The BBC’s partisan portrayal of Jerusalem persists

One day after publishing a report amplifying condemnation of a statement that has not yet been made, the BBC News website put out another article in the same style on December 5th.

Originally titled “Jerusalem: New warnings over US shift on city status”, like its predecessor this report was promoted on the website’s main home page as well as its ‘World’ and ‘Middle East’ pages. Several hours after publication, the article underwent considerable amendment and its headline was changed to read “Jerusalem: Turkey warns Trump against crossing ‘red line’“.

Once again, the report opened with amplification of statements relating to an announcement that, at the time of its publication, had not even been issued.

“Turkey’s president has warned it could sever ties with Israel if the US recognises Jerusalem as its capital.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said such a move would cross a “red line” for Muslims. […]

“Mr Trump! Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,” Mr Erdogan said in a televised speech on Tuesday.

“We could go as far as cutting diplomatic ties with Israel over the issue.”

As has been the case in many previous BBC reports concerning the US embassy in Israel published over the past year, audiences were not informed of the existence of the US’s ‘Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995’ and the related (and often misrepresented) bi-annual waivers signed by a succession of US presidents. Neither were readers told that the current US president is by no means the first to have proposed “moving the US embassy” and that both Bill Clinton and George W Bush made the same campaign pledge.

“Donald Trump missed a deadline on Monday to sign a waiver which would postpone moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a campaign pledge he has delayed fulfilling.”

Under the sub-heading “What is so contentious about Jerusalem’s status?” readers were told that:

“The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, who are backed by the rest of the Arab and wider Islamic world.

The city is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.

Israel occupied the sector, previously occupied by Jordan, in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.

The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and according to 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and all countries, including Israel’s closest ally the US, maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv.” [emphasis added]

While that brief reference to the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem is unusual in BBC content, the context to that – which includes the fact that Jerusalem is included in the territory assigned by the League of Nations for the creation of a Jewish homeland – was not provided.

The reference to “key religious sites”, which of course include Temple Mount, as being in “East Jerusalem” – and hence by implication in what the BBC presents as ‘occupied territory’ – was reinforced by the inclusion in this article of a map which, despite having been produced by the politically partisan NGO B’tselem, is now frequently seen in BBC content.

The article continued with a no less politically partisan portrayal of certain Jerusalem neighbourhoods that of course include the ancient Jewish quarter in the Old City and districts such as Neve Ya’akov where Jews purchased land long before the Jordanian invasion in 1948.

“Since 1967, Israel has built a dozen settlements, home to about 200,000 Jews, in East Jerusalem. These are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

If the US recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it will put it out-of-step with the rest of the international community and reinforce Israel’s position that settlements in the east are valid Israeli communities.”

It is once again all too apparent that the BBC has chosen to exclusively promote a politically partisan narrative in its coverage of this issue and readers of this report and its predecessor did not hear even one voice that dissents from that narrative. Instead, the BBC’s framing of this story is based on unquestioning amplification of very thinly veiled threats of violence from the Palestinians and their supporters as well as completely unchallenged claims that the opening of a US embassy in Jerusalem would “destroy” the (non-existent) “peace process”.

Related Articles:

BBC continues to amplify a political narrative on Jerusalem

26 comments on “The BBC’s partisan portrayal of Jerusalem persists

  1. On the World Service this morning, the BBC first got a statement from Nabil Shah, a Palestinian representative who spouted the usual guff and then interviewed Anshel Pfeffer who acquitted himself very poorly. He finally mentioned the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, almost reluctantly, when this is the crux of the whole issue.

  2. This article is hopelessly biased.
    Yes both Clinton and Bush made campaign pledges but they were jettisoned once they were in power when they realised what the pledge meant.
    No President has ever looked likely to implement such a policy.
    To imply anything else is simply being totally dishonest.

    Thus either The current President does not have the wherewithall to understand this , understandable given what his age has done to his cognitive skills, or he is ignoring his experts in this area.

    If you did not know the statement was to be made then more fool you. You should learn politics 101.

    Deary me any criticism of this policy is now politically partisan. Talk about projection.

    Perhaps you need to cogitate on this. In 1922 christians were by far the majority of the population. Why have they fallen so much as a % of the population now?

    • nottrampis,

      Clinton and Bush made campaign pledges to fulfill what is US law, not just a policy. It is the law.
      “…when they realized what the pledge meant.”
      O.K. I’m all ears what did it mean? (Your vague assertion is a favorite tactic of the unknowledgeable and prejudiced.)
      Then you take an ad hominem swipe at the current president for not possessing cognitive skills which might easily be applied to you, given your comment.

      In truth, the statement has not been released, so no one, not the BBC, nor you, actually knows yet what’s in it.

      ” In 1922 christians were by far the majority of the population. ”
      I don’t know where you got that. Are you saying that Christians have been displaced by Jews, and are fleeing the only country in the ME from which they are NOT fleeing?
      Are you sure they are not being displaced by Muslims as has been happening in Bethlehem, for example? (BTW, Bethlehem was part of that sam “Corpus Separatum”as Jerusalem which gets all the Israel haters in a snit.) Is this reflective of you “research” (war propaganda), i.e., standing up for the proleptic dhimmitude of the BBC, and making excuses for past presidents who didn’t have the testicles to face down the bullies, and do what’s right and just?

