BBC’s favourite Norwegian doctor given multiple platforms for medical agitprop

On November 14th the Twitter account linked to the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Outside Source’ promoted a segment from that day’s broadcast as a stand-alone item.

OS Tweet Mads Gilbert

That podcast can be heard here. The programme from which it is taken can be heard here for a limited period of time, with the relevant item beginning at 36:55. Presenter Chloe Tilley introduced the item as follows:

“Now, people who listen regularly to ‘Outside Source’ may be familiar with the name Mads Gilbert. He’s a Norwegian doctor who has spoken to us lots on the programme and he’s been told he’s been banned from Gaza for the foreseeable future over Israeli government claims he poses a security threat. Dr Gilbert’s been travelling to Gaza to treat patients for over 15 years and he told Outside Source’s Louise Webster what had happened.”

Of course Mads Gilbert has not only been frequently featured on the BBC World Service, but on a variety of other BBC platforms too and, as has so frequently been the case in the past, in this item no attempt whatsoever was made to correct the misleading impressions received by BBC audiences as a result of Gilbert’s promotion of unchallenged propaganda.OS podcast Mads Gilbert

“The fundamental reason for the ill-health in the population in Gaza is of course the siege and the bombing.”

“The siege of Gaza of course has to be lifted. We cannot accept the siege is now also including international medical staff who seek to support the medical sector in Gaza. That is totally unacceptable.”

“Well, I think – you know – the siege of Gaza has been going on for seven years now and they have been denied all sorts of daily commodities; building material, medical supplies and so on. And it seems like the Israeli authorities are also trying to limit the number of foreigners who are allowed to travel through Israel to Gaza. So what is lost is actually the flow of information about the realities in Gaza and we need to know what is the circumstances and the situation for the population in Gaza.”

In fact the main causes of death in the Gaza Strip are cardiovascular disease, cancer and cerebrovascular disease. There is, of course, no “siege” on the Gaza Strip, but nevertheless the BBC still continues to energetically promote that particular falsehood. As we had cause to note here on numerous occasions during this summer’s conflict, the issue of shortages of medical supplies in the Gaza Strip has nothing to do with the restriction on the entry of dual-use goods imposed by Israel as part of counter-terrorism measures and in fact arises from long-standing disputes between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Clearly too, Gilbert’s hysterical claim of a limit or ban on foreign medical staff travelling to Gaza is a gross distortion.

So yet again we see the BBC providing an unhindered platform for Mads Gilbert to promote his usual deliberate misinformation.

In the full version of the item, Gilbert’s monologue was followed by Chloe Tilley informing listeners that:

“…an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman told Outside Source that an investigation was underway into Dr Gilbert, who he described as a ‘Jekyll & Hyde figure hiding behind a cloak of being a humanitarian doctor’. He said there was strong suspicion that he had been involved in matters relating to supporting terror activities. An investigation is underway and Dr Gilbert’s position would be reassessed when it came to a conclusion.”

That statement was omitted from the version of the item promoted on Twitter, a link to which also appeared in a written article titled “Israel bans Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert from Gaza” published on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on November 14th. That article further amplified Gilbert’s inaccurate “siege” propaganda:Gilbert on website

“”The fundamental reason for the ill health of the population in Gaza is of course the siege and the bombing,” he said.”

It also told readers that:

“In July, Dr Gilbert was one of the co-signatories in a strongly-worded letter denouncing Israeli action in Gaza, published in the medical journal, the Lancet.”

Notably, the BBC made no effort to inform audiences of the controversy surrounding that letter when two of Gilbert’s co-signatories were found to have a history of disseminating antisemitic material or of the Lancet editor’s subsequent comments on the issue.

The BBC knows full well that there is no “siege” on the Gaza Strip and it should by now also be aware of the fact that Israel does not pose any limitations on the entry of medical supplies. However, it continues to mislead BBC audiences worldwide by providing an unhindered platform for Mads Gilbert’s promotion these falsehoods, thus clearly breaching its own supposed editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality.

Related Articles:

The reality behind the BBC’s promotion of information from medics in Gaza

Hamas terminology and propaganda in BBC’s ‘Hardtalk’ interview with Mads Gilbert

BBC’s Middle East editor promotes Amnesty International’s Gaza report

Amnesty International is one of several organisations which have sadly deviated from their original important purpose by allowing politics to dominate their agenda in the Middle East. AI’s anti-Israel reports – now legend for their bias and faulty methodology - are frequently promoted and quoted by the BBC. During this summer’s conflict in Israel and the Gaza Strip, BBC news reports repeatedly used statements from AI to advance the notion of Israeli wrongdoing.

