Political propaganda from the BBC’s Lyse Doucet in Beit Sahour

On November 24th two loosely sports-themed filmed reports – apparently also shown on BBC television news programmes – appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page.Knell Krav Maga

One – titled “Israeli form of self-defence ‘on rise’” – is by the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Yolande Knell and its synopsis reads as follows:

“Following a recent increase in knife attacks by Palestinians, there has been a dramatic rise in Israelis taking self-defence lessons.

Many study Krav Maga, an Israeli method developed for the military and incorporating different fighting techniques.

Our Middle East Correspondent, Yolande Knell, went along to a class.”

To her credit, Knell managed to keep politics out of her report – which is a lot more than can be said for her colleague Lyse Doucet who used her report – titled “The Palestinian runners pounding the pavements” – to promote blatant political messaging and inaccurate information.

The synopsis of that report reads:

“As tensions remain high between Israelis and Palestinians, lives of young people on both sides of the divide are being affected.

Three years ago two Danish aid workers and a Palestinian basketball player founded a running group.

What began as a Palestinian marathon has grown into a global running club which is as much about rights as it is about running.

Lyse Doucet met the Palestinian co-founder of the Right to Movement in the West Bank city of Beit Sahour.”

Doucet’s interviewee is George Zeidan who – like one of those “Danish aid workers” mentioned in the synopsis – used to be employed by the political NGO DanChurchAid.Doucet Beit Sahour

As was the case when her colleague Jon Donnison showcased ‘Right to Movement’ over two years ago, Doucet makes no attempt to provide BBC audiences with an impartial portrayal of the political agenda of the organization she highlights and promotes. Hence, viewers hear the following from George Zeidan – with no effort made by Doucet to inform them that Beit Sahour has been under the full control of the Palestinian Authority for two decades.

“Any runner outside Palestine have to just put on his running shoes and tie his shoes and go out to run. To me if I want to do this I take several other steps that I have to plan. I have to plan which street I’m going, when, and that’s because of the Israeli occupation.”

Doucet also adds her own inaccuracies to the cocktail:

“Pounding crowded streets in the city of Beit Sahour wouldn’t be any runner’s first choice. But these runners say they haven’t much choice; not when tensions are now running so high in an area surrounded by Israeli checkpoints and Jewish settlements.” [emphasis added]

Beit Sahour lies to the east of Bethlehem and to the north of a number of Palestinian villages located in PA controlled Area A or in Area B. It is not “surrounded” by either “Israeli checkpoints” or “Jewish settlements” at all.

And – despite the fact that in the last two months 21 people have been killed and 189 wounded in 74 stabbings, 10 shooting attacks and 12 car rammings by Palestinian terrorists – Doucet gives her interviewee a platform from which to tell BBC audiences who they should view as really being under “continuous threat”.

“We’re running here every Saturday for three years. But nowadays, with the current issues between Palestinians and Israelis and the continuous threat from the Israeli soldiers to be….for a Palestinian to be attacked….we just not comfortable and safe to be here.”

Doucet refrains from clarifying to viewers that no Palestinian has been “attacked” by Israeli soldiers for jogging and hence the “threat” is obviously a figment of her interviewee’s political agenda. Her subsequent claims regarding a “dirt track” which supposedly “lies on privately owned Palestinian land” but is “under Israeli military control” are of course impossible to substantiate given the absence of exact coordinates but she fails to clarify that the division of territory into Areas A, B and C came about under the terms of the Oslo Accords – signed by the recognized representatives of the Palestinian people.

Doucet’s supposed nod to ‘impartiality’ in this report comes in the form of the following statement:

“You say that you’re worried about the settlers but now the Israelis are worried about the Palestinians because of the stabbings. They say they’re the ones who are threatened.”

That statement is in fact merely a cue for her interviewee to introduce his own political statement:

“I’m more concerned that the Palestinians are under occupation.”

Doucet’s conclusion to the report is as follows:

“They take to the streets to say they’re telling a different story. But the old story here of conflict and confrontation is far louder and never seems to end.”

Those closing words reinforce the underlying theme seen in this report and much of the BBC’s other coverage over the last two months: the injection of the false notion of equivalence into the story of the current wave of terrorism against Israelis.

