Which got more cover on BBC News website this week – terror or ketchup?

On the evening of August 26th an incident took place near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem in which a Border Policemen was wounded by a Palestinian attacker who stabbed him in the leg. The Israeli Police described the attacker as a 56 year-old man from Hebron, adding that he was carrying a knife and an axe.

“Close to 19:00 hours the suspect identified two Border Police officers who were on patrol in the area of Damascus Gate, jumped from behind them and brandished the axe at one of them. The axe slipped from his hand, missing the head of the officer. The suspect ran off to a nearby shop with the officers following him, drew a knife and stabbed one of the officers.”

Like the majority of attacks against Israelis, this one did not receive any BBC coverage. However, the attacker was later identified as being Muamar Atta Mahmoud – the convicted murderer of Professor Menachem Stern – who was released from prison in December 2013 within the framework of the ‘goodwill gestures’ supposed to advance talks between Israel and the PLO in 2013/14.prisoner release art 30 12

BBC coverage of those prisoner releases at the time made much of the terrorists’ status as “heroes of the Palestinian cause” and repeatedly promoted the description of them as “freedom fighters” and “political prisoners” whilst failing to adequately address the topic of glorification of terrorism – made especially relevant by the Palestinian Authority’s lavish receptions for convicted murderers. Nevertheless, the BBC has still not found it appropriate to inform its audiences of this incident.

On the other hand, visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page did learn this week that Heinz can no longer label its product ketchup in Israel.

Related articles:

BBC yet again ignores Gaza missile fire – in English

 

BBC News coverage of terrorism – July 2015

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks during July 2015 (English here, Hebrew here) shows that throughout the month a total of 107 incidents took place: 63 in Judea & Samaria, 42 in Jerusalem, one incident of missile fire from the Gaza Strip and one incident of missile fire from the Sinai Peninsula.

Two Palestinian civilians were killed and two injured (in the arson attack in Duma on July 31st) and three members of the Israeli security forces were wounded in those attacks. The agency recorded 90 attacks with petrol bombs, one stabbing, two shooting attacks and 12 attacks using explosive devices.

BBC News website reporting on those 107 attacks was confined to two incidents: the July 3rd firing of three Grad missiles from Sinai by ISIS’ ‘Sinai Province’ affiliate was covered in one written report and the July 31st arson attack in Duma was covered in two written articles and two filmed reports. The missile attack from the Gaza Strip on July 16th and the stabbing of a soldier the previous day were among the many incidents which did not receive BBC coverage.

In short, the BBC covered 1.87% of the terror attacks which took place in July 2015.

Table terror July

Since the beginning of the year the BBC has reported just 0.98% of the terror attacks which have actually taken place. Its record on coverage of Israeli fatalities stands at 0% whilst 100% of Palestinian fatalities have been reported.

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – June 2015 & Q2 2015

 

A Temple Mount incident ignored by BBC News

A consistent characteristic of BBC coverage of any story connected to Temple Mount is the exclusion of all mention of the salaried agitators who harass non-Muslim visitors to the site with verbal or physical violence.

Background on Temple Mount ignored by the BBC

The part of the Temple Mount story the BBC refuses to tell

BBC omits vital background information in Temple Mount rioting story

Even a delegation of US Congressmen recently visiting the site was subjected to harassment.SONY DSC

“As part of the delegation’s trip to the Middle East, the group took a tour of the Temple Mount that was constantly interrupted by shouting, first by Arab men in the plaza and then by staff from the Wakf Islamic trust.

“We walked up there, and were almost immediately approached by several men who started shouting,” Rothfus said. “We were tracked the entire time we were there and found these individuals surprisingly intolerant and belligerent.”

The delegation said the harassment began when they ascended the Mount, and a man yelled at Elizabeth Jenkins – who was wearing a calf-length skirt and a long-sleeved shirt – that she needed to cover up more. Police were needed to break up the melee and clear the way for the group to continue its visit.

The group’s tour guide then began to speak about the history of the site, which is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, but is controlled by Jordan and the Jerusalem Islamic Wakf.