Amnesty International’s latest report was published on November 5th and as usual is based on subjective ‘eye witness’ accounts. Predictably the report reaches the conclusion that the incidents it examined are evidence that: “[t]he repeated, disproportionate attacks on homes indicate that Israel’s current military tactics are deeply flawed and fundamentally at odds with the principles of international humanitarian law”.

Of course any objective assessment of whether or not a specific Israeli action adhered to principles of proportionality is dependent upon the assessor being familiar with their target and perceived military benefit. There is no evidence to suggest that the writers of this AI report were privy to such information.

Amnesty International further concludes that:

“Given the failure of Israeli and Palestinian authorities to independently and impartially investigate allegations of war crimes, it is imperative that the international community support the involvement of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Amnesty International is renewing its calls on Israel and the Palestinian authorities to accede to the Rome Statute and grant the ICC the authority to investigate crimes committed in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The organization is also calling for the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Israel and the OPT to the ICC so that the prosecutor can investigate allegations of crimes under international law by all parties.”

With Amnesty International being one of the NGOs involved in political warfare against Israel, it is hardly surprising to find it promoting such assertions. And with the BBC having made its own frequent contributions to advancing the agendas of those NGOs engaged in ‘lawfare’ during and after the recent conflict (see here, here and here), it was also not astonishing to see the man responsible for the BBC’s Middle East content promoting that flawed AI report on Twitter.

AI report Bowen Tweet

Another view of Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip this summer provided on November 6th by a man who has somewhat more credible credentials when it comes to assessing military matters.

“The highest-ranking U.S. military officer said on Thursday that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in the recent war in Gaza and that the Pentagon had sent a team to see what lessons could be learned from the operation.

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged recent reports criticizing civilian deaths during the 50-day Gaza war this year but told an audience in New York he thought the Israel Defense Forces “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties. […]

“I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,” Dempsey told the group.

“In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he added. […]

Dempsey said the Pentagon three months ago sent a “lessons-learned team” of senior officers and non-commissioned officers to work with the IDF to see what could be learned from the Gaza operation, “to include the measures they took to prevent civilian casualties and what they did with tunneling.”

The general said civilian casualties during the conflict were “tragic, but I think the IDF did what they could” to avoid them.”

Needless to say, Jeremy Bowen’s one hundred and eleven thousand Twitter followers have, at the time of writing, yet to be informed of General Dempsey’s assessment.

BBC News website yet again fumbles report on Jerusalem terror attack

Any expectations that the BBC might have learned something from the public outcry over its previous miserable reporting of the terror attack in Jerusalem on October 22nd were proved premature on November 5th when another attack using the same modus operandi took place in the city.

Ibrahim al Akari ploughed the van he was driving into a group of people at the Shimon HaTsadik light rail stop. He then continued, driving the vehicle into an additional group of people before getting out of the vehicle and attacking passers-by with a metal crow-bar. One person was killed – Border Police Officer Jidan Assad from Beit Jann – and thirteen others injured – two of them seriously. Police shot and killed the Hamas-affiliated terrorist at the scene and Hamas later claimed responsibility for the attack.

So how did the BBC portray that incident? Yet again the BBC News website’s initial reports gave the impression of a road traffic accident.

Pigua 5 11 on HP

Pigua 5 11 report

Later on that report’s title was changed but with no improvement to the headline’s accuracy: “East Jerusalem pedestrians hit by driver”. Subsequent amendments to the report (see all changes here) saw its title rewritten yet again to read “Jerusalem attack: New ‘Palestinian’ car attack kills one” and later without the superfluous inverted commas: “Jerusalem attack: New Palestinian car attack kills one”.

Unnecessary and misleading punctuation did however still appear in the body of the obviously hastily composed version of the report:

“At least nine others were injured in the “suspected terror attack”, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.”

Similarly, a caption to one of the photographs used to illustrate the article states:

“The authorities have called it a “terrorist” attack”

The report described the location of the attack as follows:

“A driver has rammed a car into several pedestrians in East Jerusalem, killing one person, hours after clashes erupted at the city’s holiest site.” [emphasis added]

That inaccurate description of the location of the Shimon HaTsadik light rail station is misleading to audiences.

Pigua 5 11 map

The report also stated:

“Israeli media reports say the driver – named as Ibrahim al-Akari – was from Shuafat refugee camp in the east of the city and was a supporter of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. However, this has not been confirmed.”

