BBC Russian mangles headline on Jerusalem terror attack

h/t V

The continuing phenomenon of biased media reporting of the ongoing wave of terror against Israelis sparked a warning from the head of Israel’s Government Press Office this week.

“The Israeli government official responsible for accrediting foreign journalists said on Wednesday that he will consider revoking press credentials for media members who “are derelict in doing their jobs and write headlines that are the opposite of what happened.””

That announcement came after CBS produced a report on the February 3rd terror attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem with the headline “3 Palestinians killed as daily violence grinds on”.

After having come under severe criticism for a similarly egregious headline last October, the BBC News website managed to find a more reasonable title for its English language report on the February 3rd attack – “Israeli border guards shot in Jerusalem attack”.

However, it would appear that not all BBC departments have learned the lessons regarding accurate and impartial headline writing. BBC Russian’s report on the February 3rd attack was headlined “Israeli police killed three Palestinians in Jerusalem”.

BBC Russian Damascus Gate attack

Following protest on social media, that headline was later amended and a footnote was added to the article to reflect that fact.

Nevertheless, the BBC has obviously still has a way to go before it can claim to have adequately dealt with the issue of inaccurate headline writing in all its departments. 

BBC News reports Jerusalem terror attack with politicised description of location

Early on the afternoon of February 3rd a terror attack took place at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.

“Three terrorists committed a combined stabbing and shooting attack Wednesday afternoon at Jerusalem’s Damascus gate, wounding two female Border Police officers and a young man. […]

The three attackers arrived at the scene armed with Carl Gustav rifles, knives and explosive devices. The Border Police unit noticed them and became suspicious. One terrorist presented a national ID card to a Border Police officer as another pulled out his weapon and opened fire.

The two wounded officers’ colleagues opened fire on the terrorists in response. According to Palestinian sources, the attackers – Ahmed Abu Al-Roub, Mohammed Kamil and Mohammed Nasser – came from the Jenin area, and were aged between 20 and 21. Two of the attackers had been barred from entering Israel by the Shin Bet, and all three crossed over illegally.

Later on, two explosive devices were found at the scene along with two guns. The explosives were neutralized.

Hamas praised the attack, calling the terrorists “heroes” and saying that the incident proved that “the Palestinian people will persist with the intifada.””

One of the injured Border Police officers – 19 year-old Hadar Cohen – later died of her wounds.

Version 1

Version 1

The BBC News website’s initial report on the attack was titled “Israeli border guards shot in Jerusalem attack” but after news of the death of one of the victims broke, that headline was changed to read “Jerusalem attack: Israeli border guard dies after shooting“. Obviously neither of those headlines supplies readers with any information concerning the perpetrators of the “Jerusalem attack”.

Later on additional amendments were made to the article but all versions state that two victims sustained wounds during the attack rather than three. All versions also open with a politicized description of the location of the attack.  

Version 1: “Two female Israeli border guards have been shot and wounded in an attack by three young Palestinian men in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police say.”

Versions 2 & 3: “A female Israeli border guard has died in hospital after an attack by three young Palestinian men in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police say.”

That is presumably the result of the fact that the BBC relies on maps from political NGOs which, inter alia, describe the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City as being a “settlement” and depict areas which were in fact classified as ‘no man’s land’ in the 1949 Armistice Agreement – including the area in front of Damascus Gate – as “Palestinian”.

Damascus Gate map

The first two versions of the article inform readers that:

“In the past four months, 28 Israelis have been killed in a wave of stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.”

That number was later changed to 29 but the BBC apparently does not find it newsworthy that additional people who did not hold Israeli citizenship have also been killed in this ongoing wave of terror which has claimed 31 victims since it began. The articles also include the usual “Israel says” caveat with regard to Palestinian attackers.

“More than 160 Palestinians – mostly attackers, Israel says – have also been killed in that period.” [emphasis added]

As has been noted here before on numerous occasions, the BBC has had ample opportunity to verify the information independently and should by this time be able to tell its audiences in its own words that the majority of those killed were in the process of carrying out terror attacks at the time.

Version 2

Version 2

All versions of the report include commentary from the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly in which he describes almost daily terror attacks as “sporadic”, adopts the standard BBC approach of whitewashing incitement from official Palestinian sources and even manages to apportion blame to Israel for “inflaming the mood”.

