BBC misleads again on Gaza’s coastal waters and airspace

On September 17th the BBC News website published an article on its Middle East page entitled “Palestinian killed during Israeli raid in West Bank“. Early versions of the article addressed the subject of an incident in Jenin during which Islam Tubasi – a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization – was shot and later died of his wounds. 

A later version of the article – the one currently available to visitors to the BBC News website – was extended to include unsubstantiated claims made by Tubasi’s family. The report also includes additional unrelated information regarding recent measures approved by the Israeli government, including the allocation of more permits to enable Palestinians from PA controlled areas to work in Israel.

However, the background information provided is highly misleading. The article states:

“The West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967”

Once again we see here an example of the BBC practice of arbitrarily commencing history in 1967. No mention is made of the attack by surrounding countries which resulted in Israel coming to be in control of Judea & Samaria or of the 1948 to 1967 Jordanian occupation of the area. Neither is the reader informed of the status of that area before the Jordanian occupation and the fact that it makes up part of the land intended for a Jewish homeland by the League of Nations. The fact that part of the area has been under the control of the Palestinian Authority for two decades is also ignored. 

The article goes on:

“Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza eight years ago although it maintains control of Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters and restricts movement across its shared border.

Israel says the restrictions are necessary security measures to prevent attacks by Palestinian militants.”

This misleading theme has been frequently promoted by the BBC in the past. The suggestion that Israel unilaterally “maintains control of Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters and restricts movement across its shared border ” – compounded by the sentence which follows it – leads audiences to mistakenly believe that the current status of airspace and waters surrounding Gaza is entirely dependent upon Israeli caprices. 

Under the terms of the Interim Agreement of the Oslo Accords – which were willingly signed by the Palestinian people’s representatives – Gaza’s coastal waters remained Israel’s responsibility. Readers will note that the document does not refer to Gaza’s “territorial waters” due to the fact that they do not border a recognised state  – and hence the BBC would do well to review the accuracy of its use of that term.

Likewise, the same Interim Agreements between Israel and the Palestinians state that:

“All aviation activity or use of the airspace by any aerial vehicle in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip shall require prior approval of Israel. It shall be subject to Israeli air traffic control including, inter alia, monitoring and regulation of air routes as well as relevant regulations and requirements to be implemented in accordance with the Israel Aeronautical Information Publication, the relevant parts of which will be issued after consultation with the Council.”

In other words, the Palestinian Authority – considered by the international community to represent the Palestinian people – agreed to Israeli control of Gaza’s coastal waters and airspace in 1995. No changes were made to those terms in subsequent agreements between Israel and the PA signed after Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. 

Of course the progress of the process of which that Interim Agreement was part ground to a halt in 2000 when the Palestinian Authority elected to begin the second Intifada and hence the agreements signed at the time remain in force. Additionally, agreements relating to the Gaza Strip signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 2005 became academic when the PA lost control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after the violent Hamas take-over there.

Regrettably, the BBC habitually refrains from informing its audiences with regard to Palestinian actions and choices which have resulted in the terms of the Interim Agreement lasting much longer than envisaged at the time, along with the fact that the current status quo is the product of agreements to which the Palestinians’ representatives were willing partners.

For the BBC to imply – as it so often does – that there is something amiss about the fact that Israel controls the coastal waters and airspace of the Gaza Strip is therefore in breach of its own editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality. 

Ambiguous language in BBC report on French diplomat’s punch to Israeli soldier

What the BBC headlined as a “clash” on September 20th has three days later become a “scuffle”.

As we noted here on September 22nd, an article appearing on the BBC News website on September 20th concerning an incident which Castaing striking police officeroccurred on the same day near Hemdat in Area C in Samaria was not subsequently updated to reflect the fact that claims made French diplomat Marion Fesneau-Castaing – which were amplified by the BBC in its report – were brought into question by video footage of the incident itself, including filmed evidence of her striking a member of the Israeli security forces in the face. 

On September 23rd the Middle East page of the BBC News website carried an additional item titled “Israel ‘to act’ over West Bank diplomats scuffle” in which readers were informed – albeit in rather ambiguous language – of Ms Fesneau-Castaing’s actions.

Art 2 French diplomat

The article states: [all emphasis added]

“Israel has threatened to take action against a French diplomat after video emerged of her lashing out at an Israeli soldier. […]

Israel’s Foreign Ministry says the diplomats were breaking the law.

