On December 16th an article appeared on the BBC News website’s US & Canada and Middle East pages under the headline “Trump’s new US envoy to Israel seeks Jerusalem base”. The article was subsequently amended several times and is currently titled “Trump chooses pro-settlement hardliner as Israel envoy“.
In the latest version, BBC audiences are informed that:
“US President-elect Donald Trump has chosen right-winger David Friedman as America’s next ambassador to Israel.
The 57-year-old lawyer is strongly critical of the long-held US goal of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He also supports Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. […]
Mr Friedman said earlier he looked forward to working “from the US Embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem”.”
An insert of ‘analysis’ from Yolande Knell tells readers that:
“He’s [Friedman] also indicated that he’ll help fulfil Mr Trump’s promise to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, despite international objections.”
Readers of the three previous versions of the report were told that:
“…the US embassy has been located in Tel Aviv for decades.
But Mr Trump had promised during the presidential campaign to move it to Jerusalem, one of several overtures he made to Israel.”
However, the report refrains from informing BBC audiences that previous US presidential candidates – both Republican and Democrat – pledged to do the same during their election campaigns.
“Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both promised during their presidential campaigns to move the embassy to Jerusalem. Both later backed away from those promises, convinced by Middle East experts that doing so would prejudge negotiations for a final settlement between Israelis and Palestinians.”
“Every president since the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 was passed by Congress has signed the waiver every six months, determining the delay is necessary “to protect the national security interests of the United States.””
Whether or not the US embassy in Israel will be moved to Jerusalem under the Trump administration remains to be seen, but obviously the president elect’s statement on the topic is in no way as novel as this report implies. BBC audiences have clearly not been provided with the full range of information which would enable the proper understanding of this story.