Forty-two years after the Lod Airport massacre the BBC still will not use the word terror to describe the politically motivated indiscriminate murder of twenty-six civilians and the wounding of some eighty others.
In the misdated article (the attack took place on May 30th rather than May 29th) which appears in the ‘On this Day’ section of the BBC News website under the title “1972: Japanese kill 26 at Tel Aviv airport” the word terror does not appear once and the PFLP – which organised the attack – is not defined as a terrorist organisation.
That word also does not appear in the synopsis to a filmed item from the BBC World Service’s ‘Witness’ series which appeared in the BBC News website’s ‘Magazine’ section and on its Middle East page on May 21st with the heading ‘I survived the Israeli airport massacre’.
“On 29 May 1972 three Japanese students arrived at Israel’s Lod airport in Tel Aviv on an Air France flight from Paris.
Once their luggage came through to the baggage hall, they drew out automatic guns and hand grenades, and began shooting people indiscriminately.
They killed 26 people and injured more than 70 others. One of the men killed himself, another was shot by security guards and the third was arrested.
The gunmen were hired by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who said they had recruited the trio from Japan’s Red Army terror group, to carry out the attack, in revenge for the killing of two Arab hijackers earlier in May.
Ros Sloboda, who was living in Israel at the time, was seriously wounded in the attack.”
Ms Sloboda’s account is of course both interesting and touching, but surely – over four decades on – it is time for the BBC to term the attack and its perpetrators accurately.