BBC Arafat binge continues to promote conspiracy theories

The BBC’s recent Arafat overdose – which began on November 6th when no fewer than six reports were placed on its website within hours – continued the next day with the appearance of additional items. 

Those included a written article titled “Arafat polonium findings confirmed by Swiss scientists“, a filmed report by Yolande Knell titled “Palestinians react to Arafat report“, a filmed item by John Simpson who apparently now remembers that “Yasser Arafat death ‘was always suspicious’” and another filmed report by Nick Childs titled “Swiss scientists confirm polonium in Yasser Arafat remains“. All three of the filmed items appeared on BBC television news as well as on the BBC News website. 

Also on November 7th, at the same URL as a previous item originally titled “Arafat widow’s ‘shock and anger'” (and hence replacing it), a filmed piece entitled “Widow: Yasser Arafat ‘had many enemies’” appeared.

Like most of the articles of the previous day, the written report amplifies evidence-free speculations of Israeli involvement in Arafat’s death.

“Many Palestinians have long believed that Israel poisoned Arafat. There have also been allegations that he had Aids or cancer. Israel has consistently denied any involvement.”

Once again too, the article downplays the scale of the role of Al Jazeera in the manufacturing of this story.

“France began a murder inquiry in August 2012 after the preliminary findings of polonium by the Lausanne scientists, who have been working with an al-Jazeera documentary crew.”

The synopsis to Knell’s filmed report states:

“Many Palestinians have long believed that Israel poisoned Arafat but Jerusalem has consistently denied any involvement.”

Knell provides a platform for the promotion of ‘man in the Ramallah street’ conspiracy theories regarding speculations of Israeli involvement and then embellishes them with her own narrative.

Simpson’s report presents an over-simplified view of the Swiss laboratory’s findings and also amplifies the Israel-related Palestinian conspiracy theories on the subject. 

In Nick Childs’ report he erroneously describes Arafat as “a guerilla leader”. As we noted here a year ago when Jon Donnison also whitewashed Arafat’s terrorism by describing him as a “guerilla fighter”:

“A guerrilla fighter, by definition, “acts as a member of an irregular usually politically motivated armed force that combats stronger regular forces, such as the army or police”.

In other words, guerrilla fighters act against official security forces – not against civilians. […]

Yehuda Ohayon (aged 10), Yafa Batito (8), Mimon Biton (7), Haviva Biton (7), Chana Biton (8), Shimon Biton (9), Shulamit Biton (9) and Aliza Petretz (14) were not soldiers or policemen. They were pupils on their way to school on May 22nd 1970 when two bazooka shells were fired at their school bus by the PLO – under Yasser Arafat’s command.

Neither were the eleven Israeli athletes murdered by the PLO’s ‘Black September’ group at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972 a military target.

The 25 Israelis killed in the Ma’alot massacre – 22 of them children – in 1974 were not soldiers or policemen either. The 38 Israelis – including 13 children – murdered in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre carried out by the PLO under Arafat were also not a military target.”

On November 8th the BBC News website added two more reports to its collection of Arafat-related items:  a written article titled “Palestinian officials: Israel only suspect in Arafat death” and a filmed report titled “Yasser Arafat forensic studies ‘will continue’“, both of which relate to the press conference given on that day by Tawfik Tirawi and amplify the PA’s unfounded accusations against Israel.

To sum up, in a period of less than 48 hours the BBC News website promoted thirteen different reports (shown below) on the subject of the publication of the Swiss findings and related subject matter, with nine of those items amplifying conspiracy theories concerning Israel’s involvement in Arafat’s death. None of the items attempted to propose any other explanation for the as yet unproven poisoning theory. 

website 6 to 8 11

Related articles:

BBC goes into Arafat overdose mode – again

 The BBC’s Arafat overdose

7 comments on “BBC Arafat binge continues to promote conspiracy theories

  1. Propagande Yolande is the sexton who continues to toll the death Knell of the the BBC. But it is a very slow decline towards demise, engendering a monotonous propagandist death Knell tolling until 2017 when the BBC’s Royal Charter comes up for renewal or withdrawal.

  2. “Many Palestinians have long believed that Israel poisoned Arafat but Jerusalem has consistently denied any involvement.”

    Well, at least Knell has, probably unwittingly, admitted that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and not Tel Aviv.

  3. Is there a reason for this sudden onslaught of Arafat related speculation? Obviously, the man in the Ramallah street automatically assumes that Israel is responsible for the death of Arafat – he has been brainwashed into doing so – but it’s curious that less directly involved individuals are making it their job to stir up interest.

    Is the ground being prepared for diverting the world’s attention, away from the activities of the merry (and enormously wealthy) widow Suha, who lives in opulent splendour in Paris? Or perhaps we are about to hear about investigations of corruption by Fatah and/or the PA, which this non story might partially obscure?

    I just find it curious that the death of Arafat keeps being questioned. As the merry widow has already confirmed, he had a lot of enemies and many of those were not Israeli. He was at best, a gangster leader, who pillaged and stole from his own people, used his stolen money to buy influence and power, while ordering and arranging the death of Israelis – mainly civilians.

    In Jordan and Lebanon, he tried to overturn the existing order. King Hussein mounted a campaign against the Palestinians – Black September – that resulted in the deaths of untold thousands. In Lebanon, his actions resulted in the atrocities carried out by Falangist Christians in Sabra and Chatila camps and Arafat was lucky to escape to Tunis with his life. In Kuwait, when Saddam’s forces rolled in, Arafat supported Saddam, thus making Arafat and his people pariahs, after the allies evicted Saddam. Even among his own people, he played off one thug against another, on the divide and rule principle.

    He had a LOT of enemies. So how come the BBC take the word of a professional liar, Tawfik Tirawi, rather than look at the man’s history?

  4. Quite mysterious – to my mind, anyway – is why and how, seven years after Arafat’s death, Al Jazeera (from the linked-to report) “obtained personal belongings that Arafat had used shortly before his death, including a toothbrush and clothing” – an item of this clothing being “A piece of underwear stained with Arafat’s urine”

    Although I realise that there may be people who cannot bear to get rid of their dead loved one’s belongings, I nevertheless find it odd that seven years down the line, a toothbrush – an incredibly convenient vehicle for this particular isotope – would be among them. I also struggle with the idea that one would keep stained underwear: out of respect for the deceased’s memory – especially a figurehead such as Arafat – wouldn’t it be more likely that such garments would be washed? It is also interesting to know that ingesting Po-210 will result in it being subsequently excreted – which makes this 7yr old stained underwear as convenient as the 7yr old toothbrush.

    It is not impossible, of course, for Suha Arafat to have retained these items, but it is might far-sighted of her to have retained them in their unwashed state.

  5. Pingback: Why we need to talk about the BBC’s promotion of Middle East conspiracy theories | BBC Watch

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