On World Refugee Day, media will ignore Jewish refugees – again

Today is World Refugee Day, but for much of the media it’s another opportunity to peddle stories about Palestinian refugees, while ignoring Jewish refugees from the MENA. HonestReporting found that Palestinian refugees were reported in the media nearly 6,500 times,  while there were only 865 mentions of Jewish refugees. (With thanks: Michelle)

A Jewish refugee in a tent camp or ma’abara

Supermodel Bella Hadid used her Instagram account and its close to 53 million followers on June 17 to share pictures of Palestinian refugees.

Hadid is but one example of a wider trend, that of the media misleading their followers in several ways when it comes to the Palestinian refugee story.

For one thing, the claim that there are millions of displaced Palestinians in the world today was refuted last year by the US State Department.

The reason behind the wildly inflated numbers that continue to be peddled by news organizations and social media influencers is that Palestinians, unlike any other group of refugees in the world, are under the auspices of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which has reimagined the very definition of what it means to be a refugee so as to encompass the descendants of displaced individuals.

UNRWA also classifies as “refugees” a significant number of people who live in the Palestinian Authority-administered West Bank, in addition to many living under Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip.

Even some people of Palestinian heritage who have citizenships of other countries fall under the organization’s wide definition.

Invisible Refugee Crisis: Expulsion of Jews From Arab Countries: During Israel’s War of Independence, approximately the same number of Jewish refugees arrived in the fledgling Jewish state as Palestinians who fled their homes. Yet one side of these historic events has seemingly been buried by the media.

Indeed, on the eve of World Refugee Day, the media’s silence regarding the mass expulsion of Jews from Arab lands is deafening. HonestReporting examined thousands of articles and news segments to gauge how news organizations have reported on the Jewish refugee story compared to the Palestinian refugee issue in 2021. While “Palestinian refugees” was cited nearly six and a half thousand times, there were only 865 “Jewish refugees” citations during the same period.

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This website is dedicated to preserving the memory of the near-extinct Jewish communities, of the Middle East and North Africa, documenting the stories of the Jewish refugees and their current struggle for recognition and restitution.

Point of No Return

Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Countries

One-stop blog on the Middle East's
forgotten Jewish refugees - updated daily.