Why did the BBC News website erase an accurate statement?

Throughout the past seven months we have repeatedly documented the fact that the BBC has tried to downplay Hamas’ role in initiating, organising and facilitating the ‘Great Return March’ violent rioting along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. For example:

BBC again fails to adequately clarify Hamas’ role in Gaza border agitprop

BBC News plays down Hamas role in Gaza violence – part one

BBC News plays down Hamas role in Gaza violence – part two

BBC tries to erase Hamas’ role in ‘Great Return March’ violence

It therefore came as something of a surprise to find that in a report published on the BBC News website’s Middle East page late on the evening (UK time) of October 28th – relating to an incident which had taken place earlier the same evening – BBC audiences were finally informed that:

Original version

“Palestinians in Gaza have been protesting weekly along the border with Israel since March.

The protests, orchestrated by the territory’s militant Hamas rulers, are held in support of the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.” [emphasis added]

Remarkably though, some eleven hours after its initial publication that article – titled “Israeli strike ‘kills Gaza youths planting bomb’” – was completely rewritten and re-dated, with all mention of Hamas’ role in organising the violence erased.

The revamped report did however mention the rocket attacks launched two and a half days earlier against Israeli civilians which the BBC had ignored at the time.

As we see, the BBC knows full well that the past seven months of violence along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip has been instigated by Hamas and other terror groups.

Nevertheless, the corporation obliged to “provide accurate and impartial news” to its funding public continues to do its best to downplay information which is crucial to audience comprehension of the story that it has been reporting since the end of March.

Related Articles:

BBC News again yawns at missile attacks on southern Israel

 

 

Advertisements

BBC WS radio framing of Israeli PM’s Oman visit

On October 26th Israelis discovered that their prime minister (along with his wife and senior officials) had just returned from a secret visit to Oman.

photo credit: PMO

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a secret visit to the Gulf nation of Oman on Friday — the first by an Israeli leader in over two decades, and a sign of warming ties between the Jewish state and the Sunni Arab world.

On Friday afternoon, his office surprisingly announced that Netanyahu and his wife Sara had just returned from an “official diplomatic visit” to Muscat, during which they met with Sultan Qaboos bin Said. […]

The Netanyahus were invited to Oman by the sultan, who has been ruling the Gulf state since 1970, “after lengthy contacts between the two countries,” the statement said.

A joint statement issued by Jerusalem and Muscat said the two leaders discussed “ways to advance the peace process in the Middle East as well as several matters of joint interest regarding the achievement of peace and stability in the Middle East.”

Netanyahu and his wife were accompanied to Muscat by Mossad Director Yossi Cohen, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, Foreign Ministry Director-General Yuval Rotem, the head of the Prime Minister’s staff, Yigal Horowitz, and the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary, Brig.-Gen. Avi Bluth.”

While that news did not receive any coverage whatsoever on the BBC’s English language website, it was reported in Arabic.

The evening edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour‘ on October 26th included a five-minute account of the story in which listeners heard a trip which had not been public knowledge until a few hours beforehand described as a “high-profile, very public visit by Netanyahu to Oman”.

Presenter Jon Donnison introduced the item (from 14:06 here) as follows: [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

Donnison: “The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu famously likes to say he grew up in a tough neighbourhood, his country surrounded – as he would see it – by Arab enemies.”

Despite having done a stint in the Middle East Donnison is apparently unaware of the fact that five Arab armies invaded the nascent Jewish state seventeen months before Netanyahu was born and tried to repeat the exercise twice before his 24th birthday.

Donnison went on:

Donnison: “These days though he boasts that never before has Israel had such good relations with the Arab world. One country not visited by an Israeli prime minister for more than 20 years is the Gulf state of Oman. But Mr Netanyahu has just changed that, having held talks with Sultan Qaboos of Oman in the Omani capital Muscat. So what’s the significance of this visit? Ian Black is a veteran Middle East watcher and currently a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science.”

Unsurprisingly to those familiar with Ian Black’s record as former Middle East editor for the Guardian, the sole commentary heard by English-speaking BBC audiences dwelt on one side of this story, encouraging listeners to view it in terms of “narrative”.

