No BBC coverage of antisemitism at event organised by its most promoted NGO

An anti-Israel demonstration which took place in the heart of London on September 9th, ostensibly to protest a two-day visit to the UK by the Israeli prime minister, received no coverage on the BBC News website on the day that it took place.

That editorial decision is all the more interesting when one considers that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – which organised the protest – and some of its supporting groups are not infrequently promoted on BBC platforms.

demo London organisers

demo London woman with placard

credit: Sussex Friends of Israel

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign was in fact the non-Israeli NGO most promoted in BBC Israel-related content during 2014. Only recently BBC audiences saw coverage of another event organised, among others, by the PSC, the Stop the War Coalition and Friends of Al Aqsa. FoAA’s Ismail Patel has appeared on various BBC programmes, as have the spokesperson for ‘War on Want’ and representatives of FOSIS.

It would therefore have been relevant for audiences to be made aware of the fact that an event organised by groups to which the BBC frequently gives a platform was marked by hate speech, antisemitism and support for terrorism.

For example, as the Jewish News reports (link includes video):

“A pro-Palestinian protester waved a penny at pro-Israel demonstrators and shouted “you only understand money”, before police placed handcuffs on him. […]

In the short clip filmed outside Whitehall by the Zionist Federation UK, he tells pro-Israel demonstrators: “Here have a penny..” adding “you only understand money” a number of times.”demo London Hizb flags 2

A woman identified as Pamela Hardyment felt free to advocate ethnic cleansing and genocide of Israeli Jews on camera.

“In another incident caught on camera, a […] woman tells Israel supporters that the Jews in Israel should “go into the sea, they’re not coming here.

“We would absolutely march against Zionists coming here as refugees,” added the woman, clad in a keffiyeh and carrying an umbrella bearing the word “Palestine.”

“So you want another Holocaust?” the pro-Israel activist asks her. “I don’t know what the Holocaust is,” she replies.

“I want them out of Israel,” the woman says later in the video, referring to Israeli Jews.

“You’ll have to kill them all,” says a voice off camera. “Well, so be it,” she responds as she walks off.”

The first mention of that demonstration came a whole day after it took place in an article titled “Netanyahu urges action to stop Middle East ‘disintegrating’” which appeared on the BBC News website’s UK and Middle East pages on September 10th. There readers were told that:

“Campaigners clashed ahead of the visit.

Protesters demanding Mr Netanyahu’s arrest for alleged war crimes in Gaza clashed with pro-Israel activists on Wednesday.”

Clearly that is not an accurate or comprehensive portrayal of the demonstration, so perhaps the BBC would like to share with its funding public the editorial considerations behind the airbrushing of antisemitism, hate speech and support for terrorist groups from the picture it presented to its audiences?

Related Articles:

When criticism of Israel crosses the line to extreme antisemitism: London edition   (UK Media Watch) 



BBC fails to tell audiences what was really behind Cardiff football match demo

Notable aspects of BBC promotion of its coverage of the September 6th football match between Israel and Wales included the gratuitous use of an image showing a flag belonging to neither of the countries participating in the game and no less ‘creative’ use of an apostrophe.

BBC Wales vs Israel flag

BBC Wales vs Israel 5live

Visitors to the BBC News website’s Wales page also found a short article headlined “Pro and anti-Israel demonstrations ahead of Euro game” but in the body of the article the demonstrators previously accurately described as ‘anti-Israel’ became “protestors backing Palestine”.Wales game art

“Protestors backing Palestine and supporters of Israel have held counter demonstrations ahead of Wales’ crunch Euro 2016 qualifier in Cardiff.

Up to 2,000 people joined a march for Palestine from City Hall towards Cardiff City Stadium, where Wales kicks off against Israel at 17:00 BST.”

Whilst other media outlets quoted smaller numbers of participants (WalesOnline had 75% of the BBC’s figure, the Guardian used the term “hundreds” and Ha’aretz “a few hundred”), the outstanding feature of this report is its evasive representation of the organisers of the demonstration and their motives.

“Organisers claim sport is being used as a public relations tool by Israel. […]

The pro-Palestine protest was organised by Fair Play for Palestine, with calls for Israel to be stripped of its membership of football’s governing body, Fifa.”

