BBC News frames Iranian elections as victory for ‘reformists and moderates’

Those getting their news about the recent elections in Iran from the BBC will have learned of a sweeping victory for what the corporation terms “reformists”. Readers of the BBC News website’s February 28th article titled “Iran election: Reformists win all 30 Tehran seats” were told that:Iran elections

“Allies of Iran’s reformist President Hassan Rouhani have won a landslide victory in Tehran, in the first parliamentary vote since Iran signed a nuclear deal with world powers.

With 90% of the votes counted, the pro-Rouhani List of Hope is set to take all 30 parliamentary seats in the capital.”

Analysis from the BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet informed readers of this article and a later one that:

“This stunning election result will make a difference in Iran’s engagement with the wider world.

President Rouhani’s hand has been strengthened in parliament to help open his country to greater trade and investment. That will help him, and others in his reformist camp, to deepen the dialogue with the West, which began with negotiations on a landmark nuclear deal.”

Oddly, though, little column space was given to serious discussion of the topic of what exactly those “reformists” aspire to reform in their country.

“Reformists, who want better relations with the outside world and more freedoms at home, were hoping to gain influence in the conservative-dominated bodies.”

“Reformists and moderates say they are targeting greater foreign investment which, our correspondent says, will create jobs for young people.”

And audiences found the term “moderate conservative” used in this article and a subsequent one to describe a man implicated in the 1994 AMIA bombing and the murders of Iranian dissidents.

“Early results gave former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a moderate conservative, and Mr Rouhani the most votes for the assembly, which is composed of mostly elder and senior clerics.”

The BBC is of course not the only Western media organization to be reporting on the Iranian elections in this euphemistic manner. The Wall Street Journal, however, has unpacked some of that journalistic framing.

“Western media are nonetheless describing the results as an “embarrassing defeat” for the regime’s hard-liners and the moderates’ “best nationwide electoral showing in more than a decade,” as the Associated Press put it. Of particular note are the results in the capital, Tehran, a national barometer where on Sunday it appeared that candidates on the moderate list had swept all 30 seats in the Majlis.

Some moderates. Consider Mostafa Kavakebian. The General Secretary of Iran’s Democratic Party, Mr. Kavakebian is projected to enter the Majlis as a member for Tehran. In a 2008 speech he said: “The people who currently reside in Israel aren’t humans, and this region is comprised of a group of soldiers and occupiers who openly wage war on the people.”

Another moderate is Kazem Jalali, who previously served as the spokesman for the National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee of the Majlis and is projected to have won a seat. In 2011 Mr. Jalali said his committee “demands the harshest punishment”—meaning the death penalty—for Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the two leaders of the pro-democracy Green Movement that was bloodily suppressed after stolen elections in 2009. Those two leaders are still under house arrest.

As for new Assembly of Experts, many of the “moderates” projected to have won seats were also listed on the hard-liners’ lists, since the ratio of candidates to seats was well below two. The winners include Mohammad Reyshahry, a former Intelligence Minister believed to have helped spearhead the 1988 summary execution of thousands of leftists; Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi, another former Intelligence Minister believed to have directed the “chain murders” of the late 1990s; and Ayatollah Yousef Tabatabainejad, a fierce opponent of women’s rights who has called Israel “a cancerous tumor.””

Since Rouhani’s election in 2013 the BBC has consistently portrayed him as a “reformer” and a “moderate”, managing in all that time to avoid uncomfortable topics such as the 2015 UN report which found that the number of executions in Iran has in fact risen since Rouhani came to power.

Licence fee payers may well be asking themselves how exactly such editorial framing meets the corporation’s obligation to enhance their “awareness and understanding of international issues”. 


Sourcing an anti-Israel libel promoted on BBC Radio 4

When anti-Israel campaigner Ken Loach appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The World Tonight’ on February 25th, one of the more delusional allegations heard by listeners (and the competition was tough) was that during the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas, Israeli troops “executed” Hebrew speakers in the Gaza Strip.The World Tonight 25 2

“Will they go to Gaza and see the rubble? Will they see the schools that were bombed by Israel in 2014? Will they see the hospitals that were targeted by Israel? Will they see the places where families were herded together and then executed? Will they hear about the people who were asked if they spoke Hebrew and if they spoke Hebrew they were executed?”

