Enthusiastic BBC coverage of Hamas ‘birthday’ rally

As BBC audiences could hardly fail to notice, the broadcaster is all agog at the visit of Khaled Masha’al to the Gaza Strip for the occasion of events marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the terror organization Hamas – brought forward from the actual date of its establishment in order to coincide with the anniversary of the beginning of the first Intifada on December 9th.

So, whilst Syria slaughters and Egypt writhes, the BBC News website’s home page has for two consecutive days been running the Khaled Masha’al/Hamas rally story as its lead item, with a level of enthusiasm nearing that usually reserved for a Royal visit.

ME hp 7 12

hp dec 8

Of course, whilst it may well be roughly a quarter of a century since the world first became familiar with the acronym ‘Hamas’, the terror group’s parent organisation – the Muslim Brotherhood – was already active in the region several decades beforehand. In 1935 Abed A-Rahman al Bana – the brother of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder – visited Haj Amin al Husseini and the Brotherhood was active during the riots of 1936. Between 1945 and 1947, tens of branches of the Muslim Brotherhood were set up in what was still Mandate Palestine and members of Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian branches of the Muslim Brotherhood were among the belligerents in the War of Independence.  In 1965 numerous Muslim Brotherhood activists in the Gaza Strip were arrested after the discovery of the plot against Nasser.

So what of the BBC’s decidedly enthusiastic coverage of the ‘birthday’ of a terror organisation? Well, on December 7th we had numerous items relating to Khaled Masha’al’s arrival in the Gaza Strip, including sanitized profiles of the man himself and of Hamas, together with an article entitledPalestinian Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal visits Gazawhich yet again repeated the erroneous notion that the recent round of violence between terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip and Israel commenced with the targeted killing of Ahmed Jabari.

“Jabari’s death marked the start of an eight-day Israeli offensive which Israel said was aimed at halting militant rocket attacks. Some 170 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.”

The same article includes a side-bar with descriptions of the scene by Yolande Knell of the BBC Jerusalem Bureau.

“Posters of Khaled Meshaal can be seen all over the Gaza Strip, but until today he had never seen it himself. We stood on a street corner with a welcoming committee waving green flags as the Hamas leader drove by in a convoy. Armed men in balaclavas carrying guns and rockets kept the crowds back.” [……]

“At a mass rally on Saturday, Mr Meshaal is expected to refer to the need for reconciliation with his political rivals in the Fatah faction headed by President Mahmoud Abbas. Finally he’s expected to lay out plans concerning Israel.”

And “lay out plans” Masha’al certainly did – already in his initial speech after his arrival. But there is no mention of that either in this article or in the footage of what the BBC’s Maxine Mawhinney described as Masha’al’s “historic visit” to BBC News viewers. 

December 8th saw, among other items, an “In Pictures” feature on the subject as well as an article by Yolande Knell which included footage of her reporting – apparently unperturbed – from the women’s section of the rally in Gaza City. In that article too, Knell failed to relate to Masha’al’s statement the previous day in which his organisation’s intentions were made perfectly clear. 

In order to get an inkling of those intentions, one has to watch the video entitled “Hamas leader Meshaal: Gaza ‘always in my heart’ “. Right at the end of the film one hears the translator say:

“Today it’s Gaza, to be followed by Jerusalem and Haifa and Yaffa.” [Yaffo/Jaffa]

Whilst BBC-produced reports quoted the part of Masha’al’s statement at the Friday press conference regarding his various “births”, in none of those reports did BBC journalists bother to expand upon the less poetic parts of Masha’al’s speech in which he said:

“This is my third birth. I was born in 1956, and my second birth was when I survived the assassination attempt initiated by (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu,” Mashaal told reporters. “But God was stronger than him, and I hope Allah will grant me martyrdom in Gaza.

 My fourth birth will be on the day Palestine is liberated. Today it is Gaza and tomorrow it will be Ramallah, then Jerusalem, Haifa and Jaffa.”

