BBC Blames Israeli Arab Crime Wave on Israel

Israel-haters do what they do best.

Israeli Arab communities have been plagued recently with a crime wave. Israeli Arabs grow up in a culture of violence, just as do many other Muslims; the Qur’an itself is suffused with violence that naturally has an effect on Believers. Dozens of verses instruct Muslims to be violent against Infidels, to “fight’ and to “kill” and to “smite at the necks of” and to “strike terror in the hearts” of the Infidels, but the wider effect is to encourage a societal culture of violence, violence as a habit of being. Muhammad was a warrior, who took part in dozens of military campaigns; he personally helped to behead the 600-900 prisoners of the Banu Qurayza; he asked his followers to “rid him” of those who mocked him – Asma bint Marwan, Abu ‘Afak, and Ka’ab bin al-Ashraf – and all three were killed by those hoping to win favor with the Prophet. It is not surprising, given what is in the Qur’an and hadith, that Islam itself should cause Believers to engage in violence.

A report on how the BCC has covered the Israeli Arab crime wave is here: “Media Uses False Narrative About Arab Israelis to Slander the Jewish State,” by Hadar Sela, Algemeiner, August 16, 2021:

In recent days, BBC audiences have seen cross-platform promotion of content produced by the Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell on the topic of crime in Israel’s Arab sector.

First, take the August 12th BBC World Service radio program, “Assignment” — “What’s killing Israel’s Arabs?”

Israel’s Arab population is in the grip of a violent and deadly crime wave. Since the start of the year, scores of Arab citizens have lost their lives and increasingly, even women and children are victims of drive-by killings, point-blank shootings and escalating gang warfare. Arabs account for only around one in five of all Israelis, yet they are now the majority of the country’s murder victims.

Many say the problem of organised crime has grown out of control within their communities; others argue that the police do little to combat it. Some claim that Israel’s Jewish majority simply does not care. With a new coalition government now in office, which includes an Arab party, the BBC’s Yolande Knell meets victims’ families and those in authority to find out what is going on, and what hope there is for an end to the carnage.

One of the people credited with having produced that report — Quique Kierszenbaum — is not a BBC employee but an “independent documentary photographer and videographer based in Jerusalem.”…

Kierszenbaum is a far-left activist who dedicates his working life to maligning Israel; the photo exhibition he mouned was about the soldiers in the IDF “drunk on power and boredom.” His coverage of the Israeli Arab crime wave, and its victims, unsurprisingly tried to blame the Israeli government for the violence of its Arab citizens.

Next, here’s the August 12th BBC Radio 4 program, “Crossing Continents”:

Israel’s Arab population is in the grip of a violent and deadly crime wave. Since the start of the year, scores of Arab citizens have lost their lives and increasingly, even women and children are victims of drive-by killings, point-blank shootings, and escalating gang warfare.

Arabs account for only around one in five of all Israelis, yet they are now the vast majority of the country’s murder victims. The BBC’s Yolande Knell meets victims’ families and those in authority to find out what is going on, and asks what hope there is for an end to the carnage.

Arabs are the “vast majority of the country’s murder victims” and also the “vast majority of the country’s murderers.” That should not surprise anyone. Their culture is much more violent than that of Jewish Israelis; their crime rate is much higher. This is no different from what is observed in Europe, where Muslims have a much higher rate of criminality, and also of being victims of crime, than do the indigenous non-Muslims. Yet we do not see the governments of those countries being blamed for the higher rates of Muslims as both perpetrators and victims of crime, as the BBC insists on doing with Israel.

Similar points were echoed by an August 13th written item on the BBC News website: “The murderous crime wave sweeping Israel’s Arabs.”

A recurring theme promoted in all three stories is the claim that Israel’s police force does not do enough to tackle crime within the Arab sector.

In the audio versions of this story, listeners hear an interviewee — political activist Maisam Jaljuli — claim that:

Jaljuli: “It seems to me that the police have no interest to know who are killing these people. I wonder if it’s a policy of ‘who cares? They are Arabs so let the kill themselves.’”

This malevolent remark comes from someone – Malsam Jaljuli – who has spent his life blackening Israel’s image, but is described blandly by the BBC only as a ‘political activist.”

Knell: “Shocking as that sounds, Maisam’s attitude seems far from unusual. The way many Israeli Arabs see it, the main reason for the endemic violence now plaguing their neighbourhoods is police inaction.”

Here is a BBC reporter who wants us to believe that the reason for a rise in crime among Israeli Arabs is that the Israeli police are not doing their job. Perhaps that reporter doesn’t realize that the main policing in Arab neighborhoods is done by Arabs themselves; that since 2016 the Israeli government has hired 1,600 Israeli Arabs for the police force, along with new police stations built in Arab areas, and that millions of shekels in new funding have been allocated to increasing policing in Arab neighborhoods and cities.