Readers are not told that the Palestinian delegation to the FIFA congress held at the end of May dropped its motion to have Israel suspended from the organization or that FIFA’s executive committee ruled that the Congress “cannot interfere into political territories”.BBC Wales vs Israel demo poster 

Neither are they told that the organisations behind the ‘Fair Play for Palestine’ campaign (and the demonstration in Cardiff) are the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Stop the War Coalition, Friends of Al Aqsa (headed by Ismail Patel) and a straw-man front called ‘Red Card Israeli Racism’ which includes some of the above actors and which aligns itself with the BDS campaign.

“Our campaign activists are mostly British or Irish members of organisations that strive to support the Palestinian people: PSC (Palestinian Solidarity Campaign), FOA (Friends of Al-Aqsa), JBIG (Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods), BIN (Boycott Israel Network) and BNC (Boycott National Committee, Palestine). We see our work as part of the wider BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) activity that was formally established by Palestinians in 2005. We are part of a group of several European nations active in this area.” [emphasis added]

Without that essential information, BBC audiences were of course deprived of the opportunity to understand that this story is actually not about football at all but concerns yet another of the quotidian attempts to delegitimize Israel by the usual small groups of extremist political actors – as captured on camera by one photographer present.

BBC Wales vs Israel Demotix pic

However, seeing as the BBC does not think its job includes informing audiences of the BDS campaign’s full agenda, the omission of that vital background information is entirely in keeping with the corporation’s existing editorial approach to this issue.   

Related Articles:

Wind in the sails of Jibril Rajoub’s anti-Israel campaign from BBC WS WHYS

Kevin Connolly continues the BBC’s amplification of anti-Israel delegitimisation

BBC frames anti-Israel delegitimisation campaign as a sports story

BBC Radio Wales promotes and endorses anti-Israel activist with a penchant for Nazi analogy

BBC Radio Wales promotes and endorses anti-Israel activist with a penchant for Nazi analogy

The ‘Stop the War Coalition’ is just about the last organisation one would approach for rational, impartial, factual and informative comment on anything connected to the Middle East. As has been noted here before, the StWC:

“… collaborates with 9/11 ‘troofers’ and antisemites such as Lowkey. It supports the annual Al Quds Day anti-Israel hate-fest organized in London by the Khomenist-regime’s UK supporters at the IHRC. It dabbles in anti-Americanism and antisemitism of its own and has rallied in support of the Assad regime in Syria and the Iranian dictatorship.” 

Nevertheless, that was precisely the group from which BBC Radio Wales solicited comment in an item concerning Cardiff council’s cancellation of a photography exhibition showing coexistence in Israel through football less than a day after it opened which was broadcast on September 4th on its ‘Good Evening Wales’ programme.BBC Radio Wales Cardiff exhib

As readers are no doubt aware, the BBC’s editorial guidelines on impartiality demand that the “viewpoint” of interviewees be clarified to audiences.

“We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities) are unbiased and we may need to make it clear to the audience when contributors are associated with a particular viewpoint, if it is not apparent from their contribution or from the context in which their contribution is made.”

However, no adequate clarification was in evidence when presenter Gareth Lewis introduced the first section of this two-part item (available from 36:36 here for a limited period of time).

Lewis: “The Israeli embassy has called Cardiff Council ‘outrageous’ for ending early an exhibition about multi-faith football between Jews and Palestinians just days before the Wales-Israel European qualifying match. Cardiff Council said it received a complaint about the exhibition and was made aware of the potential for a large demonstration outside the city’s main library where the exhibition was being held. It also said it didn’t want to be seen as displaying political bias. Well, Adam Johannes joins us. He’s from the Stop the War Coalition. Good to have you with us.”

That brief introduction of course did nothing to inform listeners of the “particular viewpoint” lying behind the inaccurate information they heard from Johannes during the next four and a half minutes, which included the following:

Palestinian 'footballer' Ayman Alkurd killed in 2009 (photo: Elder of Ziyon)

Palestinian ‘footballer’ Ayman Alkurd – killed in 2009 (photo: Elder of Ziyon)

