Israeli media deny the plight of Palestine and moral responsibility
To mark the 66th anniversary of the Nakba, the I’lam Media Center will be releasing a new report in the coming days entitled “The Plight of Palestine among the Israeli Public: Patterns of Denial and Responsibility.” Authored by Professor Amal Jamal and Samah Bsoul, the report is based on a research project carried out by monitoring and analyzing 318 articles and news published in the Hebrew media from 2008 to 2012. The research focused on the level of knowledge and awareness relating to the Nakba in Israel.
Findings indicate that the majority of articles and other news pieces related to the Nakba were published in 2011, when Palestinians from refugee camps in Syria came to the Israeli border to commemorate the Nakba. It was shown that while some news sources and articles spoke about the increasing interest in Palestine – both in Israel and across the world – the majority of those examined were framed in way that negates the Nakba entirely. The report states that there are five main ways the Nakba is addressed in the Israeli media:
1. Denying that the Nakba occurred and claiming it to be Palestinian fabrication and propaganda
2. Denying responsibility for the Nakba
3. The Nakba as a tragic event which continues until today
4. The Nakba as a constant threat which aims to delegitimize Israel
5. The Nakba as a memory which must be respected
While it reveals that there are variations between denying the occurrence of the Nakba on one hand and denying responsibility for it on the other, it was proven that that the majority of the articles and the news pieces still view the Nakba as a threat to delegitimize Israel. The research also found that there were six basic motives for denying the Nakba:
· Ideological: reflecting the fear of destabilizing the Zionist movement.
· Ethical: concerning the denial of Israel's moral responsibility for the occurrence of the Nakba.
· Psychological: the fear of acknowledging the victims of Israeli policies
· Strategic: concerning Israel’s responsibility towards the Palestinian refugees
· Legal: the fear of accountability and subsequent prosecution of Israelis responsible for the occurrence of the Nakba, as well issues related to the ownership over the land and property of the refugees
· Diplomatic: acknowledging the Nakba may strengthen the Palestinian position.
A seminar to present these results will be held for a group of journalists and academics in Jaffa at the end of May, as part of a series of events to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the Nakba.