When the guide showed the group a map of Israel, a man who was cleaning nearby notified another man in the area, who approached the guide while he was talking. The man asked the guide questions about the maps and diagrams, demanding to be shown if any of them feature the Temple, and told him he cannot use the term “Temple Mount,” only “Dome of the Rock,” as can be seen in a video the group provided to The Jerusalem Post.

Men wearing shirts with Wakf insignia then repeatedly interrupted the guide and tried to grab his diagrams and maps. The guide responded that he is doing nothing illegal and will only stop if told to do so by police. […]

Soon after, 15-20 men began to harass the group, interrupting the tour guide, shouting and pointing, and once again police were needed to break up the commotion.”

Predictably, the BBC has ignored this story which does not fit in with its prevailing narratives concerning Temple Mount. The corporation cannot, however, claim to fulfil its public purpose remit of building “understanding of international issues” by means of accurate and impartial reporting if it continues to frame its coverage of the topic of Temple Mount in such a way that the existence of foreign funded groups of extremist agitators at the site is consistently erased from audience view. 

BBC amendments to Tisha B’Av Temple Mount rioting report

h/t: S

Readers may recall that a BBC News website article from July 26th about rioting on Temple Mount failed to inform readers that the events occurred on the fast of Tisha B’Av which took place on that day.

Original article

Original article

A member of the public who contacted the BBC regarding that omission was recently informed that an amendment has been made to the article.

“After considering your points further we have amended the article and it now includes a line stating:

“It occurred on the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the Biblical Jewish Temples on the compound, and which traditionally draws larger numbers of Jewish worshippers to the site.””

However, that welcome change was not the only one made to the report: before that sentence another paragraph was inserted which reads:

“Palestinian media said the clashes were precipitated by the visit to the compound of dozens of Jews guarded by Israeli security forces, angering the youths on the site.”

All changes to the report can be viewed here.

The timeline of events on that day is clear:

“Dozens of masked Palestinian protesters hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and firecrackers at police officers on the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s Old City Sunday morning, before being pushed back into the Al-Aqsa Mosque by security forces who were rushed to the area.

According to police, the protesters had stockpiled homemade explosives, firecrackers and wooden boards inside the mosque, with the intention of attacking thousands of Jewish worshipers gathered nearby for prayers at the Western Wall on Tisha B’Av, a fast and day of mourning that commemorates the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples.”

The original BBC report inaccurately implied that the rioting was the result of the brief entry of security forces into the Al Aqsa Mosque rather than the other way round. Now we see an addition which suggests that the rioting was caused by “dozens of Jews” visiting Temple Mount – despite the fact that the violence was clearly planned in advance. That inaccuracy also previously appeared in later filmed BBC content.

Regardless of what “Palestinian media” say or do not say, licence fee payers expect the BBC to provide them with an accurate and impartial portrayal of the events which took place on Temple Mount on July 26th. Such a portrayal would clarify the fact that the violence was premeditated and that it was perpetrated by “youths” who are paid to be ‘angry’ and to disrupt visits by non-Muslims to the site by Islamist extremists.

The BBC, however, consistently avoids telling its audiences that very important part of the story, preferring to promote the myth of unidentified “youths” uncontrollably ‘angered’ by the Israeli security forces and/or non-Muslims peacefully visiting a site revered by three religions. In doing so, it continues to fail to meet its public purpose remit of building “understanding of international issues”.  

 

Terrorism the BBC chose not to report this week

Most of the coverage of Israel appearing on the BBC News website’s Middle East page over the past week has been devoted to the topic of the arson attack in Duma on July 31st (which has now claimed another life) and associated subject matter.

In addition to that attack, several other terrorist incidents took place in the region this last week.

On August 1st missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip and on August 6th another attack took place. In both cases the missiles fell short and landed in the Gaza Strip or near the border fence and the attacks were claimed by Gaza based Salafist Jihadists. BBC News did not report those attacks.Kissufim missile 7 8 BBC Arabic

On August 7th one of several missiles fired from the Gaza Strip landed in the Kissufim area of southern Israel. The attack was claimed by Salafist Jihadists and the IDF responded with a strike on a Hamas training facility. In the now well-established pattern, there was no English language coverage of that attack but Israel’s response was reported on the BBC Arabic website.

