Undiluted propaganda from the BBC’s Jon Donnison

Definitions and descriptions of propaganda inevitably include the use of selected information – including by continuing misrepresentation, selective use of facts and the use of loaded messages aimed at producing an emotional response – in order to influence audience perceptions of a specific issue, with the desired result being a change of attitude in the audience in order to further a political agenda. 

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum adds:

“In contrast to the ideal of an educator, who aims to foster independent judgment and thinking, the practitioner of propaganda does not aim to encourage deliberation by presenting a variety of viewpoints and leaving it up to the audience to determine which perspective is correct. The propagandist transmits only information geared to strengthen his or her case, and consciously omits detrimental information.”

With that in mind, let us take a look at a BBC TV report (also appearing on the BBC News website) by Jon Donnison dated November 29th 2012 and entitled “UN Palestine vote ‘won’t change life on West Bank’ “.

Having opened the report with a description of preparations for celebrations in Ramallah to mark the PA’s bid to achieve non-member state status at the United Nations, Donnison goes on to say:

“But it will change nothing on the ground. Checkpoints like this one between Ramallah and Jerusalem will still be here tomorrow, as will the long queues as people wait to get through. Palestinians will not have any control over any of the borders. They will still need Israeli permission to travel.”

Donnison report 1

Donnison offers his audience no information whatsoever on why the checkpoints exist. He fails to point out that before the five-year long terror war waged by Palestinian terror groups against Israeli civilians – known as the second Intifada – such checkpoints did not exist. Equally, he offers no explanation as to why queues may be part and parcel of the very necessary need to check every single person and vehicle passing from PA-controlled areas into Israel. He does not mention the frequent attempts made by Palestinians to pass through  that and other crossings with weapons, including the incident just a few weeks beforehand at the Qalandiya checkpoint beside which Donnison stands in this report. 

“Border Police forces arrested a 20-year-old Palestinian carrying eight explosive devices at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah, on Tuesday.

The man reportedly traveled to the checkpoint by taxi. A routine inspection of his bags revealed the bombs, which were assembled and ready for use. The man was taken into custody.

The border crossing was closed and sappers disassembled the devices on the scene.”

But in Donnison’s report, Palestinians can only ever be passive, oppressed victims, harassed by Israeli checkpoints. The notion of Palestinian society taking responsibility for the existence of checkpoints due to the existence of Palestinian terror in the past and present is apparently as foreign to Donnison as the idea that Palestinians being inconvenienced in a long queue might be a lesser evil  than Israelis of all ages, colours and faiths being blown up in a café or on a bus.

And by offering his audience only a carefully selected part of that whole picture, Donnison is engaging in propaganda rather than in reporting the news. 

The report continues:

“In short, the occupation will not go away. Israel says the only way to end that occupation and achieve a Palestinian state is through negotiations. The Palestinian leadership actually agrees, but says the UN bid is not an alternative to talking – it’s just a way of putting pressure on Israel for future discussions.”

Of course it is not just Israel which insists on negotiations to bring about an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict: so does the Quartet and most of the free world. But Donnison’s airbrushing of Hamas – which has no interest whatsoever in negotiations – out of the category of “Palestinian leadership” is particularly interesting given the frequent reminders by the BBC that it won democratic elections in 2006.  Donnison fails to make clear the fact that not only is there not one ‘Palestinian leadership’, but that none of the personalities or parties which could perhaps be said to fall into that category currently holds a legitimate mandate, with their terms of office having expired years ago. 

In other words, Donnison’s provision of selected information continues, allowing him to present an airbrushed version of a ‘reasonable’ Palestinian leadership. 

Donnison continues: [emphasis added]

“The trouble is that the dream of a two-state solution – a Palestinian state sitting side by side with Israel – is for many on its last legs and that’s because Palestinian land like this is being encroached on all the time by Israeli settlements like the one behind me. Those settlements will still be here tomorrow. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down three years ago over the very issue of Jewish settlement expansion and there’s no sign that those talks will resume any time soon.”

Donnison report 2

Of course the talks Donnison refers to actually ‘broke down’ because of the refusal of the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table throughout 90% of the entire period of a ten-month long building freeze in Judea & Samaria – which Israel imposed as a good-will gesture to the Palestinians in an attempt to restart peace talks – and the Palestinian refusal to continue talking once that building freeze came to an end. Donnison is evidently relying on his audience having a very short memory. 

