BBC Radio 4’s inaccurate claim about Israel’s Christian community

h/t JO

The December 26th edition of the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘World at One’ included an item relating to the UK Foreign Secretary’s announcement of a review into the plight of persecuted Christians around the world.

Presenter Jonny Dymond introduced that item (from 07:24 here) as follows: [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

Dymond: “More than 200 million Christians are at risk of persecution around the world – a number that has risen sharply over the past few decades according to the Foreign Office. In Christianity’s home – the Middle East – the numbers speak for themselves. Four fifths of Iraq’s Christians have fled or been killed. In Israel and the Palestinian territories as those following other religions have grown sharply in number, the Christian population has shrunk. Today the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered a review into the persecuted Christians around the world and how much help they get from the UK.”

The item continued with a recording of Mr Hunt speaking about his announcement and a report about Christians in Pakistan.

Let’s take a closer look at Dymond’s claim that “in Israel….the Christian population has shrunk”.

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, at the year’s end in 1949 there were 34,000 Christians living in Israel. A year later that number had risen to 36,000. By year’s end 1960 Israel’s Christian population numbered 49,600, by 1970 -75,500, by 1980 – 89,900, by 1990 – 114,700 and by year’s end 2000 there were 153,400 Christians living permanently in Israel (the bureau’s figures do not include foreign residents). By the end of 2017 the Christian population of Israel had grown to 171,900 people, just under 80% of whom are Arab Christians mostly living in the north of the country.

In other words, in contrast to Dymond’s claim that the Christian population of Israel has “shrunk”, throughout the first 70 years of Israel’s existence it steadily grew from 34,000 to 171,900. At the end of 2018 Israel has around 175,000 Christian citizens who make up around 2% of the total population.

Had Dymond confined himself to saying that in the Palestinian territories – the parts of Judea & Samaria governed for decades by the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip now under Hamas control for over a decade – the Christian population has shrunk, he would have been correct. However, his inclusion of Israel in that claim is inaccurate and, particularly in an item about persecution of Christian communities, materially misleading to BBC audiences. 

Related Articles:

BBC Radio 4’s selective framing of the “hardships” of Gaza Christians

Resources:

How to Complain to the BBC

 

9 comments on “BBC Radio 4’s inaccurate claim about Israel’s Christian community

  1. These were exactly MY thoughts. Where in Israel are Christians under threat ? Why include Israel in the group of Middle Eastern countries where Christians are routinely massacred and driven out ? There are many thousands of Christians living in Israel and many more who visit the holy places of Christianity including myself. I never for one moment felt under threat which is more than can be said for many other countries in the region.

    The BBC seems to know no limits in demonising Israel even resorting to downright lies. Shame on them !

  2. These were exactly MY thoughts. Where in Israel are Christians under threat ? Why include Israel in the group of Middle Eastern countries where Christians are routinely massacred and driven out ? There are many thousands of Christians living in Israel and many more who visit the holy places of Christianity including myself. I never for one moment felt under threat which is more than can be said for many other countries in the region. Israel itself is one place Christians can feel safe both to worship and visit. How appalling of the BBC to deliberately include Israel.

  3. It’s called ‘pulling a fast one.’ This is not the first time I have heard this nonsense. It seems like it is pulled out of mothballs every year or two.

  4. Pingback: 12/27 Links Pt2: Now they call us ‘White Jews’: A new American antisemitism; Daniel Pipes: Tectonic Shifts in Attitudes toward Israel; Harry Potter and the Half-Wit Dunces – 24/6 Magazine

  5. Pingback: BBC Misleads About the Alleged Decline of Israel’s Christian Population -

  6. Pingback: The BBC’s response to a complaint about Christians in Israel | BBC Watch

Comments are closed.