Anti-Semitic incidents in the UK have been on the rise, according to recent reports, and that trend has coincided with anti-Israel sentiment. Which is why a new study revealing the obsession that the often-hostile British media have with the Jewish state is worth noting. The latest report by media watchdog group Just Journalism compared the coverage of Israel to the coverage of the “Arab spring” countries—Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia—during 2010.
The group found that the attention given to the Arab spring countries (before the uprisings) was almost nonexistent. At BBC News alone, news coverage of Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia combined and doubled still amounted to less than was written about Israel. At the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, news coverage of the Arab countries combined and tripled still amounted to less than was written about Israel. Meanwhile, the Guardian published 16 editorials on Israel in 2010 and not a single one on the three Arab countries that were on the verge of turmoil.
“It has been true for many years that so-called Middle East reporting all too often means daily news coverage and criticism of Israel and not a great deal else,” said Just Journalism’s spokesperson Michael Weiss. “Clearly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deserving of media attention, but the disproportionate focus on it to the near exclusion of the rest of the region has left journalists on the back foot in reacting to the current political earthquake shaking the Arab world. I hope that the British”
Israel was scapegoated as the root of Middle East unrest for years, while the oppression and corruption throughout the Arab world were largely ignored. Now that the uprisings have fully debunked this myth, news outlets have a chance to refocus their coverage on the rest of the Middle East, instead of obsessing over the single democratic state.