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July 22, 2015 3:55 pm

BBC Slammed for Documentary Alleging Harm to Jerusalem Arabs From Light Rail Line (VIDEO)

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BBC reporter Adam Wishart riding the Jerusalem light rail. Photo: Screenshot.

BBC reporter Adam Wishart riding the Jerusalem light rail. Photo: Screenshot.

A media watchdog on Wednesday blasted the BBC for airing a program that portrays Jerusalem’s Palestinian Arabs as being harmed by the city’s new light rail line.

Israel based Honest Reporting said the program, titled The Train That Divides Jerusalem, portrayed a “biased and one-sided look at Jerusalem” and depicts Palestinians as the victims of some “malevolent scheme” to “Judaize” Israel’s capital at their expense.

BBC Panorama, the network’s current affairs program, broadcast the show on Monday. The opening segment included clips of Palestinians complaining about the light rail, and filmmaker Adam Wishart, a British Jew, claiming that the train is “dividing” Israel’s capital.

“Jerusalem, an ancient city with a sparkling new train. It was meant to help unite this place but the train is dividing it further,” he said. “Now it’s easier for Jews to travel into Palestinian suburbs … But the Palestinians would rather they stay away.”

Honest Reporting said Wishart failed to mention “that the light rail also makes it easier for Palestinian residents of Jerusalem to travel to parts of the city such as its hospitals, shopping malls, cafes, movie theaters or any other location in the city that Palestinians are not prevented from enjoying along with their Jewish neighbors.”

The filmmaker also neglected to note the benefits Arab residents of Jerusalem have living under Israeli sovereignty, Honest Reporting said. Most Arabs in Jerusalem can get the same national insurance and health coverage as all other Israelis, they have the option of obtaining Israeli citizenship, and enjoy the right to live and work in Israel. Arabs are also free to rent or buy property in neighborhoods largely populated by Jews.

“My journey has been heartbreaking,” concluded Wishart. “When my grandparents campaigned for the state of Israel, they hoped for a place of refuge, of tolerance, and equal rights for all. As I take the last train I just can’t believe this could be the place that they dreamed of all those years ago.”

Watch The Train That Divides Jerusalem in the video below:

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  • Joseph Feld

    A program genuinely ‘kosher for Tisha B’Av’. Even by BBC standards this Panorama was slanted to the point that I was lost for words, but managed just the same to find ‘haveyour say’ at the BBC site and I only began to have my say! Only Haaretz, the Guardian, The Independent and The NY Times could enjoy this edition of Panorama.

  • Robert Brynin

    I was shocked by this programme. The BBC clearly decided to find an anti-Zionist Jew to make it, and gave him permission to ignore every BBC rule about bias, fairness and impartiality. Those who hate Israel will have loved it, but it was complete nonsense, and what the BBC has achieved is to add more fuel to the fire.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    The light rail is a benefit for all the inhabitants to travel throughout the city in safety, in a pollution-free manner. Its holy counterpart, The Temple Mount, should be the paramount site for unity among all the people of Jerusalem. Until such unity among all of Jerusalem’s inhabitants is reached, the holiest place for Jews and the third holiest place for Muslims will continue to be a tinderbox reflecting the inequalities of dissenting peoples and cultures, instead of the equalities of a heterogeneous, culturally diverse, yet democratically united and protected community in a unified, indivisible city, the capital of the Jewish State of Israel.

  • Hillel

    Just what we need another bleeding heart ” Paskidne Yid”, to coin an old term my father used in Yiddish. A Jew who would line his pockets and further his career at the expense of all other Jews. Just like the capo in the concentration camps and the ghetto. He should be proud.