All of those last three cities are of course in Israel. And yet the BBC apparently sees no necessity in informing its audiences of the real meaning of that statement.

Azza 812 1

The post-rally version of Yolande Knell’s article briefly referred to what she euphemistically termed a “fiery speech” from Masha’al.

“Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal gave a fiery speech during his first ever visit to the territory.

He said he would never recognise Israel, and insisted Palestinians would never cede any part of their land.”

What Masha’al actually said was as follows:

“Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of the land,” he told a sea of supporters at an open-air rally, the highlight of his three-day stay in Gaza.

“We will never recognise the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take.” 

Masha’al added:

“Jihad and the armed resistance is the only true path to liberation. Azza 812 2

We don’t kill Jews because they are Jews. We kill the Zionists because they are conquerors and we will continue to kill anyone who takes our land and our holy places.

 The conqueror is not just the enemy of the Palestinians but the enemy of the entire Arab world. The Zionist plan is a danger to us all.

 We will free Jerusalem inch by inch, stone by stone…the right of return is sacred to us and we will not forfeit it.”

The only other reference to the content and tone of the rally came later in Knell’s report:

Azza 812 3“..a masked spokesman for Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, told the crowd: “We will cut the hand that extends in aggression against our people and leaders.”

As long as Palestine is ours and Palestine is the land of Arabism and Islam, we can never recognise the legitimacy of Israel’s occupation of it,” he told supporters.

“There is no legitimacy for occupation. Hence, there is no legitimacy for Israel, however long time lasts.” “

Rather than a ‘birthday celebration’ this Hamas-organised event was, from start to finish, nothing more than a chilling rally of mass hatred. For some inexplicable reason the profuse and enthusiastic BBC reporting on the subject (do anniversaries of other terrorist organisations enjoy a similarly high profile at the BBC?) placed its focus on the pageantry and related only very superficially to the actual content and tone. Azza 812 6

Thus, BBC audiences can remain cocooned in the studiously generated belief that the main ‘obstacle to peace’ in the Middle East is the planning of potential house-building in a place called E1, rather than a racist terror organization aspiring to wipe a sovereign nation off the face of the earth by violent means. 

As long as the BBC continues to shield its viewers and listeners from the clear and honest messages put out repeatedly by Hamas and other terror organisations in the Middle East it cannot be said to be fulfilling its obligation to make “people in the UK aware of international issues”. 

46 comments on “Enthusiastic BBC coverage of Hamas ‘birthday’ rally

  1. Excellent Hadar!

    So enamoured are the BBC by this story they not only include it on their Mid-East main page, but also their Home Page and Have Your Say main pages. Clearly they want their public to see how united the Palestinian people are. No doubt, once this rally and the presentation of the ‘victorious Palestinians’ is forgotten we will be reminded of the ‘poor Palestinians’ again.

    To get some idea of how skewed both BBC articles relating to this visit and the rally are, it’s worthwhile reading the AP article on the subject who at least got some Israeli feedback on the event.

    The side-piece by Yolande Knell she writes, clearly caught up in the ‘celebrations: ‘We stood on a street corner with a welcoming committee waving green flags as the Hamas leader drove by in a convoy.’

    Was she waving flags as well, or just standing by the group that was? I know what the BBC will claim if challenged, but the double entendre is no accident methinks.

    With the Hamas vowing to continue to try and get rid of Israel it highlights the reason why there will be more deadly and bloody conflicts, but the next time they bemoan the fact of the civilian casualties used by Hamas as a human shield, remember this sentence:
    Some 170 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed in the eight-day engagement and Hamas has presented Saturday’s event as a victory rally.

    The BBC certainly want it to be seen as such.

    • Glad to see that you acknowledge that 170 Palestinians were killed during the recent episode of blood-letting. However you neglect to point out that the IDF were responsible for those casualties.
      Or was it just an ‘Act of God’ whoever he is?

