After Forbes and Vice recently corrected or retracted reports which misidentified Israeli cities (Haifa and Jaffa, respectively) as located in “Palestine,” National Public Radio is the latest prominent media outlet to wipe municipalities off of Israel’s map. In an “All Things Considered” broadcast Saturday (June 27), Palestinian chef Sami Tamimi said (“Sami Tamimi Peppers Palestinian Cuisine Cookbook With Stories From the Region“):
We wanted to tell a lot of stories because – it’s important because, you know, these voices are not normally heard, and we wanted to kind of show modern-time Palestine what’s happening with, you know, whether it’s an older guy that open a restaurant in Nazareth, quite kind of political about everything and anything, or a young guy that have tourist homes, one in Acre and one in Haifa, not interested at all in, you know, even defining what he’s – he is.
Host Michel Martin immediately continued on to the next topic, failing to clarify for listeners that the cities Tamimi mischaracterized as Palestinian are in Israel, not within Palestinian-controlled territories, and not in the West Bank. ndeed, Nazareth, Haifa and Acre, all lie within Israel’s pre-1967 armistice line (the Green Line).
(As for the notion that Palestinian voices are “not normally heard,” NPR’s coverage itself belies this tired canard. This year alone, NPR listeners heard from nearly two dozen different Palestinians. In addition to politicians like President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, former diplomat Maen Areikat, PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian Authority official Sabri Saidam and Naser El-Atari, mayor of Atara, the voices of private Palestinians heard on NPR this year include television critic Yousef Shayeb, cancer patient Souad Abdel Hadi, columnist Dalal Iriqat, east Jerusalem resident Ranad al-Hallah (mother of Iyad, the autistic Palestinian killed by an Israeli policeman), protester Hala Marshood, Wavel refugee camp resident Harbeye Bakrawi, peace activist Nidal Foqahar, comedian/writer Amer Zahr, psychiatrist Samah Jabr, peace activist Bassam Aramin and activist Aras Abu Srour.)
A stated “Guiding Principle” at NPR is that content “must attain the highest quality and strengthen our credibility. We take pride in our craft. Our journalism is as accurate, fair and complete as possible.”
“All the food and hospitality that a recipe book celebrates must be served in the case of Palestine against a very sobering backdrop. We want this backdrop to be properly painted. Things cannot be changed until they are fully seen,” opined Martin in the broadcast.
But a “properly painted” backdrop would not misrepresent Israeli cities as located within “Palestine.” “Journalism is a daily process of painting an ever truer picture of the world,” read the NPR standards of journalism. That starts with broadcasting a correction about the region’s basic geography, key information that should be at least as important as the flavor of musakhan, the crispy chicken that chef Tamimi believes should be the Palestinian national dish.
Stay tuned for an update.