It said that border police and IDF soldiers did not use force to remove a French diplomat, Marion Fesneau-Castaing, from her vehicle as had been reported. However in footage of events she could be seen raising her hand to a border police officer.”

The caption to the accompanying illustration originally stated:

“Video from the scene showed Ms Fesneau-Castaing lashing out at a soldier”

That caption was later changed when the photograph was replaced with video and now reads:

“Video from the scene showed Ms Fesneau-Castaing in incidents with Israeli border police.”

The idiom ‘raise a hand’ can be used together with the word ‘to’ or together with the word ‘against’ and may indicate either actual physical violence or a threat of violence. As is clearly shown in the video, in this case the use of less ambiguous language would have been appropriate – particularly on a website read by many visitors for whom English idioms may be something of a mystery.

The phrase ‘lashing out’ can be used to represent either a verbal or physical attack. Again, the ambiguity created by the BBC’s choice of language does not contribute to clear audience understanding of the event. The use of such ambiguous phrasing is even more interesting in light of the fact that the opening paragraph of the original version of the report stated that:

“Israel has threatened to take action against a French diplomat after video emerged of her pushing or hitting an Israeli soldier.” [emphasis added]

Whilst the publication of this additional article on the subject is a welcome step towards greater accuracy in the BBC’s reporting of the incident, it should of course be added as a link in the original article from September 20th in order for readers of that item to have a more balanced view of events. At present no such link exists.



BBC revises report on Israeli soldier killed in Hebron

At around 18:30 on the evening of Sunday September 22nd Staff Sergeant Gal (Gavriel) Kobi, aged 20, from Tirat HaCarmel was mortally wounded in Hebron. A combat soldier in the Givati Brigade, Gal Kobi was shot in the neck whilst on duty providing security for visitors to the Machpelah Cave in the city on the occasion of Succot. He was evacuated to hospital in Jerusalem, but doctors were unable to save his life.

Just before 23:00 local time Gal Kobi’s name and personal details were made public. Three hours later the BBC published a report on the incident on the Middle East page of its BBC News website. For the second time in two days, despite the fact that a murdered soldier’s name had already been cleared for publication, the BBC failed to include it in the initial version of its report.  

Kobi Gavriel Hevron

The report stated:

“The Israeli army says one of its soldiers has been killed in a shooting in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Officials said the soldier had been on patrol in the city, which was packed with Jewish people visiting for a week-long religious festival.

The 20-year old soldier died in hospital after being hit in a suspected sniper attack.

Hebron has long been a source of tension between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Tomb of Abraham in the city is a holy site for both Jews and Muslims.”

Information concerning Gal Kobi’s age was released at the same time as his name, hence it is difficult to believe that the BBC could have been aware of one detail and not the other.

The report makes no attempt to explain to readers that under the terms of the Wye River Accords the Machpelah Cave (Tomb of the Patriarchs) is subject to divided access, with Muslims able to access 81% of the site and Jews the remaining 19% on a regular basis. For ten days of the year the entire site is open to Muslims (and closed to Jews) and likewise for ten other days it is closed to Muslims and open to Jews. 

This year, two of those ten days fall on September 22nd and 23rd, during the week of Succot. Hence, Staff Sgt. Gal Kobi and his unit were at the location to provide security for worshippers exercising their rights to religious freedom under the terms of agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority.

But rather than explaining that aspect of the incident to BBC audiences, the writer of this article makes do with superficial statements of equivalence: “Hebron has long been a source of tension between Israelis and Palestinians” and “the Tomb of Abraham in the city is a holy site for both Jews and Muslims”.

Such trite statements contribute nothing to BBC audiences’ understanding of the context which lies behind the incident.

Some eight hours after the publication of that article it was amended to include, inter alia, Staff Sgt. Kobi’s name, although it cites his rank as Sergeant despite his having been promoted posthumously.

Hebron Gal Kobi version 2

The report states:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the Hebron shooting by authorising Jewish settlers to move back into a building they had previously been evicted from near the scene of the attack.”

In fact, as explained by Ha’aretz, the process of reinhabitation of Beit HaMachpela does not depend on the prime minister alone.