Note too that Donnison manages to completely ignore the subject of the Oslo Accords, refraining from explaining to his viewers that rather than being “Palestinian land”, the land in question is actually in Area C and was supposed to be the subject of direct negotiations which ground to a halt over a decade ago with the Palestinian Authority’s decision to launch a terror war instead of thrashing out the details of a peace treaty at the negotiating table.

Once again, Donnison absolves the Palestinians of all responsibility, framing them solely as passive victims of Israeli actions.

So, with carefully selected information, continuing misrepresentation and an obvious attempt to appeal to his audience’s emotions by use of loaded messages, Donnison manages to produce a ‘report’ which does a pretty good impression of being taken straight from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign propaganda handbook rather than anything approaching the standard of informative, accurate and impartial reporting which the BBC is committed to providing for its audiences. 

78 comments on “Undiluted propaganda from the BBC’s Jon Donnison

  1. Dear Ms Sela,

    who funds ‘BBC Watch’?

    The rule of transparency should lead you to disclose who is funding your website.

        • Israel is a democracy. Democracy is based on transparancy.

          We know who funds Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, Maariv, Ynet News…

          Who funds ‘BBC Watch’?

          • In more ways than one, Daphne.

            “BBC admits receiving millions in grants from EU and Councils”


            As far back as 2008 MP’s were raising concerns regarding funding and impartiality:

            Early Day Motion 791

            “That this House notes that soft loans and payments amounting to 258 million euros over the last five years were paid by the EU to the BBC; believes that such payments compromise the independence and objectivity of the BBC on EU issues; further notes that the BBC benefited by a cash-equivalent of approximately 39 million euros which is made up of 20.4 million actual saved interest on loan facilities of 240 million, 2.5 million in grants, 14.6 million to BBC World and 1.7 million euros in indirect payments; further notes that there are, in addition, undisclosed sums in respect of joint projects; further believes that these substantial benefits may offend against the BBC’s Royal Charter, which demands independence, and also its editorial guidelines which state that the BBC should not `accept funds from any organisation whose interests or actions could raise doubts about the objectivity of programming’; and cites, as continuing evidence of BBC bias in its coverage of EU affairs, the BBC’s refusal to broadcast coverage of the National Pro-Referendum Rally at Westminster on 27th October 2007; therefore calls on the Government to establish an independent inquiry into EU funding of the BBC and its impact on the BBC’s objectivity on European matters and current debate over a referendum on the EU Constitution; and congratulates the Campaign for an Independent Britain for its initiative in uncovering this information.”


          • This should have gone under Pennylan’s excellent post, but I can’t see how to post it there.
            Anyway, let’s not also forget that the BBC pensions are tied up to their promotion of the Climate Change agenda.

            So not exactly ‘public domain’ as Nat would like to believe.
            Just shows what a fool he is for not having woken up to the BBC spin yet, or else he’s looking after his own nest egg tied up with the BBC.

  2. Problem is, the Wall is not built along the Green Line that delimitates Israel from Palestine, but partially within the territory of Palestine, in violation of international law.

    This is why the International Court of Justice declared its route illegal in 2004.

    • It’s not a “wall” it’s a barrier:

      The barrier is for 90% a fence with vehicle-barrier trenches surrounded by an on-average 60 metres (200 ft) wide exclusion area, and 10% of the barrier is an 8 metres (26 ft)-tall concrete wall.

      There is only a wall where previously Arab snipers fired at Israeli civilians. It works and has drastically reduced the number of terrorist attacks.

      Israel has always said it was a temporary measure and would be removed once terrorism ceased, and it has kept its word:
      Israel dismantles security barrier at Gilo

      The ICJ can declare the moon to be made of cheese if it wants to – its “rulings” are only “advisory” and are not legally binding:

    • Are you worried about international law Nat?
      So you think it worthy to discuss territory that Palestinians might have lost for launching an intifada intended to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible, rather than their propensity for murder rather than peace.

      This is what shows up those of your ilk for the agenda you really have rather than any concern with morality or justice. Did you really think you were going to come on this site and get away with it? Makes you even more of a fool than I already know you to be.

    • It’s not a wall, as you well know 95% is a fence – only propagandists call it a !wall” in a sad attampt at likening it to the Berlin Wall. The walled section was in response to sniper attacks from the Palestinians taking pot shots at Jews. Sorry that upsets you.

      • Adam, the official name of the Wall built by Israel partially inside the West Bank is ‘the Wall’.

        The route of the Wall was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.

