BBC WS ‘Newshour’ dodges the issue of UN bias against Israel

In addition to the BBC’s written and filmed reports concerning remarks made by the UN Secretary General on January 26th which were previously discussed here, audiences also heard an audio report (from 18:52 here) which was broadcast on BBC World Service radio’s ‘Newshour’.Newshour logo

During the conversation between presenter Tim Franks and the BBC’s Nick Bryant listeners heard an account of Ban Ki Moon’s comments with Bryant telling listeners that he “called for a freeze on Israel’s settlement activity”. As was also the case in the written and filmed reports, Bryant did not clarify that an informal construction freeze has been in place for “almost two years” according to Ha’aretz.

In response to Tim Franks’ question about the Israeli reaction to Ban Ki Moon’s remarks, Bryant replied:

“Well there’s been a very strong reaction from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israelis always believe that they are victimized at the UN; that they are singled out unfairly; that they are isolated…”

Neither he nor Franks provided listeners with any of the amply available relevant information which would allow them to understand the background to that portrayal – including admissions by Ban Ki Moon himself and his predecessor.

Later on Bryant told listeners:

“But it was the words of Ban Ki Moon that really created the headlines out of that meeting and I sense that, you know, clearly he is deeply troubled by these reports that the Israeli government has approved plans for over 150 new homes in what he calls illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank…”

As was the case in the written and filmed reports, Bryant made no effort to clarify to audiences that there had been no official confirmation of that supposed planning approval or that the “reports” he quotes come from the political NGO ‘Peace Now’. Bryant went on:

“…and that comes off the back of a declaration last week that an area of land – 370 acres in the West Bank, south of Jericho – has now been called state land. He described those as provocative acts.”

Bryant failed to provide listeners with the background to that story about a plot of land located in Area C and hence, according to the Oslo Accords, under full Israeli control.

“The technical move to change the status of the land, which has been farmed for decades by settlers, followed the conclusion of a Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria investigation into the land’s proper legal status under Israeli law. […]

It is also close to the settlements of Vered Yeriho, Almog and Beit Ha’arava and is under the auspices of the Megilot Regional Council. […]

The civil administration said that a decision had been taken by the political echelon for professionals to evaluate the status of the land. “The declaration of state land is in its final stages,” the civil administration said.

There will be a 40-day objection period before such a declaration takes place. Giving the property the status of state land will make it easier for the farmers to use it.”

In conclusion, whilst listeners to this item heard uncritical amplification of the UN Secretary General’s comments, they were not provided with the necessary background which would enable them to assess their validity or the information pertaining to the UN’s record on Israel which would enhance understanding of their context.   

BBC WS ‘Newshour’ promotion of Haneen Zoabi omits crucial information

The February 11th edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ – hosted by Julian Marshall – included an interview (from 40:33 here) with Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi.Newshour logo

Zoabi and two of her colleagues from the anti-Zionist Balad party (which is part of the Joint Arab List) were recently barred from Knesset activity, including debates, by the Knesset’s Ethics Committee. Zoabi and Bassel Ghattas were barred for four months and Jamal Zahalka for two months. During that time the three will continue to receive their salaries and will be able to participate in voting sessions.

The details of the terms of the suspension – together with any information concerning Balad’s political agenda – were absent from Marshall’s presentation of the item.

JM: “Haneen Zoabi is an Arab-Israeli MP who is currently barred from attending sessions of Israel’s parliament – or Knesset. Along with two other Arab-Israeli MPs she’s been suspended for meeting relatives of Palestinians who were killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis. The meeting was condemned by the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. So why did Haneen Zoabi feel the need to meet the relatives?”

In fact, the meeting was the subject of complaints to the Knesset Ethics Committee not only from the Israeli prime minister but also from parliamentarians across the political spectrum.

“The panel received more than 450 complaints about the lawmakers, including from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and from relatives of people killed by the terrorists whose families the Balad MKs met.”

At no point throughout this item are listeners informed that the meeting which the Balad MKs attended included glorification of the terrorists as ‘martyrs’ and a minute’s silence in their memory. They are also not told about the promotion of material glorifying terrorism on Balad’s Facebook account. Instead, listeners heard the following account from Zoabi.