Johannes: “Erm, well, I think the exhibition should have never really been staged in the first place. It was sponsored by the Israeli embassy. It was essentially, I think, a PR stunt to gloss over the reality of football in the Middle East which is a very serious situation. For instance – if I can give you an example – over the last decade or so four players in the Palestinian national team have lost their lives at the hands of the Israeli military. Other players have been detained without trial sometimes for months or years. Players are regularly prevented from attending matches. The Palestinian national team for instance…Israel is playing in Wales but at the same time Israel’s preventing Palestinian players going from Gaza to the West Bank to play an important match against the UAE. So when you have a country which prevents other, you know, other FIFA members from playing football, then really I think we have to say that Israel – until it allows Palestinians to play football – should be expelled from UEFA and FIFA.”BBC radio Wales Cardiff cogat tweets

Gareth Lewis made no effort to provide listeners with the much-needed context deliberately omitted by Johannes. He failed to tell them that it is the known connections of some Palestinian footballers to terrorist organisations which have brought about their detention. He neglected to inform BBC audiences that at least three of those four players who “lost their lives at the hands of the Israeli military” were active members of terrorist organisations (two Hamas and one PIJ) who took part in fighting against Israel during Operation Cast Lead. And he omitted any mention of the fact that it is precisely issues such as those above which make security checks for Palestinian footballers exiting the Gaza Strip necessary and that the topic of movement is often more complex than meets the eye.

Lewis also failed to correct the misleading impression created by Johannes’ risible claim that “Palestinians want to keep politics out of sport” by informing listeners of Jibril Rajoub’s record of coopting sport precisely for political purposes. He neglected to inform audiences of the all-important context behind the following statement from Johannes:

“….the Palestine stadium in Gaza has been bombed twice by the Israeli military – the main football stadium, you know, for Palestinians….”

 And Lewis obviously had no concerns about providing Johannes with a BBC platform for the promotion of additional crude delegitimisation:

“…remember the days of apartheid South Africa. People used to hold up these small examples of coexistence […] to gloss over the fundamental reality of institutionalized racism, of apartheid.”

Later on in the programme (from 1:35:55 here) a further five minutes were devoted to the same topic and the interviewee this time was the Israeli embassy in London’s spokesman, Yiftach Curiel. Introduced by presenter Peter Johnson, the segment began with an edited rerun of some of Johannes’ propaganda, again without adequate clarification concerning the views of man and his organisation.

Johnson: “Well earlier on this programme we spoke to Adam Johannes from the Stop the War Coalition who was supporting the withdrawal of the exhibition. He said it glossed over the reality of the situation in the Middle East.”

Johannes: “Erm, well, I think the exhibition should have never really been staged in the first place. It was sponsored by the Israeli embassy. It was essentially, I think, a PR stunt to gloss over the reality of football in the Middle East which is a very serious situation. For instance – if I can give you an example – over the last decade or so four players in the Palestinian national team have lost their lives at the hands of the Israeli military. Other players have been detained without trial sometimes for months or years. Players are regularly prevented from attending matches. So when you have a country which prevents other, you know, other FIFA members from playing football, then really I think we have to say that Israel – until it allows Palestinians to play football – should be expelled from UEFA and FIFA.”

Johnson: “Adam Johannes of the Stop the War Coalition speaking on this programme a little earlier.”BBC Radio Wales Cardiff Johannes FB PSC

In addition to failing once again to provide the much-needed missing background and context to Johannes’ claims broadcast to listeners twice within the space of an hour, during his conversation with Curiel, Johnson even told audiences that they were legitimate.

Johnson: “OK, the point that Adam Johannes made is a valid one – that it isn’t actually easy for Palestinians to play football in the Middle East and that Israel has actually impeded the travel of Palestinian footballers. I mean that much is true.” [emphasis added]

Ironically in an item laden with anti-Israel propaganda, Johnson later added:

“There will be those, Yiftach, who merely see this [exhibition] as an opportunity for Israeli propaganda in Wales….”

So what should BBC Radio Wales have told its listeners about Adam Johannes before it provided him with an unhindered platform for partisan political messaging which even got BBC endorsement from Peter Johnson?

Here, in his own words, is Johannes’ bio from a site called ‘Radical Wales’:

BBC Radio Wales Johannes bio

Audiences should also obviously have been told that Johannes has been involved in football-related anti-Israel campaigning for some time and is one of those involved in organizing the opportunistic agitprop ahead of the Israel-Wales match in Cardiff. Listeners would also have been better able to put Johannes’ contribution to this programme into its correct context had BBC Radio Wales bothered to tell them that he is fond of using Nazi analogies during his anti-Israel campaigning, as the following example from 2012 shows.

