BBC’s ‘Today’ programme ‘should know better’ than to engage in covert promotion of the PSC’s agenda

h/t J

On Friday January 31st the BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme included an item (here from 02:42:55) by the Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly titled “Scarlett Johansson ‘should know better’“. 

Today Connolly

At 0:50 into Connolly’s item, listeners hear the sound of shouting and chanting:

“One, two, three, four, occupation no more. Five, six, seven, eight, Israel is a terror state.”

Connolly then comes in saying:

“Now SodaStream, and Scarlett, find themselves caught up in the bitter politics of the Middle East and in particular the calls for a boycott of Israeli businesses that trade on the lands that Israel captured in the war of 1967.”

The same shouting and chanting continues in the background throughout the whole time that Connolly is speaking – clearly the result of two separate recordings being intentionally spliced together. He continues:

“Israel disputes that its activities in the West Bank, like the operations of the SodaStream factory there, are a breach of international law but these protesters gathered at the Israeli embassy in London are in no doubt. Among them was Amena Saleem who says you should know that buying a SodaStream props up the occupation and that Scarlett Johansson should know better.”

Amena Saleem: “She’s advertising SodaStream and she’s promoting it so she’s promoting the occupation, she’s promoting apartheid in the West Bank. By supporting SodaStream which supports the occupation you are supporting the occupation as well and Scarlett Johansson unfortunately is supporting the Israeli occupation and Israeli apartheid.”

Does Connolly bother to inform the millions of listeners to the ‘Today’ programme that Saleem’s defamatory claims of “Israeli apartheid” are inaccurate? No he does not. Does he bother to tell them that Amena Saleem is a professional activist with the Hamas-supporting Palestine Solidarity Campaign who writes for outlets such as Electronic Intifada and the UK-based Hamas mouthpiece MEMO? No he does not. Does he even bother to make it clear who organized that noisy demonstration outside the Israeli embassy which the BBC’s sound engineers took such pains to splice into his item? No he does not. 

Readers will no doubt remember that not too long ago, the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit reaffirmed the corporation’s commitment to “clearly summarising the standpoint of any interviewee where it is relevant and not immediately clear from their position or the title of their organization”. Interestingly, that statement came about as the result of a complaint from none other than the murkily funded Palestine Solidarity Campaign itself. But in this case Connolly and the editors of the ‘Today’ programme have made no effort whatsoever to identify Amena Saleem as a representative of that organization or to explain the politically motivated ideology and aims which lie behind it and the BDS campaign it supports. 

Clearly this broadcast is in breach of the BBC’s editorial guidelines on impartiality which – as reaffirmed by the ECU – state:

“We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities) are unbiased and we may need to make it clear to the audience when contributors are associated with a particular viewpoint, if it is not apparent from their contribution or from the context in which their contribution is made.”

That breach of impartiality makes the BBC (not for the first time) a party in the promotion and amplification of the PSC’s campaigning and in the sanitisation of an extremist fringe group which supports a terrorist organization proscribed by the British government.

The ‘Today’ programme’s contact details are here

PSC in Gaza 

Related Articles:

Zaher Birawi profile

Mohammad Kozber profile

Muhammed Sawalha  profile

Sarah Colborne PSC  profile

Palestine Solidarity Campaign  profile

What is the PSC?

PSC invites Terror Activist to House of Commons

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Hamas

BBC justifies anti-Israel campaign slogans as “a form of expression”

Who has the ear of ‘senior BBC executives’?


32 comments on “BBC’s ‘Today’ programme ‘should know better’ than to engage in covert promotion of the PSC’s agenda

  1. The BBC has long been sympathetic to and complicit in the propaganda of Jew-haters.

    You only need to remember one phrase:

    Balen report.

    All the rest is commentary.

    • I am probably wasting my time- But your statement is just a rant without substance-
      Now terror states- Syria, Egypt, Gaza (Should declare itself a state – but will not)
      Iran, and the silent one Pakistan.

  2. I wonder how many bbc employees own a sodastream; or grew up in a household that had a sodastream? The entity known as the bbc is a sick thing to behold; boycott it, divest from its merchandise and sanction against its pernicious effect on normal, healthy human beings.

  3. To John: yes, it is corrupt morally and politically, and is in breach of its charter every day of the week in any number of ways.

    To the troll above: go away and bother your big sister, you are not impressing anyone here.

  4. !!

    “a speech given by US Secretary of State John Kerry to the conference on Saturday in which he said of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “Today’s status quo, absolutely to a certainty, I promise you 100 percent, cannot be maintained. It is not sustainable. It is illusionary. You see for Israel there is an increasing delegitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it, there is talk of boycott and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that?””

    The clock is ticking, Zionists!

    Do the decent thing, get back behind your wall on the ’67 border.

    • Do the decent thing and first understand the region and its history before voicing your ‘opinion’ about it. You show your ignorance by talking about the ’67 border. There never was such a border … it was merely a cease-fire line.

      That should start you on your studies.

    • The clock is ticking, Zionists!