HZ: “Me and my colleagues from the Joint List we have received an invitation from the families who lost their children in order to help them getting back the bodies of their children which the Israeli police have killed in order to burn [bury] them. It has been four months since the Israeli administration refuses to release the bodies of the young Palestinians from East Jerusalem.”

Marshall then interjects with some framing which Zoabi is quick to adopt.

JM: “So what you were doing in your view was simply humanitarian…”

HZ: “Of course.”

JM: “…but you can understand how many Israelis saw you as consorting with the relatives of people they regarded as terrorists – these Palestinians who had killed Israelis or tried to kill Israelis.”

HZ: “I don’t accept that because our demand was purely humanitarian. It was even according to the Jewish religion and to the Christian religion and to…according to the Muslim religion you should bury…it’s….it’s a very simple dignity for the death [dead]. All the bodies of the Palestinians who the Israelis killed were released because Israel negotiated this matter but in the case of East Jerusalem the families tried for four months to connect with the authorities and the Israeli authority refuses to do so. So their last option was to address us as parliamentarians.”

Marshall fails to provide listeners with a very important piece of background information which is essential to their understanding of why the Israeli authorities have not yet handed over the bodies of those ten terrorists: the families concerned refuse to comply with the demand to hold modest funerals so as to avoid incitement to more violence.  Without that crucial piece of information, audiences are obviously unable to put Zoabi’s claims into their correct context.

Despite having also failed to inform audiences of the glorification of terrorism at the meeting and whilst refraining from providing listeners with any insight into the records of the MKs concerned such as the fact that Zoabi was recently given a six-month suspended sentence and a fine for insulting civil servants and that she and Bassel Ghattas have both participated in anti-Israel flotillas in the past, Marshall goes on to provide Zoabi with the cue for the promotion of trite propaganda which goes completely unchallenged.

JM: “One of the members of the Ethics Committee of the Knesset which suspended you and your colleagues accused you of inspiring terrorism and encouraging the murder of more and more Israelis.”

HZ: “In Israel whenever you criticise occupation as a Palestinian member, or even as a Jewish activist, the Israeli consensus will call you disloyal to the state and will say that you are threatening Israeli lives. Actually for me this is not just for the interest of the Palestinians. This is also for the interests of the Jews because if we really seek a normal life for the Jews and for the Palestinians we should also seek for justice. We should struggle for freedom and in Israel this is not accepted. Occupation is accepted….”

JM: “OK.”

HZ: “…but struggle against is not accepted.”

Marshall’s failure to provide listeners with any information concerning Zoabi’s record of whitewashing terrorism also means that they are unable to put her answer to his next question into context.

JM: “But those Palestinians who were killed after attacking Israelis….ehm…do you regard them as terrorists?”

HZ: “We are against killing innocent people. We see that this behaviour is not an act of a struggle: it’s an act of desperation. We believe that we have a just cause and in a just cause you should also use a just tools.”

The item closes with more propaganda from Zoabi.

JM: “Do you and your parliamentary colleagues…do you expect to have to serve out your entire suspension from the Knesset or are you going to appeal?”

HZ: “With this suspension this means that the Israeli consensus is controlling my actions and my performance as a member and this means that in Israel there is no meaning to democracy except the tyranny of the majority.”

The take-away messaging for listeners around the world is that this is a story about Arab-Israeli parliamentarians in an undemocratic state who have been unfairly suspended for ‘humanitarian’ activities.  The reason that distorted take-away message can be promoted is because the BBC has framed the story in such a way as to leave out crucial elements which are necessary for its accurate and impartial presentation and has thus denied listeners the ability to see the full picture. 

DCMS report on BBC charter review flags up complaints system

The UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport published a report on the BBC charter review on February 11th. Among the findings and recommendations included in the summary of the report is the following:pic BBC

“A new complaints procedure would see all complaints handled initially by the BBC itself, with both industry and editorial issues subsequently escalated to Ofcom.”

The report itself expands on that subject in paragraph 34 of the section titled ‘Conclusions and recommendations”.

“One of the issues that most exercises the public is the BBC’s response to complaints—and, in relation to this, it has been a source of some confusion that certain appeals from the BBC have been referred on to the BBC Trust in its regulatory capacity. In the proposed new regime, all complaints should still be handled initially by the BBC. If unresolved, they should be escalated to Ofcom both for issues relating to competition and the wider industry, such as quotas and fair trading, and for content and breaches of editorial guidelines (such as impartiality, accuracy and taste).”