Not only did BBC Radio Wales clearly breach its own editorial guidelines by failing to provide listeners with any of the very relevant background on Adam Johannes or the ‘Stop the War Coalition’, but it also materially misled audiences on the topic of Palestinian football by failing to provide the facts and context missing from its interviewee’s politically motivated diatribe.  

Related Articles:

Beyond the BBC narrative: Cardiff, coexistence and Israel

BBC yet again conceals terror connections of Palestinian ‘footballers’


BBC Radio Wales – contact details

BBC Complaints






Paris synagogue attacks ignored by BBC

This is a screenshot of the BBC News website’s Europe page on the morning of July 14th 2014: Europe page 14 7 This is what happened in Paris the evening before:

“Media reports said that hundreds of Jews were trapped inside a synagogue in the area and police units were sent to rescue them.

A person in the synagogue told Israel’s Channel 2 news that protesters hurled stones and bricks at the building, “like it was an intifada.”

Riot police dispersed the group, with two members of the Jewish community and six officers slightly injured in the ensuing scuffle, the source said. […]

A second synagogue was also attacked.[…]

Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the attempted synagogue stormings “in the strongest possible terms”.

“Such acts targeting places of worship are unacceptable,” he said in a statement.

“I am profoundly shocked and revolted. This aggression towards the Jewish community has taken an absolutely unacceptable turn,” Joel Mergei, president of the Israelite Central Consistory of France, told AFP.”

In contrast, the BBC did elect to report on what it bizarrely termed a protest “against the BBC’s coverage of the conflict in the Middle East – and the conflict itself” in Manchester on July 12th. Obviously the BBC has not yet come to terms with the fact that the current upsurge of violence in the Gaza Strip and Israel is not the conflict in the Middle East.  That may perhaps be explained by the fact that BBC journalists apparently read (and saw fit to link to) the website of a pro-Assad supposed ‘anti-war’ organization which could not be bothered to rally itself on behalf of the 170,000 dead, 680,000 injured and five million refugees in Syria.

“A second rally was organised by the Stop the War Coalition in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens, in protest at what the group says is “the brutal intensification of violence” at hands of the Israelis. […]

More than 20 anti-war protests were planned around the country over the weekend, according to Stop the War Coalition’s website.” 

Surreal.  Related Articles: BBC again dithering (impartially, of course) over antisemitism

BBC gives air time to ‘Stop the War Coalition’

BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme of December 29th featured a short discussion between the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland, Lindsey German of the ‘Stop the War Coalition’ and guest editor Ann Lesley on the subject of anti-Americanism in the UK. The relevant section of the broadcast can be heard here under the heading 7:51 and its synopsis reads: 

“Do we hold America to a higher moral standard than other countries? Our guest editor Ann Leslie thinks Britain is anti-American, we say nothing when Arabs kill other Arabs, but we heap criticism on the United States if it is responsible for any deaths. She suggests it is a form of racism. Jonathan Freedland writes for the Guardian and New York Times and has written about our mismatched attitudes. Lindsey German is convenor of the Stop the War Coalition and co-author of A People’s History of London.”

At 02:00 in the clip, German says: [emphasis added] 

“I think it beggars belief really that eleven years after the war on terror began when we’ve seen wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya, there are threats now to intervene in Syria and in Iran, that Israel is backed up to the tune of $3 billion a year by the US and all these things I think lead to a great deal of criticism in this country and around the world.”

Lindsey German – being Lindsey German – has of course nothing to say about Iranian funding for terror organisations such as Hamas and Hizballah. Neither, apparently, does she appear to think that what Americans chose to do with their own money is their business or to comprehend that – as stated in November 2011 by the Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs:

“In sum, while our commitment to Israel’s security is rooted in our shared values and outlook, we don’t provide assistance out of charity. We provide assistance because it benefits our security.”

At 04:54, German goes on to say:

“Most of the refugees, if you look in the world, are from Afghanistan, Iraq – as a result of the wars – and from Palestine.”

Statistics provided by the UNHCR at the end of 2010 put the total number of refugees in the world at 15.4 million – of those, 4.82 million Palestinians. Of the 10.58 non-Palestinian refugees, 3.05 million are from Afghanistan and 1.7 million from Iraq.