Here we have two filmed reports supposedly telling different sides of the same story. But whilst Yolande Knell’s report tells of Israelis trying to augment their personal security during a wave of terror attacks by taking self-defence classes, Doucet’s report is nothing more than the provision of a platform for opportunistic political propaganda which does nothing to contribute to the BBC’s public purpose remit of building “understanding of international issues”.  

 Related Articles:

BBC’s Donnison promotes Bethlehem Marathon as non-political event

BBC deems parts of Israeli right of reply statement “irrelevant”

Bethlehem Marathon: the bit the BBC did not report




Another BBC News correction misses its point

One of the suggestions made in BBC Watch’s submission to the DCMS BBC Charter Review consultation is for the BBC News website to set up a dedicated corrections page where visitors would be able to find details of corrections or amendments made to articles they have already read.

“The BBC News website currently has no dedicated corrections page of the kind seen in reputable newspapers. Hence, when corrections are made to online articles users remain unaware of the fact that information they previously read was inaccurate. Relatedly, the use of footnotes informing the public that a correction has been made to an article is erratic and amendments are sometimes made without notification. A dedicated corrections page would make corrections more visible and accessible, increase the likelihood that people will receive the corrected information and contribute to the BBC’s transparency as well as reducing the likelihood of waste of public funding on unnecessary complaints.”

We recently came across yet another example of just such a case in an article which originally appeared on September 2nd 2015 under the headline “Arafat poisoning inquiry dropped by French prosecutors“.

At the time we noted on these pages that the article did not inform readers that the Russian investigation had ruled out poisoning.

Over two weeks after its initial publication, the article was amended and a footnote was added.  

footnote Arafat art

It is of course highly unlikely that those who read the original article would have returned to it more than two weeks later and seen that amendment and footnote. One must therefore ask once more why an organization supposedly committed to rigorous standards of accuracy does not implement the simple measure of posting such corrections on a dedicated webpage in order to ensure that audiences receive the information. After all; that is surely the point of making corrections. 

BBC News passes up the chance to set the record straight on Gaza shortages

On countless past occasions BBC audiences have been mistakenly led to believe that chronic shortages of medical supplies and electricity in the Gaza Strip are the result of Israeli restrictions on the entry of goods into the territory.

In fact, both those chronic shortages are rooted in disputes between the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. Regarding medical supplies:

“The long-standing shortage of medicines and medical supplies in Gaza emanates primarily from a dysfunctional relationship between the Palestinian Ministries of Health in Gaza and Ramallah.

The conflicts between the two offices have resulted not only in a shortage of medicines and supplies, but also in restricted access to medical treatment for patients outside of Gaza.

The healthcare system in Gaza is marked by a shortage of 400-500 varieties of medical equipment and an average shortage of 33% of desired types of drugs at any given time.

The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that medical suppliers are often reluctant to sell supplies to Gaza due to issues of non-payment.”

Regarding the electricity supply:

“The Palestinian Authority purchases a liter of fuel for the power plant for approximately 4 shekels from Israeli gas companies and has tried to sell it to Hamas for almost double, including excise tax.

Hamas has rejected those prices outright and stopped purchasing fuel for its power plant. The dramatic consequence was that the power plant has shut down and the electricity supply has been completely disrupted. The PA refuses to waive the excise tax, a critical part of its own budget.” 

The topics of medical supplies and electricity both appeared again in a recent BBC filmed report made for television programmes which was also promoted on the BBC News website on November 20th under the title “Life as a cancer nurse in Gaza’s main hospital“. The synopsis to that report reads as follows:Gaza nurse report

“At the age of 27, Azza Jadalla has already lived through six wars – three in the past seven years alone. She is a cancer nurse in Gaza’s main hospital, Al-Shifa. Every day she deals with fall-out of the on-going conflict between Israel and Gaza’s ruling party, Hamas.

Living in a place with a failing economy means she faces daily electricity and supply shortages at work.

“Sometime we go for two or three months without pay,” she says. “But this doesn’t make me want to do my job any less, because it’s not the patient’s fault.”

