The British Broadcasting Corporation could never be accused of showering Israel with sympathy. Indeed the BBC could never be credited with gracing Israel with the rudiments of objectivity. Nonetheless, the BBC has managed to flabbergast even those Israelis who hadn’t expected minimal fairness from it.
The BBC has devoted a web page to the Olympics participating nations. Most of the entries are straightforward enough, but not so the ones devoted to Israel and “Palestine,” which, though not a sovereign state, did win recognition as a member of the Olympic Council of Asia since 1986 and the International Olympic Committee since 1995.
On the latter’s country profile page, the BBC listed “East Jerusalem” as the capital of Palestine. No capital whatever was noted on the page devoted to Israel, not even “West Jerusalem.” As expected, that generated considerable commotion and even a written complaint from government spokesman Mark Regev.
Discomfited, the BBC tried a quick fix, defining Jerusalem as Israel’s “seat of government,” but not without failing to add that “most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv.”
The corresponding revamp on the Palestine page seeks to strike equivalence with the following: “Intended seat of government: East Jerusalem. Ramallah serves as administrative capital.”
Evincing no hint of regret, the BBC later waxed indignant and argued that the modifications on its website were “generated by online lobby activity.” The inference is that there was something untoward in said “online lobby activity” and that the BBC had its arm unjustly twisted.
Moreover, no opportunity appears to have been missed to render Israel’s image disagreeable. The photo chosen to represent Israel on its BBC profile shows an IDF soldier screaming at an Arab, with the caption reading: “Israelis and Palestinians have been at loggerheads for decades.”
The Syrian page, in contrast, looks idyllic. It pictures three pretty little girls in white Muslim garb with older black-clad women in the background, all smiling. The caption informs us innocuously that “the overwhelming majority of Syrians are Muslim.”
Concomitantly, the campaign to commemorate the 11 Israeli athletes slain by Arab terrorists at the Munich Olympics exactly 40 years ago received zero coverage on the BBC. That’s starkly different from the choices made by other international news providers, British ones notably among them.
The BBC’s palpable anti-Israel predispositions are nothing new. Malcolm Balen, a senior editorial adviser, compiled a report in 2004 on the BBC’s radio and television broadcasters’ attitudes toward the Israeli-Arab conflict. The 20,000-word Balen Report is said to contain scathing criticism of the BBC, which fought tooth and nail against demands that it release it under the Freedom of Information Act.
But despite Balen’s admonitions, the BBC remained unrepentant and failed to clean up its act. A most telling case in point was its coverage of the March 2011 Itamar massacre, where Palestinian terrorists invaded the home of the Fogel family and butchered the father, mother, their two young sons and three-month-old baby daughter.
The BBC’s version abounded in outright inaccuracies and mind-boggling omissions. Worst of all, it was given scant resonance altogether. It was unmentioned on BBC Television and was accorded only a fleeting brief reference on radio.
In his testimony to Parliament earlier this month, the BBC’s outgoing director-general, Mark Thompson, belatedly acknowledged that his organization “got it wrong.”
Yet as this latest controversy surrounding the BBC’s misrepresentations indicates, the BBC willfully keeps right on getting it wrong. It doesn’t exert much effort to get it right.
Last summer, for instance, it featured a story claiming that a Jerusalem court sentenced a dog to death by stoning. This was an utter hoax, which a preliminary check would have revealed. Yet apparently the goodwill didn’t exist to accord Israel fair treatment. The temptation to paint Israel in the most unflattering colors plainly couldn’t be resisted. The fabrication in this case was so blatant that the BBC eventually removed this item but not before it blackened Israel’s face.
Yet more than such shenanigans damage Israel, they undermine the BBC’s own integrity. For its own good, it ought to desist from so flagrantly exposing its bias.
Sara is bang on the mark with this article on the BBC – and I don’t see its position changing anytime in the near future. I believe it is inherently anti semitic and anti Israel in particular.
