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July 22, 2015 3:55 pm

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

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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.”

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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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