        • Garbage Nat. And that “ruling” was “ruled” by a Chinese judge, a man who was raised in a criminal justice system which executes more people than the rest of the world combined, and locks up dissidents and political prisoners in a highly corrupt system. Representations against Israel were made by the despotic and corrupt basket cases Pakistan and Cuba. That you think this body holds some moral authority (it does not have a binding legal one) exposes your own moral and intellectual poverty.

          • Adam, please show respect when speaking of the International Court of Justice.

            The route of the Wall was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, and in its ruling the Court did call it ‘the Wall’. Please read the ruling, it is availble online.

            You may want to call it otherwise, it’s your right, however you cannot overrule the International Court of Justice.

            Besides, I find your remarks in Chinese people quite offensive.

  3. What ‘BBc Watch’ won’t tell:

    NGO Peace Now revealed that construction was ongoing during the so-called “freeze”, and that settlers resumed building at a high pace immediately after it expired – all of this in violation of international humanitarian law.

      • Stuart, Israel is a Western democracy, and so are European states.

        This is another opportunity to stress that ‘BBC Watch’ does not represent Israel, a democracy committed to peace and freedom of the press.

        ‘BBC Watch’ represents a marginalized minority of activists who support the settlement policy.

          • Dear Adam,

            I believe it is important to remind readers that ‘BBC Watch’ does not represent Israel, a democracy committed to peace and freedom of the press.

            ‘BBC Watch’ represents a minority of activists who support the settlement policy.

    • i think Nat, your obsession with spreading falsehoods about Israel and banging the same tired ol’ laughable drum about funding of websites is far more disturbing than any website obsession….. help can be given you know… you dont have to suffer alone.

    • You mean a site with the stated aim of monitoring BBC bias in relation to Israel has an ‘obsession’ with relating reports made by its journalists?

      1: You are unable to address ANY of the biased statements proved to show lack of fairness and balance made by these journalists to counter them;
      2. All you can do is make ludicrous and foolish accusations as what you see is an effort to counter the observations of this site;

      You are welcome to keep posting to show just how far down the barrel you are to scrape the dregs you have to come up with.

      Knock yourself out Gnat! Your efforts make it all worthwhile.

      • People here seem to spend most of their time criticizing BBC’s male reporters.

        It seems logical to wonder whether there’s a love affair gone wrong somewhere.

  4. Wow… A medley of all your possible retorts, eh, “Nat”?
    I see your ‘cut-n-paste’ still works.
    Disgusting troll…
    Ms. Sela, since “Nat” here(also posing as “Voice of Reason”) has tried(and still keeps doing so) the same antics @CifW, I can only suggest he be banned, and his off-topic idiocies removed. That’s the only to deal with him, really.

    • Are you disturbed because some people come here and remind everyone that the views expressed on this website are in NO WAY representative of the Israeli democracy?

      This website only represents the views of a marginalized minority who supports the settlements.

      • Tell us, “Nat”, why operate sockpuppets?
        What was the need for that utterly pointless sideshow?(“Voice of Reason”)
        Do you think we don’t know who you are, and what your trolling is here for?
        Keep pushing it… You’ll get removed pretty soon.
        It would be nice to learn, however, ‘ere you go, who sent you here, to spam?
        Don’t dally with the answer…

        • Commentary, it’s important to remind whoever reads this website that it is in NO way representative of Israel. It only represents the views of a tiny minority of Israelis, those who support the settlement policy.

          Israel is a democracy, committed to peace and to basic values such as freedom of the press.

          • Your day will come, “Nat”… Whereupon you will be expelled, faster than an Iron Dome interceptor.
            However, in the mean time, to paraphrase you:
            How dare you speak for all Israelis?
            How do you know whether this site represents the views of Israelis, or not?
            Please provide us with STATISTICS(Caps locked, just for you), polls, whatever!
            Now, you still haven’t answered the most poignant question: who sent you here? Are you being paid for this nonsense?
            Troll somewhere else, moron.

          • Commentary, it’s important to remind whoever reads this website that you and this website are in NO way representative of Israel.

            Israel is a democracy, committed to peace and to basic values such as freedom of the press.

          • Have you started repeating yourself, “Nat”?
            Standard Trolling Procedure, eh?

            How dare you speak for all Israelis?
            How do you know whether this site represents the views of Israelis, or not?
            Please provide us with STATISTICS(Caps locked, just for you), polls, whatever!
            Now, you still haven’t answered the most poignant question: who sent you here? Are you being paid for this nonsense?
            Troll somewhere else, moron.