When it comes to the news department and editorial politics and impartiality, a more duplicitous, insidious and biased bunch of reprobate scallywags is hard to find. I would add that in my opinion the BBC’s integrity has not existed for many years. Whilst it continues to court and cow tows to Islamic bias, the chances of fair and balanced reporting are slim if not zero and Israel will continue to suffer accordingly.
The increasing presence and influence of partisan employees within the once revered and respected organisation ensures a reputation that is suffering, becoming more questionable, and it’s modus operandi unprofessional.
Whereas there was a time when people had a certain respect for the BBC – today people regard it as just another middle of the road media supplier. No wonder its status and popularity are declining overall. Perhaps it should stick to what it does best like plays and documentaries and leave the grown up stuff to grown ups.
As Sara implied the BBC’s present course hurts itself (badly) and others are damaged as well. If it cannot be relied upon to tell the truth with Middle Eastern issues, how can anyone trust the BBC to tell the truth in any other matter as well?
thank you Oliver … well said!
What a bunch of scumbags !!!
Noodles…I totally agree !!!!
Thanks for this bit of news. The bias against Israel in the news is so common, it is hard to get excited about it. You just get numb. Thanks for keeping an eye on this.
I spent the war years in Europe and people risked their lives, and sometimes paid with it, to listen to the BBC as a source of reliable information. It has now become a source of unreliable, biased, prejudiced and downright false information. However I blame the Jews. Has nobody in the upper regions of Israeli government the guts to tell the BBC’s reporter to pack his bags, hand in his credentials, and leave forthwith, or sooner, and that no new BBC representative will be admitted until and unless they have mended their ways. After all no BBC reporter has ever been officially admitted into Syria and they don’t seem to mind, they report from Lebanon, that’s the closest they get to where things actually happen without having to invent them, as they do while inside Israel. Go on, show some guts, give the BBC a kick in the toches. Just complaining won’t get you anywhere.
Xlnt replys……Unfortunately, Jewish leadership exhorts ‘wimpingly’ when it comes to the blatent lying about ‘anything’ Israel. Where are the Menachim Begins and Itzak Shamirs who were vocally ‘Standing Up’ for Jews and Israel’ whenever their adversaries were purposely ‘filling the print’.
Maybe, some day Israel will ‘cut it’s umbilical cord’ from those who blatently disrespect their country and its citizenry, and tell the so called ‘international community’ to ‘clean up their own countries prejudices’ before they rant on to others!
I had a cousin whose husband worked for the BBC radio as a news director. I came away with the impression that the beeb is the closest thing to a marxist convention that one can find outside of the democratic party in the USA.
Are the Jews of Britain cowards?
In reply to D Zimbalist.
In the main – yes! Not because the individuals are imbued with cowardice, but because the examples set by the UK Jewish leadership in the UK is woefully questionable. A few meetings, some discussions and the occasional organised protest march placates their sense of having done something for the cause. In my opinion when you have a Jewish leadership in the UK led by a Chief Rabbi more suited to the exalted corridors of Academia, without charisma or magnetism to inspire people in troubled times, rather than truly lead from the front by example, you stand little chance of altering the present status quo. It seems to me that the present consensus mana.gement style is more suited to running an amateur village cricket club. Both Sachs and the Board have to date lacked the fire and inspiration that is needed to ignite true passion and unity in the community.
Furthermore, it seems to me there are various closed segments within the UK Jewish community that lack the fortitude or desire to communicate with each other – thus weakening and ignoring the need for this small UK community to urgently unite in a common cause for the survival of Jews and Israel, whilst our enemies daily become stronger and more organised
I’m glad I asked, now I know. In other words they have their noses up their asses as I suspected.
I agree with Mr. Bright above. Israel needs to ban BBC reporters from entering the country; until they demonstrate that they’re willing to represent Israel’s viewpoint in something approaching a truthful manner, at least. Thank you for this article.
Interesting. Seems similar to news coverage in North Korea. No wonder people in the U.K. are so delusional.