Black: “It’s important to understand that the background to this is that Israel only has normal diplomatic relations with two Arab countries. It’s had them with Egypt since 1979 and with Jordan since 1994: two of its immediate neighbours. But there’s always been a strand in Israeli policy to try to reach out to other Arab countries and in recent years that has really accelerated, particularly with the Gulf States. So the trip to Oman that Netanyahu has just returned from is not the first time there’s been such a trip: the first one happened back in the 1990s and that was then Yitzhak Rabin the Labour prime minister. But there’s a sort of Israeli narrative that – particularly pushed by Netanyahu – that says Israel is really doing well with the neighbourhood, particularly the Gulf States. We hear more about relations with the United Arab Emirates and with Saudi Arabia actually. But the Oman trip fits very much into that pattern and he will indeed be boasting about it as a sign of increasingly good ties with the Arab world.”

Donnison: “And is this about lining up opposition to Iran? You’ve got of course countries like Saudi Arabia, hostile with Iran. What’s Oman’s position?”

Black: “Well actually it’s interesting because the Omanis have quite good relations with Iran; they’re just across the Gulf – they certainly have a far better and more pragmatic relationship than any of their other Gulf neighbours – but Iran is part of it. But I think also it’s this idea that Netanyahu has that Israel can build on relations with Arab states and therefore increase pressure on – or indeed marginalise – the Palestinians. The Palestinian-Israeli peace process: no such thing has existed now for over four years. There’s been all sorts of talk about Donald Trump and his deal of the century to resolve that oldest of conflicts in the region [sic] but nothing’s happened. So Netanyahu is pushing this narrative of we can build good relations with our Arab neighbours and that’s good for Israel in the Middle East. He emphasises a lot of things like technology, cyber security are important things. He focuses on what Israel can give those countries beyond the toxic issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which, by and large, he wants to try to ignore and put to one side. So…”

Donnison: “I mean that was high issue wasn’t it?  That Oman withdrew its diplomatic mission along with other Arab countries.”

Black: “There was a previous period when in 1993 Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation signed the famous Oslo Agreement and that was the very, very historic moment. Now it never worked out and it ended badly but in the years after that there was a flowering, if you like, of Israel’s relations with the wider Arab world. It included Oman and Qatarand further afield countries like Morocco and Tunisia and even Mauritania. So those relationships happened at the time but they came to an end because the Palestinian conflict never went away and those diplomatic missions were closed down. So this high-profile, very public visit by Netanyahu to Oman signals that maybe things are in business again, despite having got no closer to resolving the Palestinian question.”

Donnison: “And one slightly separate issue: what’s Prime Minister Netanyahu been saying about Saudi Arabia this past few weeks when there’s been all this criticism of course over the Jamal Khashoggi affair? Has Israel been speaking out on that?”

Black: “That’s a very good question and the answer is that as far as I’m aware there’ve been no official comments whatsoever. There’s been plenty of media commentary, if you like, on the lack of any kind of official comment and the analysis – I think correctly – is that Israel sees Saudi Arabia as an important country, particularly over the confrontation with Iran, particularly over its close relations with the United States but of course it can hardly speak out and praise what’s been happening in Riyadh when there’s such a global outrage over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. The Israelis don’t like the Turks either. Their interests lie more closely essentially with Arab autocracies than with more popular Islamist regimes, whether it’s Turkey or Qatar. And like the Saudis and the other Gulf allies they really don’t like political Islamists. They have their own enemy close to home in Palestine with Hamas, the Islamist movement there. So the Israelis I think have been keeping pretty quiet about this as most of the rest of the world has expressed outrage – even from Washington – at what happened in Istanbul the other week.”

Apparently Ian Black would have BBC audiences believe that Qatar is not an Arab autocracy and the BBC has forgotten that its own style guide advises against the use of the term ‘Palestine’ to describe what it calls “an aspiration”.

Donnison: “That was the journalist and veteran Middle East watcher Ian Black.”

As we see BBC audiences heard nothing whatsoever about Oman’s interests in inviting the Israeli prime minister for an official visit. Neither were they informed of additional developments in relations between Israel and Gulf states.

Rather, BBC audiences were encouraged to view this story as part of a “narrative” promoted by Netanyahu in order to “marginalise the Palestinians”. Clearly that framing does not contribute to meeting the BBC’s remit of helping people fully understand this story. 

