StandWithUs Nederland finds the false allegations of NPO1 presenters (Natasja Gibbs and Nadia Moussaid) on the program Op1 that aired January 6, 2023 not only appalling, but also dangerous.
Comparing the horrific human rights violations currently taking place in Iran, ranging from systematic rape, torture and execution of protestors, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is abhorrent and vile. By doing so, your presenters exploited the injustice and victimization of innocent Iranians, and hijacked their trauma to fit the agenda of anti-Israel activism. In addition to unethically exploiting their pain, you also shamefully showed your lack of respect by trivializing the very real suffering of the Iranian people at the hands of their ruthless regime.
Through comparing the incomparable, your presenters distort the reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is impossible and unethical to compare the death of peaceful Iranian protesters against the Islamic regime to the death of predominantly Palestinian militants in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Uncritically and without expertise comparing the two on television harms the fair discussion about both situations, and misleads the public watching your show. Given your significant role in the transmission and reinterpretation of knowledge amongst much of the public who rely on the media to further understand content they may be unfamiliar with, it is that much more important for you to ensure that factual data is shared on your platform.
Furthermore, perpetuating the false accusations of apartheid against Israel demonizes the world's only Jewish state and misappropriates the term “apartheid”. Once again, your misleading claims minimize the oppression faced by true victims of apartheid who endured institutionalized racial segregation. By framing Israel as an inherently racist state, you distort the reality on the ground. As Gert-Jan Segers stated, “Israel is a multicultural and multi-religious society in which Arabs, Jews, Christians and Druze live together.” By denying Israeli diversity and coexistence, you actively deepen the divide amongst the Jewish and non-Jewish people and hinder efforts to make Israeli society more just for all.
The apartheid libel, moreover, completely mischaracterizes the status quo situation, which is based on the (for Israel) defensive 1967 War, the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian leadership’s continuous refusal of every peace proposal that would have ended the conflict, and the ongoing threat of terrorism from groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The fact that innocent Palestinians suffer more than Israelis from the status quo does not shield Palestinian leaders and terrorist groups from responsibility.
Wrongfully characterizing the complex situation in the West Bank as apartheid without providing any historical and political context fuels hatred towards Jews. Statistics and experiences clearly indicate that in times of virulent anti-Israel hatred, for example through apartheid libels, Jews all over the world are increasingly targeted by violent antisemitic attacks.
Lastly, this comparison did not only offend your Jewish viewers, but Dutch society as a whole. The Netherlands is a country that promotes equality and solidarity amongst its citizens, all of whom have a right to live a life free from discrimination and hateful rhetoric.
We therefore request that the NPO provide an official apology to this disgraceful and discreditable event and that you distance yourself from such harmful, false comparisons. The NPO should be a platform for all viewers to enjoy, and not for a select group to propagate their pernicious rhetoric.