The full report can be found here.

Related Articles:

Is OFCOM up to the job of arbitration of complaints about BBC content?

Baroness Deech on the BBC complaints system and OFCOM

BBC claims correction to radio reports but inaccuracy remains

As was noted here last week, two audio reports broadcast on BBC World Service radio and BBC Radio 4 on February 3rd inaccurately described Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital city. BBC Watch pointed out that error to the journalist concerned.

Harcombe corrections

However, at the time of writing both those audio reports remain available online – here and here – without any correction having been made.

That of course means that not only were listeners to the reports at the original time of broadcast not provided with a correction to the inaccuracy but anyone else listening to either of those two reports for as long as they remain available online will likewise be misled.

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – January 2016

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during January 2016 shows that throughout the month a total of 169 incidents took place: 126 in Judea & Samaria, 39 in Jerusalem, one inside the ‘green line’ and 3 incidents in the Gaza Strip: two missile attacks and one attack with an IED.  

The agency recorded 136 attacks with petrol bombs, nine shooting attacks, 12 attacks using explosive devices and 9 stabbing attacks.

Five Israeli civilians were killed during January – two stabbing attacks and three in shooting attacks. 28 people (18 civilians and 10 members of the security forces) were wounded: 14 in shooting attacks, 8 in stabbing attacks and six in attacks with petrol bombs.

The missile attack from the Gaza strip on January 1st was not reported by the BBC in English but the later Israeli response was reported by BBC Arabic. The same pattern was seen on January 24th when an additional missile attack was ignored by the BBC’s English language services but the Israeli response was reported in Arabic. The IED attack was also not reported.

BBC News coverage of the fatal terror attack in Tel Aviv on January 1st in which three civilians were killed was remarkable for its promotion of irrelevant speculation. Two of the victims of that attack – Alon Bakal and Shimon Ruimi – were named in a follow-up report which appeared the next day. The third victim – Amin Shaaban – was only named a week later in a subsequent report.

The BBC News website’s reporting of the January 17th terror attack in Otniel in which Dafna Meir was murdered focused on politicised descriptions of the victim’s place of residence. An additional incident which took place on that day was mentioned in the same article.

The stabbing attack in Beit Horon on January 25th in which Shlomit Krigman was murdered and an additional woman wounded was only covered on the BBC News website the following day and the victim was not named.

In addition to those attacks, the BBC News website reported on six additional attacks throughout the month. Three incidents of attempted stabbings on January 7th and 9th were reported on the BBC News website. A stabbing attack in Tekoa on January 18th was reported, as was an attempted stabbing at Anatot on January 23rd.  A shooting attack near Ramallah on January 31st in which three soldiers were wounded only received coverage the following day.

Among the attacks which did not receive any coverage were a shooting attack in Hebron and a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on January 3rd, a stabbing attack in Gush Etzion on January 5th, a stabbing attack in Givat Zeev on January 27th and a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on January 30th.

In conclusion, the BBC News website reported ten – i.e.  5.9% – of the 169 terror attacks which took place during January 2016. 100% of the Israeli fatalities were reported although only four of the five victims were named. None of the terror attacks originating in the Gaza Strip were covered in English.

table Jan 16

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – December 2015 and Q4 summary

 

BBC World News’ GMT promotes spurious linkage and smear

In any country – including Britain – one can find extremist groups with a racist and/or discriminatory agenda. It is however highly doubtful that the BBC would broadcast a report in which a leader of the BNP or the EDL claimed to have the support of the whole of the British people without that statement being challenged or qualified.

On February 9th a filmed report by freelancer Camilla Schick appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the headline “Jerusalem Jewish group on anti-Arab patrol“. The report is about the fringe group ‘Lehava’ and it opens with statements from an unidentified interviewee. Later on Schick speaks to a woman who identifies herself as part of a counter group called ‘Speaking in the Square’ and asks her whether Lehava is “mainstream Israeli”.Lehava filmed

Woman: “Not mainstream Israeli…ahm….”

Schick: “But a significant minority.”

Woman: “A minority.”

That exchange does not of course clarify to BBC audiences that Lehava is a small fringe group with very limited following. Later on in the report Schick interviews the group’s leader and the misleading impressions already received by viewers are further compounded.

Schick: “Do you think that your views represent a large section of Israeli society?”