“Our correspondent says the wave of violent incidents shows no sign of abating, and although the attacks are sporadic they are persistent.

Some Israeli politicians accuse Palestinian politicians of incitement and many Palestinians blame the readiness of the Israeli security forces to resort to lethal force for further inflaming the mood.

But, our correspondent adds, it does seem as though the incidents are spontaneous, with attackers drawing motivation from material on social media rather than following orders from any militant organisation.”

Hours after this attack took place, Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party was already praising the perpetrators on social media but BBC audiences were of course not informed of that part of the story.

As the BBC report itself states, the three attackers were armed with knives, automatic weapons and improvised explosive devices. Nevertheless, Kevin Connolly tells readers that such a heavily armed and obviously pre-planned attack was “spontaneous”. 

Once again we see that the BBC has no intention of carrying out any serious reporting on the issue of the incitement and glorification of terrorism from official Palestinian sources which fuels the current wave of violence. 

BBC Hardtalk host tells viewers Temple Mount is ‘the holiest of places for Muslims’

Earlier this month the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, was interviewed by Stephen Sackur for ‘Hardtalk‘. The filmed version of the programme (broadcast on BBC World News on January 5th) is available to those in the UK on iPlayer here and can also be found here. The synopsis to the filmed version reads as follows:Barkat clip

“Stephen Sackur talks to Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, about his ambitious plans to turn his city into a top global city hosting 10 million tourists a year.”

An audio version of the interview was broadcast on BBC World Service radio on January 6th and the synopsis to that item reads as follows:

“The Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, has grand plans to turn Jerusalem into a world city but is his vision far removed from the reality on the ground? He talks to Stephen Sackur about his aspirations.”

In fact listeners and viewers heard nothing about Nir Barkat’s plans to develop tourism in his city – not least because Stephen Sackur spent almost as much time talking as did his interviewee. Just under ten minutes of the airtime of a programme 23 minutes and 51 seconds long (including opening title and closing credits) were taken up by Sackur himself as he repeatedly interrupted Barkat’s answers in order to pursue his own agenda.

As is not at all unusual to see in his ‘Hardtalk’ interviews with Israeli politicians, Sackur ascended his pulpit and proceeded to ensure that what audiences took away was not insight into how the Mayor of Jerusalem plans to develop his city or what special challenges he faces, but politicized preaching on the topic of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The tone was already set in the introduction.

“Israel declares Jerusalem to be its undivided capital but the physical evidence inside the city points to a different reality. Jerusalem is a city of checkpoints, security barriers and constant tension between Jews and Arabs.”

That theme was further promoted by Sackur several times throughout the interview.

“If we as outsiders look at the city today it seems more tense, more full of fear and – frankly – full of division than ever before.”

“It’s a division. It’s a division. It’s a myth this idea of an open undivided Jerusalem.”

“Well as it happens…yeah Mister Mayor…as it happens I know Jerusalem quite well. I’ve lived there for several years myself [1995 to 1997 – Ed.]. It’s changed a lot since I lived there – not least because there are new security barriers, there are new checkpoints in place. This idea that you peddle that Jerusalem is an open and undivided city is patently not true. It is more divided – by armed checkpoints and the security wall and everything else – than it’s ever been before.”

Naturally viewers heard nothing about the nineteen years during which the city really was divided because part of it was under Jordanian occupation. As Nir Barkat pointed out, the vast majority of the checkpoints put in place in late 2015 in order to curb terrorism by attackers from Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem have since been removed: obviously Sackur failed to check the facts before employing that subject in his sermon. 

Another theme seen in this interview – that of irresponsible, trigger happy Israeli politicians – was also found in a previous one with Yair Lapid.

“You are the very mayor who, in the autumn of last year, advised all Jerusalem…Israeli Jewish Jerusalem residents…to carry a pistol. I mean, what kind of message is that sending?”

“…what do you feel about senior Israeli politicians like Yair Lapid who we had on this programme saying that in his view, if anybody was seen to pull a knife or even a screwdriver – to quote him – don’t hesitate; shoot to kill. Do you think that was the right, responsible message to send?”

“It’s not for you as politicians to inflame emotions and get involved in this sort of way, is it?…”

The perennial theme of Israeli racism was also promoted.