On the evening of August 3rd a couple driving near the Beit Hanina junction in north Jerusalem were attacked with a firebomb.

“A 27-year-old Israeli woman was moderately hurt by the Molotov cocktail, suffering burns on her body. The woman and her husband abandoned their burning car, which proceeded to roll down and hit a 20-year-old pedestrian, who was lightly hurt.

A third man was lightly injured after he tried to extinguish the car.”

Despite at least one BBC staffer clearly being aware of the attack, it was not reported by BBC News on its website’s Middle East page.

On August 6th a vehicular attack took place near Shilo.

“Three IDF soldiers were wounded when a car deliberately ran into them on Thursday afternoon near the Shiloh junction north of Ramallah in the West Bank. The attacker was shot and neutralized by a fourth soldier.

Magen David Adom [ambulance service] reported that two were seriously wounded and another lightly. Officials said that one of the wounded was 20-years-old and suffered from a head injury.”

The attack was praised by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Whilst the BBC was clearly aware of the incident and a report on the subject appeared on the BBC Arabic website, no English language coverage was to be found on the BBC News website’s Middle East page.

That same BBC Arabic report also mentions an explosion which occurred in Rafah in the Gaza Strip on August 6th, killing four people and wounding many others. Interestingly, whilst the BBC Arabic report unequivocally attributes the blast to “Israeli missile remnants” – i.e. unexploded ordnance – other media outlets reporting on that story were more cautious. Reuters reported:

“Media outlets of the Hamas Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip blamed the blast on an unexploded Israeli missile from last year’s war.

The Hamas-run Interior Ministry said it was checking the cause of the explosion, which destroyed the home of Ayman Abu Nqeira, a Hamas member.”

The Guardian’s report on the subject states:

“Early reports suggested the blast was caused by unexploded ordnance (UXO) left from last summer’s 50-day war between Israel and Gaza. Swaths of Rafah were almost obliterated during weeks of shelling from air, sea and land. Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Gaza ministry of health, said the dead men had been clearing rubble from a house that was destroyed during the war. The home was hit in an Israeli air strike on 9 July last year.

However, masked and armed men from Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, blocked access to the area, fuelling suspicions that the house or a nearby property may have been used to store explosives or rockets. Some locals said the area was a weapons base for Al-Qassam Brigades; others said Israeli unexploded ordnance was the cause of the blast.

A spokesman for Gaza’s interior ministry said: “We can’t give a clear reason for what happened.” An investigation was under way, he added.”

Remarkably, BBC Arabic – part of the organization which describes itself as “the standard-setter for international journalism” – appears to have unquestioningly adopted and amplified the exact same line as Hamas’ media outlets.

BBC News website corrects Jerusalem “secular majority” claim

We previously noted here that two recent BBC reports – one written and one filmed – incorrectly informed BBC audiences that the city of Jerusalem has a “secular majority”.

Jerusalem secular majority

Following communication from BBC Watch the written report has been amended and a footnote added.

correction secular majority a

Whilst BBC Watch of course commends that amendment, in the continued absence of a dedicated corrections page on the BBC News website it is highly unlikely that those who read the report during the two days between publication and correction would return to it and come across that footnote. 

No similar footnote has been added to the filmed report, which also appears on the website, and it is unclear how viewers who watched that item on BBC television news programmes are to be informed of the inaccuracy – if at all. 

 

 

The figures behind the BBC’s claim of a ‘secular majority’ in Jerusalem

A filmed report made for BBC television news programmes was also posted on the BBC News website on August 3rd under the title “Teenager stabbed at Gay Pride march in Jerusalem dies” and in addition was embedded at the head of the website’s written report on the same topic: “Jerusalem Gay Pride: Israel teenage stabbing victim dies“.

Towards the end of that filmed report viewers are told by presenter Catharina Moh that:

“The gay pride event has long been a source of tension between Jerusalem’s secular majority and its Jewish Orthodox communities but the violent outcome of Thursday’s parade has shocked all Israelis.” [emphasis added]

The same claim appears at the end of the written report.