In fact, the Israeli media has described al Akari as being from Shuafat – but has not stated whether the intention is the refugee camp or the village of the same name. With Hamas having already produced a ‘martyrdom poster’ displaying its own logo, the BBC’s caution is clearly redundant.Pigua 5 11 poster

The BBC report once again downplayed recent Palestinian Authority incitement by informing readers that:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of inciting Palestinians to carry out attacks in Jerusalem. Palestinian officials have rejected the charge, saying Mr Netanyahu is fuelling tensions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

No mention was made of the fact that just days before this latest incident the PA president sent a letter of condolence to the family of the terrorist who attempted to murder Rabbi Yehuda Glick which described him as a martyr who “rose to Heaven while defending our people’s rights and holy places”. The BBC also failed to report incitement in the official PA newspaper and social media.

Viewers of BBC television news on the afternoon of November 5th saw a filmed report by Yolande Knell, the website version of which also misled BBC audiences with regard to the location and nature of the incident in both its title – “Driver hits pedestrians in East Jerusalem” – and its original synopsis.

“A driver has rammed a car into several pedestrians in East Jerusalem, police say, hours after clashes erupted at the city’s holiest site.

At least three people were seriously wounded in the “suspected terror attack”, a police spokesman says.”Pigua 5 11 Knell filmed

In the original report at that URL (it has since been replaced by another one) Knell described the vehicle driven by Akari as a “car” rather than a van, wrongly informed viewers that only one person – “a baby girl” – was killed in the similar October 22nd terror attack when in fact there were two casualties and again inaccurately claimed that the Israeli media reported that Akari came from “the Shuafat refugee camp”.

Knell also reported on the rioting earlier in the morning on November 5th at Temple Mount, describing the rioters as “protesters” holding a “sit-in”.

“This was from early this morning. Israeli police had moved into the site to try to clear away a sit-in by Palestinian protesters. They had heard that there were some Jewish Right-wing activists who were planning to visit the site…ahm…and they were sitting there by the Al Aqsa Mosque trying to protect the area, as they saw it.”

The above BBC News website written report now about the terror attack was originally titled “Clashes briefly shut key Jerusalem holy site to visitors” and related to the morning’s rioting on Temple Mount. That article was promoted by the BBC on social media using the inaccurate term “worshippers” to describe rioters throwing rocks and fireworks. It failed to mention the Fatah incitement which preceded that incident.

Pigua 5 11 worshippers

BBC reporting of events in Jerusalem continues to compromise the corporation’s obligations to inform audiences accurately, impartially and fully of the incidents themselves and their background. Until the BBC abandons its own self-censorship on reporting the issue of Palestinian incitement it can only continue to fail to fulfil its public purposes.

Jeremy Bowen compromises BBC impartiality via Twitter

The flimsiness of the BBC Middle East editor’s adherence to editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality in his own Israel-related reporting is by now legend. It therefore came as little surprise to see that Jeremy Bowen applies a similarly politically motivated approach to the issue of the accuracy of content produced by other media outlets which he chooses to promote on social media.

Here is a Tweet sent by Bowen to his one hundred and ten thousand followers on October 29th:

Tweet Bowen buses

Bowen’s intentions are amply evident: he uses an article produced by the supposedly authoritative London Times to promote the notion of a ‘bus ban’ on Palestinians which purportedly shows that Israel is guilty of ‘apartheid’.

The ‘apartheid’ trope – now a prime component in the toolbox of anti-Israel campaigners – is of course employed to portray Israel as a country beyond the pale, the existence of which no right-thinking person can tolerate just as the apartheid regime in South Africa could not be allowed to persist.

However, the Times’ article was inaccurate, as our colleague Adam Levick at CiF Watch demonstrated. Moreover, the Times has since issued a correction to that article – a fact which Jeremy Bowen has to date failed to communicate to the 110 thousand people he misled.

The BBC’s own editorial guidelines on impartiality in news, current affairs and factual output state:

“Presenters, reporters and correspondents are the public face and voice of the BBC – they can have a significant impact on perceptions of whether due impartiality has been achieved.  Our audiences should not be able to tell from BBC output the personal prejudices of our journalists or news and current affairs presenters on matters of public policy, political or industrial controversy, or on ‘controversial subjects’ in any other area.  They may provide professional judgements, rooted in evidence, but may not express personal views in BBC output, including online, on such matters.” 

Similar principles appear in other sections of BBC policy documents on the use of social media with the BBC News social media guidance clearly instructing staff as follows: 

“You shouldn’t state your political preferences or say anything that compromises your impartiality. Don’t sound off about things in an openly partisan way.”

There is no way in which the intentional amplification of an inaccurate article promoting a defamatory slur well-known for its use by anti-Israel campaigners by the man responsible for the BBC’s Middle East content can be viewed as anything other than seriously compromising the BBC’s reputation for impartiality. Likewise, it is patently obvious that this Tweet from Bowen – along with many others – clearly communicates his “personal prejudices” to audiences.