Despite her dedication and due to shortages in Gaza, there is often only so much Ms Jadalla can do for her patients. For one patient Abdul (name has been changed), who is suffering from leukaemia, the only option for further treatment is outside Gaza.”

In the report itself, viewers are told that:

“Here in Gaza all kinds of supplies – cannulas, syringes – are very rare.”


“And the electricity keeps going on and off. We have to restart the monitors.”

With BBC audiences having been inaccurately informed many times in the past that such shortages are the result of the restrictions on the entry of dual-use goods which could also be appropriated for the purposes of terrorism and with the synopsis to this report clearly suggesting a ‘connection’ between “fall-out of the on-going conflict between Israel and Gaza’s ruling party, Hamas” and “shortages at work”, it would not be surprising to find that viewers would once again go away with a misleading impression about the root causes of those shortages.

This report presented the BBC with an ideal opportunity to finally tell audiences the truth about the reasons behind the chronic shortages of medical supplies and electricity in the Gaza Strip. Notably, the corporation chose to pass up on that opportunity. 

BBC News promotes equivalence between terrorists and victims

November 22nd marked seventy days since the current wave of terror attacks against Israelis began on the eve of Rosh HaShana with the murder of Alexander Levlovich. On that day a further three terror attacks took place: an attempted stabbing attack at a bus stop at the Samaria Junction, an attempted vehicular attack and stabbing near Kfar Adumim and a stabbing attack in Gush Etzion in which 21 year-old Hadar Buchris was murdered. In all three attacks the perpetrators were killed in the act.

Hadar Buchris’ murder brings the total number of fatalities from terror attacks carried out by Palestinians in the last seventy days to twenty-one, with eighteen of the victims being Israeli citizens, one a Palestinian civilian, one an American national and one an Eritrean national.

The BBC News website’s Middle East page promoted a report on the events of November 22nd with a headline which fails to make the obviously necessary distinction between terrorists and victims: “Four dead in West Bank violence”.

ME pge after Sun attacks

The article to which that headline leads is currently titled “West Bank: Israeli woman killed as West Bank deaths spiral” and amendments to the headline and the body of the report can be viewed here. The first version of the report included the following information:

“Seventeen Israelis and 83 Palestinians – many of them attackers – have been killed in the violence.

Israeli police say at least 50 of the Palestinians killed were attackers. More than 30 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli security forces.”

Notably, by the time the report reached its third and final version, part of that information had been removed and that passage now reads:

“Seventeen Israelis and 83 Palestinians – many of them attackers – have been killed in the violence.”

Once again the BBC provided readers with ‘context’ which fails to clarify in its own words that the conspiracy theories surrounding Temple Mount which underpin the current wave of terror are entirely baseless.

“The surge in violence began in September, when tensions at a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem revered by Jews and Muslims boiled over, amid rumours that Israel planned to relax long-standing rules to strengthen Jewish rights at the complex.

Israel has repeatedly denied such claims.”

And – as has been the case in BBC reporting throughout the last two months – no effort was made to inform audiences of the official and unofficial incitement and glorification of terrorism which has kept this wave of terror going for the past seventy days.

One of the BBC’s public purpose remits obliges it to “[b]uild a global understanding of international issues”. The repeated promotion of the notion of equivalence between terrorists and their victims, together with the serial avoidance of telling audiences the facts about the Palestinian Authority’s promotion of conspiracy theories, incitement and glorification of terrorism, mean that for the last 70 days, the BBC has failed to meet that legally binding obligation.

Compare and contrast: BBC News personalisation of victims of terror

Whilst stuck in early morning traffic on the way to Manchester airport last Monday I found myself listening to BBC Radio 5 live’s morning broadcast. The programme understandably focused mostly on the weekend’s terror attacks in Paris and one feature particularly notable to Israeli ears was the effort made to personalise and humanise the victims. 

Listeners were given a range of information which typically included names, ages, occupations, family statuses, places of birth and education and in some cases also heard of the reactions of loved ones. Such information of course enables the listener to get beyond mere casualty figures and goes some way towards helping audiences appreciate the individual personal tragedies of victims and their families.