      • Yes I know you’d much prefer it if Israel just had to let Hamas fire rockets at itself without retaliating, and of course let in all the ‘aid’ ships from Iran to rearm its puppets.
        Naturally too you don’t see the fact that Hamas uses civilian areas to fire its rockets as being in any way a contributing factor to these figures. It’s a credit to Israel that how few civilians were hit under the circumstances, and how many screwed up terrorists were hit.

        Perhaps you want to point me to a post where you commented about the 20,000 Syrians that are supposed to have been killed so far in the conflict there. Or about the Christians that have been targeted as a result of the Arab Spring.

        Poor Palestinians eh? So long as they see what happened there as a victory I expect they’ll be launching another attack which Israel will have to retaliate for, but do come back and blame Israel again for it.

        Screwed up Moron – whatever your agenda!

        • Defending the indefensible again . 30-50 children die and all you can do is trot out the usual excuses. There are no excuses for sneering at the Palestinians.Or their dead children. Of course what could EXPLAIN this behaviour could be the fact that you suffer from the same racist impulses you accuse Israel’s opponents of. We see that on the streets of Tel Aviv every day in relation to ‘Sudanese’ or is it ‘poor Sudanese’? Defense of IDF actions conforms to a familiar mantra. Firstly we have the ‘provocations’ ,ignoring or essentially unaware of the actual sequence of events. Secondly you try to pass off your guilt with the old chestnut about ‘human shields’. Then you point the finger at events in Syria. These are the arguments of the playground. Next thing you’ll be telling me your Dad is bigger than my Dad!

          ________________________________

          • sprattyville lives off Jewish blood. That vile creature will do anything in its power to make sure that flow never ends. Are feelings are mutual.

          • Sprattyville – If I were you, I wouldn’t worry any more about Israelis or Palestinians, I would worry about myself and my messed up mind. If you can’t or won’t understand the points being made to you then you have been really screwed up. When and how it was done to you I’ve no idea, but you should really try and get help to undo the damage done to you.

          • No I’m fine! I’m really worried about you though. Particularly the fact that you can’t cope with some of these points I’ve raised.   Basically  it seems that all you want to do is trade insults. When did trading insults win an argument or change someone’s mind?

            ________________________________

          • Particularly the fact that you can’t cope with some of these points I’ve raised.
            What you’ve ‘raised’ is that you have an agenda to support militant Islam. You pretend to be concerned about the deaths of innocents while supporting those who use them as shields, and ignore the murders of children across the Islamic world to target israel, the only democracy in that area. Your viewpoint,as well as your ‘comrades in arms’ is disgusting, vile, and barbaric,

            You will reap what you sow!

            PS: You’re not wasting any more of my time.

          • I won’t attempt to answer your unfair and rather spiteful attack(s). All your assertions are equally preposterous. They do say that the truth hurts. If the cap fits,wear it. And if you have to resort to insults and personal  remarks you have already lost the argument.

            ________________________________

        • More than 150 Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes last month, many of whom were civilians, including more than 30 children, some less than one year old. Five Israelis were killed by rocket fire, including three civilians.

          • In the same way that the ‘Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity’, you have never missed the opportunity to misunderstand what is being written. Whether intentional or not, I suggest you, along with your alter ego – ‘separativille’, get somebody to help explain it to you, then try responding to those points instead of repeating your ridiculous agenda.

            Otherwise you’re not wasting any more of my time, and I will simply paste this reply to you each time, with the exception of numbering them.
            Number 2

      • No, it wasn’t God naturally it was the IDF doing its job very carefully.
        I understand your deep concern and your nostalgia for the good old times when Jews were the powerless victims of any shit whose fun was to kill them. Sadly for you these times are over. You mess with us then you are fully responsible.

        • How does an 11 month  old child ‘mess’ with you? How do you manage to shoot a 13 year old ‘carefully’? This use of language is positively Orwellian.You should stop and think carefully before spouting such nonsense.

