BBC’s Hardtalk presenter claims Israel ‘slaughters civilian protesters’

The September 5th edition of the BBC programme ‘Hardtalk‘ was devoted to an interview with Israel’s ambassador at the UN, Danny Danon.

“In the turbulent recent history of the Middle East, has there ever been a time when Israel has seemed more powerful – militarily, diplomatically and economically? Israel has the fulsome support of the Trump Administration and also has common strategic interests with Saudi Arabia and Arab nations preoccupied with perceived threats from Iran. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon. Is Israel making wise choices from its position of strength?”

The interview – which was aired on the BBC World News channel, the BBC News channel and on BBC World Service radio, with a clip also posted on the BBC News website – followed the usual format employed by presenter Stephen Sackur in which he lays out pre-prepared lists of things he considers to be wrong with Israel in front of an Israeli official or public figure based on claims from a particular brand of sources – in this case including Michael Sfard, UNRWA’s Chris Gunness, the EU, Amnesty International and the FMEP‘s Lara Friedman.

However, one section of this programme is particularly noteworthy because it once again provides evidence of the BBC’s efforts to rewrite the narrative concerning one particular recent news story in the minds of its audiences.

[emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

[03:37] Sackur: “Yeah but…but of course many of the engagements and conflicts that we see Israel…ah…occupied with are actually not about Israel in an existential struggle for survival – in fact, quite the contrary. Since March of this year we’ve seen 5 months of the Israeli military lining up along the border with the Gaza Strip using live fire ammunition against Palestinian protesters. More than 165 have been killed including 23 Palestinians under the age of 18. I guess Mr. Netanyahu just regards that as proof that the Middle East is, again, quote ‘no place for the weak. The weak crumble and are slaughtered’. And that’s what Israel’s doing.”

As Danon then tried to explain, the out of context and edited quote employed by Sackur in fact related to Iranian threats against Israel. Interrupting him, Sackur however persisted.

Sackur: “No, no Ambassador. With respect my question…my question is not about Iran. My question is about civilian protesters in the Gaza Strip who for many months have been protesting along the border fence. They do not carry guns. Admittedly some of them throw stones; they even fly kites with flaming torches on them at times. But what they do not have is guns and the Israeli military responds with live fire.”

After Danon had noted that the ‘Great Return March’ is “orchestrated by Hamas”, that violent rioters have indeed used guns and Molotov cocktails and tried to infiltrate Israeli territory and that calling the events of the past five months a peaceful demonstration “is a lie”, Sackur retorted:

Sackur: “You’re sitting in New York. I’m sitting in London. I’m inclined to take the word of a very experienced Israeli human rights lawyer, Michael Sfard, who has looked at cases where the Israeli military opened fire in the last five months and he says it is quite clear lethal force against unarmed civilians who do not pose a danger is illegal and this is the crux of many cases there on the Gaza border.”

Sackur of course did not bother to inform BBC audiences of the fact that the “human rights lawyer” whose word he is “inclined to take” and the political NGOs cast as ‘human rights groups’ which Sfard represents come from a very specific side of the political spectrum.

As regular readers know the BBC refrained from providing its audiences with information concerning the organisations and motives behind the ‘Great Return March’ events that have been staged since March 30th – even though that information was publicly available in advance.

The BBC has repeatedly whitewashed the links of terror factions to the weekly agitprop, downplaying and erasing their role in its encouragement, organisation, financing and facilitation.

The fact that a significant proportion of those killed during the violent rioting – including under 18s – have been shown to have links to Gaza Strip based terror factions has been downplayed and ignored by the BBC.

Violent incidents have also been serially ignored and the BBC’s editorial approach to this story has been to repeatedly portray it as one that is about ‘peaceful protesters’ killed by Israel’s armed forces.

As we see, Stephen Sackur has fully taken that editorial policy onboard. Carefully avoiding mentioning the name of the pre-planned violent rioting – the ‘Great Return March’ – he inaccurately told BBC audiences that a project with the self-proclaimed aim of having millions of people categorised as Palestinian refugees ‘return‘ to Israeli territory is “actually not about Israel in an existential struggle for survival”.

Describing violent rioters and would-be infiltrators – including proven members of terror factions – as “Palestinian protesters” and “civilian protesters” who are being “slaughtered”, Sackur twice inaccurately told BBC audiences that they “do not carry guns” while making a facetious reference to “stones” and “kites“. In order to present that distorted picture, Sackur deliberately ignored numerous border infiltrations, hundreds of petrol bomb attacks, scores of IED attacks, dozens of shooting attacks, at least nine attacks with grenades.

It is all too obvious that Sackur’s inaccurate portrayal is not merely the product of months of shoddy news reporting or uninformed discussion of current affairs. It is part and parcel of the BBC’s creation and promotion of a politically motivated false narrative which does nothing to serve its public purpose of helping audiences understand this story.