A week on from the attacks, that trend continues to be a feature of BBC content, with an article titled “Paris attacks: Who were the victims?” appearing on the homepage and World page of the BBC News website on November 20th and the BBC News Twitter account promoting a Facebook post devoted to tributes to the victims.

BBC News Twitter paris Victims 1

BBC News Twitter Paris victims 2

BBC News FB Paris victims

By way of contrast, the BBC’s descriptions of five victims of terror murdered in two separate attacks on November 19th in Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion are notable for the paucity of personal details. TA & Gush attacks 19 11

“Five people have been killed in two attacks in Israel and the occupied West Bank, officials say.

In the first attack, two Israelis were stabbed to death by a Palestinian man at the entrance of a shop that serves as a synagogue in the city of Tel Aviv.

Later, a third Israeli, a Jewish American and a Palestinian were killed in an attack near a Jewish settlement.” […]

“One of the victims, a man in his 20s, was declared dead at the scene by the Magen David Adom ambulance service. The second was rushed to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.” […]

“Hours later, an attacker in a car opened fire at a busy junction and then crashed into a group of pedestrians, killing three people and injuring several others, the Israeli military said.

Two of the dead were identified as Jewish – an 18-year-old American tourist and a 50-year-old Israeli. The third was a Palestinian.”

Rabbi Aharon Yesayev, 32, from Tel Aviv, Reuven Aviram, 51, from Ramle, Ezra Schwartz, 18, of Sharon, Massachusetts, Yaakov Don, 49, from Alon Shvut, and Shadi Arafa, 40, from Hebron were not even named by the BBC in its report on the two incidents – even though that information was in the public domain by the time its final version was updated. Their photographs and personal stories are not featured in any dedicated BBC article or Facebook post.

Predictably, the BBC article on the attacks in Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion does not mention the word ‘terror’ whilst the article about the victims murdered in Paris opens with the words “Tributes have been paid to the 130 people who lost their lives in the Paris terror attacks”. Evidently the BBC’s two-tier system of reporting terror attacks is not only confined to the use of language.

BBC removes the word ‘terror’ from follow-up report about Kuwait attacks

Whilst discussing the BBC’s employment of geographically selective double standards in its reporting on terrorism we recently noted here that the corporation’s coverage of the terror attack on a mosque in Kuwait in June 2015 had rightly included the use of the word terror.

On November 20th a short follow-up report on that story was published on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the title “Kuwait crackdown on ‘IS-supporting extremist cell’“.Kuwait report

The version of that article appearing on the BBC News website at the time of writing opens:

“Kuwait has arrested members of an alleged cell accused of supplying funds and weapons to the so-called Islamic State (IS), reports say.”

Later on, readers are told that:

“In June, 27 people died after an attack on one of Kuwait’s oldest Shia mosques.

It was the deadliest bombing in decades in the predominantly Sunni Muslim country. An affiliate group of IS calling itself Najd Province said it carried out the attack.”

However, those paragraphs underwent amendment about three hours after the article’s initial publication. The first paragraph originally read:

“Kuwait has arrested members of an alleged terror cell accused of supplying funds and weapons to the so-called Islamic State (IS), say reports.” [emphasis added]

The other paragraphs highlighted above originally read:

“In June, 27 people died after an attack on one of Kuwait’s oldest Shia mosques.

It was the worst terror attack in decades in the predominantly Sunni Muslim country. An affiliate group of IS calling itself Najd Province claimed responsibility the attack.” [emphasis added]

Oddly, the phrase “terror attack” remained in place in the caption to the photograph illustrating the report.

Readers will no doubt recall that it is not long since the BBC complaints department ‘explained’ the corporation’s use of the word terror in reporting on the June attack in Kuwait by telling BBC Watch that “We don’t believe the Har Nof murders [in Jerusalem, November 2014] are comparable to the recent attacks in Tunisia and Kuwait” and “We don’t believe it is unreasonable to say that the Har Nof attacks were very different to the events in Tunisia and Kuwait…”.

As the BBC ridiculously continues to tie itself in ever more embarrassing knots over the issue of the language used when reporting acts of terror, Kuwaitis may be interested to know that they too are apparently now subject to the BBC’s two-tier system of reporting which censors the use of the word terror and its derivatives in certain geographical locations.