Gopstein: “We are the majority. Most of the nation are with us.”

Schick: “So you would argue that because it’s Jewish law that only Jews can marry Jews, that actually a majority of people in Israel believe in what you do?”

Gopstein: “We do what all the people here think.”

Schick presents no challenge to Gopstein’s delusional and patently inaccurate claims; evidently preferring to leave audiences with the false impression that his group’s extremist ideologies and agenda are supported by “a majority of people in Israel”. She makes no effort to inform audiences of the criticism of the group from the public and politicians alike (even though the BBC has reported on such condemnations in the past) or of the legal and police action taken against its activists.   

Although Lehava was established in 2009, the synopsis to the version of this report appearing on the BBC News website clearly attempts to create linkage between that group’s activities and the current wave of terror attacks against Israelis.

“As tensions between Israelis and Palestinians remain high amid spiralling violence, relations between the two communities have become more strained.

Each side views the other with suspicion and hostility, a mood often visible on the streets.

In Jerusalem, an ultra-nationalist Jewish group called Lehava has been organising patrols aimed at stopping Jewish Israelis from even talking to Arabs.

Lehava says it wants to protect Jewish identity – but Left-leaning Israelis monitoring it have condemned Lehava as racist and violent.”

This filmed report is actually just part of an item which appeared on the BBC World News programme GMT. Presenter Lucy Hockings’ very similar introduction to the film also promoted the notion of linkage between the activities of Lehava and the current wave of violence whilst promoting the notion of equivalence.

Hockings: “We take you now though to Israel where tensions between Israelis and Palestinians remain high and relations between the two communities are becoming even more strained. In Jerusalem an ultra-nationalist Jewish group called Lehava has been organizing patrols aimed at stopping Jewish Israelis from even talking to Arabs. Lehava says it wants to protect Jewish identity but Left-leaning Israelis monitoring it have condemned them as racist and violent. Camilla Schick has more.”

After the airing of the clip, Hockings interviewed a member of Lehava named Eli Rakov. During the conversation, viewers again saw an attempt to link Lehava to the current violence in the form of a sub-title reading “Israeli Palestinian tensions: relations between 2 communities becoming more strained”.

Hockings closed that interview with a question which again implies that the current wave of violence can be linked to the activities of Lehava.

“But can I ask you – if you have now got weddings taking place under police protection because your group is there chanting things like ‘death to Arabs’; there is this feeling even that you are creating a climate in which dialogue is offensive and racist – how do you think there can ever be peace in your country?”

In addition to the fact that the placement of Schick’s filmed report as a stand-alone item on the BBC News website clearly misleads BBC audiences by promoting the inaccurate impression that Lehava’s extremist agenda has support from the wider Israeli public, there is an additional aspect to both versions of this report which is worthy of note.

As abhorrent and offensive as Lehava’s agenda and activities are, they are by no means new and have little if any connection to the current wave of terrorism in Israel which – not for the first time – is misleadingly represented by the BBC in equivalent terms such as “tensions between Israelis and Palestinians” and “strained” relations “between two communities”.

Given that the BBC has for five months studiously avoided producing any serious reporting on the issue of the incitement and glorification of terrorism from official Palestinian sources which underpins the ongoing wave of violence and often includes racist themes, it is particularly remarkable that it now chooses to showcase and inflate a fringe Israeli group in order to promote the notion that it is that group’s offensive and racist dialogue which is the barrier to “peace in your country”.  

BBC mum on Zionist Union party’s shift on two state solution

BBC coverage of the March 2015 general election in Israel featured no small amount of messaging along the following lines:

“Voters know that the Zionist Union – the name chosen for the alliance between Yitzhak Herzog’s Labour Party and Tzipi Livni’s movement Hatnuah – would approach the prospect of talking to the Palestinians about a “land-for-peace” deal with more enthusiasm than Mr Netanyahu.” (source report discussed here)

“Everyone knows, of course, that the Israeli right, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, is at best sceptical about the prospect of a peace deal with the Palestinians, while the left under Yitzhak Herzog is much keener on the kind of constructive engagement that would keep the White House and the State Department happy.”

“A Herzog-led government might have been a more comfortable partner for the US State Department and for European governments interested in reviving talks.”