“In April 2012, a group of settlers moved into the house. They said they had purchased the property, which is near the Tomb of the Patriarchs and is known as Beit Hamachpela, after the Hebrew name of that site. After reviewing the deed, the Civil Administration invalidated the purchase, citing faults in the transaction. Under the martial law in the territories, any real estate deal must first be approved by an Israeli army commander.

Consequently, then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered that the house be evacuated.

Since then, settlers in Hebron have been waging a legal battle to gain recognition for the transaction. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has pledged in the past that if the deal is deemed legal, the settlers would receive authorization to move in from the military as well.” […]

“Nevertheless, the purchase must still go through the appropriate bureaucratic channels. In June, an appeals committee ordered that the settlers’ request to register the purchase be reviewed. Contrary to reports, it did not recognize the legality of the transaction, but leveled criticism at the manner in which the deal was denied.

Once this process is completed, the prime minister and defense minister can sign off on the deal and allow the settlers back into the property.

Netanyahu’s statement did not mention a timeline for this process.

The settlers said on Sunday that they will only return to the home once they receive an official authorization.”

In light of the fact that the BBC habitually presents Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as ‘illegal’, it would have been more conducive to audience understanding of the issue had the BBC bothered to point out to readers of this article that Israelis living in the H2 area of Hebron do so under the terms of agreements which form part of the Oslo Accords to which the Palestinian Authority was a willing signatory. 

Related articles:

Murdered Israeli soldier nameless in BBC report

BBC report on murder of Tomer Hazan revised

Not news for the BBC

Those who get their Middle East news from the BBC will not have heard about any of the following. 

At around 2 a.m. on the night between September 18th and 19th – the eve of the Succot holiday – residents of the Hof Ashkelon area were awakened by sirens warning of an incoming missile from the Gaza Strip. 

On the night of September 22nd a mortar shell was fired from the Gaza Strip at the Eshkol region of southern Israel. On the same evening in the Golan Heights an IDF patrol came under fire from Syria.  

As noted on a UN website, the ‘Coalition of Palestinian Youths of Intifada’ has called for a ‘day of rage’ on Friday September 27th to mark the thirteenth anniversary of the second Intifada. That same group’s Facebook account includes instructions on how to make petrol bombs. Meanwhile, Hamas leader (and occasional Guardian contributor) Mousa Abu Marzouk recently informed his Facebook friends that Palestinians “are facing a political failure for the Palestinian Authority and the beginning of a new popular intifada against Israel”. 

BBC report on murder of Tomer Hazan revised

On September 21st we noted that the BBC’s report on the murder of Sergeant Tomer Hazan had failed to mention the victim’s name and age – despite those details having been publicly available at the time of publication – and that it wrongly stated that he had been abducted. 

Here is a screenshot of the report as it stood then.

Murder Tomer Hazan

On September 22nd the article was revised and its title changed, although the time stamp does not reflect the amendment. Here is a screenshot of the report’s new wording.

Tomer Hazan new version

BBC presents one-sided report of incident involving European diplomats

On September 20th 2013 the Middle East page of the BBC News website carried an article titled “Diplomats protest over West Bank clash with Israel troops“.

Hirbat al Makhoul

The article, which has undergone some changes (though clearly not enough, as shown below) since its initial publication, relates to an incident which took place near Hemdat in the northern part of the Jordan Rift Valley (in area C, and hence – according to the Oslo agreements – under Israeli control) on Friday, September 20th

On Monday September 16th buildings which had been constructed without planning permission at the Bedouin encampment of Khirbat Makhoul were demolished according to a ruling of the Israeli Supreme Court. The next day the International Red Cross arrived in the area and tried to set up tents, but removed them at the request of the authorities. On Friday a group of political activists and foreign diplomats arrived in the same place with the intention – in defiance of the court’s decision – of setting up more temporary structures described as ‘aid’. Soldiers removed the activists and the equipment they had brought in trucks from the site. 

In the BBC’s account of the incident, the sole oblique reference to the fact that the activists were acting in defiance of a ruling by the Supreme Court comes in one short paragraph.

“The homes in Khirbet al-Makhul were knocked down on Monday after Israel’s High Court ruled that they had been built without the correct permits.”

That statement is followed by this paragraph:

“BBC Middle East correspondent Kevin Connolly, in Jerusalem, says the Bedouin villagers of Khirbet al-Makhul have refused to leave the land where they say they have grazed sheep for generations.”

