

The original July 2021 report claimed that Israel’s then newly expired Citizenship Law prevented Palestinians from joining “their spouses, Palestinians of the interior, who hold Israeli citizenship”. [emphasis added]

The “Palestinians of the interior” part of that statement is false because the law withheld citizenship rights from Palestinians who married Israelis regardless of whether they are Jewish or Arab. As a BBC report in English on the same topic correctly read:

“Israel’s parliament has failed to pass an extension to a controversial law barring Palestinians from the occupied West Bank or Gaza who marry Israelis from being granted citizenship rights.” [emphasis added]

Notably, an identical error was corrected by AFP shortly after publication.

In addition, the BBC Arabic report claimed that while Israel does not grant Israeli citizenship to nationals of a few Arab countries as well as Iran and the Palestinian Authority, “it is possible for other non-Jews who marry Israeli Jews to apply for citizenship through a five-year process”. [emphasis added]

However, the path for citizenship via marriage to an Israeli applies equally to the spouses of Jews and Arab alike. Not only non-Jews who marry Jewish Israelis can apply for citizenship using that procedure, but also non-Jews who marry Arab Israelis (see for example here). In other words, the BBC’s use of the term “Israeli Jews” – rather than just Israelis – was inaccurate and misleading.

Although the first error was corrected two months after the original CAMERA Arabic complaint was submitted, it took the BBC thirteen more months to correct the second inaccuracy (see before/after). That correction was made 321 days after submission of the complaint: i.e. more than 32 times the timeframe for addressing complaints as set by the BBC itself.

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تصحيح قناة “بي بي سي عربي” خطأ بخصوص قانون الجنسية في إسرائيل تطلب خمسة عشر شهراً

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