Not only was that allegation – and the many others – not questioned or challenged by the BBC’s Ritula Shah but Loach was not even asked to provide a source for such a serious charge. Hence, we decided to look for its source ourselves and the search did not take very long.

The inventor of that defamation is a man who has made a career out of lying about IsraelMax Blumenthal – and in 2014 he touted it at the so-called ‘Russell Tribunal on Palestine’, with further amplification from Rania Khalek at ‘electronic Intifada’

“Blumenthal described in vivid detail the grisly executions he documented of civilians, paramedics and fighters carried out by invading Israeli soldiers. He also highlighted several instances of Israeli soldiers summarily executing older men in Gaza after learning they spoke Hebrew, leading to speculation that soldiers were ordered to eliminate anyone capable of understanding their commands.”

Another fan of Blumenthal’s unsubstantiated allegations is Asa Winstanley who told readers of the Hamas-linked MEMO website that:

“According to several different eyewitnesses he spoke to, offering corroborating accounts of different incidents, it seems that Israeli soldiers were executing a new practice during this latest Gaza war. As Max puts it: “wanton targeting of Palestinian civilians who spoke Hebrew”.”

The fact that Radio 4 apparently did not see anything problematic about broadcasting that and additional spurious allegations without question or challenge of course prompts the question of what it is that supposedly differentiates the BBC from Hamas-supporting websites which promote and amplify the same defamation – but without demanding a licence fee.

Related Articles:

BBC interviewee and source banned from German parliament

Move over Galloway: BBC Radio Ulster airs pro-Assad & anti-Israel propaganda

Racist Alliance: Behind the scenes of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and Pluto Press (UK Media Watch) 

BBC promoted NGOs and a question in Parliament

Back in December we noted that our colleagues at CAMERA had secured corrections to inaccurate information appearing in an article published by Associated Press which was largely sourced from an employee of a political NGO previously quoted and promoted in BBC content.

“”They (Israelis) are trying to uproot us from Jerusalem, they are stealing the houses, the trees and the stones of the city,” laments Nura Sub-Laban, a Palestinian woman featured in The Associated Press article today by Karin Laub and Mohammed Daraghmeh (“Palestinian eviction case spotlights Jerusalem settler push“).

Set against the backdrop of the disputed “gold-topped Dome of the Rock,” AP’s account of the looming eviction of Sub-Laban from their home in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter reflects a narrative of supposed Jewish encroachment in the holy city at the expense of dispossessed Palestinians, blameless “victims of discriminatory use of Israeli property law.” 

It is also fundamentally wrong, based as it is on a grossly misrepresented basic facts about the Sub-Laban case, initially ignoring critical essential information and falsely casting it as part “of a wider settlement campaign.””

The subject matter of that AP article cropped up again last week during Prime Minister’s Questions in the UK Parliament. The ‘BBC Parliament’ TV channel of course broadcast the February 24th session which included a question from the MP for Bradford East (available in the UK only from 29:22 here).

Imran Hussain (Bradford East) (Lab): Last week, together with several of my hon. Friends, I visited Palestine, where we went to the home of Nora and her family, who have lived in the old city of East Jerusalem since 1953. Israeli settlers, however, are now trying to force Nora from her home of over 60 years. There are many other cases like that. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that illegal settlements and constructions are a major roadblock that hinder peaceful negotiations? What are this Government doing to help prevent these infringements into Palestinian lives and land?”

Mr Hussain and additional Labour MPs did indeed visit the region earlier in February on a trip organized by the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CAABU). As readers may recall, MAP has been used by the BBC in the past as a source of information and a BBC reporter showcased one of its projects in 2014. CAABU’s director Chris Doyle and other representatives are frequent contributors to BBC content.

According to CAABU’s Joseph Willits, the part of the trip which involved a visit to the Sub Laban family was facilitated by the foreign funded political NGO Al Haq which is of course active in the ‘lawfare’ campaign against Israel and is from time to time promoted in BBC content.

“They are Nora Gheith Sub-Laban and her family in Jerusalem’s Old City who are battling an eviction because illegal settlers want to move into their home. They also face constant intimidation from settlers and the Israeli army. Thanks to Al-Haq Organisation for arranging these visits to see the impact of illegal settlements and the Wall that destroys lives, livelihoods, families, and a person’s psychological make up.”