Jerusalem secular majority

According to information published on May 13th 2015 by the Central Bureau of Statistics and pertaining to the years 2013-14:Catharina Moh report

“Among the Jews in Jerusalem, 35% identify themselves as Orthodox, 18% identify themselves as religious, 12% as traditional-religious, 14% as not so religious and 20% as secular.” [emphasis added]

The Jewish residents of Jerusalem make up 63% of the city’s total population. There is no information available in that fact sheet regarding the self-identification of the city’s 37% Muslim and Christian Arab population but obviously a significant proportion would have to identify as non-religious for the city to be accurately described as having a “secular majority”.

The BBC’s claim of a “secular majority” in Jerusalem would therefore appear to be unfounded and inaccurate.

 

BBC report on Jerusalem gay pride attack second guesses an unsolved crime

BBC coverage of the violent attack on six participators in the gay pride event held in Jerusalem on July 30th included:Jlem attack 30 7

A filmed report for BBC television news which was also posted on the BBC News website under the title “Man held over Jerusalem Gay Pride stabbings“.

A written report on the BBC platform aimed at younger audiences – ‘Newsbeat’ – titled “‘We marched through blood at Jerusalem Gay Pride’“.

A written report on the BBC Arabic website.

A written report titled “Jerusalem Gay Pride: Six stabbed ‘by ultra-Orthodox Jew’” which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page.

Towards the end of that latter report, in a section describing ultra-Orthodox opposition to the event and to the LGBT community in general, readers are told that:

“Israel’s homosexual community was the target of a 2009 attack in Tel Aviv, where a gunman opened fire at a centre for young gays, killing two people and wounding 15 others.

The assailant behind that attack was apprehended.”

The case referred to in those lines is the Bar Noar youth centre shootings. Once again, however, the BBC has obviously failed to keep up to date on the details of that case and hence misleads its audiences.

The suspect arrested and charged with the murders was later released when the case collapsed after the arrest of the state witness on charges of fabricating evidence and obstruction of justice. No further developments in the investigation have been publicized since then and no motive for that attack has been established in a court of law, meaning that the BBC’s implication of motivational linkage between that attack and the one which took place in Jerusalem on July 30th is at this stage no more than speculation.

Related Articles:

BBC documentary on Tel Aviv gay pride fails to keep up with the news

BBC repeats misrepresentation of Bar Noar shooting

BBC News twists Tisha B’Av Temple Mount incident with ‘last-first’ reporting

On the morning of July 26th – the day of the fast of Tisha B’Av – Israeli security forces had to deal with an incident at Al Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

“Dozens of masked Palestinian protesters hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and firecrackers at police officers on the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s Old City Sunday morning, before being pushed back into the Al-Aqsa Mosque by security forces who were rushed to the area.

According to police, the protesters had stockpiled homemade explosives, firecrackers and wooden boards inside the mosque, with the intention of attacking thousands of Jewish worshipers gathered nearby for prayers at the Western Wall on Tisha B’Av, a fast and day of mourning that commemorates the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples.”

The portrayal of that incident provided to visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page creates a markedly different impression. The report’s headline – “Al-Aqsa mosque: Israeli police enter Jerusalem holy site” – erases any mention of what preceded the security forces’ brief entry into the mosque in typical BBC ‘last-first reporting’ style.AAM 26 7 BBC art

The opening paragraphs of the article even imply that the violence on the part of the Palestinians was a reaction to the police’s entry into the mosque.

“Palestinian youths have clashed with Israeli police who entered the al-Aqsa mosque complex in East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians are said to have barricaded themselves inside the mosque and thrown stones at police, who moved in to stop them.”

As the Israeli police force noted, the sequence of events was in fact as follows:

“This morning they [the rioters] took up positions in the mosque courtyard and when they saw the police they began throwing stones and firing fireworks at them. […] Masked men and rioters ran away into the mosque and began throwing tens of stones and concrete blocks at the police officers, fired fireworks directly at them and sprayed them with an unidentified liquid.”