“You said ‘I’m a strong believer in profiling’. ‘Profiling’, you said, ‘helps keep the citizens of Jerusalem safe’. What do you mean by profiling? Who are you profiling?”

“I appreciate that answer but with respect, mister mayor, I don’t think anybody in the outside world really believes that the Shin Bet spends as much time profiling and seeking out Jewish extremists as it does Muslim Arab extremists. So I’m very struck by what Binyamin Netanyahu said just the other day […]. He talked about enclaves. He clearly meant Arab communities – Arab enclaves with – quote – Islamist propaganda, plenty of weapons, constant crime. This wasn’t pointing to individual threats and dangers. He was tainting an entire community. Do you do the same?”

“So do you disown the words of your own prime minister? […] Do you think – in the words of Ha’aretz newspaper – that what he said was very close to outright racism?”

Netanyahu’s words were as follows:

“There are many among Muslim Israeli citizens who have come out against the violence and are crying out for full law enforcement in their towns. At the same time, we all know that there is wild incitement by radical Islam against the State of Israel in the Arab sector. Incitement in mosques, in the education system, on social media,” he said, vowing to continue efforts to stop the incitement.

The prime minister said he is unwilling to have a state within a state in Israel, in which some citizens live in “enclaves with no law enforcement, with Islamist incitement and an abundance of illegal weapons that are often fired at happy events, weddings, and during endless criminal incidents.”

Sackur – who only minutes earlier claimed to “know Jerusalem quite well” – came out with the following inaccurate and materially misleading statement:Barkat audio

“Yeah, you’ve raised one particular grievance, one area of tension, which is access to the holiest of places for Muslims – they call it Haram al Sharif – it’s holy for Jews too; you call it Temple Mount…” [emphasis added]

Politicised messaging continued with repeated portrayal of Arab residents of Jerusalem as “second class citizens” and depiction of Jerusalem neighbourhoods as “settlements”.

“Yeah, but you know what Mister Mayor? What you haven’t mentioned at all are the realities about, for example, housing, planning permits construction. Look at the reality. Even today thousands of new housing units have been sanctioned by your municipality and the Netanyahu government for a whole bunch of Jewish settlements – as the international community still calls them – on occupied land in East Jerusalem. At the very same time we see that 14,000 Palestinians have had their residency revoked since 1967. It’s almost impossible for most Palestinians to get permission to build new housing on empty land in East Jerusalem. The reality of the situation is that, again, they’re second class citizens.”

Sackur is apparently convinced that he knows more than the Mayor of Jerusalem about construction statistics in that city.

“Are you telling me…are you telling me that the UN and others who have looked at the stats and say that more than three times as many housing permits, construction permissions, are given to Jews in East Jerusalem than to Arabs – Muslim Arabs in East Jerusalem – are you telling me that’s just plain wrong?”

Promotion of the PLO talking points put out a while ago by ‘Hardtalk’ frequent flyer Saeb Erekat was also evident.

“…but I spoke not a long time ago to Saeb Erekat […]. He almost cried with frustration when I put it to him that Israelis see ideological reasons behind the incitement – as you put it – of young Palestinian men. He said look don’t they understand that as long as Israel refuses to engage on the question of settlements, on the question of realistic negotiation of a two state solution, these people, the anger, the hate, will continue. Do you not get that?”

“Are you comfortable with the fact that unless you and other Israeli politicians recognize that in the end there has to be a sharing of the sovereignty of Jerusalem for a two state solution to work, if you’re not prepared to accept that then there can never be meaningful peace negotiations, can there? Are you comfortable with the position that you and your city are in?”

Sackur also came out with this gem:

“Prime Ministers Rabin, Peres, Barak, Olmert: all were prepared as realistic, pragmatic politicians to accept that there would have to be some sort of deal with the Palestinians over Jerusalem – some sort of symbolic shared sovereignty and internationalization of the holy places. Why won’t you?”

Leaving aside the fact that there is no evidence to support Sackur’s highly dubious claim that Yitzhak Rabin embraced the idea of “shared sovereignty” of Jerusalem, it is notable that he has obviously failed to ask himself why – if it is indeed the case that four Israeli prime ministers have offered to compromise on the issue of Jerusalem – have the Palestinians not seized any of those opportunities to make a peace deal during the last two decades.