Willits tweet Sub Laban

MAP described that visit as follows:

“On Thursday, the MPs met Palestinian communities living in the shadow of Israel’s 440km-long separation wall, and heard from the Gaith-Sub Laban family who have threatened [sic] with eviction from their home of 62 years in East Jerusalem.”

Unsurprisingly given the agendas of all the groups involved in organising this visit, the British parliamentarians were obviously not told the entire story.

“…the Sub-Labans were never the owners of the property, but rather enjoyed “protected tenant” status. That status can be lost if the tenant abandons the property without intention of returning – and it is irrelevant whether the tenant is Jewish or Palestinian. […]

…before the 1948 war, the building was “owned by a trust for Kollel Galicia, a group that collected funds in Eastern Europe for Jewish families in Jerusalem.” When Jordan occupied Jerusalem in 1948, the property fell under the control of the Jordanian administration and was rented to the Palestinian Sub-Laban family in 1953. Following the 1967 war, when Israel gained control of eastern Jerusalem, the property was, according to the AP,

‘handed to an Israeli government department, the General Custodian. Palestinian residents were recognized as “protected tenants,” provided they continued to live in the apartments and pay rent to the Custodian.

[Ahmed] Sub-Laban said his family was forced out of the apartment between 1984 and 2001, but did not lose their protected tenancy during this period.’ […]

But the article’s underlying flaw is that initially nowhere did it state that at that point, in 2001, the family failed to move back into the property, which is the crux of the legal argument against them.

The magistrate court (34656-11-10) (in a decision upheld by the district court (28083-12-14) found that the family had not returned to the apartment in 2001. According to the court from 2001-2010 (when the property was transferred to the trust) the family did not live in the apartment. From 2010 until 2014, they had only “pretended” to live in the apartment.”

In other words, the claim made by Mr Hussain in Parliament that “Israeli settlers, however, are now trying to force Nora from her home of over 60 years” is inaccurate not least because two  courts of law have established that she did not live in that rented apartment for thirty of those years. Naturally, Mr Hussain’s amplification of that political propaganda in Parliament was appreciated by his hosts.

Willits tweet 2

The problematic aspects of the relationship between the media and political NGOs have previously been raised on these pages.

“As time goes by the mutually beneficial relationship between the traditional media and NGOs flourishes and expands and news consumers find that more and more of their news comes or is sourced from agenda-driven organisations which make no claim to provide unbiased information and are not committed to journalistic standards.

When political agendas and reporting meet, questions obviously arise concerning accuracy, impartiality and reliability. Whilst the BBC – like many other media organisations – has addressed the topic of ‘citizen journalists’ providing user-generated content (UGC), much less attention is given to content sourced from NGOs.”

One result of the BBC’s unchallenged promotion of information provided by NGOs often portrayed as ‘human rights groups’  is the ensuing ‘halo effect’ which leads members of the public and politicians alike to refrain from critical examination of the facts behind claims made by campaigning groups with a clear political agenda – as, sadly, the above example shows only too well.

Related Articles:

British MP’s query on Jerusalem prompting David Cameron’s ‘shock’ is based on lie (UK Media Watch) 

BBC News distorts language and mistranslates in report on Palestinian prisoner

On February 26th an article appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the headline “Palestinian Mohammed al-Qiq ending marathon hunger strike“. The report provides some interesting examples of the way in which information provided to audiences is filtered by means of the distortion of language and inaccurate translation.Al Qiq art  

Readers are told that:

“A Palestinian on hunger strike for more than three months in protest at his detention without charge by Israel has agreed to end his fast.

Mohammed al-Qiq will be freed in a deal which will see him released on 21 May, Palestinian officials said.

Israel said he would stay in custody until then, when it would review the case and possibly extend his detention.

It says Mr al-Qiq, 33, is involved in militancy linked to the Islamist group, Hamas. He denies the allegation.” [emphasis added]

Obviously official Israeli sources would not have not used the words “involved in militancy” but rather (in contrast with the BBC’s standard use of that euphemistic terminology) would have employed the accurate term terrorism. 

Indeed, on February 5th AFP reported that: “Shin Bet, the Israeli domestic security service, says Qiq was arrested for “terror activity”…” and other media organisations, including Hebrew language reportsused the same term.

The BBC’s editorial guidelines concerning “Language when reporting terrorism” state:

“…we should not change the word “terrorist” when quoting someone else, but we should avoid using it ourselves.”

