Jewish Forward ignores facts with op-ed accusing Israel of ‘ethnic discrimination’ in vaccine distribution

Jewish news website The Forward under fire for publishing “the most dishonest account of Israel’s vaccine program.”

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The Jewish news website The Forward came under fierce criticism from its readers and a media watchdog agency for publishing a March 8 op-ed by a known pro-Palestinian activist pushing previously debunked claims that Israel was carrying out a policy of “ethnic discrimination” to “refuse” to give vaccines to Palestinians.

She also incorrectly repeated as fact the repeatedly disproved claim that Israel, and not the Palestinian Authority (PA), was responsible for vaccinating Palestinians against the coronavirus.

The Forward‘s op-ed by Sari Bashi might be the most dishonest account of Israel’s vaccine program in the mainstream press,” tweeted Gilead Ini, senior research analyst at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), a watchdog group that monitors how the media reports on Israel and the Middle East.

Bashi’s allegations were previously shown to be incorrect, and even the BBC, with a solid reputation for biased reporting toward Israel, issued an apology last month, saying one of its reports was wrong for insisting that it was Israel’s responsibility to provide the Palestinians with coronavirus vaccinations.

“Although there is a wider dispute over the issue, the (Oslo) Accords, which Israel signed with the Palestine Liberation Organization, give the Palestine Authority oversight of public health under the principles of self-determination,” the BBC acknowledged.

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CAMERA slammed The Forward for publishing the op-ed, questioning why the opinion editor failed to send it back to the author to correct the mistakes.

“So malevolent and false are these claims, that they make this op-ed in The Forward perhaps the most dishonest account of Israel’s vaccination program that has appeared in the mainstream, English-language press,” CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, said in a statement published on its website.

“The charge that Israel withholds life-saving resources from those who aren’t Jewish, moreover, not only echoes the ancient blood libel that accused Jews of the ritualistic killing of non-Jews, but also fuels the anti-Semitic slur that Jews care only about their own kind,” CAMERA stated.

Forward readers also wrote in to the website criticizing the op-ed with one saying it “ignored reality” and another pointing out that despite Bashi’s claim the PA was strapped for cash, the Palestinians spend tens of millions of dollars each year in their pay-for-slay program that could have been used on vaccines.

“To add insult to injury, the Palestinians have, at least twice, refused to accept help in fighting COVID,” wrote reader Toby Block, pointing out the Palestinians rejected a planeload of donated Covid-19 relief supplies sent via Israel and refused a coronavirus vaccine station on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, “fearing that the center gives Israel a foothold on the holy site.”