“Mr Netanyahu had vowed not to allow the creation of a Palestinian state, while Zionist Union expressed support for a two-state solution and promised to repair relations with Palestinians and the international community.” (source reports discussed here)

Given that portrayal of Yitzhak Herzog and his party as ‘the peace option’ less than a year ago, one might have thought that Herzog’s recent statements concerning the prospects of a two state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict would have been of interest to the BBC.Herzog  

“Issac Herzog, leader of the opposition and chairman of the center-left Zionist Union party, said Wednesday that the two-state solution is not a realistic option in the near future.

“I don’t see a possibility at the moment of implementing the two-state solution,” he told Army Radio. “I want to yearn for it, I want to move toward it, I want negotiations, I sign on to it and I am obligated to it, but I don’t see the possibility of doing it right now.” […]

In a move that many considered a sharp turn to the right for the leader of the Zionist Union — a party comprising the stalwart center-left Labor and Tzipi Livni’s dovish Hatnua — Herzog said he saw the need “to complete the security barrier around all of the settlement blocs.””

Herzog’s party has since endorsed his views but to date BBC audiences have yet to be informed of this significant change of approach from the Israeli centre-Left and why it came about.  

Related Articles:

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Elections 2015: was the BBC’s coverage impartial?

 

BBC Monitoring digs up the dirt with cleaners non-story

In the financial year 2013-14, BBC Monitoring ceased to enjoy funding from sources such as the UK government’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence and since then it has been funded by the licence fee payer. Members of the British public therefore clearly have an interest in knowing how that department uses their money.

Stating that “our unique capabilities are highly valued”, BBC Monitoring claims to “deliver the news you need, when you need it” to subscribers and to provide “deep local insight” and “hard to reach information that is often undetected”. The department also provides material for BBC programmes and content for the BBC News website.

One example of such content appeared in the website’s ‘News From Elsewhere’ section on February 8th under the headline “Anger as Israel company ‘prices staff by ethnicity’” and with an illustrative photograph which obviously has no connection to the article’s subject matter but indicates that BBC Monitoring’s “deep local insight” does not include the knowledge that Israelis do not have brass letter boxes.BBC monitoring cleaner story

The “hard to reach information” which forms the basis of that article was sourced from two English language Israeli media organisations and no particularly “unique capabilities” are required to access their sites online. Additional links to a Hebrew language news website and the Facebook account of the Israeli journalist/blogger Tal Schneider who first promoted the story are provided.

The article relates to a flyer ‘collected’ by an acquaintance of Schneider which advertises cleaning services. In spite of BBC Monitoring’s use of the word “company” in its headline and its opening paragraph, as Ha’aretz pointed out: “the leaflet indicated no company name but only gave the phone number for someone called Irena”.

BBC audiences are told that:

“A flyer for a cleaning company in Tel Aviv has sparked anger and soul-searching after pricing its staff on the basis of their ethnicity, it seems.

Israeli journalist and political blogger Tal Schneider posted a photograph of the leaflet to her Facebook account with the statement “Blatant racism permeates Israel, pricing workers by race”…”

As distasteful as it may be, one flyer from an unknown source obviously does not support the hyperbolic sweeping allegation that “blatant racism permeates Israel”. Nevertheless, BBC Monitoring used licence fee funding to compile and promote this non-story – which actually provides more “deep local insight” into the BBC practice of swooping on any opportunity to promote a story of this genre than anything else. 

BBC Radio 4’s ‘Sunday’ misleads on Western Wall and the Waqf

When the Israeli government approved plans for a new mixed gender prayer area at the Western Wall and the end of January the BBC produced two accurate reports on that story.

A written article which appeared on the BBC News website under the title “Liberal Jews to get prayer site at Jerusalem’s Western Wall” correctly informed readers that:

“The Western Wall is a remnant of the retaining wall of the mount on which the Holy Temples once stood, and is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism. Every year, millions of Jews from all over the world visit the wall to pray.”

In a filmed report for BBC television news which also appeared on the website under the headline “New prayer space approved at Jerusalem’s Western Wall“, Jonathan Josephs accurately described the Western Wall as “the holiest site at which they [Jews] can pray”.Sunday 7 2 R4

However, when the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Sunday’ covered the same story on February 7th (from 00:53 here), a decline in the standard of reporting was evident. Presenter Edward Stourton introduced the item by telling listeners that:

“The Israeli government’s decision to approve a new area by Jerusalem’s Western Wall where men and women can pray together will mean some big physical changes at Judaism’s holiest site.”