      Dammit! You made me soil myself. I am still sha… sha …. shaking.

      • If the USA pulled back, it would be the best thing in the world for us. A true wake-up call.

        No more stockpiling nukes, forced to the negotiating table, and with a need desire to create a fair and lasting peaceful solution.

        Don’t be fooled by the posters here, most of them aren’t even Israeli (let alone Jewish!), and have no real idea of the situation on the ground. In the great Jewish tradition we need to compromise with our neighbours, who have been here for many thousands of years – longer than we ever were (and who’s to say they weren’t here before us anyway? It’s not as if we ‘appeared’ here 3000 years ago from nothing).

        We all have a duty to live peacefully and co-exist. My country is in a real mess, with extremist parties destabilising our ‘democracy’ as parties scrabble to create meaningful coalitions in parliament – and they are by no means stable or long lasting.

        Shouting the loudest doesn’t help – but being honest about the reality that there is a demographic issue awaiting us not to mention the real threat of an intellectual and economic boycott that is in the hands of the international public, and growing. As a businessman I feel the effects and I expect other here do too.

        We can resolve this once and for all – by sharing water, land and trade according to the commonly agreed principles of international law – this is where we are in 2014! We do not get our life from some arcane scripture whose veracity we can never ascertain for fact and whose ‘truths’ are disputed by other religions and their holy texts.

        Enlightened liberals are what most Israeli’s want to be – yet this is hijacked by idiots from the right at every step of the way.


        • Pretentious nonsense. You have no idea how many of the posters are Israeli, Jewish or with first-hand knowledge.
          Moreover, it’s you who knows little about the ME. Israel has been compromising with its neighbours all the time: accepting the partition plan, pulling out of Gaza, and hundreds of other examples. The Arabs have shown far less willingness to compromise.

  5. Jew-haters like you have been saying this for ages.

    There is no ’67 ‘border’.

    Go slither back under your stone, slimy twerp.

  6. “BDS is an important tool to use when a country like Israel regularly thumbs its nose at international law and norms , yet continues to be rewarded by the EU and USA , with aid and preferential trade agreements . If Governments refuse to act then ordinary citizens and institutions can show in a non-violent way that continuing injustices will have consequences . Secondly and most importantly BDS is not a unilateral decision from outside activists . It is response to a call made in 2005 , when over 170 organisations fully representative of Palestinian Civil Society called upon international organisations and people of conscience all over the world – ” to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era until Israel complies with international law ” .
    There are those who dismissed BDS as an irrelevance , but already senior Israeli businessmen have written to Netanyahu expressing serious concerns for the Israeli economy should BDS gain momentum . It is interesting even Kerry is realising the dangers to Israel should it not make a fundamental change to it’s political intransigence . The reality is that the that the USA as Israel’s premier donor have the economic power for serious leverage , but can not or will not due to the constraints of a pro-Israeli Senate and Congress .
    So it’s down to ordinary citizens and non-Governmental institutions to make sure that justice and international law prevail . Already as can be seen BDS is in the public arena and it won’t go away despite distortion , obfuscation and the
    ‘ bunker mentality ‘ adopted by some .”


    • BDS has as its intention the demise of Israel. There is no intention to see justice done or even the mythical international law. BDS is applied only to Israel and no other country and the voices grow increasingly shrill as the claims grow increasingly irrelevant.

      The hypocrisy and dishonesty of the movement becomes clear when it is realised that its founder, Omar Barghouti (a Palestinian born in Qatar) started it while a student at the Israeli University of Tel Aviv, subsidised by Israeli tax-payers.

      • BDS is applied only to Israel and no other country and the voices grow increasingly shrill as the claims grow increasingly irrelevant.

        And the failures more …. ‘heart wrenching’.

        Poor dears.

        • Why, yes, why not? It’s a small country, it is constantly being attacked by its genocidal neighbours, it is vastly more democratic than 75% of the planet’s countries, so it makes sense. And anyway, they are Jeeews.

  7. ‘Guardian’ is right, babes: lies upon lies, all with a filling of delusional and smug adolescent ignorance.

  8. Dear BBC Watch,

    Would you please say how BBC WATCH is funded and by whom? And say where it is based, geographically and in terms of national identification?

    Many thanks,


    • Who ever funds it for sure it will not be the BDS- It will not be a pan Islamic society- And for sure not any far left wing group-
      So its going to be from sources that know that the BBC has an anti-Israeli agenda.
      Its refusal to publish the Malcom Balen report bares witness to that.
      And that source wishes to bring the BBC `s agenda to the fore.
      What else is relevant?

    • Is this sencar’s latest incarnation? Wasn’t he always going on about how CIFWatch was funded? (I guess he has a problem reading.)

  9. Palestinians employed at SodaStream’s West Bank factory told the Daily Telegraph, Josh Mitnick, and the Christian Science Monitor they back Scarlett Johansson. The Monitor’s Christa Case Bryant writes

    So BDS go have a SODA-

  10. Pingback: BBC displays its campaigning colours in SodaStream story coverage | BBC Watch

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