Clearly the representation of what ‘Israel says’ in this report has been distorted and does not meet the requirements in those guidelines.

Whilst telling readers that al Qiq “denies the allegation”, the report does not inform them that he has twice in the past (2004 and 2008) been convicted of being a member of Hamas. Readers of this report are therefore left to guess whether or not al Qiq was involved in terror activity – and not least because nowhere are they informed that Hamas is a terror organisation.

Later on readers are told that:

“Earlier this month, Israel’s Supreme Court said Mr al-Qiq was “clearly a Hamas activist involved in militant terrorism” but suspended his detention order.”

That translated quotation is inaccurate. In fact, the word “militant” does not appear in the court decision: the relevant passage describes al Qiq as being engaged in military terrorism.

“.בתמצית, המדובר איפוא בפעיל חמאס מובהק העוסק בטרור צבאי”

The same court decision also justified al Qiq’s arrest on the grounds of suspicion of his being involved in military activity, suspicion of activity with Kutla Islamiya (a Hamas group operating in educational institutions) in Birzeit University and contact with operatives in the Gaza strip.

Towards the end of the report readers are told that:

“Administrative detention allows suspects to be held without charge for six-month intervals and can be renewed by a judge indefinitely.

Israel says the measure is necessary for security, but civil liberty groups say the practice is a violation of human rights.”

Clearly readers of this report have not been provided with the full range of available information concerning the reasons for al Qiq’s detention. The distortion of language and inaccurate translation in parts of the report which do supposedly inform them of the background to the case further exacerbate the problem. That obviously influences the ability of audiences to put the conflicting statements concerning administrative detention into their appropriate context and thus properly understand this story. 

BBC Radio 4 provides a stage for anti-Israel activist’s agitprop and defamation

h/t @Sussex Friends

“If it is established during a live programme that a factual error has been made and we can accurately correct it then we should admit our mistake clearly and frankly. Saying what was wrong as well as putting it right can be an important element in making an effective correction. Where the inaccuracy is unfair, a timely correction may dissuade the aggrieved party from complaining. Any serious factual errors or potential defamation problems should be referred immediately to Programme Legal Advice.” (BBC editorial guidelines – Live Output – How To Deal With A Serious Incident In A Live Broadcast)

When BBC Radio 4 producers invited long-time anti-Israel activist Ken Loach to appear on the February 25th edition of ‘The World Tonight’ to talk about a campaign in which he is involved there can be little doubt that they knew in advance exactly what they were going to get. It was therefore to be expected that listeners to the item concerned (from 32:52 here) would hear the tirade of inaccurate statements, crude distortions and downright lies which included the following:The World Tonight 25 2

“Israel has been oppressing the Palestinians for 70 years. They steal their land. They destroy their houses. They kill them with impunity. They break international law. They disregard United Nations resolutions and they break the Geneva conventions. They’re constructing an apartheid state.”

“If you look in the West Bank, for example, you’ll see settlements that are only available to Israeli Jews. The Palestinians live in villages at the foot of those settlements. You’ll see roads that only Israelis can travel on. The Palestinians, in their own land, cannot travel on those roads. You’ll see checkpoints that only Palestinians are forced to go through. Israelis don’t have to go through checkpoints. […] it satisfies the United Nations definition of apartheid.”

“Will they go to Gaza and see the rubble? Will they see the schools that were bombed by Israel in 2014? Will they see the hospitals that were targeted by Israel? Will they see the places where families were herded together and then executed? Will they hear about the people who were asked if they spoke Hebrew and if they spoke Hebrew they were executed?”

And in addition to all that, listeners also heard promotion of the BDS campaign – once again without their being told what that campaign really seeks to bring about.

So what efforts were made by presenter Ritula Shah to counter the inaccurate and misleading information promoted by her interviewee? Her first interjection – as usual – failed to meet BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality.  

“You can object to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, to settlements that are defined as illegal under international law, but that’s not the same as an apartheid state. That’s a very serious and particular accusation to be levelling.”

No serious attempt was made by Shah to challenge the specific lies and inaccuracies promoted by Loach and she confined herself to generalized “there are those who would say” statements on Israeli Arab citizens, Israeli democracy and the lack of justification for boycotts. The second half of the item included an interview with a representative from the Israeli Government Tourist Office which was presumably intended to tick the impartiality box and will no doubt be cited in response to any complaints about this item.

