Mapping the BBC’s use of partisan maps

Between February 1st and February 3rd 2017, visitors to the BBC News website found three articles which included one of two versions of the same map.

February 1st: Israel approves 3,000 new settler homes as Amona evacuation begins

February 2nd: New Israel settlements ‘may not be helpful’ to peace, says US

February 3rd: What will the Trump presidency mean for Israel? Jonathan Marcus

Both versions of that map (one of which includes a ‘zoom in’ view of Jerusalem) are credited to the foreign funded political NGO B’Tselem which – despite its engagement in lawfare against Israel and its membership in a coalition of NGOs supporting BDS – is one of the NGOs most consistently quoted and promoted by the BBC in its supposedly impartial reporting on Israel and the Palestinians.


This of course is not the first time that the corporation has promoted a politically partisan map produced by B’Tselem. In October 2015 the BBC News website published an article including a similar map of Jerusalem credited to UNOCHA and B’Tselem in which the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem  (where Jews lived for centuries until they were ethnically cleansed from the location by Jordan for a period of nineteen years) is marked as an “illegal settlement” and Temple Mount is marked as being located in a “Palestinian urban area”. That same map recently reappeared in a BBC News website backgrounder on ‘settlements’.

This new map of Jerusalem similarly portrays places such as the Old City, Neve Ya’akov and parts of Mt Scopus as ‘settlements’ despite the fact that Jews purchased land and lived in those areas long before the Jordanian invasion in 1948. The same is the case in the bigger map of Judea & Samaria which portrays the whole of Gush Etzion as a ‘settlement’.

Once again we see the BBC promoting the simplistic and biased narrative that all areas conquered by Jordan (or any of the other Arab countries which took part in the military campaign to destroy the nascent Israeli state) are “Palestinian land”, even if there were pre-existing Jewish communities on that land before the location was placed under Jordanian occupation (unrecognised by the international community) and their inhabitants expelled.

The BBC is obliged to provide its audiences with accurate and impartial information which will enhance their “awareness and understanding of international issues”.  By continually – and exclusively – promoting the partisan narrative of political NGOs such as B’Tselem as ‘fact’ the BBC fails to meet that obligation and compromises its reputation for impartiality by abandoning journalism in favour of activism.  

4 comments on “Mapping the BBC’s use of partisan maps

  1. If the BBC was doing its job properly, it would publish the (correct) Israeli version of the map of the area – alongside the anti-Israel B’Tselem version. Fat chance !

  2. Most of the British people are anti-Semites. Therefore, nobody will put a stop to the BBC’s inaccuracies and sometimes outright lies about the conflict between the Arabs and the Jews in the Holy Land. No British Government has given permission for their Queen to make a state visit to Israel. She has been to numerous countries, some of them hardly anyone knows about, yet to Israel she will only be allowed when the JEWS make peace with the Arabs. They do not even encourage the Arabs to make peace with the Jews. The onus is on the Jews to make the peace. Israel longs for peace. Jews long for peace, but the Arabs long for the destruction of Israel. The British Foreign Office has always been reluctant to chastise the Arabs in any way. Perhaps the British should take a look at how much Jews have contributed to England, and how much the many Muslims who e have immigrated to England have contributed to their new home. Even in Great Britain one can clearly see who are the peacemakers and who are the war mongers. The BBC would be the first to celebrate the demise of the Jewish State. It ain’t gonna happen. If Pharoah and the Romans and the Greeks and the Assyrians and the Crusaders and the Spanish and a whole lot of other people tried to get rid of the Jews – all before Hitler made his extreme effort – then one must admit that somehow or other the Jews are indestructible. The BBC will not bring us down. Stop worrying about them. They are their own worst enemies.

  3. Pingback: Continuing documentation of the BBC’s B’Tselem map binge | BBC Watch

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