          ________________________________

          • It doesn’t, of course, sprattyville. That child had the consummate misfortune to be born into a society which does has an instrumental approach to its women and children (ie it uses them for propaganda and doesn’t give a damn about their safety), it sites rocket launchers next to houses and playgrounds and stores ammunition among civilians.

            It uses the death of this 11 month old child as propaganda and fools like you fall for it without questioning why it does so.

            And its leaders are actually proud of it!

            See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTu-
            AUE9ycs

          • You can’t hold innocents responsible for the ‘sins’ of their fathers! That’s why they are called innocents. However if you consider your 11 month old enemy to be less than human,that may explain the tiresome IDF mantra when it justifies its ‘careful’targeting.

            ________________________________

          • Bullshit asshole. The 11 month old is not responsible, the leaders of his/her country are. But you know this very well too. If the IDF weren’t careful the number of victims would be a hundred times more.

          • Yes I agree. I was fully expecting at least 600 pieces of collateral . So hats off to IDF for keeping the numbers down. Remember Cast lead? The ratio of ‘hits’ to losses was 1:100 in retaliation.  Curiously these figures match those that the Germans used during their spell of occupation in WWII. It just goes to show nothing really changes.

            ________________________________

          • Remember Cast lead? The ratio of ‘hits’ to losses was 1:100 in retaliation.
            So you don’t believe your own bosses at Hamas? According to them about 700-800 of the victims were Hamas heroes.
            Curiously these figures match those that the Germans used during their spell of occupation in WWII. It just goes to show nothing really changes.
            I see you have some strong nostalgia for the good old days when your ideological ancestors in their SS uniforms were free to kill Jews. Tough luck for you but it won’t happen anymore.

        • What I’d like you to explain is why, if the IDF does not target civilians, it acknowledged bombing the Dalou family house, killing nine women and children?

    • Masha’al’s visit to Gaza was covered by all the foreign press, BBC among them. It was widely covered by the Israeli press too. So why is Ms Sela focusing only on BBC?

      • A facile question easily answered: because this site exists to examine and expose bias against Israel by that very organisation, which unlike other media outlets that are not publicly funded (by a compulsory poll tax known as the licence fee) is mandated by its Charter to be strictly objective in its coverage.

        • You’r kidding yourself if you believe any media organisation to be ‘objective’. The BBC does kid itself.It does try to be objective. However,the BBC’s obsession with ‘balance’ means it goes to great lengths to establish a phoney moral equivalence.  Between on the one hand the results of Israel’s use of  bunker-crunching ordnance which vapourises anything( human shields and civilians take note) within 200m and , on the other,the very limited casualties and damage caused by home-made fireworks( Hamas trying to scare the pants off Israeli civilians). It then goes on to criticise Israel’s actions/reactions for being disproportionate (which they are). Interestingly stating the bloody obvious is not a question of objectivity/subjectivity. The BBC is no more or less ‘objective’ than any other media organisation. Yes it makes mistakes but remember,nobody’s perfect. It appears that this torrent of criticism  is part of a carefully constructed propaganda machine that seeks to excuse the excesses of the IDF and the settlers.  Such excesses are inexcusable in a civilised society. Given that Israel claims to be a beacon of civilisation in the Middle East there can be no excuses. Needless to say we have gone beyond excuses.No,instead we get a frenzy of hysterical exaggeration coming from all sides. As a result of this hysteria we are led to believe that the BBC is hell-bent on the destruction of Israel!  That the pinko-islamist hordes from the Guardian are threatening to descend on Tel Aviv and create rivers of blood and that Western media is in thrall to so-called self-hating Jews such as Gerald Kaufman (Guardian reader!) complete with horns and a tail!

          ________________________________

          • If only you’d read the reply you got more carefully than you do you’d get a better response. The BBC is NOT the same as other media organisations by virtue of the licence fee. This gives it a cloak of ‘fair and balance’, which means it needs to make every effort to do that.
            However if it uses this cloak to pursue its own agenda, in defiance of its charter then like a policeman committing crimes, it is worse than a normal criminal.