The Western Wall is of course not “Judaism’s holiest site” – Temple Mount holds that title – and it is difficult to understand why that inaccuracy is repeatedly found in BBC content, especially in a programme which purports to focus on “religious issues”.

Later on, while discussing the story with journalist Judy Maltz, Stourton materially misled listeners by inaccurately claiming that the Waqf has authority over the Western Wall.

“There is also of course opposition from outside – isn’t there – from the Palestinians and from the Muslim authorities responsible for the area.” [emphasis added]

As the Times of Israel explains:

“While the Jordanian-run Waqf governs the top of the Temple Mount […] Israel maintains control over access to the site as well as areas below the Mount, as part of a status quo agreement in place since 1967. Israel does not allow Jews to pray atop the mount.”

 Stourton’s statement is not merely inaccurate: its significance also lies in the fact that for some time now Palestinian officials have been promoting the politically motivated falsehood that the Western Wall is a Muslim site as a Ha’aretz report from 2010 shows.

“The United States on Tuesday condemned claims by a senior Palestinian official that the Western Wall of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount holds no significance for Jews.

Al-Mutawakil Taha, the Palestinian Authority’ deputy minister of information, had said Wednesday that the wall, regarded as Judaism’s holiest site, was part of an Islamic waqf, or religious endowment, and that only “Islamic tolerance” allowed Jews to pray there. […]

“We strongly condemn these comments and fully reject them as factually incorrect, insensitive and highly provocative,” a U.S. State Department spokesman said.

“We have repeatedly raised with the Palestinian Authority leadership the need to consistently combat all forms of de-legitimization of Israel including denying historic Jewish connections to the land.””

Last year the Palestinian Authority unsuccessfully attempted to have UNESCO declare the Western Wall part of al Aqsa Mosque. Whilst the BBC did not report that story at the time, it would appear that at least one of its journalists has chosen to adopt and promote the Waqf’s highly incendiary narrative regardless of the BBC’s commitment to accuracy and impartiality.

Related Articles:

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Anti-Israel BBC interviewee runs foul of UK bank’s ‘risk appetite’

Last month the Jewish Chronicle reported that a British bank had informed an anti-Israel campaigning group of its decision to terminate services.

Anti-Israel rally, London, UK, 17/10/2015

Anti-Israel rally, London, UK, 17/10/2015

“An anti-Israel group has accused the Co-operative Bank of “institutional bullying and racism” after it was told its bank account would be closed.

Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) was informed last month that its account with the Co-op would be closed after a 60-day notice period.”

As the JC also reported, the same bank previously terminated its business with other anti-Israel campaigning groups, including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

“In those cases, the Co-op said the decision was due to its own “risk appetite” and had followed due diligence checks.

FOA chair Ismail Patel, who was a leading supporter of blood libel cleric Sheikh Raed Salah, said: “There is no legitimate way for the Co-operative Bank to justify its actions.”

An article in the Independent quoted a spokesperson for the bank as saying that:

“…it carries out due diligence checks on all of its customers, especially those operating in high risk environments, to make sure the funds do not inadvertently fund “illegal or other proscribed activities”.

“Unfortunately, after quite extensive research, the charities involved did not meet our requirements or, in our view, allow us to fulfil our obligations,” the spokesperson said.” 

The JC noted that:

“Mr Patel regularly appears in the British media to attack Israel, and in 2009 [2010 – Ed.] was a passenger on the Mavi Marmara ship which was involved in the Gaza flotilla incident.”Ismail Patel

The BBC is one of the British media organisations to have hosted Ismail Patel on its national (for example here and here) and local platforms (for example here, here, here and here). The corporation has also promoted campaigns and demonstrations organised by Mr Patel’s group and has used contributions from another organisation with which Mr Patel is associated. Together with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al Aqsa has pressured the BBC on the topic of its coverage of Israel’s capital city.

It of course remains to be seen whether or not the BBC has a ‘risk appetite’ of its own concerning the appearances of representatives of Hamas-supporting groups such as Friends of Al Aqsa and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign on BBC platforms.  

Related Articles:

The Independent has no idea why Co-op Bank closed Friends of Al-Aqsa’s account  (UK Media Watch) 

More conspiracy theory amplification from BBC’s Yolande Knell – and why it matters