Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q1 2016 – part one

BBC Watch

Between January 1st and March 31st 2016, seventy-four reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page. Some of those reports were produced by other departments (e.g. BBC Technology, BBC Monitoring) or appeared on other pages of the website (e.g. ‘Europe’) but were also posted on the Middle East page.

27% of those articles related to the wave of terror attacks against Israelis which began in the autumn of 2015 and continued during the first quarter of 2016, albeit with lower intensity. As readers can see for themselves, not one of those headlines made use of the term ‘terror’ and that editorial policy is similarly apparent in the reports themselves. 

(The dates in brackets represent the period of time in which each report was available to visitors to the website’s Middle East page.)

 Tel Aviv shooting: Two dead, Israeli police…

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The Free Gaza Flotilla: Sailing away from Human Rights

UK Media Watch

This is a cross post by Uri Goldflam from CIC Scene

The “free Gaza” flotilla has nothing to do with human rights.

Why? The answer is so simple a 5 year old can understand it.

  • There is no problem to transfer humanitarian aid into Gaza. Hundred of trucks enter the strip daily. Last week UNRWA set up an entire summer camp facility for the children of Gaza. It was transported with the aid of Israel. The camp was then burned down by Hamas. (Hamas also burned restaurants in Gaza. Restaurants? In starving Gaza? Yes, indeed.)
  • If “Human Rights” were the real agenda of the boat people they could have easily transported all the goods through the Israeli border crossings.
  • If “Human Rights” were the real agenda, the leaders of the boat people would have agreed to transfer a message and a package to Gilad Shalit – An Israeli soldier…

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Guardian again whitewashes the extremism of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)

UK Media Watch

For the second time in little over a year, the Guardian has managed to portray the radical, regressive anti-Zionist group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in a sympathetic light.  The latest article, which appeared in the Guardian on Aug. 24th and is titled ‘GOP mega-donor funds group calling pro-Palestine US students ‘Jew haters, reports on a Sheldon Adelson funded group which targets BDS and accuses some individual pro-Palestinian students of supporting terrorism and promoting antisemitism.

Whilst the article correctly suggests that the group, Stop the Jew Hatred on Campus (SJHC), is quite extreme in some of its rhetoric, the Guardian journalist, Sam Levin, grossly misleads readers by suggesting that SJP in particular is being smeared with the ‘false’ charges of being pro-terror and engaging in Jew hatred.

Here are the relevant passages.

“They [SJHC] are trying to cast us as antisemitic, that we are somehow…

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A BBC story from August 2014 still in need of clarification

BBC Watch

As was noted here two years ago:

“Between August 16th [2014] and August 20th inclusive the BBC News website’s Middle East page featured an article titled “Dutchman returns Holocaust medal after family deaths in Gaza“. The same article also appeared on the website’s Europe page, as did a filmed version of the report (also shown on television news) by the BBC’s correspondent in The Hague, Anna Holligan, under the headline “Dutchman returns Holocaust medal to Israeli embassy over Gaza deaths“.Anna Holligan report

The written version states:

“A Dutchman honoured by Israel for hiding a Jewish child during World War Two has handed back his medal after six of his relatives were killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza.

Henk Zanoli, 91, wrote to the Israeli embassy in The Hague to say he could no longer hold the honour.

He said an Israeli F-16 had…

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BBC News reframes and politicises an animal welfare story

BBC Watch

A filmed report which appeared on the BBC News website’s homepage as well as on its ‘World’ and ‘Middle East’ pages on August 24th revisited the location of a previous BBC report from April 2012.

Back then, the report titled “Gaza zoo resorts to displaying stuffed animals” told audiences that:

“A zoo owner in Gaza has had to resort to displaying stuffed animals, because of a shortage of live ones.

Mohamed Owaida from the Khan Younis Zoo says it is proving too costly to feed his living animals, and he can not always get live specimens through the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip.”

Around the same time, the Times of Israel also produced a report about that zoo.

“Flies swarm around some of the 10 animals that have been embalmed so far. The makeshift cages housing the exhibits — fashioned from fencing salvaged from Jewish settlements…

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Guardian writer claims Google excluding Palestine to please customers.

UK Media Watch

Written byRichard Millett

mapsThe Guardian’s weapon of choice on Monday against the Jewish state was maps with Petter Hellström, a PhD candidate at the Department of History of Science and Ideas, Uppsala University, claiming, in the Science section, that Google “chose not to mark Palestine on their maps…to stay impartial in the eyes of customers and the surrounding society…their fellow westerners.”

Once again this article would have been more at home in the opinion section.

Hellström complains that Google’s Map of Israel shows Israeli population centre Ma’ale Adumin on the West Bank but “not even major (Palestinian) ones like Gaza City, Khan Yunis or Nablus”.

He then reproduces two maps of North America from 1614 and 1729 which he claims “made the colonists visible at the expense of the indigenous population” and which he calls “instruments of colonial legitimisation”, the obvious inference being that Google is doing the…

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BBC News website promotes anti-Israel activists’ fund raising

BBC Watch

On the afternoon of August 22nd an article published on the BBC News website’s regional ‘Glasgow & West’ page was also cross-posted on the Middle East page.

Currently titled “Celtic fans raise £85,000 ‘for Palestine’ after Uefa charge” (and with its date stamp having been changed), the article states:Celtic art

“Palestinian flags were waved around Celtic Park during the Champions League match on Wednesday night.

Uefa later charged the club over an “illicit banner” display.”

Readers are not informed that:

“UEFA said the flag display constituted an “illicit banner,” under a rule which bans “messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature.””

Nearly two-thirds of the BBC’s 223 word article is devoted to amplification (including a link) of a fund-raising campaign organised by the anti-Israel activists who brought about the UEFA disciplinary action. The ten paragraph article includes four paragraphs of quotes from…

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