On April 13th an article appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the headline “Israel promotes Arab police officer to senior rank“.
“An Arab police officer has been promoted by Israel to the highest rank ever attained by a Muslim in the force.
Jamal Hakrush starts his job as deputy commissioner after months of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.”
While the BBC curiously found it necessary to note Deputy Commissioner Hakrush’s religion, the article does not adequately clarify that his promotion elevates him to the second-highest rank in the Israeli police force.
Towards the end of the report readers are told that:
“Deputy Commissioner Hakrush, from the Galilee village of Kafr Kanna, will be in charge of a newly-created police division established to improve policing in Arab communities, The Times of Israel reported.
Deputy Commissioner Hakrush was formally appointed into his new position on Wednesday at a ceremony attended by Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich. One of his main responsibilities will be to stop illegal weapons falling into the hands of the Arab community.
Mr Alsheich also wants to reduce domestic violence, murder rates and other crimes in the Arab sector.
He and the government wants [sic] to recruit 1,300 new officers and construct several new stations in Arab population centres.”
“At a meeting of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, Alsheich said that although Arabs constitute 21 percent of Israel’s population, they account for 58% of total crimes, 55% of attempted murders, 47% of thefts, and 27% drug dealing.
“This picture is not only of concern to the police, but also to the Arab community itself,” he said. “There is a strong desire to strengthen policing in the Arab community. I met dozens of heads of Arab local authorities and discovered that there was great willingness. ‘Just send in the police already,’ they told me.””
However, the writer of this report did find it appropriate to steer readers towards the conclusion that the high rates of crime in the Arab sector in Israel can be attributed to ‘discrimination’ and he or she conscripted unprovided ‘evidence’ from a highly partisan political NGO involved in the lawfare campaign against Israel in order to advance that notion.
“He [Deputy Commissioner Hakrush] will oversee policing in Arab communities where there is a longstanding distrust of the police.
A fifth of Israel’s population is Arab and they often complain that areas in which they live are not so well policed and have poorer public services.
Their grievances have been supported by Human Rights Watch which in recent years has published several reports highlighting the discrimination which it is argued the Arab population faces.”
Yes – even an article about the unprecedented promotion of an Arab-Israeli police officer can be used by the BBC to advance politicised messaging.