      • Nat, there is no such thing as “the view” of Israeli democracy – Israeli democracy has a pluraLITY OF VIEWS – HENCE DEMOCRACY.

        A bit dense, aren’t you?

        • Israel is a democracy and freedom of the press is enshrined in the law.

          People who hysterically criticize journalists are NOT representative of Israel, a country with many independent media and excellent journalists.

          • Israel is a democracy where freedom of the press is enshrined in the law.

            ‘BBC Watch’ does not represent Israel. It only represents the views of a minority supporting the settlement policy.

  5. I wonder if Donnison and his ilk have stopped to think what would happen to that checkpoint if “Palestine” became a real state. That checkpoint would become an international border crossing with all the same restrictions that apply now. Would he still then call it oppressive or a sign of occupation?

    • Of course no Jews would be allowed to cross that border into “Palestine”, Abbas has already said so.

    • We live in a world in which anti-terrorism measures are now commonplace. I cannot imagine that Donnison and crew would make a similar statement about the airport security measures we all have to go through now (and not only at airports) on account of would-be hijackers and bombers.

  6. Ms Sela you could look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that this site is ” educational ” and not propaganda ? Amazing.

      • Who pays you “Nat”? You obviously don’t have a job, you spend so much time here and at CiF watch?

        And what’s your real name and address?

      • It’s hilarious. “Nat” and “real”zionist have nothing whatsoever to say about the point of the post, so resort to bizarre questions about the funding of BBC Watch, as if that is in any way important or relevant.

        The funniest one was earlier, however, when Nat criticised BBC Watch’s “obsession with BBC’s male reporters” in direct contrast to his repetitive complaint that the sister-site, CifWatch, “obsesses” with the Guardian’s female reporters. There is only one commenter obssessed with gender here, and that’s you Nat, you sad, sad troll.

        • Labenal, your comment is interesting.

          Cif Watch managed by Mr Adam Levick, seems to spend a lot of time criticizing the Guardian’s female reporters.

          BBC Watch, managed by ms Hadar Sela, seems to spend a lot of time criticizing the BBC’s male reporters.

          Clearly you found something here. You’re smart.

  7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20579248

    bbc beating the drum for the Hamas apologist that is the idiot hague.

    bbc conveniently fails to mention camp david 2000 where Israel was willing to concede the entire West Bank, with East Jerusalem to Yasser Arafat as the basis for the establishment of a new political State called Palestine. The only prerequisite that Israel demanded of Yasser Arafat, was that he sign and “end of conflict” clause addendum in the final peace draft.

    Without so much as even entering into a discussion or debate, or perhaps even suggesting a possible editing of the language, Yasser Arafat abruptly cancelled any further negotiations with Israel, and abandoned the much publicized peace process altogether while riots he had ordered spread across gaza and west bank.

    the anti semites are out in force on the comments page also

    • Indeed, one of the funniest is this:

      Calum McKay
      18 Minutes ago

      Bring back the Norwegians, an honest broker is needed to break the impasse.

      Post Bill Clinton US interest declined, uk has no influence & UN relies on US.

      Norway can bring humanitarianism & pragmatism from a small country perspective to this regional & potentially (before it’s too late) global problem.

      C McK

      Perhaps Calum McKay should spend a little while looking at this web site:

      • It’s also worth noting that in BBC headlines Palestinians are “killed” while Israelis simply “die”.

    • Classic BBC headline !

      “Palestinian ‘with axe’ killed by Israeli forces in West Bank”

      I note that the palestinian was carrying his “axe” in “inverted commas” , which is how all Palestinians carry their weapons on the bbc website.

      I note that the Israeli troops did not shoot this guy with “guns” but with actual guns.

      According to the BBC, Palestinians only have access to “Rockets, “guns” and “axes” and other weapons in ‘inverted commas’ but Israel ( probably in breach of several UN treaties, the Geneva Convention) insists on using actual, real weapons without inverted commas. Oh the humanity !

  8. It strikes me that with so many continued overtly libelous transgressions committed by the BBC to support their pro-Islam agenda in contravention of their charter, isn’t it possible for Israel to bring the BBC before an international court and sue them?

      • If not, I’d certainly like to know – why not.
        If it’s bringing to a head that the courts may be so afraid to make a judgement that is pro-Israel, that they would only increase the propaganda that is being circulated, then let the shit hit the fan. It’s going to come to that eventually.

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