In the written version [of the BBC report], readers find the same messaging:

“The police took the films of the security camera, but the police don’t know who did that until now, or they claim they don’t know,” Maisam tells me.

The BBC does not allow a spokesman for the Israeli police to rebut this incredible claim of callousness. To repeat: Israel has spent billions of shekels to improving Arab neighborhoods; including police stations; since 2016 the government has hired thousands of Arab policemen, reasoning that Arabs will be more likely to trust and confide in police who “look like them” It’s no different from the practice in this country of assigning African-American police to black neighborhoods.

As shocking as it sounds, Maisam’s attitude is far from unusual.

This attitude—that the Jews just don’t give a damn about Arab wellbeing — may be “far from unusual” among Israeli Arabs, who assume, ignoring all the evidence of the Israeli government’s concern for its Arab citizens, the worst about the Jews, but that does not make it correct.

Israeli Arabs — or Palestinian citizens of Israel, as many prefer to be called — have equal rights with Jewish citizens, but they routinely complain of state discrimination.

Israeli Arabs “routinely complain of state discrimination,” but that doesn’t mean their charge is true. Why does the BBC, in reporting this without offering Israeli officials a chance at a rebuttal, appear to support that complaint? Why not report thus: “While Israeli Arabs routinely complain of state discrimination, they have equal rights with Jewish citizens.”

Bereaved families and Arab officials claim that police inaction is one of the main reasons for the endemic violence plaguing their neighbourhoods.” But no evidence is offered that the police give less attention to solving crimes, or punishing criminals, where the victims are Arabs. There is, however, a code of omerta, where Arabs living in Arab neighborhoods are fearful of giving information about criminals to the police, lest they themselves then become targets for reprisal. Scores tend to be settled between families and groups, without involving the Israeli police.

The same claim is repeated by several additional interviewees — but the very relevant topic of the Arab community’s lack of cooperation with the authorities is only brought up directly (and briefly) by an interviewee from the police force….

Only from a single policeman being interviewed, and in passing, is the most important obstacle to police solving Arab-on-Arab crimes mentioned. The lack of cooperation with the authorities by the Arabs themselves reflects the desire to not help the police identify perpetrators. Some simply don’t want on principle to collaborate with Israeli Jews, but mostly, it’s the fear that those they help identify to the police will get their revenge on those who “squeal” on their fellow Arabs.

The Arabs grow up in an environment where they are taught to distrust and dislike “the Jews,” and that includes, especially, the forces of order, the police who represent the state.

The BBC reporter does not convey the full extent of the investments that Israel has made in the past in policing in Arab neighborhoods,

The current Israeli coalition government — which includes for the first time, an Islamist Arab party — has promised to act.

It has budgeted over a billion shekels ($310m; £225m) for a new plan to fight crime in the Arab community. Many say that must include tackling Israeli Arabs’ relative poverty.

So far the BBC has failed to report on the enormous sums now being allocated by Israel — a billion shekels a year — to fight crime in the Arab community. This includes the hiring of thousands of Arab policemen with whom the populace can identify, and to whom they are more likely to report crimes and their perpetrators; the opening of new police stations in Arab neighborhoods; the establishing of crime prevention programs for the Arab communities. Surely this extensive Israeli effort to combat crime in Arab communities is worth reporting. It certainly calls into question that charge by an Israeli Arab, that the BBC did think worth reporting, that the Israeli attitude is “They are Arabs, so let them kill themselves.”

Another theme promoted in all three of these reports relates to the issue of organized crime:

Experts say that as police have cracked down on big Jewish Israeli mobsters in the past decade or so, organised crime has increasingly moved into Arab areas. Heavily-armed gangs run protection rackets and act as loan sharks, threatening and blackmailing people.

Listeners to the audio versions of the report are told by MK Aida Touma-Sliman of the Joint List that organized crime moved into “our villages and towns” after “ten or fifteen years ago Israeli police managed to oppress Israeli organized crime in Jewish cities.”

Again, it seems that the BBC wants its listeners to believe that only after the Israeli police cracked down on Jewish gangsters did organized crime move into Arab communities. But there was always organized crime in the Arab sector — particularly in the form of protection rackets and extortion — and the claim that it is at most a decade and a half old, as MK Touma-Sliman insists, is not supported by the historical record.

Additionally, none of Knell’s reports discuss other relevant topics such as the high numbers of illegal firearms in Arab communities, or the prevalence of violence against women or issues such as “honor” and “extended family” (hamoula)….

Is it Israel’s fault that many in the Arab communities have acquired illegal firearms? What of the high incidence of violence against women in Arab communities? Should Israel be blamed? Isn’t that a reflection of the low status of women in Islam, and in particular, that Qur’anic verse – 4:34 – that gives husbands the right to punish wives who are “disobedient” or even just suspected of “disobedience”? And what of the Arab need, in a “shame” culture, to punish those female relatives whose behavior is deemed to have damaged the family’s “honor”? Thus we find beatings and killings of Israeli Arab women, by their husbands or fathers or other relatives (the “extended family”), for everything from not wearing sufficiently modest clothing, to refusing to accept an arranged marriage, to seeing on the sly someone deemed by the girl’s family to be, for any number of reasons, an unacceptable mate?