Will the BBC do anything about this latest blatant breach of its own editorial guidelines by a senior member of staff? We’re not holding our breath.

 

Ambiguous BBC reporting on Jerusalem terror attack

On the evening of October 22nd the BBC News website reported on a terror attack which had taken place in Jerusalem a couple of hours previously.  

Abd al Rahman Shaloudi from Silwan ploughed the car he was driving into a group of people waiting at the light rail station at Ammunition Hill, injuring nine of them, including three month-old Haya Zissel Braun who later died from the injuries she sustained. Shaloudi – a member of a known Hamas-linked family who had previously been imprisoned for throwing petrol bombs at motorists – tried to escape the scene on foot and was shot by a member of the security forces, later dying of his wounds. Rioting subsequently took place in the neighbourhoods of Silwan and Issawiya, with at least one motorist injured by stone-throwers.

So what were BBC audiences told about the incident? On the BBC News website’s homepage it was initially presented in language suggesting an accident: “A car hits a group of pedestrians at a Jerusalem railway station, injuring at least nine”.

Pigua Jerusalem on main page

On the website’s Middle East page a similar impression was given.

Pigua Jerusalem on ME pge

The initial version of the BBC News website’s report was also headlined in a manner which made the incident look like a road traffic accident: “Nine hurt as car hits pedestrians at Jerusalem station”. That misleading impression continued in the body of the report with readers encountering the word terror only in the fourth paragraph.

Pigua Jerusalem

The second version of the report (published some two hours later) was presented on the website’s Middle East page under the heading “Jerusalem car ‘attack’ kills baby”.

Pigua Jerusalem on ME pge 2

The link led to the second version of the report – similarly ambiguously titled “Jerusalem car ‘attack’ kills baby at rail station”. Apparently the attack – presented in typical BBC ‘we’re not saying it actually was an attack’ inverted commas – was carried out by a car rather than a person. In the body of that report punctuation was also used to suggest to readers that there is room for doubt as to whether the incident was a terror attack. Three of the victims were described as “American” – the fact that they are also Israeli Jews is not mentioned. The incident was ‘contextualised’ for readers as being part of a “cycle of violence” and inaccurate BBC promotion of the causes of the summer conflict between Israel and Hamas continued with the hundreds of missile attacks on Israeli civilians which preceded the military operation once more erased from audience view. 

Pigua Jerusalem version 2

The report’s third version appeared some six hours after the publication of the initial report. By that time the identity of the victim was known and yet Haya Zissel Braun was not named in the BBC article. At that stage the name, Hamas connections and details of the previous convictions of the perpetrator were also known but the BBC elected to refrain from informing audiences of those details, instead promoting a slightly amended version of the ambiguous and interestingly punctuated statement from the previous version of the report.

“Officials say they are treating it as a “terrorist attack” and that the suspect had previously served time in an Israeli prison “for terrorism”.

Pigua Jerusalem version 3

On official BBC Twitter accounts similar use of punctuation was apparent.

Pigua tweet BBC World 2

Shaloudi’s known Hamas connections were presented exclusively in terms of Israeli claims.

Pigua tweet BBC News

Clearly the BBC’s deliberately ambiguous reporting of this incident fails to provide audiences with the full range of information available in relation to the perpetrator, the victims, the circumstances of the incident itself and the subsequent rioting, thus denying them the ability to reach an accurate understanding of this particular “international issue“. 

When stone-throwing at vehicles does interest the BBC

We have not infrequently had cause to note on these pages the BBC’s general lack of coverage of terror attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, including the issue of attacks on Israeli vehicles. In 2013, more than 2,400 such incidents took place with 116 civilians injured as a result of stone-throwing.

Last month, for example, two such incidents took place on one evening alone.

“A two-and-a-half-year-old infant was lightly wounded by glass shards after unknown perpetrators hurled rockets at a bus in a Jerusalem street. Earlier in the evening, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a bus on Route 505 between Tapuach and Sha’ar Shomron. The bus driver suffered light wounds from glass shards from the windshield of the bus.”

BBC audiences, however, are not informed of the overwhelming majority of the many such incidents taking place just a short drive from the corporation’s Jerusalem offices and do not see photographs such as the one below.

Photo credit: Ynet

Photo credit: Ynet

In contrast, BBC audiences have recently been shown the photographs below on the BBC News website, on BBC television news and on Twitter.

Top Gear written

Top Gear filmed

Top Gear tweet

Obviously, the BBC does consider stone-throwing attacks on vehicles to be a topic of interest to its audiences – when the story is about the BBC. 

