BBC framing of Jerusalem embassy stories continues

On October 16th the BBC News website published a report titled “Australia considers following US on Jerusalem embassy” on its main homepage, its ‘World’ page and its ‘Australia’ and ‘Middle East’ pages.

The Australian prime minister’s statements were presented in its opening lines as follows:

“Australia will consider recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says. […]

Mr Morrison said Australia remained committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Political opponents said Mr Morrison’s comments were a “deceitful” ploy for votes ahead of a crucial by-election.”

Readers were also told that:

“If acted upon, the move would follow a recent policy shift by the US that has drawn criticism internationally. […]

US President Donald Trump drew international criticism last year when he reversed decades of American foreign policy by recognising the ancient city as Israel’s capital. The US embassy was relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.” [emphasis added]

As has been the case in many previous BBC reports about the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem, in this article the fact that the US Congress actually voted to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital over two decades ago was yet again concealed from audience view.

Readers were told that “[t]he prime minister said one future scenario could involve Australia recognising [emphasis added] a Palestinian Authority capital in East Jerusalem and Israeli capital in West Jerusalem”. The statement actually said:

“…the Government will carefully examine the arguments put forward by Australia’s former Ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, that we should consider recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, without prejudice to its final boundaries, while acknowledging East Jerusalem as the expected capital of a future Palestinian state.” [emphasis added]

The BBC report went on to amplify comment from the Palestinian Authority’s Riyad al-Maliki but failed to explain to readers why the Palestinian response to a possible outcome that the PLO allegedly seeks should be negative.

Readers were told of announcements:

“Two other countries – Guatemala and Paraguay – announced they would also make the switch, but Paraguay later reversed the decision after a change of government.”

They were not however informed that the embassy of Guatemala has been located in Jerusalem since May 2018.

The article ended with a section headed “Why is the status of Jerusalem so contentious?” in which the BBC’s standard framing of related topics was to be found. As usual, BBC audiences were led to believe that nothing of relevance happened before 1967 and they heard nothing of Jordan’s 19-year occupation of parts of the city.  

“Israel regards Jerusalem as its “eternal and undivided” capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war – as the capital of a future state.”

A problematic video by Yolande Knell dating from December 2017 was however recycled in this latest report.

Readers found the BBC’s usual partisan framing of ‘international law’ and ‘settlements’ with no mention of the fact that some of the Jerusalem neighbourhoods it chooses to define as such were inhabited by Jews until the Jordanian occupation.

“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.”

Since late 2016 the BBC’s coverage of stories relating to the relocation of foreign embassies to Jerusalem has been characterised by very specific framing of such decisions as ‘controversial’ and the absence of key background information which would enhance audience understanding. As we see in this latest report, that unhelpful editorial policy continues.

Related Articles:

Mapping the BBC’s branding of declarations on Jerusalem as ‘controversial’

BBC omits key context in account of potential US embassy move

The BBC’s narrative on ‘East Jerusalem’ omits relevant context

Inaccuracy and omission in BBC backgrounder on Jerusalem

12 comments on “BBC framing of Jerusalem embassy stories continues

  1. Clearly you either do not know that there is a very important by-election occurring on Saturday here. Wentworth has a reasonably large Jewish population this it is rightly being seen as a by-election ply by the Prime minister here. He is very scared he wil lose this very safe seat.
    I can also inform you he has NEVER talked about East Jerusalem as a capital of Palestine.only about moving our embassy which I doubt will ever occur.
    Why would anyone have to talk about a US Senate resolution which every intelligent President has blatantly ignored. It needed a very stupid one to act on this which he did for crass political purposes.

    I will say again the best policy would be what my old University lecturer from Macquarie University Martin Indyk recomended. Recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital and East Jerusalem as Palestine’s.

    This is totally against the Current Israeli Government’s policy and thus what the writer =would advocate.

  2. Yes you may be correct in your political analogy of the situation as regards Australia however it does highlight once again the BBC bias by framing every report and re-hashing very old ones, in a pro Palestinian way. As everyone knows both Hamas and the PLO only have one outcome contained within their charters and that outcome neither includes the existence of Israel nor does it include the existence of Jews living in Israel. Stop the BBC bias against Israel

    • That is a complete red herring.
      It does not matter who does not want Israel part of the Middle East. No Organisation or country can do anything about it.

      What needs to occur is for Palestinians ( and Arab countries) to live the Palestinian dream. This is of course the same as the US dream, Aussie dream etc. Own your own home, have a secure job and your kids having a decent future.
      How you can get there is very problematic. There is a Nobel peace prize for the person who can.

      • The truth a red herring? There never will be a chance of them living the Palestinian dream with UNWRA at the helm brainwashing generation after generation to be shahid. With the PA rewarding young men or the families of young men an annual stipend for effectively committing suicide by taking lives of Israeli citizens it will never happen. What actually needs to happen is to shut down UNWRA and force the countries where Palestinians are living and working to give them citizenship which is something that should happen within five years to any refugee rather than having refugee status in perpetuity a right given to no other refugees in the whole world.

        • It is a complete red herring ass they cannot get rid of Israel. They cannot, No country can.
          It is like me making a threat of murdering my neighbour. If I cannot do it it is a meaningless threat.

          Israel will always be part of the Middle East.

          Israel needs to be of a prosperous Middle Eastern neighborhood. Get rid of the slums and you almost get rif of any physical threat to Israelis.

          • Israel already is a propsperous middle Eastern neighbourhood you jackass, it is the shithole countries that surround Israel where the slums are, have you ever in your life been there, I suspect not……….

          • Now why talk in riddles? spit it out man get it off your chest! It seems to me now that you actually meant immediate neigbourhood rather than Middle Eastern neighbourhood which is the tack I took your words to mean, then in that case you must be suggesting that Israel should ethnically cleanse the Arab Palestinians from Israel. Heaven forefend, gadzooks batman…….As it currently stands, Israel already gets accused of exactly that along with genocide and apartheid and you are suggesting they may as well do a proper job?

  3. Pingback: 10/18 Links Pt1: In blow to Palestinians, US places Jerusalem consulate under embassy; PA arrests Palestinian-American for property sale to Jews; Australia: Promoting peace, not preventing it – 24/6 Magazine

  4. It is high time that the PA and Hamas realise that they will NEVER remove Israel from the map – and to continue their silly charade is merely costing Palestinian lives.

  5. Pingback: BBC World Service radio adopts the PLO’s language | BBC Watch

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