      You are hereby disqualified from using the term “cognitive” or any of its variations.

  3. If Clinton and Bush made these promises, what was the point if they had no intention of implementing them. What you really mean is that the State Department, like the British Foreign Office, is in hock to the Arabs and their oil and has a built-in antisemitic bias since all diplomats from the UK and US go through training in Lebanon. So they put pressure on successive presidents to make them break their promise.

    • Both made their promises without ‘input’ of their key foreign affairs advsors. Once in power they changed as intelligent people do when confronted with different information.
      Saying this above was totally dishonest unless put in context which is of course what is the main criticism of the BBC. highly ironic.

      This decision will help boost ISIS as well.I must say Trump is the best marketer ISIS could have had.

      Why no mention of the consequences of the decision in the very city.

      Why because of inbuilt bias of this site. If even former republican ambassadors can see this why no-one here.
      This decision promotes violence against Jews.

      you may want that I certainly do not.

      • nottrampis,
        It seems to me that under your reasoning there would never have been a UN resolution backing the establishment of Israel, because it was so upsetting to Arabs.

        Did it ever occur to you that those past presidents were counting on the goodwill of the Palestinians to finally come to their senses, stop indoctrinating their people into an all or nothing war footing, and negotiate an end to conflict? Have you noticed it didn’t work?

        • They were NOT Presidents when they made that claim they were candidates.As Presidents they realised the error of that policy.
          lack of goodwill should not be just leveled at the Palestinians.

          • “lack of goodwill should not be just leveled at the Palestinians.”
            But there is such an abundance of a lack of goodwill there and a such paucity of its mention.
            Aside from that, Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Please, save us from the experts.

          • I am frankly surprised at the lack of worry about the number of jews who will be killed because of this.

            My government who is no enemy of Israel ,far from it, has neither endorsed this policy or will doing the same indeed they have put the place have a high degree of caution on anyone travelling there.
            This ludicrous decision merely is yet another decision by a person who has no understanding of how to make a deal. He certainly knows how to break then though!

            Oh the utter irony

  4. Completely with you both there. And what about the same partisan approach to the Today programmerl’s coverage this morning?- which included a long life statement by the “Palestinian Ambassador” (of what?) with virtually no questions from the BBC’s Interruptor-General, and, of course, no input from an Israeli spokesperson. Talk about balanced reporting!

  5. Frankly I did not even read the article about what…erdogan thinks about Jérusalem! Hell who cares for erdogan and his opinion? he’s just a clown : the ottoman empire was a SICK MAN and erdogan and his turkey is another sick man. whose opinion has NO importance whatsoever. Tourism to turkey should be prohibited to jews and turkey will go back where it was 50 years ago.

  6. Pingback: Inaccuracy and omission in BBC backgrounder on Jerusalem | BBC Watch

  7. I have to say I am sorry for the British public who get their news about these matters from the British press. Britain’s involvement in this conflict has always been a little problematic. I would just say that the UK’s historic and present reputation might be of concern to the UK, but it is really none of my concern. I’d rather stick to the truth.

  8. It’s not just Bush and Clinton who’ve promisd to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Obama did as well – on at least two occasions

  9. Pingback: 12/06 Links Pt2: Shapiro: Trump’s Jerusalem Decision ‘An Act Of Not Only Political Bravery But Moral Courage’; Phillips: Europe picks the wrong side. Again – 24/6 Magazine

  10. The BBC has surpassed itself this time with an outpouring of anti-Israel rhetoric and hatred, culminating in an interview with a “Professor of North American Studies” from a university in Iran. This professor stated baldly that Israel was an apartheid state like former South Africa and the whole Arab world (yes, the Arab world that is terrified of Iran and opposes it) is up in arms. The interviewer toadied to every word, not a single criticism of Iran’s treatment of minorities, such as Christians, etc.

  11. I have always said and continue to say: Israel has every reason to want a peace deal and the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians have every reason not to enter into a peace deal. The world’s reaction to Trump’s move is a clear illustration of how isolated Israel is, and how Europe will side with the Muslim countries for monetary gain.

  12. It would be great if the BBC went bankrupt but I yea I forgot that the UK citizens keep throwing their money at it so the BBC can continue to brainwash their people and fawn over the muslim narrative. Also who gives a rats ass about what Erdogan has to say about anything.

    • Re: BBC seeking Turkey’s reaction, how about the BBC fawning to the Iranians and asking for their reaction? Everything coming out of the BBC on this subject has been nothing but anti-Israel propaganda, another example is Tom Bateman’s vox pop in Jerusalem today, mostly with Palestinians and clearly an attempt by the BBC to incite violence!

  13. Pingback: An overview of BBC News website coverage of the US embassy story | BBC Watch

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