BBC’s Jon Donnison breaches editorial guidelines in straw-clutching Tweet

“Presenters, reporters and correspondents are the public face and voice of the BBC – they can have a significant impact on perceptions of whether due impartiality has been achieved.  Our audiences should not be able to tell from BBC output the personal prejudices of our journalists or news and current affairs presenters on matters of public policy, political or industrial controversy, or on ‘controversial subjects’ in any other area.  They may provide professional judgements, rooted in evidence, but may not express personal views in BBC output, including online, on such matters.”    

(Source: BBC Editorial Guidelines, section 4.4.13)

On August 18th the BBC’s Jon Donnison (now back in Sydney after his recent brief yet ignominious return to Middle East reporting) sent the following tweet:

Tweet Donnison Pappe

There is no doubt that BBC audiences can discern the precise nature of Donnison’s “personal prejudices” from his promotion of the video in that Tweet. There is also no doubt that they can determine the type of ideology which underlies his reporting and commentary on Israel and the common disregard for accuracy shared by Donnison and Pappe.

However, there is also another layer to the promotion of this video by Donnison to his 17.6 thousand followers a whole 22 days after it initially appeared. Perusal of the transcript of the video shows that Donnison makes a cameo appearance in its content.

“AMY GOODMAN [presenter]: Professor Pappé, over the weekend, BBC correspondent Jon Donnison reported on what was called an Israeli admission that Hamas was not responsible for the killing of the three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in June. On Twitter, Donnison said Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told him the suspects who killed the three teenagers were a lone cell affiliated with Hamas but not operating under its leadership. What is the significance of this?”

As we know, Donnison’s politically motivated claims designed to exonerate Hamas and discredit Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip have since unraveled, but it would appear that Donnison is still trying to cling to any vestige of his reputation as a journalist and that he misguidedly believes that Pappe’s answer to that question somehow supports his fabricated story.Donnison

“ILAN PAPPÉ: It’s very significant, because this was, of course, known to the Israelis the moment they heard about this abduction and the killing of the three young settlers. It was very clear that Israel was looking for a pretext to try and launch both a military operation in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip in order to try and bring back the situation in Palestine to what it was during the failed peace process, with a sort of good domicile, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in a way that they could forget about it and continue with the colonization of the West Bank without the need to change anything in their attitude or policies. And the depression in the West Bank, the frustration, the anger, especially in May 2014, of the killing of five young Palestinians by the Israeli army, burst out in this local action, this local initiative, that had nothing to do with the strategy of the Hamas, that was willing to try and give Abu Mazen leeway to create a unity government and to try the new initiative—going to the United Nations, going to international bodies, in order to make Israel accountable for more than 46 years of colonization and occupation. So it really highlights the connection between a pretext and a policy and a strategy which has wreaked such carnage in Gaza today.”

However, whilst Jon Donnison continues to cut a pathetic figure by clutching at a straw tossed by one of the most extremist figures from the anti-Israel fringe, his politically motivated fairy-tale crumbles even more.

“Israel’s Shin Bet security service said Monday it thwarted a Hamas coup attempt in the West Bank aimed at toppling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and starting a third intifada uprising

The Shin Bet said it arrested more than 90 Hamas operatives in May and June, confiscated dozens of weapons that had been smuggled into the West Bank, and seized more than $170,000 aimed at funding attacks. It produced photos of the confiscated weapons and cash and a flowchart of the Hamas operatives who had been questioned, and said they planned a series of massive attacks on Israeli targets, including the Temple Mount, in order to start a widespread conflagration. Indictments are expected to be filed against at least 70 of the suspects.

[PA president] Abbas said later Monday that the revelation was “a grave threat to the unity of the Palestinian people and its future”. “

Remarkably, at the time of writing the BBC has maintained total silence on the topic of this recently broken news.

Those wishing to complain about Jon Donnison’s obvious breach of BBC Editorial Guidelines on impartiality may find our guide useful and the BBC’s guidance on social media use is available here

 

 

 

Orla Guerin’s parting shot breaches BBC editorial guidelines

“We apologize for this and would like to assure you that the matter has been raised with the relevant editorial staff at the BBC News Channel, who have been reminded of the need to clearly describe the ideology of such organizations in our coverage.”

According to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Amena Saleem, the above words appeared in an email from the BBC in response to a PSC complaint to the effect that the organization to which an interviewee on BBC News belongs was not adequately described to viewers as stipulated in the BBC’s editorial guidelines and reaffirmed by the BBC ECU in October 2013. However, the BBC’s commitment to the need to “clearly describe the ideology” of organisations to which interviewees are linked obviously lacks consistency – as yet another recent example shows.