Like so many others who adopt the messianic far-Left approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict whereby if only Israel did this, that or the other, then salvation would be instantly at hand, Sackur strips Palestinians of all agency or responsibility for the ongoing conflict. Hence, whilst able to admonish Barkat for his allegedly ‘unrealistic’ views on the subject of the division of the city, he is also able to ignore the fact that the “realistic, pragmatic” approach he holds up as the gold standard has been repeatedly rejected by the Palestinian side to the dispute. Likewise, that same cognitive dissonance enables Sackur to rebuke Barkat (and by extension, Israel) for the implementation of measures designed to cope with repeated waves of terrorism whilst exonerating those actually carrying out the attacks.

Obviously Stephen Sackur’s aim in this programme was not to provide his audiences with the opportunity to learn more about Jerusalem, the man who runs it or his plans for the city’s development. Instead, yet again, ‘Hardtalk’ audiences simply heard a so-called ‘interview’ with an Israeli public figure which is nothing more than a sermon based on Sackur’s weary – and by now decidedly dog-eared – charge sheet.

Related Articles:

Selective framing, inaccuracies and omission of context on BBC’s Hardtalk

BBC’s Sackur touts ‘racist’ Israel in Hardtalk interview with Herzog

BBC’s Sackur suggests being pro-Israel should be a problem

BBC’s Sackur promotes notion of Israeli settlements as a ‘war crime’

BBC’s ‘Hardtalk’ erases the Oslo Accords from history

BBC WS ‘Newshour’ cuts number of Har Nof terror attack victims by a third

The January 10th edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ included a discussion (from 44:43 here) about punitive demolitions of the houses of terrorists.Newshour 10 1

Presenter James Coomarasamy introduced the item as follows:

“Now…eh…one response by the Israeli authorities to the recent raft of so-called ‘lone-wolf’ attacks by Palestinians wielding knives, guns, even cars has been to reintroduce a policy of demolishing the homes of family members of those who perpetrate violence. It’s a divisive tactic; it was condemned by many Western governments as collective punishment and in 2005 a report by the Israeli Defence Forces concluded it wasn’t an effective one. That led to an almost total halt in demolitions for nearly a decade. So, has anything changed? Well in a moment we’ll hear from two Israelis with differing points of view. First let’s hear from someone directly affected by the policy. Muawiya Abu Jamal is a Palestinian construction worker. His brother and cousin killed four Israelis in an attack on a synagogue in November 2014. Although he has never been investigated in connection with that crime, his home was among those belonging to the family that were destroyed last October.”

Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal in fact murdered six Israelis in their attack on the synagogue in Har Nof – not four as Coomarasamy inaccurately states.

Coomarasamy’s final sentence in that introduction clearly leads listeners to believe that Muawiya Abu Jamal’s house was deliberately – and unjustifiably – demolished and his interviewee’s account supports that allegation.

Muawiya Abu Jamal (voiceover): “After the operation by my brother Ghassan and cousin Uday on the 18th of November 2014 an order was issued to destroy their houses. This was implemented in October 2015. The Israeli forces used large enough quantity of explosives not only to destroy Ghassan and Uday’s houses but to destroy my own house nearby as well, plus the homes of my two other brothers.”

Let’s take a closer look at the facts behind that portrayal. The demolition orders for the houses of Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal were issued in November 2014 and the family exercised its right of appeal, leading to a temporary court injunction on the order. The High Court of Justice eventually rejected the appeal. Contrary to the impression given in this item, the order on Uday Abu Jamal’s house was not carried out at the same time as that on the house of his cousin and explosives were not used when, on July 1st 2015, the house was sealed.  

On October 6th 2015 the demolition order on the house of Ghassan Abu Jamal was carried out. What is not clarified by the interviewee is that his own house is situated next door to that of his brother and in the same building as the apartments of additional members of the family. Whilst unintentional damage did apparently occur to those adjacent structures during the demolition process, James Coomarasamy’s inference that Muawiya Abu Jamal’s house was intentionally demolished despite his “never [having] been investigated in connection with that crime” is inaccurate and materially misleading.

