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October 16, 2012

Ha'aretz Repeats 'Nakba Law' Error

Israeli Arabs demonstrate Nakba.png
Israeli Arabs exercise their right to mark "Nakba Day" in May 2012 (Photo by Flash 90)

The "Nakba law," which enables Israel's Finance Minister to withhold government funding from state-funded bodies engaged in activities which reject the existence of the state of Israel as a Jewish state, has been a challenge for Ha'aretz journalists. In May, after the English edition incorrectly reported that the law "fines bodies who openly reject Israel as a Jewish state," editors commendably issued the following correction May 11:

haaretz correction nakba.jpg

Unfortunately, editors have not absorbed the information. Today's editorial again errs, stating:

The 18th Knesset polluted Israel's law books with the so-called "Nakba law," which undermines Israeli Arabs' right to observe Independence Day as a day of mourning. . . .

Of course, Israeli Arabs are perfectly free to erect mourning tents in their yards on Israel's Independence Day. They also may orgazine large scale remembrance marches involving, for example, 400,000 people in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Independence Day. In actuality, the law does not prohibit anything. Again, it merely enables the Finance Minister to withhold government money budgeted to state-supported entities if they engage in activities rejecting Israel as a Jewish state.

If the Hebrew-speaking Ha'aretz editors cannot be relied upon to actually read the legislation, we shouldn't be surprised by mainstream English-language reporters also getting it wrong. And we shouldn't expect the problem to go away anytime soon, given that the "Nakba law" has taken on symbolic significance. Only, contrary to what the Ha'aretz editors would have us believe, the law is not a symbol of "anti-democratic legislation that brought the tyranny of the majority to new heights." Rather, it is a symbol of disinformation spread by incompetent or dishonest reporters.

For the Hebrew version of this post, see Presspectiva. Yishai Goldflam contributed to this post.

Posted by TS at October 16, 2012 04:51 AM


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