On August 13th Orla Guerin filed her parting shot just prior to her departure from the Gaza Strip. That filmed report for BBC television news programmes also appeared on the BBC News website under the title “Gaza conflict: Allegations of war crimes” and was promoted on Twitter by its producer Nicola Careem.

The bulk of Guerin’s report is based on a video put out by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) last month which has of course not been authenticated by the BBC. Guerin opens with a euphemistic description of the ISM as “international activists” which of course in no way informs viewers of that organisation’s ideology: a particularly relevant topic seeing as Guerin’s claims are based on the ISM’s claims.

“This is one of many cases Palestinians want the UN to investigate. International activists searching for the dead and wounded during a brief ceasefire. In the green T-shirt a 22 year-old local man Salem Shemali – looking for relatives. A shot rings out – apparently from an Israeli sniper. Salem was hit but was still calling out, still alive. After two more shots he was dead.”

Guerin of course has no proof (for example, ballistic evidence) that whoever shot Shemali was “an Israeli sniper”, but she also has no qualms about amplifying the ISM’s allegations. The video was filmed in Shuja’iya on July 20th; a neighbourhood which, as readers no doubt recall, civilians had been advised to evacuate several days previously and which was the location of the entrances to cross-border tunnels and considerable Hamas infrastructure.  After hours of fierce fighting there, Hamas requested a short ceasefire via the Red Cross and medical teams and journalists – including the BBCmoved in.Guerin ISM report

Guerin goes on to interview Rina Andolini with the caption on screen reading “International Solidarity Movement”. Again, no effort is made to inform viewers what that organization is or of its close ties to Hamas.

Guerin: “British activist Rina Andolini is the woman in the video – an eye-witness to the killing.”

Andolini: “I mean I’ve never seen anyone pretty much just shot dead in front of me. Erm…and no reason, you know, no reason whatsoever. A young lad, just wanting to look for his family, clearly distressed, as anyone would be in that situation, you know. You go to find your family and you end up dead. Where’s the justice?”

Guerin continues with more amplification of unverified, context-free claims.

“In hospital we found Salem’s uncle Nasser who was injured a week later. He told us Israeli soldiers forced their way into his home and an officer shot him at close range. ‘His face was painted’ he says, ‘but I’d know him anywhere from his eyes’.”

Guerin then goes on to join the ranks of her Middle East Editor in the department of denial of Hamas’ use of human shields.

“While there are growing allegations against Israel, it claims civilians here have been used by militants as human shields but so far there’s been no evidence of that.”

What Guerin’s obviously inadequate understanding of the term human shields does include is not made apparent to viewers, but she then goes on to describe just such a case – although without expanding on the topic of how 20,000 Hamas terrorists firing well over 3,000 missiles managed to “avoid the cameras” for over a month.

“During this conflict Palestinian militants have kept a low profile, avoiding the cameras. But we know that at times they have operated from civilian areas. A rocket was fired from this waste ground about ten days ago. There was no ceasefire at the time. But you can see that just across the road there are people living in these apartments. These images were filmed by Indian TV just up the road. They appear to show militants firing rockets near their hotel.”

The footage which Guerin tells BBC audiences ‘appears’ to show missile fire from a residential area can be seen here. She continues:

“Hamas is accused of breaking international law by firing its rockets indiscriminately into Israel. Hamas says it’s fighting Israel’s occupation.”

Guerin makes no effort to inform viewers that Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip nine years ago or that what Hamas actually says it is fighting is Israel’s existence. She closes:

“Back in the rubble Salem’s mother is calling on Hamas to avenge her son who was about to graduate from college. The Israeli army told us it cannot verify any of the circumstances in the video but is reviewing the case. It says it does not target civilians in any circumstances.”

But by that time of course, Guerin’s amplification of this ISM story has left its impression on BBC viewers who, in contradiction of BBC editorial guidelines, are still none the wiser with regard to the ideologies of the organisation which made, broke and promoted the video. 

They have no idea, for example, that one of the people involved in producing and publicising the video upon which her report is based is Joe Catron of the ISM who was given equally opaque promotion on the BBC World Service on July 31st when he was interviewed about his role as a human shield at Gaza hospitals. They have no idea that one of Catron’s fellow human shields at Wafa hospital was the 32 year-old optical dispenser from the West Midlands Rina Andolini and that both Catron and Andolini have peviously lied to the media about Hamas’ use of that hospital. Viewers are also not told that Ms Andolini’s activities in the Gaza Strip include distributing aid funded by a British charity called Al-Fatiha Global (featured by the BBC in the past in connection to convoys to Syria) which is currently under investigation by the Charity Commission due to “serious concerns about the governance and financial management of the charity”.