Significantly though, no substantial effort was made to relieve Radio 4 audiences of the multiple inaccurate impressions they received from listening to Ken Loach’s vulgar agitprop and the real issue with this item is that despite its various nods to ‘impartiality’, the programme’s producers must have known in advance that the defamatory messaging in Loach’s three and a half minutes of unchallenged propaganda was exactly what listeners were going to take away from this item.



The BBC’s roller-coaster reporting on the number of victims of Palestinian terror

We previously noted the BBC’s inconsistent and inaccurate reporting of the number of fatalities resulting from terror attacks in recent months.

Between October 1st and December 31st 2015, twenty-four people lost their lives in terror attacks – twenty-one of whom were Israeli citizens. Between January 1st and February 24th 2016, a further eight Israelis were killed during additional attacks.

Below is a round-up of the BBC News website’s presentation of the subject since January 1st 2015. One noteworthy point is that all the reporting is framed in terms of the number of Israeli fatalities and hence the fact that non-Israeli victims were also killed during terror attacks is erased from the view of BBC audiences. [all emphasis added]

January 1 – “As of 23 December, at least 21 Israelis had been killed in the recent violence, most of them in stabbings and shooting attacks by Palestinians.”

January 8 – “Israel was already on high alert amid a wave of attacks on Israelis by Palestinians and some Israeli Arabs which have killed 22 Israelis since the beginning of October.”

January 9 – “Relations between Israelis and Palestinians remain tense amid a wave of attacks on Israelis by Palestinians and some Israeli Arabs which have killed 22 Israelis since the beginning of October.”

January 15 – “In that time, 26 Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli-Arabs.”

January 17 – “Since October, 27 Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.”

January 18 – “Twenty-seven Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs since October.”

January 20 – “More than 25 Israelis have been killed.”

January 26 – “Since October, 28 Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.”

February 1 – “The Israeli authorities have struggled to halt a wave of stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs that have left 28 Israelis dead since October.”

February 3 – “In the past four months, 29 Israelis have been killed in a wave of stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.”

February 11 – “Twenty-nine Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs since October.”

February 14 – “… 26 Israelis have been killed since October 2015.”

February 18 – “Since October, 30 Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.”

February 24 – “At least 27 Israelis have been killed in a wave of stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs since October.”

The inaccurate, inconsistent and confused nature of the BBC’s reporting is all the more apparent when seen in visual form.

Graph BBC reporting terror fatalities

Clearly the BBC News website’s presentation of this topic to its audiences over time does not meet editorial standards of accuracy, with the reported numbers of fatalities going up and down without connection to actual events.

Seeing as the readily available official information concerning victims of terror attacks is quickly and meticulously updated by the Israeli authorities, it really is very difficult to understand why the BBC is having so much trouble producing accurate and consistent reporting on this subject.

BBC continues to ignore PA’s glorification of terrorism

Over the past five months the BBC News website has adopted a standard formula by means of which it ‘explains’ the ongoing wave of terror attacks against Israelis to its readers.

“The recent rise in violence is blamed by Palestinians on the continued occupation by Israel of the West Bank and the failure of the Middle East peace process.

Israel accuses Palestinian leaders and Islamist groups of inciting the violence.”

As has been noted here countless times in recent months, the BBC has refrained from providing its audiences with any serious reporting on the issue of the incitement and glorification of terrorism spread by Palestinian Authority officials and the PA president’s own party, Fatah. The only item directly relating to the issue of incitement which BBC audiences have seen during the last five months is a superficial and problematic backgrounder produced in October 2015 and titled “Is Palestinian-Israeli violence being driven by social media?”

There are of course many facets to the incitement and glorification of terrorism which underpins the current wave of terror, ranging from the production of ‘martyrdom’ posters and praise for terrorists on social media or elsewhere, through official portrayal of attackers as ‘martyrs‘ and heroes at events and ceremonies, to payments to their families and direct calls to action.

One aspect of the PA’s glorification of terrorism which BBC audiences have not been told about at all is its staging of state funerals with military honours for terrorists killed whilst attacking Israelis.

On February 23rd the two terrorists who carried out an attack at Damascus Gate on February 14th – one of whom was a member of the PA security forces – were buried with military honours, their bodies carried by PA policemen.

Photo: NRG

Photo: NRG

At the beginning of February another member of the PA security forces who carried out an attack near Beit El was also buried with military honours and with PA and Fatah officials in attendance.