Weekend long read

As has frequently been noted here in recent weeks, BBC News coverage of the current wave of terrorism in Israel has been remarkable for its failure to provide audiences with any substantialAbbas incitement information concerning the incitement coming from Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Fatah sources which underpins the acts of violence. MEMRI has produced a useful compilation of some examples of such incitement which can be viewed here.

Another organisation acting as a useful resource on that issue is Palestinian Media Watch and one of its latest translations is of an interview on official PA TV with Fatah Central Committee member Tawfik Tirawi who for years has been quoted and promoted in BBC content.

At the Telegraph media correspondent Patrick Foster brings news of the results of the BBC Trust’s recent public consultation ahead of charter renewal.Weekend Read

“The BBC should cut “biased” news coverage and low-brow game shows from its schedules and provide more high quality drama, according a survey of nearly 40,000 viewers.

The corporation’s governing body gave viewers the chance to say what sort of programming the BBC should increase, or decrease, as part of a consultation exploring the future of broadcaster. Licence fee-payers told the BBC to produce “more unbiased, impartial news”, and fewer game shows and cookery programmes.

In its analysis of the results, the BBC Trust said there was “desire for less bias and political opinion in journalism and news reports. For these respondents, it is vital that the BBC remain completely impartial and independent, and resist any influence from government or businesses or corporations”.”

At the Times of Israel, Sharon Klaff notes that:

“The Government appointed Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) has been taking evidence, both oral and written to determine the Future of the BBC, ahead of its current Royal Charter ending in December 2016. The BBC charter is renewable every decade, which represents a once in 10 year opportunity to have any input into BBC functionality. A brief glance at some of the evidence the DCMS has published, shows a general dissatisfaction with the in-house BBC complaints procedure. Randomly chosen from the DCMS website, Ian McNulty, writes:

“My own conclusions are that the BBC will go to any lengths necessary to avoid admitting anything but the most self-evident mistakes, including breaking its own Editorial Guidelines and flying in the face of reason. Moreover, this culture of misrepresentation, denial and prejudice against non-consensus views is systemic and institutionalized at every level of the organization, from the bottom to the top.””

Read the rest of that article here



Radio 4 gives insight into BBC avoidance of the use of the term ‘terror’ in Israel

h/t DL

As regular readers know, one topic frequently discussed on these pages is the double standard employed by the BBC when reporting terrorism in Israel and terrorism in other locations.The Media Show

The November 18th edition of the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘The Media Show’ was devoted in part to the subject of media coverage of last weekend’s terror attacks in Paris and one of the topics discussed by host Steve Hewlett and his guests was described as follows in the introduction:

“… should journalists and presenters use the words terrorist and terrorism, as many did without attribution?”

From around 16:30 here, that topic was discussed quite extensively, with contributions from former OFCOM official Stewart Purvis and the BBC’s Controller of Daily News Programmes Gavin Allen providing some interesting insight into the background to the corporation’s lack of consistency in the use of language when reporting terror attacks – despite its apparently recently altered guidelines on the topic stressing the importance of consistency in reporting.

Steve Hewlett: “…the BBC says ‘since there is no agreed consensus on what constitutes a terrorist or a terrorist act, the use of the word will frequently involve value judgements. As such we should not change the word terrorist when quoting someone else but we should avoid using it ourselves. We try to avoid using the term terrorist without attribution’. So, Stewart, where do you think people should be on this question?”

Stewart Purvis: “Well I think the origin of this problem arises from the difference between broadcasting just for the UK and broadcasting out [side] the UK. I think there are very few people who would say that for instance the bombs that the IRA planted in London – or what happened in Paris, to be blunt – was anything other than terrorism. It was a tactic to shock and terrorise people in a city. But what happens when you talk about what might happen in the middle of Israel or in the Palestinian territories? If a bomb goes off there or they’ve stabbed someone to death, what is the language to describe that? And I think that’s partly why the BBC has taken against this word terrorism because it actually – on its international services – does not want to have to make a judgement in these particular countries. The result is that it doesn’t use it so much in the UK which actually annoys some people who say ‘well how else would you describe what’s going on?’.”