Muawiya Abu Jamal continues:

“What can you say to a child when he asks you where is my toy? Where is my book? By demolishing homes they think other people will be scared. Also the Israelis think that demolishing homes is a deterrent but on the contrary; people have increased their attacks. I give you an example in my own family. After destroying the houses of Ghassan and Uday and the other houses nearby, my cousin Alaa Abu Jamal was there. He watched what the Israelis were doing – the force they were using – and then he went out a week later and committed another attack against the Israelis.”

Listeners are not informed that Rabbi Yeshayahu Krishevsky was killed and five other people wounded in the terror attack carried out by Alaa Abu Jamal on October 13th 2015.  Interestingly, when Muawiya Abu Jamal was interviewed by Jeremy Bowen just days after that attack, he provided a different ‘explanation’ for his cousin’s actions, claiming that he was “ground down by the occupation”. No mention is made of the fact that following the terror attack at the Synagogue in Har Nof carried out by his relations, Alaa Abu Jamal publicly praised their acts as being:

“…”something normal which could be expected from anyone who is brave and has a feeling of belonging to his people and Islam.

 “This act was carried out because of the pressure placed on the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupation government in Jerusalem, as well as the continued acts of aggression against al-Aqsa,” he continued.

Following the axe attack that killed four worshipers and a policeman, Abu Jamal said: “People reacted with cries of joy when we received word of their death. People here handed out sweets to guests who came to visit us, and it was a great celebration for our martyrs.””

Neither are audiences told about the wider Abu Jamal family’s approach to the terror attack at the Synagogue – including Uday’s father’s claim that “this is a religious war” and his mother’s praise for the attackers – or about the reaction from broader Palestinian society. Listeners are hence left with the highly questionable take away message that the only possible and relevant background to Alaa Abu Jamal’s actions was the demolition of his relative’s house. 

The item continues with a conversation between Yisrael Medad and Jerusalem council member Laura Wharton. Surprisingly, Dr Wharton did not tell listeners about the recently published study by some of her colleagues at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem which shows that “punitive house demolitions (those targeting Palestinian suicide terrorists and terror operatives) cause an immediate, significant decrease in the number of suicide attacks.”


BBC World Service contact details   



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

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during December 2015 shows that throughout the month a total of 246 incidents took place: 194 in Judea & Samaria, 43 in Jerusalem, two inside the ‘green line’ and 7 incidents in the Gaza Strip, including one missile attack, two shooting attacks and two attacks with IEDs.  

The agency recorded 183 attacks with petrol bombs, fifteen shooting attacks, 29 attacks using explosive devices, six vehicular attacks and 12 stabbing attacks.

Three Israeli civilians were killed in stabbing attacks. Forty-four people were wounded: 5 in shooting attacks, 16 in stabbing attacks and 21 in vehicular attacks.

The first reporting on the BBC News website of any attacks during December came on the 4th of the month when three incidents were reported in an article titled “Four Palestinians killed after attacks on Israelis in West Bank”. Prior to the appearance of that report there had been a ten-day hiatus in reporting and following it there was no additional reporting of attacks against Israelis for over two weeks.

On December 23rd the BBC News website covered an attack in Jerusalem in which two people were killed and one wounded. The victims – Rabbi Reuven Birmajer and Ofer Ben Ari – were not named in the report.

On December 24th three additional incidents were briefly mentioned in a report on another topic.

The third fatality of the month was Gennady Kaufman who died on December 30th after having been seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in Hebron on December 7th. Neither the original attack nor Mr Kaufman’s later death received any BBC News coverage.

In summary, the BBC News website reported seven of the 246 attacks which took place during December. Two of the three fatalities were reported but – in contrast with BBC reporting on a shooting attack in America during the same month – the victims were not named or personalised.

Table Dec 15

As of the end of December 2015, the BBC News website had reported on 3.2% of the terror attacks which took place since the beginning of the year. Coverage of Israeli fatalities stood at 77% whilst 100% of Palestinian fatalities and 100% of foreign national fatalities had been reported.

The BBC’s public purpose remit includes ‘Global Outlook’ which is interpreted by the BBC Trust as meaning that audiences “can expect the BBC to keep them in touch with what is going on in the world, giving insight into the way people live in other countries” and includes the pledge to “build a global understanding of international issues” and “enhance UK audiences’ awareness and understanding of international issues”.