            The very fact that former DG Thompson admitted to a MASSIVE LEFT WING bias that he’d observed 40 years ago, yet could point at nothing to show how this was addressed shows how ridiculous it is for the BBC to continue being funded this way. Remove this funding and this site, along with quite a few others, would probably cease to exist.

            Tell us you understand the difference.

          • Would that be the same DG Thompson who refused to allow a humanitarian appeal on behalf of the victims of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead? Here in Britain we all know where his bias is coming from. The BBC does not have an agenda in these matters. As I said it merely has this obsession with  balance which means that it’s reporting  can go one way or the other. In fact there is some research to show that it is biased in Israel’s favour more often than not. The licence fee is just another ‘Red Herring’

            ________________________________

      • Daphne explained quite succinctly why the BBC Watch website focuses on output by the BBC, but I can see why it would appear mysterious to you.

        Also, as I put in the post you replied to, you can compare the BBC article to that of AP to see how much more balanced was the latter.

        • The Washington Post published several stories on Khaled Meshal’s visit to Gaza, and so did CNN, the Jerusalem Post, YNet news, Haaretz …

          I wish Ms Sela had done her research.

          • In the same way that the ‘Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity’, you have never missed the opportunity to misunderstand what is being written. Whether intentional or not, I suggest you, along with your alter ego – ‘separativille’, get somebody to help explain it to you, then try responding to those points instead of repeating your ridiculous agenda.

            Otherwise you’re not wasting any more of my time, and I will simply paste this reply to you each time, with the exception of numbering them.
            Number 1

  2. Yes, excellent.
    I noticed this evening that on BBC News 24 reporter Richard Galpin, talking about Hamas on video to the successive studio anchors, explained that Hamas wants “all of Palestine back”.
    This phrase, of course, conveys the impression to the average viewer, ignorant of the finer details of the history of the region, that “all of Palestine” belonged to the “Palestinians” in the first place.

    • All of “Palestine?” All they want is the part the Jews live on. That’s it. That’s what it’s all about. They want nothing outside the truncated British Mandate. That’s what the media is really hiding.
      “‘As long as Palestine is ours and Palestine is the land of Arabism and Islam, we can never recognise the legitimacy of Israel’s occupation of it,’ he told supporters.”

  3. “Jabari’s death marked the start of an eight-day Israeli offensive which Israel said was aimed at halting militant rocket attacks. Some 170 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.”
    BBC propaganda in the service of a genocidal, anti-Semitic movement. Yes, I must remember that war only starts when you shoot back, and then you’re “the aggressor.” This represents the western media “going native” in an Arab sort of way.

  4. From the tone adopted by the bbc newsreader covering this story on News At Ten on Friday you would have thought the story was about the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, The tender, affectionate style would equally have suited a piece about a child reunited with distraught parents after going missing in, say, an earthquake.

    For the bbc ‘dead Jews’ is only news when there aren’t enough of ’em. The anti-Israeli propaganda it promotes is firing up the latent antisemitism in UK and Europe and encouraging the Arabs to step up their race hate war against the Jewish people. The bbc’s love affair with Hamas is an insult to the victims of the conflict and a disgrace to Britain.

    • “… the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.” Exceedingly well-put, zeitgoose. That “tender, affectionate style” characterised the general presentation of the heart-warming Meshaal-gets-to-see-Gaza story by a succession of BBC News 24 News anchors. Nauseating in the extreme.

  5. Pingback: Excerpt from Flowers for Messiahs, a Novel By Paul Rogov - Yareah Magazine. Arts and writing | Yareah Magazine. Arts and writing

  6. Pingback: BBC still promoting Hamas rally two days on | BBC Watch

  7. Pingback: BBC still promoting Hamas rally two days on | Blogs about Israel aggregation

  8. Pingback: BBC roots for Palestinian unity (and does a makeover on the PA) | BBC Watch

  9. Pingback: When BBC ‘impartiality’ becomes absurd | BBC Watch

Comments are closed.