Steve Hewlett: “Gavin; I heard some BBC correspondents use the word unattributed [in reporting on the Paris attacks] …ah….and your guidelines sort of say you shouldn’t.”

Gavin Allen: “They don’t really say that. […] But it doesn’t say don’t use it. It’s quite an important distinction. I mean Stewart’s absolutely right; there are complications about using it when you’re broadcasting on the World Service etc. But actually it’s not that we don’t use the word. I think invariably it’s about how much does it clarify and how much does it cloud.”

This discussion yet again highlights the fact that the BBC’s approach to the use of the word terror and its derivatives when reporting on events in Israel is not rooted solely in the objective of informing audiences of the nature of the events which have taken place. After all, shooting and stabbing passengers on a city bus in Jerusalem is obviously intended to “shock and terrorise people in a city” in exactly the same way as planting a bomb in London or gunning down concert-goers in Paris.

It has been clear for a long time that the BBC employs differing approaches to such obviously similar acts of terrorism because its handling of the topic does not distinguish between method and aims, means and ends. The result is that even though the acts may be identical or similar, the BBC’s use – or not – of the word terrorism hinges on its political judgement of the aims of the perpetrators and the description of the means is adjusted accordingly.

In this discussion, however, we also gain insight into an additional factor which apparently prevents the BBC from reporting terrorism against Israelis consistently and accurately: second-guessing of how the description of, say, the brutal murders of early morning worshippers at a Jerusalem synagogue as an act of terror would be received by specific audience groups – and the adjustment of language accordingly. Interestingly, the incident at a mosque in Kuwait in June was described by the BBC as a terror attack on its international services and on social media. 

That bizarre approach clearly not only patronizes and stereotypes BBC audiences worldwide (does the BBC really think that its Middle East audiences for example are too delicate to hear the politically motivated murders of Israelis described as terror?) but obviously also seriously undermines the corporation’s claim that it strives to achieve consistency “across all our services” when reporting terrorism.

Related Articles:

BBC News website does ‘one man’s terrorist’


Smuggling of rocket fuel to Gaza thwarted: BBC yawns and ignores

In the summer of 2014, as conflict between Israel and terrorist groups based in the Gaza Strip raged, the BBC self-conscripted to promotion and amplification of the campaign run by Hamas and assorted sympathetic NGOs against Israel’s policies concerning its border with the Gaza Strip. As a result BBC audiences saw the adoption of Hamas terminology, repeated omission of relevant context concerning the fact that border restrictions came about due to Hamas’ terror activities (rather than the other way round) and were provided with inaccurate and misleading information concerning the types of goods subject to limitations on import.tankers Kerem Shalom

In the fifteen months since that conflict came to an end the BBC has repeatedly promoted the inaccurate notion that the slow pace of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip is attributable to border restrictions imposed by Israel. The topic of the potential appropriation of construction materials for purposes of terrorism has been presented in the qualified terms of “Israel says” but no objective, serious reporting on that topic has been evident.

Moreover, the BBC has refrained from reporting cases in which the appropriation of construction materials for the purpose of rebuilding Hamas’ terror infrastructure have come to light and thwarted attempts to smuggle other problematic materials into the Gaza Strip (such as sulfuric acid) have been likewise ignored.

It therefore comes as no surprise to find that the recent seizure by Israeli authorities of a chemical used to make rocket fuel under the guise of ‘soybean oil’ destined for the Gaza Strip has not been reported by BBC News.

“Heading for Gaza, a Palestinian truck arrived at the Tarkumya crossing to transfer “soybean oil” from Hebron. The substance was sent for laboratory tests after arousing the suspicion of security guards and the David Unit inspectors. These further examinations revealed that the trucks contained a substance called TDI, which is a key component for rocket fuel used by Gaza-based terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The 450 liters of material were seized, and the individuals were brought in for questioning.”

Via COGAT we also learn that:

“The David Unit of the Civil Administration works to prevent smuggling of all contrabands and pollutants, having confiscated around 280 trucks with life-threatening materials and substances since its 2014 foundation.”