Steering audiences towards a romantic vision of desert shepherds, Connolly makes no attempt to inform readers whether or not the villagers have any legal title to the said land or of the fact that, as is the case in all Western countries, land ownership – even if proved – does not mean that planning permission for the construction of a building is not required. 

Much of the BBC report focuses on claims made by a French diplomat who was present at the incident – reportedly along with others from the EU, Britain, Spain, Ireland and Australia – despite the fact that internationally agreed diplomatic and consular conventions clearly state under the title of “Respect for the laws and regulations of the receiving state”:

“Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State.” (emphasis added)

Unfortunately, this is far from the first incident in which diplomats – including some from the UK FCO, which of course still provides the BBC with some of its funding – have displayed a marked lack of respect for such conventions – see here and here.

The BBC article also does not make it clear that members of the various diplomatic corps who took part in this orchestrated event did so in collaboration with politically motivated NGOs including Machsom Watch, ACTED (the Paris-based Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development) and EAPPI

The caption to the photograph chosen to illustrate the BBC’s report on the incident states:

“French diplomat Marion Fesneau-Castaing said she was dragged from her vehicle”.

In the body of the report, readers are told that:

“One French diplomat said she was forced to the ground from her vehicle.”

And, quoting a Reuters article:

“French diplomat Marion Fesneau-Castaing told Reuters news agency: “They dragged me out of the truck and forced me to the ground with no regard for my diplomatic immunity.

“This is how international law is being respected here.” “

Interestingly, despite the fact that further information has become available since the publication of the BBC’s article, it has not been updated to inform readers of the fact that Ms Fesneau-Castaing’s allegations appear to be distinctly questionable.

In the video below, Fesneau-Castaing can be seen, together with two other people, at 03:58 sitting in the driving seat of the truck (on its left side) where she remains for a while, apparently talking on her phone. At 04:49 she can be seen moving of her own accord towards the truck’s passenger door on its right hand side and at 05:07 she can be seen sitting in the passenger seat.  At 05:21 she can be seen opening the truck door on the passenger side and at 05:56 she is still sitting in the passenger seat, apparently speaking to soldiers outside the truck.

French diplomat in truck L

French diplomat 0449 moving to right

French diplomat 0507 passenger seat

French diplomat 0521 opens door

The crucial part of the sequence comes from 06:04 when the camera moves to the right hand side of the vehicle.  At 06:05, Fesneau-Castaing can be seen lunging with her upper body out from the truck and one of the soldiers tries to catch her. The soldiers cannot be seen inserting their hands into the truck to drag her out of it, as claimed. At 06:07 Fesneau-Castaing can be seen with her legs still inside the vehicle, which of course causes her to fall to the ground. The soldiers try to pull her up to a standing position, but she is clearly using her body as a dead weight and so remains on the ground where she can still be seen at 06:53 as an Israeli soldier offers her a hand to help her up. 

French diplomat 0605 exits truck

French diplomat on ground

Ms Fesneau-Castaing’s dramatics did not stop there, however. Once on her feet again she was filmed (here at 0:54) hitting a member of the Israeli security forces in a very undiplomatic manner.

Castaing striking police officer

The BBC News website clearly needs to revise this article considerably if it is to comply with BBC editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality because, as it currently stands, it is nothing more than one-sided propaganda for a very blatant political campaign.

Related articles:

Visual Lies: Exposing the Truth Behind Demonstrations in Judea and Samaria

Video contradicts French diplomat claim she was roughed up by Israeli soldiers

Video: French diplomat punching IDF soldier in the face

Murdered Israeli soldier nameless in BBC report

Visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page on September 21st were informed that an Israeli soldier had been “abducted and killed”.

HP 21 sept

The link leads to a very short article replete with omissions and errors and with a bizarre choice of additional articles included under the title “More on This Story”. 

Murder Tomer Hazan

Notably, whilst the suspected murderer is personalised with his name and age, the soldier is not. He remains a nameless, faceless, ageless entity for BBC audiences.

The report opens:

“An Israeli soldier has been abducted and killed by a Palestinian man in the northern West Bank, Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency says.”

