BBC amplification of the latest pseudo-legal agitprop from the vexatious Palestinian Authority came in the form of an article which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on July 26th under the misleading title “Palestinians plan to sue Britain over 1917 Balfour act“.
Later on in the article, readers were further misled by an inaccurate portrayal of the end of British administration of the Mandate for Palestine.
“Israel declared its independence in 1948 after the UK mandate expired.”
Remarkably, the article omitted any mention of British restrictions on Jewish immigration to Mandate Palestine before, during and after the Second World War.
“Jewish immigration to Palestine accelerated from the 1920s to the 1940s, latterly spurred by Nazi persecution and the Holocaust in Europe. The growth of the Jewish population was opposed by Palestine’s Arab community, which rejected the eventual establishment of a Jewish state.”
The article provided uncritical amplification to spurious claims made by a PA representative:
“Palestinian FM Riad Malki said the document led to mass Jewish immigration to British Mandate Palestine “at the expense of our Palestinian people”. […]
Speaking at an Arab League summit in Mauritania on Monday, Mr Malki said the UK was responsible for all “Israeli crimes” since the end of the mandate in 1948.
“Nearly a century has passed since the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1917,” he was quoted as saying by the Palestinian Wafa news agency.
“And based on this ill-omened promise hundreds of thousands of Jews were moved from Europe and elsewhere to Palestine at the expense of our Palestinian people whose parents and grandparents had lived for thousands of years on the soil of their homeland.””
The article refrained from clarifying to readers that this latest PA stunt does not come out of the blue and it failed to provide them with the relevant context of the long record of denial of Jewish history by official Palestinian bodies, as ‘The Tower’ explains:
“Article 20 of the charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization, whose chairman Mahmoud Abbas is also president of the Palestinian Authority, declared that “The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood.”
In 1993, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat promised, as part of the Oslo peace process, to revoke elements of the charter that denied Israel’s right to exist as part of the Oslo peace process. After initially failing to keep his commitment, Arafat specified in a 1998 letter to President Bill Clinton that Article 20 would be among those that would be revoked. In December 1998, the Palestinian legislature officially voted to revoke those sections of the charter that were inconsistent with the Palestinians’ commitment to peace. By questioning the legality of the Balfour Declaration, the Palestinian Authority may be in violation of its international commitments to peace.”
This latest PA agitprop is of course unlikely to do more than create a few headlines. Nevertheless, if the BBC is going to give it amplification, it should at least also inform audiences about the real aim of an exercise that highights the redundancy of the BBC’s repeated promotion of the notion that ‘settlements’ and ‘occupation’ are the “obstacles to peace”.
Obviously too, the UK’s national broadcaster should be capable of presenting its funding public with an accurate account of Britain’s role in that particular chapter of history.