Stop press! BBC uses word ‘terrorist’!

You wait for years for the BBC to use the word ‘terrorist’ and then along come two Tweets at once. 

Terrorist tweet

No need to get excited, though: this is about Europe, where apparently – unlike the Middle East – people convicted of terrorism in a court of law can be described by the BBC as terrorists rather than ‘militants’ and their actions described as terrorism rather than ‘resistance’.  

ETA wc

Wordcloud for BBC profile of ETA

“Benat Atorrasagasti Ordonez, 36, was sentenced to five years imprisonment, in his absence, at a court in France in 2008 on terrorism charges.

Ordonez, who came to Scotland in 2001, denies being a terrorist. […]

Last year, however, two European Arrest Warrants were issued by France and Spain seeking his extradition.

The Spanish warrant accuses Ordonez of being a member of ETA, moving materials and men from France to Spain and gathering information on politicians and police officers.”

By contrast, the BBC’s profile of Marwan Barghouti – senior Fatah figure and head of the Fatah Tanzim terror organization which has launched thousands of terror attacks on Israeli civilians – only mentions the word ‘terrorism’ when quoting the charges against him during his trial in 2004 which resulted in his being sentenced to five consecutive life sentences and an additional 40 years in prison.

“The second Intifada broke out that September after a visit by Ariel Sharon, then the leader of Israel’s opposition, to the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem, which houses the al-Aqsa mosque, sparked Palestinian anger.

Now leader of leader of Fatah in the West Bank and chief of its armed wing, the Tanzim, Barghouti led marches to Israeli checkpoints, where riots broke out against Israeli soldiers.

He also spurred on Palestinians in speeches, condoning the use of force to expel Israel from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“While I, and the Fatah movement to which I belong, strongly oppose attacks and the targeting of civilians inside Israel, our future neighbour, I reserve the right to protect myself, to resist the Israeli occupation of my country and to fight for my freedom,” he wrote in the Washington Post newspaper in 2002.

“I still seek peaceful coexistence between the equal and independent countries of Israel and Palestine based on full withdrawal from Palestinian territories occupied in 1967,” he added.”

Fatah wc

Wordcloud for section on second Intifada in BBC profile of Fatah

Just one day after Barghouti’s Washington Post op-ed appeared, a Fatah terrorist murdered six people and injured over 30 at a Bat Mitzva in Hadera. Five days later, another Fatah terrorist opened fire at pedestrians on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, killing two women and injuring some 40 people. Five days after that, a Fatah suicide bomber on the same Jaffa Road killed one man and injured over 150 others. 

The BBC’s above claim that the second Intifada “broke out” because of Ariel Sharon’s visit to Temple Mount in September 2000 has of course been disproved numerous times – not least by Barghouti himself. According to transcripts of Barghouti’s interrogation after his capture in April 2002:

He says that the riots that erupted on the Temple Mount after Sharon’s visit there in September 2000 were not the reason for the intifada, “but the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

In an interview given to the London-based Al Hayat newspaper in September 2001, Barghouti said

“I knew that the end of September was the last period (of time) before the explosion, but when Sharon reached the al-Aqsa Mosque, this was the most appropriate moment for the outbreak of the intifada….The night prior to Sharon’s visit, I participated in a panel on a local television station and I seized the opportunity to call on the public to go to the al-Aqsa Mosque in the morning, for it was not possible that Sharon would reach al-Haram al-Sharif just so, and walk away peacefully. I finished and went to al-Aqsa in the morning….We tried to create clashes without success because of the differences of opinion that emerged with others in the al-Aqsa compound at the time….After Sharon left, I remained for two hours in the presence of other people, we discussed the manner of response and how it was possible to react in all the cities (bilad) and not just in Jerusalem. We contacted all (the Palestinian) factions.”

And, as our sister site CiF Watch reported only recently, none other than Suha Arafat has dismissed the myth of an unplanned ‘spontaneous’ Intifada sparked by Sharon’s visit to Temple Mount. The BBC, however, continues to promote that myth just as it continues to employ sickening double standards when it comes to reporting on terrorism.

If – as is apparently the case – the BBC is not afraid of making “value judgements” by using the word ‘terrorist’ when reporting about ETA, why does it shy away from calling Palestinian terrorism by its true name?  

12 comments on “Stop press! BBC uses word ‘terrorist’!

  1. Well spotted. A rare event indeed. Though I did notice on Sports Personality of the Year a few weeks ago that the 7/7 bombings were referred to as Terrorist Attacks – I nearly fell off the sofa.

  2. Katya Adler also used the dreaded ‘T’ word, but she made sure to distance herself from it as far as possible by using both indirect speech and quote marks:

    Israel’s army said on Friday that during the operation – codenamed Pillar of Defense – it had targeted “600 terror sites in Gaza, including underground rocket launchers & infrastructure”.

    I guess we’ll never see a BBC hack reporting the following:

    Hamas said it had targeted “600 civilian sites in Israel, in order to kill as many Jews as possible and force the rest to flee.”

  3. While searching for this particular needle in this haystack, I found the following reluctant usage by Wyre Davies:

    By bombing this government buillding in the heart of Gaza City, Israel says it is attacking what it calls Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure.

    Like Adler, Davies makes doubly sure that he is seen to be distancing himself from Israel’s position, in case there are two or three people left on the planet who doubt the BBC’s empathy with Palestinian terrorists:

    (Caution: the video plays immediately on clicking the link, I imagine because the BBC is so keen to thrust Davies’ propaganda in everyone’s face that it doesn’t offer the alternative of clicking on the video itself, should anyone want to see it.)

  4. Having tiptoed around the dreaded ‘T’ word, Davies continues:

    But look just how close this building is to a school and to homes [he points to them in case someone might not grasp his point]; the potential for civilian casualties is very high.

    If Wyre were a journalist, rather than a propagandist, he might have noticed that the school, a few metres from the rubble was completely undamaged, indicating the care Israel took to avoid civilian casualties with pinpoint attacks on Hamas facilities.

    Then there is this curious use of language:

    But this is why Israel remains unrepentant: it’s civilians, too, are living under fire.

    Amazing that Wyre even noticed that. But in his blinkered, biased BBC world view, Israel needs to repent for having to defend itself.

  5. By contrast, the BBC’s profile of Marwan Barghouti – senior Fatah figure and head of the Fatah Tanzim terror organization which has launched thousands of terror attacks on Israeli civilians – only mentions the word ‘terrorism’ when quoting the charges against him during his trial in 2004 which resulted in his being sentenced to five consecutive life sentences and an additional 40 years in prison.

    Lovely contrast Hadar. The inverted morality of the BBC is blatently exposed here.

  6. Pingback: BBC seeks protection from suicide attacks, builds bunker for staff — Winds Of Jihad By SheikYerMami

  7. I have BBCNews24 on and I heard the phrase “There is an ongoing terrorist incident” out of the mouth of newspeader Emily Maitlis. I looked up, and the tickertape (or whatever it’s called these days) summart also used the T word! It referred to this incident, in a report already up on the BBC website, in which the phrase including the T word appears in inverted commas, being, it seems, a quote. Needless to say, this “terrorist incident” does not involve Israel.

  8. Just to place on record the fact that not long afterwards, come the 5 p.m. bulletin read by Huw Edwards, the term used re that same incident was “Islamist militants” throughout. The T word remained on the tickertape though!

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