BBC Breakfast blames Israel for Gaza baby death

Viewers of the May 15th edition of BBC Breakfast (aired on BBC One and BBC News) saw an interview conducted by Louise Minchin with a representative from the Israeli embassy in London, Michael Freeman.

Although the interview was presented as being about “violence in Gaza where 58 people were killed by Israeli troops”, the footage that viewers were shown throughout nearly a quarter of the item was in fact not filmed in the Gaza Strip and did not reflect the events along the border.

At 01:16 in the video below, Louise Minchin stated that a baby had been killed on May 14th.

Minchin: “Fifty-eight people have been killed. We understand that some of them were children, including a baby. Is this not excessive force?”

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry did indeed claim that eight children and a baby had been killed:

“The Gaza Strip’s Hamas-run health ministry said Tuesday morning that a baby was among those killed during violent border clashes along the territory’s border with Israel the previous day, bringing the overall death toll in the day’s bloody events to 60. […]

The baby died from inhaling tear gas fired at Palestinian protesters, the health ministry said.

Eight-month-old Leila al-Ghandour was exposed to gas fired by Israeli forces east of Gaza City, it said.”

However, AP later reported that:

“A Gaza health official cast doubt Tuesday on initial claims that an 8-month-old baby died from Israeli tear gas fired during mass protests on the Gaza border with Israel.

A Gazan doctor told the Associated Press that the baby, Layla Ghandour, had a preexisting medical condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by tear gas. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to disclose medical information to the media.

Layla’s family claimed Tuesday that the baby had ended up in the area of the protest as a result of a mixup, the AP reported added. The Gaza Health Ministry initially counted her among several dozen Palestinians killed Monday.”

The New York Times reported that:

“The child’s parents have given interviews to journalists and aid workers in Gaza recounting how their daughter died. A tweet from Steve Sosebee, who works with the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, suggested that they confirmed their daughter had an underlying health condition.”

This would not be the first time that BBC audiences have been told that a Palestinian baby had died from tear-gas fired by Israeli soldiers without the allegation having been confirmed.

At 02:47 Minchin returned to a popular BBC theme:

Minchin: “No Israelis as far as we understand were injured yesterday. Fifty-eight Palestinians killed. Is this proportionate?”

As we have frequently had cause to note here in the past, the terms ‘proportionate’ and ‘disproportionate’ have long been abused by BBC journalists who wrongly use the every-day meaning of those terms to imply that Israel has breached legal limitations on the use of force in combat.

“In everyday usage, the word “proportional” implies numerical comparability, and that seems to be what most of Israel’s critics have in mind: the ethics of war, they suggest, requires something like a tit-for-tat response. So if the number of losses suffered by Hezbollah or Hamas greatly exceeds the number of casualties among the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), then Israel is morally and perhaps legally culpable for the “disproportionate” casualties.

But these critics seemed largely unaware that “proportionality” has a technical meaning connected to the ethics of war.”

By promoting the false notion that ‘proportionate’ means equality in death or suffering, Louise Minchin conveyed to BBC audiences that Israel must be in the wrong because “no Israelis… were injured”. 

Related Articles:

BBC World Service ‘Newshour’: using ‘alleged’ and ‘fact’ for framing

BBC’s Gaza casualty figures source shows its reliability

BBC Radio 4 dusts off the ‘expert’ hats and ‘disproportionate’ meme

BBC World Service dusts off ‘disproportionate’

BBC’s Evan Davis misleads on BDS, proportionality in warfare


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13 comments on “BBC Breakfast blames Israel for Gaza baby death

  1. The rational response when one finds oneself consistently on the receiving end of a disproportionate response would be to abandon the conduct that results in that response. Hamas does not draw this rather obvious lesson because it has discovered that the West, for a variety of reasons, has an apparently unquenchable thirst for the “evil Jew” narrative that inevitably gets pedaled in response to Hamas’ strategy of recklessly tossing away of Palestinian Arab lives to demonize Israel. If, for once, the West placed the blame and spotlight where it truly belongs, lives would be saved. That the West doesn’t, preferring to infantilize the Palestinian Arabs and otherwise absolve their leadership, the only certainty is that this particular type of insanity will continue. And why not? It produces Hamas’ desired PR result. So the conclusion to those who relentlessly advance a false narrative is clear: a compliant media is a complicit media.

  2. More of the same from the BBC one of the biggest deception organisations in the world, it is typical that they would show footage not even from the Gaza Strip how else could they con the public into thinking that an attack on electrified border fences with machetes and knives was peaceful. The public are being conned by the media organizations and they have not a clue. stop the anti-Israel bias

  3. Pingback: BBC Breakfast blames Israel for Gaza baby death — BBC Watch – NZ Conservative Coalition

  4. Let us get one thing straight here. NO responsible parent should be at a demonstration and leave their eight month child with some-one else. That is quite simply irresponsible parenting.
    No person who has half a brain would then take said child to any demonstration certainly not one where there are 100 snipers and quite a lot of people have been shot dead. That is way more than irresponsibility. That is culpable behaviour.

    What a shame the writer then shows quite clearly they have no idea in understanding what proportionate means..

    • There can only be a lethal response to infiltration into sovereign Israeli territory and Hamas are intelligent enough to know that, but the BBC give the impression to the general populous that the Israeli Government should ignore such terrorist infiltrations, allow this to happen and wait for the sleeping Israeli citizens to have their throats cut in their own beds. The is no such thing as a disproportionate response to a terrorist act and anyone who claims there is is fooling themselves. I challenge anyone to show me another government that allows such a scenario to take place without taking action.

      • How many Israelis were in danger? None. None were injured let alone killed
        How many Palestinians were killed? That is a disproportionate response.

        There was no infiltration and the demonstrations were not at night.You are simply bringing up things that did not occur for entirely poor excuse for killing people.

        • If you knew anything about living in the ME you would know that most people take to their beds and have shluff during the day, only you mentioned night-time. Yes none were killed because troops did what they are there for and stopped them reaching civilians, the IDF’s efficiency should not be used as a weapon to justify these attacks that is just plain stupid. Don’t attack and infiltrate the border then don’t get killed, you do not even need to be a rocket scientist to work that out. As for infiltration even you cannot have failed to see the videos, try this

          • Mr Chamberlain. most people do sleeping at nights I did not realise the in the Middle East people all worked during the night and sleep during the day. Extraordinary. No wonder they are all in foul moods
            As for the facebook post. Taking prisoners alive is done where secrecy is the essence. no-one but no-one advertises it on Facebook. You and the rest have been had by Hamas.
            you cannot infiltrate during the day in front of cameras. Infiltration again is done surreptitiously. This again shows you have been had.

            No evidence has been provided anyone was in danger of being killed yet Palestiunins were shot dead.

          • Perhaps charlie has not seen the video of them running through the fence, knives and machetes in hand shouting Alah wakbar, but of course the media only sensationalize the so called disproportionate response as indeed you are doing, the fact that they had maps with directions to the nearest kibbutzim, does not strike you as odd and written instructions to go and kill Jews, some folk only believe what the media want you to believe and the fact that Hamas themselves confirmed that 50 of the 62 killed were trained Hamas operatives simply shows the media to be what they are……

  5. The BBC has joined the troupe of arabist news sources that will report any old lies about Israel knowing that, when they withdraw or correct half the lies, the remainder will stick.

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