Critical omission in BBC News report on PA tax revenues

BBC Watch

On March 27th the BBC News website ran a report titled “Israel to resume tax transfers to Palestinian Authority“. One aspect of the BBC’s portrayal of that story is particularly revenues art

The article opens:

“Israel is to stop withholding tax revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA), a move that has crippled the Palestinian economy. […]

Israel’s military had reportedly warned that the policy was fuelling violence.”

Later on readers are told that:

“Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, the Israeli military and the Shin Bet domestic security service all recommended the move.

It did not give their reasons, but Israeli media reported earlier this week that military commanders had said the policy was fuelling violence in the occupied West Bank.”

However, actual reports in the Israeli media present a decidedly less simplistic picture than the one promoted by the BBC. Israel Hayom, for example, reported that:

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Palestinian terrorists attempted to kill thousands of Israeli civilians in 2014

UK Media Watch

The belief, held by the overwhelming majority of Jewish Britons, that the UK media’s coverage of Israel fuels antisemitism, is largely based on the manner in which headlines, text and imagery in reports on Palestinian casualties imputes Israeli guilt (and malevolence) by failing to provide balance and relevant context.

A March 27th Guardian article by Mairav Zonszein (a contributor for the far-left web magazine +972) represents a prime example of this consistent journalistic failure.


In addition to the misleading headline, the accompanying text provides almost no background on the circumstances surrounding the more than 2,000 Palestinian fatalities.

Zonszein writes the following:

Israel killed more Palestinian civilians in 2014 than in any other year since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967, a UN report has said.

Israel’s activities in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem resulted in the deaths of…

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Times of London editorial misleads on Israel’s so-called Arab population bomb

UK Media Watch

When the late Yasser Arafat used to predict that “the womb of the Arab woman” was the Palestinians’ “strongest weapon”, he meant that the Arabs of Israel and the Palestinian territories would outbreed Jews, and thus overwhelm the Jewish state by virtue of their superior numbers.  Of course, this was before Israel’s Gaza pullout and falling Palestinian birthrates changed the demographics in Israel’s favor quite drastically.

Nonetheless, the narrative regarding this so-called ‘demographic time bomb’ still informs much of the debate about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, at least amongst those who argue that a two-state arrangement must be achieved immediately to save Israel from a situation where a Jewish minority rules over an Arab majority.

This is the broader context within a claim in a March 19th Times of London post-election editorial, Myopia in Israel, on Binyamin Netanyahu’s putative reluctance to support the creation of a Palestinian state under current circumstances.

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Take a stand against ‘antisemitic’ conference at Southampton University

UK Media Watch

Cross posted from Academic Friends of Israel

Southampton University, one of 24 members of the British Russell Group of Institutions which have distinguished themselves as research-led universities of international quality  is to hold a conference on the 17-19 April 2015 questioning both the legal and moral right of the state of Israel to exist.

The conference “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy,Responsibility and Exceptionalism” is described by the organisers as “the first of its kind and constitutes a ground-breaking historical event … it is unique because it concerns the legitimacy in international law of the Jewish State of Israel.” 

The event will be addressed by over 80 academics from Universities around the world, including the USA, Britain, Australia and Israel. The organisers, who include Southampton law professor Oren Ben-Dor and George Bisharat, professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law;  have said that the conference will “engage…

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Revisiting BBC reporting of civilian deaths in Gaza on July 28th 2014

BBC Watch

On page 29 of its 2014 Antisemitic Incidents report the Community Security Trust provided the following information:

“Almost half the incidents recorded in those two months [July and August 2014 – Ed.] – 258, or 48 per cent of the 542 incidents recorded in July and August – made direct or indirect reference to the conflict in Israel and Gaza that began on 8 July 2014 and concluded on 26 August. There was also a daily correlation between the number of antisemitic incidents reported to CST during this period and specific events in the conflict in Israel and Gaza. […] On 28 July, a day when media reported an explosion at the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, CST recorded 22 antisemitic incidents in the UK.” [emphasis added]

With BBC content reaching the vast majority of the UK population and BBC One television news identified by the public as the UK’s

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Guardian promotes hater Max Blumenthal to the position of ‘Israeli affairs specialist’.

UK Media Watch

A guest post by Petra Marquardt-Bigman

max picA recent Guardianarticle celebrating reports that Tony Blair was about to “step back from his role as a peace envoy for the Middle East” referred to notorious anti-Israel activist Max Blumenthal as an “Israeli affairs specialist” and – as if this was not preposterous enough – went on to claim that Blumenthal shared with Blair’s predecessor and former World Bank president James Wolfensohn the belief “that progress in peace talks comes first, and only when they have delivered some sort of stability will private investment follow.” 

As anyone who has ever read anything by Max Blumenthal on Israel would know, he has absolutely no interest in any “progress in peace talks,” because he specializes in demonizing the Jewish state as too evil to be allowed to exist. While Blumenthal can’t quite make up his mind if it’s more effective to malign Israel as the…

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No BBC coverage of French findings regarding Arafat’s death

BBC Watch

On January 19ththe BBC devoted multi-platform coverage to an interview with Yasser Arafat’s widow to mark the tenth anniversary of his death.Hardtalk Suha Arafat

By means of that interview Suha Arafat was once again given a BBC platform from which to promote unproven theories regarding the cause of her husband’s death: a topic which the corporation has also covered extensively in the past.

A recent announcement by the French authorities has to date received no coverage on the BBC News website’s Middle East page.

“French experts have ruled out that the 2004 death of iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was the result of poisoning, a prosecutor told AFP Monday

The prosecutor of the western Paris suburb of Nanterre said the experts found there was no foul play in Arafat’s death, which sparked immediate and enduring conspiracy rumors. […]

The French experts “maintain that the polonium 210 and lead 210 found…

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