Dutch state TV sorry for saying Israel threatens to destroy Iran and was built on occupied land


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — The Netherlands’ main public broadcaster retracted claims it published that Israel threatens Iran with destruction and that land gained by the Jewish state in 1948 is “occupied.”

The NOS broadcaster made the two retractions within the space of two weeks amid protests by Dutch Jews and others who complained that the state-funded organization has an institutional anti-Israel bias. A senior NOS spokesperson denied this.

The correction involving Iran came Tuesday. An NOS article stated that “Iran and Israel are arch-enemies that regularly threaten one another with destruction.” Iranian officials have often spoken about Israel’s destruction, but Israeli leaders have made no similar threats against Iran, NOS acknowledged after protests by the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, pro-Israel group.

“Israel sees Iran, which regularly threatens to destroy Israel, as a grave danger,” the corrected text reads. Israel has threatened repeatedly “to intervene, also with bombing of Iranian targets,” it also says.

Dick Jansen, the chief editor of international news at NOS, said the original phrasing was “inaccurate.”

On June 10, NOS retracted a claim from another article that Palestinians participating in Hamas’ so-called March of Return on May 14 hoped to “return to areas that since the establishment of Israel in 1948 are occupied.” The lands that were under the control of the Jewish state following the 1949 armistice that ended its war of independence are internationally recognized as belonging to Israel.

The Dutch NIW Jewish weekly, whose editorial line on Israel is widely considered center-left, last week published an expose titled “Errors, Omissions and Lies.” It features several media, but NOS is singled out in the article for criticism over its reporting on Israel, which NIW suggested is institutionally biased against Israel. CIDI has made similar claims in recent weeks.

Jansen, the NOS journalist, rejected the criticism and insisted NOS “really has no anti-Israel agenda.” He added that the network is regularly accused of pursuing a pro-Israel agenda, which he said NOS also does not have.

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