With the BBC News website having covered of just 3.2% of the terror attacks against Israelis throughout 2015 and with none of those reports, or any other, having clarified the all-important context of the scale of attacks as a whole, it is obvious that neither global nor domestic audiences are being adequately provided with “insight” into how Israelis live.

The absence of that information is important because it means that audiences are unable to properly understand Israeli counter-terrorism measures such as the anti-terrorist fence or checkpoints. It also means that when Israel is obliged to respond to rising terrorism (as seen for example in the summer of 2014), audiences and BBC journalists alike are unable to put events into their appropriate context and thus arrive at uninformed and inaccurate conclusions.

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – November 2015

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – October 2015 – part one

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – October 2015 – part two

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – September 2015 & Q3 2015


BBC reports on 2015 internet ‘falsehoods’ – but not its own

Promoted using the heading “Fakes and Falsehoods” and with the sub-heading “Eight ways the internet lied to you in 2015”, the BBC News website published an article on December 27th similarly titled  “How the internet misled you in 2015” which opens with the words “it was another busy year for journalists debunking fake or misleading images on social media.”Internet fakes art

It was also another busy year for those “debunking” inaccurate and misleading content on the BBC News website and on the corporation’s additional platforms. Here (in no particular order) are a few examples of some of the ways in which the BBC misled its audiences in 2015.

1) In September the corporation’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen repeatedly told audiences that refugees fleeing Syria were doing so because of ISIS and whitewashed the Assad regime’s attacks on its own civilians.

BBC News’ migrant crisis coverage: Bowen embeds with Assad

More BBC Bowen beating of the Assad regime drum

More BBC amplification of the ‘ISIS worse than Assad’ meme

2) In March the BBC told its audiences that the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran brought “plenty of positive side-effects” for women in that country.

How the BBC whitewashed the issue of women’s rights in Iran

3) In July the BBC’s Razia Iqbal told audiences that Iran does not threaten Israel.  

No wonder BBC WS presenter Razia Iqbal got Iranian threat to Israel wrong

BBC ECU upholds complaint concerning Iranian threats to Israel

4) In August the BBC told audiences that “Israel has used administrative detention against Palestinians but not against Jewish suspects.”

BBC News misleads audiences on administrative detention

BBC News website corrects inaccurate administrative detention claim

BBC responses to complaints on accuracy failures

5) In April the BBC News website told audiences that Israeli forces had fired 88 mortar rounds at a school in the Gaza Strip in 2014.

BBC article on UN Gaza report includes inaccurate representation of its content

BBC amends inaccurate claim on Gaza mortar fire

6) In August the BBC told audiences that Jerusalem has a “secular majority” and, in October, that the city is not Israel’s capital.

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

BBC News website corrects Jerusalem “secular majority” claim

BBC News gets Israel’s capital city right – and then ‘corrects’

7) In September and October the BBC repeatedly misrepresented Temple Mount by describing it as “the Al Aqsa Mosque” and “a Muslim site”. Audiences were even misled by BBC Arabic’s Nawal Assad on the issue of the status quo regarding prayer at the site.

A worldwide platform for incitement from BBC Arabic’s Nawal Assad

Disturbing themes in BBC coverage of the wave of terror in Israel

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

8) In July the BBC told us that terror attacks in Israel are “not comparable” to terror attacks in Tunisia or Kuwait and that the stories are “very different”.

The BBC, terrorism and ‘consistency’

BBC Complaints: terror attacks in Jerusalem and Tunisia are “very different”

9) In June the BBC yet again misled audiences with regard to the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and reports produced throughout the year continued to mislead on the issue of why reconstruction there is so slow.  

BBC’s English and Arabic flotilla reports promote inaccurate information

BBC News website corrects Gaza Strip naval blockade inaccuracy

A side to the Gaza reconstruction story the BBC isn’t telling

Yolande Knell’s political campaigning continues in BBC ‘Gaza anniversary’ coverage

10) Also in June, the BBC told audiences that the first suicide bombing carried out by a British citizen abroad took place in 2014. 

BBC News inaccurately claims first suicide bombing abroad by a British citizen was in 2014

BBC News website corrects ‘first British suicide bomber’ claim

Readers are invited to add other examples to the list in the comments below. 