If the BBC is to meet its obligation to provide audiences with information which will enhance their “awareness and understanding” of the subject of Gaza Strip border restrictions it clearly cannot continue to employ its current policy of avoidance of reporting such stories, coupled with factual misrepresentation of the restrictions and their aims and omission of any serious coverage of the topic of rehabilitation of terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

BBC News ignores Northern Islamic Movement ban – in English

As readers already know, the BBC’s coverage of the current wave of terror attacks against Israelis has regularly included ‘contextualisation’ of the events in a style shown in the example below:

“The surge in violence began in September when tensions at a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem revered by Jews and Muslims boiled over, amid rumours that Israel planned to relax long-standing rules to strengthen Jewish rights at the complex.

Israel has repeatedly denied such claims.”

However, BBC audiences have been provided with little, if any, information on the topic of the sources and history of those “rumours” or the mechanics of their dissemination – including by means of official Palestinian Authority and Fatah channels. That fact will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the BBC’s coverage – or lack of it – of one of the prime sources of conspiracy theory and incitement surrounding Temple Mount: the Northern Islamic Movement.

Two years ago the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Yolande Knell portrayed that organization as “conservative” but failed to inform audiences of its agenda and its links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Whilst citing issues concerning Temple Mount as contributing to “tensions” which led to a wave of terror attacks against Israelis in October and November 2014, the BBC refrained from informing its audiences about the existence of organised groups purposely set up by the Northern Islamic Movement to cause unrest at that site. When, in September 2015, two of those organised groups were outlawed, the BBC described them as “Muslim groups” (rather than Islamist) and failed to provide audiences with information concerning their political and ideological affiliations.

On November 17th the Israeli government declared the Northern Islamic Movement an illegal organisation.

“For years, the northern branch of the Islamic Movement has led a mendacious campaign of incitement under the heading ‘Al Aqsa is in danger’ that falsely accuses Israel of intending to harm the Al Aqsa Mosque and violate the status-quo. In this context, the northern branch has established a network of paid activists (Mourabitoun / Mourabitat) in order to initiate provocations on the Temple Mount. This activity has led to a significant increase in tension on the Temple Mount. A significant portion of recent terrorist attacks have been committed against the background of this incitement and propaganda.
Outlawing the organization is a vital step in maintaining public security and preventing harm to human life.

The northern branch, headed by Sheikh Raad Salah, is a sister movement of the Hamas terrorist organization. The two movements maintain a close and secretive cooperation. The northern branch of the Islamic Movement is a separatist-racist organization that does not recognize the institutions of the State of Israel, denies its right to exist and calls for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in its place. The northern branch of the Islamic Movement belongs to radical Islam and is part of the global ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ movement. The two movements share an extremist ideology and a common goal – the destruction of the State of Israel.”

Whilst there was no reporting of that news on the English language BBC News website, we can determine that the corporation is aware of it because the story did get coverage on BBC Arabic. In that report the Northern Islamic Movement is described as a group “which provides educational, religious services for the Palestinians inside Israel” and its Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood links are once again concealed.BBC Arabic Raed Salah

In June 2011 journalist John Ware wrote an article about the ban on entry into the UK of the Northern Islamic Movement’s leader, Raed Salah, in which he noted that:

“Although the Islamic Movement is not banned in Israel, it is closely aligned to Hamas, which is designated in the UK and mainland Europe as a terrorist organisation.[…]

Sheikh Salah’s Islamic Movement is reported to have mourned the death of Osama Bin Laden, calling him a “martyr” and his killers “Satanic”.[…]

Another consideration may have been an article that Sheikh Salah wrote three weeks after the 9/11 attacks, in which he said that unlike Muslim workers in the World Trade Center, Jewish workers had been absent on 9/11. […]

He [Salah] is also reported to have made a speech in February 2007 during a protest in East Jerusalem in which he accused Jews of using children’s blood to bake bread – allegations the sheikh strongly denies.”

That article appeared – and is still available – on the BBC News website. We can therefore conclude that the BBC knows full well that the Northern Islamic Movement is much more than a group engaged in the provision of “educational, religious services” and that of course raises the question of why the corporation continues to whitewash an Islamist group responsible for much of the incitement underpinning the current wave of terrorism against Israelis.