As Lyn Julius of Harif reminds us:
“On June 23, 2014, the Israeli Knesset passed a law designating November 30 as an official date in the calendar to remember the uprooting of almost one million Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran.
The date was chosen to recall the day after the UN passed the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine. Following bloodcurdling threats by Arab leaders, violence erupted against Jewish communities all across the Mideast. The riots resulted in the mass exodus of Jews from the Arab world, the seizure of their property and assets, and the destruction of their millennarian, pre-Islamic communities. In 1979, the Islamic revolution resulted in the exodus of four-fifths of the Iranian-Jewish community.”
Anyone searching the BBC News website for material on the subject of ‘Jewish refugees from Arab Lands’ will currently find very few results which actually do relate to that subject. At the top of the page is an article by Yolande Knell dating from 2012 which, although titled “Israel campaign throws spotlight on Jewish refugees from Arab lands“, actually devotes more of its word-count to the amplification of Palestinian views than to informing BBC audiences about the topic in its headline.
The second article appearing in that search – “London summit on Jewish refugees” – dates from 2008 and includes the following comment; curiously from an ‘Arab affairs analyst’ rather than a ‘Jewish affairs analyst’.
“The BBC’s Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi says the subject is highly controversial as the numbers of Jews who left, and the conditions under which they left, are disputed.”
Over the past year, we have recorded the appearance of two items of BBC content which broadly relate to the topic of Jews from Arab Lands: a World Service radio programme about the experiences of Libyan Jews in 1967 and a written article on the BBC News website titled “The Jews of Arabia”.
One bright note was the addition of a paragraph to the timeline in the BBC’s profile of Israel on its website:
“1949-1960s – Up to a million Jewish refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, plus 250,000 Holocaust survivors, settle in Israel.”
Nevertheless, the topic of Jewish refugees from Arab Lands remains a subject very much under-reported by the BBC.