BBC Trending invents a ‘new Israeli law’

A sensationalist article which appeared in the Features & Analysis section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page on April 29th under the title “Too young for the Holocaust?” opens with a blatant inaccuracy.BBC Trending Holocaust educ art

“Who is too young to learn about the horrors of the Holocaust? A new law in Israel means kindergarten children will be taught about the Nazi genocide for the first time, triggering an acerbic response on social media.” [emphasis added]

However, no such law exists.

BBC Watch approached the Israeli Ministry of Education for clarification and was informed: 

מדובר בתכנית לימודים חדשה של משרד החינוך,  לא חוק

“This concerns a new pedagogic programme of the Ministry of Education, not a law.”

The Ministry added:

“The programme organises the exposure of the children to content on the subject of the Holocaust, from the early ages to high school, and in each age group there is adjustment of the content to the developmental, cognitive and emotional abilities of the children to deal with the material.”

This BBC article was written by BBC Trending which describes itself as producing:

“A hand-picked selection of stories trending on social media around the world.”

Indeed, the article goes on to describe selected sensationalist and obviously uninformed reactions to the new pedagogic plan on Twitter, none of which contribute to reader understanding of the issue and which it is highly doubtful can be accurately described as having been “trending on social media around the world”.

Readers may recall that this is not the first time that the BBC has weighed in on this topic. In January it produced another article based on an item featured on ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ which also misrepresented the issue. As we noted here at the time:

“In 2010 the Israeli State Comptroller (Mevaker HaMedina) criticized Holocaust commemoration in the education system saying that the Ministry of Education “did not instruct the kindergarten teachers and teachers who dealt with teaching the Holocaust and did not provide them with pedagogic material in order to enable them to cope with the complex questions involved in the teaching of this sensitive subject.”.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum took up the challenge of preparing suitable material for use in classes of differing ages during the hours already devoted to teaching the subject in the run-up to Holocaust Remembrance Day. In October 2013 Education Minister Shai Piron announced the new proposal.

Josh Spear’s claim that “[t]he storm […] broke out when education minister Shay Piron announced that Holocaust education was to become compulsory for all Israeli schoolchildren” is not an accurate one. In contrast perhaps to their European counterparts, Israeli children take part in annual commemorations from a very young age and cannot fail to be aware of the siren marking the occasion, the media coverage of the subject and the fact that for many families in Israel, the Holocaust is part of their personal history. Hence, Holocaust education already exists and this latest initiative is designed to help teachers who have been asking for better pedagogic resources on the subject for years.”

Sadly, it seems that despite having a Hebrew-speaking researcher contribute to this article and despite having contacted the Ministry of Education itself, BBC Trending was unable to stick to the corporation’s editorial guidelines on accuracy and instead elected to run with the misrepresentation of a pedagogic programme it does not even bother to adequately represent as a “law”. 


4 comments on “BBC Trending invents a ‘new Israeli law’

  1. I hardly understand why everything is so complicate about Israel!!!!!!Who is that john spear?the guy who sells bread in the bakery next door? why does he compe up with a new fuss about israeli laws?why cannot he make his bread and shut up? why cannot those stupid israeli ministers have to reply to every stupid question a fool cleaning the street would ask them? Since this minister seems to need my advice I would tell him to stop replying evey journalist,street cleaner or the baker next door. Has he not understood yet that every time some israeli politician replies to a question,the media start a new problem for Israel???Let us not reply to these people once and for all,let them WEAR OUT in vain until they get strained at he sole idea of asking a question and possibly drop dead before getting the slightest reply!

  2. Pingback: Disingenuous report from BBC Trending promotes Palestinian agitprop | BBC Watch

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