How did BBC radio frame the US announcement on Jerusalem?

BBC Watch

Last week we looked at the way in which the story of the US president’s statement recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city was framed in reports on the BBC News website even before that announcement had been made.

BBC radio stations likewise devoted coverage to that story prior to the actual announcement. BBC World Service radio, for example, aired items about that story in four different programmes in the twenty-four hours before the statement was issued.

December 5th:

1) ‘Newshour’ presented by Tim Franks (from 00:34 here).

In that item listeners heard from the BBC’s Yolande Knell who did note the existence of the US’s ‘Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995’, its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the waivers signed by US presidents since then. In addition listeners heard negative reactions to the anticipated announcement from the PA’s Nabil Shaath and from Jordan’s

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Guardian trots out Karma Nabulsi to attack Israel’s right to exist

UK Media Watch

Yesterday, the Guardiandid what if often does: they published an op-ed designed to undermine Israel’s fundamental right to exist.  The op-ed was written by Karma Nabulsi, an Oxford academic and former PLO representative who, unsurprisingly, rejects a Jewish state within any borders.

The piece is putatively about the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but ultimately simply uses the news as a springboard to a broader point she’s made previously at the Guardian and elsewhere: that Israel is a ‘settler colonial entity’ that has ethnically cleansed ‘Palestine’ and has no political or moral legitimacy.

 Nabulsi opens her piece by mourning the upcoming 70th anniversary of “the catastrophic destruction of the Palestinian polity”.

However, what she refers to as the “destruction” of the “Palestinian polity” was the flight of Palestinian Arabs in an Arab war of annihilation against the nascent Jewish state. The “Palestinian polity” that…

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Comparing two BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ interviews – part two

BBC Watch

As we saw in part one of this post, the December 6th edition of the BBC Radio 4 flagship news and current affairs programme ‘Today’ included an interview with the mayor of Jerusalem concerning a statement – which at the time had yet to be made – by the US president announcing recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.

Later on in the same programme listeners heard another segment relating to the same topic which began (from 02: 10:16 here) with presenter John Humphrys telling audiences that:

[emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

Humphrys: “The world has grown used to Donald Trump making provocative comments since he became president of the United States – usually in his endless flow of late-night Tweets. What he’s planning to say today will not be in a spontaneous Tweet but in a scripted speech and it has the…

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UKMW prompts Times of London correction to claim E. Jerusalem Palestinians have ‘no political rights’.

UK Media Watch

An article in Times of London on US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (“Jerusalem was a sweetener squandered. So much for the ‘art of the deal'”, Dec. 10th) alleged that east Jerusalem Palestinians, who are permanent residents but not citizens, have “no political rights”.

This is not true.

As even pro-Palestinian NGOs such as B’tselem acknowledge, in addition to the civil and economic rights accorded to them, east Jerusalem Palestinians with permanent residency have the right to vote in local elections and run for city council.

Permanent residency confers fewer rights than citizenship. It entitles the holder to live and work in Israel and to receive social benefits under the National Insurance Law, as well as health insurance. But, permanent residents cannot participate in national elections…and cannot run for the office of mayor, although they are entitled to vote in local elections and to run for city…

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Comparing two BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ interviews – part one

BBC Watch

The December 6th edition of BBC Radio 4’s flagship news and current affairs programme ‘Today‘ included several items relating to what was at the time an anticipated announcement by the US president concerning Jerusalem and the transfer of his country’s embassy to that city.

In addition to reports from the BBC’s own Yolande Knell, Barbara Plett-Usher and Jon Sopel, listeners heard two interviews conducted by presenter John Humphrys in which very different styles of interviewing were evident.

The first interview (from 01:34:40 here) was with the mayor of Jerusalem and in his introduction Humphrys erased the religious significance of that city to Jews from the picture presented to listeners.

[emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

Humphrys: “There is no more sensitive issue in Middle East peace negotiations than the status of Jerusalem. The Israelis claim it as their capital and treat it…

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Jerusalem terror attack gets 21 words of BBC coverage

BBC Watch

On December 10th the IDF announced that it had destroyed a cross-border attack tunnel constructed by Hamas.

“The Israel Defense Forces this weekend destroyed an attack tunnel coming from the southern Gaza Strip that entered Israeli territory, the army announced on Sunday.

photo credit:IDF

The military said the kilometer-long tunnel was constructed by the Hamas terrorist group. It began in the Gazan city of Khan Younis and extended “hundreds of meters” inside Israeli territory. Israel demolished another cross-border tunnel, which was being dug by the Islamic Jihad terror group, six weeks ago.

IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus would not specify where exactly the newly destroyed was located in Israel, but said it ended in open farmland, approximately one kilometer (0.6 miles) from the nearest Israeli community. […]

He said the tunnel appeared to be a “very substantial” one for Hamas, “based on the level of detail.””

The BBC…

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The BBC, violence and promotion of linkage – part two

BBC Watch

In part one of this post we saw examples of the BBC’s framing of Palestinian violence as being caused by the US president’s recent announcement concerning Jerusalem – rather than by the choices made by those engaging in that violence – in two BBC radio programmes. Both those programmes however also promoted some additional and no less interesting linkage.

Listeners to the 8 a.m. news bulletin in the December 9th edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme also heard (from 01:05:16 here) the newsreader say that:

“President Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem has cast a long shadow over the annual Manama Dialogue security conference in Bahrain. The defence secretary Gavin Williamson is there as part of the British delegation. From Bahrain: our security correspondent Frank Gardner.”

Gardner: “Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, was due to deliver the keynote speech. Instead she stayed in the US…

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