France Inter radio has come under fire from the Israeli embassy in France following the broadcast of a column reporting information that Israel did not intend to vaccinate Palestinian prisoners against Covid-19.
This is a new controversy that would have gone well the public service radio France Inter.
The day after the broadcast of a column of a little over two minutes by journalist Anthony Bellanger entitled “Israel: the vaccine and the Palestinian prisoners”, France Inter drew the wrath of the Israeli embassy in France. .
In this column broadcast on December 28, Anthony Bellanger reports the information, based in particular on an article in the Israeli daily Haaretz,according to which Israeli Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana “instructed the entire Israeli prison system […]not to vaccinate high security prisoners ”against Covid-19.
The Israeli embassy in France denounces “a shameless lie”
He then specifies that “in Israel, the only so-called ‘high security’ prisoners are Palestinians.”
France Inter therefore points to the Hebrew state which, according to the radio, does not wish to vaccinate Palestinian prisoners, who are “in all more than 5,500 affected by this measure”, adds the journalist. A “measure that can only be described as odious,” denounced Anthony Bellanger, describing it later in his column as “abject”.
The reaction of the Israeli embassy in France was not long in coming and on December 29 it published an unequivocal message to the address of the public service radio. “The Embassy protests against the accusations peddled by France Inter claiming that Israel refuses to vaccinate Palestinian prisoners”, is it written in a tweet denouncing also “a shameless lie which […] only stirs the fire of hatred ”.
The Embassy 🇮🇱 protests against the accusations peddled by @France Inter claiming that would refuse to #vaccinate Palestinian prisoners. It is a blatant lie that dishonours public radio and only stirs the fire of hatred. Stop disinformation! pic.twitter.com/TRBJdpVhxo
– Israeli Embassy in France (@IsraelenFrance) December 29, 2020
In a letter from the Israeli ambassador to France, signed by Daniel Saada, charge d’affaires of Israel and addressed to the Director of France Inter Laurence Bloch, on December 29, the radio is notably accused of “peddling such a lie with such audacity ”. Pointing out “an untruth”, Daniel Saada “want to believe [que] correction will be made to this patent disinformation ”. Then evoking “the hatred of Israel […] constitutive of all the anti-Semitic attacks that have taken place in France in recent years “, the letter addressed to Laurence Bloch and visible in the tweet, finally affirms that” it is time for France Inter to stop being the relay “.
To calm the controversy, Anthony Bellanger has decided to react in response to a tweet from Julien Bahloul, a former Franco-Israeli journalist on the international Israeli television channel i24news, who denounces a “magnificent lie signed France Inter” and lashes out at its “ideological prism”.
“Apologize to your listeners at least and move on”
Anthony Bellanger is justified and explains on Twitter having “shot the whole of [sa] chronicle of the Israeli press ”. He then asks to “listen” to his column and not “to comment in a vacuum”.
I took my entire column from the Israeli press, including the praise of the vaccination campaign … you must listen to it and not comment in a vacuum … on the column page you will find all sources and links including Physicians for human rights
– Anthony Bellanger انطوني (@a_bellanger) December 30, 2020
On the same social network, Noémie Halioua, journalist reporter in the Middle East for i24news goes so far as to evoke “an incredible bad faith” of the columnist of France Inter. “At least apologize to your listeners and move on,” she told him.
The AP itself has demonstrated the factual errors of your column, today you double that with incredible bad faith. At least apologize to your listeners and move on. https://t.co/eXxJrVvtsm
– Noémie Halioua (@NaomiHalll) December 30, 2020
Details that the France Inter website is ranked among “the top 10 reliable sites with the most online engagement”, according to a list published in December 2020 by the American service NewsGuard, launched in France in 2019. The website of public service radio is even in fourth place on the podium, behind that of FranceBleu and ahead of that of RFI.