Related Articles:

Palestinian envoy’s falsehoods go unchallenged on BBC’s ‘Hardtalk’ – part one





16 comments on “BBC’s Hardtalk presenter claims Israel ‘slaughters civilian protesters’

  1. Possibly the most vicious interview I’ve seen Sackur conduct with an Israeli.

    He introduced all the tropes and lies into his questions in a clear demonstration of his visceral hatred of Israel. Quite apart from his white washing of the violent riots along the border with Gaza he felt the need to bring into the discussion apartheid and South Africa, the Nation State Law, the US and UNRWA funding, even Dimona and Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

  2. The indisputable fact is that the BBC is violently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. It seeks out every opportunity – whether a report or an interview – to slag off Israel and show the nation in the worst possible light. It should be thrown out of Jerusalem as an enemy of the state.

  3. Pingback: 09/14 Links Pt2: Melanie Phillips: Demonizing Israel and the hijacking of language; Fatah mocks 9/11 in cartoon; David Collier: From boycotting Jews to attacking MPs, the bullying thuggery of BDS – 24/6 Magazine

  4. You do realise you offered proof of Israel slaughtering civilians when you parroted the Israeli government line that people murdered in the demonstrations were done so because they members of an organisation. This also confirmed the people involved in the murders and therefore their organisation were terrorists by definition..

    Ironic huh

    To fight Hams you must behave and act like them. Well you did create them I guess

      • and you still have comprehensive problems. remarkable how similar your rantings are to those Palestinians who support Hamas.

        Lots of hate over there

        • You are once again, comprehensively outfoxed I assume you mean comprehension, something that you lack totally, don’t try being clever in a language you don’t even understand.

          • Your assumption is incorrect as usual.
            You like the writer to this site clearly has no understanding of how terrorism is defined so continually kicks own goals on the subject like has been done here,

            Ironically for a site that thinks it calls out inaccuracies the writer is frequently inaccurate on the odd times I visit here.
            Unsurprising if all you are going to be is a mouthpiece of the current government.

          • Dear me we are bitter and twisted arn’t we, bringing politics into it now, keep up the momentum it suits you. Your lack of correct grammar gives you away, every time you post. Your unwarranted attack on this site and the people that post on here shows that you are nearly as uneducated as Corbyn. FYI it does not matter how one changes the definition of terrorism, to suit one’s current agenda, any action by one or a group of people that is aggressively violent towards another human or group of human beings without justification is terrorism. In the case of Israel, the actions of defending one’s borders and citizens from anarchistic brainwashed youths, indoctrinated by an UNWRA education that extolls the virtues of becoming a ‘shahid’ and who are hell bent on murdering Jews is self defense, not terrorism. The methods of persuation used by terrorist goverments like Hamas show the rest of the world just what kind of a cowardly, greedy and controlling organisation they are, a dictatorship in it’s true sense.

          • funny how you sound just like someone from Hamas with a mere change of words.

            Yes and when one does that to a group of people at a demonstration when and the only reason given is that they are members of an organisation then that is terrorism.

            the only justifiable reason to kill another is self defence

  5. I was in Israel from the 7th of May until the end of May. I was 45 minutes from the Gaza border. Since March, you had around 30,000 , mixed with Hamas terrorists trying to breach the Israeli border continually on a weekly basis.They had machetes, firearms and even Israeli homes close to the border were sprayed with machine gun fire. They burnt over 10,000 rubber tyres used as a black smokescreen…an environmental disaster politically gone unnoticed! Along with Palestinian children forced to mix in it…a health disaster waiting to happen, gone unnoticed!…these ” peaceful, armed demonstrators” weren’t screaming death to Zionists, nor death to Israelis, they were screaming death to the Jews. The fact that I’m Irish and not Jewish, wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference, I’m sure, if that mob of thousands had broken through.
    I’m amazed that only 160 of this fanatical hate mob, were only killed. After weeks! Of this, sorry! Shite!
    Thank goodness! The Israelis and their government, put the welfare of their people before “body numbers propaganda” like the Fascist terrorist group, Hamas does. Which certain parts of the Western media, and far left Mr Corbyn work off, to Hamas’ delight and advantage. Glad the democratic government of Israel doesn’t wish to placate, the anti-Israeli/anti-Semitic brigade with “like for like Israeli deaths” which they would never! Expect of their own, or any other country.

    The fact that thousands of acres of land have been burnt since than in Israel, including, as 1 example, a nature reserve where animals were burnt alive by Hamas, another “environmental disaster” the silence is deafening and says a lot. The BBC which I pay for, needs to be completely overhauled and become what it is supposed to be, an non political, neutral, news factual machine.

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