However, the UNHCR does not include in its refugee figures Internally Displaced Persons, and in that category it placed a further 27 million people in 2010 – mostly from Libya, the Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Sudan. UNRWA, of course, does not count Palestinian refugees living under Palestinian rule in the Gaza Strip (1,167,572 in January 2012) or the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories (727,471 in January 2012) as repatriated refugees or IDPs. 

Uniquely, those Palestinians remain refugees because unlike the UNHCR, which constantly strives to reduce the number of refugees and DIPs and which in 2010 repatriated 197,600 refugees to their countries of origin and resettled 98,800 more in other countries, UNRWA has not made any effort since its establishment to reduce the number of Palestinian refugees either by resettlement or by ending the hereditary status of refugees of Palestinian origin. And of course like the Arab dictatorships which Lindsey German and her fringe organization support, she has nothing to say against the manipulation and exploitation of Palestinian refugees for political purposes. 

Whilst the BBC is committed according to its Editorial Guidelines on impartiality to making sure that “no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or under-represented”, the question which must be asked is do unchallenged, context-free sound bites put out by a member of an extremist, fringe organization such as the ‘Stop the War Coalition’ indeed represent anything approaching a “significant” opinion?

After the 2005 terror attacks in London, at a rally which included Hamas supporter Azzam Tamimi among its speakers, Lindsey German said:

“We are here to stand up for the truth about the terrible bombings. The establishment says that they were nothing to with Iraq and the war on terror — it is to do with evil ideology.

“But the government would say that. The government is saying that the Muslim community should put their house in order, but we have to ask the government to put its own house in order.

“The government and Tony Blair is in denial about what has happened. Today we are standing together. We are not going to be divided by witch-hunts and racism.

“The only way to end the bombings is to withdraw from Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. When we have justice around the world we will have peace as well.”

German’s organization collaborates with 9/11 ‘troofers’ and antisemites such as Lowkey. It supports the annual Al Quds Day anti-Israel hate-fest organized in London by the Khomenist-regime’s UK supporters at the IHRC. It dabbles in anti-Americanism and antisemitism of its own and has rallied in support of the Assad regime in Syria and the Iranian dictatorship. Here is Lindsey German in London in 2012, speaking to the 200 or so people her organization managed to muster in support of the Assad regime whilst her fellow travelers harass Iranian democracy activists: 

The question is why does the BBC appear to believe that the pro-dictatorship, anti-Israel, anti-American views of a minuscule sect of opinion within the British public represent a “significant strand of thought” worth amplifying. 


BBC-quotee Seumas Milne whipping up the crowd against Israel

Readers may remember that we recently drew attention to the fact that on its ‘live updates’ page which ran in the Middle East section of the BBC News website during Operation ‘Pillar of Cloud’, the BBC saw fit to promote an article by the Guardian’s Seumas Milne on November 20th 2012. 

As we remarked at the time:

“As you see, the BBC informs readers that:

“The Guardian’s Seamus Milne says in a new article that looking at the timeline of events, Israel is responsible for the military escalation that led to the current conflict.”

Well, seeing as the BBC has been pushing that theme incessantly for the past week at least, it is hardly surprising that it would promote the same kind of selective vision from a fellow bird of a feather. Not surprisingly, Milne’s screed also promotes another favourite BBC trope: ‘it’s all because of the elections’.

But that is not all that Milne’s BBC-endorsed article says. It also condones rocket attacks and other forms of violence against Israeli civilians, glorifies terror and even calls for the further arming of Palestinian militias.”

A few days later, on November 24th, Milne was to be found on the streets of London at a ‘Stop the War Coalition’ rally (the organisers perhaps had been too busy to notice that a cease fire came into effect two days previously) – once more inciting violence against Israeli civilians. 

In case anyone is wondering who the person presenting Milne is, allow us to introduce Mohammed Kozbar. Here he is (second from the right) pictured at the Gaza Legislature building with a delegation from the Muslim Brotherhood-linked ‘charity’ Interpal – which is proscribed by Israel and the United States due to its links to the Hamas-financing ‘Union of Good’. 

Does the BBC’s News website editor still think that the citation of Milne as an ‘authority’ on events in the Middle East represents the kind of balanced, accurate and impartial information to the corporation’s audiences are entitled?