Sporting body’s anti-discrimination results get no BBC coverage

Readers may recall that in October 2017 the Israeli delegation to a judo competition held in Abu Dhabi was barred by the organisers from displaying the Israeli flag, competing under the name ‘Israel’ or playing the national anthem. However, as was noted here at the time:

“The BBC Sport website (which usually displays an interest in reporting bigotry and discrimination in sport) has no coverage of that story either on its home page or on its Judo page. The BBC News website’s Middle East page similarly did not find this story of blatant discrimination in sport newsworthy.”

Similarly, the BBC Sport website did not report on efforts made earlier this year by the International Judo Federation to bring an end to such discrimination.

Due to those efforts, the Israeli judo team is taking part in this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Slam under happily different conditions.

“Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Friday to accompany Israel’s national judo team at an international tournament where — for the first time in a Gulf country — they will be allowed to compete under their national flag.

Regev is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony for the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018 on Saturday, where the Israeli national anthem will also be played for the team. […]

Regev is the first Israeli minister to visit the UAE in an official capacity, as the countries have no official diplomatic relations.”

On October 28th (and again the next day) the Israeli national anthem was indeed heard in Abu Dhabi.

photo credit: IJF

“Israel’s national anthem was played at a judo tournament in Abu Dhabi on Sunday for the first time, after one of its athletes won gold.

A visibly moved Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who was at the contest to support the Israeli team, presented the medals and hung the gold medallion around the neck of judoka Sagi Muki. […]

Muki beat Belgian competitor Matthias Casse to take first place in the under-81 kilogram category at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.

Following the medal distribution, the tournament presenter announced, in English, “Ladies and gentleman, please rise for the national anthem of Israel” after which the “Hatikva” melody began playing. […]

It was…the first time an Israeli delegation participated there under its national flag, after the International Judo Federation warned UAE organizers the competition would be canceled unless all athletes were allowed to participate on an equal footing.”

Once again, however, no coverage of that story was to be found on the BBC Sport website home page or Judo page (even though a report about British competitors in the same tournament did appear) or on the BBC News website’s Middle East page.

BBC Sport website Judo page, 29/10/18

Related Articles:

BBC News and BBC Sport ignore Judo tournament anti-Israel bigotry

No BBC coverage of sports anti-discrimination move

 

Romanticising violence on the BBC News website

On October 25th an article by Chris Bell titled “Gaza protest image likened to famous Delacroix painting” appeared on the BBC Trending blog and the ‘Middle East’ page of the BBC News website.

Readers were told that:

“It’s a picture which has spawned thousands of words online.

Captured by photojournalist Mustafa Hassona, a bare-chested Palestinian holding a large flag wields a sling over his head in Gaza on Monday.

It was snapped amid violent protests on a beach close to the border with Israel. Demonstrators burnt tyres and threw stones at Israeli forces, who responded with tear gas and live fire. Gaza’s health ministry said 32 Palestinians were wounded.” [emphasis added]

Readers did not discover until towards the end of the article that “Gaza’s health ministry” is run by the same terror group that organises and facilitates the violent rioting now in its seventh month.

Neither were they informed that in addition to burning tyres and throwing stones, the rioters on that beach on October 22nd engaged in additional activities which – had Bell bothered to mention them – would have helped audiences understand why the use of live fire was necessary.

“On October 22, 2018, the 13th mini-flotilla sailed towards Israel’s naval border. About 20 small boats set sail from the Beit Lahia shore. The mini-flotilla was accompanied by a demonstration on the beach, in which about 5,000 Gazans participated. During the demonstration rioters threw IEDs and hand grenades at IDF forces. Several rioters tried to approach the security fence but returned to the Gaza Strip. The ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that about twenty people had been injured in the demonstrations north of Beit Lahia.”

Later on in the article, readers saw more downplaying of the violent nature of the ‘Great Return March’ events:

“Palestinians in Gaza have been protesting weekly along the border with Israel since March. The protests, orchestrated by the territory’s militant Hamas rulers, are held in support of the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.”

BBC audiences were not informed that the intention of the demand for the so-called ‘right of return’ is the elimination of the Jewish state.

With regard to the photograph itself, readers were told that:

“The image has been shared widely, with many social media users likening it to Eugene Delacroix’s famous painting of the 1830 Paris uprising – Liberty Leading the People.”

While Delacroix’s painting portrayed French protesters rising up against their monarch, the subject of this photograph was not demonstrating against his own corrupt and inept rulers. Bell made no effort to explain to BBC audiences that the Gaza Strip has not been under Israeli control for over thirteen years and so the comparison made by “many social media users” is clearly redundant. Moreover, his narrative framing continued: 

“Where some saw biblical symbolism of a David versus Goliath struggle, others viewed the stylish image as glorification of violence.”

Nevertheless, as we see, the BBC did indeed consider it appropriate to provide amplification to the politically motivated romanticisation of an image of a person participating in violent rioting encouraged, organised and facilitated by a terror group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corrections secured to inaccurate BBC News website maps – part two

As recently documented here:

“In late June we noted the appearance of an inaccurate and misleading map on the BBC News website.

“An article titled “Syria war: Air strikes knock out hospitals in Deraa” which appeared on the BBC News website on June 27th includes a map showing the areas under the control of different parties in south-west Syria.

[…] the UN Disengagement Observer Forces (UNDOF) are portrayed as being present in the demilitarised zone that came into existence under the terms of the 1974 Disengagement Agreement between Israel and Syria.

However, as noted in this report from May 31st, UNDOF vastly reduced its physical presence in the so-called demilitarised zone nearly four years ago when it redeployed to the Israeli side.”

Similar versions of the same map appeared in at least five additional BBC News website reports.

BBC Watch submitted a complaint on that issue and on July 30th we received a response informing us that more time would be needed to address the points raised. On August 18th we received a further communication informing us that the time frame for addressing the complaint had run out.”

However, on October 26th BBC Watch received a communication from the BBC News website.

“Thank you for getting in touch about the maps contained within several articles on the BBC News website and please accept our apologies for the long and regrettable delay in our response.

After considering your point further we have replaced the maps in question.

We hope you will find this satisfactory and thank you once again for getting in touch.”

The replacement map now appears as follows in five reports published on the BBC News website between June 27th and July 12th 2018: see here, here, here, here and here.

In another article dating from July 22nd, the inaccurate map has been replaced by a different one.

None of the six amended articles includes a footnote to advise visitors to the BBC News website who accessed those reports during the past three to four months that the map has been amended due to inaccuracy.

Related Articles:

BBC News website map misleads on UNDOF

Corrections secured to inaccurate BBC News website maps – part one

 

 

BBC News again yawns at missile attacks on southern Israel

Just after 10 p.m. on Friday, October 26th sirens warning of incoming missiles sounded in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. Throughout the night and the following morning over thirty rockets and mortars were fired at Israeli communities near the border with the Gaza Strip. A number of residents suffered minor injuries.

“Thirty-four rockets were fired at Israel overnight and Saturday morning, according to the IDF, 13 of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. Two of the rockets fell in Gaza and the rest landed in open areas.

The Defense Ministry’s liaison to the Palestinians said a mortar launched during the barrages struck the ambulance terminal at the Erez border crossing, the sole pedestrian passage between Gaza and Israel.”

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group claimed responsibility for the missile fire and Israel responded with strikes on terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip belonging to the PIJ and Hamas.

The attacks were of course covered by major media outlets such as the New York Times and the Telegraph as well as by agencies such as Reuters – but not by the BBC. After civilians living in southern Israeli communities had been forced to spend the night in bomb shelters and safe rooms due to some 14 barrages of rocket fire, on the morning of Saturday October 27th the BBC News website’s Middle East page looked like this:

And on the morning of Sunday October 28th:

Since the beginning of this year terror groups in the Gaza strip have carried out rocket and mortar attacks against Israeli civilians on nineteen different occasions. The BBC’s English-speaking audiences have been informed of just seven of those incidents, meaning that in the event of a broader Israeli response to that ongoing terrorism, audiences will lack an understanding of the background to such a development.

 

 

Corrections secured to inaccurate BBC News website maps – part one

On February 8th 2017 the BBC News website published an article by Jonathan Marcus titled “Is a new Middle East war on Israel’s horizon?“ which was discussed here at the time.

The original version of that article included a map:

Several days later – sometime between February 12th and February 15th 2017 – changes were made to that map:

In July 2018 the BBC News website linked to Marcus’ 2017 article as ‘related reading’.  

Mr Stephen Franklin submitted a complaint to the BBC concerning the inaccurate map in which he pointed out that:

Kibbutz Gadot

“In the map about half way down the page it shows a triangular area to the west of the River Jordan which is shown in yellow as “occupied by Israel”.  (It is the area just to the right of where it says “River Jordan”.)  This area has been internationally recognised as being a part of Israel since the 1949 armistice agreement.  It was a demilitarised zone (DMZ) from 1949 to 1967, but still a part of Israel.  In the middle of that zone was Kibbutz Gadot, which came under frequent bombardment by Syrian forces on the Golan Heights between 1949 and 1967.  The armistice agreement by which that area became a DMZ was superseded on May 31st 1974 by the Israel Syria disengagement agreement, which created a new DMZ, which is shown on your map as the UNDOF area.”

Mr Franklin’s initial complaint was rejected by the BBC and so he submitted a second one on July 27th, to which he received a reply on October 25th.

“Thank you for getting in touch again about our feature article entitled ‘Is a new Middle East war on Israel’s horizon?’ (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-38891358) and please accept our apologies for the long and regrettable delay in our response.

After considering your point further we have amended this section of the map.

We hope you’ll find this satisfactory and thank you once again for getting in touch.”

The amended map now appears as follows:

No footnote has been added to advise BBC audiences who read that article anytime during the last twenty and a half months that they had been presented with an inaccurate map.

Weekend long read

1) At the FDD, the Institute for Science and International Security documents “New Information about the Parchin Site“.

“A great deal of on-the-ground information about Iran’s Parchin site has publicly emerged.  This site was involved prior to 2004 in high explosive testing related to the development of nuclear weapons.  The new information, mainly in the form of Iranian documents and photos, is from an archive seized by Israel in Tehran, a fact that was publicly revealed on April 30, 2018 by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  He reported that this archive shows that in 2003 Iran was operating a nuclear weapons program, codenamed AMAD Plan, which aimed to build five nuclear weapons and prepare an underground nuclear test site, if a political decision was made to test. The Parchin site was a key part of that nuclear weapons research and development effort.”

2) Dr Shiraz Maher has published an essay titled “The primacy of praxis: clerical authority in the Syrian conflict”.

“A close look at the competing claims, actors, and movements for authority within the Syrian civil war reveals three distinct periods of political and religious influence: that of Syrian scholars, who were the first to inject religious language into the revolution; that of Salafi scholars predominantly from the Gulf; and lastly, that of jihadi organizations like ISIS and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, who were active on the ground.

This paper focuses on which figures relied on action—rather than theoretical abstraction—to establish legitimacy and authority on the ground in Syria. Tracing the conflict from the first clerical attempts to coordinate the Syrian opposition to the conflict’s regionalization, and, later, internationalization, this paper demonstrates that the words of actors on the ground are more likely than those of far-off figures—however popular—to resound effectively.”

3) At the JCPA, Yoni Ben Menachem takes a look at the background to a story first reported by the Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh.

“On October 13, 2018, Sheikh Akhram a-Sabri, preacher of the al-Aqsa Mosque, issued a fatwa (ruling in Islamic law) stating that anyone who sells property in the Old City of Jerusalem to Jews no longer belongs to the Islamic religion.

“We will not accept his repentance, and he will not be buried in a Muslim cemetery,” Sabri declared. […]

On October 20, 2018, the Jerusalem police and the Israel Security Agency (ISA) apprehended Adnan Gheith, the PA’s Jerusalem governor, and Jihad al-Faqih, director of the PA’s intelligence office in east Jerusalem, both of whom are supporters of Gen. Majid Faraj. They were arrested on suspicion of abducting a Beit Hanina resident (whose name is known to the author), a known realtor dealing in land and property, whom they suspected of selling a property in the area of Herod’s Gate in the Old City.

The realtor is an Israeli citizen who also holds a U.S. passport.”

4) Also at the JCPA, Nadav Shragai discusses a Jordanian request.

“Jordan has asked Israel to allow it to build a fifth minaret on the Temple Mount, on the eastern wall of the Mount, facing the Mount of Olives. The Jordanian request is not new, and as far as it is known, at least at this stage, Israel does not intend to allow it. This issue has again been put on the public agenda, along with other matters relating to the ties between Jordan and Israel on the Temple Mount, in light of Jordan’s decision not to renew the lease agreement for land in Naharayim and the Arava, which Israeli farmers have been working for the past 25 years.”

Looking beyond the BBC Berlin correspondent’s framing

On October 13th a report titled “Germany protest: Tens of thousands march against far right” appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Europe’ page.

“More than 100,000 people have been marching in the German capital Berlin to protest against xenophobia and the increasing influence of the far right.

Rights groups organised the rally, as marchers held placards reading “Indivisible” and “United against racism”.

The BBC’s Jenny Hill in Berlin says even the organisers seemed surprised by the turnout.”

Readers found the following portrayal of the event:

“Marchers walked through central Berlin, rallying at the Brandenburg Gate.

Many said they were defending human rights and tolerance, particularly of migrants.

“I’m worried that we are not there for the others, and that we just don’t bother or care about loads of people who really need our help,” said one demonstrator.

“Nobody just comes because they are bored.”

One woman said: “There are so many people who believe they can abuse human rights and questions of equality and so on, and it’s time to say no, there are other people who just want to be open and open-minded.””

The BBC’s Berlin correspondent Jenny Hill added her own analysis:

“The mass protest – officially aimed at promoting an open society – was organised by hundreds of groups with different agendas and political affiliations.

But most of the participants were united by their concern about the influence of the far right on German politics and society.”

However, a report that appeared in the Jerusalem Post three days later suggests that the BBC’s Berlin correspondent seriously overlooked parts of the rally which were not quite so committed to tolerance and open-mindedness.

“Speakers urged the obliteration of the Jewish state and support for the BDS campaign against Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reviewed a video showing two speakers who called for the “liberation of all of Palestine 48” and “We must take a stand and boycott Israel. BDS.” The slogan to “liberate all of Palestine” refers to the founding of the Jewish state in 1948, and is widely considered a euphemism to cleanse Israel of Jews. […]

Demonstrators at the march hoisted symbols in support of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, according to observers and German media reports. 

The European Union and the US have designated the PFLP a terrorist group. 

The speakers who call for genocidal antisemitism against Israel and BDS delivered their talks under the banner of the pro-BDS and pro-PFLP organization International Alliance. […]

The Iranian-regime controlled Islamic Center of Hamburg was present at the march. The city-state of Hamburg’s intelligence agency monitors the Islamic Center of Hamburg because it is considered a threat to Hamburg’s democratic system. The Islamic Republic of Iran-dominated center in Hamburg plays a key role in the annual al-Quds Day rally in Berlin, calling for the elimination of Israel.

The Central Council of Muslims, which is an umbrella organization for groups with ties to the fascist Turkish Grey Wolves and anti-Western Islamic entities, participated in the march. 

The prominent German-Turkish lawyer and liberal Muslim Seyran Ates told BILD, “It is a very naïve idea of tolerance when one demonstrates with people on the street who do not want tolerance.”

The Palestinian NGO ‘Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network’ also took part in the rally.

“Palestinian and Palestine solidarity activists joined the mass #Unteilbar (“Indivisible”) demonstration in Berlin, Germany on 13 October, organizing a contingent in support of the Palestinian struggle against racism, colonialism and oppression and for the freedom of Palestinian political prisoners. […]

The Palestine bloc marched in a left/revolutionary group with the Internationalist Alliance, including the MLPD (Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany), Rebell youth organization, ATIF (Association of Turkish Workers in Germany) and many other groups.”

The people described as ‘political prisoners’ include of course the convicted terrorists who are supported by that NGO.

“Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network participated in the contingent, carrying signs and posters demanding freedom for all Palestinian prisoners. The protest action also came as part of the week of action for Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the Arab Communist struggler for Palestine jailed in France for 34 years, with actions in cities across Europe, in Palestine, Lebanon and throughout the Arab world.

BDS Berlin activists marched for Palestine as part of the bloc, while organizers from Coup Pour Coup 31 in Toulouse, France, joined the protest in Berlin, carrying signs and posters for Georges Abdallah. Palestinian youth led the contingent, carrying the Palestinian flag high while carrying the group’s lead banner calling for Abdallah’s liberation.”

In other words, this ‘tolerance’ rally was allowed to become a stage for ‘protest action’ on behalf of a terrorist convicted for the murders of an American military attaché and an Israeli diplomat in Paris.

The Jerusalem Post reports that organisers of the event were aware of the presence of anti-Israel participants in the rally:

“A spokeswoman for Indivisible, Theresa Hartmann, told the Berlin-based paper B.Z that the event’s organizers rejects hatred of Israel and that the anti-Israel agitators “did not speak on the official stage but the organization has responsibility for what took place at our demonstration.”

She said Indivisible distances itself from the anti-Jewish state speeches because its departs from the “joint consensus” of the demonstration.” 

The BBC’s Berlin correspondent however did not report that part of the story and so BBC audiences – along with the ‘historical record’ – saw the event framed exclusively as one which defended human rights, tolerance, equality and open-mindedness.

Related Articles:

BBC Breakfast’s Jenny Hill enables PSC antisemitism washing

 

BBC News employee breaches social media editorial guidelines

Meet Majd Yousef. Hailing from Jordan and now living in London, she is currently employed as a YouTube editor at BBC News and two years ago, described her job at the time as follows:

“Majd Yousef is an Online Editor at BBC World Services and a YouTube Editor at BBC Arabic. Majd specializes in online videos in general, and news in particular. At BBC, Majd is responsible for creating publishing strategies for news and programs, pulling analytics and feedback, and keeping an eye on what is trending in the Arab region. Having worked previously in the same position at Al Jazeera English in Doha, her passion for digital media and online publishing goes back to her days at Kharabeesh, an online entertainment network where she worked as a Publishing Manager for over 2 years. […]

I am responsible for everything BBC Arabic publishes on its YouTube channel; I set the online strategy for our different programs and make editorial decisions of what to publish, based on our ongoing analysis of the audience’s behavior.”

Ms Yousef has also contributed to written BBC content.

As we have unfortunately had cause to note here on numerous occasions in the past, BBC editorial guidelines on the personal use of social media state that:

“…when someone clearly identifies their association with the BBC and/or discusses their work, they are expected to behave appropriately when on the Internet, and in ways that are consistent with the BBC’s editorial values and policies.”

And:

“The BBC’s reputation for impartiality and objectivity is crucial. The public must be able to trust the integrity of BBC programmes and services. Our audiences need to be confident that the outside activities of our presenters, programme makers and other staff do not undermine the BBC’s impartiality or reputation and that editorial decisions are not perceived to be influenced by any commercial or personal interests. […] Even if they are not identified as a BBC staff member, editorial staff and staff in politically sensitive areas should not be seen to support any political party or cause.”

And:

“Impartiality is a particular concern for those working in News and Current Affairs. Nothing should appear on their personal blogs or microblogs which undermines the integrity or impartiality of the BBC. For example, News and Current Affairs staff should not: […]

advocate any particular position on an issue of current public controversy or debate.”

When, on October 21st, the king of Jordan announced that he will not renew two annexes of the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan concerning territory leased to Israel, Majd Yousef nevertheless made her opinion on the issue very clear in a Tweet sent from a Twitter account identifying her as a BBC employee.

Ms Yousef also sent several additional problematic Tweets concerning the same topic, including one using the terms “we” and “our” – i.e. Jordanians.

“It’s important to recall the appendix to the agreement, this is a one year notice prior to the execution, i.e. we must make sure it’s being carried out next year, then according to the agreement the two sides enter a stage of consultations after the notice – let’s see who is “consulting” on our behalf before we celebrate…”

Apparently someone at the BBC recognised that Majd Yousef’s Tweets breach BBC editorial guidelines on the personal use of social media because two days after they were sent, her Twitter account was deleted.

But at least we now have some insight into the opinions behind the “editorial decisions” that go into making videos for BBC News.

Related Articles:

Omissions in BBC account of background to Jordan land lease story

‘Ensuring accuracy’ at the BBC Monitoring Jerusalem office

BBC WS airbrushes terror out of a story about Palestinian prisoners