U.S. News Sees 'Catastrophe' on Israel's 60th Anniversary

The State of Israel turns 60 years old this May, but rather than highlighting the nation's survival in a hostile region over six decades, U.S. News & World Report aimed to focus on discontent from Israeli Arabs, and to suggest that Israel's sovereignty was in and of itself the cause of "six ensuing decades of bloody conflicts." "On the Eve of Israel's 60th Birthday, Little Cheer Among Its Arab Citizens," declares the headline for Larry Derfner's April 30 story.Derfner explained how many Israeli Arabs commemorate May 14, Israel's Independence Day, as Nakba, or the "Day of Catastrophe" (emphasis mine):

More and more Israeli Arabs view Independence Day, which celebrates Israel's victory over the Arabs in the 1948 War of Independence, as the Day of Catastrophe, or Nakba in Arabic. Israel's 1.4 million Arab citizens are descendants of the Palestinians who remained in the country after the war, which turned the great majority of their people into refugees, cost them a state, and set the stage for six ensuing decades of bloody conflicts. "For us, it's a day of sadness, of mourning," says Amira Shawahna, a teacher marching in the recent annual Israeli Arab "Land Day" protests in Galilee against the state's historical policy of expropriating land from Arab localities and giving it to Jewish ones.

Derfner went on to note the history of the Nakba commemorations and grievances the minority Arabs have had against Israeli governments, such as martial law from 1949 to 1966, and concluded on a sour note (emphasis mine):

This Independence Day will be the 60th annual celebration of a war Israel's Jews won and Israel's Arabs lost. It is a day of national division—of unity among the country's majority and counter-unity among the minority.

Nowhere in Derfner's article did he explain how state-sponsored terrorism from Syria, Lebanon, and Iran has threatened Israeli civilians regardless of religion or ethnicity. What's more, nowhere in his article did Derfner delve into how Israeli Arabs have higher living standards and more political and religious liberties than their Palestinian counterparts. Indeed, Israeli Arabs compromise the leadership of numerous municipalities, including Nazareth, the Galileean hometown of Jesus Christ. What's more, Israeli Arabs have two political parties in Israel's Knesset, the left-wing group Hadash and the larger faction Ra'al-Ta'al, which calls for, among other things, the establishment of a Palestinian state with Israel as its capital and a "right of return" for Palestinian refugees to return to and permanently settle in Israel proper. A search of the Knesset Web site reveals a storied history of Israeli Arab involvement in the nation's political history through the colorful evolution of that nation's volatile parliamentary politics.It's worthwhile covering the grievances of Israeli Arabs, many of which are legitimate, but focusing exclusively on such complaints on the eve of Israel's 60 is a real journalistic "catastrophe."

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters