BBC WS ‘Newshour’ Trump trip report flunks on Iran

BBC Watch

As was noted here in an earlier post, the lead story in the May 22nd afternoon edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour‘ concerned the US president’s visit to Israel.

In addition to repeated promotion of the ‘apartheid’ calumny, in the first of two items relating to that story listeners had heard BBC Jerusalem correspondent Tom Bateman telling them that the Israeli government ‘says’ that Iran arms Hizballah.

Razia Iqbal: “You mentioned Iran and there was some criticism of Iran when the president was in Saudi Arabia and he has underlined that criticism again today in Israel hasn’t he?”

Tom Bateman: That’s right and, you know, I don’t think that’s going to be the last of it and of course it’s a message that resonates with Israel because Israel’s government is extremely concerned about Iran. They believe that…ah…because of its action, that they sayit’s…

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UKMW prompts Indy correction to sentence claiming 750,000 Palestinian prisoners since 1967

Earlier in the month, we complained to editors at The Independent about an article (“Restaurants in Gaza only serve salt water in solidarity with hunger strikers”) by Bethan McKernan which included the following claim, attempting to contextualise Palestinian support for the hunger striking prisoners:

“750,000 Palestinians have at one point or another in the last 50 years been imprisoned by the Israeli state, affecting almost every family.”

This statistic, stated as fact by McKernan, is at minimum highly disputed.  As blogger Elder of Ziyon has persuasivelydemonstrated, it’s almost impossible for these numbers (cited frequently despite the fact that it originated from a radical NGO with ties to a terror group) to add up. Elder showed that, for the number to be accurate, it would mean that there were over 23,000 new prisoners a year since 1967, or 500 a week.  However, even during the height of the intifada…

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BBC ME editor’s ‘impartiality’ on view in Jerusalem

BBC Watch

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word triumphalism as meaning “excessive exultation over one’s success or achievements (used especially in a political context)”.

That word was used by the BBC’s Middle East editor in a ‘question’ posed in a Tweet sent on May 24th showing what he termed “Religious Zionists” – rather than just Israelis – celebrating Jerusalem Day.

In contrast to Bowen’s inaccurate interpretation of the meaning of the holiday, Jerusalem Day is actually a celebration of the reunification of the city following the Jordanian occupation of parts of it between 1948 and 1967 and the resulting reopening of access to Judaism’s holy sites after nineteen years during which right of entry to those sites was denied to Jews.

Once again Jeremy Bowen provides a glimpse into the ‘impartial’ viewpoints that underpin his Middle East reporting and editing. 

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BBC WS Newshour promotes ‘apartheid’ smear in Trump visit coverage

BBC Watch

The lead story in the May 22nd afternoon edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour‘ was the visit of the US president to Israel which, at the time of broadcast, had commenced just a few hours earlier.

Presenter Razia Iqbal introduced the item (from 01:07 here) as follows: [all emphasis in italics in the original, all emphasis in bold added]

“We begin though with President Trump’s continuing visit in the Middle East. He’s now in Israel having flown direct from Saudi Arabia; in itself a first as there are no diplomatic relations between those two countries. And he arrives having cast himself as the world’s greatest deal-maker, nodding towards what would be the world’s biggest deal: peace between the Israeli and the Palestinians…Israelis and Palestinians. More than two decades of failed peace talks show how difficult a deal between the two sides has been…

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Yom Yerushalayim

BBC Watch

Today Israel celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem on the 28th of Iyyar 5727 (June 7th 1967) after nineteen years of Jordanian occupation.

Among the buildings in the Old City of Jerusalem that were destroyed during the Jordanian occupation was the Hurva Synagogue.

“On May 27, 1948, Jordanian soldiers forced entry into the side of the 84-year old Hurva synagogue by detonating a 200-liter barrel of explosives. They came back and blew up the entire synagogue two days later. […]

Destroyed as described in the 1948 War of Independence, various reconstruction plans were shelved until the new millennium. Finally, followed the ruling of leading Halachist rabbi Shalom Elyashiv (1910-2012), it was rebuilt to its former design and magnificence.

Indeed, the keen observer should be able to trace where the original masonry is lovingly incorporated into the synagogue’s eastern wall.”

The Synagogue was rededicated in 2010.

Happy Jerusalem…

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What did the Economist erase from its picture of ‘occupation’?

This is a guest post by Margie in Tel Aviv.

The Economist is currently promoting a seven-part “special report” titled “Six days of war, 50 years of occupation”. The online version of the unattributed sixth instalment of that series of reports goes under the odd title “The half-life on an occupied Palestine“, making one think of a far-flung planet or the moon.

The article carries the misleading strapline “There is no end in sight to the occupation”. Of course an end is in fact a possible: formulas for ending the situation have been offered to the Palestinians time and again by various bodies (with the full agreement of the Israeli government) but the Palestinian leadership refuses in practice to negotiate even though, for outside appearances, parts of it at least foster an impression of enthusiasm.

Three years ago Mahmoud Abbas was offered a plan by the then…

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