BBC’s Israel profile updated to include Jewish refugees from Arab lands

On December 13th an article by Matthew Teller titled “The Jews of Arabia” appeared in the Features & Analysis section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page and in its Magazine section.Jews of Arabia

Based on material recently digitized by the British Library, the article represents one of the rare occasions on which the BBC relates to the topic of Jews from Arab lands. However, it also includes the following statement:

“…Bahrain has a tiny Jewish minority, comprising only a few families – though they wield significant power. Until last year, Bahrain’s ambassador to the US was a Jewish woman, Houda Nonoo.” [emphasis added]

According to most accounts, there are about three dozen Jews in Bahrain. Their one synagogue is permanently closed and they are not permitted to visit Israel. The BBC would nevertheless have audiences believe that, in an absolute monarchy ranked ‘not free’ by Freedom House in 2014, those thirty-odd people “wield significant power” without giving any further details with regard to what that power entails and how it is “significant” in that authoritarian regime, beyond the fact that one Jewish woman served as an ambassador for five years. 

Relatedly, via the Point of No Return website, we learn that an addition has apparently been recently made to the timeline on the BBC’s Israel profile which, despite its many other faults, now includes the following:

“1949-1950s – About a million Jewish refugees from Arab countries, plus 250,000 Holocaust survivors, settle in Israel.”

That at least is a step in the right direction. 


2 comments on “BBC’s Israel profile updated to include Jewish refugees from Arab lands

  1. It has been estimated that more than half the Jews of Israel today are descendants of those Jews expelled from the Muslim world largely because of the establishment of Israel and revenge for the failed Arab armies. The only successful Arab army was British led, trained and equipped. They occupied the “West Bank” and East Jerusalem 1948-67.

  2. The situation is better than you think. Besides the former Bahraini ambassador to the US, businesswoman Houda Nonoo, there’s also Nancy Khedouri. She sits in the upper house of the Bahrain parliament and is deputy chairwoman of the foreign affairs, defense and national security committee. Ebrahim Daoud Nonoo, another former member of parliament, is now a leading Bahraini businessman. He’s working with Minister of Culture Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al Khalifa to renovate the Manama synagogue.

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