Only in the third paragraph are readers of the report given a euphemistic, second-hand description of the rioters’ intentions:

“Israeli media said the Palestinians had intended to disrupt visits by observant Jews to the Western Wall.”

No mention is made of the fact that the rioters had stockpiled rocks, planks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails inside the mosque in order to facilitate that ‘disruption’ or of the fact that the plan was timed to coincide with Tisha B’Av, which sees a high number of visitors to the holy sites.

BBC audiences are told that:

“The al-Aqsa mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, is in a part of East Jerusalem also revered by Jews.”

Audiences are not told that Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism and, in addition to having failed to clarify that the incident occurred on Tisha B’Av, the report makes no mention of the fact that the fast commemorates the destruction of the two Jewish temples on that site.

The article states:

“The police said a number of officers were injured. There were no immediate reports of any Palestinian casualties.

Six Palestinians were arrested, an AFP news agency photographer reported.”

As the BBC could have discovered directly from the Israeli police, three Palestinians were in fact arrested rather than six and four police officers were injured.

As we see, the BBC’s report focuses on the entry of policemen into the Al Aqsa Mosque. The issue of Palestinians intending to use violence to prevent Jews from exercising their religious rights is not apparently a topic about which the BBC considers its audiences need to know more.

Resources:

Contact BBC News Online

 

BBC’s Panorama Jerusalem train programme takes viewers on a predictable journey

On July 20th the BBC One current affairs programme ‘Panorama‘ aired an episode titled “The Train that Divides Jerusalem“. Israeli readers may be surprised to learn from the programme’s synopsis that the light rail system serving their capital city is “controversial”.Panorama light rail prog main

“On the anniversary of last summer’s brutal conflict in Gaza, film-maker Adam Wishart visits Jerusalem and rides the city’s controversial new train. Only nine miles from start to finish, some hoped it could help heal divisions between Israelis and Palestinians, but as Wishart discovers, it has only deepened the sense of resentment on both sides. Travelling through the old city, he comes face to face with the battle over one of the world’s holiest sites and asks, could it be the flashpoint for the start of another war?”

In fact, the title chosen for this programme is a self-fulfilling prophecy: Wishart clearly sets out to ‘prove’ that Jerusalem is divided and the train is merely a hook for his pre-existing hypothesis.

As anyone who has ever spent an afternoon or an evening in Jerusalem’s various parks, at the Mamilla Mall, the Malha Mall or at the restored First Station knows, Jerusalemites of all backgrounds and ethnicities shop, eat, play, work and stroll at such locations and many use public transport to reach them. That aspect of Jerusalem life had no place in Adam Wishart’s film; he has decided that the city is “divided” and he already knows why.

“It was meant to help unite this place but the train is dividing it further.”

“Now it’s easier for Jews to travel into Palestinian suburbs…”

Very early on in the film Wishart finds it necessary to establish his credentials.

“I’m Adam Wishart – a British Jew….”

Scattered throughout the film are references to his previous visit to Jerusalem “on a Zionist education course as a teenager” and to his Zionist grandparents. Apparently his own background is intended to be a claim to added credence for his current assertions.

At the outset of the film Wishart proposes to take viewers on “a journey into the heart of a city which feels more divided than ever” and his concluding remarks half an hour later indicate that he found exactly what he was looking for – including some fashionable disappointment with the people who did not fulfil the dreams of others who do not actually live in Israel.

“My journey has been heartbreaking. When my grandparents campaigned for the State of Israel they hoped for a place of refuge, of tolerance and equal rights for all. As I take the last train I just can’t believe this could be the place that they dreamt of all these years ago.”

The highly selective journey which takes Wishart to that conclusion begins in Jerusalem’s Old City – or as he portrays it: “a world divided by religious rivalry”. Temple Mount is described as follows:

“…one of the holiest sites for Muslims – home to the Dome of the Rock, the Al Aqsa Mosque and the courtyard that joins them. They’re all under Muslim control.”

