BBC’s Bowen invents new quarter in Jerusalem

The Old City of Jerusalem – as the vast majority of people are aware – is comprised of four quarters. They are named the Jewish Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Christian Quarter and the Muslim Quarter, and have gone by those titles for donkey’s years. 

But then along came the BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen and not only erased the Christian and Muslim Quarters from the map, but also invented a new one. 

In a December 2012 interview with the travel section of the Telegraph on the subject of Jerusalem, Bowen stated: [emphasis added]

“You should go to the Old City, home to the Western Wall (the holiest place in the world for Jews to pray), the Aq sa [sic] mosque and the Dome of the Rock, not to mention the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I like to visit the Old City’s various quarters – Jewish, Palestinian and Armenian.”

Obviously Bowen’s expertise in Jerusalem geography is about as precise as his knowledge of Jewish prayer traditions.

Somehow, this faux pas got past the Telegraph’s fact checkers. Perhaps they mistakenly relied on the assumption that the man ultimately in charge of Middle East content for the BBC would stick to the facts. 

11 comments on “BBC’s Bowen invents new quarter in Jerusalem

    • My thoughts exactly, pennylan. It’s possible that he is so blinded by his bias that he’s forgotten that quarters means divided into four. It’s also possible that he thinks of quarters in the sense of somehwere to live and is genuinely ignorant of the fact that the Old City is divided into four.

      But I think the most likely explanation is that he is just trying out some Palestinian propaganda on his long-suffering public. Well, at least he didn’t go for the “Judaisation of Jerusalem” insult. Perhaps that’s a step too far for Bowen.

      • And yes, the ‘quarters-as-living-areas’ possibility occurred to me, but that particular usage seems more official and organised – like “military quarters” for example. But then – this is Bowen so who knows?

  1. It isn’t so much a howler as, in my view, a deliberate account to underpin the Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem as its capital. So revealing to see that he regards local Muslims and Christians as collectively and indistinguishably one “Palestinian” entity (which is likely to come as a surprise to some of the other nationalities traditionally living in the Christian quarter), and Jews and Armenians as not, however many centuries they’ve been living there. Of course, that’s garbled in terms even of Palestinian propaganda claims, which are that the whole of present day Israel was and is Palestine…..

    • Bowen is evidently thoroughly pickled in his anti-israel bias but he must surely know at least enough about Jerusalem to know about the four quarters. So I have to conclude it’s propaganda. He has no conscience at all about denying and distorting facts to push his pro-Palestinian narrative.

      And the BBC is meant to “Inform, educate and entertain?” Well, I suppose Bowen would be entertaining if this were not real life.

  2. Oh James Harding; when you begin your new job as BBC news controller in August, would you, as a new broom, please sweep clean all ageing beeboid incompetents like Jeremy.

    • PS. Tourists should definitely visit the Armenian Quarter, which Jeremy has excised from TV-taxpayers’ consciousness. Duvidl remembers, as a youth, buying a beautifully decorated large plate for his mother from an potter’s shop there and later entertaining two lovely shop girls there to the tune of a bouzouki. They gave Duvidl two hand-made beeswax Sabbath candles as a gift for his efforts..

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