By the time this article is published, Israel will have inoculated more than 10% of its citizens with the COVID-19 vaccine. Israel is currently leading the world in vaccine distribution.
Still, the Jewish State’s success has been viewed by many as a failure. The best example of this is the media’s reporting, which has sought to present the situation falsely, suggesting that Israel is keeping Palestinians out of the picture entirely.
Outlets such as The Guardian, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, Al Jazeera and NPR have put out headlines that suggest Israel is intentionally keeping the COVID-19 vaccine from Palestinians as antisemites continue to use the virus to spread modern-day blood libels.
But headlines such as NPR’s that read, “As Israel leads in COVID-19 vaccines per capita, Palestinians still await shots,” and The Guardian’s headline “Palestinians excluded from Israeli Covid vaccine rollout as jabs go to settlers” are misleading the public on what’s actually happening between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
In her recent analysis of the media’s “canard,” The Jerusalem Post’s Lahav Harkov pointed to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which in March published an article on how the pandemic “elevates antisemitic, racist tropes.”
In the piece, the ADL focused on the hate that’s spread online, showcasing a number of antisemites spreading the lie that Jews and the Jewish State are intentionally spreading the virus. Harkov argues that unlike social media users, journalists are held to higher standards and are expected to bring unbiased reports to the public’s attention. In this case, they’re not, she argues.
“…in recent days, supposedly respectable news sites that are supposed to check facts and be accountable to the truth are spreading the same bile as Iranian Holocaust-denial cartoon contest runner-up Carlos Latuff in that example from the ADL article,” Harkov writes.
She explains that by reading the articles, one “would get the impression that Israel has engaged in some kind of conspiracy to, well, trap the Palestinians with the spiky coronavirus balls.”
Moreover, Harkov writes that you have “to get halfway through the Guardian story before you reach the following: ‘Despite the delay, the [Palestinian] Authority has not officially asked for help from Israel. Coordination between the two sides halted last year after the Palestinian president cut off security ties for several months.'”
The Palestinian leadership is reportedly readying to receive the vaccine from Russia and the World Health Organization’s vaccine aid program in February.
And it wasn’t until Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) said it has asked the Israeli government about potentially receiving the vaccine, the Post reports, citing a senior PA official.
Also important to understanding the situation, as Middle East analyst Jonathan Michanie points out in his recent article for National Interest, is the 1994 Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which “allowed for the transfer of self-government to the Palestinian Authority in limited spheres such as culture, social welfare, direct taxation, tourism, education, and health.”
“In other words, Israel is not responsible for Palestinian access to vaccinations in the West Bank,” Michanie writes.
The media’s reports on Israel’s vaccine rollout quickly drew criticism, with many saying the media is complicit in the antisemitism that’s surrounded the pandemic.
“When you blame Jews for COVID-19, whether that’s spreading it, failing to stop it, profiting off the vaccine or withholding it, you are engaging in antisemitic tropes that date back to the Black Death. Don’t be a medieval-style antisemite!,” said Hen Mazzig, The Tel Aviv Institute Senior Fellow, on Twitter Monday.
Popular antisemitism watchdog StopAntisemitism.org wrote on Twitter Monday, “While @guardian and @npr are busy spreading lies, Israel just vaccinated her 1,000,000th citizen, an Israel Arab(Abd al-Wahhab Jabarin, 66) from the town of Umm el-Fahm.”
An image in the tweet read, “TRUTH: ISRAEL’S 1 MILLIONTH VACCINE RECIPIENT ISRAELI ARAB”
“LIE: JEWS ARE WITHHOLDING VACCINES FROM MUSLIMS”
Many have also taken aim at the Palestinian leadership for prioritizing the payment of terrorists and their families over their people’s health and wellbeing.
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-CO, is the sponsor of the Taylor Force Act to stop U.S. funding the Palestinian leadership’s fund for martyrs. Taylor Force was a U.S. Army veteran who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist while visiting Israel on a graduate school trip with Vanderbilt University.
“This is yet another example of the mainstream media promoting false and inaccurate information,” Lamborn told this reporter Wednesday. ‘Israel has the authority to distribute vaccines in the way they choose, especially when the Palestinian Authority has not requested any help.”
In 2018, The Palestinian Authority’s budget allocated $350 million to its “pay for slay” program.
Rep. Lamborn added, “Furthermore, it is deeply concerning that the Palestinian Authority chooses to allocate 10% of their budget towards their pay to slay program which subsidizes the murder of innocent civilians during a global pandemic. Perhaps instead of promoting terror, the PA should use their money on COVID-19 relief efforts.”