The PA has not however confined its organisation of such official funerals to members of its security forces.

PA funerals 1

PA funerals 2

As was previously documented here, the practice of holding PA state funerals for terrorists has been going on since the end of October 2015.

As long as the BBC continues to conceal from its audience this and other manifestations of the Palestinian Authority’s glorification of terrorism and incitement, it cannot honestly claim to be reporting accurately and impartially.

More inconsistent BBC News reporting of the number of Israeli terror victims

On the evening of February 24th the BBC News website’s Middle East page published an article now titled “Israeli soldier shot dead by ‘friendly fire’ in West Bank attack” which relates to an incident which took place over six hours beforehand in Gush Etzion. As has been the case in several recent headlines to articles about terror attacks by Palestinians, the title chosen fails to clarify to readers who perpetrated that “West Bank attack”.article pigua gush 24 2

The circumstances of the incident itself are accurately reported, albeit with the usual employment of politicised terminology to describe its location.

“An Israeli military reserve officer has been shot dead, apparently by a fellow soldier, during an attack by a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank.

The military said the soldier opened fire as the Palestinian man attempted to stab Capt Eliav Gelman at Gush Etzion Junction.

An initial investigation suggested Capt Gelman was fatally wounded as a result of the fire, it added.” [emphasis added]

Whilst Eliav Gelman is named in the article, as is usually the rule in BBC reporting on Israeli victims of terror, no further personalising details are provided.

The report subsequently promotes a false notion of equivalence by describing the wave of terror attacks against Israelis which began last October as “violence between Israelis and Palestinians”.

“Gush Etzion, a bloc of Jewish settlements located between Jerusalem and Hebron, has been one of the focal points of a five-month surge in violence between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Additional sections of the article include the now template – but superfluous – qualification of the circumstances in which the majority of attackers have been killed.

“At least 27 Israelis have been killed in a wave of stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs since October.

More than 160 Palestinians – mostly attackers, Israel says – have also been killed in that period.” [emphasis added]

Notably, just six days previously the BBC had told its audiences that:

“Since October, 30 Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.”

This is not the first time that we have seen inconsistent BBC reporting of Israeli fatalities. As was noted here on February 16th when the BBC reported that “26 Israelis have been killed since October 2015”:

“Oddly, on January 26th the BBC reported the number of Israelis killed in terror attacks since October as being 28 and on February 11th the number twenty-nine was used.” 

It is difficult to understand why the corporation’s journalists find it so difficult to report this subject accurately and consistently, especially given that the information is easily located.

Several hours after its initial publication the article was amended to include the 163 word-long promotion of a report (including a link) produced by what it portrays as “two Israeli human rights groups”.

“Also on Wednesday, two Israeli human rights groups released a report in which they said dozens of Palestinian detainees being held at an Israeli detention facility had been subjected to mistreatment, and in some cases torture.

The groups, B’Tselem and HaMoked, presented accounts from 116 detainees about conditions at the Shikma interrogation facility, run by the Israeli Shin Bet internal security agency.”

As usual – and despite the relevant clauses in the editorial guidelines on impartiality – no effort is made to inform readers of the political agendas of the foreign-funded NGOs B’tselem and Hamoked which produced the report that the BBC has elected to amplify.

Related Articles:

Template BBC News report on Sha’ar Binyamin terror attack

Punctuation, qualification and ‘he said/she said’ reporting mar BBC report on terror attacks

BBC News reports Jerusalem terror attack with politicised description of location

BBC News belatedly reports fatal terror attack, ignores praise from Abbas’ Fatah

Political designation of terror attack location again gets priority from BBC News

Another fatal terror attack; another miserable BBC News headline

Will the BBC report Iranian ‘terror grants’ pledge?

As has been noted here before, back in July 2015, BBC coverage of the P5+1 deal with Iran included assurances from some of the corporation’s senior correspondents that funds freed up by sanctions relief would be used by the Iranian regime to improve the country’s economy.

