On May 9th the BBC News website published an article titled “Israel orders Human Rights Watch activist to leave for ‘supporting boycott’“.
On the one hand, readers were told that:
“Israel has ordered the senior representative of Human Rights Watch in the country to leave within 14 days.
The interior ministry said it had terminated the residency permit of Omar Shakir, who is a US citizen, because he had supported a boycott of Israel.”
On the other hand, they were also told that:
“HRW insists that neither it nor Mr Shakir promote boycotts of Israel.”
However, BBC audiences were not told which of those claims is true.
Obviously too, the BBC has ‘forgotten’ that an anti-Israel campaign at FIFA (which it vigorously promoted at the time) was supported by political NGOs including Human Rights Watch. In fact, Shakir even went so far as to fly to Bahrain a year ago to lobby FIFA officials and – as Professor Gerald Steinberg recently noted:
“In the past year alone, HRW pushed divestment from Israeli banks, targeted Israel’s membership in FIFA (the international soccer association), called for arms embargoes and ending security cooperation, lobbied the UN to “blacklist” companies doing business in Israel, and petitioned the International Criminal Court to open prosecutions against Israeli officials.”
Nevertheless, the BBC chose to devote over 25% of this report’s word count to the amplification of statements from some of its own most quoted and promoted political NGOs.
“This is not about Shakir, but rather about muzzling Human Rights Watch and shutting down criticism of Israel’s rights record,” said Iain Levine, a deputy executive director of the New York-based organisation.
“Compiling dossiers on and deporting human rights defenders is a page out of the Russian or Egyptian security services’ playbook.” […]
Other human rights groups also criticised the expulsion of Mr Shakir.
Amnesty International called it “yet another worrying sign of the country’s growing intolerance of critical voices”.
Israeli organisation B’Tselem, meanwhile, said it was a “sign of the times”.”
In other words, rather than providing audiences with the facts about HRW’s anti-Israel activity which would enhance their understanding of this story, the BBC preferred to amplify the NGO echo-chamber of which it is frequently part.