That, of course, is a partial representation of the site’s actual status. Wishart goes on:

“It’s also home to the holiest site in Judaism – a Jewish temple destroyed over two thousand years ago. All that remains is the western wall of the courtyard – the Wailing Wall where Jews come to pray.”

The phrase “Wailing Wall” is of course a foreign invention: Jews and Israelis do not use that anachronism. Wishart goes on:

“Now some want to completely rebuild the temple on what they call Temple Mount. No matter that Muslim holy places are here already.”

The site has of course been known as Temple Mount for centuries – long before it was called anything else. Wishart then says:

“Once Jews only ever came as far as the Western Wall. Now one thousand Jews a month enter the courtyard – the heart of this Muslim place of worship.”

He gives generous airtime to the group of women engaged in what he calls “protest” at visits by non-Muslims on Temple Mount but avoids telling viewers who those women really are and how they are paid to harass visitors. Whilst Wishart’s Jewish interviewees actually represent a tiny fringe school of thought, no mainstream Israeli opinions on the topic of Temple Mount are heard and the issue of equal prayer rights for members of all religions on a site holy to Jews and Christians as well as Muslims obviously does not interest our ‘progressive’ film-maker.

Clearly adopting – and promoting – one very specific narrative, Wishart tells audiences:

“Today’s skirmish is part of growing hostility fueled by the competing claims of Jews and Muslims to this holy place. It has already escalated into serious violence. Last November a group of Temple Mount visitors were attacked by Palestinians. In response police entered the Al Aqsa Mosque. It may only have been by a few meters but for many Muslims it crossed a sacred line.”

The accompanying footage shows masked rioters using the mosque as a launch site for rocks and firecrackers. Wishart refrains from pondering whether that crosses any ‘sacred lines’.

Wishart’s half-hearted attempt to provide historic background is completely lacking in context.

“Back then [1948] Israel only held the western part of Jerusalem – after the so-called green line. Then in 1967 Israel occupied the eastern areas.”

Viewers are not told why Israel only held part of the previously united city in 1948 or what led to the war that resulted in its reunification in 1967 and no mention is made of 19 years of Jordanian occupation.

Wishart’s journey moves on to Shuafat.

“The Palestinians who live here remain angry at being under Israeli control. The train just adds to their grievances.”

 Interviewees’ hyperbole passes without challenge:

“This is a racist train to keep Jerusalem for the Jews only.”

“Every day the train passes they are butchering me. Every day they are killing me. This is what the train means to us.”

Concerning the latter interviewee viewers are told:

“…what used to be his land until it was taken to build this train station…”

It is called compulsory purchase, of course, and it happens all over the world. Wishart refrains from using that terminology however, telling audiences:

“He refused compensation because the taking of land fits into a broader picture. Since 1967 Israel has seized about six thousand acres of land in East Jerusalem. Walid has lost about ten acres.”

No source is provided for that information.

Whilst Wishart has plenty to say about Shuafat and clearly steers viewers towards a specific narrative, his account does not include any mention of Hamas’ activities in that neighbourhood.

“I can’t help feeling that the state of this place and the lawlessness – all enclosed by the barrier – make this part of Jerusalem a tinder box waiting to ignite.”

Interviewee: “It’s difficult to be a child born into an environment of occupation and racism. […] Nobody’s born a violent person but the segregation and disparities lead to war and violence.”

At around 17:02 Wishart says:

“Just as we’re leaving the camp [Shuafat] there’s an attack on the guards at the checkpoint.”

He later adds:

“It turns out that most of the noise comes from fireworks – the ammunition of the powerless.”

During that segment (at 17:38) viewers see a boy apparently describing the scene and his words are translated on screen as follows:Panorama light rail prog soldiers

“These are the kids that throw stones at the soldiers”

BBC Watch asked a professional translator to verify that translation and this was his response:

“…it is impossible to make out what the boy says. I listened to it over and over again, together with an expert on Palestinian dialects. There are two words that the boy says before “al-yahud”, it is impossible to make out what these words are. But “al-yahud” is clearly heard, and of course that does not translate as “soldiers””.