And of course most importantly, as a result of all Guerin’s gross omissions viewers are unable to grasp that what she is actually doing in this report is promoting and amplifying the agenda of an organization which since the early days of the second Intifada has been providing financial, logistic and PR support to terrorist organisations which attack Israeli civilians. That information is obviously critical to viewers if they are to be able to put Guerin’s none too veiled accusations of Israeli ‘war crimes’ into objective perspective.

This report’s serious omissions, however, would suggest that neither Guerin nor her producer were keen to allow BBC audiences the privilege of making up their own minds.  

 

 

 

 

 

BBC’s Martin Patience tells TV audiences that Israel attacks UN schools

On the morning of August 3rd official BBC Twitter accounts sent these Tweets among others:

Tweet breaking UN school

Tweet w news UN school

Neither Tweet directly states that Israel was responsible, but of course anyone with experience of the terminology used by the BBC in its reporting from Gaza during the past four weeks (and in general) would know that only Israel “strikes”, “pounds” and “bombards” according to the BBC lexicon.

The BBC News website’s Middle East page headline ran with the headline “Deadly strike ‘at UN school in Gaza’”, with the sub-heading stating more cautiously:

“At least 10 Palestinians are killed and dozens wounded in a strike near another UN school in Gaza, medics in the town of Rafah say.” [emphasis added]

HP UN school 3 8

The article to which that link leads is titled “Gaza crisis: Deadly strike ‘at UN school in Rafah’” and it opens:

“At least 10 people have been killed in a strike near a UN-run school housing Palestinians displaced by the Gaza conflict, medics say.

The attack hit the entrance of the facility in Rafah, where thousands of Palestinians are said to be sheltering.

The Israeli military has not commented but has been carrying out renewed strikes in Gaza.

Gaza health officials say 30 people have died on Sunday, while militants continue to fire rockets into Israel.”

Later on readers are told:

“In the latest attack, eyewitnesses said a missile struck as people queued for food.

At least 30 people were also hurt, Palestinian officials said. Images showed injured children being carried away.

Robert Turner, director of operations for the UN Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza, said: “The locations of all of these installations have been passed to the Israeli military multiple times. They know where these shelters are. How this continues to happen, I have no idea.” “

Apparently Mr Turner (and the BBC) has yet to watch the recent interview with former UNRWA official John Ging – now the director of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations.

Clearly Turner has also yet to see the latest example of mapping of mortar fire from the vicinity of a UN school in the Zeitoun district of Gaza City on August 2nd.

Mortar fire school Zeitoun 2 8

A filmed report by Martin Patience is embedded at the top of that written article. The same report also appeared as a stand-alone item on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the title “Gaza crisis: Chaos after deadly strike ‘at UN school’“. In his report – which was also broadcast to millions of viewers of BBC television news – Patience says:Patience 3 8 Rafah

“Eye witnesses say that it was an Israeli airstrike. It struck at the entrance of this UN school in the southern town of Rafah. Now it’s believed children are among the dead. We also understand that at least thirty others have been injured. Ah…now this is the third deadly attack on a United Nations school since this conflict began. Just last week Israel faced international condemnation after an attack on a UN school left at least 17 dead. Ah…the Israeli military has yet to comment on this latest incident but what we do know is that there’s been very intense fighting in Rafah since Friday morning. That was after it was believed that Hamas militants captured an Israeli soldier. Israel is now saying that it believes that soldier is dead but since the violence began there, dozens of Palestinian officials – according to Palestinian health officials – have been killed in the fighting.”

In other words, BBC television audiences and visitors to the website are being told in no uncertain terms by Patience that not only was this incident an intentional Israeli attack “on” a UN school, but also that Israel UN schools have been the target of Israeli attacks twice before. 

Now let’s take a quick look at how some other journalists reported the same incident. Here’s CNN:

“Chris Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, tweeted that the school was sheltering almost 3,000 internally displaced people.

“I can confirm a shelling incident has caused multiple deaths and injuries in the vicinity of a school,” Gunness told CNN’s New Day on Sunday morning. “I am not saying it was a direct hit, and we are not confirming who it’s by yet. We hope to have more details later.” ” [emphasis added]

Here’s NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel on Twitter: (h/t)

Engel tweet 1

Engel tweet 2

Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s Nick Casey:

Tweet Casey Rafah

The incident is currently under IDF investigation but already the various BBC claims of an attack “on” or “at” a UN school in Rafah – rather than in the vicinity of that building – are clearly less than accurate and Martin Patience has obviously breached BBC guidelines with his knee-jerk claim of a “third deadly attack on a United Nations school” by Israel. Unless he can prove that this school itself (along with the other two he mentions) was the intended target of an attack – rather than terrorists operating in the area near those UN schools – the BBC should issue a prompt and prominent correction.   