Knell: “In theory, Palestinian or Arab citizens of Israel are equal under the law with Jewish citizens but many live quite separate lives. Lack of trust in the police is only half of it. There are two parallel societies here with different faiths, cultures and histories….

It is not only ”in theory” that “Palestinian or Arab citizens of Israel are equal under the law with Jewish citizens”; they are equal “in fact.” No matter how often the charge of “apartheid” is flung at Israel, it isn’t true. Arabs serve on the Supreme Court, sit in the Knesset, go abroad as diplomats for Israel. The chairman of the largest bank in Israel, Bank Leumi, is an Arab. Arabs study in universities with Jews, work in factories and offices with Jews, are treated in the same hospitals with Jews. The only difference in their treatment is that Jews must, while Arabs may, serve in the IDF.

Yes, there are “two parallel societies” in Israel, but it is not for want of trying on the part of the Israeli state, that has made enormous efforts to integrate its Arab citizens into the larger one. Affirmative action programs for Arab university and graduate students help narrow the gap, and special training to prepare them for high tech jobs is available to Arabs entering the work force. It is the Arabs who stay deliberately aloof, no doubt having had their attitudes formed by the Qur’anic verses that tell them that they are the “best of peoples” (3:110) while the Jews, as Infidels, are the “worst of created beings” (47:4). And Qur’an 5:51 instructs Muslims not to take Jews or Christians as friends, “for they are friends only with each other.” Those verses help explain the “two parallel societies.”

She [the BBC’s Knell] interviews a rapper from Lod [Nafar]who reinforces that messaging:

Nafar: “If you want to go to the root of it, I think you need to go back to 1948, to a whole people who were kicked out of their land.”

The BBC’s Knell allows this calumniating falsehood to pass, unchallenged, leaving listeners to believe it must be true. A whole people were not “kicked out of their land” In 1948. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs left what had been Mandatory Palestine and, after May 14, 1948, the State of Israel, mainly because they were encouraged to do so by their own leaders, and by Arab broadcasts from abroad. They were instructed to leave, in order to get out of the way of the invading Arab armies. Surely the defeat of the badly outnumbered, ill-equipped Jews — who were subject to an arms embargo — would come quickly, and then the Arabs who had left could come back not just to their own homes, but would take over all the properties left by the Jews who had fled or been murdered. Some Arabs also fled late in the war, when it was clear the Jews were winning. But they were not “kicked out of their land.”

And in both her written and audio reports, Knell alleges that the rioting and damage seen in some mixed cities in May was attributable to “discrimination”:

Knell: “In May feelings of discrimination melded with a new round of conflict between Israelis and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip to erupt in violent intercommunal clashes.”…

The violence in mixed cities (with both Arabs and Jews), such as Lod and Ramle, began with unprovoked attacks by Arabs on Jews who in response, girded their loins and organized to fight back and give as good as they got. These disturbances had nothing to do with “discrimination” against Israeli Arabs because there was, and is, none; the Arabs in the mixed cities simply wanted to help the Arabs in Hamas-ruled Gaza during the May war, by opening a new front against the Israelis.

Knell echoes the Israeli Arabs who blame Israel for the crime wave in their own communities. She does not explain how much money and effort the Israelis have expended on this problem.

Nor does she discuss the refusal of so many Israeli Arabs to report crimes or criminals to the police, out of a quite baseless distrust of Israeli authorities. The local Arab leaders do nothing to ameliorate this problem; instead of encouraging the Arabs to collaborate with the police, they simply repeat the claim — which is then disseminated by the BBC, and such reporters as Yolande Knell — that the crime wave is the fault not of the criminals, but of the Israelis, who are accused of ignoring the problem because they supposedly don’t care about the wellbeing of Israeli Arabs: “They [victims and perpetrators] are Arabs, so let them kill themselves.” Those one billion shekels Israel just allocated to catch criminals, and reduce crime, in Arab communities, suggests quite otherwise.

But why should we be surprised at Yolande Knell’s take on things? She works, after all, for the BBC, where such Israel-haters as John Simpson, Jeremy Bowen, Lyse Doucet, and Orla Guerin have for decades been poisoning the minds of hundreds of millions of listeners, causing them to despise Israel as a nasty little settler-colonial state, and to feel deep sympathy for the Palestinians and their supposed “plight.”

To this list of Israel-haters – John Simpson, Jeremy Bowen, Lyse Doucet, Orla Guerin – we can now add the name of Yolande Knell, latest and, one hopes, least of the lot. But what did you expect? She is, after all, coming to the world from Bush House in London — that is, the BBC.

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