An average reader would understand from that sentence – as well as from the report’s headline – that the incident took place in “the northern West Bank”. In fact, twenty year-old Sergeant Tomer Hazan, who served in the Israeli Air Force, was lured – rather than abducted – by the suspected murderer from his home town of Bat Yam (south of Tel Aviv) to the area of the latter’s home in Beit Amin near Qalqiliya on Friday September 20th

The report goes on:

“The soldier was seized on Friday and his body found near the town of Qalqiliya on Saturday, it said.

A suspect – who Shin Bet said worked with the soldier – has been arrested.”

Again, Tomer Hazan was not “seized” but lured by a man he knew due to the fact that they worked together at a shawarma restaurant in Bat Yam. Early on the morning of Saturday September 21st, Hazan’s body was found dumped in a water cistern – a fact which was reported in earlier versions of the BBC article but which was removed from the updated version. 

The BBC report concludes:

“The statement said he had confessed to killing the soldier in the hope that he could trade the body in exchange for the release of his imprisoned brother.

Shin Bet named the suspect as Nidal Ammer, 42-year-old Palestinian man.

More arrests are expected, it added.”

Nidal Amar (the BBC spells his name Ammer) apparently intended to trade Hazan’s body for the release of his brother Nur Al Din Amar – a member of the Fatah Tanzim terrorist group – who was imprisoned in 2003 for security offences including the dispatch of a female suicide bomber and who is scheduled for release in 2032. According to some Israeli media reports another brother was arrested at the same time as Nidal Amar.

First published at 14:10 UTC/GMT on September 21st, the BBC report was subsequently updated several times with the latest version (at the time of writing) having been published at 16:59 GMT – 19:59 Israeli time. By that time, details of the murdered soldier’s identity had been made public on multiple local television and radio stations and on news websites. For example, the Times of Israel published its story at 19:26 local time, the Jerusalem Post at 16:47, Ma’ariv at 18:18, YNet at 17:09 and Channel 2 TV at 18:41. In addition, the IDF spokesman made the murdered soldier’s name public at 18:23 on Twitter – around an hour and a half before the last update to the BBC report.

It is therefore difficult to understand why the BBC elected not to include the victim’s name in the later update to its report.

BBC still misrepresenting Hizballah terror designation

An article titled “Thailand court jails man over bomb-making materials” appeared on the Asia and Middle East pages of the BBC News website on September 18th.

Thailand Hizb

In that article we once again see the BBC inaccurately representing the subject of Hizballah’s designation as a terrorist organization.

“Thai authorities had accused him to having links to Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Shia Islamist movement backed mainly by Syria and Iran that the US considers to be a terrorist organisation, but Hussein denied any militant links throughout the trial.”

A similarly anodyne description of Hizballah is presented in all of the three related articles appearing in the “More on this Story” section at the bottom of the report, with the March 21st article stating:

“Thai police have said that he has links to Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Shia Islamist movement backed mainly by Syria and Iran that the US considers to be a terrorist organisation.”

The January 16th report states:

“Police say the man has links to Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Shia Islamist movement backed by Syria and Iran that the US considers to be a terrorist organisation.”

And the January 13th report says:

“Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist movement which holds several seats in Lebanon’s parliament as well as being the country’s most powerful military force. Its defining platform is hostility towards Israel.

The movement is backed mainly by Syria and Iran and is considered by the US to be a terrorist organisation.”

In other words, in all four of these articles readers are given the very misleading impression that only the United States regards Hizballah as a terrorist organization whereas actually it is also proscribed in its entirety by the governments of Canada, Israel, France and the Netherlands, as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council and Bahrain. Australia, the United Kingdom and the European Union proscribe what they define as Hizballah’s “military wing”, although such a distinction is of course at odds with the facts. 

At the bottom of the January 13th article, readers will find a link to the BBC’s old and outdated profile of Hizballah dating from July 2010. As previously noted here, the BBC News website produced a new and improved profile of the terrorist organization in July 2013, but for some reason it consistently neglects to add a link that profile to articles relating to Hizballah.

BBC presents airbrushed picture of Rouhani NBC interview

The headline to an article appearing on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on September 19th reassured readers that “Iran’s Rouhani dismisses nuclear weapons fears“.

Rouhani NBC int

That message was hammered home several more times in the BBC’s report of an interview given by Iran’s new president to NBC on September 19th. The caption to the accompanying video clip reads:

“President Hassan Rouhani: “We have never sought or pursued a nuclear bomb and we are not going to do so”. “

The article opens:

“Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani has said that his country will never build nuclear weapons.”