“President Rouhani was elected because people hoped that he would end Iran’s isolation and thus improve the economy. So the windfall that they will be getting eventually, which is made up of frozen revenues – oil revenues especially –around the world, ah…there are people who argue that look; that will go to try to deal with loads and loads of domestic economic problems and they’ll have trouble at home if they don’t do that. If people – the argument goes on – are celebrating in Iran about the agreement, it’s not because they’ll have more money to make trouble elsewhere in the region; it’s because things might get better at home.” Jeremy Bowen, PM, BBC Radio 4, July 14th, 2015

“In exchange it [Iran] will get a lot. It will get a release of the punishing sanctions. We heard from Hassan Rouhani saying as Iran always says that the sanctions did not succeed but he conceded that they did have an impact on the everyday lives of Iranians. There’s an estimate that some $100 billion will, over time, once Iran carries out its implementation of this agreement, will be released into the Iranian economy.”  Lyse Doucet, Newshour, BBC World Service radio, July 14th, 2015.

Israel Radio’s Palestinian Affairs correspondent Gal Berger recently reported that the Iranian ambassador in Lebanon has announced that Iran is to pay ‘terror grants’ to the families of Palestinian terrorists killed during the ongoing wave of attacks against Israelis.Iranian money

“Iran has announced that it will be paying every family of a Palestinian attacker that has been involved in the current wave of violence, Israeli outlet Reshet Bet reports.

If the attacker was killed the family will receive $7,000 from Iran, with a $30,000 payout if their house was demolished by the Israeli authorities.

The announcement was made by the Iranian ambassador in Lebanon, Mohammed Fatah Ali, according to Reshet Bet.”

The Times of Israel adds:

“Ali’s statements were made at a press conference attended by Hamas officials, who reportedly praised the initiative and thanked Iran for its support. However, Ali seemed to open up the terror incentives to all Palestinians, not just Hamas members.”

Presumably those payouts will be in addition to the pledges of similar compensation from the Palestinian Authority and the PLO – which the BBC has of course not reported to date.  

BBC interviewee selected to comment on antisemitism story convicted of antisemitism

In early January 2014 both BBC Two’s ‘Newsnight’ and BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ covered a story portrayed as follows by ‘Newsnight’ presenter Jeremy Paxman:

“Now a French comedian has managed to short-circuit his country’s professed commitment to free speech. President Francois Holland, with support from both Right and Left, today encouraged local authorities to ban performances by Dieudonné M’bala-M’bala – usually known just as “Dieudonné”. It’s being done on grounds of public order because his alleged antisemitism has tested to destruction Voltaire’s supposed belief that ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ “

The ‘Newsnight’ item included an interview with a man introduced by Paxman as “the French writer and film-maker Alain Soral” and “a close friend of Monsieur Dieudonne” who “helped him popularise the infamous quenelle gesture”.Newsnight Soral

On Radio 4 Sarah Montague introduced recycled sections of that interview thus:

“Well a number of French cities have now banned the comedian and although Dieudonne has vowed to appeal against those bans. His close friend Alain Soral told ‘Newsnight’ last night that Dieudonne’s words had been taken out of context; that he’s anti-establishment, not antisemitic.”

As was noted here at the time, in spite of BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality no effort was made to inform audiences of the far-right background and political agenda of the interviewee selected to supposedly enhance their understanding of the story.

Paxman: “I began by asking him what on earth it [the quenelle gesture] meant.”

Alain Soral: “It’s a gesture against the system, against the powers that be in France. It has only recently become – since it’s a gesture that’s been around for almost ten years – only recently the most powerful Jewish organization in France, the CRIF, decreed that it was an anti-Semitic gesture. So basically, their idea is that an anti-system gesture is an anti-Semitic one. So at the end of the day, is that simply an improper accusation? Or is there a deep link between the system of domination that Mr Dieudonne is fighting against and the organized Jewish community? Well that’s the question.”

Paxman: “But you don’t deny that Mr Dieudonne is an anti-Semite, do you?”

AS: “The problem is that this word has become a word used to scare people. A long time ago Dieudonne had a partner – a young Jew called Eli Simoun – but all of these accusations started arriving the day he did a sketch on Israeli settlers. So today we have a very powerful Zionist lobby in France which treats anyone who doesn’t subscribe to its vision of the world and to its politics as antisemitic.”

Although the BBC’s funding public never did find out why in the first place ‘Newsnight’ editors considered the airing of Soral’s antisemitic conspiracy theories and whitewashing of the racism of his ‘close friend’ to be of any contribution to the public’s understanding of the issue under discussion, the news that Soral has now been convicted by a French criminal court in a case relating to antisemitism should surely prompt some belated self-examination of the editorial decisions made in the run-up to the airing of that interview.

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