Once again, apparently, we have a case of ‘creative’ BBC translation which censors the Arabic word for Jews, thus depriving audiences of important insight into the context and background to a story.

An additional case of ‘lost in translation’ appears in a section of the film showing Jerusalem Day celebrations which Wishart describes as “a celebration of Israel’s 1967 capture of East Jerusalem and the Old City” with no explanation of the subject of the reunification of the city after 19 years of Jordanian occupation during which Jews were prevented from visiting their holy sites. At 22:42 viewers see the chants of Palestinian protesters translated as:Panorama light rail prog defend Palestine

“With our souls, our blood, we defend Palestine”

The accurate translation does not include the word ‘defend’:

“With our souls and our blood, we will redeem you, oh Palestine”

From 22:55 an interviewee’s words pertaining to the Israelis celebrating Jerusalem Day are translated on screen as follows:

“This scene causes great anger for all the people of Palestine. They break into the Old City of Jerusalem and provoke people with their shameful dancing. This is unacceptable.”

Our translator pointed out that the term ‘Old City’ and the word ‘provoke’ do not appear:

“This scene leads to tremendous anger from all segments of the Palestinian people. They forcefully attack the city of Jerusalem with racist incitement and this scandalous dance. This is an unacceptable act.”

Towards the end of the film, at 24:32, and despite having previously told viewers that the government of Israel has made it perfectly clear that no changes will be made to the status quo on Temple Mount, Wishart returns to his dubious hypothesis:

“When I was here 31 years ago even my most fervently Zionist friends weren’t rushing to build a temple on this site. Now the idea is gathering support from within the mainstream. Even a member of the new cabinet supports the idea. I can’t help but think that if some Jews push much further this would surely be the last stand for the Palestinians.”

And at 25:01 he manages to introduce conspiracy into what is no more than an urban public transport system:

“I’m left wondering what is the purpose of the train. Does its ultimate destination hold a clue? It travels north, through the Palestinian neighbourhoods, and snakes round the refugee camp. What’s so controversial is that the ultimate destination is an Israeli settlement. A thousand acres taken by Israel to build a beautiful suburb. Like all settlements in occupied territory, most of the international community consider them to be illegal.”

That ‘settlement’ is the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Pisgat Ze’ev and a quick search even of Pisgat Ze’ev’s Wikipedia entry would have shown Wishart that much of the suburb is in fact built on land purchased by Jews before the Second World War. In line with the usual BBC practice, Wishart makes no effort to inform viewers of the existence of differing legal opinions concerning the legality of ‘settlements’ and he also makes no effort to clarify that under any realistic scenario, Pisgat Ze’ev would be likely to remain under Israeli control in the event of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. He even promotes his hypothesis further with the following ridiculous claims:

“The train makes permanent the expansion of Israel. This settlement is built like a fortress.”

In late 2013 the BBC’s Director of Television claimed that it measures the success of its programmes by asking itself whether they are “fresh and new”. Perhaps the saddest thing about this edition of Panorama is that it is so predictable. From the standard, jaded, presentations of ‘settlements’, ‘the wall’ and ‘international law’, through the impartiality box-ticking inclusion of brief segments pertaining to terror attacks against Israelis – with no mention of the word terror – and to the failure to seriously address the political, religious and ideological roots of Palestinian terrorism whilst misrepresenting fringe opinions as “mainstream” Israeli thought, this politicized film treads a well-trodden route which is anything but “fresh and new”.

Fresh would have been to tell BBC audiences about the increasing numbers of Muslim Jerusalemites living in mixed neighbourhoods (including Pisgat Ze’ev) or to inform viewers of the extremist incitement which goes on inside Al Aqsa Mosque. New would have been to get the history of Jerusalem right and to go back before the standard BBC starting point of 1967 by including coverage of the topics of Jewish-owned lands before 1948 and the expulsion of Jews from the Old City and other neighbourhoods by Jordan.

Adam Wishart however chose to stick with the tried and trusted formula which guaranteed the airing of his film by the BBC and his bizarre shoe-horning of a light rail system into the story does nothing to disguise that fact.

Resources:

Panorama – contact details

How to Complain to the BBC