In the body of the report readers are informed that:

“In a wide-ranging interview with NBC News in Tehran, Mr Rouhani said Iran had “never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb and we are not going to do so”.

“We have time and again said that under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever.” “

The only ‘balance’ to the repeated presentation of Rouhani’s statements comes in the form of this paragraph:

“Iran is under UN and Western sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme. It says it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes but the US and its allies suspect Iran’s leaders of trying to built [sic] a nuclear weapon.”

The BBC makes no effort whatsoever to inform audiences of the IAEA’s assessments of Iran’s nuclear programme, including the remarks made by the agency’s Director General Yukiya Amano just three days before the NBC interview.

“I report regularly to the Board on safeguards implementation in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the Director General pointed out. “The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. However, Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. The Agency therefore cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” [emphasis added]

But the BBC’s airbrushing of Rouhani’s remarks during the interview does not stop with the nuclear issue. The report states:

“President Rouhani said his government wanted the Iranian people to be “completely free” in their private lives.

He said a “commission for citizens’ rights” was to be set up in the near future.

“In today’s world, having access to information and the right of free dialogue and the right to think freely is the right of all people, including the people of Iran,” he said, according to NBC’s translation of the interview.”

However, as NBC itself reports, there was an important condition to Rouhani’s statement which the BBC has airbrushed out of the picture its audiences receive.  

“Rouhani also appeared to pledge his support for increasing Iranians’ access to the Internet and other political and social freedoms.

“We want the people, in their private lives, to be completely free, and in today’s world having access to information and the right of free dialogue, and the right to think freely, is the right of all peoples, including the people of Iran,” he said.

When asked whether his government would stop censoring the Internet, Rouhani said “a commission for citizens’ rights” would be established. 

“Does that mean that people in Iran will have access now to Twitter and to Facebook?” Curry asked.

“The viewpoint of the government is that the people must have full access to all information worldwide,” Rouhani replied. “Our opinions on this should based on protection of our national identity and on our morals.” ” [emphasis added]

Interestingly, the BBC has also completely airbrushed from its report any mention of Rouhani’s statements on the Holocaust and Israel during the interview.

“…he deflected a question from NBC News’ Ann Curry about whether he believed that the Holocaust was “a myth.”

“I’m not a historian. I’m a politician,” he replied. “What is important for us is that the countries of the region and the people grow closer to each other, and that they are able to prevent aggression and injustice.” “

With regard to Israel:

“Rouhani described Israel as “an occupier and usurper government” that “does injustice to the people of the region, and has brought instability to the region, with its warmongering policies.”

He added Israel “shouldn’t allow itself to give speeches about a democratically and freely elected government.” “

Of course Rouhani’s government can only be considered “democratically and freely elected” if one is able to persuade oneself that the vetting of candidates by Iran’s ‘Guardian Council’ somehow aligns with the principles of democracy – as Rouhani obviously can – and it is that same process of self-persuasion which allows him to describe Israel as having “brought instability to the region” even as Iran finances terror organisations and supports a regime killing its own civilians.


Beyond the fact that the BBC’s continuing spin of a new ‘moderate’ Iranian president involves gymnastics which are an embarrassment to behold, what is really important is that BBC audiences are not being provided with the full range of information which will “enable individuals to participate in the global debate on significant international issues” – as specified among the BBC’s Public Purposes.

Related articles:

Guardian report on NBC interview with Iran’s president omits Holocaust remarks

BBC Persian Service coverage of Manchester seminar criticised

Does the evidence support the BBC’s touting of “less hardline Iranian stance” on nuclear issue?

BBC continues to portray a ‘moderate’ Iranian regime

BBC tones down Iranian rhetoric and extremism

A BBC theme to watch


BBC Travel article on Israeli Druze

An article from the BBC Travel section recently promoted on the BBC News website’s Middle East page will not do what it says on the tin.

Druze BBC Travel

No, readers will not “discover the secrets of the Druze” by reading Dan Savery Raz’s article titled “Israel’s forgotten tribe“, but it is nevertheless well worth the read and the author is to be commended for having avoided the inaccuracies all too frequently promoted by many journalists when writing about the Druze. 

Related articles:

Postcard from Israel – Kal’at Nimrod

BBC travel writer consistently accurate and impartial

Guardian misleads on Israeli Druze, part 1: False claims