Jerusalem explosives lab not newsworthy for the BBC

Had the British security services uncovered an explosives laboratory in the suburban apartment of a man recruited by a designated terrorist organisation, it is difficult to imagine that the BBC would have ignored the story.

The Times of Israel reports:

“The Shin Bet uncovered a large Hamas terror cell, among whose members were Israeli citizens, which planned to carry out suicide bombings and other terror attacks in Israel, the security service revealed on Wednesday.

The Shin Bet, alongside the IDF and Israel Police, have thus far arrested 25 Hamas operatives, the majority of them Al-Quds University in Abu Dis students, who they suspect were preparing to attack Israeli targets, the agency said in a statement. The arrests were carried out over the past few weeks.

The service also uncovered a makeshift laboratory in Abu Dis, in east Jerusalem, which was being used to create the explosives necessary for bombing attacks. It said the cell was controlled by Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip.”

The Jerusalem Post adds:

“Had the attacks not been thwarted, they could have led to mass-casualty attacks and dangerously escalated the security situation, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) warned in a statement.”

Back in October, when BBC News was still making an effort to report major incidents in the ongoing wave of Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis, the theme of ‘lone wolf attacks’ was frequently seen in the corporation’s coverage. In cases in which the terrorists had known affiliations with terror groups such as Hamas or with the Palestinian Authority and/or Fatah, those connections have for the most part been downplayed or ignored in BBC reporting. The incitement and glorification of terrorism which have underpinned the current wave of violence have not been adequately covered by the BBC and the corporation has instead opted to promote the PLO approved narrative according to which the hundreds of stabbings, vehicular attacks and shootings perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists over the last three months stem from ‘frustration’ at the lack of a political solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

This recent discovery of a Hamas-run terror cell in Jerusalem clearly does not fit into that narrative either and so – like the many previous stories concerning Hamas’ attempts to strengthen its infrastructure outside the Gaza Strip – it has not made BBC headlines.

A BBC interviewee resurfaces as source of inaccurate news-agency report

Our colleagues Tamar Sternthal and Gidon Shaviv recently prompted corrections to an article produced by Associated Press.

“”They (Israelis) are trying to uproot us from Jerusalem, they are stealing the houses, the trees and the stones of the city,” laments Nura Sub-Laban, a Palestinian woman featured in The Associated Press article today by Karin Laub and Mohammed Daraghmeh (“Palestinian eviction case spotlights Jerusalem settler push“).

Set against the backdrop of the disputed “gold-topped Dome of the Rock,” AP’s account of the looming eviction of Sub-Laban from their home in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter reflects a narrative of supposed Jewish encroachment in the holy city at the expense of dispossessed Palestinians, blameless “victims of discriminatory use of Israeli property law.” 

It is also fundamentally wrong, based as it is on a grossly misrepresented basic facts about the Sub-Laban case, initially ignoring critical essential information and falsely casting it as part “of a wider settlement campaign.””World Service

The main source of the inaccurate information originally appearing in that AP report is one Ahmed Sub-Laban and if the name rings a bell for BBC Watchers, that is probably because the partisan testimonies of that employee (and others) of the foreign-funded political NGO ‘Ir Amim’ have also been used by the BBC in the past – but without the necessary “summarising” of his “standpoint” demanded by BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality.

As this AP story clearly shows, transparency concerning the affiliations of NGO employees used as sources or interviewees and accurate presentation of the political agenda of such sources of information is paramount if the BBC is to be able to claim that the news it provides to its audiences is impartial. 

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – November 2015

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks during November 2015 shows that throughout the month a total of 326 incidents took place: 265 in Judea & Samaria, 52 in Jerusalem, 5 inside the ‘green line’ and 4 incidents in the Gaza Strip, including two missile attacks and one mortar attack.

The agency recorded 249 attacks with petrol bombs, ten shooting attacks, 38 attacks using explosive devices, eight vehicular attacks and 17 stabbing attacks.

Ten people were killed in those attacks (nine Israelis and one Palestinian citizen). Five of the fatalities were the result of shooting attacks, four occurred in stabbing attacks and one in a vehicular attack. Fifty-eight people were wounded: 12 in shooting attacks, 22 in stabbing attacks and 24 in vehicular attacks.

The first BBC News website reporting of any incidents came on November 8th and it followed a hiatus in coverage which had in fact begun in the latter part of the previous month.