Related Articles:

What Beit Hanoun tells us about BBC impartiality

 

BBC widens its distortion of the reason for the collapse of the August 1st ceasefire

The Tweet below was sent on the morning of August 3rd by one of the BBC correspondents currently located in the Gaza Strip.

Tweet Pannell

Pannell promotes two inaccurate pieces of information here, the first being that “militants denied it from the start”.

In fact, Hamas’ Al Qassam Brigades originally claimed to have abducted an Israeli soldier and killed two others – albeit with the addition of deliberately false information concerning the time of the attack – as can be seen on their Twitter timeline.

AQB Tweet kidnapping 1

AQB Tweet kidnapping 3

Initially, Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk also stated that Hamas had abducted an Israeli soldier, with similarly inaccurate claims regarding the timing of the attack.

“Member of Hamas’s political bureau Mousa Abu Marzouk confirmed on Friday that an Israeli officer was captured hours before a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire went into effect. Two other soldiers were killed during the operation, Anadolu News Agency reported.”

Only later on in the day did Hamas spokesmen backtrack and deny involvement, meaning that Pannell’s claim that “militants denied it from the start” is both inaccurate and misleading.

Pannell’s second claim is that “The IDF claim lead [sic] to collapse of ceasefire”. In other words, Pannell would have his 15.1 thousand Twitter followers believe that the 72 hour humanitarian ceasefire did not collapse because of the fact that 90 minutes after its commencement, terrorists attacked soldiers from the Givati Brigade engaged in decommissioning a cross-border Hamas attack tunnel as permitted under the terms of that ceasefire according to the US Secretary of State.

“Speaking from New Delhi, Kerry said neither side will advance militarily from their current positions, but that Israel will continue to destroy tunnels Hamas has used to smuggle weapons and fighters into Israel.”

Instead, Ian Pannell would like you to believe that the ceasefire collapsed because the IDF announced that it had a soldier unaccounted for and suspected kidnapped after that attack and that Hamas’ actions are not part of the story at all.

But can Pannell’s all too obviously politically motivated attempts to rewrite the events of the morning of August 1st  – and to edge his Twitter followers towards the view that Israel, not Hamas, is responsible for the ceasefire’s collapse – be seen as a clear breach of BBC editorial guidelines by a lone BBC reporter?

The answer to that question appears to be no.

An article titled “Gaza crisis ‘intolerable’, says Philip Hammond” which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East and UK Politics pages on August 3rd is illustrated with the following photograph and a caption telling readers that:

“A 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas broke down after Israel said Lt Goldin had been captured”

Pic Hammond art

In fact, of course, the ceasefire broke down after Hamas terrorists attacked Israeli soldiers at 09:30 on August 1st. Half an hour after that, terrorists also fired missiles at the Kerem Shalom area in Southern Israel. 

Later on in that same report readers are told that:

“A UN-brokered humanitarian ceasefire, intended to last 72 hours, ended on Friday after less than five hours, with each side blaming the other.”

Another report appearing on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on August 3rd is titled “Gaza conflict: Missing Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin ‘dead’“. There readers are told that:

“Hadar Goldin was believed to have been captured by militants during fighting, leading to the collapse of a ceasefire shortly after it had been declared.”

Again, this inaccurate portrayal conceals from audience view the fact that the ceasefire collapsed because Hamas terrorists breached it by carrying out a preplanned attack on Israeli soldiers which included a suicide bombing and shooting: not because an officer was stated to be unaccounted for at the end of the ensuing fighting in which two other soldiers were also killed.  

“The raid, which included a suicide bombing and involved enemy gunmen emerging from a tunnel shaft, came at 9:30 in the morning, during the early hours of what was to have been a 72-hour truce, and may signal a significant escalation in the 25-day-old war with Gaza.

A suicide bomber and other gunmen engaged the IDF forces as they sought to decommission a tunnel. Shortly after the combined attack, it became clear to Israeli forces in the area that a soldier was missing.”

As was documented here yesterday (see here and here), the BBC’s portrayal of the reason for the breakdown of the 72 hour humanitarian truce on August 1st has for the most part been lacking in accuracy, impartiality and even basic coherence. Rather than rectifying that dismal state of affairs, the BBC seems determined to continue and even widen its campaign of deliberate distortion.

Let us not forget that at some point, these distortions will become part of the BBC’s online “historical records“, even though the corporation clearly cannot even report three day-old history accurately.