Among at least ten attacks ignored by the BBC during the first week of November was a vehicular attack which took place on November 4th at Halhul junction. Those wounded in that attack included St. Sgt. Binyamin Yakobovitch who succumbed to his injuries four days later. There was no BBC News coverage of the attack itself or of St.Sgt Yakobovitch’s later death.

In a report relating to another topic which appeared on the BBC News website’s US & Canada page on November 9th brief, vague and inaccurate references were made to four attacks which took place on November 8th and 9th.

“Six Israelis were wounded in knife attacks by Palestinians on Sunday. A Palestinian who drew a knife on Israeli guards was shot dead on Monday. […]

On Monday morning a Palestinian woman was shot dead when she ignored warnings to stop after approaching security guards with a knife at a crossroads in the West Bank, Israeli officials said.

In the West Bank city of Nablus on Sunday, four Israelis were struck by a car driven by a Palestinian man, who was then killed by security forces.”

An article appearing on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on November 10th documented three attacks which took place on that day.

The murders of Rabbi Ya’akov Litman and his son Netanel near Otniel on November 13th were reported in an article titled “Israelis killed in West Bank as Palestinians shot dead“.

The murders of Rabbi Aharon Yesayev and Reuven Aviram in Tel Aviv on November 19th and the murders of  Ezra SchwartzYaakov Don, and Shadi Arafa at Alon Shvut junction on the same day were reported in an article titled “Palestinian attacks in Israel and West Bank kill five” although none of the victims were named.

An attack in Kiryat Gat on November 21st in which four people were wounded was reported and on the next day the BBC News website reported three incidents, including the stabbing attack at Gush Etzion junction in which Hadar Buchris was murdered.

On November 23rd the BBC News website announced “Fresh deaths in Jerusalem and West Bank violence“. Three of four incidents which took place on that day were reported, including the murder of Cpl. Ziv Mizrahi at a petrol station on Route 443.

Terror attacks which took place between November 25th and November 30th inclusive did not receive any coverage on the BBC News website.

In all, the BBC News website reported seventeen of the total 326 attacks which took place during November. Nine of the ten fatalities were reported although fewer than half were identified by name.

Missiles fired from the Gaza Strip on November 17th and November 23rd and two additional incidents in that location did not receive any BBC News website coverage.

Table Nov 15

As of the end of November 2015, the BBC had reported on 3.25% of the terror attacks which took place since the beginning of the year. Coverage of Israeli fatalities stood at 78% whilst 100% of Palestinian fatalities and 100% of foreign national fatalities had been reported.

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – October 2015 – part one

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – October 2015 – part two

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – September 2015 & Q3 2015


BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine fails to challenge another Galloway lie about Israel

h/t JS

The December 14th edition of BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show included an item (from 01:38:30 here) about British resident and former Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer who had previously appeared on a BBC Two television programme.Jeremy Vine

The item included discussion with George Galloway and a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Col. Richard Kemp, who happened to be speaking from Jerusalem.

On two occasions during the conversation Galloway made gratuitous references to Kemp’s location:

01:44:37 – “That is a libel. It’s defamatory. It’s a deliberate smear and lie and no wonder it’s coming from Jerusalem.”

01:48:13 – “Well I really don’t think we should be putting Shaker Aamer on trial here on the radio; least of all with the prosecutor being in Jerusalem – that well-known torture centre.” [emphasis added]

Presenter Jeremy Vine made no effort to challenge that inaccurate, off-topic and deliberately defamatory statement from a man infamous for his anti-Israel agenda.

Seeing as only recently the BBC Complaints department went out of its way to defend another inaccurate claim from the same interviewee, it may be unrealistic to expect a satisfactory outcome to any complaints made about this programme.

Unfortunately for the BBC’s reputation as a serious, accurate and impartial broadcaster, the precedent set by that obfuscation of its editorial guidelines on accuracy means that it has relegated itself to being the street-corner sandwich-board for the Israel-obsessed Galloway’s opportunistic lies – even when completely different topics are under discussion.

Related Articles:

BBC One fails to correct George Galloway’s lie about Israeli policy

BBC Complaints conflates opinion with facts


Jeremy Vine show contact details

Jeremy Vine on Twitter